Thursday, April 30, 2015

From Ian:


On first day, IDF field hospital in Nepal treats nearly 100, delivers baby
Israel’s field hospital in earthquake-hit Nepal began operating Wednesday morning, with staff treating nearly 100 patients and delivering their first baby — a boy — on the first day, according to an IDF spokesperson
Among the patients were some 30 Israeli nationals. Most were suffering from dehydration and were soon released to their hotels.
Over 250 doctors and rescue personnel were part of an IDF delegation that landed Tuesday in the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu, in the wake of Saturday’s magnitude-7.8 earthquake that devastated large swaths of the mountainous country, killing at least 5,000 and leaving some 8,000 wounded and tens of thousands seeking shelter and food.
The Israeli group set up the field hospital with 60 beds, including an obstetrics department, and was operating in coordination with the local army hospital.
Ethiopian Doctor Who Lit Yom Ha’Atzmaut Torch Heads IDF Team in Nepal
Israel’s first Ethiopian doctor, who lit one of the traditional torches on Yom Ha’Atzmaut give years ago, is leading the IDF medical team in Nepal.
Dr. Avi Yitzchak made Aliyah in the early 1990s in the Operation Shlomo airlift and has become a symbol of success for the Ethiopian community.
He arrived in Nepal five days ago, when he said there was absolutely nothing in the realm of first aid, and decided where to set up a field hospital, which went into operation immediately.
“We began accepting patients from the Nepalese army hospital that was not able to function well, especially in the field of surgery,” said Yitzchak, who specialized in surgery when he studied medicine at Soroka Hospital at Ben Gurion University.
“We are receiving citizens of Nepal with medical problems that the Nepalese army hospital cannot treat beaus they accept only soldiers and their families,” Dr. Yitzchak said from Katmandu.
When not in the army, Dr. Yitzhak works as a surgeon at Soroka.
Israel doesn’t care what you think
To Whom It May Concern,
If I hear one more time on Facebook, Twitter, et al that Israel’s field hospital in Nepal is somehow connected to the conflict with the Palestinians, I’m going to permanently block the person saying so on the grounds that they’re stupid.
Here’s the thing: Israel is an entire country, with all the complicated impulses and competing agendas of any human society. It is perfectly capable of being involved in two completely different things at once, of being angelic in one arena and terrible in another, just like every other country. The IDF doesn’t go to Nepal to avoid the Palestinian issue. It goes because Israelis have honed emergency medicine into an art form, and because the IDF has never quite shed its founding culture of adventurousness, and, above all, because there are people out there who desperately need help.
Those who see in every good news from Israel “hasbara” (propaganda) are missing the single most important fact you can know about Israel — that it isn’t a political campaign begging for your vote. It is a nation. With two million schoolchildren, dozens of cities, its own cinema scene and a language spoken nowhere else in the world. It doesn’t go away if it loses some imaginary popularity contest. And as with any human society, it offers an endless stream of failures and successes that will let you “prove” any narrative you want. (h/t Elder of Lobby)



Head of IDF Nepal Mission Meets Nepalese Prime Minister
The head of the IDF’s humanitarian mission in Nepal on Wednesday met with Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and assured him that Israel is doing everything in its power to save as many lives as possible from the devastating earthquake.
“We are in a close relationship with the military hospital in Kathmandu and with other hospitals, and together we promise you that we will do our best to save as many lives as we can,” the commander told Koirala.
Earlier on Wednesday, the IDF’s field hospital in Nepal began operations and will work to mend the wounded from Saturday's massive lethal earthquake.
IDF Humanitarian Mission Commander Meets with Nepalese Prime Minister


WATCH: IDF doctors deliver Nepalese baby boy in Kathmandu field hospital
Israeli soldiers who set up a field hospital in Nepal to treat the survivors of the massive earthquake that struck the Himalayan country this week delivered a newborn baby on Wednesday.
