Tuesday, April 28, 2015

From Ian:

UN Watch: Explosive: UN admits Palestinians fired rockets from UNRWA schools
The UN finally investigated the Palestinian storing of rockets in UNRWA schools and their use of the schools to launch rockets against Israel, all of which constitute grave violations of the Geneva Conventions and international humanitarian law.
Key findings gleaned from the UN report:
Hamas and/or Islamic Jihad stored rockets in UNRWA schools. The board found, in the case of the UNRWA Jabalia Elementary “C” and Ayyobiya Boys School, referring to the discovery of weapons there on 22 July 2014, that “it was highly likely that a Palestinian armed group might have used the premises to hide weapons.”
Hamas and/or Islamic Jihad stored rockets in schools that were in active use by children. During the war, former PLO lawyer Diana Buttu famously said on Al Jazeera that “the rockets that were found in the schools in UNRWA were schools that are not being used by anybody—school is out, I’ll have you know.” However, in the UNRWA Gaza Beach Elementary Co-educational “B” School, on 16 July 2014, the UN Board of Inquiry notes that the school gate was unlocked during the period leading up to the incident “in order to allow children access to the schoolyard.” School was out, but UNRWA was inviting the children back in to play.
Hamas and/or Islamic Jihad fired rockets from UNRWA schools. In the Jabalia school listed above, the board found that “it was highly likely that an unidentified Palestinian armed group could have used the school premises to launch attacks on or around 14 July.” Similarly, concerning weaponry stored at the UNRWA Nuseirat Preparatory Co- educational “B” School, the UN inquiry found that “the premises could have been used for an unknown period of time by members of a Palestinian armed group” — and that “it was likely that such a group may have fired the mortar from within the premises of the school.”
UN Secretary General: Palestinian militants put UN schools at risk during Gaza war
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon charged that Palestinian militants had stored weapons in three UN facilities during last summer’s Gaza war and that such action was “unacceptable.”
“I am dismayed that Palestinian militant groups would put United Nations schools at risk by using them to hide their arms,” Ban said on Monday as he released a summary of a Board of Inquiry probe into events that occurred in UN facilities in July and August.
“The three schools at which weaponry was found were empty at the time and were not being used as shelters,” Ban said. "However, the fact that they were used by those involved in the fighting to store their weaponry and, in two cases, probably to fire from is unacceptable.”
He also took Israel to task for shelling neutral UN facilities and killing or injuring Palestinians sought shelter there from the bombings that occurred during Operation Protective Edge.
IsraellyCool: Chris Gunness Has Clearly Lost His Mind, But So Far, Not His Job
Back in July, Brian wrote about how UNRWA, the “United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East,” discovered rockets stored in one of its schools in Gaza, and subsequently returned those rockets to Hamas.
With the publication of a UN report on the matter, UNRWA Spokesman Chris Gunness tweeted the following today:
Chris Gunness
‏The UN Secretary General Board of Inquiry found no evidence that UNRWA handed rockets over to Hamas
There you have it, nothing to see here. Here’s the relevant section of the report, from the UN Watch website:
57. The Board was informed that UNRWA had received testimony that two individuals identifying themselves as policemen had come to the school, alleged that they knew who was responsible for the cache of weapons and left a telephone number. Upon being contacted, one of these individuals stated that the weapons would be removed from the school in the early morning. The Board was further informed that, early in the morning of 17 July, the door to the classroom in question was found locked, with no signs of forced entry or exit, and that it was noted that the weapons had been removed.
Oooooohhhhhhhhhhhh. So, according to the report, UNRWA found the rockets, contacted “local authorities,” i.e., Hamas, and asked them to remove the rockets. Instead of removing the rockets, the Hamas police provided a phone number, which they somehow just happened to have, for the unnamed individuals who had put the rockets there in the first place, whom they just happened to know. Those people were contacted — presumably, by UNRWA staff — and apparently came to the school and picked the rockets up. Lost property, happily reunited with its owner. Much better!
In the warped mind of Chris Gunness, that counts as “no evidence that UNRWA handed rockets over to Hamas.”



