Gaza, borders, and the left-wing war on sovereign nations

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Conservative Review, by Daniel Horowitz, May 15, 2018:

It was part of a universal recognition of both parties in Congress that the Jews were the only ones in the area who could properly develop the land and respect the human rights of all. At the time, there were only a smattering of Arabs living in the land, but Congress was concerned they would stir up trouble. During consideration of the resolution on the House floor on June 30, Rep. Walter M. Chandler, R-N.Y., delivered a lengthy and riveting speech summing up the purpose and background of the resolution. He declared that if the Arabs “will not consent to Jewish government and domination, they shall be required to sell their lands at a just valuation and retire into the Arab territory.” And if they refuse to sell their land, they “shall be driven from Palestine by force.”

Throughout the ’20s and ’30s, local Arabs and their surrounding neighbors fomented a violent jihad against the Jews living in their homeland. The riots were incited by Grand Mufti Hajj Amin al-Hussein, a close ally of Hitler who was eventually expelled from the region and fled to Germany. They flooded these regions with Egyptian and Syrian Arabs and expelled the Jews living there. All of the Jews were officially expelled from Gaza in 1948, when Egypt stole the land in a war designed to annihilate the Jews living in every part of the land.

When Israel reconquered Gaza in 1967, after Egypt lost a war of aggression with the intent to exterminate every last Jew living in Israel, the Israelis once again had to start from scratch. Whenever Arabs win territory, they expel every Jew, but when the Israelis win it back, they never return the favor. Thus, they have always faced a demographic problem. But either way, there was never an Arab “Palestinian” state inside Gaza, much less one with the right to invade the land outside it.

When the Israelis withdrew from Gaza in 2005, they used their own military to physically uproot every last Jewish resident of the region. Their houses, businesses, and farms were destroyed and they were exiled from their land. Historians regard this move – using a country’s own army to uproot its citizens and hand the territory over to enemies – as unprecedented. What’s worse, far from fostering a peaceful reconciliation, Israel had to dig up every last Jewish grave in Gaza so that their cemeteries would not be destroyed by the inevitable violence of the local Arabs. They were originally going to destroy the synagogues but left them intact after the State Department and the Palestinian Authority promised to guard them. Yet within minutes of the Arabs occupying the land, the synagogues were torched and destroyed, vividly conjuring up images of Kristallnacht.

As a result of the military pullout, the Arab terrorists breached the borders, creating irrevocable consequences for both Israel and Egypt:

  • Al Qaeda and other Sunni terror groups joined with Hamas and established a permanent presence in both Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula.
  • Massive caches of weapons, explosives, and infrastructure for building tunnels were smuggled through the border into Gaza.
  • Iran and other terror sponsors began to ship weapons through Iran’s costal port.
  • Israel’s entire southern border became a sitting duck for endless rocket barrages from Gaza.

In 2005, these very same liberals and journalists celebrated the fact that Gaza had become completely Judenrein – deracinating every last vestige of Judaism from the heart of the land. But that was supposed to bring peace. Now liberals won’t allow Israel to defend its own border from the land they ceded over at a painful cost.

The same moral relativism is behind the assault on America’s sovereign border

It is stupefying to watch the speed with which the Left’s assault on sovereignty and security intensifies, fueled by a perverted moral compass. And it has consequences for our borders as well. While those coming over our border don’t engage in the degree of overt violence that the Hamas rioters are employing while breaching Israel’s border, the results – and the deaths – are similar. The disregard for borders and sovereignty has allowed the most violent drug cartels – indeed, “inspired them to do so,” in the words of Judge Andrew Hanen – to smuggle in MS-13 gangs and the most lethal drugs we’ve ever seen, resulting in the death of tens of thousands of Americans.

And whereas Israel is fighting Hamas on its border with Gaza, we face an existential threat from Hezbollah in Latin America, which possibly has more operatives in our hemisphere than in the Beqaa Valley on Israel’s northern border. Every time liberals encourages migration with “dream” amnesty and sanctuary cities, they are putting money in the pockets of MS-13, as well as the Sinaloa and Zetas cartels that work with Hezbollah to smuggle in drugs, weapons, and terrorists. The same holds true for Gaza. Every time the media fawns over the Hamas “protesters,” they are not only endangering Israel but empowering the terrorists to abuse their own people.