“A very cute baby boy, healthy, and weighing 2.1 kilograms was born,” said Maj. (res.) Michal Peres, a midwife by trade who is part of the IDF delegation in Kathmandu.
“He is feeling good, and he has been placed in a warm setting,” she said. “Once the mother recovers from the Caesarean section, we will bring them together.”
First Birth at the IDF's Field Hospital in Nepal


Nepal: Israeli Field Hospital Treats 'Miracle' Survivor
The second rescue occurred in the capital city of Kathmandu itself, and underlined the international character of the relief operation. American and Nepalese rescue workers worked for hours to free the trapped boy, who later identified himself as 15-year-old Pemba Lama, and transferred him to an Israeli field hospital for treatment.
According to BBC journalist Yogita Limaye, Lama told rescuers he had survived by drinking water dripping off of wet clothes, and eating two bottles of clarified butter, or "ghee", which were within reach.
She said he too was in surprisingly good health considering his ordeal, emerging fully conscious and conversing with doctors after some 120 hours trapped in the rubble.
A US Agency for International Development official told the Associated Press the boy had been trapped between two collapsed floors of the building he was in when the quake struck, but that fortunately for him the collapsed floors were not "too far down".
Israel and India Work Together on Nepal Quake Relief
Israeli Ambassador to India, Daniel Carmon, who is in regular touch with the Indian authorities regarding relief operations, also expressed his appreciation for the “constructive response” from Indian authorities.
Earlier on Sunday, India had allowed the IDF to use the country’s airspace to carry out its humanitarian operation.
The IDF already conducted a similar mission in the region, when India’s North-Western Kutch region of Gujarat experienced a massive earthquake in 2001, claiming 20,000 lives. Israel dispatched a field hospital that treated more than 1,000 casualties.
Soon thereafter, India’s current Prime Minister Narendra Modi was elected as the Chief Minister of Gujarat. Israel remained a key partner in Gujarat’s economic development.
Now India is aiding Israel in the rescue efforts in Nepal, and the situation has come full circle.
MDA Trains Nepalese Students in Israel to Save Lives at Home
Tens of thousands of Nepalese have been searching for a way to escape the devastation in their country, after a major earthquake wrought unprecedented damage on the country.
But a group of 24 students from Nepal, safely ensconced in Israel, will be going home, equipped with life-saving skills they picked up in Israel.
The students are in Israel on scholarship study programs in various Israeli universities. In recent days, the students expressed a desire to go home and help out – and got in touch with Magen David Adom officials, who quickly moved to set up an emergency treatment and care course for the students, to train them in basic life-saving skills that they can use when they return to their home towns.
MDA paramedic Daniel Pollack conducted the workshop over the past week, teaching basic English to students (in order to enable them to communicate with doctors and other rescue workers), and training them on terminology and techniques to assist people with broken arms and legs and other injuries, as well as providing information on how to help people with internal injuries.
The students will be dispatched to Nepal to work with professional MDA teams, assisting them in providing basic services for those suffering from the effects of the quake.
CBN: Israel Sends Large-Scale Mission to Nepal
A 260-member team from Israel arrived in Nepal Tuesday to aid in search and rescue operations and to set up a multi-facility field hospital that can treat at least 200 patients daily.


PreOccupied Territory: IDF Declares Cover-Up Of Earthquake Device A Success (satire)
Commanders of the ostensibly medical IDF mission to Nepal in the aftermath of last week’s catastrophic earthquake report success in their efforts to conceal the fact that Israeli technology was behind the cataclysm.
The 7.8-magnitude earthquake collapsed tens of thousands of buildings and caused deadly avalanches at Mt. Everest. So far the death toll has reached more than 6,000, with government and rescue expert estimates expecting the figure to double as rubble is cleared. Israel was among the first countries to send aid, including more than 250 personnel whose mission was officially declared as rescue and medical treatment. The tasks involved setting up and running the largest field hospital in IDF history, in order to divert attention from the operation to conceal and retrieve the device that caused the earthquake.
