Israel’s longest serving leader was unseated after elections last year.
He is head of the right-wing Likud, the largest party in the Israeli parliament, and was prime minister for a record 15 years.
In his last five years in office, Mr Netanyahu was dogged by a police investigation into allegations against him, followed by the start of his trial in 2020.
He is accused of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in connection with three separate cases. He denies the charges against him, saying they are politically motivated.
Reports that Mr Netanyahu has been discussing a plea deal with Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit emerged in Israeli media in recent days. An unnamed source connected to the talks confirmed the negotiations on Sunday, news agencies said.
Israeli media say Mr Netanyahu has instructed his lawyers to continue the talks despite reported objections of his family to the prospect that he would accept a level of guilt.
November 2019 – Benjamin Netanyahu rails against corruption charges
In the three cases against him, Mr Netanyahu is accused of receiving gifts in exchange for favours; negotiating to improve the circulation of an Israeli newspaper in exchange for positive coverage; and promoting legislation financially favourable to the owner of an Israeli telecom giant in exchange for positive coverage on its news site.
Conviction on the latter charge alone – considered the most serious of the three cases – carries a jail term of up to 10 years and/or a fine.
The source close to the talks said that in return for the cases being dropped Mr Netanyahu is being asked to accept a charge of “moral turpitude”, which would ban him from politics for seven years – something which the former prime minister is said to be objecting to.
Mr Netanyahu, who has the solid support of his political base, has railed against the current coalition government and has said he aims to return to power at the earliest opportunity.
His years in office saw a deepening rift between the left and right in Israel, with weekly mass demonstrations against him in the final months of his premiership.
Polls reports in Israeli media on Sunday suggested that a majority of the country are opposed to a plea deal, with most believing his fate should be decided in court.
#AceNewsReport – Dec.27: The mock attack came as a part of the Great Prophet 17 military drills, a large-scale, five-day exercise in Iran that began on December 20. Footage of the destruction of the mockup of Israeli Dimona reactor, officially known as the Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Center, was circulated by Iranian media over the weekend.
#AceDailyNews says according to RT News Report: A mockup of an Israeli nuclear installation was destroyed by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) during military drills. The life-size target was obliterated by multiple ballistic missiles and suicide drones.
Video of the exercise shows multiple ballistic missile launchers, some disguised as civilian freight trucks, lining up for the attack, before unleashing a volley of projectiles at the target. At least one launcher, packed with suicide drones and disguised as a dump truck, is featured in the video as well.
The missiles are then shown obliterating the mockup, bearing the distinctive features of the Dimona reactor, including a circular dome and ventilation shafts for underground facilities. A total of 16 ballistic missiles and five suicide drones were used in the exercise, according to Iranian media.
The Great Prophet 17 drills come amid heightened tensions between Iran and Israel, and in the wake of stalled talks on the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Israel has consistently opposed the agreement and attempts to revive it, claiming that Tehran is seeking to produce nuclear weaponry, a charge that Iran has repeatedly denied.
Israel has reportedly been weighing a military option against Iran, considering a preemptive strike on its nuclear facilities regardless of the fate of the JCPOA. Iran has warned Tel Aviv against such actions, with the commander-in-chief of the IRGC dismissing them as “Zionist empty threats,” and adding: “If the officials of this regime do a damn thing, we will cut off their hands.” You can share this story on social media:
#AceNewsReport – Dec.17: Muhammad Bnei Odeh, an 18-year-old terrorist from the Palestinian Authority town of Tammun, stabbed a 67-year-old Jewish resident of Bat Yam while walking with his wife….
#AceDailyNews according to latest news report ……Attacker stabs 67-year-old Jewish man multiple times, then escapes into mosque Documentation: Terrorist comes from sea, escapes into mosque,” Israel National News, December 14, 2021:
At one point the terrorist pulls out a knife and starts stabbing the 67-year-old man again and again, then escapes on foot to a nearby mosque….
Upon arriving in Jaffa, the terrorist went to the sea near the restaurant where he worked, and then identified the couple and followed them with a knife hidden on his body that he had equipped with ahead of time. The terrorist escaped after stabbing the man and was trapped inside the mosque less than an hour after the attack.
#AceNewsReport – Dec.05: Mossad spies recruited top Iranian scientists to blow up their own nuclear plant by ‘posing as dissidents’ and ‘smuggling explosives disguised as boxes of food’, according to reports.
Mossad spies ‘recruited top Iranian scientists to blow up their own nuclear plant’ Israeli agents drafted up to 10 scientists to destroy 90 per cent of the centrifuges at the Natanz nuclear facility, reports the Jewish Chronicle………The revelation is allegedly one of three Mossad-linked act of sabotages dating back to July 2020, when the Natanz facility was first hit by explosives.
A third operation also reportedly took place in June when a bombing was carried out by a quadcopter drone on the Iran Centrifuge Technology Company (TESA).
It comes as Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett calls for an ‘immediate cessation’ of resumed nuclear talks between Iran and major powers in Vienna, accusing the Islamic republic of ‘nuclear blackmail’.
Over an 11-month period, Mossad agents are said to have concealed explosives in Natanz centrifuge hall as far back as 2019 before activating them a year later.
Iran previously named a suspect in the April 11 attack as Reza Karimi, saying he had fled the country ‘hours before’ the sabotage happened.
Israeli spies also allegedly used a motorcycle-sized quadcopter to set off missiles at the TESA site in Karaj after smuggling it into the country one piece at a time.
Meanwhile, in a phone call with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday, Israeli PM Bennett called instead for ‘concrete measures’ to be taken against Iran.
Bennett has been a consistent opponent of the 2015 agreement the powers have been seeking to revive.
He said ‘Iran was carrying out ‘nuclear blackmail’ as a negotiation tactic and that this must be met with an immediate cessation of negotiations and by concrete steps taken by the major powers,’ a statement from his office said.
It said Blinken had updated Bennett on what had been happening in the talks since their resumption on Monday after a five-month hiatus.
The Israeli leader expressed concern about a new report from the UN nuclear watchdog issued during the talks which he said showed Iran had ‘started the process of enriching uranium to the level of 20 percent purity with advanced centrifuges at its Fordo underground facility’.
A year after then US president Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear agreement in 2018 and started imposing sweeping sanctions, Iran began a gradual suspension of its undertakings in the deal.
The countermeasures have seen Iran enrich uranium in greater quantities and to higher levels of purity than it had agreed, something Western governments are eager to end as quickly as possible.
In April Iran said it would start enriching uranium up to 60 per cent after the attack on its Natanz plant which it blamed on Israel.
The chief of Israel’s Mossad external intelligence agency, David Barnea, said on Thursday at an internal ceremony in Jerusalem that a ‘bad’ Iran deal was ‘intolerable.’
He said: ‘It’s clear there is no need for uranium to be enriched to 60 per cent for civilian purposes.
Israel’s PM Bennett calls on allies to reject Iran nuclear deal
‘There is no need for three enrichment sites and there is no need for thousands of active centrifuges unless there is an intention to develop a nuclear weapon.
‘A bad deal, which I hope they do not reach, is intolerable from our perspective.’
Blinken, commenting in Stockholm after his call with Bennett, said Iran can’t ‘sustain the status quo of building their nuclear programme while dragging their feet on talks. That… will not happen.’
Iran insists the absolute priority is the lifting of all US sanctions imposed after Trump’s abandonment of the deal.
The remaining parties to the 2015 agreement – Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia – have been participating directly in the Vienna talks.
At Iran’s insistence, the United States is doing so only indirectly.
UK and Israel vow to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power
#AceNewsReport – Oct.16: Most Americans couldn’t find Azerbaijan on a map. The former Soviet republic is located in between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains, and has as its neighbors the republics of Georgia and Armenia – other former captives of the tsarist and Communist empires – as well as the southern reaches of the Russian Federation ruled by Russian President Vladimir Putin. To its south is Iran, a country that counts a third [actually, 30%] of its people as ethnic Azeris. All of which is to say that although this part of the world is largely unknown to Americans, it’s a fairly dangerous neighborhood.
#AceDailyNews says that according to a report by Jonathan S. Tobin, Israel Hayom, October 10, 2021: Iran’s reminds with their ‘War Games’ on their border about Azerbaijan’s alliance with Israel and why they should care…
So when Iran deployed a large portion of its army and conducted military exercises close to the Azeri border last month, the people of that much smaller country and its government, located in the ancient city of Baku, held their breath. For all of its obscurity and remoteness, the security of Azerbaijan is an issue that ought to concern more than the 10.2 million people who live there.
