Israel's Western Galilee under Fire
- Seth J. Frantzman (Jerusalem Post
In Shlomi, along the border with Lebanon in the Western Galilee, a rocket fell in the street next to a small shopping area that includes a bank, whose windows were shattered, a law firm and a sandwich shop.
The stores were closed because of the Passover holiday but a nearby gas station was open. A truck that supplies gas to the station drove by just before the rocket fell.
During the 2006 war many had to flee Shlomi after a month of fighting with Hizbullah.
Down the road from the impact in Shlomi is Betzet, a moshav, where a rocket landed on an agricultural shed and caused a fire.
Across the street is a kindergarten. There were no children present due to the holiday.
Cyberattacks Damage Irrigation, Sewage Systems in Upper Galilee
Several water monitors - which monitor irrigation and wastewater treatment systems - were left dysfunctional on Sunday after a targeted cyberattack.
Farmers in the region were warned several days prior about suspicions over a planned cyberattack, and some switched their systems to manual operation to prevent any harm from the attack.
Palestinian Rescues Israeli Couple Who Were Attacked near Hebron
- Josh Breiner (Ha'aretz
Amichai and Nitzan Baron were driving home to the community of Karmei Tzur, near Hebron, at 3 a.m. on April 4 when their vehicle hit a barrier of rocks on the road.
As Palestinians began to throw rocks at them, one Palestinian, "M," came towards them and shouted at them to quickly enter his home. "We don't want to even think what would happen if he hadn't let us in," said Amichai.
From the safety of the house, they contacted a security hotline and IDF forces arrived shortly on the scene.
Finland to Purchase Israel's David's Sling Long-Range Missile Defense System
- Tamir Eshel (Defense Update
The Finnish Ministry of Defense has informed Israel of its decision to procure the David's Sling advanced air-defense system following a long competitive evaluation.
"The air defense of Finland will be very substantial on the European scale," said Commander of the Finnish Air Force, Maj.-Gen. Juha-Pekka Keranen.
The system is designed to intercept ballistic missiles, aircraft, UAVs, and cruise missiles. Due to the system's joint development with the U.S., it is contingent on final export approval from the U.S.
This is the first export sale of David's Sling to a foreign military. It has been operational in Israel since 2017.
The Finnish version of the system will be manufactured by Israeli, American, and Finnish contractors, led by Israel's Rafael and America's Raytheon.
U.S. Company to Manufacture Light Armored Vehicles for Israel
The U.S. Department of Defense has announced that MDT Armor Corp., in Auburn, Alabama, was awarded a $22 million contract to produce David Urban Light Armored Vehicles for Israel as part of a U.S. Foreign Military Sales agreement.
Arotech's MDT Protective Industries, based in Israel, partnered with the IDF to design the David vehicle, utilizing the Land Rover Defender chassis.
The David is an all-terrain vehicle that features a V-shaped hull design to provide protection against roadside bombs.
It is equipped with advanced armor materials that can withstand armor-piercing rounds and can maintain mobility even with deflated or damaged tires.
Israel's Ben-Gurion Airport Records Busiest-Ever Month
- Moshe Cohen (Maariv-Jerusalem Post
1,983,428 passengers passed through Ben-Gurion Airport in March 2023 on 13,490 international and domestic flights, its busiest month in history, the Israel Airports Authority revealed on Sunday.
El Al Israel Airlines flew a record 432,365 passengers in March.
Saving At-Risk Teens by Making Them Givers
- Abigail Klein Leichman (Israel21c
More than 1,500 teens aged 13 to 19 perform voluntary community service through 44 chapters of Sayeret Chessed Yechudit (SAHI) - the Special Grace Unit - in depressed communities.
The slogan of the organization is: "The greatest thing in the world is to do good for somebody."
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
- U.S.: "Israel Has a Legitimate Right to Defend Itself Against All Forms of Aggression"
State Department spokesman Vedant Patel said Thursday: "We condemn the launch of rockets from Lebanon and Gaza at Israel. Our commitment to Israel's security is ironclad, and we recognize Israel has a legitimate right to defend itself against all forms of aggression."
