Argentina vs. Israel football match cancelled – A Messi business

Israel and its supporters are up in arms about the proposed friendly football match between Argentina (captained by Lionel Messi) and Israel being cancelled.

Tempers are fraying at thought of another high-profile boycott of Israel, particularly as we are already suffering an onslaught of hostile media attention concerning the violence from Gaza. Of course the BDS bigots have hyped up the cancellation as they jumped on the cancellation as “proof” that Argentina is disgusted at Israel’s “war crimes”.

From the above ToI link:

In the face of intense Palestinian pressure, Argentina has decided to pull out of a highly anticipated soccer match against Israel, days before Lionel Messi and co were scheduled to be take the pitch in Jerusalem, media reports said Tuesday.

The team decided to nix the game both over mounting pressure from pro-Palestinian groups and concerns over security for the Jerusalem match, the Buenos-Aires based Clarin daily reported.

a poster erected Hebron calling for a boycott of soccer star Lionel Messi (l) next to a portrait of the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. (AFP PHOTO / HAZEM BADER)

If the game is canceled, it would represent one of the biggest successes of the pro Palestinian Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement in recent years.

Palestinian boycott groups welcomed the news, saying that Israel had been trying to “sports-wash its crimes against the Palestinians.”

The Palestinians did what they have always done best: threaten mayhem, violence and extortion in the best traditions of the Mafia:

The Palestinians on Monday threatened to torpedo the Latin American country’s bid to host the 2030 World Cup if the match went ahead. Last week the head of the Palestinian football association Jibril Rajoub had urged Arab fans to burn their Messi shirts and posters if the game went ahead.

“It is with regret that we hereby declare that, should the Argentinian National team continue its plans to play in Jerusalem, we will launch a worldwide campaign to question Argentina’s eligibility to host the FIFA World Cup 2030,” the Palestinian Football Association said in a statement.

On Sunday Rajoub called on Messi not to play in the match and urged fans to burn their shirts if he does.

At a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah he told journalists he had written to Argentina’s government asking that Messi not take part in the June 9 friendly.

“This match has become a political tool,” Rajoub said in Arabic.

Just to remind you, Jibril Rajoub is no peace-loving football official and is in no position to preach to Israel or anyone else. He has been a member of the PLO since his youth and was a major terrorist leader, spending years in prison until he was released in exchange for Israeli hostages.

As we can see from the above, even a mildly closer inspection of the facts shows that the primary reason for the cancellation is because the Argentinian team were threatened with violence and even death if they took part in the match.

There were many tweets highlighting the sad capitulation of Argentina to the Palestinian threats.

The confused messages from Argentina didn’t help:

However, I can’t honestly say I blame Argentina. Why should they take the risk of violence and death in order to play in a friendly match halfway round the world on the eve of the World Cup? After all, they know full well the danger of Palestinian terrorism, having seen it on their own soil in the bombing of the Jewish AMIA cultural center in Buenos Aires in 1994. This act itself was covered up by the Argentinian President Kirchner, which, when revealed, led to the murder of the Jewish prosecutor Alberto Nisman.

As a family member remarked, “Now we are shunned by the Argentinian football team, the same Argentina who sheltered Eichmann & co, who have never truly investigated the Hezbollah bombing of the Jewish Cultural Center in Buenos Aires, and who invaded The Falklands while attacking civilians without discrimination”.

Indeed, and yet, we are not so much being shunned as being the collateral damage from Argentina’s capitulation (justified or not) to the Palestinians’ threatening behaviour.

Interestingly, and encouragingly, the Argentinian press have been scathing about the cancellation of the match for political reasons: (this and the next link via DavidinPT):

In an opinion piece published in Clarin and featured at the top of the publication’s website, journalist Miguel Winazki suggested it was time to “abolish soccer and lift the World Cup in hypocrisy.”

In order to be consistent in its decision to avoid controversy abroad, Winazki wrote, the national team should also “not play in Russia, because the Kremlin was behind the decision to launch military incursions in Syria in complicity with the tyrant Bashar Assad, causing the deaths of thousands of citizens of that country.”