Understanding the complicated politics of the Caucasus region isn’t easy. Nor is all of what’s going on there directly connected to issues that concern the security of the Middle East, the West or the United States. But Azerbaijan’s current dilemma illustrates the ripple effect of actions taken elsewhere. That country’s conflicts with its neighbors in Armenia and Iran, as well as with Russia, cannot be viewed in isolation. More to the point, seemingly unrelated actions taken by other countries that do not, at least on the surface, have much to do with them, such as America’s disastrous retreat from Afghanistan or the Biden administration’s stubborn determination to revive former President Barack Obama’s policies aimed at appeasing Iran, are actually having serious consequences on the ground that cannot be ignored.
The first thing to understand about the borders of the countries in the Caucasus is that, not atypically, they were often drawn with little concern for the loyalties of the local populations. Just as a huge chunk of Iran is populated by Azeris who are considered suspect by Tehran, a portion of Azerbaijan – a region called Nagorno-Karabakh – is heavily Armenian. The neighboring republic of Armenia has coveted the territory since the breakup of the Soviet Empire 30 years ago, and it has been the cause of intermittent and sometimes bloody fighting since then. In this conflict, Russia has been supportive of the Armenians while Turkey has backed the Azeris. The Azeris have defended their sovereign territory from what they consider to be a foreign invasion while Armenians talk about a long struggle that dates back more than a century to the genocide perpetrated against them by Turkish Ottomans.
Iran’s rulers are deeply concerned with the minorities that constitute more than 50% of the country’s population – the Kurds, the Arabs, the Balochis, and the Azeris – that have intermittently demonstrated their separatist desires. The three million Balochis, in the far east of Iran, are Sunnis, and for both sectarian and ethnic reasons bristle under Iranian dominance; they want, ideally, to join the nine million of their fellow Balochis in Pakistan, to create an independent Balochistan. This past January, the Iranians hung Javid Dehgan, a Balochi militant, for having killed Revolutionary Guard members. Other Balochis, members of the Sunni militant group Jaish al-Adl, have been responsible for several recent attacks on Iranian security forces in the province of Sistan-Balochistan.
Similarly, the Arabs in Khuzestan, on the Persian Gulf, where 85% of Iran’s oil and 60% of its natural gas are produced, have repeatedly rioted against the central government. The Iranians claim there are only two million Arabs in Khuzestan; the Arabs claim there are five million of them. Whatever their number, the Khuzestanian Arabs have long complained of discrimination by the Persians. In 2005, there were mass riots and mass arrests of 25,000 people in Khuzestan, and many Arabs were summarily executed. Arrests, torture, and executions have continued to imperfectly keep the peace. There were more riots in 2007, followed by more repression; in 2015, there were a wave of arrests made so as to head off any tenth-anniversary revolt; the rage remains. But if those Khuzestanian Arabs were supplied directly with arms, by the Saudis or the Emiratis, and with the money to buy additional arms and to outfit and pay Arab fighters from outside, they could cause a great deal of destruction to the oilfields and thus to the Iranian economy.
The Kurds in Iran are another worry for Tehran. After World War I, the Kurdish people in the Middle East were promised by the Treaty of Sèvres (1920) a large degree of autonomy, with the promise of future independence. But Ataturk managed to undo that promise in the Treaty of Lausanne (1923), and the Kurds — who number about 45 million people — were instead split among Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and Iran. There are about ten million Kurds in Iran, about 12% of the population. The rulers in Tehran remember with dread the last violent uprisings by Iranian Kurds, in 1979, which were ferociously crushed, with at least 30,000 Kurds killed. Iran has to keep large numbers of troops in the Kurdish areas, and must continually worry about the possible threat of peshmerga volunteers from Turkey, Syria, and Iraq, who might make their way to help their fellow Kurds in Iran.
But of all the minorities, it is the 25 million Azeris — about 30% of the population – who most worry Tehran. There are, in fact, more than twice as many Azeris in Iran than in Azerbaijan itself. The Azeris in Iran have not been well treated. The Iranian government has banned the teaching of the Azeri language and literature in Iranian schools. When, in 2015, the Iranians broadcast programs that mocked the Azeri accent and language, this alone led Azeris, already on the edge, to demonstrate in many cities, shouting such slogans as “stop racism against Azeri Turks,” “long live Azerbaijan,” and “end the Persian racism,” in Tabriz, Urmia, Ardabil, and Zanjan, and even Tehran itself. Civil unrest among the Azeris is a given.
Jonathan Tobin continues:
Why is Jerusalem involved in this mess?
Simply put, the Jewish state is, as it has been throughout its modern existence, looking for allies with common interests. In this case, that means a common fear of Iran. The connection with Azerbaijan also gives Israel some leverage in its always complicated relationship with Russia and even with Turkey, whose authoritarian Islamist government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is deeply hostile to Israel, yet regards Iran as a more potent threat to its security.
For the Azeris, as with the Gulf state Arabs who have embraced Israel as part of the Abraham Accords, Israel is a vital ally against Iran and a useful source of military equipment and training. By helping the Azeris hold their own against more powerful foes, Israel has given the Islamist regime in Tehran, which continues to dream of regional hegemony and of perpetrating nuclear genocide against the Jewish state, a reason for caution. Indeed, Jerusalem has placed both a painful thorn in Iran’s side and undermined Russia’s influence. Though it has largely flown underneath the radar of the international press, the alliance between Israel and Azerbaijan has flourished.
This has created a balance of power in the Caucasus that has, despite occasional efforts by Armenia to overturn it, remained relatively stable. But like the ripples that emanate from a rock thrown in a body of water, the impact of other seemingly unrelated actions has the potential to overturn it all or at least encourage miscalculations that may lead to bloodshed.
While the Biden administration seems to believe that its retreat from Afghanistan is just a matter of bad optics, the implications of the collapse of an American ally are more than theoretical. Anything that weakens the United States and strengthens those pledged to continue waging war against the West – both figuratively and literally, as is the loss of a treasure trove of American military equipment to the Taliban – becomes noticed by those who share such goals.
So it was hardly surprising that in the aftermath of that disgraceful episode, Iran began flexing its muscles. Already emboldened by President Joe Biden’s feckless attempts to bribe them to re-enter the 2015 nuclear deal in talks being conducted in Vienna, the Iranians decided to send a message to the Azeris. By mobilizing its forces on the border and conducting exercises, Iran was telling the Azeris that their good relations with Israel and the United States are no defense against Iran’s military might.
And in case the Azeris didn’t understand the implications of this gesture, Iran let it be known that the second phase of the effort was code-named Operation “Fatehan-e Khaybar” or “Conquerors of Khaybar.” The reference to Khaybar is telling; it’s the name of a battle that took place in 628 CE in which the early Muslim caliphate led by the Prophet Muhammad wiped out the Jewish tribes that lived in part of what is now Saudi Arabia.
Far from being intimidated, the Azeris think the Iranians are bluffing. In a gesture clearly intended to convey their confidence in their ability to defend themselves, Azeri President Ilham Aliyev paid a visit earlier this week to the city of Jabrayil, which was recaptured by his forces last year after it was occupied for a time by Armenian-backed separatists. To reinforce his point, the Azeris staged a photo opportunity in which Aliyev was pictured fondly patting an Israeli-made Harop drone, a weapon that had helped his army defeat the Armenians.
In the face of Iran’s threatening behavior – those military exercises on the border with Azerbaijan — Aliyev chose to flaunt his close military relations with Israel. The Azeris in Azerbaijan know how vital Israeli weapons and training were to their victory in the war with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh. And so do the Azeris inside Iran, which must make Tehran nervous about their loyalties in the ongoing conflict between Iran and Israel.
In response, Iran sent its foreign minister to Moscow to confer with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss their mutual displeasure with the Azeris.
This is the sort of saber-rattling that could lead to another war. But, thanks to the Israelis, the Azeris think that they are in a good position to stand up to Iran and remind Russia that their interference must be kept to a minimum. Aliyev understands that Iranian demands that he drop ties with Israel would leave his country defenseless. And despite its posturing, Iran knows it can’t afford to let animosity with Azerbaijan get out of hand since the rogue regime in Tehran is already up to its neck in risky terrorist conflicts elsewhere.
