Monday, February 13, 2017

From Ian:

Rivlin supports one-state solution, full annexation of West Bank
In a possible harbinger signaling an official shift in government policy, President Reuvin Rivlin on Monday said he supported the full annexation of the West Bank, in exchange for complete Israeli citizenship and equal rights granted to Palestinian residents.
Stating that he believes “Zion is entirely ours,” and that “the sovereignty of the State of Israel must be in all the blocs,” at the opening day of the 14th Jerusalem Conference, Rivlin may have tested the waters for the one-state solution he has long championed.
“It must be clear,” he cautioned a packed auditorium of right-wing participants attending the two-day symposium at the capital’s Crowne Plaza. “If we extend sovereignty, the law must apply equally to all. Applying sovereignty to an area gives citizenship to all those living there.”
Rivlin continued: “There are no separate laws for Israelis and for non-Israelis.”
Erdan: No minister, including Netanyahu, wants a Palestinian state soon
All Israel’s cabinet ministers, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state in the near term, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan insisted on Monday.
“I think all the members of the cabinet oppose a Palestinian state, and the prime minister first among them — some [ministers] for reasons that might be ideological, biblical, and some from security considerations,” Erdan told Army Radio.
A few seconds later added, “No one thinks that in the next few years a Palestinian state is something that, God forbid, might and should happen.”
At a security cabinet meeting Sunday, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, leader of the pro-settlement Jewish Home party, demanded that Netanyahu use his Wednesday summit with US President Donald Trump to announce that Israel would no longer pursue the two-state solution.
Honest Reporting: UN to Israel: Give Land to ISIS!
UN Security Council's anti-Israel Resolution #2334 technically requires Israel to give land to Islamic State (ISIS). No - really! Take a look..

Walk of shame: Sweden’s “first feminist government” don hijabs in Iran
In a statement that has gone viral on Twitter and Facebook, UN Watch, a non-governmental human rights NGO in Geneva, expressed disappointment that Sweden’s self-declared “first feminist government in the world” sacrificed its principles and betrayed the rights of Iranian women as Trade Minister Ann Linde and other female members walked before Iranian President Rouhani on Saturday wearing Hijabs, Chadors, and long coats, in deference to Iran’s oppressive and unjust modesty laws which make the Hijab compulsory — despite Stockholm’s promise to promote “a gender equality perspective” internationally, and to adopt a “feminist foreign policy” in which “equality between women and men is a fundamental aim.”
In doing so, Sweden’s female leaders ignored the recent appeal by Iranian women’s right activist Masih Alinejad who urged Europeans female politicians “to stand for their own dignity” and to refuse to kowtow to the compulsory Hijab while visiting Iran.
Alinrejad created a Facebook page for Iranian women to resist the law and show their hair as an act of resistance, which now numbers 1 million followers.
“European female politicians are hypocrites,” says Alinejad. “They stand with French Muslim women and condemn the burkini ban—because they think compulsion is bad—but when it happens to Iran, they just care about money.”
The scene in Tehran on Saturday was also a sharp contrast to Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lövin’s feminist stance against U.S. President Donald Trump, in a viral tweet and then in a Guardian op-ed last week, in which she wrote that “the world need strong leadership for women’s rights.”
Trade Minister Linde, who signed multiple agreements with Iranian ministers while wearing a veil, “sees no conflict” between her government’s human rights policy and signing trade deals with an oppressive dictatorship that tortures prisoners, persecutes gays, and is a leading executioner of minors.
“If Sweden really cares about human rights, they should not be empowering a regime that brutalizes its own citizens while carrying out genocide in Syria; and if they care about women’s rights, then the female ministers never should have gone to misogynistic Iran in the first place,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer.

Israeli minister Make Palestinians pay for refusing to make peace
The Palestinians should be made to pay a price for failing to reach an agreement with Israel, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) said at Monday's Jerusalem Conference.
Erdan said that in the past, the Palestinians had a mantra that time was on their side and waiting to reach an agreement with Israel would pay off for them. He said that now with a pro-Israel president in Donald Trump, time worked against the Palestinians.
"The Trump presidency is a historic opportunity to say the land of Israel is ours," Erdan said. "With a friend who realizes settlements aren't an impediment to peace, the Palestinians can be made to realize that time no longer works in their favor and that they will pay a price for their refusal. There should be building everywhere in Judea and Samaria, not just in Jerusalem and settlement blocs, because that would set a de facto border."