“Strictly speaking, and of course according to this line of conduct, neither should the national team ever appear to play in Palestine — the Gaza Strip is dominated by the terrorist group Hamas, and at war with the Palestinian Authority that rules the West Bank.”

Winazki finally offered: “Let’s not play with anyone. Nor against ourselves, since we cannot even deal with our cases of corruption. We can abolish soccer, become a moral beacon, and raise the world cup of universal hypocrisy.”

Another leading piece in the paper titled “World Champions in the Absurd” mocked the team for “only now” finding out about the problems of the Middle East conflict.

Argentina’s superstar striker, Lionel Messi, writer Daniel Lagares noted, lives in Barcelona, where only last year 13 people were murdered in a terror attack.

Other Argentine team members play in England “where just a year ago a bomb exploded on the London Bridge,” he said, and in Paris, where the Stade de France soccer stadium was one of the targets in the November 2015 terror attacks on the city.

“Now they’ve been warned that Jerusalem is dangerous? Is it more dangerous than other cities? By how much?” Lagares mused.

Michael Freedman, a blogger in the Times of Israel also urges us not to cry for Argentina:

The coach has repeatedly stated that he did not want to travel to Israel to play this game, for reasons of logistics and exhausting his players right before the World Cup. He wanted to host it in Barcelona, where the team are training, instead of having to fly to Russia via Israel for this game.

Higuain and the other Argentine players have never called for this game to be cancelled or boycotted on political grounds as far as I can tell. Their statements relate to the direct threat level by Palestinians towards them and their families, and the same footballing reasons as the coach.

The Palestinian FA resorted to blackmail against Argentina by threatening to undermine their bid for the 2030 World Cup if the game went ahead.

The head of the Palestinian FA is Jibril Rajoub, a multiple-convicted violent terrorist who is on record as having said that if the Arabs had nuclear weapons, they would use them right away — a direct threat of genocide. He is rumoured to have personally summarily executed Hamas members in the West Bank in the 1990s (not that I’m shedding too much of a tear for that). And they accuse Israel of “sportwashing”!

My analysis: if this is the kind of “victory” that the Palestinians and the BDS movement have to resort to, it demonstrates their frustration and desperation.

The world has moved on.

Threatening acts of violence against players and their families, holding a World Cup bid to ransom, repeated attempts to have Israeli sporting institutions thrown out of global bodies, hot on the heels of similar efforts to derail hosting next year’s Eurovision — this is a desperate attempt at a cultural intifada, and it’s a sign of a movement that has lost its core arguments, and would rather continue to evade taking responsibility for the welfare of its own people by deflecting criticism with cheap publicity stunts at the expense of a third country.

Macri’s Argentina sees Israel as an ally and a strategic partner for economic development. Once the fuss dies down, Argentina-Israel bilateral trade will carry on growing from last year’s $300m, and the citizens of both countries will enjoy reaping the benefits of this relationship.

Precisely.

BDS can rant and rave like Rumpelstiltskin but they can’t change the fact that they have had almost zero impact on Israel’s economy or on Israel’s international standing. They jump onto any bandwagon in order to achieve their racist aims of destroying Israel, and the fact that they see nothing wrong with allying themselves with terrorists speaks more about themselves and their nefarious character than any public diplomacy effort from Israel.

Posted in Boycotts and BDS, Culture, Arts & Sports, Incitement, Lawfare and Delegitimization, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Ceasefire, my foot! We cease, they fire

An informal ceasefire was reached between Israel and Hamas before the weekend. But as we have come to learn from bitter experience, “ceasefire” means “we cease, they fire” – and in this case “fire” means both rockets and literally, shooting fire.

Just read on and watch your blood pressure:

First, 2 rockets were launched by Gaza terrorists at Israel immediately after Shabbat. The IDF responded with airstrikes, unfortunately not hitting any terrorists:

Israeli jets bombed multiple targets belonging to terror groups across the Gaza Strip on Saturday night, the army said, after a rocket was launched at southern Israel from Gaza earlier in the evening.