Israeli weapons were key not only to Azerbaijan’s victory over Armenia, but continue to be essential to its survival. Without Israeli weapons, intelligence sharing, and military training, Azerbaijan would be easy prey for an aggressive Iran, determined to crush Azerbaijan, and in so doing, hoping to end its appeal for Azeri separatists inside Iran. Tobin thinks that Iran will not go to war with Azerbaijan, even if that country continues to maintain close ties to Israel, because it has too much on its plate already, supporting the terrorist groups Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen, the Kata’ib Hezbollah militia in Iraq. Iran doesn’t need another drain on its resources and attention, nor should it be providing a reason — an excuse — for Israel, coming to the aid of Azerbaijan, to make war on Iran and completely destroy its nuclear program. Furthermore, were Iran to go to war with Azerbaijan, the Azeris, who make up a third of the Iranian population, could well take the side of, and try to help, their fellow Azeris – a risk of subversion that Tehran wants to avoid.
To the extent that Americans pay any attention to these events, the sheer complexity of these entangling alliances may cause them to regard the whole issue as one they should ignore. The United States, whose security is a function of continents and oceans, has often preferred to regard foreign affairs as a problem that others should worry about. But the obvious conclusions to be drawn from recent events are significant.
The strength demonstrated by Israel and Azerbaijan should be enough to keep the situation from escalating. Still, the reason why things threatened to get out of hand in the first place was the perception of American weakness and the encouragement that perception gave to Iran and other Islamists. “Leading from behind,” as Obama and Biden seem to think is wise, is actually the most dangerous kind of defense and foreign policy that can be imagined, both for Americans and for those who look to them for leadership.
The Americans, despite their much-ballyhooed pivot from the Middle East toward China as the next great foreign threat, should not forget Iran’s continuing regional aggression, through its system of proxies and allies – the Houthis in Yemen, the Kata’ib Hezbollah in Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and now, too, Hamas in Gaza. The Bidenites have demonstrated weakness both in their confused rush to the exits in Afghanistan, and in their concessions made to Iran at the negotiations in Vienna, in a vain attempt to persuade Iran to return to the 2015 nuclear deal. Iran has pocketed these concessions and asked for still more. Tehran has now demanded that the U.S. should release at least $10 billion of frozen Iranian funds if it wants Iran to resume nuclear talks. The perceived weakness of the Bidenites has also led Iran to hold military exercises on its border with Azerbaijan, meant to intimidate the Azeris and warn them not to become too close to Israel. Fortunately, Azerbaijan, with the most powerful military in the region on its side – the IDF – has refused to be rattled. In the face of Iranian threats, the Israel-Azerbaijan alliance will only be strengthened.
Iran is particularly worried about two things: First, a strong Azerbaijan would naturally encourage Azeri separatists inside Iran to work toward an enlarged Azeri state, with Azeri-populated areas of Iran becoming part of Azerbaijan. Second, Iran fears that Azerbaijan could allow the IDF to establish bases in the country, making it much easier for Israel to launch air and missile strikes at Iran’s nuclear facilities from bases 1200 kilometers closer to the Islamic Republic than are those in Israel. The recent military exercises by Iran did have an effect, but it was the very opposite of what the Iranians had expected. Instead of scaring Azerbaijan into dropping its alliance with Israel, that military alliance has remained solid. Azerbaijan views Iran, correctly, as keeping in thrall 25 million of the Azeri people; Iran is thus the permanent enemy of Azerbaijan, just as it is of Israel. And there is nothing Iran can do, including those recent military exercises, to weaken the alliance between the two.
#AceNewsReport – Oct.04: Iran has long criticised Azerbaijan’s military ties with Israel, which include purchases of Israeli arms. Tehran has also been wary over nationalists in Turkey and Azerbaijan fanning secessionist tendencies among its Azeri minority.
#AceDailyNews says that according to Reuters Iran has held border war games amid tense relations with Azerbaijan: Iranian state media said the exercises involved armoured and artillery units, as well as drones and helicopters. They kicked off near the Poldasht and Jolfa border crossings with Azerbaijan.
After Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev reportedly voiced “surprise” over the planned exercises, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on Thursday that holding military exercises by a state within its territory was part of its national sovereignty, Iranian state media said.
Referring to an Israeli presence along Iran’s borders, Amirabdollahian told the new Azeri ambassador: “Iran does not tolerate the Zionist regime’s activity against its national security and will take whatever action is necessary,” state media reported.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) think tank, Israel provided Azerbaijan with some $825 million in weapons between 2006 and 2019.
Separately, Iran on Friday denounced a visit by Israel’s foreign minister to Bahrain to mark the establishment of relations, saying the trip left a stain on the Gulf Arab state’s rulers that “will not be erased”.
Reuters: Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Angus MacSwan)
#AceNewsReport – Oct.02: Israeli security forces early Monday carried out further operations in the West Bank to disrupt alleged plans for major terror attacks, using new intel gained following the arrest of some 20 suspected members of a Hamas cell…
#AceDailyNews says that according to Times of Israel a large explosives cache belonging to Hamas cell said found in West Bank town
A night after 3 gunmen were killed, Israeli troops again operate in Bidu using new intel gained from arrested operatives suspected of planning terror attacks
It was the second straight night Israeli troops operated in the town of Bidu, near Jerusalem. Three Hamas gunmen were killed in a shootout with soldiers the night before.
In the latest raids, forces found a significant cache of explosive devices intended to be used in a terror attack in the capital in the coming days, according to television reports Monday.
The “kilograms of explosives” were hidden in a well whose exact whereabouts were determined after the Shin Bet internal security service interrogated the cell’s mastermind and other members, the reports said.
A spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces declined The Times of Israel’s request for further information, citing the ongoing investigation.
Clashes were reported between Palestinians and Israeli troops during the operation in Bidu. There were no reports of injuries.
The reported mastermind of the Hamas cell was wounded during a separate gun battle early Sunday in the town of Burqin, near Jenin.
According to the IDF’s initial investigation, as troops approached the house in which the suspect was hiding, the Hamas operative opened fire at them from close range from the yard of the home.
Two IDF soldiers — a company commander and his radioman — were injured. The wounded suspect was taken into custody.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz visits one of the soldiers hurt in the West Bank raid against a Hamas cell, at Haifa’s Rambam Health Care Campus, September 27, 2021. (courtesy)
The military said at least seven suspected members of the Hamas cell were arrested during arrest raids overnight Saturday, and at least five other suspected terrorists were killed after they opened fire at IDF troops. Five guns were also confiscated in the raids, along with large amounts of ammunition. Several other members of the group had been arrested on the preceding nights.
It is estimated that the West Bank operations to dismantle the terror network will continue in the coming days, as the IDF believes some members are still on the loose.
Officials said the cell had planned an immediate major terror attack.Advertisement
“It is important for you to know that if we had not stopped this network of the Hamas terror organization, they would have been at an advanced stage and would have carried out attacks in Israeli cities,” IDF chief Aviv Kohavi said Monday.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Sunday that “security forces acted tonight in Judea and Samaria against Hamas terrorists who were poised to carry out terror attacks in the immediate future,” using the biblical term for the West Bank.
#AceNewsReport – Sept.30: According to the charge sheet, Rasha Muklasha, 46, left her husband and severed ties with her five children — including the suspect, Muad Hib — in 2006. She then moved from the town of Zarzir to Nof HaGalil and converted to Christianity.
#AceDailyNews says according to Times of Israel a man has been charged with murdering his mother because she converted to Christianity: The Indictment says 27-year-old Muad Hib from Zarzir hid 46-year-old Rasha Muklasha’s corpse near the Jordan River last month
Recently, she resumed contact with her children following the death of her ex-husband. Prosecutors allege that her conversion, which greatly angered Hib, was the motive for the murder.
According to the indictment, the murder was premediated, with Hib setting up a meeting with his mother on August 5 near Nazareth with the intention of killing her and disposing of her remains.
After picking up Muklasha in his car, he “strangled the deceased with a rope or his hands, alone or with others, with the intention of causing her death,” the court documents said.
While searching for a place to hide the body, Hib noticed a police roadblock ahead and rammed into it, successfully fleeing the scene, the indictment said. He then traveled toward the Jordan River.