Causing natural and man-made disasters constitutes an important element of international Zionist strategy to sow instability and to distract from operations that might otherwise attract unwanted attention and opposition. The scale of the Nepal earthquake necessitated a larger device than has been deployed in at least a decade, and its installation in the Himalayas – and therefore its removal as well – demanded a manpower-intensive operation. Whereas installation of the device could take place gradually, using the constant stream of Israeli agents posing as climbers and backpackers across Asia, its disassembly and return to Israel needed to be accomplished faster to avoid discovery amid intense international scrutiny in the post-earthquake media storm.
David Singer: Why Ariel Sharon's Ghost Haunts Barack Obama
The idea that Israel should be required to make mutually agreed land swaps for territory it retains in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) was never stipulated or mentioned in the letter given by President Bush to Israel’s then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on 14 April 2004 – whose terms were overwhelmingly endorsed by the House of Representatives 407:9 on 23 June 2004 and the Senate 95:3 the next day. (“American Written Commitments”)
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had declared at the Annapolis International Conference convened by President Bush on 27 November 2007 that any resumed negotiations:
“will be based on previous agreements between us, UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, the Roadmap and the April 14th 2004 letter of President Bush to the Prime Minister of Israel.”
Michael Oren – Kulanu’s diplomatic voice and former Israeli Ambassador to Washington between 2009 and 2013 – recently called for these 2004 American Written Commitments to be resuscitated:
“A decade ago, in April 2004, then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon received a letter from American president George Bush, Jr. recognizing Israel's right to build in long-standing Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem like Talpiyot-East and Ramot. Furthermore, Israel was now allowed to build in settlement blocs crucial for Israel's security, and in which some 80 per cent of Israelis who live in Judea and Samaria reside […] According to the Bush-Sharon letter, these areas will remain within Israel's borders in any arrangement arrived at with the Palestinians […] it's time to revive the Bush-Sharon letter and act according to it.”
Obama is going to find it impossible to impose his land swap proposals – if Oren has any say.
Sharon’s ghost has tantalisingly returned to haunt Obama.
The Iran Deal and the Looming Showdown with Israel at the UN
I find the wording there quite revealing. It suggests that the cost-benefit analysis performed by the administration shows it to be a net-negative to abandon Israel at the UN. Hence, the president would “back off.” But the “hesitate” part is interesting too. The president seems to want to side against Israel on this issue, but believes he just doesn’t have the political capital to take such a drastic step.
Yet he also doesn’t want to side with Israel on the issue because he doesn’t want to go on record against a peace plan that he really supports. So he doesn’t want the vote to ever actually take place.
Perhaps he just wants the vote to be a looming threat to quiet Israel’s opposition to the Iran deal. Whatever the case, he won’t be able to put off the UN vote forever. And that’s when we’ll see if the president who took the extraordinary step of downgrading the U.S.-Israel military alliance while Israel was at war is also ready to downgrade the U.S.-Israel diplomatic alliance and unleash the full prejudice of the United Nations on the Jewish state.

Iranian FM Mocks Obama, Admits Holding Ship for Ransom, Calls Washington Post Reporter a Spy
In a speech at New York University today, Iranian foreign minister and chief nuclear negotiator Mohammad Javad Zarif lashed out at President Barack Obama and the U.S. Senate, justified the detention of a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo ship, and suggested that The Washington Post‘s Tehran reporter, Jason Rezaian, is a spy.
Josh Rogin of Bloomberg View reported on Zarif’s remarks.
In a set of blustery and self-righteous remarks, Iran’s top diplomat assured the crowd at New York University that President Barack Obama would be compelled to stop enforcing sanctions only days after any nuclear agreement was signed and would have to figure out how to lift congressional sanctions on Iran within weeks, no matter what Congress has to say about it. He also said that any future president, even a Republican, would be compelled to stick that agreement.