(U.S. State Department)
- U.S. Deploys Guided Missile Submarine to Middle East - Farnaz Fassihi
The U.S. Navy said Saturday that it had deployed the guided missile submarine USS Florida to the Middle East, following escalating tensions between Iran and Israel. U.S. military and Israeli intelligence agencies said that Iran's Revolutionary Guards was preparing a drone attack against Israeli-owned civilian merchant vessels sailing in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea. The Florida, which can carry 154 Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles, began transiting the Suez Canal on Friday.
The Pentagon last week announced it was extending the tour of the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush in the eastern Mediterranean and speeding up the deployment of Air Force A-10 attack planes to a base in the Middle East. Israel's Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant spoke on Saturday with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. Israeli ships were advised to turn off their transponders, sail as close as possible to the coast of Oman and away from the Iranian coast, and to routinely report their whereabouts and any suspicious activity.
(New York Times)
- Egypt Sees Progress in "Freeing Sinai" from Terror Threats - Kamel El-Beheiry
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi has hailed the success of counterterrorism operations in eliminating terrorism in Sinai. His recent visit to military and security sites in Sinai, east of the Suez Canal, was designed to showcase the second component of the counterterrorism strategy - the comprehensive development of Sinai. The social, economic, and cultural development of Sinai is crucial to eliminating an environment conducive to terrorism and the spread of terrorist ideas and to forestalling a resurgence of terrorism.
Terrorist operations in Sinai began in 2011 and peaked in 2015. North Sinai was most impacted. The terrorists were primarily adherents to al-Qaeda or Islamist State (IS). Starting in 2015, the IS affiliate in Sinai killed hundreds of civilians, including 35 tribal elders. Its most bloody attack targeted the Sufi Al-Rawda Mosque in Bir Al-Abd in November 2017, killing over 300 worshipers.
In 2018, President Al-Sisi launched a comprehensive operation to dismantle terrorist command structures, infrastructure, military capacities, and territorial control. By the middle of 2020, the number of terrorist attacks had fallen by 95% from the average in 2014-18. The number of foreign operatives and recruits into the ranks of IS Sinai also dropped sharply thanks to tightening border security. Not a single attack took place in the first quarter of this year. IS Sinai has also halted publication of its usual communications and bulletins.
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- Palestinian Kills Two Israeli Sisters, Critically Wounds Mother in Jordan Valley Shooting - Emanuel Fabian
Maia Dee, 20, and her sister Rina Dee, 15, were shot dead in a Palestinian terror attack on Friday in the Jordan Valley. Their mother Lucy, 48, remains hospitalized in critical condition. The family are residents of Efrat and are also British nationals. Palestinian terrorists fired at the vehicle, causing it to veer off the road and crash, before approaching it and firing at its occupants from close range. More than 20 bullet casings were found at the scene. (Times of Israel-Jerusalem Post)
See also Thousands Attend Funeral of Terror Victims Maia and Rina Dee - Rivkah Lambert Adler (Jerusalem Post)
- Israeli Arab Kills Italian Tourist in Tel Aviv Car Ramming
On Friday night, Yosef Abu J'aber, from the Israeli Arab city of Kfar Qasim, sped in a car down a bicycle path on the Tel Aviv beach promenade where a group of tourists from Britain and Italy were walking and drove into them. Alessandro Parini, 35, an Italian lawyer, was killed and seven others were injured. A police officer killed the terrorist. (Ynet News)
See also British Tourist Tells of Escape in Tel Aviv Car Ramming Attack - James Rothwell
Freddie, 31, from London, said he and his girlfriend were strolling down the promenade on the Tel Aviv beachfront on Friday night when the attacker's car mounted the pavement and roared towards them. "A car was revving and speeding....I had very little time to dive out of the way. It clipped me and we fell over." They suffered minor scrapes and bruising. The car, driven by an Arab-Israeli citizen, sped further down the promenade in search of other victims.
At the scene of the attack, Israelis laid floral tributes for the Italian victim and messages of solidarity with Italy.
