Palestinians Attack Gaza UN Compound after Aid Suspended (AP-Huffington Post)
Dozens of Palestinians attacked a UN compound in Gaza City on Wednesday, protesting the halting of aid due to a shortfall of funding from donor countries.
The rioters jumped over the compound's walls and smashed guard cabins and windows, burned tires and threw stones.
See also UN Middle East Envoy Serry "Outraged" by Attack on UN Gaza Compound (United Nations)
The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, has expressed outrage over the assault on the UN premises in Gaza.
He said Hamas was "well aware" of the pre-announced demonstration but did not take the necessary and timely measures to protect the UN compound.
"We continue to hold Hamas fully responsible for the security and safety of all United Nations personnel and operations in Gaza," Serry said.
In Sinai, Egypt Faces Islamic State Offshoot - Yaroslav Trofimov (Wall Street Journal)
In a video, Islamic State gunmen arrive in a fleet of pickup trucks, set up checkpoints on a busy highway and start hauling away suspected collaborators with the "apostate" government. It ends with forced confessions and gruesome, close-up shots of killings.
The video, released by Islamic State's "Province of Sinai" last month, was shot on the main road linking the Egyptian cities of el-Arish and Rafah, on the Mediterranean shore of the Sinai Peninsula close to Gaza.
The "Province of Sinai" of the insurgent movement Ansar Beit al-Maqdis has inflicted serious casualties on the Egyptian army in what's likely to be a prolonged and increasingly vicious insurgency.
Israel Says Turkish Criticism Inappropriate at Holocaust Memorial Service - Ayla Jean Yackley (Reuters)
Turkish Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Cicek on Wednesday addressed members of Turkey's tiny Jewish community at a Holocaust Memorial Day event and said rising anti-Semitism was linked to Israel's "attacks on Gaza."
In response, Emmanuel Nahshon, spokesman at the Israeli Foreign Ministry, said Cicek "unjustly and harshly criticized (Israel) at a moment that is absolutely inappropriate."
"Israel expresses its disappointment that a solemn event of an international nature dedicated to the memory of the Holocaust victims was misused in order to criticize Israeli policies."
Hamas Ends Boycott of Israeli Products in Gaza - Nasouh Nazzal (Gulf News-Dubai)
Hamas, which rules Gaza, has decided to end its boycott of Israeli products.
Emad Al Baz, the Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry of National Economy in Gaza, said Israeli products are the only possible solution to meet shortages in the local market.
He said his ministry, in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, has imposed taxes on Israeli products.
The taxes will cover the ministry's operating expenses and are a creative tool to come up with extra funds.
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- Two Israeli Soldiers Killed in Hizbullah Attack - Molly Hunter and Alexander Marquardt
An Israeli military convoy was struck by antitank missiles near the Lebanese border on Wednesday, killing two Israeli soldiers and wounding seven. A Spanish soldier serving with the UN inside Lebanese territory was also killed. Hizbullah claimed responsibility, saying it was carried out by the "heroic martyrs of Quneitra" brigade, a reference to the six Hizbullah fighters and Iranian general killed in Quneitra, Syria, on Jan. 18.
See also Hizbullah Signaling It Does Not Want Escalation - Ron Ben-Yishai
Hizbullah is signaling that with its ambush of IDF soldiers on Wednesday, it has settled its score with Israel for the killing of its senior officials and an Iranian general in the Golan Heights.
Hizbullah chief Nasrallah has been issuing conciliatory messages via every possible channel.
- U.S. Condemns Hizbullah Attack on IDF
State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said Wednesday: "The United States strongly condemns Hizbullah's attack today from Lebanon on the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in blatant violation of the cease-fire between Lebanon and Israel and UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which called for the immediate cessation by Hizbullah of all attacks. We support Israel's legitimate right to self-defense."
"Hizbullah continues to incite violence and instability inside Lebanon by attacking Israel and by its presence and fighting inside Syria, which violates Lebanese leaders' agreed policy of dissociating Lebanon from foreign conflicts." (State Department)
- House Lawmakers: Aid to Palestinians at Risk with ICC Bid - Rebecca Shabad
The leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee are warning that the U.S. could cut off aid to Palestinians if they don't back out of their bid to join the International Criminal Court (ICC).
"The United States should not support direct economic assistance to the [PA] until it demonstrates a meaningful reversal of this destructive course and proves it can be a willing partner for peace," the lawmakers wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry last week in a letter made public Tuesday.
A law passed by Congress in December states that, if the Palestinians initiate action against Israel at the court, the State Department would have to restrict U.S. aid to the PA. The letter was signed by House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and ranking member Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), as well as Reps. Ted Poe (R-Texas), William Keating (D-Mass.), Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.), Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), Albio Sires (D-N.J.) and Chris Smith (R-N.J.).
