Posted tagged ‘IDF’

How Israel is bringing an end to Hamas’ tunnels

December 12, 2017

How Israel is bringing an end to Hamas’ tunnels, Al-Monitor

In the same week that Hamas is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its founding and Israel is marking the 30th anniversary of the start of the first intifada (1987), Hamas finds itself facing a multifaceted crisis. It has ceded government control of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority, it continues to be isolated internationally and Israel’s missile defense system has successfully neutralized 89% of the threat posed by rockets to the Israeli homefront, based on Defense Ministry figures from Protective Edge. Now the tunnels are slipping out of its hands as well. Hamas will have to reinvent itself if it wants to remain relevant. Given its current conditions and the means at its disposal, it will be especially difficult to do.

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There were no loud explosions, and no plumes of black smoke rose along Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip. The latest Hamas tunnel was discovered weeks ago using advanced technology developed by Israel. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) kept news of the tunnel secret until completing preparations to neutralize it with innovative methods.

It is worth remembering that the last time the IDF destroyed a tunnel dug by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement it failed to realize that members of the terrorist group were inside it at the time. Despite efforts to extricate survivors, the demolition of the tunnel resulted in the deaths of 12 Islamic Jihad and Hamas fighters and almost led to a major conflagration. This time, the tunnel was neutralized in absolute silence.

Hamas appears to have had no idea that its strategic tunnel had been located or that it had been targeted by the IDF for weeks. Following the operation, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Dec. 10, “Thanks to the joint efforts of the IDF, the Ministry of Defense and the defense industries, we have reached new technological capacities in the struggle against terrorism and the terror tunnels. I hope that over the next few months, the threat posed by the tunnels to Israelis living in localities surrounding the Gaza Strip will be a thing of the past.”

Liberman’s comments prompted a series of public statements by top Israeli officials that after investing unlimited resources and the extensive efforts of the country’s finest minds, Israel has managed to remove the threat of the tunnels, which have kept the people of the south up at night for the past few years. The truth is much more complicated, though there is no doubt that Israel is getting closer to achieving this capacity.

“It’s not like we have some machine that locates tunnels and destroys them,” a senior defense official told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. “This is a system based on the integration of three parallel approaches: shielding, intelligence and technology.”

As of now, this approach is effectively keeping Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip sealed. Israel estimates that in the near future it will be able to eradicate the existing tunnels entirely and make it impossible to dig new ones.

The Hamas tunnel destroyed this week was especially long, stretching several hundred meters into Israel. Israeli officials say that it was intended to allow Hamas to strike behind IDF lines in the next round of violence, just as the group attempted to do during Operation Protective Edge. Now Hamas has been denied that ability.

The movement developed its underground strategy to gain an advantage over the IDF, but that advantage is decreasing rapidly. This development is forcing Hamas to confront a strategic dilemma. Should it accept the existing situation and search for new ways to attack Israel, or should it act quickly to take advantage of whatever tunnels it may have left before it is too late to use them?

This danger is one reason the IDF did not make a big deal of the tunnel’s neutralization on Dec. 10. Apart from some warnings by the chief of the Southern Command, Eyal Zamir, to Hamas and Islamic Jihad that the tunnels would become a death trap for their fighters, the IDF has remained quiet. “There’s no need to celebrate,” one senior military official told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. “These are sensitive times, especially after President [Donald] Trump’s declaration concerning Jerusalem. There is no reason to help anyone who wants to bring about the deterioration [of the security situation].”

Israel’s approach to this operation was based on three components. The first, shielding, consists of a vast underground cement barrier being built along the border that should eventually encompass the entire Gaza Strip. The wall extends several dozen meters underground, and experts say that there is no way to dig tunnels beneath it. The wall is outfitted with sensors and other technologies to detect other tunnels and identify new excavation efforts.

The second component, intelligence, involves using all means at the disposal of Israel’s defense establishment — HUMINT (human intelligence), SIGINT (electronic signal intelligence) and others — to learn where and when militants are excavating tunnels. The IDF has told Al-Monitor that Israel has put together a very good picture of what is happening on the ground.

The third component, technology, includes the major innovation that enabled Israel to locate the two tunnels in the past two months. It was an integrated effort by all of Israel’s defense industries. The Defense Ministry’s Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure set up a lab near the Gaza Strip for the country’s finest minds to tackle the problem.

“Each meter that we check takes a lot of time and serious investments,” a senior Israeli military official told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, “but we are getting results.”