Secure borders and rule of law are the lynchpins to sovereignty and security for people on both sides of the demarcation. Compassion for open borders is about as safe as a “compassionate soul” who stops his car in middle of a highway to hand out food and medicine. The stated intentions of the policy don’t change the reality of the car wreck that is created by disrupting the laws of nature.

Violent opposition to national sovereignty is nothing to take likely. It is the biggest threat facing this nation and other nation-states. It demonstrates the dangerous shift on the Left in just one generation. In 1995, the same year Congress voted to recognize Israel’s sovereignty, Bill Clinton boasted during his State of the Union Address of the efforts he was undertaking to protect our sovereignty from illegal immigration. He cited the recommendations of Rep. Barbara Jordan, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, whose ideas tracked very closely with Trump’s campaign promises. Sure, Democrats believed in socialism for quite some time, but even the leftists understood that you need to have a country in order to promote having a socialist country.

Nowadays, defending borders against an invasion is “deplorable.” We should all be scared – very scared.

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What caused the Palestinian refugee problem? 13 important stories told by refugees from 1948

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Israel says three ‘armed terrorists’ among 41 reported dead in Gaza border clashes

Fox News, by Greg Norman May 14, 2018:

At least three of the 41 Palestinians reportedly killed Monday in clashes ahead of the Jerusalem opening of the U.S. Embassy to Israel were “armed terrorists” caught trying to plant a bomb near the Gaza border fence, Israel’s military said.

More than 35,000 protesters amassed at a dozen locations along the security fence, with many engaging in skirmishes that pushed the death toll Monday to the highest in Gaza since a 2014 cross-border standoff between the militant group Hamas and the Jewish state, according to the Associated Press.

Gaza health officials told the news agency that 41 people so far have been killed in Monday’s violence, and at least 772 have been wounded.

May 14, 2018: Palestinian medics and protesters evacuate a wounded man during a protest at the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel, east of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip. (AP)

The relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv, a key campaign promise of President Trump, has infuriated the Palestinians, who seek east Jerusalem as a future capital.

“Moments ago, an IDF patrol foiled a bomb-laying attack by a cell of three armed terrorists near Rafah, close to the border,” the Israeli military said Monday. “This is a particularly violent protest point. The troops responded with fire at the terrorists. The terrorists were killed.”

Israel also said its aircraft targeted a Hamas post in Jabaliya after troops in the area came under fire. None of the Israeli soldiers were hurt.

“Rioters are hurling pipe bombs and firebombs at IDF troops, burning tires, throwing stones and burning objects, with the intention of setting fires in Israel and hurting IDF troops,” a member of the Israeli army was quoted by The Times of Israel as saying.

Monday’s demonstrations — dubbed the “Great March of Return” by Palestinian media — are reported to be part of a campaign led by Hamas to break the decade-old border blockade of the territory imposed by Israel and Egypt after Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007. Since weekly border marches began in late March, dozens of Palestinian protesters have been killed and more than 2,300 wounded in clashes.

Israel’s security service, Shin Bet, claimed Monday that Hamas is encouraging Palestinian civilians to flood the border, with their own gunmen waiting in the wings to break through if a fence is breached.

Shin Bet said it received that information during interrogations of members who already have been captured after crossing the security fence in recent weeks, The Times of Israel reported.

“There is a prohibition for Hamas operatives to approach the border, from a fear that they will be killed or captured by IDF troops, unless the security fence falls and then they must enter, armed, into Israel under the cover of the masses and carry out terror attacks,” the agency said. “From the information we have, it appears Hamas is encouraging and sending protesters to the border fence in order to carry out violent acts and damage security infrastructure.”

Shin Bet also claimed that Iran is providing funding to Hamas for these border flare-ups, but did not elaborate.

A senior figure in the group, designated a terrorist organization by the U.S., said Monday that the border protests will continue until Palestinians have won back their rights.

“We will continue on this path until the rights of the Palestinian people are achieved,” Ismail Radwan said, according to the Associated Press.

Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesman, said the army had set up additional “layers” of security in and around communities near the border to defend Israeli civilians in case of a mass breach. He said there already had been several “significant attempts” to break through the fence.

“Even if the fence is breached, we will be able to protect Israeli civilians from attempts to massacre or kidnap or kill them,” he said.

In the West Bank, several thousand people gathered in the center of Ramallah, while hundreds marched to the Qalandiya crossing on the outskirts of Jerusalem, where protesters threw stones at Israeli troops.

