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Cease-fire Confirmed, Sporadic Rockets Still Being Fired from Gaza
by Kate Norman
Thursday, 14 November 2019 | Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza confirmed a cease-fire early this morning—though rockets are still sporadically firing into the Jewish state.
After more than two full days, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) has fired more than 450 rockets—and counting—into Israel. The onslaughts injured more than 60 Israelis and damaged several buildings. The Iron Dome aerial defense system intercepted 90% of the rockets that were headed toward Israeli neighborhoods and schools, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reported.
More than 60 people have been treated for injuries since Tuesday morning. Two men were lightly injured by shrapnel, and Wednesday a 70-year-old woman in Ashkelon was moderately hurt by glass when a rocket exploded through her window. Dozens of others were treated for anxiety or injuries sustained while scrambling for shelter.
After taking a direct hit from a rocket, a factory in southern Israel was burned in a fire. Three homes in Israel also took direct hits—the woman in Ashkelon was hurt, but the other two homes were empty when the rockets struck.
The Jewish state never takes rocket attacks lying down, insisting it has the right to defend itself against attacks. The military has conducted several counterstrikes, depleting the Palestinian terrorists’ weapons stash and eliminating PIJ targets, including military and training compounds and rocket production and storage sites. The IDF also resumed its policy from the 2014 war with Gaza of conducting “targeted killings” that take out chief terror commanders, including the commander of the PIJ in Gaza and a rocket commander.
The cease-fire was agreed to this morning at 5:30, though more projectiles have sporadically been fired into Israel since then. The PIJ reportedly agreed to halt the rocket fire and restrain violence in the weekly Gaza border protests in exchange for the IDF halting its targeted killings of terror commanders and using restrained riot dispersal methods at the border protests. This cease-fire, like most others, was brokered by mediators from Egypt and the United Nations (UN).
Though the bombardment has slowed significantly since the announcement of the cease-fire, schools and nonessential businesses in southern Israel are closed today and the military still has the region on high alert. Since Tuesday, life for the people of Israel has been put on halt as schools, businesses and roads have been closed and public transportation disrupted.
The IDF views the past 48+ hours as a military victory that “achieved all its objectives quickly and fully,” the IDF spokesperson said.
“Israel has achieved the objectives of the operation,” an Israeli official told the Times of Israel. “Islamic Jihad was significantly damaged, we destroyed many infrastructures and over 20 terrorists were thwarted.”
Dubbed “Operation Black Belt” by the military, this week’s clash with Gaza served to differentiate the two main terror entities operating in the Strip: Hamas and PIJ.
Prior to Black Belt, Israel had a policy of holding Hamas—the terror group in political and military control of Gaza—responsible for any terror activity emanating from the enclave. This round, however, was focused entirely on the PIJ—the second-largest terror group in Gaza—with Hamas staying out of the conflict.
The Israeli foreign minister saw this as a victory for the Jewish state’s policy of deterrence—conducting retaliatory strikes against Hamas any time Israel was attacked by terrorists in Gaza.
“If [Hamas] didn’t shoot, it’s because they feared the results,” Foreign Minister Israel Katz told Army Radio, as quoted by the Jerusalem Post.
Black Belt began early Tuesday morning when the IDF eliminated the commander of the PIJ in Gaza in what a Foreign Affairs official called “a defensive counterterrorist action against a ticking bomb.” The terror chief was responsible for multiple attempts to kill Israeli civilians and soldiers over the past year and was reportedly planning more attacks in the near future.
Hours later, the rockets began to fall. The Israeli military was reportedly expecting the retaliatory attacks but nonetheless conducted the surgical strike early Tuesday—hitting only the room that PIJ commander Baha Abu Al Ata was sleeping in—to neutralize an “imminent threat.” Al Ata was described as “a ticking bomb” by the IDF, and the operation to eliminate him as a threat “saved many lives,” a Foreign Ministry official said.