NGO Monitor: Preliminary Analysis of UN Board of Inquiry Summary Regarding 2014 Gaza Conflict
On April 27, 2015, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon submitted to the UN Security Council a “public summary of a report of the Board of Inquiry regarding incidents in Gaza” during the Summer 2014 conflict. The Secretary General’s Board of Inquiry (BOI) focused on incidents “in which death or injuries occurred at, or damage was done to, United Nations premises, or in which the presence of weaponry was reported at those premises.”
It is important to note that the summary was published without footnotes or accompanying evidence, while the full report is “an internal document and is not for public release.” These limitations make it difficult to assess the conclusions about Israeli actions and culpability. In this respect, it is unsurprising that many media accounts of the report are distorted.
Preliminary Notes on the Summary:
Evidence?
The details on the incidents were obtained through “interviews with staff of the [United Nations], including UNRWA, as well with relevant authorities and witnesses who could assist in its investigation” (14). As residents of Gaza and/or employees who have to continue to work in Gaza, the interviewees have a vested interest in minimizing their allegations against ruthless terror groups that operate there. The UN and UNRWA officials also have a clear interest in hiding the role of their organization in tolerating, facilitating, or actively assisting the commission of war crimes -- for instance, launching rockets and shielding fighters from counterattack in or around UN facilities.
UN probe: Hamas fired rockets from inside UN schools
Israel's Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said in a statement that all the incidents in the report attributed to Israel had been "subject to thorough examinations and criminal investigations have been launched where relevant."
"Israel makes every effort to avoid harm to sensitive sites, in the face of terrorist groups who are committed not only to targeting Israeli civilians but also to using Palestinian civilians and U.N. facilities as shields," Nahshon said.
Hamas denied that U.N. schools ever had weapons in them and claimed the report was a "clear condemnation" of Israel.
"We deny having any information about any weapons in the three UNRWA schools, which were empty from refugees, according to the report," Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri said.
Israel’s MFA Responds to UN Report on Last Summer’s Gaza War
The executive summary of the report clearly documents the exploitation by terrorist organizations of UN facilities in the Gaza Strip.
Israel is committed to working jointly with the UN in order to improve the security of UN facilities in the Gaza Strip, with special emphasis on preventing such exploitation by terrorists. Moreover, Israel is prepared to extend its assistance to UNRWA, with the aim of preventing the recurrence of circumstances under which UN facilities are used to carry out terrorist activity, in blatant violation of international law, and in a manner that gravely endangers civilians, including UN staff.
All of the incidents attributed by the report to Israel have already been subject to thorough examinations, and criminal investigations have been launched where relevant.
This serves as further evidence of Israel’s serious approach to this issue, its capacity and desire to carry out independent investigations and its commitment to the rule of law. Israel makes every effort to avoid harm to sensitive sites, in the face of terrorist groups who are committed not only to targeting Israeli civilians but also to using Palestinian civilians and UN facilities as shields for their terrorist activities.
Hamas Welcomes UN's Blaming Israel for Attacks on UNRWA Schools
Hamas on Monday welcomed a UN report which blamed the Israeli military for seven attacks on UN schools in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge.
The group’s spokesman told the AFP news agency that the report was important since it proved Israeli "war crimes against Palestinian civilians in the (UNRWA) shelters."
"We call on the world to send the murderous occupation (Israel) leaders to international courts, and we call on the (Palestinian) Authority to investigate this report and to persecute the occupation (Israel) in international courts," the spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, said.
UNRWA Chutzpa
UNRWA had the gall to tweet the following:
UNRWA ‏@UNRWA SG #GazaInquiry found no evidence that any rockets had been found in our schools. Weaponry was discovered, not rockets.
As NGO Monitor points out:
So @UNRWA is crowing that “rockets” were not found in one of its schools but that mortars and launchers were?
In July, UNRWA claimed, 3 times, that rockets were found in UNRWA schools — on their own website!
US: UNRWA Gets Add’l $6M for Yarmouk ‘Palestinians,’ Only $10M for Nepal
The U.S. State Department issued a quiet little bombshell with an unheralded press release dated April 27, which revealed that on April 24, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power announced that an additional $6 million of U.S. taxpayer money is being provided to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) “in response to the devastating crisis in Yarmouk.”
