Sunday, March 23, 2014

“Bad Scene on Several Fronts”

Where to start?  Last Tuesday, four IDF soldiers on the Golan Heights were injured – one severely – by an explosion near the border.  The IDF, convinced that Assad’s forces and not rebels were responsible, retaliated with several “strategic” hits on Syrian army sites – reportedly attacking the headquarters of the 68th and 90th Divisions of the Syrian army in Quneitra, as well as other locations.
Subsequently, Hezbollah (which operates in support of Assad’s army in Syria) took responsibility for the attack on the four soldiers, saying that it was “ready for war.”  The attack, Hezbollah leadership is reported to have said, was in retaliation for Israel’s alleged attack last month designed to take out high-end ballistic missiles designated for Hezbollah.
The expectation from our side is that their saber-rattling talk about being ready for war aside, Hezbollah, stretched thin, is not truly contemplating “war.”  At this time, at any rate.
On Thursday morning, there were media reports about “intense” Israeli activity over southern Lebanon.  It was said that Israeli jets performed mock raids, and a drone was involved.  Additionally, a huge Israeli air balloon carrying surveillance equipment was launched over Lebanon.  (See URL above.)
Last night, a joint force made up of the IDF, Shin Bet, and the Border Police's elite Counter-Terrorism Unit entered Jenin to arrest much sought-after Hamas member Hamza Abu Aleija – the son of Jamal Abu Aleija, a head of Hamas's military in Judea and Samaria (note: Judea and Samaria, not Gaza!) who is serving a life sentence in an Israeli prison for acts of terrorism.
Intelligence had revealed that Hamza Abu Aleija was about to begin a campaign of attacks on a community and on army positions in Judea and Samaria.
Abu Aleija's campaign was being orchestrated by Hamas in Gaza.  “Hamas members released in the Gilad Schalit prisoner release deal played a role in the terror plot, according to intelligence gathered by security forces.” (Emphasis added)  The implications here could not be more obvious.
The sort of operation described here is routine – many people don’t realize that this is what guards Israel from major attacks by terrorists.  In this instance, because Abu Aleija was on the verge of acting, it was considered “an immediate terror alert."
Many times, a terror suspect is apprehended without incident. Although sometimes there is a furor, as local Palestinian Arab residents of the area attempt to protect the suspect.
On this occasion, “the suspect barricaded himself in his home and refused to surrender himself, the IDF said. After ignoring calls to end the stand off peacefully, the suspect, armed with an M-16, opened fire on security forces, injuring two soldiers lightly, and attempted to escape.
“Soldiers returned fire, killing the armed suspect.
“Soon afterwards, a violent disturbance broke out, in which armed Palestinian rioters fired on security forces, and hurled explosives, firebombs, and rocks.” The army considers this a most serious incident.  Two SWAT team members were injured in the confrontation.
“Security forces returned fire, killing two rioters, and injuring six others. Three Palestinians were arrested during the disturbance.”
Following this incident, the army released a brief statement: “The IDF will continue to act to defend Israeli civilians."  This is exactly what should be said, and done.
Border Police Commander, Major General Amos Ya'akov, visited the two injured SWAT team members on Saturday night, giving them encouragement and congratulations.
"’You have manifested courage, professionalism and extraordinary determination  This operation joins many others which have prevented terrorist organizations from getting what they want - and have proven that the long arm of Israeli security will catch up with them. The entire people of Israel owe their lives to the unit and its fighters, who risk their lives every day.’" (Emphasis added)
And Amen to this comment.  Everyone should understand what these brave fighters do, day in and day out.
See how the PLO news agency WAFA, reporting from Ramallah, described the above situation:
”Spokesperson, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, condemned Saturday the ongoing Israeli escalation of targeting Palestinians...

”...Abu Rudeineh said that Israel is pursuing a systematic policy of murder against the Palestinian people that is meant to cause the destruction of everything.

“Abu Rudeineh held the Israeli government fully responsible for this escalation and called upon the US Administration to ‘act quickly to prevent the collapse of everything.’”
Speaking of Ramallah, Abbas returned there on Thursday, after his visit to the White House, behaving as if he had secured great things. He pledged to the crowd that greeted him that he would not surrender their rights, i.e., he would not compromise on anything no matter what Obama said.  “Be assured, we will be victorious.”
The JPost on Friday cited an Israeli government source as saying that Abbas’s behavior was “reminiscent of the return from Camp David in 2000, when it appeared that the Palestinians were celebrating the failure of the peace talks.  The second intifada broke out shortly thereafter.”
At a Fatah emergency meeting today, Abbas told those assembled that nothing less than a fully sovereign state with east Jerusalem as its capital is acceptable.
According to news reports, one of the things Abbas asked of Obama during their meeting is that he intervene with Israel for the release of Marwan Barghouti - who was instrumental in the launching of the second intifada and is serving five life sentences for his role in multiple terror attacks – and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) leader Ahmad Saadat – who orchestrated the assassination of Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi in 2001.
He can ask, but these releases are not going to happen.
In fact, the release of Israeli Arabs from our prisons, at the behest of the PA, is looking as if it, too, is not going to happen.  It had better not. 
For some while, we had been seeing conflicting reports in the media regarding Israel’s commitment to let out Israeli Arabs.  What now appears to be the case is that the Americans promised the PA that these releases would take place when Israel had not agreed to them.  (This is what can happen when the two parties speak separately to the US, and are not speaking directly to each other.)
Dr. Aaron Lerner of IMRA has tracked the fascinating sequence of events, for which Kerry is directly responsible:
But with all of this, it is the beginning of a new week, and we should seek what is uplifting, as well.
Yesterday, Jerusalem pretty much shut down, in order to make way – with great fanfare and sense of fun – for the Jerusalem Marathon.  The weather was fantastic; the colors of the official shirts of the participants were eye-catching.  People came out to cheer the runners – over 25,000 in all, some 2,500 of whom hailed from close to 55 different countries.
The winner was Ronald Kimeli Kurgat from Kenya, who completed the course in two hours and sixteen minutes, the fastest time yet for this Marathon.
Athletes participate in the fourth international Jerusalem marathon March 21, 2014.
Credit: Reuters
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