Not every Israeli is celebrating the impending end of the current round of conflict. A former defense minister warned that the cease-fire between Israel and the PIJ will not stop another inevitable round of hostilities.
“The goal of every terror organization is to disrupt daily life,” Avigdor Liberman told Army Radio, quoted by the Times of Israel. “And here again we saw a minor organization shut down one-third of the country. Today, too, it’s clear to all: The next round [of fighting] is only a matter of time.”
The next round of fighting depends on the militants in Gaza, according to the Israeli military.
“Quiet will be met with quiet,” the IDF said. “We will continue to protect the people of Israel and are prepared for any threat on all fronts,”—referring to the imminent threat to Israel’s northern border by Iran and its proxies operating in the region.
Though the current round of conflict is coming to an end, Israel is still vulnerable to attacks, with enemies on multiple fronts. Join us in standing with the people of Israel by donating to our Crisis Assistance Fund so we can meet critical needs during times of emergency.
Source: (Bridges for Peace, November 14, 2019)
Photo Credit: Magen David Adom/Twitter.com
Lift this situation up in prayer before the Lord. Thank Him for His protection over Israel and that no Israeli people were killed during the conflict. Ask for His continued protection over His Land and His people, that the cease-fire will hold and that the conflict will not escalate again.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He guards all his bones; not one of them is broken. Evil shall slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous shall be condemned.
US Issues Warning as Iran Promotes Potential End of Arms Embargo
by Joshua Spurlock
Tuesday, 12 November 2019 | While the international community has been concerned about Iran’s “breakout” time in which they could rush to build nuclear weapons, a different clock is ticking down to less than a year: the lifting of the United Nations [UN] arms embargo on Iran next October. The restriction against Iran selling or buying weapons is currently scheduled to be relaxed in 11 months as part of the Iran nuclear deal—also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA]—and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Monday in a speech pointed to that benefit as a key reason for staying in the JCPOA.
“If we stay in the JCPOA according to [UN] Resolution 2231, Iran’s arms embargo will be lifted next year and we can easily buy or export our required weapons, which is one of the major effects of the nuclear deal,” Rouhani said, according to the Iranian presidency’s website. He later called it a “major political, security and defense goal.”
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Twitter also highlighted this countdown on Monday, but pointed out that the UN Security Council can still stop the embargo from being removed.
Tweeted Pompeo, “@HassanRouhani’s best pitch for IRAN staying in the disastrous Iran deal is that it lets the Islamic kleptocrats that lead the country buy and sell drones, missiles, tanks, jets, and more. He will get his wish, unless UNSC [UN Security Council] extends the arms embargo before it expires 10/18/20.”
This isn’t the first time Pompeo has raised this concern. Back in September, the top US diplomat told the UN Security Council that the US was “already tracking very closely” the end of the arms embargo and had even posted a countdown clock to the State Department’s Iran website.
“Time is drawing short to continue this activity of restricting Iran’s capacity to foment its terror regime,” said Pompeo of the arms embargo, in comments published by the State Department. “The international community will have plenty of time to see how long it has until Iran is unshackled to create new turmoil, and figure out what it must do to prevent this from happening.”
The ticking countdown to Iran being able to buy and sell weapons comes as Iran has repeatedly walked back their responsibilities in the nuclear accord, while claiming the incremental violations of the JCPOA are in response to Europe not providing promised economic benefits under the deal.
Rouhani, in his speech on Monday, noted that rather than exit the JCPOA completely, they had chosen an in-between approach that gradually undid the restrictions on their nuclear program so they could continue to retain the other benefits of the JCPOA, such as the lifting of the arms embargo. Incredibly, Europe has so far allowed Iran to take that approach.
The current Iran nuclear crisis comes after the US exited the JCPOA last year and renewed crippling sanctions on Iran. Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the time had come for Europe to renew sanctions on Iran as well.