“The IDF, using fighter jets, attacked 10 terror targets in three compounds belonging to the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip. Among the targets that were attacked were two sites used to manufacture and store weapons and a military compound,” the army said.

According to the Hamas-affiliated Shehab news agency, the planes struck sites in Gaza City’s Shejaiya neighborhood, in the Nuseirat refugee camp and outside the city of Khan Younis.

The army said the airstrikes were in response to the rocket attack on Saturday evening, as well as violence that was “led and approved by the Hamas terror group” over the weekend, which included people “throwing bombs and explosive devices, attempting to breach the fence, damaging security infrastructure and setting fire to land in Israeli territory with incendiary kites and balloons.”

Earlier on Saturday night, the army’s Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted a rocket fired at southern Israel by a terrorist group in the Gaza Strip, the military said.

A second rocket was also launched around the same time, but appeared to fall on the Palestinian side of the Gaza border, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

The rocket launches appeared to be the first violation of a fragile ceasefire in effect since Wednesday morning, but came after a weekend of intense violence along the Gaza border.

Note that highlighted sentence above. ALL ceasefires with Hamas are fragile a priori. The only reason that Hamas agrees to them is in order to regroup and rearm. Why Israel agrees to them is a mystery that I have yet to understand.

Why are our leaders so weak and malleable? Why not continue to hit Hamas until it i wiped out completely? Why let this absurd situation continue, where Hamas and its allies can hold the entire south of Israel hostage? We should all be out in the streets demanding action from our government.

Here is the rest of the action from last night to this morning:

And here we come to the worst part of Gaza’s aggression against Israel: they want to burn us down. We build and they burn.

Palestinian terrorists launch incendiary kites from Gaza

As Shoshanna Jaskoll writes:

Here is Adele Raemer, who lives in a kibbutz on the border with Gaza:

The Western Negev is BURNING, and in the same way that the government of Israel obligates the Hamas to take responsiblity for preventing rocket fire, they MUST be made to take responsibility to prevent Incendiary kites that are setting the Negev ablaze (English follows Hebrew)

Please watch and share.

The English begins at 2:41.

 

The damage wrought by these incendiary kites and more sophisticated, chemical-laden balloons, has been devastating. Already last week I wrote about the destruction caused to the Beeri Nature Reserve. Over Shabbat, agricultural fields as well as the Carmia Nature Reserve suffered the worst blaze since the fighting began, with over one-third of the reserve destroyed:

Arson investigators at the Carmia reserve said the fire was most likely set by a fire kite, or possibly a balloon filled with chemicals that dripped flames along the area, Hadashot news reported.

By evening, teams of dozens of firefighters and aircraft finally manged to bring the flames under control, but not before some 2,000 to 3,000 dunams (500 to 740 acres) of fields and parts of a nature reserve adjacent to Kibbutz Carmia were destroyed.

In total, firefighters battled three large fires and several smaller ones along the Gaza Strip border, all believed to have been started by incendiary kites flown from the coastal enclave.

Officials at the Israel Nature and Parks Authority estimated that at least one third of the Carmia reserve had been destroyed.

They said it was likely the flames had caused massive damage to both the flora and fauna in the reserve.

An Israel soldier extinguishes a fire started by a kite with attached burning cloth launched by Palestinians from Gaza, a near the Israel and Gaza border, Friday, June 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

Residents worked alongside with firefighters and soldiers to try to contain the fires that have become almost daily occurrences since the start of the “March of Return” protests along the border at the end of March.

Officials said that since the start of the protests the kites had set over 270 fires, destroying some 25,000 dunam (6,200 acres), or more than a third of all the land adjacent to the Strip.

The scale of destruction is mind-boggling when taking into account the tiny size of the area involved. But have you heard a word of protest from all those environmentalist NGOs who worry so much about the state of the earth unless it is owned by Jews?  In fact have you heard any protests at all from any country about the massive arson being committed by Palestinians against Israel? (Answers on a very small postcard).