Despite remarks by a number of Israeli leaders this week, the country’s ability to identify and destroy the tunnels and to seal its border with the Gaza Strip has yet to be perfected. “We are making progress. Our capacity will improve, and we will reach a stage in which we can announce that there are zero tunnels and that the threat has been neutralized,” one senior Israeli security official said on condition of anonymity. “But we’re not there yet.”

In the same week that Hamas is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its founding and Israel is marking the 30th anniversary of the start of the first intifada (1987), Hamas finds itself facing a multifaceted crisis. It has ceded government control of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority, it continues to be isolated internationally and Israel’s missile defense system has successfully neutralized 89% of the threat posed by rockets to the Israeli homefront, based on Defense Ministry figures from Protective Edge. Now the tunnels are slipping out of its hands as well. Hamas will have to reinvent itself if it wants to remain relevant. Given its current conditions and the means at its disposal, it will be especially difficult to do.

 

Good News from Israel

December 10, 2017

(This post is part of my Good News Friday posts that I publish every Friday, bringing good news from Israel to counteract all the gloom and doom that dominates the news cycle nowadays, and to shine a positive light on the Middle East’s only democracy. — anneinpt.)

Good News Friday | Anne’s Opinions, 8th December 2017

It’s been a very exciting week this week, and it’s a great feeling to close the week with another Good News Friday installment.

Besides the actual news of Trump’s speech recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the timing should be noted too. The speech took place just a day after the 69th anniversary of Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion’s announcement of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel – 5th December 1949.

Chabadniks (Lubavitcher Hassidim) will assure us that the timing was perfect for another reason. The speech took place on 19th Kislev, the date that the original Lubavitcher Rebbe was released from the Tsar’s prison, and from that year on, the date is a great festival for Chabad.

But it’s not only Donald Trump who vocally supports Israel. Listen to this amazing speech by Vice President Mike Pence at the 70th anniversary of Resolution 181:

Brian of London describes Pence’s speech and quotes the highlights:

You can watch the whole speech above, but here are the most important passages:

We gather today on the eve of a historic anniversary to celebrate what happened here, in this very hall, 70 years ago when the United Nations declared to the modern world an ancient truth, that the Jewish people have a natural, irrevocable right to an independent state in their ancestral and eternal homeland. (Applause.)

So in May 1947, less than two years after its inception, the United Nations formed the Special Commission on Palestine to propose paths forward for that region.

And on November 29, 1947 — 70 years ago tomorrow — the General Assembly gathered in this great hall and passed Resolution 181, calling for creation of the Jewish State of Israel. (Applause.)

Now to be clear: Israel needed no resolution to exist, for Israel’s right to exist is self-evident and timeless.

Nor did that resolution create the State of Israel. For Israel was born of the sweat and the sacrifice of the Jewish pioneers who risked everything to reclaim their beloved lands, with — in those well remembered words — “with a plow in one hand and a rifle in another.”

They turned the desert into a garden, scarcity into plenty, and an age-old dream into a reality. And their striving and their sacrifice laid the foundation for what took place in this hall 70 years ago.

And only six months later, the Jewish State of Israel was born — answering the ancient question first asked by the prophet Isaiah: “Can a country be born in one day, can a nation be born in a moment?”

It happened when on May 14, 1948, Israel declared “the natural right of Jewish people to be the masters of their own fate, like all other nations, in their own sovereign state.” (Applause.)

While Israel was built by human hands, it’s impossible not to see the hand of heaven leading its people, writing their history in the restoration of this ancient people to their land of their birth.

In fact, the God of Abraham told His people, “Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there I will gather you and bring you back to the land which your fathers possessed.”

The quoting of prophet Isaiah is fantastic. If you want to understand how important that passage of Isaiah is relating to the rebuilding of Israel, Rabbi Lord Sacks wrote an extensive commentary. We’d expect nothing less from such a deeply religious mensch as Mike Pence, so it stands out dramatically as different from pretty much everything we’ve seen for almost a decade coming out of the USA.

Read the rest of the article – it’s excellent.

Turning now to a completely different subject, the following story demonstrates Israel’s care and concern for its neighbours in the entire region, even for its enemies, which Trump and Pence described so well (and which the antisemites deny or twist the facts about).