“It’s time for the nations of the world to resist Iran’s aggression and terror. It’s time to snap back sanctions,” said Netanyahu in comments published by his office.
“It’s time to pressure Iran until it changes its ways. Iran must stop attacking the nations of the Middle East. Iran must stop threatening to destroy Israel. Europe must stop stalling. It must act against Iranian aggression now.”
Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on November 11, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today.)
Photo Credit: ARIRANG NEWS/YouTube/screenshot
Pray that the eyes of the UN Security Council and the nations involved will be opened to see the evil intentions of Iran. Ask the Lord to give those parties courage to intervene and thwart the nuclear ambitions of the Islamic Republic.
Do not grant, O Lord, the desires of the wicked; do not further his wicked scheme, lest they be exalted.
Dubai to Open Its Doors to Israeli Tourists in 2020
by Yaniv Halili
Friday, 8 November 2019 | For most Israelis, the city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates [UAE] was nothing more than a lucrative, unattainable vacation destination. That dream, however, might now become a reality. Ynet has learned that as an official host of next year’s World Expo event, the Gulf nation is expected to open its gates to Israeli tourists in 2020.
The World Expo, an international exhibition designed to showcase achievements of nations, takes place once every five years, lasts for up to six months, attracts millions of visitors from all over the world, and is considered by many to be the “Olympic Games” of innovation.
Most of the world’s countries take part in the event where they showcase their country’s newest innovations, all in order to encourage shared cultural experiences and technological advancements, among other things.
In October 2020, the world-famous event will take place in the city of Dubai, the most advanced Arab city in the world, the most populous city in the UAE and the capital of the Emirate of Dubai, one of the seven emirates that make up the UAE.
Expo 2020 will set up a pavilion where Israel will present its latest achievements in the sphere of innovation and sustainability.
“Israeli and the UAE’s authorities have been in talks for a while, in order to allow those with Israeli passports to attend the Expo in Dubai,” a source within the Expo’s management team said to Yedioth Ahronoth. “These talks are happening because both sides want to see the Expo turn into the biggest exhibition in the world. The UAE invested tremendous amounts of money and thought into the event and they want Israelis to be welcomed as well.”
Another source said the Expo in Dubai could be a great pilot run during which Israeli tourists would be allowed into the country, and [if] it turns out to be a success, the UAE “might leave its doors open to Israeli tourists permanently.”
“I believe Israelis will come to visit even after the Expo,” said a senior official in the UAE’s Ministry of Tourism. “Even now we have a few Israelis visiting us, and we will be happy to accommodate all Israeli tourists.”
Even though Israel and the UAE have no official diplomatic relations, the two countries do share economic ties and Israelis are allowed into the country if they hold a foreign (non-Israeli) passport or a special visa.
As part of the growing relations between the two countries, Israel opened a representation office in the UAE’s capital, Abu Dhabi, in 2015 in order to advance technological innovations between the two states. In addition, last year the UAE officially recognized its small Jewish community as part of Dubai’s population.
According to an American source affiliated with the UAE authorities of the United Arab Emirates, the country doesn’t just want the Israeli tourists, they also want the innovators as well and are therefore expected to make the process of entering the state much easier to those with Israeli passports.
Photo Credit: Pexels/pixabay.com
Praise the Lord for this exciting advancement in relations between Israel and the UAE! Pray that this will open the door to a better friendship between the two nations as well as warming relations between Israel and other nations as well.
As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
Jewish Communities Seek Funding for Defense in Wake of Anti-Semitic Attacks
by Itamar Eichner
Wednesday, 13 November 2019 | Dozens of Jewish communities around the world have appealed to the Jewish Agency Fund for urgent assistance in securing their facilities in case of attack from terrorists from the extreme right-wing or Islamic groups.
Their request is for defense primarily against incidents of mass shootings.
The Jewish Agency says an appeal will have to be made to wealthy Jews to assist in the efforts to answer the growing demand for defense.