As for the “cease” part of the “fire”

Firefighters were also working to gain control of a blaze near Kibbutz Be’eri, which borders the central Gaza Strip.

Earlier Saturday, an additional fire broke out in fields belonging to Kibbutz Nir Am, also along the northern Gaza Strip.

On Thursday, firefighters battled similar brush fires between the Kissufim and Ein Hashlosha kibbutzim that authorities suspect were caused by firebomb-laden kites flown across the security fence by Palestinians.

Local residents told Israel Radio they were concerned that they would not be provided compensation for the damage, as the burden for proving they were victims of a terror attack fell on them.

The fires have caused tens of millions of shekels of damage.

Zionist Union MK Eitan Brosh told the radio that lawmakers from his party would tour the area Sunday and work to provide the residents with solutions to their ongoing distress.

The army meanwhile is struggling to find a solution:

Military planners have begun implementing new measures to combat the assaults, including options drawn from the IDF’s responses to rocket launches and other terror attacks.

The IDF was also using drones to try and take down the kites.

Col. Nadav Levaneh told Hadashot news that so far drones operated by the IDF had managed to bring down more than 500 kites.

To my (admittedly untrained) mind, using drones against fire-kites is like taking a sledge-hammer to a very small nail. Why not just dump plane-loads of very wet sewage any place where Gazans are seen congregating near the border? It will accomplish two things: drive the terrorists back, and make them we enough that they won’t be able to ignite their incendiary kites and balloons.

And if one or two get through the border we’ll be able to smell them a mile off.

Posted in Defence and Military, Israel news, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Good News Friday

After this week’s difficult events, it’s with a sigh of relief that I bring you today’s Good News Friday installment (all links courtesy of  reader “Reality”).

Let’s start with some cheering international news. Despite Britain’s annoying “neutrality” on Israel’s fight with Hamas in Gaza, it is very encouraging to hear that Israel and Britain have signed a scientific cooperation agreement:

Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis signed a scientific cooperation agreement today with British Science Minister Sam Gyimah.

Israeli Science Minister Ofir Akunis (l) and British Science Minister Sam Gyimah (r)

The agreement will expand scientific cooperation between Israel and Britain to promote science, technology, and innovation. The agreement was signed as part of the International Ministerial Conference, in which science ministers and senior delegations from more than 25 countries participated.

Akunis explained, “The new agreement opens additional opportunities for Israeli researchers to cooperate scientifically with their British counterparts. The British Minister’s arrival in Jerusalem attests to the great desire to cooperate with Israel and to our being a science and technology superpower with whom many seek cooperation and closer ties. This is a clear and strong message against organizations calling for academic boycott of Israel.”

The goal of the agreement is to promote scientific research exchange by expanding cooperation and research among government policy makers, authorities, research organizations, and institutions of higher education.

Among areas examined for cooperation are: Making science accessible, artificial intelligence, developing satellite-based applications that support education, agriculture and marine research, renewable energy, bio-technology, health, and neuroscience.

The sentence I highlighted is almost as important as the agreement itself. The fact that 25 countries participated in the international Ministerial Conference disproves the persistence claim that Israel is isolated. Since this conference took place in the same week as the fighting in Gaza, this shows Israel’s standing is as strong and respected as it has ever been. Kol hakavod to all those involved in this important agreement.

Staying on the scientific theme, but linking back to the Bible, here is a fascinating story at the Times of Israel on the history of the Tekhelet (or techelet) – the blue dye used for dying tzitzit, the ritual fringes on garments worn by Jewish men:

It was the color of the sea, the sky, the divine sapphire-hewn Throne of Glory, according to the Tannaite sage Rabbi Meir. It was a color used in the Jewish temples, the hue of its high priests’ robes, and the shade of the blue tassel that the Bible commands be affixed to one’s garments.

But starting in the seventh century CE, the source of the natural dye to produce the biblical tekhelet [blue] — as well as its royal purple counterpart, argaman  — faded from history for hundreds of years.