The IDF has expanded its medical facilities for Syrian civilians caught up in the civil war and has now equipped a maternity hospital over the Syrian border:

The Israel Defense Forces has equipped a new maternity clinic over the border in Syria, as part of its Operation Good Neighbor instituted a year and a half ago to provide medical, infrastructural and civilian aid to Syrian victims of the ongoing civil war.

An Israeli soldier cradling a child at the Israeli field hospital near the Syrian border. Photo courtesy of IDF Spokesman’s Office

The hospital reportedly was opened in November in response to an urgent request from Syrian doctors who saw that many women could not get to the existing maternity hospital due to the difficult conditions.

The clinic is staffed entirely by Syrian healthcare workers using equipment donated by the Israelis. More than 200 pregnant women so far have sought medical care at the new clinic, and 30 women have given birth there.

“We took a decision not just to sit on the fence and see people slaughtered and suffering every day – we decided to help them. And we understand that it might change their feeling about Israel a little bit – that we are not Satan,” the IDF commander of Operation Good Neighbor told The Jerusalem Post.

The IDF’s Mazor Ladach field hospital for Syrians includes a playroom and provides hot meals, hygiene products and medicine to take home. Photo courtesy of IDF Spokesman’s Office

Last September, the IDF set up a secure field hospital, Mazor Ladach (literally, Bandaging Those in Need) on an unused Israeli military post in the southern Golan Heights. The Israeli staff has cared for hundreds of Syrians already, according to the Operation Good Neighbor commander.

Mazor Ladach includes a playroom and also provides hot meals. “A Syrian mother who comes with her children leaves the clinic with healthier children and an aid kit from the State of Israel that includes food, basic hygiene products, and medicine,” wrote the commander on the IDF’s official blog.

In addition, over the past five years an estimated 4,000 wounded Syrians have been transported to Israeli hospitals for treatment.

I am so proud of our crazy little country! Kol hakavod is to mild a term to salute the IDF and its medical teams as well as the government authorities who worked towards providing this urgent medical care for the civilians of our enemies. Hopefully these actions will change attitudes (they are already) and make new friends out of our potential enemies.

And one more item from Israel’s medical sector. An extraordinary story of Mark Lewis, a British Jew who was suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS) and underwent successful stem cell treatment in Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem has been made into a UK Channel 4 TV documentary.

A prominent Jewish lawyer has taken part in a ground-breaking clinical trial at Israel’s Hadassah hospital that offers treatment which could finally offer a “miraculous” cure for the 2.5 million sufferers of multiple-sclerosis.

Mark Lewis — best known as the media lawyer who took on Rupert Murdoch over the newspaper phone-hacking scandal — is one of 48 patients to have participated in the revolutionary year-long trial at the internationally renowned hospital in Jerusalem.

At the Israeli hospital, Mr Lewis was injected with stem cells derived from his own bone marrow, directly into the spinal fluid.

Speaking to the JC before a Channel 4 documentary this week about his treatment, he said he had benefited immediately afterwards from “a miraculous 60 per cent improvement in my condition”.

He added: “Within minutes I had feeling and movement back that I had not had for years.”

“The Herzl quote they speak about a lot in Israel sums it up,” he said. “ ‘If you will it, it is no dream’.”

Watch this fantastic clip about Mark Lewis’ treatment and results:

Mr. Lewis’ observations about Israeli society are heart-warming, and it is great that they will receive a wide audience:

Mr Lewis praised the pioneering Israeli technology used by the multi-faith medical team at the university hospital at Ein Kerem. “The trial is the complete antithesis to BDS,” he said. “It is Israeli technology treating everybody with a team that has no concept of religion, nationality or whatever.

“It is purely about helping people, whoever and whatever they are — no matter what god they do or do not believe in.”

Mr Lewis said the sense of unity among the medical team was striking. “The leading professor was born in Greece and is Christian but is now an Israeli citizen. There was a Muslim doctor, there was someone from the former Soviet Union and there was a specialist who is the sister of someone known to be an Israeli ‘settler’.

“But all I noticed was this real sense of everybody pulling together to try and crack this thing.”

Research into the treatment’s efficacy for MS patients began at the Hadassah in 2007. It was one of the first experiments in which advances in stem cell treatments were applied to neurological diseases.

By a stroke of luck, Mr Lewis was holidaying in Israel nine years later when he heard from a friend that the hospital was seeking patients for the full-time trial.

Since being diagnosed with MS, Mr Lewis’s symptoms have grown progressively worse and he feared he would have to give up work within a few years. His life expectancy was put at just 65 years.