The Agency also expressed the hope that the Israeli government will provide some of the needed funds.
The government decided to transfer [US] $4 million, and the Jewish Agency has committed to matching that amount.
“It is just a matter of time before another attack takes place and we feel completely exposed and lacking the necessary defense,” say some officials from Jewish communities.
“We need cameras, bulletproof windows, special locks and walls, and fences to prevent attacks. We also want guard posts and alarm systems,” they say.
The demands come after a rise in anti-Semitic incidents that have claimed dozens of lives in the United States and in Europe.
The Jewish Agency Fund for Security Assistance provided for security at the German synagogue attacked last month, where the reinforced door prevented the assailant from entering the premises and carrying out his murderous intentions.
Failing to breach the synagogue door, the gunman opened fire on passers-by, killing two.
There are 50 Jewish establishments in 24 countries whose requests for security funding are currently being processed by the Jewish Agency, but many more communities will require assistance by the end of 2020.
Half of the money the Jewish Agency Fund has been able to provide communities in the seven years of its existence comes from Jewish philanthropists such as Michael Freidman, who said he was proud to assist Jews around the world.
“Still I am very concerned that in 2019, Jews do not feel safe even in the center of the most liberal and developed cities,” he said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Jewish Agency board of trustees last week that in order to ensure the safety of Jews around the world, Israel’s safety must be guaranteed.
“The Jewish state has a responsibility towards all Jews around the world and the government has allotted funds to protect against the threat of violent anti-Semitism,” he said.
Photo Credit: zeevveez/flickr.com
Photo License: flickr.com
Cry out to the Lord to protect the Jewish people scattered around the world, that they will not feel afraid or vulnerable to hatred and attacks. Pray against the spreading cancer of anti-Semitism, that the world will be cured of hatred toward Israel and the Jewish people.
“Therefore all those who devour you shall be devoured; and all your adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity; those who plunder you shall become plunder, and all who prey upon you I will make a prey.”
The European Union Labels Itself Biased
by Amb. Alan Baker
Thursday, 14 November 2019 | The European Court of Justice issued a controversial ruling on November 12, 2019, and declared:
“Foodstuffs originating in the territories occupied by the State of Israel must bear the indication of their territory of origin, accompanied, where those foodstuffs come from an Israeli settlement within that territory, by the indication of that provenance.”
Any reaction to the European Union [EU] policy of labeling products manufactured in Israeli [communities] should consider the following points:
The EU-directed policy requiring member states to label products made in Israeli [communities] is intended to harm Israel and Israel only, as a distinct political action and as a means of pressuring Israel politically.
This measure has no substantive connection with whether [Israeli community] products meet EU and individual state sanitary, health, hygienic, production, packaging, cleanliness or other quality standards. It is a purely selective, discriminatory and political imposition.
The EU labeling policy is based on a unilateral EU premise that Israel’s [communities] are contrary to international law. This premise runs counter to other relevant legal opinions as to the legitimacy of Israel’s settlement policy in accordance with the accepted international norms regarding the administration of territory. Additionally, and more importantly, the issue of Israel’s settlements is an agreed negotiating issue between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization [PLO], pursuant to the Oslo Accords. Thus, the EU labeling directive is tantamount to interference in, and prejudgment of an agreed negotiating issue between Israel and the Palestinians.
The EU labeling requirement is an overt, political measure strengthening the already existing links between the EU and the predominantly European BDS [Boycott, Divest, Sanctions] campaign. It represents full identification of the EU and its member states with the aims of the BDS movement to undermine Israel and to weaken the relations between European countries and Israel.
The selective and discriminatory EU labeling policy directed solely against Israel blatantly ignores the numerous situations in the world where states administering territories have transferred hundreds and thousands of their own citizens into the territories they are administering, such as Turkey in Northern Cyprus, Morocco in the occupied territory of Western Sahara, Russia in occupied Ukrainian territory and the like. This is indicative of an acute double standard in EU policies, raising pertinent questions regarding the real motivation behind such policy.
