Israel News for January 27, 2016

PM Slams Ban
PM Netanyahu slammed UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for Ban’s comments yesterday. Ban said that, “Palestinian frustration is growing under the weight of a half century of occupation and the paralysis of the peace process,” and that, “it is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism.”

While Ban did condemn Palestinian terror, he claimed that “security measures alone will not stop the violence. They cannot address the profound sense of alienation and despair driving some Palestinians – especially young people.”

Ban warned that,”So-called facts on the ground in the occupied West Bank are steadily chipping away the viability of a Palestinian state and the ability of Palestinian people to live in dignity.” He also said he was “deeply troubled” by reports that the Israeli government had approved plans for more than 150 new homes in “illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.”

In response, the PM said, “The UN secretary general’s comments give terror a tailwind. There is no justification for terror. The Palestinian murderers do not want to build a country – they want to destroy a country, and say so openly. They want to murder Jews wherever they may be, and say so openly. They do not murder for peace and they do not murder for human rights. The UN has long lost its neutrality and moral power, these comments by the secretary general do little to improve its standing.”

On the bright side, Ban also criticized Palestinian incitement to violence, saying that “incitement has no place, and questioning the right of Israel to exist cannot be tolerated.”

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Holocaust Remembrance
Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. At a special ceremony at the UN General Assembly, Israel will be represented (for the first time) by a Holocaust survivor. Martha Weiss, 81, an Auschwitz survivor, was invited to address the UN by Israel’s Ambassador to the UN. Last year President Reuven Rivlin gave the address.

In another first, US President Barack Obama is expected to attend a Holocaust memorial service at the Israeli Embassy in Washington. Two American nationals and two Poles will be recognized as righteous among the nations at the ceremony. This will also be the first time the honor is bestowed in the United States.

In a statement regarding the day of remembrance, PM Netanyahu said, “Preserving the memory of the Holocaust is more important today than ever, for in this period of resurgent and sometimes violent anti-Semitism, it is commemorations like this that remind us all where the oldest and most enduring hatred can lead. Around the world, Jewish communities are increasingly living in fear. We see anti-Semitism directed against individual Jews, and we also see this hatred directed against the collective Jew, against the Jewish state. Israel is targeted with the same slurs and the same libels that were leveled against the Jewish people since time immemorial.”

Netanyahu specifically reprimanded European leaders for not fighting against anti-semitism, saying, ”Even respected Western opinion leaders have become afflicted with hatred for the Jewish people and the Jewish state. The obsession with the Jews – the fixation on the Jewish state – defies any other rational explanation.”

He warned, “When a state like Iran and movements like ISIS and Hamas openly declare their goal of committing another Holocaust, we will not let it happen. But Europe and the rest of the world must stand up together with us. Not for our sake; for theirs.”

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Cyber Attack
National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources Minister Yuval Steinitz revealed yesterday that Israel’s Electricity Authority managed to thwart a “severe cyber attack” on its operations this week.

Steinitz said, “The virus was already identified and the right software was already prepared to neutralize it. We had to shut down many of the computers of the Israeli electricity authorities. We are handling the situation and I hope that soon, this very serious event will be over.”

Apparently, terror attacks come in many forms.

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ISIS Attack
According to the ISIS linked Amaq News Agency, two Israeli Apache helicopters, accompanied by two drones, attacked ISIS positions in the Egyptian town of Sheikh Zuweid in Northern Sinai on Monday night. Several ISIS fighters were killed in the attack. Egyptian media reported that the attack was launched by Egyptian forces. Who do you believe?

In any case, the reports agree that ISIS fighters were killed in an air attack, which is something we can all be happy about.

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Hamas Washout
The robust rainy season in Israel this year has reaped an unexpected security benefit. According to Palestinian media reports, at least 8 Hamas terrorists were killed when heavy rains caused the tunnel they were digging to collapse, northeast of Gaza City.

The Ministry of Health in Gaza spokesman denied the reports, claiming no bodies were brought to the hospital from the tunnel collapse. On Saturday, the Ministry reported that a Hamas militant was killed in a tunnel collapse in Khan Yunis.

In any case, it’s clear that Hamas is back in the terror tunnel building business. It is estimated that since the end of Operation Protective Edge in 2014, Hamas has dug dozens of tunnels of varying lengths. What a surprise.

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