Mr Lewis said the first thing he did on flying out to Israel to begin the trial was to visit the Kotel to say prayers.

As to the treatment itself:

The treatment is extremely painful for the patient. In order to be injected directly into the spinal fluid doctors insert the needle, which is four inches long, between the patient’s vertebrae.

“I cannot describe to you the pain,” Mr Lewis said. “That injection took about one hour and 20 minutes — I thought I was going to faint.”

The patient’s own bone-marrow stem cells are first extracted, then enhanced and then injected into the spinal cord.

Each patient then undergoes monthly neurological evaluations including MRI scans and techniques to detect neuro-regeneration.

In addition, electrophysiological and visual tests are performed of patients’ brains with up to five complete neuro-cognitive evaluations performed for each patient.

Professor Karussis Dimitrios, Hadassah’s internationally renowned neuroimmunologist, will then write a report on the results allowing other medical facilities around the world to use the findings.

Mr Lewis says that some of the initial positive responses to the treatment have now began to fade and he believes another shot of injections would bring similar benefits.

“Think of it in the same way as if you were suffering from diabetes. You wouldn’t just be given one insulin shot and then told you were finished being treated.

“The treatment was over a year ago now – and I am ready for another shot. But that may never happen of course. It depends on the final results of the trial and the goodwill of the hospital.”

Kol hakavod to Professor Karussis Dimitrios and the entire research team at Hadassah Hospital for discovering and implementing this treatment. May Mark Lewis have a full and speedy recovery, refuah shlema, and may all the other countless sufferers of MS benefit from this treatment too.

On this optimistic note, I wish you all Shabbat Shalom. This week we celebrate the first days of Chanukah, so I wish you all Happy Chanukah, חג אורים שמח as well!

‘Don’t you dare’

November 13, 2017

‘Don’t you dare’ Israel Hayom, Yoav Limor, November 13, 2017

Now the message to Gaza is “no more.” Israel will not be a passive player, rather an active one that if attacked – will attack back. If Islamic Jihad considered a limited retaliation, one that would not lead to an escalation of hostilities, Israel is saying that its reaction will be severe regardless. It will not only target Islamic Jihad but the ruling faction in Gaza: Hamas.

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The unusual announcement from Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, head of the Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories unit, Saturday night was not out of the blue. In Israel, defense officials believe Palestinian Islamic Jihad is preparing a revenge attack for the demolition of its underground tunnel and deaths of its people.

This assessment was enough for Mordechai to leave his home Saturday evening, put on his uniform, and drive to IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv to record an announcement in Arabic, the gist of which can be summarized in three simple words: Don’t you dare.

During the 69 seconds in which he spoke, Mordechai sought to transfer the dilemma to the other side. Ever since the tunnel was destroyed, some two weeks ago, Israel has been on high alert; its military activity along the security fence has been minimal, agricultural work in the vicinity has been greatly restricted, and the message received by the Gaza was that Israel was waiting for a retaliation.

Now the message to Gaza is “no more.” Israel will not be a passive player, rather an active one that if attacked – will attack back. If Islamic Jihad considered a limited retaliation, one that would not lead to an escalation of hostilities, Israel is saying that its reaction will be severe regardless. It will not only target Islamic Jihad but the ruling faction in Gaza: Hamas.

This purpose of this message was to pass the dilemma back to Gaza. It was meant for Hamas, which is taking great pains to restrain Islamic Jihad and has thus far managed to stop it from retaliating; and for Islamic Jihad itself – which was warned that a terrorist attack would bring disaster to the Gaza Strip and sabotage Palestinian reconciliation efforts (which Israel opposes but is presently seeking to utilize). As expected, Islamic Jihad responded with an aggressive message of its own, reiterating its intention to retaliate.

With that, it appears the group’s leadership in Gaza has yet to make that decision and is waiting for the green light from its military headquarters in Damascus, namely from Ramadan Salah and his second-in-command Ziad Nahala. This is also why Mordechai included in his statement a particularly undiplomatic message for the two, warning “there will be those who will be held responsible” for the consequences of a future attack.

In the meantime, there are no signs that Islamic Jihad is folding. If the prevailing assumption of a revenge attack materializes – which will lead to an assured Israeli response – we could find ourselves in a downward spiral that neither side wants.

Terror tunnel bingo

November 1, 2017

Terror tunnel bingo, Israel National News, Jack Engelhard, October 31, 2017

Will there be parades in Gaza and Ramallah for the terrorist who committed bloodshed in Manhattan today?