This latest $6 million comes in response to the Yarmouk Emergency Call for Funds, which seeks funding for a 90 day rapid response effort.
This tranche brings the total U.S. contributions to UNRWA in response to the crisis in Syria to more than $57 million in 2015 alone. Keep in mind that UNRWA only serves those designated by the U.N. as “Palestinian refugees,” and not ordinary Syrian citizens.
What has happened in Yarmouk, Syria, has indeed led to a grave humanitarian crisis. Still, the context matters.
Analysis: Despite concern over commitment to 2-state solution, US will back Israel at UN
Diplomatic sources in New York also contend that the US will continue to defend Israel at the UN. According to the sources, the US is working behind the scenes to suspend or delay all efforts to bring initiatives or draft resolutions to the UN Security Council that relate to the diplomatic process.
The Americans claim that decisions at the UN should wait until the new Israeli government is formed and it will be known what its guiding principles will be in regard to the future of negotiations with the Palestinians.
Even after the the new government is formed, the Americans will prefer to hear from the mouth of Prime Minister Netanyahu himself what his opinion of the two-state solution is.
Three draft resolutions regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are currently "floating around" in the Security Council. An Arab-Palestinian resolution which calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state, a French resolution which includes an outline of issues and parameters to be discussed in negotiations and a resolution that New Zealand distributed last week which calls for a renewal of negotiations.
In the meantime, the US has stuck to its old policy of not involving the UN Security Council in diplomatic efforts to reach a solution to the conflict. The US is insisting on remaining the exclusive mediator between Israel and the Palestinians.
Obama Still Threatening Netanyahu
What does the State Department’s Wendy Sherman do with her spare time when not negotiating weak nuclear deals with rogue regimes? The same as the rest of the Obama foreign-policy team: threaten Israel with diplomatic isolation at the United Nations. Sherman issued some thinly veiled threats yesterday in remarks to a gathering of Reform movement leaders in which she made clear that the administration expects the next Israeli government to do its bidding with respect to supporting a two-state solution with the Palestinians. While there’s nothing new about this insistence, Sherman’s language followed the same pattern as other remarks issued by U.S. officials since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was reelected last month. But like all such warnings that have been aimed at Jerusalem from Washington, the most striking aspect of this effort is how divorced these American staffers are from the reality of a peace process that the Palestinians have no interest in pursuing.
Sherman, who holds the title of Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, is best known for her work on nuclear non-proliferation in both the Clinton and Obama administrations. But her real claim to fame is as the person who naively gave away the store to the North Koreans that helped them get closer to a bomb in the 1990s and learned nothing from that experience before repeating the exercise in the last few years with Iran. She defended the Iran nuclear deal she helped negotiate and assured the Reform leaders that the pact would make Israel and the world safer. But that highly debatable conclusion is less newsworthy than Sherman’s effort to fire yet another shot over Netanyahu’s bow as he completed negotiations to form his next government.
While Sherman’s remarks can be read in a sympathetic manner as being basically supportive of Israel—and there’s little doubt that her audience heard it that way—the message to Netanyahu was clear: any more wavering about his dedication to two-state negotiations and all bets are off in the United Nations.
But while Sherman is right when she says that most American Jews are as obsessed with willing a two-state solution into existence as the president and Secretary of State Kerry, Israelis take a different view of things.
Turkey joins Qatari bid to broker Israel-Hamas deal
A new proposal for a long-term ceasefire between Israel and Hamas has been put forth by Qatar and Turkey, The Times of Israel has learned.
Palestinian sources said that Turkey passed along the proposal via the Qatari ambassador to the Gaza Strip, Muhammad Al-Ahmadi, who visited Israel and even met with Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai.
Turkish and Qatari ambassadors met with Hamas representatives in Anakara, and also in Gaza, and presented them with the framework for the plan. The details were also given to senior members of the Palestinian Authority.
The Times of Israel reported in March on the Qatari channel between Israel and Hamas. This latest bid from Turkey essentially joins Qatar’s to make a joint proposal.