The U.S. said it chose today’s date for the embassy opening to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s establishment.

But it also marks the anniversary of what Palestinians call their “nakba,” or catastrophe, a reference to the uprooting of hundreds of thousands who fled or were expelled from what is now Israel during the 1948 war surrounding Israel’s independence.

Most of the casualties Monday were in the southern Gaza towns of Khan Younis and Rafah. Israeli forces were firing volleys of tear gas to disperse the crowds, and the sound of heavy gunfire could be heard. Sirens were constantly wailing as the wounded were evacuated on stretchers to nearby ambulances. Groups of young activists repeatedly approached the fence, but were quickly scattered by gunfire and tear gas.

In one of the border areas east of Gaza City, Mohammed Hamami, a 40-year-old civil servant, joined a crowd of hundreds of protesters, along with his mother and five children.

“Today we are here to send a message to Israel and its allies that we will never give up on our land,” he told the Associated Press.

Clouds of black smoke from burning tires was also seen rising into the air. Earlier Monday, Israeli drones dropping incendiary material had pre-emptively set ablaze some of the tires collected in advance by activists.

Protesters have used the thick smoke as cover against Israeli snipers perched on high sand berms on the other side of the border. The army accuses Hamas of using the protests as cover to plan or carry out attacks.

Leaflets dropped over Gaza by army jets warned that those approaching the border “jeopardize” their lives. The warning said the army is “prepared to face all scenarios and will act against every attempt to damage the security fence or harm IDF soldiers or Israeli civilians.”

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Making History In Jerusalem

Front Page Magazine, by Joseph Klein,

The United States is officially opening its Israeli embassy in Jerusalem today, making May 14, 2018 an historic day for the Jewish State of Israel. Other U.S. presidents have made campaign promises to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, only to abandon their promises in deference to the foreign policy establishment and “international” opinion. In moving forward to fulfill his promise to move the embassy to Jerusalem, President Trump ignored the foreign policy establishment and “international” opinion, much as President Harry Truman did when he gave de facto recognition to the newly created State of Israel only eleven minutes after Israel’s proclamation of its independence.

President Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law and key adviser Jared Kushner are representing President Trump for the opening of the new embassy. The Israelis are celebrating. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared at his weekly cabinet meeting, “President Trump promised to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and he did so. He promised to move the American Embassy to Israel and he is doing so. Of course we will all celebrate this day.”

President Trump’s decision, denounced not only by the Palestinians themselves, as expected, but by amoral government leaders and opinion makers all around the world, should not be so controversial. Each nation has the sovereign right to locate its own embassies wherever it chooses. The U.S. embassy will be located in West Jerusalem, not in any area claimed by the Palestinians to be part of their future “capital” in East Jerusalem. Moreover, President Trump clearly stated that U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is not intended to decide any final status issues regarding Jerusalem as a whole. Finally, the United Nations resolutions that the critics of President Trump’s decision rely upon to support their objections on “legal” grounds do little to help their case. The General Assembly has no legal authority under the UN Charter to require anything of the member states except payment of their annual budget assessments. The Security Council has huffed and puffed about so-called “illegal” Israeli settlements including in East Jerusalem and called upon member states to withdraw their embassies from Jerusalem, but did so solely in the form of completely non-binding resolutions.

President Trump did what he thought was the right thing to do, as President Truman had done seventy years ago when he said, “I had faith in Israel before it was established, I have faith in it now.”  President Trump was willing, in President Truman’s words when dealing with his critics regarding the Palestine situation, “to let them all go to hell.”

Unfortunately, it looks like there will be some hell to pay from the Palestinians before this week is over. On Sunday, which was being observed ahead of the embassy opening as Jerusalem Day by Israelis, the day was marred by clashes that broke out between Jews and Arabs on the Temple Mount. In order to keep the peace, Israeli police officers separated the two sides, and removed Jews from the Temple Mount who had allegedly broken the rules of conduct that ban all non-Muslims from praying or singing on the Temple Mount where Al-Aqsa Mosque is situated.