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- IDF Soldiers Killed in Hizbullah Attack Named - Matan Tzuri and Koby Nachshoni
Captain Yohai Kalangel and Sergeant Dor Nini were the two IDF soldiers killed in the Hizbullah attack on the Israel-Lebanon border on Wednesday. (Ynet News)
See also Soldiers Wounded in Hizbullah Attack Escaped Vehicle at Last Minute - Raanan Ben Tzur
Meir Shmueli, the father of soldier Shmuel Shmueli who was lightly hurt in the Hizbullah missile attack on the Lebanese border on Wednesday, said that his commander pushed him out of the military vehicle just seconds before it was engulfed in flames. (Ynet News)
See also Soldiers Hit by Missile Were 2 Km. from Border - Yoav Zitun
The soldiers were at least 2 km. from the border, heading south from Ghajar village on a road also used by local residents. Five anti-tank missiles were launched at the IDF convoy. One vehicle was hit by one missile and the other by two missiles. Another missile hit a home in Ghajar. The missiles were fired from a distance of 4-5 km. (Ynet News)
- Israel Demands UN Security Council Condemn Hizbullah
Israel's ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor called on the Security Council to condemn Hizbullah Wednesday after a deadly cross border attack left two Israeli soldiers dead. In a letter, Prosor said he had repeatedly warned of "the escalating threat posed by Hizbullah," saying it has been stockpiling weapons in southern Lebanon in contravention of UN Resolution 1701, which ended hostilities with Hizbullah in 2006.
"The international community cannot ignore the threat any longer. Israel will not stand by as Hizbullah targets Israelis. Israel will not accept any attacks on its territory....The terror organization must be disarmed, and the Lebanese government must stand by its commitment to the international resolutions," Prosor said. (Times of Israel)
- In Hamas Leader's Exit from Qatar, Signs of Growing Saudi-Egyptian Influence - Taylor Luck
Hamas political leader Khaled Meshal lost his base of political operations in Qatar and departed for Istanbul in December. Observers say the Qatari leadership has undergone a strategic realignment, deciding to strengthen its ties with the Saudi-Egypt axis and distance itself from its former Islamist proxies.
According to Hamas officials, Qatari security officials prevented its political bureau from receiving official delegations in Doha in December and "strongly advised" Hamas officials against traveling or communicating with Iranian officials.
In late December Qatari authorities briefly detained two Hamas financiers under suspicion of "illegal monetary and economic transactions," sending a clear message: Hamas officials were welcome in Qatar. Their politics were not. Hamas official Abu Hamzeh said 20 Hamas officials have left Qatar for Turkey over the past month. (Christian Science Monitor)
See also Muslim Brotherhood Tries to Sabotage Egyptian-Qatari Reconciliation - Yoni Ben Menachem (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
- Islamic State Deepens Grip in Future Palestine - Khaled Abu Toameh
Hamas and other Palestinian groups are continuing to deny the obvious - Islamic State has managed to set up bases of power in the West Bank and Gaza. For Hamas, the fact that Islamic State has long been operating in Gaza is something that it does not want the world to know about. Last week, some 200 supporters of the Islamic State, who held up Islamic State flags, took to the streets of Gaza City to protest the latest cartoons published by the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Islamic State is also trying to set up bases of power in the West Bank. According to Israeli security sources, dozens of Hamas and Islamic Jihad members in the West Bank have defected to Islamic State in recent months. Their main goal, the sources said, is to topple the PA and launch terror attacks on Israel. Were it not for the IDF, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Islamic State would have toppled the PA and beheaded Abbas and his officials long ago.
Hamas and the PA cannot avoid responsibility for the emergence of Islamic State in Gaza and the West Bank. The glorification of terrorists and jihadists by the PA and the ongoing anti-Israel incitement by both the PA and Hamas are driving many Palestinians into the open arms of the Islamic State.
The Mission of the United Nations Is All-Out War Against Genocide - Israeli President Reuven Rivlin (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin addressed the UN General Assembly on International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Wednesday:
- "In the valley of death of Europe it was the Jewish people who were the victims of a methodical, brutal, perverted and murderous extermination. Six million people, one third of my nation, about a million and a half of them children, were killed, slaughtered, suffocated, gassed to death, buried alive, burnt, massacred, died from hunger, from thirst, from disease, and other gruesome kinds of death, in the most horrifying crime ever committed in the history of the human race."
- "Now, in our own time, when the fundamentalist viper is raising its ugly head, we must remember that evil is not the property of any specific religion....My father, Yosef Yoel Rivlin, of blessed memory, devoted his life to translating the Quran into Hebrew, believing in the importance of dialogue and the cultural significance of the Quran for all the children of Abraham. As my father's son, I too believe implicitly that neither the West, nor the Christians, nor the Jews are at war with Islam."
- "Islam encompasses, under its enormous wings, victims of persecution and of terrorism, while at the same time it also serves as the banner of the attackers. The victims consist of hundreds of thousands of Muslim men and women, together with Christians, Yazidis, Kurds and Druze, each one of them a helpless victim of vicious barbarity, of wicked terrorism that has nothing at all to do with the religion or with the words of the Prophet. It is our duty and our responsibility to fight without mercy against the attackers; just as it is our duty and our responsibility to protect all the victims."
- "'Never again' is not just a pledge by the survivors, and also not a pledge by the world only to the members of the Jewish People. 'Never again' is, first and foremost, the very essence of this United Nations organization, it is its mission, it is the primary and principal rationale for its existence."
Unsubscribe from Daily Alert.