Israel to observe first UN nuclear meeting in 20 years in bid to foster Arab ties
Israel will take part as an observer in a major nuclear non-proliferation conference that opens at the United Nations on Monday, ending a 20-year absence in hope of fostering dialogue with Arab states, a senior Israeli official said.
Assumed to have the Middle East's sole nuclear arsenal, and having never joined the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Israel has stayed away from gatherings of NPT signatories since 1995 in protest at resolutions it regarded as biased against it.
Citing the example of disarmament talks in other regions, Israel says it would consider submitting to international nuclear inspections and controls only once at peace with the Arabs and Iran. Those countries want Israel curbed first.
With Middle East upheaval and the disputed Iranian nuclear program often pitting Tehran-aligned Shi'ite Muslims against Sunni Arabs, a senior Israeli official saw in the April 27-May 22 NPT review conference a chance to stake out common causes.
Boehner: Congress Doesn't Have Votes to Stop Iran Deal
Speaking at an off-the-record event Saturday at the Republican Jewish Coalition's meeting in Las Vegas, House Speaker John Boehner told the audience that he didn't expect that more than two-thirds of Congress would vote to overturn a veto from Obama if Congress voted against a nuclear deal, according to four people who were inside the room for the private talk.
The resolution of disapproval is provided for in legislation before the Senate this week, known as the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act. The deadline for reaching a final nuclear accord between Iran, the U.S. and five other world powers is June 30.
Proponents of the legislation, such as Republican co-author Senator Bob Corker, say the bill gives Congress a chance to review an Iran agreement and could stop Obama from lifting sanctions during the review process. Critics, however, want to strengthen the bill's mechanisms and lower the threshold necessary for Congress to disapprove the deal. Their hope is to be able to ultimately stop Obama from at least lifting those sanctions created by Congress, as opposed to the ones created through executive order or the United Nations Security Council. Boehner's comments this weekend confirm their suspicions that Corker's bill is too weak to stop Obama from implementing a bad Iran deal.
Senate Republicans Demand Iran Recognize Israel, As Iran Nuke Bill Hangs In The Balance
Amendments would require Iran to recognize the state of Israel and release U.S. citizens detained in Iran, according to The New York Times. Another amendment designates the deal a treaty rather than an executive agreement, which does not require congressional approval. Treaties require a 2/3 vote by the Senate in order for ratification.
Republican lawmakers consider any Iran deal a treaty, reports CNN:
“This is clearly a treaty,” Arizona Sen. John McCain told reporters Tuesday. “They can call it a banana, but it’s a treaty.”
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously passed a bill allowing Congress to vote on any nuclear agreement with Iran in early April, but additional amendments could jeopardize it.
The framework for a final deal was announced between Iran, the U.S., and European partners in early April – maintaining Iran would limit its capability to acquire a nuclear weapon in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.
Iran Slams Nuclear Powers, Israel at UN Atomic Treaty Meeting
Iran on Monday demanded that countries possessing nuclear weapons scrap any plans to modernize or extend the life of their atomic arsenals, while branding Israel a threat to the region due to its presumed nuclear stockpile.
Speaking on behalf of the 120-nation Non-Aligned Movement, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told signatories to the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) that there should be no limits on the transfer of nuclear technology and know-how to NPT signatories.
“We call upon the nuclear-weapon states to immediately cease their plans to further invest in modernizing and extending the life span of their nuclear weapons and related facilities,” Zarif said at the start of a month-long review conference taking stock of the NPT, the world’s benchmark disarmament treaty.
He said cuts in deployment were not the same as cuts in stockpiles, adding that Iran and the other 117 non-aligned nations that are parties to the NPT are concerned about security policies of nuclear-weapon and NATO states that allow the use, or threat of use, of atomic weapons.
Iran Demands Israel Renounce Nuclear Weapons
Iran led the call by non-aligned nations on Monday for Israel to give up its cache of nuclear weapons.
Addressing the conference on the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif placed a target on the Jewish state.
Zarif insisted that the 120-nation Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is demanding that "Israel, the only one in the region that has neither joined the NPT nor declared its intention to do so, (...) renounce possession of nuclear weapons."