Of course, it is not enough for the Palestinians that the Israeli government forbids Jews to sing or pray at loud on what is the Jewish peoples’ holiest site, out of undeserved deference to Muslims’ sensibilities because of their mosque’s location on the Temple Mount. Palestinians want complete control of Old Jerusalem, including the entire Temple Mount and the area in which the Western Wall is located. Even that is not enough for many Palestinians. They are encouraged by their irresponsible leaders, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas who has said that Israel is a “colonialist enterprise,” to believe that the Jewish State of Israel is illegitimate. Millions of Palestinian descendants born years after the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 are brought up with the fantasy that they have a so-called “right of return” to “homes” inside Israel, some of which were abandoned by their parents, grandparents or great grandparents seventy years ago.

Israel is preparing for mass Palestinian protests early this week along the Gaza border with Israel, bolstering its IDF forces and bringing in special firefighting squads according to a Debkafile report. The air space over and around Gaza has been reportedly closed by Israeli authorities. More intense violence than in past weeks is expected as Hamas leaders have called for waves of Palestinians to break through the border fence separating Israel from Gaza, the culmination of seven weeks of “Return Marches” demanding the so-called “right of return.” The opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, together with the 70th anniversary of what the Palestinians call the “nakba,” or catastrophe resulting from the creation of Israel as an independent state in what Palestinians still fantasize as their land, are likely to send the protesters into overdrive. “What’s the problem with hundreds of thousands breaking through a fence that is not a border?” Hamas’s Gaza head Yahya Sinwar asked rhetorically.

The Palestinian propagandists and their supporters try to portray the Gaza protests as the peaceful exercise of freedom of speech and assembly by unarmed Palestinian civilians. In truth, Hamas leaders and other Islamists are preaching violence and using civilians, including children, as human shields to carry out their jihad against Israel. Late last month, for example, a Gaza cleric Sheikh Musa Abu Jleidan preached violence when he said that the “Great Return March” is a “form of Jihad” that “does not eliminate the need for Jihad by the sword, by missiles, and by rockets. They go hand in hand.” He added that Jews “are the philosophers of terrorism and crime, people of treachery and deceit, who slayed the prophets of Allah. It is an honor for us, here on this blessed land, to have been chosen by Allah to fight them and to strike fear in them.”

A young Palestinian girl protesting at one of the Return March rallies absorbed the jihad message. She was heard exclaiming “Martyrs in the millions are marching to Jerusalem. Palestine forever! Jerusalem belongs to us, not to the filthy Israel.” Other protesters cheered her on, shouting “Allah Akbar.”

Any Palestinians marching to Jerusalem to oust Jews are not martyrs. They are usurpers. Historically, Jews have been living in Jerusalem continuously for more than three millennia. Jerusalem has never been the capital of any sovereign nation except of the Jewish people. In more recent times, Jews have constituted the largest single group of inhabitants in Jerusalem since at least the mid-1800s. Prior to the Jordanians’ illegal occupation, Jerusalem was an undivided city. Jerusalem is so again today, open to worshippers of all faiths. It is the Palestinians who seek to replicate Jordan’s temporary illegal occupation and division of Jerusalem and make it permanent, imposing an ethnic and religious cleansing of any Jewish residents in the Old City. President Trump’s bold decision, fulfilled this week, will go down in history along with his predecessor President Truman’s early recognition of the Jewish State of Israel.

The Waiting Period

THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty

By Jonathan Spyer, The Australian,  

It is spring in Israel. On the face of it, all appears normal. Yet underlying the everyday is the hint of tension. The low buzz that presages violent events. We know it well in Israel and it has been all around for weeks.

Two nights ago, there was an eruption. The special forces unit (Quds) of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps launched 20 missiles at northern Israel. Israel’s Iron Dome shot down four of them. The others landed in Syria. Israel’s Air Force launched a counter attack. Iranian storage facilities and logistics sites in Syria were targeted along with five Syrian air defence systems.

As the smoke cleared, an uneasy calm returned. Probably not for long.

A series of milestones is approaching in coming weeks, any of which could precipitate further strife. The extended period in which Israel managed to keep itself largely one step removed from the chaos of the Middle East seems to be drawing to a close.

Donald Trump announced this week he will withdraw the US from the nuclear deal with Iran. The stage is set for a return to open confrontation between the US and Iran.

The US has commitments in the region (in Iraq and eastern Syria, in particular) which would be vulnerable to violent pushback by Iran through its proxies.

Israel’s ongoing efforts to roll back Iranian gains in Syria will constitute an element of this larger contest. This, in turn, will increase the chance of confrontation between Israel and Iran.