Zarif also took several shots at the U.S. Senate, just as it debated amendments to a bill designed to slow the lifting of sanctions against Iran and give Congress an oversight role on the deal. …
Zarif said that if there is a nuclear agreement by June 30, the negotiators’ latest self-imposed deadline, then within a few days the United Nations Security Council would pass a resolution lifting all UN sanctions and requiring Obama to stop enforcing all of the U.S. sanctions immediately.
Iran FM says nuke deadline not ‘sacrosanct’
Iran’s foreign minister says his country and world powers will meet Thursday to start bringing together the elements of a draft on a comprehensive nuclear deal, with meetings starting Monday in Europe to finalize all its elements.
Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said at an event Wednesday in New York that even though Iran certainly wants to meet the June 30 deadline for an agreement, “no time deadline is sacrosanct.”
He met with Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday.
Zarif says Iran expects UN sanctions to be lifted within a few days of a deal. And he expects President Barack Obama will have to stop implementing the US sanctions on his country. “How he does is his problem,” Zarif said.
He also took aim at Israel’s prime minister, who has been a fierce critic of the attempt to reach a deal with Iran over its nuclear program and who went as far as addressing Congress over the issue, to Obama’s displeasure. Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
Zarif called Benjamin Netanyahu’s criticism “ironic but laughable.”
“Netanyahu has become everyone’s non-proliferation guru. He is sitting on 400 nuclear warheads,” the foreign minister said.
Israel has never publicly declared any nuclear weapons.
Iran wants nukes to foster extremism, opposition leader tells US
Testifying before a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee via videoconference from France, Rajavi discussed international negotiations underway to get Iran to curb its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions crippling its economy.
She warned against giving Iran too many concessions, saying it would embolden its leaders to be more aggressive in meddling in other nations.
She said the US and five other nations in talks with Iran must demand that it completely stop enriching uranium and shut down its nuclear sites, missile programs and other programs. While there is no final deal yet, emerging details of an agreement fall short of her demands.
“None of the sanctions should be lifted before an agreement has been signed that effectively and definitively denies the mullahs the bomb,” Rajavi said. “Otherwise, the regime will spend billions of unfrozen assets to buy weapons, including advanced missiles from Russia.”
Sen. Tom Cotton Calls Out 'Cowardly' Iranian Foreign Minister on Twitter
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) is firing back at comments from Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif about sanctions. In a statement posted on his Senate website, and followed by a series of sharply worded tweets, Cotton goes so far as to call Zarif “cowardly.”
In his statement, Cotton noted that President Barack Obama had “promised sanctions would only be lifted when Iran’s compliance with restrictions on their nuclear program were verified.” However, Zarif has contradicted Obama, issuing his own statement that mentioned Cotton, who had led a group of 47 Senators to sign a letter opposing the deal with Iran unless it was ratified by Congress:
If we have an agreement on the 30th of June, within a few days after that, there will be a resolution before the UN Security Council under Article 41 of Chapter 7 which will be mandatory for all member states whether Senator Cotton likes it or not.
Cotton came right back at Zarif, saying that the controversy was not about him, but what would “keep America safe from a nuclear-armed Iran,” and attacking the comments by Zarif and other Iranian officials as “demonstrat[ing] why Iran cannot be trusted:”
US Senate rejects tying terrorism support to Iran sanctions relief
The U.S. Senate rejected an effort on Wednesday to tie sanctions relief for Iran under an international nuclear agreement to a requirement that President Barack Obama certify that Iran is not supporting acts of terrorism against Americans.
A handful of Republicans joined Senate Democrats to reject by a 54-45 vote a proposed amendment offered by Republican Senator John Barrasso that would have added the terrorism clause to a bill subjecting an international nuclear agreement to review by the U.S. Congress.