Police forces at the scene of the alleged murder of a 46-year-old woman from Nof Hagalil, near the Yarden Haharari section of the Jordan River, on August 7, 2021. (Israel Police)
There, he dug a pit and buried the body, the indictment said. He covered the spot with rocks and dry leaves, “all to obscure the body’s location and make it harder to locate.”
Later that day, the suspect rammed a second roadblock that had been set up as part of the investigation, and he was arrested after a brief chase near Nahalal, police said. The suspect’s two brothers, aged 23 and 20,were arrested separately. It was not immediately clear if they would be charged.
#AceNewsReport – Sept.25: The columnist recalled that a total of five people had been detained as part of an investigation into bribery and the theft of sensitive data about tenders and information regarding the Turkish-made drones. One of them, named Emre Alp Durmaz, was allegedly linked to Israeli defence companies Israel Aerospace Industry (IAI) and Israeli Military Industries Systems (IMI) through his relations.
#AceDailyNews says that the spy cell, which was uncovered and caught in Turkey not long ago, might have sent the sensitive data, obtained from the country’s defence industry and the naval forces, according to Sputnik Israel, Bulent Orakoglu, a columnist for the Turkish daily newspaper, Yeni Safak, has alleged.
The IAI reportedly even worked with Ankara to sell a medium-altitude UAV called “Heron”. In addition, Mehmet Durmaz, the father of the detained, was involved in modernising M60 tanks for Turkey, the columnist claimed in Yeni Safak.Orakoglu admits that there is no solid evidence confirming that the data was sold to Israel, but he stressed that such concerns are natural.
He insists that Turkey’s defence industry could have been targeted for corporate espionage because of its recent success in certain fields, such as drone construction. Ankara has not levelled any public accusations against either Tel Aviv or any of the Israeli companies allegedly related to the case.
#AceHealthReport – Sept.11: A research team using data from Maccabi Healthcare Services in Tel Aviv found that the rate of infection dropped 48 to 68 percent within a week to 13 days after the third shot of the Pfizer vaccine. In addition, the study found the infection rate dropped even further—70 to 84 percent—two weeks to 20 days after the additional dose, reports Jason Gale of Fortunemagazine.
#CoronavirusNewsDesksays an Israeli Study Finds Third Shot Provides Significant Boost in Covid-19 Immunity: When it comes to #COVID19 vaccinations, it appears the third time is a charm. A new Israeli study finds that people who get a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have a significantly lower risk of infection from the coronavirus, including the more dangerous #Delta variant.
Israeli study finds infection rate drops dramatically with third Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination
Released on MedRxiv before submission to a peer-reviewed journal, the Israeli Ministry of Health study concludes there are short-term health benefits to receiving a third shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
“Further studies are needed to determine the duration of protection conferred by the third dose and its effect on severe disease,” conclude the researchers, who include Daniel M. Weinberger, an epidemiologist at the Yale School of Public Health.
So far, more than 2 million of Israel’s 9.3 million residents have received the third dose, reports Dov Lieber of the Wall Street Journal. They include 70 percent of Israelis 60 or older and about half who are more than 50 years old.
“If your goal is to provide someone with high levels of short-term immunity, there’s no question that a good way to do this is … through a booster shot,” David Dowdy, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University, who was not involved in the research, tells Gretchen Vogel of Science magazine.
He cautions that more research is needed to find out how long the boosters last since this study only covers a short period of time.
Health officials in Israel also want to know more about the booster’s longevity. They say they don’t know yet if more than three doses will be needed to protect people, though they are moving ahead with plans to give the booster to as many people as possible as the Delta variant continues to spread.
The World Health Organization (WHO) had wanted wealthier nations to hold off on administering boosters until people in poorer countries had received their first shots. However, Hans Kluge, WHO Europe’s regional director, is now saying the additional dose should be given to people who are most at risk.
“A third dose of vaccine is not a luxury booster taking away from someone who is still waiting for a first jab,” he tells Hannah Knowles and Lenny Bernstein of the Washington Post. “But it’s basically a way to keep the people safe, the most vulnerable. But at the same time, we need to share. So we need to do it all.”
#AceNewsReport – Sept.07: A picture of a tunnel entrance purportedly used by the prisoners to escape has been widely shared on Palestinian social media.
#AceDailyNews says Six Palestinians Escape from High-Security Israeli Occupation police and the military had started a search after the escape from Gilboa prison in the Zionist entity’s north.
Media outlets reported that the inmates had apparently escaped through a tunnel early on Monday.
A picture of a tunnel entrance purportedly used by the prisoners to escape has been widely shared on Palestinian social media, and Israeli media are reporting the men used a tunnel to get out, but police have not yet confirmed it.
Five of the Palestinians reportedly belong to the Islamic Jihad Resistance movement and one is a former commander of an armed group affiliated with the mainstream Fatah party, the Prisons Service said.
The facility, about 4 km (2 miles) from the boundary with the occupied West Bank, is one of the highest-security jails in the occupation regime.
Four of the men were serving life sentences. One of them s was identified by the Prisons Service as Zakaria Zubeidi, a former commander of Fatah’s Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in the West Bank city of Jenin.
Palestinian Resistance factions hailed the jailbreak, with Hamas considering it a “great victory.”
“This great victory proves again that the will and determination of our brave soldiers inside the prisons of the enemy cannot be defeated,” said Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas.
For its part, Islamic Jihad Resistance movement hailed the jailbreak as a victory, stressing that “the struggle the Israeli enemy is long and open.”
The six escaped from Gilboa Prison, near the Sea of Galilee in what is being billed as the country’s worst prison-break. Authorities deployed drones and helicopters to the areas and the army set up checkpoints.
Five of the six are members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group, and four are serving life sentences for planning deadly attacks against Israelis. Another, Zakaria Zubeidi, is a commander in the terror wing of the Palestinian political party Fatah, and was awaiting trial for more than two dozen crimes including multiple terror attacks during the Second Intifada.
The Times of Israel reports:
Evoking scenes from the iconic prison film The Shawshank Redemption, upon searching the men’s cell, investigators found the opening — just large enough for a grown man to pass through — dug into in the floor under the sink of their bathroom. It was not immediately known how the man dug through the concrete and metal rebar floor, when even metal spoons are not allowed into the cells, though the prison service has long dealt with extensive and at time even elaborate smuggling operations into its facilities.
Prison officials said the men had not tunneled their way out of the prison but had instead dug their way into an existing gap and used that to escape. The men exited through another tunnel into a road on the south side of the prison.
The Israel Prison Service believes the men had outside help, communicating with allies outside through a cellphone they smuggled into their cell.
The military also put checkpoints in place throughout the Jenin area.
The men were spotted walking along the road near the prison at around 3 a.m., prompting at least one man to call the police.
“I just passed by the prison and I saw some suspicious people walking around. Maybe you should tell them to do a patrol or something,” the man told police, according to a recording of the call that was shared on social media.
The man said the suspicious men appeared to be walking east from the prison, toward Beit She’an and the Jordanian border.
Islamic Jihad officials said the escape marked “an utter failure for the occupation army” and was a “strong slap to the Israeli military and the whole Israeli system.”
The Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group hailed the escape as “a brave and heroic act,” the Times reported.
“[This is] a victory for the will and determination of our heroic prisoners, and a real challenge to the Zionist security system, which the occupation boasts as being the best in the world,” Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhum said in a statement.
#AceNewsReport – Aug.06: In a post-Trump world, Iran continues to be emboldened: “Iran’s incoming President Ebrahim Raisi has promised to take action to lift harsh sanctions imposed by the United States.” “Iran says US agreed to remove 1,040 sanctions from Trump era in nuclear talks,” Times of Israel, June 23, 2021:
#AceDailyNews says on Thursday Raisi takes office as president as Khamenei calls for ‘competent, jihadi, intelligent, courageous management’ and promises to lift sanctions, improve public trust,” by Maziar Motamedi, Al Jazeera, August 3, 2021:
But Raisi has ordered the killing of thousands in mass executions and the torture of pregnant women. But he calls himself a ““Iran’s president-elect says he won’t negotiate over missiles,” Associated Press, June 21, 2021:
Iran has been celebrating its “victory” and vision in the face of Biden’s impotent leadership. This is only the beginning. Raisi threatened in his speech that “he will enact that change based on revolutionary tenets outlined by the supreme leader.”