Long sought by Jews to revive the ancient practice of wearing a fringe of techelet, the revered colors were also the subject of other Ancient Near East cultures’ fascination and ritual worship and the source of a hugely prosperous ancient dyeing industry, according to a new exhibit at Jerusalem’s Bible Lands Museum, “Out of the Blue,” which is set to open on June 1.

It… underlines finds linking the elusive techelet and argaman with the Murex trunculus shellfish and notes Jewish scholarly efforts to revive the pigment based on a cryptic Talmudic description of the hilazon snail that produces the sacred ink.

Set to be exhibited for the first time, for example, are punctured, ancient Murex trunculus snail shells, excavated at the Tel Shikmona site in northern Israel and dating back to the 10th-7th centuries BCE, according to a curator at the museum, Yehuda Kaplan.

Murex shells, Tel Shikmona, Israel. Iron Age II, 10th-7th centuries BCE (courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority/Moshe Caine)

…. Since the 19th century, Jewish scholars have searched for the source of the techelet, most prominently pitting Rabbi Gershon Hanokh Leiner — the Hasidic Radzyner rebbe, who maintained it was derived from a squid — against Rabbi Isaac Herzog, who would go on to become Israel’s first chief rabbi, and who disputed Leiner’s claim in his 1914 doctoral dissertation.

Tzitzit tassels with threads dyed in tekhelet blue produced from Murex trunculus snails (courtesy of Ptil Tekhelet/Eugene Weisberg)

(Though the modern day ritual use of techelet drawn from the Murex trunculus has made inroads in some Orthodox circles in recent years, it remains the subject of rabbinic debate and has not been unanimously adopted.)

Herzog — the grandfather of Israel’s opposition leader Isaac Herzog — leaned toward endorsing the Murex trunculus as the source of the Biblical techelet, but was stumped by one little detail: The snail produced by the dye appeared to be strictly purple, said Sterman, who was preparing a demonstration of the dye process from the snail gland for the group of journalists at the museum.

That was a discovery that would take until 1985 to unravel, Sterman related while stirring the dye concoction, when chemist Dr. Otto Elsner of Israel’s Shenkar College of Fibers “accidentally” stumbled upon the answer: Exposed to ultraviolet light and subsequently oxidized, the color of the dye changes to blue.

Read the whole article. From the archeological search for the source of the dye, to the modern day discoveries across the entire region, it’s fascinating!

And since we’re on the subject of blue, here’s something else blue that popped up in Israel this week – a very rare blue whale paid us a visit at the Red Sea! It is the first time such a creature has ever been documented in Israel so it was greeted with huge excitement:

A blue whale, considered the largest of all whale species, was spotted in a first ever documented visit in the Gulf of Eilat and the Red Sea Tuesday, Israeli marine researchers reported.

Blue whale spotted in the Red Sea near Eilat (Photo: Marcos Schönholz)

Whales of this kind can reach up to 33 meters and weigh up to 130 tons. Up until 1965, hundreds of thousands of the species’ members were hunted commercially, until a worldwide ban prevented their extinction.

Today, according to International Union for Conservation of Nature data, less than 12,000 of the endangered aquatic mammals exist in the wild.

Dafna Feingold, who coordinates aquatic mammal data for the IMMRAC, noted that, “This is the first piece of evidence of the existence of a new species in the Red Sea. It’s the first time unequivocal photographic proof of a blue whale in the Gulf of Suez and the Red Sea came to light.”

Blue whale in the Gulf of Eilat (Photo: Marcos Schönholz)

Feingold said the specimen seems to have not reached its full size yet, and that its arrival in Israel did not necessarily mean it was in poor health condition. She added that while it was possible a blue whale may have previously visited Israel’s shores, this was the first time one was actually documented.

“The reason they aren’t often seen in our region is that they don’t have enough food (here), and I imagine it will be making its way to the southern Red Sea before long,” she explained.