Erdan said now was the time for Israel to apply sovereignty to Ariel and Greater Jerusalem, including Gush Etzion.
He said the policies of Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama's policies were "180 degrees the opposite of what we believe in."
Netanyahu, leaving for DC, says he and Trump ‘see eye-to-eye’
The US-Israel alliance is “about to get even stronger” during the Trump era, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday afternoon as he boarded a plane at Ben Gurion International Airport on his way to his first summit meeting with new US President Donald Trump.
“President Trump and I see eye-to-eye on the dangers emanating from the region,” Netanyahu said in English shortly before boarding the plane, “but also on the opportunities. And we’ll talk about both, as well as upgrading the relations between Israel and the United States in many, many fields.”
While “the alliance between Israel and America has always been extremely strong,” he said, it was “about to get even stronger.”
The two men last met at the end of the September, some six weeks before Trump’s upset victory.
In Hebrew comments at the airport, Netanyahu also addressed the pressure he has been facing from Jewish Home cabinet ministers to use the Wednesday’s Oval Office meeting as a forum for announcing the dissolution of the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Analysis: David Friedman’s confirmation hearing will dissect Trump’s evolving policy
Trump has since rolled back his plans to swiftly move Washington’s embassy, and Friedman’s appointment seems less prescient than it had before, now that Trump is issuing support for a peace process between Israel and the Palestinians resulting in a final-status agreement.
“I am not someone who believes that advancing settlements is good for peace,” Trump told Sheldon Adelson’s Israel Hayom last week. “I think we can reach an agreement and that we need to reach an agreement.”
Settler leaders are once again rattled after pinning their hopes for months on Trump’s candidacy, nomination and ultimate election.
They now wonder what to expect from an ambitious foreign policy team surrounding Trump, and question whether Friedman will still have sway from afar over the president’s emerging policy on settlements.
Trump was aware of the message he sent Israel in selecting Friedman, who served him as an adviser on Israel and Jewish world issues throughout the campaign. Before the election, Friedman worked as one of Trump’s lawyers.
“This is one that’s not at all controversial,” Trump quipped of Friedman on Inauguration Day, signing executive orders on his major appointments shortly after taking the oath of office. “David’s going to do a great job.”
When Friedman pitches himself to members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week, it will be the first real trial of expectations set by Israeli hard-liners supportive of his appointment. Trump will host Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office the day before, but carefully worded statements and choreographed chemistry in the White House will reveal less than what Friedman has to say over the course of several hours in the Senate.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Says Trump Was Ready to Announce Embassy Relocation to Jerusalem at ’12:01′ on Inauguration Day
President Donald Trump was prepared to announce the move of the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem a minute after his inauguration last month, junior Tennessee Senator Bob Corker said in an interview this week.
On The Global Politico podcast posted on Monday, Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told host Susan B. Glasser that when he was interviewed late November for the position of secretary of state, he got the impression that relocating the embassy was “going to be their first move.”
“They were ready to move the embassy at 12:01 on Jan. 20, maybe 12 and 30 seconds,” Corker said, going on to explain why he thinks that did not happen.
“[M]y question at the time is, how does Israel feel about that? They’ve never had a closer relationship with the Arab world. I mean, the Iran deal… was not the kind of agreement we should have entered into…But the one plus in the Iran deal is it brought the Arab community close to Israel…So when you’ve got a situation like that, do you really want to destroy this alliance that is unprecedented and is real?”
Corker went on to say that he believes Israel is now “ready… for the embassy to move to Jerusalem,” and that it “may be waiting…until after [Ambassador-designate David Friedman] is confirmed to make additional moves.”
Trump Urges Putin to Ignore ISIS and Bomb Nordstrom (satire)
Saying that the fight against radical Islamic terrorism could wait until more important matters are resolved, President Trump has called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to turn back fighter jets headed to Syria and redirect them to target Nordstrom locations throughout the US.
Trump’s request came after Nordstrom dropped the apparel brand of the president’s daughter, Ivanka, after anti-Trump activists called for boycotts of companies carrying the brand.
“Listen, we will deal with ISIS, believe me. They are some bad hombres, or whatever an hombre is in Arabic, and we’re going to get rid of them, eventually,” Trump explained. “But what Nordstrom did to my daughter was awful. Much worse than anything ISIS ever did.”