Today, our dear country is thirsty for valuable service & it needs competent, jihadi, intelligent, courageous management that can use the manifest and hidden capabilities of the nation, which are much greater in scope than the problems, for constructive work and endeavor.
I thank the Omniscient, Omnipotent God Who helped Iran again with His grace & benevolence, to be honored in the test of elections. Our esteemed nation displayed the authority of its vote over the country’s affairs with its honorable presence in complex, difficult circumstances.
Tehran, Iran – Iran’s incoming President Ebrahim Raisi has promised to take action to lift harsh sanctions imposed by the United States and bridge the gap with dissatisfied Iranians but said he will not tie the country’s future to the West.
After being officially endorsed on Tuesday by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as Iran’s eighth president, the 60-year-old signalled that he will continue talks to restore the country’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers from which the US unilaterally withdrew three years ago.
“We will certainly be after lifting cruel sanctions, but we will certainly not make the people’s livelihoods and the economy conditioned, and won’t tie it to the will of foreigners,” he said during his speech at the televised ceremony in the capital, Tehran, which was also attended by other top officials and military commanders.
A sixth round of negotiations with deal signatories in the Austrian capital ended in June, after which Iran signalled that talks can only continue after Raisi assumes office this week.
Enrique Mora, the European Union’s top representative in the Vienna talks, is expected to attend Raisi’s inauguration on Thursday, a move heavily criticised by Iran’s regional rival, Israel.
While there are expectations a day may be set to resume the talks following Raisi’s swearing-in, rhetoric by Iran and the US over the past week has suggested the two countries’ demands are at odds and both may need to make major compromises for the talks to lead to an agreement.
Focus on corruption, economy
Raisi will also take power days after the US, the United Kingdom and Israel accused Iran of targeting an oil tanker linked to an Israeli businessman with a drone, killing two crew members, including a British and a Romanian national.
Iran has rejected the allegations, saying it would “respond decisively” if other countries decide to attack its interests.
In his speech on Tuesday, Raisi said the people of Iran wish for a change in the status quo, and that he will enact that change based on revolutionary tenets outlined by the supreme leader.
“The people have called for a government that would make up for their damaged trust, return that trust and bridge the gap between the people and the government,” he said, while also pledging to fight corruption….
Raisi’s victory in the controversial June 18 presidential elections was also a central talking point during Tuesday’s ceremony.
Raisi said the people created a “glorious spectacle” on election day, sending a message of support to the Islamic Republic and calling for justice and an end to inequality and corruption.
According to official figures, turnout was 48.8 percent, the lowest in any presidential race since the 1979 revolution that birthed the theocratic establishment. Also for the first time since the revolution, the share of void votes was the second-largest after Raisi, who won by a landslide.
The election cycle was also marked by the wide disqualification of reformist and moderate candidates, several of whom protested against their disqualification but encouraged the people to vote nevertheless…..
#AceNewsReport – Aug.05: Secretary of State Antony Blinken and British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Sunday that the United States and United Kingdom, respectively, now believe Iran was likely responsible for last week’s drone strike on an oil tanker in the Arabian sea.
#AceDailyNews says Blinken & Rabb join force with Israel and vows ‘collective response’ to Iran’s attack on oil tanker
“U.S. and U.K. blame Iran for drone strike on oil tanker,” by Barak Ravid, Axios, August 1, 2021:
Why it matters: The United States and Britain now join Israel in accusing Tehran of being behind the July 29 attack off the coast of Oman. Iran has denied involvement.
Driving the news: The merchant tanker, “Mercer Street,” was hit twice. The first attack didn’t cause any damages but the second strike hit the rooms of the crew.
Two people were killed, one Romanian national and one British national.
“Upon review of the available information, we are confident that Iran conducted this attack, which killed two innocent people, using one-way explosive UAVs, a lethal capability it is increasingly employing throughout the region,” Blinken said on Sunday.
Between the lines: The ship was owned by a Japanese company but was managed by Israeli-owned Zodiac Maritime. Israeli officials have alleged this was the reason the tanker became a target.
Israel and Iran have traded attacks at sea over the last 18 months. Israel attacked numerous Iranian vessels, which were transferring oil and allegedly weapons to Syria. In recent months, Iran has begun to retaliate by allegedly attacking ships owned by Israeli businessmen.
What they are saying: On Sunday morning, a spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry denied Iran had any connection to the attack.
“There is no justification for this attack, which follows a pattern of attacks and other belligerent behavior,” Blinken said. “These actions threaten freedom of navigation through this crucial waterway, international shipping and commerce, and the lives of those on the vessels involved.”…
#AceNewsReport – July.12: The 12 petitioners are demanding that the structures be removed. They also want the military “seizure order” in the area to be lifted, and that an investigation be opened against the officials and entities that allegedly helped establish the outpost – the defense minister, Israel’s Civil Administration in the West Bank and the Shomron Regional Council.
#AceDailyNews says Palestinians claiming land at illegal outpost take Israel’s deal with settlers to court and under the deal, the outpost’s structures are to remain intact and the settlers may return if the land is deemed state-owned acording to Haaretz News Agency
The petitioners say they hold the rights to the land on which the outpost’s buildings and infrastructure have been built. In the petition that was submitted Thursday, some of them attached property-tax documents as proof of their ownership of the land.
A contemporary aerial photograph of Evyatar showing the area of a military base from the 1980s (red), a 2018 seizure order (green) and the area of the current takeover.
About two-thirds of the West Bank’s land is not registered in any land registry, as the registry process has been halted by the Israeli occupation. Instead, there are property-tax books that the Ottoman and British authorities used for collecting taxes.
Israel, however, does not recognize the tax books as proof of land ownership; instead, it demands proof that the land was cultivated by its alleged owners.
The petitioners have aerial photographs from the ‘80s showing that the land at Evyatar was cultivated for farming. Later, to set up a base there, the army issued a seizure order that stopped Palestinians from working their land.
The petitioners say that even after the army reduced its presence in the area at the end of the ‘90s, it left facilities and infrastructure there and continued using it, while soldiers stopped Palestinians from reaching the land, claiming that it was a closed military area.
An aerial photograph from the ’80s at Evyatar, whose name is written above in Hebrew. Local Palestinians say the photo shows that the land is their agricultural land.
The petition says that in 2018 the army issued another seizure order for a larger area that was in effect until July that year. The area of the Evyatar outpost is larger than the area covered in both seizure orders, the petitioners say. They say they have never been notified that the military’s hold on the area has ended or been canceled.
Also, some of the petitioners are owners of farming land near the outpost, and since its establishment they have been driven off their fields by the army or settlers, they say.
Before the agreement with the settlers was signed, two lawyers for the petitioners asked the attorney general not to approve it. The two attorneys, Sliman Shahin and Alaa Mahajna, never received a response from the attorney general’s office.
“The new government is continuing its predecessors’ policy with a vengeance, encouraging the culture of taking over Palestinian lands in the West Bank,” Shahin said. “With this agreement the state is enlisting the army as a trustee for the squatters to protect the illegal structures at the outpost.”
Mahajna added: “In Evyatar’s case, the government intervened on behalf of the squatters and forced an unprecedented, corrupt mechanism that spits in the face of the law. The government has signaled to the settlers that it’s possible to act like the West Bank is the Wild West.”
#AceNewsReport – July.12: The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the demolitions have also left the villagers with no baby milk powders, clothes as well as personal hygiene products. They also have no fodder and water for their livestock.
#AceDailyNews says at least 70 Palestinians, including 36 kids, displaced as Israel demolishes homes in West Bank community: OCHA and the UN office said in a statement that the so-called Israeli Civil Administration (ICA) has confiscated food consignments and detached structures, leaving the residents with no food and water following Wednesday’s demolitions.
Thursday, 08 July 2021 4:37 PM [ Last Update: Thursday, 08 July 2021 4:56 PM ]
OCHA said its representatives, members of various non-governmental organizations and diplomats tried to access Humsa al-Baqai’a on Wednesday, but Israeli forces refused to let them do so on the grounds that a military operation was underway.
Some 11 of the structures demolished or confiscated had been provided by the international community, the UN office pointed out.
It highlighted that the Jordan Valley, which makes up 60 percent of the occupied West Bank, is classified as Area C – meaning it is under full Israeli military control.
