So: You Made A Deal With Hamas: Are You Desperate Or A Fool?

So You Made A Deal With Hamas

 

Why would you, or anyone for that matter ever make a deal of any kind with hate filled murderers? We all know well the sins of Fatah, the PLO, and the PA.. The PA had legal control of Gaza, and Hamas took it from you. You had to cancel the election because you knew you would lose. Mr. Abbas, is this a last step to save your Government, or your life? Mr. President, within one year of Hamas being welcomed in, it will be Hamas who will shut your door. You are bound to know this so you must have made a deal, to get out with your life. The people of the whole West Bank are about to have Hell’s burner knob turned up a notch or three.

 

The only thing that matters here is that Hamas is one large step further out of Hell and one huge step further into Israel. Hezbollah and Iran dug in to their north and Hamas all dug in southern Israel, not a picture of peace for Israel, or the Middle-East in general. This PA and Hamas deal seems to be a done deal, so now, how is Israel suppose to take this news? There could be total peace in this region of the world tomorrow, but the very teachings of Islam will not allow it to be. Peace, no peace not as long as one side is dominated by religious hate. So, you made a deal with the Devil, wearing the veil of Hamas.

Why the United States Is Saying Goodbye To UNESCO

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME.COM)

 

Why the United States Is Saying Goodbye to UNESCO

12:07 PM ET

The Trump Administration says the U.S. is withdrawing from the United Nations’ cultural body UNESCO, citing “anti-Israel bias” as one of its reasons.

“This decision was not taken lightly,” Heather Nauert, State Department spokesperson, said in a statement on Thursday. “[it] reflects U.S. concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO.” The withdrawal will take place on Dec. 31, 2018. The State Department said on Thursday that the U.S. will instead establish an observer mission at UNESCO, which is known for designating world heritage sites.

Director General of UNESCO Irina Bokova expressed her “profound regret” with the decision. “This is a loss to UNESCO. This is a loss to the United Nations family. This is a loss for multilateralism,” she said in a statement.

The news comes as the body picks its new director-general, with former French culture minister Audrey Azoulay and Qatari diplomat Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al-Kawari as the main frontrunners. Here’s what to know:

What is UNESCO?

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization was created in 1945 with a mission to celebrate cultural diversity and foster intellectual cooperation and the free flow of ideas among the world’s nations. Among its first projects was to rebuild libraries, schools and museums destroyed during World War Two.

The agency is best known for its World Heritage program, which protects traditions and cultural sites across the globe, including India’s Taj Mahal and the United States’ Yellowstone National Park. It also works to improve education in poor countries, defend media freedom and promote scientific advances.

Why has Trump pulled out now?

The biggest strain is the body’s approach to Israel. This year, UNESCO declared Hebron in the West Bank as a Palestinian world heritage site — a move Israel says negates Judaism’s links to the town.

Israel had earlier recalled its ambassador to UNESCO in 2016, in response to the agency accepting resolutions that condemned Israel’s policies in religious sites in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and cited the Temple Mount as only a “Muslim holy site of worship,” Reuters reports.

Trump’s administration has been preparing to leave the body for months, Foreign Policy reports, and it might have been motivated by budget cuts. The President has repeatedly criticized what he considers to be the disproportionate contributions to international bodies like the U.N.

Has the U.S. done this before?

Yes. The organization ran afoul of the administration of Ronald Reagan, which withdrew the U.S. from the body in 1984 citing corruption and a pro-Soviet union, anti-U.S. bias. The administration also viewed UNESCO as a platform for Third World criticism of Israel and the U.S, the New York Times reports.

Under President George W. Bush, the U.S. rejoined the agency in 2003, citing its reformed bureaucracy, finances and efforts to expunge the worst of its biases.

That changed again in 2011 after UNESCO granted full membership to Palestine. This reinforced the notion of UNESCO’s long-running anti-Israel bias and under former U.S. President Barack Obama, UNESCO lost a chunk of American funding. But the State Department continued to maintain an office at UNESCO’s Paris headquarters so as to weigh in on policy.

Iran supplying Hezbollah with ever more accurate missiles—To Use Against Israel

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

IDF: Iran supplying Hezbollah with ever more accurate missiles

Israeli military agrees with US that Tehran faked a ballistic missile test earlier this week with recycled footage from January

Iranian military trucks carry surface-to-air missiles during a parade on the occasion of the country's Army Day, on April 18, 2017, in Tehran. (AFP Photo/Atta Kenare)

Iranian military trucks carry surface-to-air missiles during a parade on the occasion of the country’s Army Day, on April 18, 2017, in Tehran. (AFP Photo/Atta Kenare)

Iran is working tirelessly to outfit the Hezbollah terrorist group with more accurate missiles for a future war with Israel, which may dramatically affect the nature of such a conflict, according to Israeli military assessments released Wednesday.

The army also believes that Iran will continue with its efforts to establish a presence in Syria through proxies, with which it can support Hezbollah and potentially open a second Syrian front against Israel.