Only we regret. I get it, we’re Jewish. We are supposed to be different. We are supposed to be better.

Maybe, as I’ve written elsewhere, we should be worse once in a while, and then maybe they’d leave us alone.

[T]o borrow from Patton: 

“No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. You won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.”

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A few days ago the Israelis found yet another terror tunnel leading into Israeli territory and thinking it was empty, blew it to smithereens. Turns out that there were people still inside busy as beavers, terrorists from Hamas and Islamic Jihad. So the blast, bingo, eliminated them too, about 20 of them, half sent directly to their 72 virgins, the other half injured. 

I get conflicting numbers between the naked and the dead, but within Israel there’s a larger conflict going on even as we speak.

First, the world’s leading Islamic terrorist, Mahmoud Abbas, left his EU and US- funded multi-million dollar bunker to proclaim his outrage.

The Israelis, he said with a straight face, have no right to use deadly force against terrorists. Jews have no right to protect themselves…and according to that line of depraved thinking, New Yorkers are likewise open season as we saw from Tuesday’s ramming and shooting attack in Manhattan.

That is not news. We expect that from the man behind the Klinghoffer and Munich Olympics massacres.

But it is news when the IDF seems to explain that it never intended to hurt anyone. This has sparked controversy as it amounts to an apology.

Since when do we – meaning any sovereign nation – apologize for killing the enemy?

In fact it is a command that when he comes to kill you – which is what these tunnels are all about – you are to get up early and kill him first. In every other country, that’s a good day when even by accident you’ve taken out your attackers. Lucky shot.

But this is Israel and Israel is Jewish and old habits die slowly. Jews always apologize.

Some may remember Tom Wolfe’s “Radical Chic” article in New York Magazine. That was about a group of Black Panther types who attended Leonard Bernstein’s big shindig to celebrate Black Power. The (Liberal) Jews at the same soiree were blamed for everything – and apologized for everything. Everything!

Never mind that from the start the Jews were at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement.

So now there’s a flap within Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet. One says that the IDF was wrong to apologize; the other says, leave the IDF alone.

Criticism against the IDF will never come from me. But I must say this; the response comes across as pathetic…an uncalled for justification in the fog of war.

Sorry for what? Do they apologize to us? They give out candy and build statues to their murderers. They celebrate after they kill.

Sorry we got to them before they got to us?

Will there be parades in Gaza and Ramallah for the terrorist who committed bloodshed in Manhattan today?

Only we regret. I get it, we’re Jewish. We are supposed to be different. We are supposed to be better.

Maybe, as I’ve written elsewhere, we should be worse once in a while, and then maybe they’d leave us alone.

Or take it from our Book of Deuteronomy– “Your eye shall not pity them.”

Then came this British journalist who sprang this over coffee: “Must say, the Israelis have become awfully militaristic.”

The evidence, I explained, proves otherwise. But if so, it’s about damn time. I’ll take militaristic any day against 2,000 years of sitting-duck passivity.

Yes, I will take militaristic whenever it is between them and us.

Or to borrow from Patton:

“No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. You won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.”

Put Iran back on the defensive

October 13, 2017

Put Iran back on the defensive, Israel Hayom, Amnon Lord, October 13, 2017

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei | Photo: Reuters

A recent interview with Brig. Gen. (ret.) Uzi Eilam, former director of the Atomic Energy Commission at the Prime Minister’s Office, has all but slipped under everyone’s radar.

During the interview, Eilam let it slip that in early 2015, when the fight against the nuclear deal with Iran was in full gear, he traveled to Washington to lobby support for the deal among Democratic senators and congressmen. Recently, we also learned that former National Security Adviser Uzi Arad and former Israeli Consul General in New York Alon Pinkas are part of a campaign by the left-wing Jewish lobby group J Street, which purports to be pro-Israel, to preserve the deal.

If the 2015 deal is so good, why is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu so eager to amend it? And why did he so vehemently oppose it to begin with? If the deal is solid, why do the moderate Sunni states such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia oppose it? Why is U.S. President Donald Trump against it? Does the Israeli public really have to trust the judgment of former defense and diplomatic officials?

The truth is that it is quite bewildering that experts continue to insist on sticking to the deal when, two years in, the results are clear: Iran has massively infiltrated Syria and a new threat to Israel has emerged from the north. Those who supported the agreement apparently failed to fully understand its implications, or they knowingly covered up then-President Barack Obama’s rapprochement attempts with Iran at Israel’s expense.