As Israeli Housing Minister (and former general) Yoav Gallant told Bloomberg News this week, “It’s clear that friction between Iran and the U.S. can lead to a situation in which Iran decides to deploy Hezbollah against Israel … That’s their tool.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week expressed Israel’s readiness for such a confrontation, if it comes. ‘“We don’t want an escalation, but we are prepared for every scenario. We don’t want confrontation, but if there needs to be one, it is better now than later,” the Prime Minister told reports following a meeting of Israel’s Cabinet.

With the situation regarding Iran at such a point of tension, other events which would normally command centre stage are being relegated to a secondary role. Nevertheless, the opening of the new US embassy in Jerusalem on May 14 is set to cause an uptick in tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. The opening will be followed on May 15 by the culmination of Hamas’s six-week “March of Return” campaign in the Gaza Strip. This series of marches to the border fence is intended to revive the fortunes of Hamas, whose Gaza domain is isolated and cash strapped. May 15 is also the anniversary of the State of Israel’s declaration of independence (though strictly speaking the declaration took place on the 14) and is remembered by Palestinians as the date of their Nakba (catastrophe).

It is possible there will be attempts to break through the border fence. Israeli communities are located as little as one kilometre from the fence, so the situation will be tense.

It is worth remembering that Gaza is not hermetically sealed off from the stand-off with Iran in the north. Teheran possesses its clients among the Palestinians, who may be directed to escalate the situation. The small Palestinian Islamic Jihad organisation is a wholly owned franchise of Iran. Hamas’s relations with Teheran are more complex and the movement sought in recent years to distance itself from the Iranian regime. Hamas Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar has worked to patch up relations over the last year abd in August Sinwar declared that Iran was once again the largest backer of Hamas.

But it the northern tier of Syria and Lebanon that remains by far the gravest concern for Israel. It is here the ambitions and agendas of Iran appear most directly set on a course of potential collision with the Jewish state.

Iranian assistance has been vital to the cause of Bashar al Assad since the the uprising against him in early 2011. The Syrian president, whose regime rests on a narrow platform of sectarian support, was beset from the beginning by a problem of insufficient loyal manpower. It is the Iranians, not the Russians, who addressed this vital issue throughout the war.

However, Iran, in its usual fashion, did not elect to strengthen the existing, regime-controlled Syrian Arab Army. Rather, in accordance with similar methods pursued in Iraq and Lebanon, Iran has preferred to create its own, Revolutionary Guards-controlled structures in Syria. These defend the Assad regime, to be sure, but they are not under its sole control. Thus, Iran organised and created the National Defence Forces, consisting of Syrian volunteers, mainly from non-Sunni communities and now numbering 50,000 to 60,000 fighters.

Iran also mobilised its proxies throughout the region and brought them to Syria to plug the manpower gap. Thus, there are today about 6000 Lebanese Hizballah fighters on Syrian soil, along with perhaps 3000 Revolutionary Guards personnel and an additional 10,000 to 15,000 members of other Iran-supported Shia militias from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

As the rebellion against Assad has continued to lose ground, so the construction of Iranian infrastructure in Syria has continued. The examples of Hizballah in Lebanon and the Popular Mobilisation Units in Iraq indicate that Iran’s version of assistance is not dismantled when the threat has subsided.

Israel is concerned that this infrastructure, with its contiguous land link to Iraq and thence to Iran itself, is intended primarily for use as a tool of pressure and violence against the Jewish state. Iran is openly and noisily in favour of the destruction of Israel. It wishes to achieve this goal through a long-war strategy of attrition and harassment. Entrenchment in Syria would significantly increase the Iranian ability to pursue this strategy.

While the local and regional militias pose a challenge, the main worry in Jerusalem is the hardware that Iran is seeking to import and base in Syria. Consolidation of this infrastructure – UAV bases, surface-to-surface missiles and anti-aircraft batteries – appears to be what Israel is most determined to prevent.

On April 9, Israeli aircraft struck at a drone facility maintained by the Revolutionary Guards’ Aerospace force at the T4 base near Palmyra. Fourteen people were killed, among them seven Iranians, including a Revolutionary Guards colonel, Mehdi Deghdan Yazdeli.

On April 30, Israeli aircraft carried out a larger scale raid on two points – the 47 Brigade base south west of Hama, and the Nayrab military airbase close to Aleppo. The New York Times reported that the strikes killed 16 people, including 11 Iranians, and destroyed 200 missiles.