Currently, Tehran has just 1,500 of its own Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Syria. However, the IDF believes that the Islamic Republic also controls over 10,000 fighters from Shiite militias. Hezbollah also has several thousand troops in the country, assisting Syrian dictator Bashar Assad in his war against rebel groups.

Iran announced on Saturday, September 23, 2017, that it has successfully tested a new missile, with a 1,250-mile range, which is capable of reaching Israel and US bases in the Gulf. (Screenshot/PressTV)

Regarding Iranian missile development, the Israeli military agrees with its American counterparts that video footage of a ballistic missile test released by Tehran earlier this week was, in fact, recycled footage from over nine months ago.

Iran said on Saturday that it successfully tested a new medium-range missile. State television carried footage of the launch of the Khoramshahr missile, which was first displayed at a high-profile military parade in Tehran on Friday. It also carried in-flight video from the nose cone.

But according to a Fox News report, two US officials claim that the video was more than seven months old and dated back to a failed launch in late January, which resulted in the missile exploding shortly after lift off.

The Israeli army assessment holds that Iran is upholding the 2015 nuclear deal by the letter but not necessarily the spirit, and that Tehran is doing all it can to prepare itself for the day after the agreement ends in eight years, so that it will be able to begin work on developing an atomic weapon as quickly as possible.

Meanwhile, Hezbollah is currently believed to possess approximately 120,000 missiles and rockets in Lebanon. In a future war, the IDF estimates that the Iran-backed group will launch over a thousand rockets a day at Israel.

File: In this May 22, 2010 file photo, a Hezbollah fighter stands behind an empty rocket launcher while explaining various tactics and weapons used against Israeli soldiers on the battlefield (AP/Hussein Malla)

However, not all rockets are created equal. Some are little more than metal containers with no guidance systems that would more likely strike an empty Israeli field than its intended target. But as Iran is providing Hezbollah with the missiles themselves and the ability to produce them independently, with factories in Lebanon, the fear is that the group will have more and more accurate missiles aimed at strategic sites in Israel.

While the IDF and the Defense Ministry have invested significant resources in aerial defense, army officers have repeatedly said that these anti-missile systems will not be able to stop all projectiles.

If it were in possession of superior missiles, Hezbollah would not wage the same type of war as it did in the Second Lebanon War. Notably, more accurate missiles would allow the terrorist group to launch a quick, focused attack on Israel, unlike the prolonged 2006 conflict, the assessment said.

As the Syrian civil war stagnates, Israel has repeatedly warned of Iranian entrenchment in the country and of the Islamic Republic’s efforts to establish hegemony in the entire region.

The Israeli military also believes that going forward the ties between Iran and Syria’s other main ally, Russia, will begin to fray, as their current relationship is one of convenience and shared short-term goals, not necessarily because of deep ideological similarities.

Israeli officials have said that the Jewish state would take whatever measures were needed to prevent Iran from establishing a Shiite-controlled land corridor stretching from Tehran, through Iraq and Syria, to Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea.

Israel has for years been widely believed to have carried out airstrikes on advanced weapons systems in Syria — including Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles and Iranian-made missiles — as well as Hezbollah positions, but it rarely confirms such operations on an individual basis.

In August a former commander of Israel’s air force said that it had carried out dozens of airstrikes on weapons convoys destined for the Hezbollah over the past five years. The remarks by Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel revealed for the first time the scale of the strikes, which are usually neither confirmed nor denied by the IAF.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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Hamas Says It Won’t Even Discuss Giving Up Their Weapons: Only An Idiot Would Think They Would

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Hamas says it won’t even discuss giving up weapons if PA takes over Gaza

Still, Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar says Muhammad Deif, Qassam Brigades terror chief, ‘strongly backs’ reconciliation with Fatah

Members of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, attend a memorial in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah on January 31, 2017. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Members of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, attend a memorial in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah on January 31, 2017. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Senior Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk said on Thursday that the Gaza-based terror group is not prepared to discuss the dissolution of its military wing during talks with the Fatah party, as the two sides attempt to form a unity government.

At the same time, Hamas Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar said the elusive commander of the terror group’s military wing, Muhammad Deif, supports the reconciliation attempt.

“This issue is not up for discussion, not previously and neither will it be in the future,” Abu Marzouk said in a long interview with the semi-official Turkish news agency Al-Andalous. “The weapons of the resistance are for the protection of the Palestinian people, and it is inconceivable that Hamas will lay down its weapons as long as its land is occupied and its people dispersed.”

Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk, September 18, 2014. (AP/Khalil Hamra)

Fatah and Hamas have been at loggerheads since Hamas violently took control of the Strip in 2007, with the two groups operating separate administrations.

Hamas’s military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, has a reported  27,000 armed men divided into six regional brigades, with 25 battalions and 106 companies.

It has fought three conflicts with Israel since the terror group took control of Gaza.