Meanwhile, the Iranians have successfully taken over not only Damascus and Beirut, but also Iraq, Yemen and the Bab el Mandab Strait, a strategic waterway between Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula and Djibouti and Eritrea in the Horn of Africa. A senior intelligence official told me a month ago that there was a clear link between the approval of the nuclear agreement in July 2015 and the Russian invasion of Syria two months later. If anything, there is no doubt that Obama’s policy and the nuclear agreement paved the way for an Iranian-Russian takeover of the war-torn country.

The Israeli media all but ignored Obama’s moves over Iran. The Israeli and American intelligence agencies conducted effective warfare to sabotage the secret networks through which Iran built its nuclear program, but Obama vetoed these efforts, effectively terminating cyber warfare against Iran and lending international legitimacy to the Islamic republic’s nuclearization effort – efforts by a nation that has openly and repeatedly announced its clear intention to annihilate the State of Israel.

Above all, the nuclear agreement lifted the economic sanctions the international community had imposed on Iran. These sanctions, imposed due to American and Israeli pressure, had pushed into a corner, isolated it and placed it under constant international pressure. Obama freed Iran from this yoke and all but launched a campaign that delegitimized Israel, its government and its leader. Yet all of it was covered up by senior Israeli security officials and the Israeli media.

If Trump makes good on his threat and decertifies the nuclear deal, it will be the first step toward rectifying the situation and putting Iran back on the defensive. This would benefit Israel by pushing back the threat of an armed conflict on the northern border.

At this time, the effort to change the 2015 agreement in a way that prevents Iran from pursuing nuclear armament within eight years should be clear to the intelligence and security sages who are so supportive of the deal. North Korea barreled through two nuclear agreements negotiated by Wendy Sherman, the chief American negotiator with Iran, and emerged as a menacing nuclear threat.

Between the cabinet and the battlefield

The meeting between Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin in August, the massive military exercise in the northern sector in early September, the strike on a chemical weapons facility near Damascus last month, and defense officials’ publicly-voiced concerns about Iran’s military entrenchment in Syria, all made various pundits catch a whiff of napalm in the morning. But contrary to the perceived rise in security tensions in recent weeks, the IDF believes that chances of a flare-up on the Lebanese-Syrian front are waning.

One can argue about the scope of the strategic impact the Russian-Iranian alliance has on Israel. American analysts, who understood early on where Obama was heading with respect to Iran, believe the Russian-Iranian axis is very bad news for the United States as well as for Israel.

But the IDF has a different assessment, at least for the foreseeable future, according to which the Russian presence in Syria is deferring a potential conflict. Moreover, the Iranian presence in Syria appears less menacing when Revolutionary Guard soldiers are replaced by random Shiite militias.

The military says its multi-year work plan continues to evolve according to the dynamic map of threats from the north and it rejects claims that it is leading the IDF down the wrong path. According to a report by the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee’s Subcommittee on the Defense Doctrine, which is an important intellectual venture led by Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah, the preparatory work done by the IDF to compose the multi-year work plan and its implementation so far are indeed impressive.

Nevertheless, even the apparently flattering report alludes to the fact that 11 years after the Second Lebanon War, the ground forces have yet to fully stabilize, while the Israeli Air Force has undergone a tremendous process of reinforcement. This is the military arm decision-makers continue to rely on, in conjunction with the IDF’s special forces, at the moment of truth.

Still, a critical review of the report reveals a serious problem that has not been resolved in Israel’s political reality: the interface between the political leadership and the IDF. The report criticizes the political echelon, saying it fails to provide the military with clear, written instructions and objectives. This makes it difficult for the military to adapt, outline its operational plans and build its strength.

Committees and cabinet meetings will not bring salvation. The IDF’s senior echelon must consider the fact that cabinet ministers cannot serve as a collective commander of the IDF’s operations in wartime. The cabinet was designed to supervise military moves, and while it can be called upon to decide on various operational alternatives before and during a conflict, it is up to military commanders to assume operational responsibility. The desire by lawmakers who see themselves as military experts to be involved to the point of making the military’s decisions for it is very unhealthy.

But there is one thing that can be expected from the political echelon: a decision on the strategic concept with respect to Hezbollah. Is Lebanese infrastructure a legitimate target in a potential future war, or is the IDF required to surgically deal only with Hezbollah elements? The answer to this question is not as simple as the hawks in the government would have the public believe.