Despite Trump’s request, there were no signs that Putin planned to turn his attention from the Syrian city of Aleppo to Nordstrom headquarters in Seattle. As of press time, Russian planes were still bombing Syrian targets, drawing protest from National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
The U.S Was Right to Turn Down a Palestinian Representative for a UN Post
On Thursday, the new UN secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, nominated Salam Fayyad, former prime minister of the Palestinian Authority (PA), to be the United Nations envoy to Libya. Nikki Haley, America’s ambassador to the UN, nixed the appointment, provoking a storm of criticism. While acknowledging that Fayyad has a good track record from his time in the PA government, Benny Avni argues that Haley made the correct move:
Naming “Palestine” as Fayyad’s state of origin, [as Guterres’s nomination did], is crucial. Never before had a person from a country that is not a full United Nations member been named to such a high post. American law forbids, moreover, funding any international organization that recognizes “Palestine” as its full member.
That’s a context in which the American refusal to approve of the elevation of the Palestinian to a key UN job takes on a certain logic. American officials, as well as their Israeli counterparts, sensed that Guterres’s move was yet another step in the Palestinian Authority’s strategy of gaining world recognition through creeping UN acceptance. . . .
[T]he UN nomination was not about Mr. Fayyad, but about the claim to statehood that his nomination represents. . . . [A UN spokesman, commenting on Fayyad’s nomination], noted that “no Israeli and no Palestinian has served in a post of high responsibility at the United Nations. This is a situation that the secretary-general feels should be corrected.”
Can Israel Rely on Foreign Peacekeepers and Security Guarantees?
1. Israel is urged to concede the historically and militarily most critical mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria, in return for a US, or a multinational, peacekeeping force, as well as US security guarantees or defense pact.
9. The stationing of foreign peacekeeping troops on Israel’s border would cripple Israel’s defense capabilities, requiring Israel to seek prior approval in preempting or countering belligerence, which would also strain US-Israel ties. At the same time, appearing to have enabled Israel to act freely, would damage US-Arab ties.
10. The assumption that inherently tenuous, intangible, open-ended and reversible US security commitments constitute an effective compensation for critical Israeli land, tangible, irreversible concessions – such as a retreat from the strategically and historically critical mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria – reflects detachment from the Washington constitutional labyrinth and recent precedents, engendering a false sense of security, thus compromising the existence of the Jewish state, transforming Israel from a robust national security producing asset to a frail national security consuming liability, undermining US interests and US-Israel relations.
Right-wing lawmakers back Livni for possible UN appointment
Two lawmakers from the right-wing Jewish Home party endorsed opposition MK Tzipi Livni on Sunday for the post of deputy secretary-general of the United Nations.
According to the Haaretz daily, Livni, who now heads the Hatnua Party and is number two on the Zionist Union faction in the Knesset, was asked to join the world body by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in a phone call over the weekend.
Her appointment would have to be approved by the UN Security Council.
“It is a great idea for Tzipi Livni to have a senior position in the United Nations,” Jewish Home MK Betzalel Smotrich, who frequently butts heads with Livni in the Knesset, wrote on Twitter. “As a patriotic Zionist with experience, I am certain that she would do fantastic work.”
Germany said to scrap summit with Israel over outpost law
Berlin reportedly canceled an upcoming summit between the German and Israeli governments due to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s displeasure with a law passed in the Knesset last week legalizing outpost settlements built on private Palestinian land.
The summit, which was scheduled to take place in Jerusalem in May, was set to feature a meeting between Merkel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as between a number of senior government ministers from the two countries.
However, the planned meeting was recently scrapped, with unnamed German and Israeli officials telling the Hebrew-language Haaretz daily that the cancellation of the meeting was due to Merkel’s frustration with the so called Regulation Law legalizing wildcat outposts in the West Bank, as well as the announcement of some 6,000 new homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since the inauguration of US President Donald Trump in January.
The cancellation of the meeting is just one of a number of both public and behind-closed-doors diplomatic steps that Germany plans to take in response to its disapproval of recent Israeli settlement policies, according to Haaretz.
Maybe We Shouldn’t Have Made All Those “New Jewish Settlements” Invisible By Avigdor Liberman, Minister of Defense (satire)
Having served as Minister of Defense for ten months now, I can give a number of observations as to certain strategic mistakes our country has made over the last several decades, but principally in the last eight years. Chief among them, I would argue, was the decision to make all those new settlements everyone says we’ve been building invisible.