On May 9, following reports of “irregular Iranian movements” in southern Syria, explosions were heard south of Damascus. Israel opened public bomb shelters in the Golan Heights. Regional media reported that Israel attacked an army base south of Damascus, where Iranian personnel were based. Nine militiamen were killed, according to the usually reliable Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Then, in the early hours of May 10, the Iranians launched their 20 missiles, and Israel responded. The Iranian strike was not successful, and it is not clear whether Teheran will consider it to have constituted sufficient retaliation for the Israeli action on April 30. Given the scale of the Israeli response to the attack, this seems unlikely.

What form is further Iranian action likely to take?

Iran has a number of options. It possesses a global terror infrastructure and might seek to attack an Israeli facility or an Israeli or Jewish target abroad. In the past, Teheran and Hizballah have sought retribution in this way. The attack in 1994 on the Amia Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires, and the murder of Israeli tourists in Burgas, Bulgaria, in 2012 are examples of this.

Alternatively, Iran could instruct its Lebanese Hizballah proxies to carry out an attack on Israeli forces across the border from Lebanon. This is how Teheran sought to retaliate for the killing by Israel of a number of Revolutionary Guards and Hizballah personnel close to the Golan Heights in January 2015.

Israeli planners were expecting Iran’s retaliation for the nine dead militiamen was likely to be carried out in Syria, probably with the help of Shia militia personnel on the ground. It was not the first time Iranian personnel have been killed by Israel on Syrian soil. But it was the first time Iranian facilities, not those of proxy groups, were targeted. The Iranian action on May 10 was the first time Israel was directly targeted in a real-time conventional military operation led by the Revolutionary Guards. This is likely to set the pattern for further events to come.

So where is all this heading? Israel’s Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman has said that allowing Iran to consolidate its infrastructure in Syria would be “agreeing to the Iranians placing a noose around our necks”. This, the defence minister said, would be prevented “at all costs”.

It is not entirely clear, of course, what “consolidation”, “entrenchment” and their prevention actually mean, or could entail. Does Israel require that all presence of the Iranians be removed from Syria, down to the last proxy fighter? If so, then conflict between Teheran and Jerusalem is a near inevitability, since there is no chance of Iran acquiescing to this except by coercion. On the other hand, if the Israeli intention is to prevent the Iranians from transferring certain weapons systems into Syria – advanced anti-aircraft systems, ballistic missiles, UAVs – then conflagration may not be so imminent.

Iran has an interest in keeping to what it is good at. What it is good at is developing paramilitary proxy political-military organisations. This is the key to its success in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. What it is much less good at is conventional warfare, particularly in the air. The country has a poorly equipped, Cold War-era air force. It possesses ballistic missiles capable of reaching Israel, to be sure. But Israel has in recent years developed in cooperation with the US some of the most advanced missile defence systems in the world. Iran’s own defences against Israeli retaliation, meanwhile, are far less developed.

This means that Iran may well prefer to absorb Israeli strikes, carrying out a token retaliation for form’s sake. Such an approach would derive not from pacific intentions. Rather, the Iranians would calculate that it is in their interests to continue to quietly build their strength in Syria, while absorbing periodic Israeli disruptions of their arrangements. Since the Iranians may well be engaged, as in Lebanon and Iraq, in a project concerned with the long-term transformation of these countries into clients/puppets of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the immediate settling of scores may not be deemed of paramount urgency.

Of course, this begs the question as to whether Israel will wish to acquiesce to the pursuit of such an Iranian strategy, with all it implies for the future security of Israel. In the meantime, following the fire and smoke of the night of May 10, and until the next move, we are back to the waiting period.

Also see:

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Israel Retaliates after 30-Rocket Barrage with 4-Hour Attack on Dozens of Iranian Military Targets in Syria

Extensive IDF attack against Iranian targets overnight Thursday

Jewish Press, by David Israel, May 10, 2018:

Retaliating against the Iranian attack on Israel from Syrian territory, the IDF carried out one of its biggest air operations in the last few decades, attacking dozens of military targets belonging to the Iranian Al Quds Force in Syria overnight Thursday, the IDF Spokesperson reported.