The IDF set for long period of unrest, also attack from Gaza

July 22, 2017

The IDF set for long period of unrest, also attack from Gaza, DEBKAfile, July 22, 2017

(Please see also, This is a war for sovereign control of Temple Mt. — DM)

The IDF spokesman said Saturday that the armed forces are getting set for the current Palestinian unrest to continue for some weeks – if not more – and a possible terrorist attack from the Gaza Strip. In a briefing to reporters following the terrorist murder of three members of a Halamish family, the spokesman said: Religious elements new to us have raised their heads.” He did not elaborate on this. “We are making a great effort, operationally and by covert means, to curtail the escalating of the violence. But we face a surge of negativity with religious extremist overtones that spreads from one day to the next and could generate more terrorism.”

The spokesman revealed that the terrorist hiked the 2.5km from his village to Halamish Friday night, carrying a bag containing a Koran, a bottle of water and a knife. It took him 15 minutes to stab to death a grandfather and son and daughter and injure a grandmother, before a soldier on leave who heard the screaming from a nearby apartment shot him through a window.

The PLO’s IDF Lobbyists

June 27, 2017

The PLO’s IDF Lobbyists, Front Page MagazineCaroline Glick, June 27, 2017

(The Israeli deep state? — DM)

CIS is a consortium of 260 left-wing retired security brass. It formed just before the 2015 elections. CIS refuses to reveal its funding sources. Several of its most visible members worked with the Obama administration through the George Soros-funded Center for a New American Security.

Since its inception, CIS has effectively served as a PLO lobby. It supports Israeli land giveaways and insists that Israel can do without a defensible eastern border.

Last Wednesday CIS released a common-sense defying statement opposing the Taylor Force Act.

The generals mind-numbingly insisted the US must continue paying the terrorism-financing PA because Israel needs the help of the terrorism-incentivizing PA to fight the terrorists the PA incentivizes. If the US cuts off funding to the PA because it incentivizes terrorism, then the PA will refuse to cooperate with Israel in fighting the terrorism it incentivizes.

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How radicalized Israeli generals are furthering the cause of Palestinian terrorists.

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

Should the United States pay Palestinian terrorists? For the overwhelming majority of Americans and Israelis this is a rhetorical question.

The position of the American people was made clear – yet again – last week when US President Donald Trump’s senior envoys Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt met with Palestinian Authority chairman and PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas and repeated Trump’s demand that the PA cut off the payments.

Not only did Abbas reject their demand, he reportedly accused the presidential envoys of working as Israeli agents.

Abbas’s treatment of Kushner and Greenblatt was in line with his refusal to even meet with US Ambassador David Friedman, reportedly because he doesn’t like Friedman’s views.

The most amazing aspect of Abbas’s contemptuous treatment of the Trump administration is that he abuses Trump and his senior advisers while demanding that Trump continue funding him in excess of half a billion dollars a year, and do so in contravention of the will of the Republican-controlled Congress.

Abbas’s meeting last week took place as the Taylor Force Act makes its way through Congress.

Named for Taylor Force, the West Point graduate and US army veteran who was murdered in March 2016 in Tel Aviv by a Palestinian terrorist, the Taylor Force Act will end US funding of the PA until it ends its payments to terrorists and their families – including the family of Force’s murderer Bashar Masalha.

The Taylor Force Act enjoys bipartisan majority support in both the House and the Senate. It is also supported by the Israeli government.

Given the stakes, what could possibly have possessed Abbas to believe he can get away with mistreating Trump and his envoys? Who does he think will save him from Congress and the White House? Enter Commanders for Israel’s Security (CIS), stage left.

CIS is a consortium of 260 left-wing retired security brass. It formed just before the 2015 elections. CIS refuses to reveal its funding sources. Several of its most visible members worked with the Obama administration through the George Soros-funded Center for a New American Security.

Since its inception, CIS has effectively served as a PLO lobby. It supports Israeli land giveaways and insists that Israel can do without a defensible eastern border.

Last Wednesday CIS released a common-sense defying statement opposing the Taylor Force Act.

The generals mind-numbingly insisted the US must continue paying the terrorism-financing PA because Israel needs the help of the terrorism-incentivizing PA to fight the terrorists the PA incentivizes. If the US cuts off funding to the PA because it incentivizes terrorism, then the PA will refuse to cooperate with Israel in fighting the terrorism it incentivizes.