Hamas announced earlier this month that it had agreed to steps toward resolving the split with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party, announcing it would dissolve a body seen as a rival government — known as the administrative committee — and was ready to hold elections.

The statement came after Hamas leaders held talks with Egyptian officials and as Gaza faces a mounting humanitarian crisis, exacerbated by retaliatory moves by Abbas following Hamas’s decision to set up the administrative committee to govern the enclave in March.

While Abbas welcomed Hamas’s dissolution of the administrative committee, he didn’t commit to removing PA sanctions on the Strip.

PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah is slated to travel to Gaza on Monday to begin reinstating the PA’s control over the Strip.

Reconciliation attempts between the two sides have failed numerous times, and one of the biggest sticking points has been who will control the border and security in the Gaza Strip.

(From L to R) Palestinian Fatah delegation chief Azzam al-Ahmad, Hamas prime minister in the Gaza Strip Ismail Haniyeh and Hamas deputy leader Moussa Abu Marzouk pose for a photo as they celebrate in Gaza City on April 23, 2014, after West Bank and Gaza Strip leaders agreed to form a unity government within five weeks. (photo credit: AFP/Said Khatib)

Abu Marzouk also said in his comments on Thursday that Hamas would not be willing to accede to the demands of the so-called Middle East Quartet — the United States, Russia, the European Union, and United Nations — that it renounce terrorism and agree to accept past agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), which is the largest Palestinian political umbrella group.

Despite refusing to give up its military, Hamas on Thursday reiterated that it is completely committed to the idea of a unity government.

“Hamas will not remain a party to the division in any way,” said Hamas Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar in remarks given during a closed meeting with journalists and later published by a Hamas spokesperson, adding that he won’t allow anyone to foil the reconciliation plans.

“The page of the previous stage must be turned over, and we must move into the future to build our national project,” he said.

Hamas military wing commander Muhammad Deif (courtesy)

In a surprising statement, Sinwar said that Deif, the leader of the Qassam Brigades, Deif, who Israel has tried unsuccessfully  to kill numerous times and whose condition has been unknown since the 2014 summer war with Israel, is “strongly supportive” of the reconciliation efforts.

US ‘withdrew veto’ against Palestinian reconciliation

In his statements on Thursday, Abu Marzouk claimed Hamas was informed that the US was ending its opposition to a Hamas-Fatah unity government.

“We received information from sources of our own, and other Western diplomats, confirming that the United States has lifted its veto on Palestinian reconciliation,” he said.

The Hamas leader said the removal of American opposition grants Abbas “the space to take a bold step to end Palestinian division, as America formed a primary obstacle.”

On Thursday the Quartet, of which the US is a part, welcomed the PA’s impending return to the Gaza Strip as part of renewed reconciliation efforts with the Hamas.

It said renewed PA control over Gaza “is critical for efforts to reach lasting peace.”

US President Donald Trump reaches to shake Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s hand before a meeting at the Palace Hotel during the 72nd United Nations General Assembly on September 20, 2017, in New York. (AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski)

The latest reconciliation efforts between Fatah and Hamas come as US President Donald Trump has sought to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians and met separately with Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York last week.

In apparent contradiction of Abu Marzouk’s statement, last week, Trump’s Middle East peace envoy Jason Greenblatt slammed Hamas’s rule in the Gaza Strip and called on the PA to retake control of Gaza and urged the international community to help this process come to fruition.

“Relief from the suffering in Gaza can only be found when all interested parties gather together to help the Palestinian people and isolate Hamas,” he said, accusing Hamas of using money meant for Gaza’s civilian population on terror infrastructure.

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EU slams ‘reprehensible’ Hamas praise for Har Adar terror attack

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

EU slams ‘reprehensible’ Hamas praise for Har Adar terror attack

US peace envoy says ‘shame on Hamas’ for praising shooting by Palestinian worker, who killed a border cop and 2 security guards

Israeli security forces and emergency personnel gather at the scene of a terror attack at the entrance to the settlement of Har Adar on September 26, 2017. (AFP Photo/ Menahem Kahana)

Israeli security forces and emergency personnel gather at the scene of a terror attack at the entrance to the settlement of Har Adar on September 26, 2017. (AFP Photo/ Menahem Kahana)

The United States and European Union condemned Tuesday’s “horrific” terror attack in Har Adar, in which a Border Police officer and two security guards were shot dead by a Palestinian from a nearby village.

Both Washington and the 28-nation bloc singled out Hamas for criticism, with the latter saying the terror organization’s praise for the deadly shooting was “reprehensible.”

“There can be no justification for such a crime and attempts by Hamas to glorify the attack are reprehensible. Violence and terror will only achieve more loss and pain and must stop,” the EU said in a statement late Tuesday afternoon.

The Hamas terror group had praised the attack, saying, “Once again Jerusalem proves that it is at the heart of the conflict with the occupation, and that there is no way to get it out of the equation of the conflict.”