To read media reports, international pronouncements, and all manner of anti-settlement NGO statements – not to mention the panicked rhetoric among some of our own homegrown left-wingers – the pace of Jewish settlement construction in Judea and Samaria is such that unless action is taken now, there will be no hope for a contiguous, viable Palestinian state, and all incentive for a peaceful resolution of the conflict will disappear, leading to endless violence, Apartheid, and general apocalypse. Especially galling, of course, is all those Palestinian communities that were bulldozed to make room for Jewish settlements. So I believe it was unwise to make all that bulldozing, construction, and populating of those settlements mostly invisible. In the case of the last twenty years or so, one hundred percent invisible.
Let that sink in. We’ve been sending invisible bulldozers out to destroy invisible Palestinian homes, displacing thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of invisible Palestinians from those invisible homes – in fact the number could be much higher; we have no way of knowing, as they’re invisible – building hundreds, maybe thousands, of new Jewish settlements, and inviting hundreds of thousands of invisible Jewish settlers to live there. For all that work, however, in the entire Judea-Samaria region we have only 228 visible settlements and illegal outposts combined. Not a single new visible settlement has been established this century.
Egypt-Israel relations have quietly reached a high point
The vast six-lane boulevard from Cairo International Airport into the city center is lined with buildings and offices connected to Egypt’s powerful military. Hotels cater to air force officers, and buildings commemorate, with glorious murals, the country’s fighting history. One shows Egyptian soldiers crossing the Suez Canal in 1973 to strike at Israeli forces in Sinai.
Many Egyptians see the 1973 war as a victory. From that war came the peace treaty signed in Washington in 1979 between president Anwar Sadat and prime minister Menachem Begin. Insiders say that Israel and Egypt are experiencing the closest cooperation in decades, based on shared interests.
On the surface there is nothing about the Egyptian-Israeli cold peace that appears warm. Israel was not represented at the Cairo International Book Fair that wrapped up on Friday. Official meetings with Israelis are controversial – a parliamentarian named Tawfik Okasha was heavily reprimanded for sitting down with the Israeli ambassador last year.
Tapes reveal Cairo consulted with Israel on islands' transfer
An Egyptian TV channel affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood on Friday released a recorded conversation between Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and an Israeli official allegedly coordinating Egypt's controversial transfer of Red Sea islands Sanafir and Tiran to Saudi Arabia.
The Egyptian opposition TV channel aired an undated telephone conversation between Shoukry and attorney Isaac Molho (whose voice is not heard in the recording), Israel's special envoy to peace talks with the Palestinians, on the subject of the transfer of the two islands.
The uninhabited islands of Tiran and Sanafir lie along narrow shipping lanes leading north to port cities in Israel and Jordan. The closure of the Straits of Tiran by Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1967 was one of the main causes of that year's Arab-Israeli war, in which Egypt lost the Sinai Peninsula. Sinai was returned to Egypt, together with the two islands, under its landmark 1979 peace treaty with Israel.
The Egyptian government has insisted the islands always belonged to Saudi Arabia and were only placed under Egyptian control in 1950 for protection from Israel, which occupied them briefly six years later during the Suez crisis.
IDF arrests suspected terrorists responsible for West Bank shootings
The IDF, in cooperation with the Shin Bet security service, arrested two Palestinians from the West Bank village of Rantis that carried out a shooting attack against an Israeli vehicle between the Israeli settlements of Beit Aryeh and Nili in December.
According to the army, the two Palestinians shot at the car driven by an Israeli citizen at close range, injuring the driver when the gunfire shattered the window on the driver’s side sending glass shards into his face. That same evening, IDF forces found that the vehicle from which the shooters fired had been used to transport terrorists.
The night following the attack, troops from the Ephraim regional brigade, special forces brigade and Shin Bet carried out an operation in the village of Rantis and arrested the two suspects in the shooting, Ahmed Nadaf and Mohammed Havasa.
According to the army, the interrogation of the two suspects revealed that they were involved in a shooting attack, a botched attempt to carry out an additional shooting attack and were responsible for throwing Molotov cocktails and stones at Israeli vehicles in recent years.
IDF developing compact and mobile mortar warning system
The IDF is working on a system of mobile sirens that can provide warnings of incoming mortar shells to soldiers stationed in open areas bordering the Gaza Strip, The Jerusalem Post learned on Sunday.