If you fail to follow this logic, well, you don’t have what it takes to be an Israeli general.

Moreover, if you fail to follow this logic, and you defy the position of Israel’s retired generals, then you may well endanger Israel.

After all, they know what’s best even better than the Israeli government because they are retired Israeli generals.

The CIS group would be bad enough for Israel on its own. But unfortunately, the radical politics of its members – and their anonymous funders – are all too resonant inside of the IDF itself.

And just as CIS members use the ranks they received in the past to undermine the powers of the government today, so the current crop of serving generals use their positions to advance policies that are contrary to the expressed position of the government.

This is nowhere more evident than in the behavior of the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria.

Until Israel formed the PLO-controlled PA in 1994, the Civil Administration was responsible for governing Judea and Samaria as the governing arm of the military government that Israel set up in the area after the Six Day War.

In 1996, Israel transferred all Palestinian population centers in Judea and Samaria to the PA. Since then, the Civil Administration has been responsible only for Area C where all Israeli communities are located and where between 100,000 and 200,000 Palestinians also live.

The question of what the ultimate disposition of Area C will be is the top issue on the national agenda today. The majority of government ministers and the majority of the public support applying Israeli law to all or parts of the area.

Yet while the government debates the issue and formulates policies to advance whatever policies it adopts on this issue, the Civil Administration has for the past several years been acting independently to undermine and constrain the government’s ability to make strategic decisions relating to Area C.

Among other things, the Civil Administration has been independently initiating Palestinian settlement projects in Area C that undermine Israel’s ability to govern the areas. By the same token, the Civil Administration has used its powers to scupper, delay and prevent Israeli construction projects in the area.

The story of the Civil Administration’s rogue policymaking was catapulted to the headlines last week when Channel 2 reported that it was advancing a plan to massively expand the Palestinian city of Kalkilya into Area C. Among other things, the plan endangers Israeli communities whose territory abuts the expanded boundaries of Kalkilya advanced by the plan.

Channel 2 reported that the Netanyahu government’s security cabinet had given the Civil Administration a green light to begin construction.

The story caused a political outcry not only from Likud voters but from the security cabinet members themselves. Led by Minister Ze’ev Elkin, the Likud ministers insisted that they had been misled by the Civil Administration which deliberately hid the nature of the plan from them when it brought it to the cabinet for approval.

The ministers’ protests ring true because the Civil Administration has a history of acting in this manner.

In 2008 for instance, the Civil Administration initiated a building scheme in the Jordan Valley that would have taken land from Moshav Tomer to build Palestinian settlements.

The head of the local council complained to the government only to discover that the ministers had no idea what he was talking about. The Civil Administration had undertaken the plan, which undermined Israel’s control over a strategically vital area, without government knowledge or approval.

In contrast, and again against the wishes of the government, the Civil Administration has repeatedly acted to block Israeli construction in Area C. For instance, the IDF insists that no land deal between Israel and Palestinians is final until the IDF approves it. The policy harms Israeli construction in two ways.

First, it gives the Civil Administration the power – which it uses – to delay Israeli construction indefinitely.

Second, by forcing parties to land deals to come forward publicly, the Civil Administration intimidates Palestinian land sellers. They know that if their land deals with Israelis become public they will face execution by the PA.

Returning to Abbas for a moment, the PLO chief may have overplayed his hand by insulting Trump and his senior envoys. All the politicized retired and currently serving Israeli generals together cannot convince Trump to send US tax dollars to a terrorism supporting leader who trashes him and his senior officials. Consequently, there is every reason to believe that the Taylor Force Act will soon be signed into law and the US will end its financing of Palestinian terrorism.

But even if Washington cuts off funding to the PA, Israel is still left to deal with its radicalized generals who exploit their rank to undermine the government.

The best way to end this situation is for the government to shut down the Civil Administration and get the IDF out of the governing business in Judea and Samaria. So long as the government continues to empower unaccountable generals to administer civilian areas instead of its accountable, civilian bureaucracy, we will continue to be confronted with the surreal spectacle of Israeli generals lobbying for Palestinian terrorists.

If the government applies Israeli law to Area C, it can still negotiate with the PLO, just as it has negotiated about the Golan Heights and Jerusalem. But in the meantime, it will remove one of the most corrupting and corrosive forces preying on our generals and our democracy for the benefit of the Israeli and Palestinian residents of Area C alike and indeed for Israel as a whole.