The American Embassy did not single out Hamas in a joint statement with its consulate in Jerusalem: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms today’s horrific attack in Har Adar.‎ We also condemn statements glorifying terrorism and call on all to send a clear message that terrorism must never be tolerated,”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims who were killed and we hope for a quick and full recovery of the injured,” it added.

Also condemning the terror attack was US President Donald Trump’s envoy for Middle East peace Jason Greenblatt, who arrived in the country hours before the shooting, as part of the White House’s continued efforts to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

“My family & I are horrified by the attack in Har Adar. Shame on Hamas & others who praised the attack. All must stand against terror!,” tweeted Greenblatt, who also said he was praying for the victims of the attack and their families.

My family & I are horrified by the attack in Har Adar. Shame on Hamas & others who praised the attack. All must stand against terror! (1/2)

The ambassadors of Canada, France, the UN, and the US condemned the attack earlier on Tuesday.

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman tweeted: “Once again, Israelis confront the cruel and evil brutality of unprovoked terrorism.”

In the attack, the assailant arrived at the rear entrance of the settlement northwest of Jerusalem and opened fire on a group of security personnel, including Border Police officers and the community’s private guards, who were opening the entrance to Palestinian workers, according to police.

Nimr Mahmoud Ahmed Jamal, who carried out a terror attack in the settlement of Har Adar on September 26, 2017 (Facebook)

The terrorist, identified as Nimer Mahmoud Ahmad Jamal, a laborer from the nearby Bayt Surik village, was shot and killed by security forces at the scene, police said.

The 37-year-old approached the entrance to Har Adar just after 7 a.m. as part of a group of Palestinians who work in the settlement. The Shin Bet domestic security service said he did not have a known history of involvement in terrorist activities.

He “aroused the suspicion” of officers on the scene, who called for him to stop. The terrorist then took a pistol out of his shirt and shot at the Israelis, before being gunned down, police said.

The three Israelis killed in the terror attack were named as border policeman Solomon Gavriyah, 20, and civilian security guards Youssef Ottman, 25, from Abu Ghosh and Or Arish, 25, a resident of Har Adar.

The three were all buried on Tuesday.

From left to right: Solomon Gavriyah, Youssef Ottman and Or Arish, three Israelis killed in a terror attack outside the settlement of Har Adar on September 26, 2017 (Courtesy)

Following the attack, the IDF imposed a closure on Bayt Surik, raided Jamal’s home, arrested his two brothers and sent additional troops to the area around Har Adar, which lies along the “seam line” between the West Bank and Israel proper.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced earlier that Israel would demolish the terrorist’s home and rescind the work permits held by the terrorist’s relatives.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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Three Israelis killed In A Terrorist Attack, One Seriously Wounded

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Border cop, 2 security guards named as victims of Har Adar shooting attack

Policeman Solomon Gavriyah of Be’er Yaakov, Youssef Ottman of Abu Ghosh, and local man Or Arish were checking Palestinian laborers when terrorist opened fire

From left to right: Solomon Gavriyah, Youssef Ottman and Or Arish, three Israelis killed in a terror attack outside the settlement of Har Adar on September 26, 2017 (Courtesy)

From left to right: Solomon Gavriyah, Youssef Ottman and Or Arish, three Israelis killed in a terror attack outside the settlement of Har Adar on September 26, 2017 (Courtesy)

The three Israelis killed in a terror attack at the Har Adar settlement Tuesday were named as border policeman Solomon Gavriyah, 20, and civilian security guards Youssef Ottman, 25, from Abu Ghosh and Or Arish, 25, a resident of Har Adar.

A third civilian — the head security officer of Har Adar — was seriously injured in the attack. He underwent surgery at the Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem in Jerusalem after suffering two bullet wounds and his condition was later described as stable and moderate.

According to police, the assailant arrived at the rear entrance of the settlement northwest of Jerusalem and opened fire on a group of security personnel, including Border Police officers and the community’s private guards, who were opening the entrance to Palestinian workers.

Gavriyah was from the central Israeli community of Be’er Yaakov. He was posthumously promoted to staff sergeant. Police said in a statement that he had joined the Border Police for his mandatory national service and had recently been serving as a policeman in the Jerusalem seam area along the boundary with the West Bank.

He will be buried at 5 p.m. in the Be’er Yaakov military cemetery. He is survived by his parents, two sisters and a brother.

Israeli security forces at the scene where a Palestinian terrorist opened fire on security personnel at the Har Adar settlement, outside of Jerusalem, killing three and seriously injuring one. September 26, 2017. (Hadas Parush/FLASH90)

Ottman was a resident of the Arab Israeli community of Abu Ghosh, close to Har Adar. He was expected to be buried later in the day in his hometown.

Arish’s funeral was scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at the Givat Shaul cemetery in Jerusalem.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan tweeted that he had spoken with the mayor of Abu Ghosh about Ottman’s death.