While Israel is believed to be the sole nuclear-armed state in the Middle East, it has never formally acknowledged its status, and has refused to join the NPT.
Israel has shied away from gatherings of NPT signatories since 1995 in protest at resolutions it regarded as biased against it. But this year it will be sending an observer to the month-long NPT conference.
Revolutionary Guard Commander: US Bowed to Iranian Might
Maj.-Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps boasted in a speech he gave to the Bagherololoum Scientific Festival in Tehran that the United States had “bowed” before Iran’s might.
Jafari said that the concessions the U.S. had been offering – in the ongoing nuclear talks as well as in taking a generally more conciliatory approach to Tehran – were a result of Iranian power.
Jafari then spoke angrily about the United States’ regional allies, particularly Saudi Arabia, alleging that its current operation in Yemen, aimed at preventing Iranian backed Houthi rebels from seizing control of the country, is in line with Israeli regional policy.
New Video Seeks to Expose Iranian ‘Cat and Mouse Games’ With the World (VIDEO)
Raphael Shore, founder of The Clarion Project, said his goal in creating the video was to show nuclear negotiators, the American public and elected officials that a “bad deal” with Iran would be detrimental to the world. He said the US must be aware that in the Iranians it has “deeply duplicitous negotiating partners who will use whatever benefits they gain as a result of the talks, and still continue building a nuclear arsenal.”
“We believe that Iran poses a tremendous threat to America, the West, and to Israel. They have been playing cat and mouse games with the world for many years now and we are concerned that the world powers will make a bad deal,” he told The Algemeiner. “At this critical time, we wanted to make sure that the average citizen understands the nature of these threats, and to give them the opportunity to communicate with their elected officials if they are concerned.”
He added, “It is our hope that with enough pressure from people who refuse to be fooled by the Iranian regime, the administration will change course and work on more constructive and definitive ways to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions.”
Watch “In Good Faith? No Nukes for Iran!” below:


Analysis: Regional war more likely as Arab armies go on attack
Prof. Efraim Karsh, a Middle East and Mediterranean studies scholar at London’s King’s College and a senior research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University, told The Jerusalem Post that he sees the Saudi-led offensive on Yemen as essentially defensive.
“The Saudis are justifiably alarmed by the prospects of a neighboring country falling under the influence of a resurgent militant Islamist power, and these fears are exacerbated by Washington's seeming acquiescence in Iran's regional hegemony and likely transformation into a nuclear power.”
Karsh asserts that the Saudis could even “establish covert collaboration with Israel to this end.”
“The Arab states and Israel collaborated tacitly during the 1991 Gulf War, foiling Saddam's attempt to break the war coalition by firing missiles at Israel,” he said.
Asked if he sees a Saudi-led coalition taking military action in Syria, Karsh responded, “Syria is not Yemen” as the former is not a neighbor and is infinitely stronger.
JCPA: Israeli Security Policy in Syria
Although the actions attributed to Israel are indeed carried out in Syrian territory, they do not constitute any change in Israel’s policy of avoiding open intervention or taking sides in the bloody Syrian conflict. Clearly, Israel does not support either of the two main sides in the civil war – the Iranian-led radical axis and the radical Sunni axis led separately by Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra.
At the same time, Israel is not indifferent to what happens on the other side of the border. It supports the suffering Syrian people with humanitarian aid, with an emphasis on medical assistance to the many injured people in the border region, and hopes for the strengthening of the moderate elements among the regime’s opponents, who represent a very large part of the Syrian population but suffer from military and organizational weakness in comparison to their adversaries.
JCPA: Hizbullah’s Golan Heights Front
Following Israel’s airstrike against an Iranian general and Hizbullah commanders who were surveying the Golan front near Kuneitra in January 2015, there was an assessment that the military infrastructure built by Iran and Hizbullah had been exposed and dismantled.
The failed attempt by four terrorists to infiltrate the northern Golan Heights on April 25, 2015 to plant explosive devices proves that the assessment was mistaken. Moreover, the attempt revealed Hizbullah’s efforts to recruit fighters from Druze villages in the areas controlled by the Syrian army. Hizbullah activities among the Druze are led by Samir Kuntar, who succeeded in recruiting and uniting Druze activists, some residents of Majdal Shams (in the Israeli-controlled Golan), to carry out military acts against Israel.
