Israel News for August 20, 2015
High Court Rules, Temporarily
The High Court yesterday temporarily suspended the administrative detention order under which Palestinian hunger-striker Mohammed Allaan has been detained. He will remain in Barzilai hospital to receive medical treatment, but will no longer be shackled to his bed and will be allowed to receive visits from his family. If and when he recovers from the effects of his hunger-strike, the administrative detention order will become active again.
Earlier on Wednesday the government said the they would release Allaan if it turns out that he has suffered irreversible brain damage and is, therefore, no longer a security threat. The High Court ordered an MRI performed to determine the extent of Allaan’s brain damage. While the tests did show that there was some degree of brain damage, they were not conclusive as to whether the damage is reversible or not. Doctors say that the brain damage is likely to have been caused by a lack of vitamins, particularly vitamin B1, and they aren’t sure if replacing the vitamins will reverse the damage.
Meanwhile, the IDF has deployed an Iron Dome anti-missile battery in the southern city of Ashdod in response to Islamic Jihad threats of missile attacks from Gaza if Allaan dies.
While the High Court’s ruling to suspend Allan’s administrative detention order is being viewed as at least a semi-victory by his supporters, the fundamentals of the situation haven’t really changed. The government can legally detain Allaan as long as they feel that he is a security risk, which is what they probably will do unless he proves to have irreversible brain damage that prevents him from being involved in future terrorist activity. The government also technically still has the legal right to force-feed him. What the court has succeeded in doing is preventing Allaan from dying while in detention, which would be a blow to the government.
Terror Attacks Continue
The string of terror attacks against Israelis continued yesterday with two new attacks.
Palestinians threw an improvised explosive device at a military patrol on the Tunnel Bypass Road which connects the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo to the Gush Etzion area in Judea. The purpose of the bypass tunnel is to provide drivers with a route that avoids passing through or near Arab villages, which would expose them to terror attacks. One soldier was wounded in the attack.
In another part of Jerusalem, near highway 443, two Palestinians threw rocks at Israeli cars. A man and a two year old girl were lightly wounded by broken glass. The 443 is one of two main highways that connect Jerusalem with the center of the country.
US in Sinai
The US is reviewing the status of its peacekeeping troops stationed in the Sinai in the face of threats from ISIS inspired terror groups active in the northern part of the peninsula.
When Israel and Egypt signed their historic peace treaty in 1979, one of the provisions was that the US would station ground troops to monitor the agreement. There are currently 700 US Army troops stationed in Sinai, monitoring and verifying treaty compliance. These troops are lightly armed and don’t have any real offensive capabilities. That makes them prime targets for the terrorists who have been carrying out large scale attacks against the Egyptian military in northern Sinai. The last thing the US wants is to leave the troops exposed to attack.
The US can either beef up the security of the troops and increase their fighting capabilities or withdraw them. Pulling out of Sinai would send a message of weakness to the terrorists and ISIS, as well as to its allies in the region who feel that the US is giving in to Iran in the nuclear deal. So making sure the troops can defend themselves looks like the way to go.
Hamas Nabs Spy
Israel Army Radio reported yesterday that Hamas claims to have captured an Israeli spy off the Gaza coast. A dolphin. No, not one of the Israeli navy’s Dolphin class submarines. A real dolphin. Hamas claims that it was equipped with spying equipment.
This dolphin is not the first animal to be accused of working for Israel. In 2010, an Egyptian official accused Israeli sharks for attacking tourists in the Red Sea. In 2012, an eagle with Israeli tracking tags was captured in Sudan and accused of spying for Israel.
Is the Mossad really that good?
Huckabee Stands with Israel
Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee is touring Israel and sending a clear message that he is a loyal supporter of Israel. His first stop was the town of Shilo in Judea. When asked why he visited a town that the international community considers to be occupied territory he answered, “It’s a Jewish town. I don’t call this area occupied territory, but rather Judea and Samaria. Israel has a special connection with this region.”
He added, “I arrived in Shiloh in order to see the history of the Jewish people, I recommend that everyone go there. I don’t understand why the international community prevents Israel from living securely in Judea and Samaria as well. As a presidential candidate I feel that obligation to Israel.”
Huckabee met with PM Netanyahu yesterday in Jerusalem. He spoke against the BDS movement, encouraged the Palestinians to pursue peace instead of terror, and expressed his opposition to the establishment of a Palestinian state and Israeli withdrawals from Judea and Samaria.