“I spoke just now with Abu Ghosh Mayor Issa Jaber and I gave my condolences over the murder of security guard Youssef Ottman. The cursed terrorist carried out his plot this morning, but our way will win,” Erdan wrote.

In an interview with The Israel Project, Jaber described Ottman as “a quiet guy who got along with everyone.”

People comforting each other at the scene where a Palestinian terrorist opened fire on Israelis at the Har Adar settlement, outside of Jerusalem, killing three., and seriously injuring one on September 26, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

He said that Ottman came from an established and successful family and that he was survived by his parents and siblings, including a sister who was married last week.

“The whole family was celebrating and suddenly, what happened happened,” Jaber said.

Ottman, he recalled, didn’t finish high school and found work as a security guard in nearby Jewish settlements.

“[Ottman] always extended a helping hand to everyone and especially to the Palestinian workers who came in and out of the community where he worked,” Jaber added.

“As human beings we condemn every act of violence on any side; it doesn’t matter if it is Jewish or Arab,” he said.

Nimr Mahmoud Ahmed Jamal, who carried out a terror attack in the settlement of Har Adar on Tuesday, September 26, 2017 (Facebook)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nimer Mahmoud Ahmad Jamal, a laborer from the nearby Bayt Surik village, was shot and killed by security forces at the scene, police said.

The 37-year-old approached the entrance to Har Adar just after 7 a.m. as part of a group of Palestinians who work in the settlement. The Shin Bet domestic security service said he did not have a known history of involvement in terrorist activities.

He “aroused the suspicion” of officers on the scene, who called for him to stop. The terrorist then took a pistol out of his shirt and shot at the Israelis, before being gunned down, police said.

 Gavriyah, the slain Border Police officer, had been lightly injured in the hand during a terror stabbing in the area a year ago.

The seriously injured victim was identified as Har Adar’s security coordinator. He suffered multiple gunshot wounds, and was fully conscious when he was taken to the hospital.

The head of general surgery at Hadassah Hospital, Alon Pikarsky, who operated on the man, said after the operation that, considering his wounds, the victim was lucky.

Emergency services respond to a suspected terror attack outside the Har Adar settlement near Jerusalem on September 26, 2017. (Magen David Adom)

“The surgery passed well. The injured 33-year-old was hit by a bullet in the shoulder and a bullet in the waist. The bullet hit his spleen and diaphragm and after we dealt with those organs the orthopedic team took out the bullets. He is completely stable, breathing on his own, and is recovering at the moment in the intensive care unit at Hadassah. He really was very lucky.”

Police said Jamal, the terrorist, was a father of four who possessed a legal work permit, making him one of only a few Palestinians with such a document to commit a terror attack in recent years.

Jamal’s wife had recently left him and the Shin Bet said he suffered from “significant personal and family problems.”

Israeli rescue team applauded in the streets of Mexico

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Israeli rescue team applauded in the streets of Mexico

Dozens of individuals, some waving Mexican flags, spontaneously cheer delegation that is aiding in the search for survivors following earthquake

  • Rescuers from Mexico and Israel search for survivors on September 22, 2017, three days after a strong quake hit central Mexico. (iAid)
    Rescuers from Mexico and Israel search for survivors on September 22, 2017, three days after a strong quake hit central Mexico. (iAid)
  • Rescuers from Mexico and Israel (olive green) search for survivors in a flattened building in Mexico City on September 21, 2017 two days after a strong quake hit central Mexico. (AFP / Ronaldo SCHEMIDT)
    Rescuers from Mexico and Israel (olive green) search for survivors in a flattened building in Mexico City on September 21, 2017 two days after a strong quake hit central Mexico. (AFP / Ronaldo SCHEMIDT)
  • Rescuers from Mexico and Israel search for survivors on September 22, 2017, 3 days after a strong quake hit central Mexico (iAid)
    Rescuers from Mexico and Israel search for survivors on September 22, 2017, 3 days after a strong quake hit central Mexico (iAid)
  • Rescuers from Mexico and Israel search for survivors on September 22, 2017, 3 days after a strong quake hit central Mexico (iAid)
    Rescuers from Mexico and Israel search for survivors on September 22, 2017, 3 days after a strong quake hit central Mexico (iAid)
  • Rescuers from Mexico and Israel search for survivors on September 22, 2017, 3 days after a strong quake hit central Mexico (iAid)
    Rescuers from Mexico and Israel search for survivors on September 22, 2017, 3 days after a strong quake hit central Mexico (iAid)
  • Rescuers from Mexico and Israel search for survivors on September 22, 2017, 3 days after a strong quake hit central Mexico (iAid)
    Rescuers from Mexico and Israel search for survivors on September 22, 2017, 3 days after a strong quake hit central Mexico (iAid)
  • A man is pulled out of the rubble alive in Mexico City on September 20, 2017 as the search for survivors continues a day after a strong quake hit central Mexico. (AFP PHOTO / Pedro PARDO)
    A man is pulled out of the rubble alive in Mexico City on September 20, 2017 as the search for survivors continues a day after a strong quake hit central Mexico. (AFP PHOTO / Pedro PARDO)
  • Israeli rescue workers are present as the body of Maria Ortiz, who survived the earthquake in Mexico City but died before the rescuers could get to her, is removed on September 22, 2017, three days after the powerful quake that hit central Mexico. (AFP PHOTO / Pedro Pardo)
    Israeli rescue workers are present as the body of Maria Ortiz, who survived the earthquake in Mexico City but died before the rescuers could get to her, is removed on September 22, 2017, three days after the powerful quake that hit central Mexico. (AFP PHOTO / Pedro Pardo)