Dr. Assaf Zvuloni, head biologist of the national marine reserve in Eilat, added that, “Israel and the gulf of Eilat were a long way away from its area of distribution. The size of the specimen was observed to be at least 20 meters, based on measurements comparing it to IMMRAC’s pier.”

Yoav Lindman, a doctoral candidate from the Inter-University Institute for Marine Sciences in Eilat, set sail with a team from the institute to try and locate the whale.

“I watched whales abroad, but this feels infinitely lucky to see one in Israel. There aren’t immense amounts of plankton for it to eat, and we saw him continuing south until it left to search for food elsewhere,” he concluded.

Dafna Feingold added that when examining the photographs it was also apparent it was a very slim whale. “Usually a layer of fat and muscle exists around the spine. Photos, however, showed the spine protruding with a concaving towards the inside of the body on both ends. There wasn’t any fatty mass you’d expect to see,” she noted.

Members of the Nature and Parks Authority accompanied the whale as it progressed outside of Israel’s borders, and bid it farewell as it continued its travels towards Egypt.

Watch these videos of the whale swimming in the Red Sea waters.

 

What a beautiful, magnificent animal! I hope it made it safely to friendly waters and found enough food to keep it going back to its home territory.

Isn’t it strange that G-d provides us blue dye thruogh snails, and a beautiful blue whale to enhance our wonderful nature. We certainly are not “feeling blue” – at least not in the accepted sense of the word – but are “enjoying blue” instead.

With these fascinating pictures in mind, I wish you all a Shabbat Shalom!

Posted in Culture, Arts & Sports, International relations, Israel news, Slice of Israeli life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Israel walks a tightrope in Syria between Iran and Russia

While rockets and flaming kites are continuing to rain down over our southern border, it’s worth a look at what has been happening on the other side of our other major border in the north.

Politics makes strange bedfellows, and enemies of our enemies make even stranger alliances. One of the most peculiar arrangements recently (it can’t really be called an alliance) is that between Israel and Russia in Syria.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Kremlin in Moscow on May 9, 2018. (SERGEI ILNITSKY/AFP)

Russia is determined to secure for itself a warm-water port in the Middle East and Syria looks like a likely possibility. For that reason Russia has been supporting Assad, seeing him as the most likely actor to keep control of the coastal region. Iran meanwhile has been “helping” to eradicate ISIS and other rebel forces, though some of these rebel forces are not aligned with ISIS but rather with the Western alliance. The Americans, as so often happens, have been caught in the middle.

Russia has tolerated Iranian action in Syria until now because they saw it as useful to their own aims. Lately though Russia has become wary of Iranian attempts to gain hegemony over the entire area.

In this they are joined by Israel which is determined to keep Iran out of Syria at all costs. We do not want an Iranian land-bridge stretching all the way from Iran to the Mediterranean.

This is the reason for Israel’s repeated (though mostly not confirmed) bombing expeditions of Iranian bases and weapons production or storage facilities, and convoys to and from Iranian proxies like Hezbollah. Lately these have been “upgraded” to targeting personnel as well as just buildings. On Monday night Israel allegedly killed a Hezbollah commander in an airstrike

The complexity of these operations arise from the need to walk between the raindrops with Russia, having to be careful not to tread on their toes or bomb their own facilities while making sure that Russia in turn does not attack Israeli aircraft. This is one of the prime reasons for Netanyahu’s visit to Moscow in early May, ostensibly to attend the Russian Victory Day Parade, but in reality, or in addition, to coordinate positions in Syria.

Whatever one thinks of Netanyahu, he has shown incredible statecraft in keeping Russia satisfied and quiet while being allowed almost free rein to operate in Syria.

Here are the latest headlines about what has been happening in Syria:

Obviously the primary motivation of Israel is to keep Iranian forces out of Syria in its entirety.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel rejects an Iranian military presence in any part of Syria, after Russia said only Syrian regime troops should be in the south of the country, but appeared ready to allow Iran to maintain a foothold in other parts of the country.

The Russian statement on limiting Iran and proxies loyal to it is being interpreted as a likely nod to Israeli concerns over Iran’s activity on its northern border.