Thus, Hizbullah is expanding its activities not just geographically within the Golan Heights, but also in the enlistment of Druze fighters into its new “Hizbullah Syria” organization. The original head of the organization was Jihad Mughniyeh, killed in the January air strike and replaced by Samir Kuntar, a Druze.
Within the confessional tapestry of Syrian society, the Druze are in the same position as the Alawites and many Christian sects who feel the Assad regime is their best guarantor against the Sunni jihadists.
Two mortar shells fired from Syria into Israel
At least two mortar shells were fired into northern Israel from Syria early Tuesday afternoon, after a series of explosions sounded in the central Golan Heights area.
The shells fell in a field outside Kibbutz Ein Zivan and caused neither casualties nor damage.
In an initial response, the IDF assessed that the shells had not been fired intentionally, but were rather spillover from battles raging in the area between the Syrian army and rebels.
“The multiple explosions heard in the Golan Heights were most likely errant fire from the internal fighting in Syria,” the army said in a statement.
The shells triggered alerts in many nearby towns, including Katzrin, Neve Ativ, Kfar Blum, Majdal Shams and the Hula Valley, minutes after 12 p.m., sending residents scrambling for shelters.
Palestinian indicted for killing Israeli in car-ramming
The Jerusalem District Attorney on Monday charged a Palestinian with deliberately running down two Israeli pedestrians this month in an alleged terror attack, killing a man and seriously injuring a woman, the Justice Ministry said.
It said in a statement that 37-year-old Khaled Koutineh, a resident of the West Bank village of Anata just outside East Jerusalem, was charged with murdering 26-year-old Shalom Yohai Sherki and the attempted murder of 20-year-old Shira Klein.
He is accused of driving into the couple “with great force” as they stood at an East Jerusalem bus stop on April 15.
National police chief Yohanan Danino at the time called it a “horrible attack.”
995 Attacks on Jerusalem Border Police Since 2014
Violence in Jerusalem continues to snowball, according to a report Tuesday - and most of the incidents are in what is defined as peacetime.
A total of 995 terror attacks against the Border Police, SWAT teams, and undercover officers were recorded throughout 2014 and through April 2015, according to Walla! News. Just 30% of the attacks were perpetrated during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.
Of those, 823 incidents was recorded during 2014 and 172 from January 2015 until April 26, 2015. Hundreds of police have been injured in these clashes, and one policeman - Border Police Superintendent Jedan Assad - died in a car rampage attack last year.
The police are the new front lines in the war on terror, according to this report. In the 16-month period, 814 Molotov cocktails have been thrown at Border Police - 666 in 2014 and 148 in 2015 thus far - and 142 explosive devices have been thrown (127 in 2014 and 15 in 2015).
Seventeen shooting incidents have unfolded involving the Border Police, with 16 in 2014 and one this year.
A total of seven stabbing attempts or attacks have been made, three in 2014 and four in 2015; and a total of 15 "car rampage" attacks (attempted or actualized) have been launched, 11 in 2014 and four in 2015.
Palestinian shot by IDF while sabotaging security fence dies of wounds
A Palestinian shot on Monday evening while sabotaging the West Bank security fence has died of his injuries, Palestinian medical sources said.
On Monday, according to an army spokeswoman, a group of Palestinians arrived at the security fence near the Palestinian village of Araka, west of Jenin, and began attacking the security barrier.
"An army force arrived and initiated a suspect arrest procedure," the IDF said. After soldiers shouted out warnings, they opened fire at the legs of suspects, hitting one.
"An IDF paramedic provided medical treatment to the wounded Palestinian, before the Red Crescent evacuated him," the army spokeswoman added.
Mohammad Saleh, 18, was hit in a main artery and doctors were unable to save him, said Tarif Ashour, a Palestinian Health Ministry official.
PreOccupied Territory: Israel Denying Armed Infiltrators Freedom Of Movement (satire)
Israel continued this week to restrict the freedom of movement of armed people trying to enter its territory, human rights groups are reporting.