- Hamas Fires Rocket Barrage into Israel from Lebanon on Passover - Tzvi Joffre
Rocket sirens sounded across northern Israel on Thursday afternoon, during the Passover holiday, amid a barrage of rocket attacks launched across the northern border with Lebanon. Of the 34 rockets, at least 25 were intercepted in the air. One Israeli, a resident of a Druze village, was injured by shrapnel following the rocket barrage, and a number of buildings suffered damage. (Jerusalem Post)
See also Rockets from Lebanon Point to Growing Hamas Cooperation with Hizbullah - Patrick Kingsley (New York Times)
See also Video - IDF: Hamas Launched Aggressive Rocket Attacks at Israel from Lebanon and Gaza (Israel Defense Forces)
See also Israel Calls on UN Security Council to Condemn Lebanon and Hamas for Rocket Fire (Reuters-Jerusalem Post)
- IDF Strikes Hamas Targets in Gaza, Lebanon in Response to Rocket Fire - Tzvi Joffre
The IDF struck sites belonging to Hamas in Gaza and Lebanon early Friday following rocket fire from those areas. In southern Lebanon, three targets were struck near al-Qulayla and the al-Rashidiah refugee camp, south of Tyre. At least ten targets in Gaza were struck, including tunnels and weapons production facilities.
At least 40 rockets were fired from Gaza towards Israel Thursday night and Friday morning. One rocket fell on a home in Sderot.
See also Six Rockets Fired at Israel from Syria - Yoav Zitun
Three rockets were fired at Israel's Golan Heights from Syria on Saturday and another three early Sunday, prompting Israeli artillery fire and air attacks in return. Al Mayadeen TV in Lebanon said the rockets were claimed by the Al-Quds Brigades of the Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
- Palestinians Barricaded Themselves in Al-Aqsa Mosque as Jews Gathered for Priestly Blessing at Western Wall Below - Nir Hasson
Hundreds of Palestinians barricaded themselves in the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem late Saturday night into Sunday morning. Sunday marks the biannual Priestly Blessing ceremony at the Western Wall attended by tens of thousands of Jews. Police are chiefly concerned that Palestinians will attempt to throw stones from the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound at Jewish worshipers at the Western Wall below. (Ha'aretz)
See also Video: Thousands at Priestly Blessing at Western Wall (Ynet News)
- Israel: Palestinians Brought Explosives to Al-Aqsa in Last Week's Riots
Palestinians who barricaded themselves in the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Apr. 4 brought explosives into the mosque, Israel Police Chief Kobi Shabtai told Israel's Channel 11 on Sunday. He said there were over 400 people who barricaded themselves in the mosque last Tuesday, also bringing fireworks and stones into the building.
Police cited an agreement they reached with the Jordanian Waqf against Palestinians who attempt to stay overnight in the mosque, as well as concerns that the Palestinians were preparing to attack Jews who visit the site.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
- How Will Israel Confront the Iranian Regime's Multi-Front Assault? - Yoni Ben Menachem
Escalating terrorist attacks against Israelis and attacking Israel with rockets during Passover from Gaza, southern Lebanon, and Syria are only the first stages in the war of attrition by the Axis of Resistance led by Iran. The current round of fighting is only the first stage in Iran's phased plan to destroy Israel and the next stages will follow.
Senior political officials in Jerusalem say that the Israeli military response to the rocket attacks from Gaza and southern Lebanon was careful and measured in a way that would not lead to further escalation.
Israel is now reorganizing to thwart Iran's phased plan. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
- The Abraham Accords: "Palestinian Leaders Don't Realize that the Region Is Changing" - Ghaith al-Omari interviewed by Marc Daou
Ghaith al-Omari was a Palestinian negotiator at the 2000 Camp David Summit and is a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He was recently in Paris to unveil the "Whispered in Gaza" project - a series of animated films based on testimonies of Palestinians living in Gaza - at the French National Assembly.
He said in an interview: "The Palestinian leaders don't realize that the region is changing, they still live in the past. They still think that the days of Gamal Abdel Nasser [the former Egyptian president who championed pan-Arabism] will come back. They will not."