“Regarding Syria, our position is clear: We believe there is no place for any Iranian military presence in any part of Syria,” Netanyahu said Monday at his Likud party’s weekly faction meeting.

This was in apparent reaction to Russia’s otherwise very welcome statement that “only the Syrian army should be present on its southern border“:

Lavrov’s comments, made at a press conference in Moscow, apparently referred to areas including the Syrian  Golan Heights region abutting the Israeli Golan Heights and the border with Jordan, and indicated that Russia was open to Israeli demands that Iranian forces should be kept far from Israel’s borders.

The area is currently held by various rebel groups and Israel has accused Iran of trying to establish a presence in the area. Israel also accused Iran of firing a salvo of rockets at Israel from the area earlier in the month.

Despite these cooperative words from Russia there was a tense moment when Russian jets reportedly intercepted Israeli planes over Lebanon.

An illustrative map showing the general locations of Israeli strikes in Syria in response to a presumed Iranian attack on the Golan Heights on May 10, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)

However, this has not prevented Israel from (allegedly, the IDF rarely confirms any activities over the border) bombing strategic targets across Syria, particularly Hezbollah and other Iranian targets (including, as I said above, killing a senior Hezbollah commander stationed in Syria).

When will we see the end game and final status in Syria, and what shape it will take, is anyone’s guess at the moment. It depends on Russia and Iran now, with Israel watching like a hawk from its borders and taking action when necessary.

Posted in Defence and Military, Iran, Mideast news | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Update on rocket fire: Ashkelon targeted

The IDF is hitting back hard at Palestinian terrorist positions in Gaza after this morning’s bombardment.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad says Israeli airstrikes on terrorist positions in the Gaza Strip are continuing this afternoon in the western part of the Palestinian enclave, near Gaza City.

Other Gaza media reports also report that large explosions can be heard deep in the Strip.

Earlier, IDF strikes hit a Hamas training facility in eastern Gaza.

The terrorists don’t seem to have gotten the hint and have upped the ante with rockets at major towns:

This is a serious escalation:

Let’s hope and pray this doesn’t escalate any further. May Hashem protect our soldiers and the residents of the south.

Posted in Defence and Military, Terrorism | 9 Comments

Here we go again: over 25 mortars fired at Israel from Gaza

Hamas and its allies are just looking for trouble. The border area is still simmering, with peaceful protests violent riots still taking place every Friday by terrorists determined to break through into Israel and kill Israelis. In addition, last night terrorists opened fire with machine guns at civilian residences in Sderot.  The IDF has responded with retaliatory and preventive air and artillery strikes on terrorist emplacements.

Mortar fire from Gaza being shot down by Iron Dome over southern Israel on May 29 2018

Since their nefarious plan has not come to fruition, thank G-d and the IDF, (although plenty of damage has been done, see further), the terrorists have resorted to their old tactic of shooting mortars:

More than two dozen mortar shells were fired at southern Israel in at least three separate barrages Tuesday morning as sirens blared throughout the area, the army said, amid heightened tensions along the Gaza border.

There were no reports of injuries or significant material damage, local government officials said.

The shellings appeared to be the largest attack from the Gaza Strip since the 2014 war, known in Israel as Operation Protective Edge.

The head of the Eshkol region told Channel 10 news that the army told him the attack was carried out by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group, as revenge for the Israel Defense Forces killing three of its members in a cross-border exchange earlier in the week.

There were no immediate reports of a significant Israeli military retaliation to the attacks. Massive reprisal raids were expected, following the repeated, highly irregular mortar shellings on Tuesday morning.

Following the Gaza mortar attacks, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman called for a “special situational assessment” from IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot and other senior figures from Israel’s security services. They were due to meet in the army’s Tel Aviv headquarters, known as the Kirya, Liberman’s office said.

And those “brave, courageous” terrorist leaders? Why, they believe in leading from behind!