Activists associated with the socially progressive Lebanese organization Hezbollah told reporters that on Sunday night an Israeli airstrike hit a group of four men who had crossed the 1967 Israel-Syria cease-fire line near an IDF position, killing all four. The incident occurred amid heightened tensions between Israel and its Lebanese and Syrian foes, and increased instability in both Syria and Lebanon since the onset of the Syrian Civil War four years ago.
The slain men were evidently carrying explosive devices and other weapons, according to IDF reports, indicating that Israel unjustly restricts not only the movement of people, but of materials as well. If confirmed, the reports fit into a much larger pattern of Israel violating the right to freedom of movement among peoples of the region, especially those attempting to move their valuable ammunition and weaponry out of troubled areas such as the Gaza Strip, Syria, and Lebanon.
Israeli measures to curtail that freedom of movement have become so intense, say observers, that an entire industry has developed in Israel devoted exclusively to the interdiction even of airborne objects desperately fleeing conflict zones. The Iron Dome system, though not deployed everywhere, intercepts a significant share of those beleaguered projectiles, denying them access to the more economically and politically promising pastures of Israeli-controlled territory.
Jimmy Carter to Meet Hamas Militants in Gaza This Week
Former U.S. Democratic President Jimmy Carter will travel to the Gaza Strip on Thursday and meet with officials from Hamas, the Jihadist terror organization that rules the Palestinian territory.
“Carter will arrive in Gaza on Thursday through the [Israeli-controlled] Erez border crossing to meet with leading Hamas officials,” a Palestinian security spokesperson told Anadolu Agency, a news outlet based in Turkey.
Carter, 90, will meet with the Hamas military chief Ismail Haneya, Xinhua reports.
He will attempt to seek reconciliation between Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah, the latter which rules the Palestinian areas of the West Bank. Carter has urged Saudi officials to help with his mediation efforts.
“Carter has lately met with prominent Saudi officials and urged their intervention to achieve reconciliation between Palestinian factions, which was welcomed by Riyadh,” a Hamas spokesperson told Anadolu Agency. “The Saudi government has begun preparations for mediation between the two movements to reach a ‘Mecca II’ agreement,” the spokesperson added.
Carter plans to arrive in the region on Thursday for a 3-day tour of Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. His request to meet with Israel’s President and Prime Minister was denied. In refusing to meet with the 39th U.S. President, both offices cited his anti-Israel, pro-Hamas sentiments.
Nepal death toll tops 5,000 as rescuers reach hard-hit rural areas
The death toll from a devastating earthquake in Nepal rose to 5,057, officials there said Tuesday, as rescuers made forays into remote villages near the epicenter of Saturday’s tremor to search for survivors and ferry out the injured.
More than 10,000 people are now known to have been injured in Saturday’s 7.8-magnitude quake, home ministry national disaster management division chief Rameshwor Dangal told AFP.
Helicopters crisscrossed the mountains above the remote district of Ranachour Tuesday near the epicenter of the weekend earthquake, ferrying the injured to clinics and taking emergency supplies back to villages cut off by landslides.
229 Israelis Arrive Home; 11 Still Missing in Nepal El-Al flight includes 15 infants; two premature babies evacuated to hospital.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu convened an emergency meeting on Tuesday afternoon to assess the situation in Nepal.
Eleven Israelis are still unaccounted-for, down from 50 as of Tuesday morning.
The meeting was attended by Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, Interior Minister Gilad Erdan, Foreign Ministry Director Nissim Ben Shitrit, Home Front Command commander Colonel Yoel Strick, MDA Director Eli Bin, and representatives of the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Public Security.
Currently, Netanyahu said, "we are focusing on two efforts. The first is to locate and extract the Israelis in distress in Nepal and allow them a safe return to Israel. To this end, we continue in operational activities that we are coordinating with the government of Nepal and other organizations."
"At the same time we are also setting up a field hospital in Nepal to help the people of Nepal during this time," he added. "We operate under two principles - that all Israel is responsible for one another, and to provide humanitarian aid in Nepal as well as many other countries."