The system, nicknamed “Ronny,” produced by Motorola and developed by the Home Front Command and the C4I (Teleprocessing) Corps, is a smaller, more compact version of the Rotem mobile warning system already deployed along the Gaza border.
According to a senior officer in the Home Front Command, the army has worked extremely hard in the past two years on this system as it realized the need of some units to have lighter, more mobile systems for troops in the field.
The warning system, which can be carried on armored personnel carriers, jeeps and tanks, is able to identify when a mortar has been fired, has a 30-second- long warning siren and is set to be operational within three months after having been thoroughly tested by the Home Front Command, the senior officer said.
Christians, Rabbi, Druze, No Muslims at Interfaith Meeting in Restored Church with President Rivlin
President Reuven and First Lady Nechama Rivlin on Sunday morning attended an interfaith meeting at the site of the Church of the Loaves and Fishes at Tabgha, following the completion of the restoration of the building after it was the victim of vandalism and an arson attack around a year ago.
President Rivlin was joined by Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, Ambassador of Germany Dr. Clemens von Goetze, Sheikh Muwaffak Tarīf, and Rabbi Alon Goshen-Gottstein, as well as Jordan Valley Local Council, Idan Greenbaum.
Absent were any Muslim dignitaries. We sent an inquiry to the folks in charge of the event and will update you as soon as they get back to us.
The President opened his address by noting, “The last time I was here, we stood together and looked at the burnt walls and the terrible graffiti. Today, I visit here again, and see the renewal of this historic, special, and holy place. I want to thank all the people who worked hard to restore this place, and to say clearly; that hate cannot win.”
IDF Blog: Hezbollah: Get to know our most complicated adversary
Hezbollah presents a unique threat to the IDF: a terror group on our border with the capabilities of a modern army.
In the early morning on this Lebanon border base, IDF soldiers wrapped in fleece jackets are already making their ways to breakfast, to their posts, to begin shifts, to end them. They enter and exit buildings fortified by concrete blocks from all sides. As they take their places and begin their days, a blinking light at the end of a long antenna, clearly visible on the other side of the border, reminds them that a stone’s throw away, Hezbollah operatives are doing the same.
For the last decade, the border has been quiet – a quiet that, in the past, has proven deceptive. In July 2006, during a period of relative calm, Hezbollah terrorists ended this lull by ambushing and kidnapping IDF soldiers on the border, starting the Second Lebanon War. Over the course of the month-long war, Hezbollah fired 3,978 missiles at Israel with the intent of killing as many civilians as possible. Entire Israeli communities were evacuated, and civilians spent hours in air raid shelters.
Knowing how quickly a Hezbollah strike can escalate into a massive and destructive war, the IDF constantly prepares to prevent and respond to attacks from the most complicated terror group on our northern border.
Lebanon ‘needs Hezbollah‘ to counter Israel – Aoun
Lebanon’s recently elected president Michel Aoun on Sunday blamed Israel for the need to support the Iranian-backed Shiite militant group Hezbollah in “a complementary role to the Lebanese army.”
“As long as the Lebanese army is not strong enough to battle Israel … we feel the need for its existence,” Aoun told the Egyptian TV network CBC.
Hezbollah’s militia is a force that rivals Lebanon’s army and police. Aoun, whose Christian party is allied with Hezbollah, said earlier that Iran’s support for the group “could continue indefinitely.”
The United Nations on Monday responded to Aoun’s remarks by warning that Resolution 1701, reached as part of a ceasefire deal after the 2006 war between Israel and the terror group, prohibits the country from being allowed weapons.
“UN resolution 1701 is vital for Lebanon’s stability and security,” UN Coordinator Sigird Kaag said in a tweet.”The resolution calls for disarmament of all armed groups. No arms outside control of state.”
Hamas elects convicted murderer Yahya Sinwar as Gaza chief
Yahya Sinwar, considered one of Hamas’s most ruthless leaders, has been elected as the terror group’s leader in the Gaza Strip, a Hamas official confirmed Monday.
Sinwar, 55, generally avoids the limelight, but is seen as an unpredictable hardliner who inspires the loyalty of Hamas’s military wing’s leadership.
He will replace Ismail Haniyeh, who is running for the leadership of Hamas’s political bureau to succeed Khaled Mashaal.