Palestinian media reported that Hamas and other terrorist groups were abandoning their positions in the Gaza Strip ahead of an expected forceful response by the IDF.

Such pathetic cowards, willing to fight to the last drop of their citizens’ lives, as long as it is not theirs or their families’. And when did these “humanitarian protestors” choose to send over their gift packages missiles? At precisely the time when Israeli schoolchildren are on their way to school:

The initial, primary bombardment came at 7 a.m., when approximately 25 mortar shells were toward the Sha’ar Hanegev and Eshkol regions, as parents were beginning to send their children to school, the IDF said.

The army said its Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted the majority of the incoming shells from the first barrage.

One of the shells struck a tree in the yard of a kindergarten in the Eshkol region, less than an hour before students were due to arrive, a spokesperson for the community said.

Kindergarten in southern Israel hit by mortar fire

As an aside, note the reinforced wall protecting the kindergarten. Only in Israel is such a wall necessary to protect tiny children. That is the reality of living next to those terrorists, those vile specimens of inhumanity in Gaza.

Israel has vowed to hit back strongly at terrorist positions, and this tweet cynically but accurately sums up the situation as we can expect it to unroll:

Hamas’s acts of terror have not been comprised solely of rockets, mortars and stones. They have been flying flaming kites, “molotov kites”, into Israeli agricultural territory in the border area since the riots began almost 2 months ago, and have set fire to huge swathes of territory. The damage is outrageous and heart-breaking.

The damage has been so enormous that Israeli farmers are now planning to sue Hamas at the International Criminal Court:

Gaza Belt farmers declared Sunday that they will appeal to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague to indict Hamas Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar and the head of the terrorist organization’s political leader Ismail Haniyeh for damages from Palestinian kite terror.

Burning kites were sent over from Gaza with the aim of setting fields on fire and causing physical and environmental damage.

“Join in Prosecuting Hamas in The Hague!” wrote the farmers in a petition demanding the prosecution of the terror organization for war crimes in the ICC and calling on additional farmers and citizens to join the lawsuit.

The lawsuit will be the first civilian response to kite terrorism, which has caused damages of millions of shekels of crops and irrigation equipment to the Gaza belt farmers.

Shurat HaDin, The Israel Law Center, a NGO that aims to fight terrorism through legal means and combat boycotts of Israel, will represent the farmers at the ICC.

The farmers intend to sue Hamas for a series of offenses that violate the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the treaty that established the ICC, including the burning of agricultural fields by burning kites, attacking Israel’s borders, using children for combat purposes and using the civilian population as human shields.

“The current situation, in which activists of a terrorist organization burn fields in Israel every day, is unacceptable. It is inconceivable that senior Hamas officials accuse Israel of war crimes while using civilian population, especially children, as human shields We call on the International Criminal Court in The Hague to bring them to justice” said Shurat Hadin director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner.

Israellycool guest poster reports on Fields of Fire:

Burning fields in the south of Israel, caused by Hamas terrorists’ flaming kites

It takes months of hard work to grow a field of wheat.

First you plough the land. You level it and you add fertilizer. You sow your seeds, going up and down the field for days. You scare off the birds. You quickly hoist 3″ irrigation pipes into the field and water it so that it begins to germinate.

You pull out the pipes and wait, and pray for rain.

Sometimes, prayers are not enough and you have to pull lines of 3″ pipes through the field again, to make sure the seedlings do not die.

Months pass. Rain comes, and slowly your seedlings grow tall.

Then, finally, the grain ripens and you can harvest your crop. Unless.

Unless a “peaceful” palestinian protester “spontaneously” travels tens of kilometers from his home to the internationally recognized border, sets fire to a kite, and deliberately flies it into your ripe field of wheat.

Besides these agricultural fields, huge damage has been caused by these terrorists to the Beeri Forest national nature reserve:

I’m absolutely positive the UN and EU will be condemning this environmental disaster any moment now…

I suppose we should be pathetically grateful that the EU and UN have seen fit to condemn the missile fire. But I wonder how long their sympathy will last once Israel starts to hit back.

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