The Senate has been engaged in intense debate over the legislation, a compromise version of the bill reached in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week in an effort to avoid a presidential veto.
Obama to veto any bill that would undermine Iran talks
US President Barack Obama plans to veto any legislation that would depart from a deal between the White House and US lawmakers over Congress’ role in the Iranian nuclear negotiations, an administration official said Wednesday.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest also said Obama also would not support any bill that would interfere with the negotiations between Iran, the US and other world powers over its nuclear program, Reuters reported.
On Tuesday, the Republican-controlled Senate turned back an attempt to elevate any nuclear deal with Iran into a treaty, a vote that gave momentum to lawmakers trying to pass a bill giving Congress a chance to review and possibly reject any agreement with Tehran.
The amendment, filed by Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, failed 39 to 57.
'Rubio's demand that Iran recognize Israel threatens to sink bipartisan deal'
Aside from Iranian recognition of Israel, Rubio also wants the Tehran regime to unconditionally release all Americans held in Iran, the Obama administration to submit any UN resolutions to Congress for approval, and the economic sanctions regime to remain in place, according to Politico.
Despite indications that the GOP leadership is on board with the proposed Rubio amendments, some Republicans are wary of the move since it threatens to undo progress made with Democrats over a bipartisan coalition that has forced the administration to back down from its previous position ruling out any Congressional say over the Iran deal.
The influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee is pressuring lawmakers not to support amendments to toughen a bill that lets Congress review a nuclear agreement with Iran, hoping to avoid a partisan battle that could doom the legislation.
AIPAC has been urging Republicans not to back amendments that might turn many Senate Democrats against the "Iran Nuclear Review Act," or prompt Obama to renew his threat to veto the legislation.
"Our priority is to make sure the bill gets passed with the strongest possible bipartisan majority so that Congress is guaranteed the opportunity to pass judgment on the final agreement," an AIPAC source said.
Exclusive: Britain told U.N. monitors of active Iran nuclear procurement - panel
Britain has informed a United Nations sanctions panel of an active Iranian nuclear procurement network linked to two blacklisted firms, according to a confidential report by the panel seen by Reuters.
The existence of such a network could add to Western concerns over whether Tehran can be trusted to adhere to a nuclear deal due by June 30 in which it would agree to restrict sensitive nuclear work in exchange for sanctions relief.
Talks between six major powers and Tehran are approaching the final stages after they hammered out a preliminary agreement on April 2, with Iran committing to reduce the number of centrifuges it operates and other long-term nuclear limitations.
"The UK government informed the Panel on 20 April 2015 that it 'is aware of an active Iranian nuclear procurement network which has been associated with Iran's Centrifuge Technology Company (TESA) and Kalay Electric Company (KEC)'," the Panel of Experts said in its annual report. The panel monitors Iran's compliance with the U.N. sanctions regime.
KEC is under U.N. Security Council sanctions while TESA is under U.S. and European Union sanctions due to their suspected links to banned Iranian nuclear activities.
Iran, which is has been under sanctions for years, has a long history of illicit nuclear procurement using front companies and other methods of skirting sanctions.
Contact Made with Crew of Ship Seized by Iran
Brief contact has been made with the 24-man crew on the Marshall Islands-flagged Maersk Tigris ship seized by Iran this week, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
The ship was charted by Rickmers Shipmanagement, based in Singapore, whose spokesman Cor Radings said:
They’re all in relatively good condition, but it’s not a good situation and is still of concern to us,
He added that Iranian guards are keeping the crew in their rooms and eating area. All of the crew members are from Asia and Eastern Europe.
The USS Navy has sent the U.S. Farragut destroyer and three other smaller ships to the Strait of Hormuz (Persian Gulf) in response to Iran’s seizure of the vessel on Tuesday.
Rickmers maintains that the Maersk ship was in international waters when Iranian Revolutionary Navy Guards shot at it and then forced it to the area of the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas.