OCHA said Israeli authorities have carried out military training in the community since 2012, and temporarily displaced local residents. The UN agency has so far recorded more than 50 such incidents.
On 23 February, Lynn Hastings, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, called on Israeli authorities to “immediately halt all further demolitions of Palestinian homes and possessions, allow the humanitarian community to provide shelter, food and water to this most vulnerable group and these people to remain in their homes,” after visiting Humsa al-Baqai’a community following a mass demolition campaign.
OCHA stressed that international humanitarian law requires an occupying power to protect the population of the territory it occupies, ensure its welfare and well-being, and respect its human rights. Any destruction of civilian property by the occupying power is prohibited as well.
Palestinian homes in the Jordan Valley are subjected to demolitions by Israeli authorities who claim they lack building permits, despite the fact that the Tel Aviv regime does not provide such permits to Palestinians.
Moreover, Israel orders Palestinians to demolish their own homes or pay the demolition price to the municipality if they refuse to tear down their houses. Palestinians as well as the international community consider Israeli demolition politics in the occupied territories illegal.
Humsa residents threatened with arrest if do not leave their lands:
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Wafa news agency reported on Thursday that after evicting residents of Humsa al-Baqai’a community, the Israeli forces have threatened to arrest them if they do not leave their lands and destroyed homes, and move elsewhere.
According to the report, which quoted Mutaz Bisharat, a local official with Tubas governorate, Israeli occupation soldiers threatened the residents, who stayed on their lands despite the demolition of their homes and structures, that they would be arrested if they do not evacuate the area.
He added that the soldiers have set up roadblocks to prevent anyone from reaching that area to help the community rebuild their destroyed homes.
Israeli soldiers have transferred the community’s belongings to another area, where they also intend to force the residents to live.
#AceNewsReport – June.29: In the “What Have You Done For Us Lately” Department, Israel has just completed tests of its new high-power laser system that, installed on a civilian aircraft, can shoot down drones. It promises to be what is called a game-changer.
ISRAEL: High-Powered Laser System A ‘Breakthrough’ The story of this remarkable advance is here: “ Israel successfully downs targets using airborne laser system,” by Anna Ahronheim, Jerusalem Post, June 21, 2021:
The Defense Ministry has successfully carried out a series of interceptions to shoot down drones with a powerful airborne laser system installed on a civilian light aircraft….
During the trials that were carried out over the sea, the high-powered laser fired from a civilian Cessna plane destroyed the unmanned targets at differing ranges and altitudes.
According to the Defense Ministry, Israel is perhaps the first country in the world to have been able to use such laser technology on an aircraft to intercept targets in an operational simulation….
The fully automated energy system uses the laser to destroy a target while flying above the clouds, he said, adding that the “powerful and precise system” can intercept the target “regardless of weather conditions.
Once a target passes through the area of interest, the system can be directed at any part of it with very high accuracy. It locks on and remains locked on until the target is downed….
The ground system will also be able to destroy targets at a range of eight to 10 km. with a 100 kW laser, Rotem said. The ministry is aiming for an operational system by 2024 to be deployed at the Gaza border area for shooting down rockets, he said.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz congratulated MAFAT, Elbit and the IAF on the technological breakthrough.
“Today, you have brought us closer to yet another important milestone in the development of the multitiered defense array of the State of Israel, and it is significant both in terms of cost effectiveness and defense capabilities,” he said.
“The laser system will add a new layer of protection at greater ranges and in facing a variety of threats: securing the State of Israel while saving costs of interception,” Gantz said. “I am confident that Israel’s defense industry will succeed in this important development program, and I will work personally together with the entire defense establishment to ensure its success.”
The Defense Ministry hopes that the airborne system will further increase the effectiveness of Israel’s air defenses against existing and future threats. It is expected to complement Israel’s multitiered air-defense array, which includes the Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Arrow missile interceptors….
The lasers can cover a much wider area and lock onto, and then destroy, unmanned vehicles passing through that area. The cost of firing a laser beam for an interception will cost around $2000. Meanwhile, the price of launching an Iron Dome interception missile is between $40,000 and $60,000. Consider how may tens of millions of dollars the IDF spent on Iron Dome missiles in the recent war against Hamas; Hamas aimed 4300 not-very-expensive rockets at Israel; about 600 fell short, leaving 3700 that entered Israeli airspace; Iron Dome missiles managed to intercept 90%. The cost of such a defense is becoming an increasingly urgent issue as large-scale attacks become more frequent and the expense of interception skyrockets.
The laser system will potentially save the IDF hundreds of millions of dollars; it is also more precise in its targeting, and can lock onto a target much closer to its launch, as compared to the Iron Dome.
Israel keeps providing evidence of how creatively it responds to every military challenge its enemies present. In three years, it will have ready an anti-missile and anti-drone system that will cost 1/20th of what such a defense does at present. And Israel will share this laser beam technology – as it always has done with its every military advance in the past – with the U.S.
Be afraid, Ismail Haniyeh and Yahyah Sinwar. Be afraid, Hassan Nasrallah, Ebrahim Raisi and Ayatollah Khamenei, be very afraid. Once those Israeli weapons scientists focus their attention on building new weapons systems, there seems to be no obstacle they cannot in time overcome. Now they’ve reached the “breakthrough” of laser-beam weapons, capable of being fired both from the ground and from civilian light planes flying above the clouds. What’s next to come, from the creative geniuses at Israel Aerospace Industries, Elbit Systems, and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems? We are on the edge……..
#AceNewsReport – June.29: While Biden has been signaling weakness to Iran over the nuke deal, this development bears watching. Predictably, Iran accused the U.S. government of “working with Israel and Saudi Arabia to repress Iran’s freedom of expression.”
“Promoting terrorism” was cited as a reason for the asset seizure. Also seized was “a Palestinian-directed broadcast and an Arabic-language religious and cultural channel….the web domain of Iran’s Al-Alam news network and that of Al-Masirah, a Yemeni TV station controlled by the Iran-backed Houthi insurgency.”
Iran has become increasingly aggressive and openly hostile to America, making overt demands about a nuclear deal which would involve the dropping of all sanctions. The hardline, murderous incoming Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has also “declared that Iran will not agree to restrictions on its ballistic missile development or its support for terrorism throughout the region as a condition to the resumption of the nuclear deal.”
“US takes down Iran-linked news sites, alleges disinformation,” by Isabel Debre and Eric Tuck, Washington Post,June 23, 2021:
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — American authorities seized a range of Iran’s state-linked news website domains they accused of spreading disinformation, the U.S. Justice Department said Tuesday, a move that appeared to be a far-reaching crackdown on Iranian media amid heightened tensions between the two countries.
The Justice Department said 33 of the seized websites were used by the Iranian Islamic Radio and Television Union, which was singled out by the U.S. government last October for what officials described as efforts to spread disinformation and sow discord among American voters ahead of the 2020 presidential election. T
The U.S. says three other seized websites were operated by the Iraqi Shiite paramilitary group, Kata’ib Hizballah, which more than a decade ago was designated a foreign terrorist organization. The group is separate from the Lebanese militant Hezbollah group whose news websites remained operational.
The website domains are owned by U.S. companies, but despite the sanctions, neither the IRTVU nor KH obtained the required licenses from the U.S. government before using the domain names, according to the Justice Department.
#AceNewsReport – June.16: The counterstrike, which happened Tuesday evening in the U.S. and early Wednesday morning local time, targeted Hamas military compounds, according to the IDF.
Israel launches airstrikes on Hamas after balloon attack, IDF Says but the targets were used by Hamas’ Khan Yunis and Gaza Brigades for “terror activities,” according to the IDF: Authorities on both sides said there were no injuries, the Times of Israelreported.
“The Hamas terror organization is responsible for all events transpiring in the Gaza Strip, and will bear the consequences for its actions,” the military said in a statement. “The IDF is prepared for any scenario, including a resumption of hostilities, in the face of continuing terror activities from the Gaza Strip.”
The violence comes just three weeks after a cease-fire halted 11 days of fighting that marked the worst clashes between the IDF and Hamas militants since a small-scale war in 2014.
Israel’s fragile coalition government gets first test, launches airstrikes on Hamas: The violence comes just three weeks after a cease-fire halted 11 days of fighting
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett‘s coalition government, just three days into its term, responded to an incendiary balloon attack from Hamas by launching airstrikes into the Gaza Strip.