Sinwar, sentenced to life in 1989 for murdering Palestinian collaborators with Israel, spent 22 years in Israeli prisons before being released in the 2011 prisoner exchange deal for IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.
In September 2015, Sinwar was added to the US terrorism blacklist alongside two other members of Hamas’s military wing, the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades.
A graduate in Arabic, he was born in the Khan Younis refugee camp in southern Gaza and founded “Majd,” one of Hamas’s intelligence services.
Hamas member dies in tunnel collapse
Hamas elected a hardline leader of its military wing, the Izzadin Kassam Brigades, as its new leader in the Gaza Strip, Al Jazeera reported on Monday.
Yahya Sinwar, one of two military leaders in the Hamas Politburo, will replace current Gaza leader Ismail Haniyeh, who is favored to take over for Khaled Marshal as Politburo chairman.
Sinwar, 55, was given four life sentences in 1989 for his involvement in killing Palestinian collaborators with Israel, but was set free in 2011 as a part of the Gilad Schalit prisoner swap.
Khalil al-Hayya, another Hamas Politburo member and parliamentarian, was elected as deputy Gaza leader, according to Al Jazeera.
Hamas reportedly commenced its internal elections on February 3, but due to their secrecy few details of their procedures are known. However, some Hamas officials have said that they expect the election of the Shura Council, Hamas’s parliament, and the Politburo to be completed in the near future.
Top Hamas Fighters Defect to ISIS, But Cooperation Remains Strong
Dozens of Hamas’ top fighters have defected to the Islamic State’s Sinai-based affiliate in recent years, though cooperation between the two terrorist groups remains strong, Avi Issacharoff reported Wednesday in The Times of Israel.
Palestinian sources told Issacharoff that Abed al-Wahad Abu Aadara, the first known member of Hamas’ naval commando unit to have defected to Sinai Province, was arrested when he returned to the Gaza Strip two months ago. Abu Aadara joined Sinai Province after his brother died fighting for the group.
His arrest precipitated an increase in tensions between Hamas and Sinai Province, including a reduction in goods being smuggled into Gaza. However, after a recent rapprochement between the two groups, particularly related to smuggling, Hamas released Abu Aadara.
“In recent years Hamas has lost dozens of members of its military wing — the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades — to IS’s Sinai Province, including a number of its fighters from the elite Nukhba unit,” Issacharoff explained. “Many of these operatives left for Sinai with their families and relatives and now serve as the Sinai Province’s main points of contact with Hamas. These defectors include a number of Hamas’s experts on operating anti-tank missiles and assembling roadside bombs, who have provided substantial assistance to IS in its war against the Egyptian army.”
JCPA: ISIS Worries about a Hamas-Egypt Detente
In two recent incidents, Islamic State operatives fired rockets at Israel.
In the first incident, on February 6, 2017, a small pro-ISIS Salafi group in the Gaza Strip fired a single rocket; two days later on February 8, 2017, four rockets were fired from Sinai at the town of Eilat.
Three of the rockets aimed at Eilat were intercepted by the Iron Dome system, and there were no casualties in either incident.
A statement issued by the Islamic State branch in Sinai, known as Wilayat Sina’a (Sinai Province), said that “the war with the Israeli enemy has begun.”
Why did the Islamic State, which is fighting an all-out war against the Egyptian army in northern Sinai, decide at this point to open an additional front with Israel?
The previous incident of rocket fire at Israel from Sinai was in July 2015, also with no casualties.
Iran Says Russia Again Using Its Airspace to Launch Strikes in Syria
Iran has allowed Russian planes to again use its airspace to fly attacks in neighboring Syria. The first use of an Iranian air base by Russian aircraft last year drew criticism from the US and some Iranian lawmakers.
Russian war planes are again using Iranian airspace to carry out strikes in neighboring Syria, an Iranian official said Saturday.
Russian jets first used an Iranian air base to launch strikes into Syria back in August last year. At the time, the Russian military said its planes had completed their operations for the time being but left open the possibility of using Hamadan air base again if the need arose.
Iran's Foreign Ministry said back then that Russia had stopped using the base for attacks in Syria, bringing the deployment to an abrupt end, amid criticism from both the United States and some Iranian lawmakers.
Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran's National Security Council - and Tehran's coordinator of political, security and military actions with Russia - on Saturday told the semi-official news agency Fars: "Their (Russian bombers') use Iranian of airspace continues because we have a fully strategic cooperation with Russia."

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