U.S. Navy Dispatches Vessels After Iran Seizes Allied Cargo Ship
While the Marshall Islands is a sovereign country, the U.S. “has full authority and responsibility for security and defense of the Marshall Islands,” according to the U.S. State Department. Maersk, the shipping line whose vessel was commandeered, is one of the largest employers of U.S. merchant mariners, and “operate[s], manage[s] and maintain[s] ships for the U.S. government ships in preposition and surge sealift capacities,” according to its website.
Patrick Megahan, a research analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, noted that Maersk Tigris was in international waters when it was seized.
Last week at a State Department briefing, Acting Spokesperson Marie Harf emphasized that the move of U.S. naval vessels to Yemen was not to intercept Iranian ships but “only to ensure the shipping lanes remain open and safe.”
Expert: Seizure of Cargo Ship Latest Unanswered Iranian Challenge to American Navy
Noting that Iran’s seizure of the Maersk Tigris M/V yesterday was done in “blatant defiance” of the United States, Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall noted that it was that latest in series of recent provocations in the Persian Gulf, especially since the United States last week sent two ships to the waters off Yemen to deter Iran from shipping weapons to the Houthi rebels.
Segall wrote:
Strong criticism of the U.S. Navy blocking the Iranian convoy came from two powerful military sources in Iran: Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, former defense minister, and commander of the navies of the Revolutionary Guard and the Iranian Army, as well as Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi, the Iranian army chief of staff (see “Does Iran’s Navy Directly Arm its Jihadi Allies?”).
The seizure of the Maersk Tigris M/V could be an Iranian signal that it will not countenance the blocking of assistance it seeks to give its Yemeni proxies – the Houthis — and could also be part of the simmering warfare Iran has been waging with Saudi Arabia over influence in the Persian Gulf and beyond. The Saudis refer to the body of water as the “Arabian Gulf.”
A month ago an Iranian reconnaissance aircraft passed provocatively close to an armed MH-60R helicopter from the USS Carl Vinson carrier, part the U.S. fleet. The incident received little media coverage and the United States preferred to play it down, claiming it was a local initiative of Iranian commanders.
PreOccupied Territory: Iran Hijacks VP’s NY Motorcade; Obama Sends Destroyer, Urges Calm (satire)
Iranian cars stopped and seized the vehicles carrying and escorting US Vice President Joe Biden through New York’s streets today, and took him and his staff into custody at the country’s mission to the United Nations. In response, President Obama urged calm and ordered the navy to dispatch the destroyer Poltroon to the East River.
Biden’s motorcade was ferrying him from John F. Kennedy International Airport to a meeting with Democratic Party donors in Midtown this morning when a group of eleven Iranian vehicles surrounded it and ordered the drivers to follow them. When the motorcade resisted, Iran’s agents fired across the hoods of the American vehicles and commandeered the six cars. The head of the vice president’s Secret Service detail sent out a distress call, and the Poltroon was sent to the vicinity. By the time it arrived, however, Biden, his staff, security detail, and vehicles had been impounded in the Iran mission’s underground garage.
Iranian sources said the motorcade had violated the country’s territorial waters, and that its agents were defending the country’s maritime integrity. Manhattan, as an Island, falls within Iran’s territorial waters, the country’s navy said in a statement. The statement also said the detainees were in good condition and that none of Iran’s vehicles suffered any damage in the incident. There was as yet no word on the state of the motorcade cars.
Police release hit-and-run terror attack footage
Two weeks after a Palestinian deliberately ran down two Israeli pedestrians, killing a man and seriously injuring a woman, Israel Police and the family of the victim allowed footage of the terror attack to be released Wednesday.
In the security camera footage, Khaled Koutineh is seen sharply deviating from his lane and ramming into the bus stop where 26-year-old Shalom Yohai Sherki and his 20-year-old girlfriend Shira Klein were standing on April 15.