"Palestinians need to ask themselves if they can benefit from the new order when everyone else is focused on maximizing their own interests, or are they going to remain on the sidelines and watch as history passes them by? I believe that there is a way for Palestinians to profit from the situation....The Palestinians...need to make the choice of joining....The Abraham Accords are here to stay. And we can see that despite the current tension between the Israeli government and its Arab counterparts, they continue to develop economic and security ties."
"Nowadays, the international community considers certain issues to be much more important, such as the war in Ukraine, China's expanding power, Iran's nuclear threats, not to mention the various crises in Yemen, Syria and Libya. In terms of immediate risks, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has thus been eclipsed by much more risky conflicts....The Western world and regional players have understood that Palestinians are too weak to sign a deal....So the world has moved on." (France 24)
- The EU/UN War Against Israeli Control of "Area C" - Benjamin Weinthal
One scandal that rarely garners headlines is illegal construction carried out in Judea and Samaria by the EU and UN. The Jerusalem Post reported in 2022 that the EU doled out half-a-billion dollars over the past seven years to support a Palestinian Authority plan to control Area C of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) - the disputed territory where 80% of biblical events unfolded. The Oslo Accords signed in 1993 designated Area C as under Israeli military and civilian control. Nearly 500,000 Israelis and 300,000 Palestinians live in Area C.
In December, 40 members of Israel's Knesset charged the EU with working against the Jewish state, as evidenced by a leaked EU document showing how it seeks to illegally carve out territory for the creation of a Palestinian state.
They wrote, "We learned of an official policy document of the European Union...that leaves no room for doubt as to the one-sidedness and animosity of the EU towards the State of Israel and the Jewish people. The document completely ignores our people's historical affinity to our homeland, completely ignores the political agreements and the status of the State of Israel in Area C and seeks to establish the 1949 borders as Israel's final-status permanent borders - in complete disregard of the Jewish communities in the area."
(Jewish Policy Center)
- In the book I wrote in 2015 on the U.S.-Israeli relationship entitled Doomed to Succeed, I analyzed and evaluated the key assumptions that drove policies in every American administration from Truman to Obama. The reality that had emerged in the relationship was that regardless of the mistakes either or both of us might make, the fundamentals of shared values and shared interests had come to ensure we would always find a way to right the ship and manage our ties successfully.
- But the American-Israeli relationship had not always been special.
John Kennedy broke the taboo on providing Israel arms in 1962, but he had to overcome the determined opposition of the State Department and the intelligence community, each arguing that the U.S. would see its relations with the Arabs collapse if we provided Hawk anti-aircraft missiles to Israel. (In reality, the Arabs largely ignored the sale.)
- Richard Nixon ordered a massive air and sealift of weapons to Israel during the 1973 war, but held off providing any arms to the Israelis for eight days, in part because he was sensitive about the possible Arab response and in part because he and Henry Kissinger believed a military stalemate would provide a basis to launch diplomacy. Nixon decided in the end that he was not going to permit Soviet arms to defeat American arms in that war. But Nixon suspended delivery of F-4 fighters to Israel in 1970, believing this would gain favor with Egyptian President Nasser - who pocketed this and moved closer to the Soviets.
- Mistaken assumptions guided U.S. policies for a long time. It was assumed in much of the national security bureaucracy that distancing from Israel would produce gains with the Arabs and cooperating with Israel would cost us with them. Neither was ever true. The non-radical Arab leaders were focused on their security and survival and they were never going to make their relationship with us dependent on what we did with Israel.
- A majority of Americans still favor Israel but the younger demographic, especially among Democrats, takes a more critical view of Israel and sees the Palestinians as victims. The Palestinians surely are victims, but that should not excuse the Palestinian leaders' own contributions to this status: rejecting credible offers that would have produced a Palestinian state such as the Clinton parameters; delivering very poor governance, whether in the Palestinian Authority or under Hamas in Gaza; and furthering corruption and division that also robs the Palestinian Authority of basic legitimacy.
The writer, a former special assistant to President Barack Obama, is the counselor at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.