An Israeli rescue delegation was greeted with spontaneous applause in the streets of a Mexican town Friday, in a show of gratitude for the team’s efforts to aid in the search for survivors following a devastating earthquake Tuesday.

In a video published by Channel 2, dozens of individuals, some waving Mexican flags, can be seen cheering the Israeli rescue team as the delegation crosses their path in a town hit by the earthquake.

A 71-member Israeli delegation from the Home Front Command arrived in Mexico on Thursday, some 48 hours after the 7.1-magnitude quake hit. Two Israeli aid organizations — IsraAID and iAid — also sent delegations to help with the search and rescue efforts.

Anxiety was mounting on Friday as Mexico approached the crucial 72-hour mark after the powerful tremor, and exhausted rescuers raced to locate possible survivors trapped in the rubble.

Authorities put the death toll from Tuesday’s quake at 286 people, but it was expected to rise further with scores still missing in Mexico City.

The Israel Defense Forces said Tuesday that the 71-member delegation was made up of a small search and rescue team, with a majority being engineers who would help assess the structural integrity of buildings in Mexico City and other affected areas.

Locals rescuers said the Israeli teams came with equipment enabling them to detect cell phone signals in the rubble.

Israel did not set up a field hospital yet, but the army has said this could be added in the future.

Members of the 71-member Israeli delegation from the IDF Home Front Command arrive in Mexico on September 21, 2017. (Israel Defense Forces)

Israel is often one of the first countries to send humanitarian delegations to countries hit by natural disasters.

Israeli disaster relief delegations provided rescue and medical services after an earthquake in Turkey in 1999, an earthquake in Haiti in 2010, a typhoon in the Philippines in 2013 and, most recently, an earthquake in Nepal in 2015.

The delegation is slated to return on September 29, ahead of the Yom Kippur holiday, the spokesperson said. The IDF chief rabbi granted the delegation special dispensation to travel, as the team was in the air during the Jewish Rosh Hashanah holiday, when such activities are generally avoided under religious law.

Members of the Israeli aid delegation from the IDF Home Front Command arrive in Mexico City, September 21, 2017. (Israel Defense Forces)

Families in waiting

Anguished families watching and waiting at buildings that collapsed with their loved ones inside pleaded with authorities not to send in the bulldozers while there is still hope people could be alive inside — something the government vowed not to do.

“We know she’s alive and we’re not leaving until she leaves with us,” said Olinca Gonzalez, 29, whose father’s wife worked in a Mexico City building that was flattened in the quake.

Families were already circulating fliers reading, “No heavy machinery.”

A crushed car and sofas are seen under a pile of rubble from a collapsed building in Mexico City on September 21, 2017, two days after a strong quake hit central Mexico. (AFP/Pedro Pardo)

President Enrique Pena Nieto promised authorities were not giving up the search.

Experts say the average survival time in such disasters is 72 hours, depending on injuries. But trapped survivors have been known to hang on for many days more, including after a massive earthquake that devastated Mexico City in 1985, killing more than 10,000 people.

The 72-hour period will be up at 1:14 p.m. (18:14 GMT) Friday.

“The rescue and support effort in the buildings that collapsed is still on,” Pena Nieto said during a visit to the state of Puebla, where the epicenter was.

“We are not suspending it. We have to keep up the rescue effort to keep finding survivors in the rubble.”

Volunteer rescuers working through their third straight night fought off growing fatigue to remove tons of rubble at dozens of flattened buildings in the capital and across several central states.

In the capital’s central neighborhood of Roma, rescue workers scrambled to locate 23 people believed to be in the wreckage of a collapsed seven-story office building.

They have already pulled 28 survivors from the mountain of rubble.

Aaron Flores’s sister Karen and friend Paulino Estrada were both trapped inside.

Estrada managed to contact his family by cellphone, even making a video call. But there has been no news from Karen Flores.

“We’re feeling disoriented and desperate because we haven’t heard anything from her,” said her brother, 30.

Soldiers and volunteers remove a crushed car from the rubble in Mexico City on September 22, 2017, three days after a strong quake hit central Mexico. (AFP/ Alfredo Estrella)

At other locations, hope turned to grief.

“At 1:00 p.m. they pulled my mother’s body out of the debris, but identified her under a different name, and it wasn’t until 5:00 p.m. that they gave us the bad news,” said Maria Dolores Martinez, 38, at a Mexico City morgue.