Koutineh, a 37-year-old resident of the West Bank village of Anata just outside East Jerusalem, was charged on Monday with murdering Sherki and the attempted murder of Klein.
Victim of Palestinian vehicular attack in Jerusalem released from hospital
Two weeks after being seriously wounded in a Jerusalem vehicular terrorist attack that killed Shalom Yohai Cherki, Shira Klein, 24, was released from Hadassah University Medical Center in Ein Kerem on Thursday.
Klein was placed on a ventilator and sedated for several days after sustaining head and hand wounds during the late night attack carried out by Khaled Koutineh, at a French Hill bus stop on Haim Bar-Lev Boulevard.
Earlier this week, she was transferred from the intensive care unit to orthopedics, upon regaining consciousness.
Joint US-Israeli Anti-Tunneling Research Added to Defense Budget
Bipartisan bills allocating funds to joint U.S.-Israeli research and development of anti-tunneling technology were added to this year’s defense budget by a unanimous voice vote at the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday, the Algemeiner has learned.
The projects authorized by the amendment, which was added to the National Defense Authorization Act, will seek to develop an anti-tunneling defense system that can protect Israel from terrorist attacks via tunnels, such as those carried out by Hamas in last summer’s war between Israel and the Gaza-ruling Hamas.
The defense technology could also be used to safeguard American military bases, and U.S. national borders with Mexico and Canada, the legislation’s authors said.
The amendment combines segments from bills put forward by U.S. Representatives Gwen Graham (D-FL) and Doug Lamborn (R-CO).
“Our closest ally in the Middle East – Israel – lives under the constant threat of terrorist attacks from underground tunnels,” Rep. Graham said. “The US-Israel Anti-Tunnel Defense Cooperation Act will launch an unprecedented new initiative to protect Israel from this dangerous menace. To secure peace, we must first help Israel secure their state from attacks. Iron Dome has saved countless civilian lives, and an anti-tunneling defense shield will save countless more.”
The Israel Defense Forces discovered 32 terror tunnels during last summer’s conflict between Hamas and the Jewish state. Fourteen of those tunnels crossed directly into Israel.
Israel returns 15 confiscated Gaza fishing boats
Israel has returned 15 fishing boats it seized in recent years off the Gaza Strip, the army said this week.
Palestinian fishermen said it was the first time Israel had given vessels back, and demanded the return of dozens more.
“The naval branch (navy) returned to Gaza 15 fishing boats which deviated from the Strip’s permitted fishing zone and were seized over the years,” an Israel Defense Forces statement said late Wednesday.
The tiny vessels were dragged back to shore by a boat from the Gaza fishermen’s union, an AFP photographer said.
Israel, which has imposed an eight-year blockade on Gaza for fear of arms smuggling, bans fishing beyond six nautical miles (11 kilometers) off the coast. Boats exceeding that limit are at risk of being considered suspicious, and may be fired upon as possible arms-smuggling vessels.
The Israeli army has intercepted a number of arms-smuggling vessels in the past.
New UN peace envoy visits Gaza for first time, calls for end to Israel's blockade
The UN's new envoy to the Middle East peace process made his first trip to the Gaza Strip on Thursday, calling for an end to Israel's 8-year blockade of the coastal enclave.
Nickolay Mladenov, who formerly served as Bulgaria's minister of foreign affairs from 2010 to 2013 and minister of defense from 2009 to 2010, replaced Robert Serry as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and his Personal Representative to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority in February.
"We in the United Nations, along with our partners in the international community, have a responsibility to ensure that Gaza is not just being reconstructed... but that the blockade which stops access to construction materials, to movement of people, goods... is lifted," AFP quoted Mladenov as saying in Gaza on Thursday.
Mladenov also lamented the failure to implement the Palestinian unity deal that Hamas and Fatah signed last year.