Bennett, the right-wing leader who was once former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s chief of staff, has said that he would approachballoon attacks with the same seriousness as if they were rockets.
The Jerusalem Post reported that Israeli Defense Forces said it targeted Hamas infrastructure. About 20 fires broke out in southern Israel as a result of the balloon attack, the report said.
The New York Times, citing Palestinian news, reported that one of the Israeli strikes caused damage to at least one property, but there have been no confirmation of any casualties.
The paper reported that Israel had been on edge after the new government approved a “far-right Jewish march to pass through Palestinian areas of Jerusalem on Tuesday night.”
Hundreds of Israeli ultranationalists, some chanting “Death to Arabs,” paraded in east Jerusalem in a show of force that threatened to spark renewed violence.
The violence comes just three weeks after a cease-fire halted 11 days of fighting that marked the worst clashes between the IDF and Hamas militants since a small-scale war in 2014.
The Post reported that Hamas called for a “Day of Rage” to counter the march. Palestinians consider the march, meant to celebrate Israel’s capture of east Jerusalem in 1967, to be a provocation. Hamas called on Palestinians to “resist” the parade, a version of which helped ignite last month’s 11-day Gaza war.
Yair Lapid, the alternate prime minister who will serve as foreign minister for the first two years of the government’s term, said those shouting racist slogans were “a disgrace to the Israeli people.”
“The fact that there are radicals for whom the Israeli flag represents hatred and racism is abominable and unforgivable,” he said.
Israel says it carried out air strikes in Gaza overnight after Palestinians launched incendiary balloons from the territory, in the first major flare-up since an 11-day conflict last month.
The Israeli military said it targeted compounds belonging to Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza.
The incendiary balloons sparked 20 fires in southern Israel on Tuesday.
Hamas said they were a response to a march by Israeli nationalists in occupied East Jerusalem.
There were no casualties on either side and calm had been restored by Wednesday morning.
In a statement, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said its fighter jets had hit military compounds operated by Hamas in Khan Younis and Gaza City.
It said “terrorist activity” took place in the compounds, and that the IDF was “prepared for all scenarios, including the resumption of hostilities, in the face of continued terror acts from the Gaza Strip”.
A Hamas spokesman said on Twitter that Palestinians would continue to pursue their “brave resistance and defend their rights and sacred sites” in Jerusalem.The IDF said the strikes were carried out in response to the “arson balloons launched from Gaza into Israel” on Tuesday.In recent years, militants have frequently sent balloons and kites carrying containers of burning fuel and explosive devices over the Gaza border. The devices have caused hundreds of fires in Israel, burning thousands of hectares of forest and farmland.
Incendiary balloons are commonly used by militants (image from 15 June)The air strikes were the first carried out under Israel’s new government, which took office on Sunday, ending Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12 years in power. Naftali Bennett, the new prime minister, is a right-wing nationalist who heads a coalition of eight parties spanning the entire spectrum of Israeli politics.
A reminder of a fragile ceasefire by Rushdi Abu Alouf, BBC News, Gaza CityThe recent air raids lasted for only 10 minutes, but they were enough to remind the city’s residents, who are trying to recover from the aftermath of the recent fighting, that the ceasefire is fragile. It is not only the sounds of explosions that remind people of the war here. You only have to drive your car or walk the streets to witness the scale of destruction that has befallen the city. Tons of rubble still block the main roads in the heart of Gaza. A local street vendor, Abu Muhammad, sells nuts on a small cart in the Rimal neighbourhood, which was subjected to the largest strikes in the previous round of violence. He told me: “We can no longer tolerate more wars, the coronavirus pandemic stopped our work for many months, and the last war caused a great loss, I could no longer feed my six children.” A neighbour, who lives near a Hamas military site that was hit in the latest strikes, told me by phone it was scary watching new plumes of smoke rising.What happened at the Jerusalem march?The Jerusalem Day flag march is an annual event that marks Israel’s capture of East Jerusalem – home to the Old City and its holy sites – in the 1967 Middle East War. Palestinians see it as a provocation.At Tuesday’s event, hundreds of mostly young, nationalist Israelis danced, sang and waved Israeli flags in front of the Old City’s Damascus Gate, the main entrance to the Muslim Quarter. They later entered through another gate to reach the Western Wall, one of Judaism’s holiest sites.EPAThe marchers agreed not to enter the Old City through the Damascus GateIsrael Foreign Minister Yair Lapid criticised a group of marchers that were filmed chanting racist slogans.”The fact that there are extremists for whom the Israeli flag represents hate and racism is abominable and intolerable,” said Mr Lapid. “It is incomprehensible how one can hold an Israeli flag in one’s hand and shout ‘Death to Arabs’ at the same time.”More than 30 Palestinian protesters were injured and 17 people arrested as Israeli police cleared areas of East Jerusalem ahead of the march, firing stun grenades and rubber bullets.Originally, the flag march was supposed to take place on 10 May. But it was interrupted by Hamas militants in Gaza firing rockets towards the holy city, which led to the 11-day conflict.ReutersPalestinians protested against the march, which they said was a provocationAs soon as a ceasefire took hold, the organisers asked for the march to be rescheduled. It was due to take place last Thursday, but it was cancelled by the organisers after Israeli police rejected the proposed route, citing security concerns.An amended route that avoided passing through the Damascus Gate was later approved by the new Israeli government, though the leader of the Arab Islamist Raam party in the coalition said it should have been called off.The Palestinian Authority’s prime minister warned that there could be “dangerous repercussions”.Why was there a conflict in Gaza last month?The conflict began after weeks of spiralling Israeli-Palestinian tension in East Jerusalem which culminated in clashes at a holy site revered by both Muslims and Jews.Hamas began firing rockets into Israel after warning it to withdraw from the site, triggering retaliatory air strikes from Israel on Gaza targets.Two children from Gaza City and Israel describe their experience of the Israel-Gaza conflictAt least 256 people were killed in Gaza, according to the UN, and 13 people were killed in Israel before an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire took effect on 21 May.The UN said at least 128 of those killed in Gaza were civilians. Israel’s military said 200 were militants; Hamas’s leader in Gaza put the number of fighters killed at 80.More than 16,000 homes in Gaza were destroyed or damaged in the conflict, along with 58 schools and training centres, nine hospitals, 19 clinics and vital infrastructure, according to the UN.
#AceNewsReport – June.15: The eight parties, including a small Arab faction that is making history by sitting in the ruling coalition, are united in their opposition to Netanyahu and new elections but agree on little else:
ISRAEL: Knesset approves new coalition, ending Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s unseated long-term leader as Naftali Bennett, the head of a small ultranationalist party, was sworn in as prime minister after a narrow 60-59 vote in parliament but if he wants to keep the job, he will have to maintain an unwieldy coalition of parties from the political right, left and center after he’s rise to Israel’s new PM
Benjamin Netanyahu has lost his 12-year hold on power in Israel after its parliament voted in a new coalition government.
Right-wing nationalist Naftali Bennett has been sworn in as prime minister, leading a “government of change”.
He will lead an unprecedented coalition of parties which was approved with a razor-thin majority of 60-59.
Mr Bennett will be prime minister until September 2023 as part of a power-sharing deal.
He will then hand power over to Yair Lapid, leader of the centrist Yesh Atid, for a further two years.
Mr Netanyahu – Israel’s longest-serving leader who has dominated its political landscape for years – will remain head of the right-wing Likud party and become leader of the opposition.
During the debate in the Knesset (parliament), a defiant Mr Netanyahu promised: “We’ll be back: After Netanyahu sat silently during the vote. After it was approved, he stood up to leave the chamber, before turning around and shaking Bennett’s hand. A dejected Netanyahu, wearing a black medical mask, briefly sat in the opposition leader’s chair before walking out.
They are likely to pursue a modest agenda that seeks to reduce tensions with the Palestinians and maintain good relations with the US without launching any major initiatives:
Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption, remains the head of the largest party in parliament and is expected to vigorously oppose the new government. If just one faction bolts, it could lose its majority and would be at risk of collapse, giving him an opening to return to power.
The country’s deep divisions were on vivid display as Bennett addressed parliament ahead of the vote. He was repeatedly interrupted and loudly heckled by supporters of Netanyahu, several of whom were escorted out of the chamber.