But real stories of hope continued to emerge from the ruins.

In the north of the city, a man who had been trapped for 26 hours — and a 90-year-old woman — were pulled alive from the rubble.

Rescue teams have flown in from the US, Israel, Japan, Spain and numerous Latin American countries.

As rescuers race against the clock to find survivors, others wondered where they will live after the quake damaged an estimated 20,000 homes.

“I’m waiting for the civil protection service to tell me if we can go home or not,” said street vendor Erika Albarran, who has been staying with her family in a shelter for people with no place to go.

Her family has only 100 pesos ($5.50) among them and she doesn’t know how they will manage once assistance such as food, shelter and baby supplies runs out.

“We don’t have cash. We’re living day-to-day,” she said.

Tuesday’s tragedy struck just two hours after Mexico held a national earthquake drill — as it does every year on the anniversary of the 1985 quake.

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Palestine Rejects Israel’s Decision to Expand Gun Permits Eligibility

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Middle East

Palestine Rejects Israel’s Decision to Expand Gun Permits Eligibility

Ramallah– Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan decided to expand gun permit eligibility in the occupied territories, creating additional concern among Palestinian officials amid fears of rising executions of Palestinians.

Erdan has claimed the decision is necessary for the security forces to be able to respond immediately to terrorist operations. The new gun license eligibility extends to include all former Israeli soldiers entitling them to carry a firearm.

Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates condemned the decision to expand gun permits, saying such a step represents a serious escalation by Israeli occupation forces regarding field executions policy which enables Israeli elements to shoot Palestinian people based on weak allegations.

The statement added that the decision reflects extremism, racism and hatred of Israeli society and its political and security leadership. It is the result of the wide incitement campaign carried out by the extremist right wing ruling party.

Israel Hayom newspaper said Erdan intends to confront attacks carried out by Palestinians since October 2015, when al-Quds Intifada was first launched.

The newspaper explained that the minister also wanted security forces to quickly respond in the event of a terror attack.

“I decided to switch to a balancing policy. It’s a matter of public interest: When a trained and armed individual is at the scene of a terror attack, we can see the difference. This saves human lives,” Erdan declared.

Over the past two years, a rising number of Israelis have rushed to official institutions to issue gun permits.

The Palestinian ministry held the Israeli government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fully responsible for the decision and its disastrous consequences.

It called on human rights organizations to consider such a dangerous decision and to take serious action to uncover and denounce this policy which leads to deadly acts against the Palestinian people.

The statement condemned the silence of the international community and UN organizations regarding the occupation’s crimes, adding it represents a cover for more Israeli escalatory acts, enabling the occupation authorities to violate international human rights laws.

Netanyahu says Israel will not tolerate Iranians on northern border

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

In New York, Netanyahu says Israel will not tolerate Iranians on northern border

Prime minister indicates main message of upcoming UN speech will focus on Tehran’s efforts to establish base in Syria

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures during a presser with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto (out of frame), at the Los Pinos Residence in Mexico City, on September 14, 2017. (AFP/ Alfredo ESTRELLA)

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures during a presser with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto (out of frame), at the Los Pinos Residence in Mexico City, on September 14, 2017. (AFP/ Alfredo ESTRELLA)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the main message of his upcoming speech at the United Nations for the annual gathering of world leaders at the 72nd session of the General Assembly would be that Israel would not tolerate an Iranian presence on its northern border with Syria, now in its seventh year of a brutal civil war.

Speaking to reporters from his hotel in New York on Friday, after wrapping up a historic trip to Latin America, Netanyahu said that the central message will be that “Israel will not tolerate an Iranian military presence on our northern borders. An [Iranian] military presence endangers not just us, but also our Arab neighbors.”

He added that Israel was “obligated to act against this.” These days, he added — in an apparent reference to previous Israeli military intervention in Syria and Lebanon — “Israel, and what it says, is taken seriously. That’s how it should be.”

Netanyahu hosted Shabbat dinner at the hotel.

He is due to address the UN on September 19 and meet with US President Donald Trump a day earlier.

The meeting will be the two leaders’ fourth together since Trump assumed office. The two met once in February when the Israeli premier visited the White House, and twice in May when the American president traveled to the region, which included a two-day stop in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Trump too is slated to address UNGA on September 19.

Netanyahu’s remarks on Iran came a day after a senior Israeli official denied reports that Russia rebuffed Jerusalem’s demand to ensure that Iranian forces and Iran-backed Shiite militants not be allowed to operate within 60-80 kilometers of the Syrian frontier with Israel in the Golan Heights.

The demand was initially raised by Israel in July, when negotiations were underway for a ceasefire deal in southern Syria between President Bashar Assad and Syrian rebels, under the auspices of Washington and Moscow.

Last month, Netanyahu met Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi to discuss the entrenchment of Iran and Iranian-backed forces in Syria, and to present Israel’s position.