U.N. Renews Commitment to Perpetuate “Limbo-like State” of the Palestinians (satire)
Today the United Nations announced that the international community will not sit idly by while the fate of the Palestinians is decided, one way or the other. “We’ve kept significant progress being made for 67 years now, and we now know that the world is in agreement that this will not change,” stated Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.
The Arab League appears to have decided on the framework of the plan, but the Palestinian Authority was not invited. “We know what’s best for us, er… I mean, our beloved Palestinians, and it’s important that we keep them in limbo for political capit- I mean, until the right peace deal is reached. Good things come to those who wait, you know!”
When asked why perpetuating the Palestinians’ situation would be preferable to solving it once and for all, Ban Ki-Moon responded simply, “Look, this is the one thing we’re really good at, why stop now? What would the next step even be? It’s uncharted territory, and to be honest we’re not all that interested in exploring it.”
Saudi Arabia Thwarts Massive ISIS Attack on U.S. Embassy
Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry announced that it had thwarted a car bomb attack against the American embassy in Riyadh, and had arrested 93 people, mostly Saudi nationals, for ties to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
The New York Times reported yesterday.
The ministry said in an statement that the suspects were accused of recruiting and training new members; testing explosives; gathering firearms; and plotting to attack residential areas and security facilities. They were arrested in six groups, it said, adding that most of the suspects had ties to the Islamic State extremist group and nearly all were Saudi citizens. One of the 93 suspects is a woman. …
For their part, the Islamic State’s leaders have called on their supporters to mount attacks inside Saudi Arabia. There have been a series of mainly small-scale attacks in recent months.
Saudi officials said last week that a pair of men accused of killing two policemen had received support from the Islamic State. Saudi Arabia announced on Tuesday that the second of those suspects had been detained.
New ISIS ‘Navy SEALs’ Video Makes Military Experts Chuckle
The Islamic State is promoting a new band of “special forces” with a laughable propaganda film that is not up to the new media team’s usual standards.
A group of dudes dressed in black play at Navy SEALs in the video, obtained by Vocativ, showing off their questionable lifting and swimming skills and their ability to clumsily sneak up on oblivious folks (in slow motion) and push them into the river or slit their throat.
“Just looking at the way they moved, the way they held their weapons, made me laugh,” James Dever, a retired Marines Corps sergeant major told Vocativ. “But I’m not a young person who knows nothing about skilled combat.”
A counterterrorism expert and former Navy helicopter pilot pointed out to Vocativ some of the obvious problems with the group’s tactics in the film, such as a water-staged attack in broad daylight, which is unusual, or the cotton clothing they’re wearing which, when wet, could blow their cover on land.
“The quality of training appears very rudimentary and just hokey in some parts,” Rick Nelson told Vocativ. “You must have an element of surprise. Nothing in the video shows a particular ability of attacking in a clandestine or covert matter.”
Middle Eastern States Debate Whether to Intervene in Baltimore (satire)
As riots in Baltimore continue to spiral out of control, several Middle Eastern leaders have publicly considered sending forces to help maintain some sense of order and stop the chaos from spilling over into neighboring states.
“We aren’t the world’s police, and we can’t be expected to intervene in such an unstable region every time the people rise up against their government,” explained Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. “At the same time, we have legitimate interests in ensuring Maryland doesn’t become a failed state given its proximity to Washington.”
While the Iraqi leader said he was against putting boots on the ground in Baltimore, he would not rule out airstrikes to help strengthen the increasingly-tenuous hold of the American regime. The Libyan Prime Minister, Abdullah al-Thani, said that Arab states must take action to make sure the unrest does not spread to the American capital just 30 miles away. However, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was adamant that his military would not be pulled into the conflict in Baltimore.
“While we view the events in Baltimore with great concern, we’ve got our own issues to deal with and cannot afford to be nation-building overseas,” Ghani insisted. “Besides, even if our intention is just to put down the uprising in Baltimore, we could end up getting sucked into their civil war and still have our troops propping up the government 15 years from now.”


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون



This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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