Earlier Tuesday, an El-Al Boeing 747 landed in Ben-Gurion Airport, bringing with it 229 Israelis, including 15 infants, rescued from Nepal.
Chabad in Nepal: Basic Goods Are Running Out, We Need Donations
A Kathmandu-based emissary of Jewish outreach group Chabad on Monday said the local situation is dire, in the wake of last Friday’s earthquake in Nepal.
In a video message, Chani Lifshitz called for donations to their Kathmandu center, which has been being used as a shelter for Israeli travelers in the country.
According to Lifshitz, because of the heavy load it has to bear as a result of the recent disaster, the Chabad House in Kathmandu is in serious need of financial support.
Lifshitz said, “I appeal to your hearts, so that we can put together here all of the basic needs of the institution which are quickly running out, like water, rice, vegetables, food for the people, equipment, medicines, and all of these things.”
Lifshitz said that, “Two days after the earthquake hit our area, we still hear aftershocks every few hours,” adding that the geological situation in Nepal would definitely result in more casualties. “The ground is still not calm, which is why we have called on all Israelis not to travel on the roads and to remain in open buildings.”
Israeli innovations save lives in Nepal
Israeli innovations like the Emergency Bandage and the Pocket BVM, a manual ventilator to assist people who are not breathing, are just two of the technologies that are being put to use in saving lives in earthquake-stricken Nepal.
According to Israeli paramedic Dov Meisel, speaking to ISRAEL21c from Nepal’s badly-damaged capital, Kathmandu, a number of innovative Israeli technologies have been packed into 60 cases of medical and search-and-rescue equipment arriving at Kathmandu today for his 25-member Israeli disaster response team.
“A lot of our equipment is Israeli-made,” said Meisel, a volunteer with Israel’s United Hatzalah voluntary emergency response network and director of international operations for IsraeLife, an umbrella organization for which he is coordinating a joint disaster response team from United Hatzalah, ZAKA and FIRST rescue and recovery nonprofits.
The Emergency Bandage, by First Care Products, has a built-in pressure bar to stop bleeding and was invented by a former combat medic in the Israel Defense Force. It’s been credited for saving lives of US servicemen in Iraq, as well as Arizona Congresswoman, Gabriel Giffords.
In addition to this, the Pocket BVM from MicroBVM, and other blue-and-white supplies, the crew is mapping its activities using a satellite-based smartphone technology created for United Hatzalah, called the NowForce Life Compass.
Nepal Thanks Israel for Humanitarian Aid
The Foreign Minister of Nepal, Mahendra Bahadur Pandey thanked Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman today for the humanitarian aid that Israel has sent in the wake of the country’s devastating earthquake. Pandey noted that the Nepalese people deeply appreciate the aid being sent from Israel.
Liberman spoke with Pandey on Tuesday morning, April 28 and thanked Nepalese authorities for their assistance in sending out helicopters to evacuate stranded Israelis in more remote areas of Nepal. Nepal agreed to Israel’s request to use helicopters chartered in India and China to rescue those stranded Israelis.
The massive earthquake that hit Nepal on Saturday has killed at least 4,000 people and left nearly 8,000 people injured. According to the United Nations, eight million people have been affected, more than a quarter of the south Asian country’s population. The 7.8-magnituted quake has wreaked devastation across the country, with leaving countless inhabitants without electricity, water, and food.
Israel sent its first rescue plane from Home Front Command on Sunday, April 26 and later on, three more air force planes full of emergency aid. A delegation of Israeli doctors and paramedics flew out on a Magen David Adom plane on Sunday as well. The planes have also brought back groups of Israelis back home.
Preparations for the IDF's Humanitarian Aid Mission to Nepal
The IDF's 260-member delegation prepares for takeoff to disaster stricken Nepal. The delegation will consist of doctors & nurses, search & rescue soldiers who will all set up a sizable field hospital to provide medical care to the Nepalese people.


IDF Humanitarian Mission Arrives in Nepal
The IDF humanitarian mission to Nepal has landed in Kathmandu. We are prepared to provide care to the thousands of people who suffer from thirst, hunger and severe injuries.


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