“Israel is satisfied with the talks in Sochi,” the official said Thursday, insisting on anonymity.

According to reports Thursday on Israel’s Channel 2 television and the Haaretz newspaper, Russia rejected Netanyahu’s plea. Instead, the reports claimed, Moscow committed only to keeping Iranian forces five kilometers from the Golan Heights frontier.

Israel had wanted a buffer zone of between 60 and 80 kilometers from the border on the Golan Heights, and has been repeatedly warning against Iran’s military ambitions in the area, Tehran’s bid to establish a territorial “corridor” all the way to the Mediterranean, and an increased Iranian presence on Israel’s northern border, according to the reports.

Netanyahu opposed the ceasefire deal, putting him publicly at odds with US President Donald Trump, since it did not sufficiently address Israel’s security needs.

Israeli intelligence expects the Iranians to try to establish a military and intelligence presence closer to the border to allow for the opening of a second front against Israel in the event of another conflagration between the Jewish state and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terror organization in Lebanon, Haaretz said.

It said Iran plows around $800 million per year into Hezbollah and additional hundreds of millions into the Assad regime in Syria, Shi’ite militias fighting in Syria and Iraq, and Shi’ite Houthi insurgents in Yemen. (It also supports the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror organizations in the Gaza Strip to the tune of $70 million annually.)

Israel sees attempts by Iran, Syria and Hezbollah to improve the latter’s missile accuracy as a major threat.

A week ago, Israeli warplanes allegedly struck the Syrian military’s Scientific Studies and Research Center (CERS) facility near Masyaf, in the northwestern Hama province, damaging several buildings and killing two Syrian soldiers.

Western officials have long associated the CERS facility with the production of precision missiles, as well as chemical weapons.

Satellite image of a CERS facility near Masyaf reportedly hit by an Israeli airstrike overnight Wednesday, September 7, 2017 (screen capture: Google Earth)

Over the past five years, Israel has carried out dozens of airstrikes within Syria, hitting convoys of weapons bound for Hezbollah, as well as weapons storage facilities.

It rarely acknowledges specific attacks. Last week’s operation was reported by foreign media.

On his trip to Latin America, Netanyahu has stressed the dangers posed by Iran through its quest for nuclear weapons, its involvement in conflicts across the region, and support for terrorism.

The Iranians “have a terror machine that encompasses the entire world, operating terror cells in many continents,” he said in Argentina on Tuesday. “In the case of Iran, it’s not only merely terror but the quest for nuclear weapons that concerns us and should concern the entire international community. We understand the danger of a rogue nation having atomic bombs.”

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Israeli Jets Reportedly Launch Strikes On Syrian Military Facility

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Israeli jets reportedly launch strikes on Syrian military facility

Syria: Israeli jets strike Syrian facility

(CNN)Israeli jets fired missiles at a military facility in Syria on Thursday, killing two army personnel, the Syrian army claimed.

The strikes caused material damage near Masyaf in the northwestern part of Syria near the Lebanese border, according to the Syrian army, which told state media that the missiles were fired from Lebanese airspace at 2:42 a.m. local time.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) refused to comment.
The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) describes the site as a scientific research facility and a short- and medium-range missile depot.
Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror said the site was one of the Syrian regime’s centers of military research and development, which had produced missiles and, in the past, chemical weapons.
The strike marks a new level of alleged Israeli involvement in Syria since the civil war began six years ago, according to Amidror, who served as National Security Advisor between 2011 and 2013.
“It is the first time the target … is a formal Syrian facility; not just a warehouse, but a center of research and development and [production],” he said.
In its report, Syria’s state-run SANA news agency quotes Syria’s military accusing Israel of propping up ISIS’s “morale,” and linking the reported strike with recent military wins over the terror group in the strategic Syrian town of Deir Ezzor.
“This aggression comes in a desperate attempt to raise the collapsed morale of the ISIS terrorists after the sweeping victories achieved by the Syrian Arab Army against terrorism at more than one front, and it affirms the direct support provided by the Israeli entity to the ISIS and other terrorist organizations,” the Syrian army said in a statement to SANA.

‘Dozens’ of strikes

Syria: What Israel sees

Syria: What Israel sees02:41
Israel has consistently said it is not taking sides in Syria’s civil war.
Even so, Israel has conducted “dozens” of strikes inside Syrian borders since 2011, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admitted last year. Additionally, Israel has treated thousands of Syrians wounded in the country’s civil war, including rebel fighters.
Israel has repeatedly said there are red lines in Syria which prompt it to act. These include preventing Hezbollah, a key ally of the Syrian regime and an Iranian proxy, from getting its hands on advanced weaponry, and preventing Iran from establishing a permanent presence in Syria.
“[This strike] is within the framework of the [red lines] policy, but it is another level of interfering,” Amidror said.
Addressing the threat posed by Iran in Syria, Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman has said that Israel “reserves complete freedom of action [to protect] the security of Israeli citizens.”