Bennett’s speech mostly dwelled on domestic issues, but he expressed opposition to US efforts to revive Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers. “Israel will not allow Iran to arm itself with nuclear weapons,” Bennett said, vowing to maintain Netanyahu’s confrontational policy. “Israel will not be a party to the agreement and will continue to preserve full freedom of action.”
Bennett nevertheless thanked President Joe Biden and the US for its decades of support for Israel. Netanyahu, speaking after him, vowed to return to power. He predicted the incoming government would be weak on Iran and give in to US demands to make concessions to the Palestinians.
If it is destined for us to be in the opposition, we will do it with our backs straight until we topple this dangerous government and return to lead the country in our way,” he said: Yohanan Plesner, president of the Israel Democracy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, said the new government will likely be more stable than it appears:
Even though it has a very narrow majority, it will be very difficult to topple and replace because the opposition is not cohesive,” he said. Each party in the coalition will want to prove that it can deliver, and for that they need “time and achievements.”
Still, Netanyahu “will continue to cast a shadow,” Plesner said. He expects the incoming opposition leader to exploit events and propose legislation that right-wing coalition members would like to support but can’t — all in order to embarrass and undermine them.
The new government is meanwhile promising a return to normalcy after a tumultuous two years that saw four elections, an 11-day Gaza war last month and a coronavirus outbreak that devastated the economy before it was largely brought under control by a successful vaccination campaign.
The driving force behind the coalition is Yair Lapid, a political centrist who will become prime minister in two years, if the government lasts that long. He called off a planned speech to parliament, instead saying he was ashamed that his 86-year-old mother had to witness the raucous behavior of his opponents. In a brief speech, he asked for “forgiveness from my mother.”
I wanted her to be proud of the democratic process in Israel. Instead she, along with every citizen of Israel, is ashamed of you and remembers clearly why it’s time to replace you,” he said: The new government is expected to win a narrow majority in the 120-member assembly, after which it will be sworn in. The government plans to hold its first official meeting later this evening:
It’s unclear when Netanyahu will move out of the official residence. He has lashed out at the new government in apocalyptic terms and accused Bennett of defrauding voters by running as a right-wing stalwart and then partnering with the left:
Netanyahu’s supporters have held angry protests outside the homes of rival lawmakers, who say they have received death threats naming their family members. Israel’s Shin Bet internal security service issued a rare public warning about the incitement earlier this month, saying it could lead to violence. Netanyahu has condemned the incitement while noting that he has also been a target.
His place in Israeli history is secure, having served as prime minister for a total of 15 years — more than any other, including the country’s founder, David Ben-Gurion: Netanyahu began his long rule by defying the Obama administration, refusing to freeze settlement construction as it tried unsuccessfully to revive the peace process. Relations with Israel’s closest ally grew even rockier when Netanyahu vigorously campaigned against President Barack Obama’s emerging nuclear deal with Iran, even denouncing it in an address to the US Congress:
But he suffered few if any consequences from those clashes and was richly rewarded by the Trump administration, which recognized contested Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, helped broker normalization agreements with four Arab states and withdrew the US from the Iran deal.
Netanyahu has portrayed himself as a world-class statesman, boasting of his close ties with Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. He has also cultivated ties with Arab and African countries that long shunned Israel over its policies toward the Palestinians:
But he has gotten a far chillier reception from the Biden administration and is widely seen as having undermined the long tradition of bipartisan support for Israel in the United States: His reputation as a political magician has also faded at home, where he has become a deeply polarizing figure. Critics say he has long pursued a divide-and-conquer strategy that aggravated rifts in Israeli society between Jews and Arabs and between his close ultra-Orthodox allies and secular Jews.
In November 2019, he was indicted for fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes. He refused calls to step down, instead lashing out at the media, judiciary and law enforcement, going so far as to accuse his political opponents of orchestrating an attempted coup. Last year, protesters began holding weekly rallies across the country calling on him to resign:
Netanyahu remains popular among the hard-line nationalists who dominate Israeli politics, but he could soon face a leadership challenge from within his own party. A less polarizing Likud leader would stand a good chance of assembling a coalition that is both farther to the right and more stable than the government that is set to be sworn in.
#AceNewsReport – June.13: AP is either abjectly incompetent or complicit with Hamas’ genocidal jihad against Israel. Gilad Erdan would have been closer to the truth if he had told Pruitt and Phillips that he knew AP was not a news source, but a propaganda arm for the hard-Left and the global jihad, and would treat it accordingly. Instead, he kept up the pretense that he was dealing with a news organization.
Ambassador Erdan said: “AP is one of the most important news agencies in the world and Israel doesn’t think that AP employees were aware it was being cynically used in this way by Hamas for a secret unit.” They weren’t aware? They’re supposed to be reporters. And they didn’t even know that jihad terrorist activity was going on in their own building?
Israel’s Ambassador to the United States and the United Nations Gilad Erdan visited the Associated Press headquarters in New York where he met with President and CEO Gary Pruitt and Vice President of International News Ian Phillips. During his visit, Ambassador Erdan reaffirmed that Israel upholds the importance of press freedom and ensures the safety of journalists wherever they are reporting.
Ambassador Erdan reiterated that the multistory building housing the AP in Gaza, which was destroyed last month in an airstrike, also housed the facilities of Hamas’ military intelligence, its R&D department and a tech unit.
“The unit was developing an electronic jamming system to be used against the Iron Dome defense system,” said Ambassador Erdan, officially informing for the first time why Hamas’ operation in that building posed such an imminent threat to Israeli civilians and was prioritized by the IDF.
Ambassador Erdan added that “AP is one of the most important news agencies in the world and Israel doesn’t think that AP employees were aware it was being cynically used in this way by Hamas for a secret unit.”
The ambassador went on to assure the news agency that “Israel did everything it could to make sure that no employees or civilians were hurt during this important operation.”…
‘The leaders of Hamas will get together to divide among themselves the money that will be poured into Gaza’
“Vienna-Based Syrian Journalist Thaer Al-Nashef: Hamas Uses Civilians As Human Shields; Hamas Leaders Split Gaza Rehabilitation Aid Among Themselves,” MEMRI, May 25, 2021:
Syrian journalist Thaer Al-Nashef, who is currently living in exile in Vienna, said that the Hamas “media machine” and Iran have exploited events in Jerusalem and Gaza in order to garner Arab sympathy over other Palestinian factions and to further Iranian interests in the Vienna nuclear negotiations. He made these remarks in a show that aired on Al-Jazeera Network (Qatar) on May 25, 2021….
Thaer Al-Nashef: “Hamas has declared victory over Israel, just like Gamal Abd Al-Naser declared victory over Israel, even though he lost the Sinai Peninsula in its entirety, the Egyptian army was completely destroyed, and thousand of Egyptian soldiers were killed. At the same time, Hamas ignores the civilians it used as human shields in the Gaza strip by shooting useless missiles, a third of which fell on the people in the Gaza strip, instead of Israeli cities. Hamas claims that it has hit Israeli military targets, but that is a complete lie because the entire world saw in the media that Hamas’s missiles targeted Israeli civilians.
“Did Muslims in Sarajevo, Tirana, Bosnia, and Africa rally to support Hamas, and those behind it, like the regime of the Mullahs in Iran? Those who rallied were Arab crowds frustrated with the autocracy of the Arab regimes, [crowds] whose sentiments were riled up by Hamas, exploiting the events of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, that were instigated by Hamas and those who stand with it by provoking the Israeli police.
“Thus, the Arab public was mobilized by the media machine of Hamas and those behind it – the Iranian regime. All this was done in order to raise the popularity of Hamas among the Palestinian public, at the expense of other factions like Fatah, and other factions, and in order to revitalize Iran and polish its image in the region, after it was tarnished by its crimes in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, and Iraq. Iran is exploiting what happened in the Gaza Strip in a big way for the sake of its interests in the nuclear negotiations that are conducted here in Vienna.
“It is certain that Hamas will not conduct a discussion about what happened in the Gaza Strip and they will not hold each other responsible. The leaders of Hamas will get together to divide among themselves the money that will be poured into [Gaza] now just like they did after the wars of 2009 and 2014. Hamas’s wealth grows with every war. Billions [of dollars] are deposited in the bank accounts of the leaders of Hamas.”