This selective and discriminatory EU labeling policy is both immoral and hypocritical, driven by manipulation and political pressure by those within the EU who have consistently acted to push member states to interfere in the Middle East dispute and take biased and unilateral positions intended to undermine the integrity of the peace negotiations in a manner directed at harming Israel. The EU labeling policy, in effect, cancels any bona fide European pretension to participate in the peace negotiation process between Israel and the Palestinians. Cooperating with the EU labeling directive means that the EU has taken sides and has prejudged one of the central negotiating issues—that of settlements [Israeli communities]—which is still an open issue on the Israeli–Palestinian negotiating table.
EU member states that support and implement the discriminatory labeling policy will, in fact, by taking such a biased and discriminatory position, remove themselves from any cycle of involvement in the peace process, and will, in effect, be sabotaging the process and damaging the integrity and bona fides of the negotiations.
The EU policy undermines the EU status as one of the signatories to the Oslo Accords, together with the leaders of the United States, Russia, Norway, Egypt and Jordan; the United Nations [UN] also endorsed the Accords. It also undermines the status of the EU as a member of the Middle East Quartet, together with the UN, Russia and the United States. Self-respecting European states that genuinely believe in the importance of advancing the Israel–Palestinian peace negotiation process cannot identify with or implement such an EU discriminatory measure intended to harm Israel. Even-handed and fair-minded states will not allow themselves to be manipulated by politically-driven elements within the EU seeking to weaken Israel, the integrity of the peace process and their own interests.
Source: (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs originally published this article on November 13, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)
Photo Credit: Sarah Yoder/bridgesforpeace.com
Though this court ruling is a blow to those who are fighting against BDS and other attempts to delegitimize Israel, thank the Lord that He is all-powerful and in control. Ask Him to protect the Israeli businesses that might be affected by the ruling, that He will protect and bless them.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
Israelis Bid Farewell to an Island of Peace
by Israel Moskowitz
Monday, 11 November 2019 | On Saturday, at 16:25 [4:25 p.m.], Ben and Lotan, two soldiers in the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] Armored corps, closed the yellow gate leading to the “Island of Peace” in Naharayim, ending 25 years of Israeli visits to the site.
Thousands came over the last few days to seize the opportunity and visit the location for the last time before its closure.
In October of last year, Jordan’s King Abdullah notified Israel that his country would not renew the deal over Naharayim, a spot of land where the Jordan and Yarmuk rivers meet, and another location deep in the Negev Desert, south of the Dead Sea, where Israeli farmers have large plantations, known in Hebrew as Tzofar.
Under the 1994 peace treaty between Israel and Jordan, the two areas were recognized as under Jordanian sovereignty but gave Israel special provision to use the land and allow Israelis free access. Furthermore, at Naharayim, Israeli private property rights were respected.
The Naharayim enclave has become over the years a tourist attraction, holding within it the Island of Peace and the abandoned Rutenberg hydroelectric power plant—the first electricity plant in Israel that was built in 1932.
The Island of Peace has come to include a memorial to a deadly 1997 terror attack at the site that killed seven Israeli schoolgirls.
On March 13, 1997, the AMIT Fuerst Zionist religious junior high school from Beit Shemesh was on a class trip to the Jordan Valley and the Island of Peace. A Jordanian soldier named Ahmed Daqamseh opened fire at the children, killing seven girls aged 13 and 14 and badly wounding six others.
Daqamseh was apprehended by Israeli authorities and served a 20-year prison sentence, eventually being released in 2017.
Yisrael Fatihi, whose daughter Sivan died in the terror attack, said that although he will no longer be able to visit the memorial at the site, he will visit the area to look at it from afar.
“The area (Naharayim) is not holy to me, the memorial site on its grounds is,” he said. “Every Tu BiShvat [New Year for Trees], families would go up there, plant trees and take hikes.
“It saddens me I won’t be able to visit it again. I’ll still come and look at it, from 300 meters [984 feet] away,” he said.
Avner Ron, a resident from nearby Kibbutz [collective community] Ashdot Ya’akov Ihud and a tour guide at the site for many years, looked glumly at the last visitors and across the Jordan Valley.
“I don’t know what I am going to do now. I don’t know if I’ve lost my job. Thankfully I live on a kibbutz or else I would be unemployed,” he said.
After the many visitors to the island left, the Jordanian government on Saturday told the residents of Ashdot Ya’akov Ihud to say farewell to the area. Their visit was the last entry by Israelis to the site.
Smadar Perry also contributed to this article
Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published in Ynetnews on November 10, 2019. Time related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)
Photo Credit: Yoavd/wikimedia.org
Photo License: wikimedia.org
Lift the relationship between Israel and Jordan in prayer, asking Him to strengthen the peace between the nations and along the border. Ask Him to preserve and bless the Israeli people who have been affected by the closing of this land to Israeli citizens.
When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
Israel Supports Italian Holocaust Survivor Who Received Hundreds of Death Threats
by Joshua Spurlock
Wednesday, 13 November 2019 | Italian Life Senator [senator for life] Liliana Segre, a Holocaust survivor, recently succeeded in convincing the Italian Parliament to better tackle anti-Semitism, including setting up a parliamentary commission on the issue. In response, Segre has received hundreds of anti-Semitic death threats and now requires ongoing police protection. On Sunday, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin sent Segre a letter expressing solidarity in the face of such hate.
“No words can adequately express my horror and disgust that you should be exposed to such criminal behavior,” wrote Rivlin, whose letter was published by an Israeli press release that highlighted Serge’s situation. “…Your case, unfortunately, is yet another terrible example of the reality for Jews in Europe today, but I believe that the most appropriate response is to carry on doing what you believe in.”
Rivlin went on to invite Segre to Jerusalem, saying it would be a “great honor” for Israel. He said he was “appalled” to hear that the threats require police protection for Segre and praised her for her work. “Your personal mission, your strength and your bravery are a role model for us in Israel and for Jewish communities around the world.”
Rivlin wasn’t alone in Israel in decrying the threats against Segre. Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust museum, in a press release offered her support. “It is unacceptable that hate and xenophobia still plague our post-Holocaust society,” said the Yad Vashem statement. “Holocaust survivors like Senator Segre are living witnesses to the horrors that are possible when anti-Semitism goes unchecked. In addition, Yad Vashem calls upon the leaders of the world to declare their commitment to fighting anti-Semitism and all forms of hatred.”
Like Yad Vashem, Rivlin noted the significance of Segre’s personal history—and not just her tragedy, but also her triumphs.
“As [a] Holocaust survivor, you have seen the terrible and tragic consequences of anti-Semitism if not stopped; as a Life Senator of the Italian Republic, you have been recognized ‘for outstanding patriotic merits’; as a campaigner for justice and against racism and anti-Semitism, you work tirelessly for a better world,” wrote Rivlin in his letter to her.
Rivlin also noted that the values countering hate are core principals of Judaism and critical to humanity being the best version of itself.
“Equality, human rights, accepting the other and tolerance are key to Judaism and universal human values,” wrote Rivlin. “They are the foundations on which our lives are based, and without them, we are lesser people.”
Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on November 11, 2019. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today.)
Photo Credit: La Repubblica/YouTube/screenshot
Pray for Liliana Segre, asking the Lord to protect her and strengthen her as she fights against anti-Semitism. Continue to pray against the spreading of anti-Semitism around the world, and pray especially for the Lord to bless survivors of one of the worst examples of anti-Semitism, the Holocaust. Ask the Lord to bless them with peace and comfort in their remaining years.
“And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”
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