As part of the large-scale attack, the IDF attacked:

  • Iranian intelligence sites operated by the Al Qods Force;
  • logistics commands of the Al Qods Force;
  • a military compound and logistics complex of the Al Qods Force in Kiswah;
  • an Iranian military camp north of Damascus;
  • weapons storage sites belonging to the Al Qods Force at Damascus International Airport;
  • intelligence systems and installations associated with theAl Qods Force;
  • and an observation post, military posts and weapons in the buffer zone in the Syrian Golan heights.

In addition, the Iranian launcher from which Iranian missiles were fired at Israel was destroyed overnight.

Israel’s Iron Dome system intercepted and shot down four of those 30 missiles, the rest landed in Syrian territory.

The Israeli Air Force attacked Syrian air defense batteries, which fired despite an Israeli warning. In retaliation, the IDF attacked a number of interception systems (SA5, SA2, SA22, SA17) belonging to the Syrian army.

All of Israel’s planes returned to base safely.

The IDF made it a point to say that the attack last night was done by Iranian Al Quds forces, and not by proxies.

The overnight attacks were carried out following the rocket fire launched by the Iranian Qods Force towards the IDF’s front line in the Golan Heights. There were no casualties on Israel’s side from the Iranian attack, no damage was caused, and no hits were identified in Israeli territory.

The Iranian attack on Israel tonight was yet another clear proof of the intention behind the Iranian forces’ entrenchment in Syria and the danger they pose to Israel and regional stability, the IDF Spokesperson stated, noting that the Israeli home front maintains its civilian routine, that the schools and agricultural work will function as usual on Thursday, and public gatherings of up to 1,000 persons in an open area are permitted in the Golan Heights and Katzrin only.

“The IDF will continue to act decisively against the Iranian military efforts in Syria, views the Syrian regime as being responsible for whatever is happening in its territory, and warns it against acting against Israeli forces,” the report concluded, noting that “the IDF is highly prepared for a variety of scenarios and will continue to act as necessary for the safety of Israeli citizens.”

The IDF pointed out that not a single Iranian rocket managed to hit Israel. Last night Syrian TV falsely claimed that the Iranian missiles hit a dozen IDF bases, and listed the sites they claimed to have hit.

In a response to Hezbollah’s threats that they would hit harder and deeper into Israel if Israel responds to the first strike, first of all, Israel hit back harder and deeper against Iranian forces in Syria, and then sent out a message that if there any more attacks from Syria, the IDF will hit back even harder.

Contrary to the rumors, Russian forces did not get involved in any way in defending Syria or Iran.

Also see:

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Assad distances himself from Iran’s actions:

IDF: Iranian Forces Fire Rockets at Israel

AP/Tsafrir Abayov

The events mark the first time the IDF has accused Iran of directly firing rockets into Israel, and could represent a more direct confrontation between Israel and Iran. Israel has been alarmed at Iran’s massive military buildup in Syria, where the Iranians are said to control numerous military bases.

Breitbart, by Aaron Klein, May 9, 2018:

TEL AVIV — Iranian forces operating from Syria fired about 20 rockets at Israeli army positions in the Golan Heights, the Israel Defense Forces said on Tuesday night.

Some of the missiles were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome system, and there were no reports of injuries, the IDF stated.

A video posted on social media in Syria purports to show a volley of rockets from a launcher being fired into Israel.

The IDF is blaming the attack on the Quds Force, the unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards that is responsible for operations outside Iran.

The Times of Israel reports on immediate Israeli retaliation:

Syrian state media reported that Israeli artillery fire targeted a military post near the city of Baath in the Quneitra border region, where Syrian regime forces were stationed.

The Israel Defense Forces spokesperson confirmed that the army had retaliated to the alleged Iranian attack, but would not comments on the specific details.

It was not immediately clear if this artillery barrage would constitute Israel’s full response to the rocket attack or if additional retaliations by the IDF against Iranian forces in Syria were to come.

 

The events mark the first time the IDF has accused Iran of directly firing rockets into Israel, and could represent a more direct confrontation between Israel and Iran. Israel has been alarmed at Iran’s massive military buildup in Syria, where the Iranians are said to control numerous military bases.

The reported Iranian missile attacks follow a series of strikes in Syria attributed to Israel targeting Iran-run bases.

Only yesterday, Syria’s state-run SANA news agency reported an Israeli attack targeting a military base south of Damascus about two hours after President Trump announced a decision to withdraw from the international nuclear agreement with Iran. Fox News citedsources saying the target of the strike was an Iranian base in Syria.

The reports of explosions also come after the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on Tuesday placed Israel’s northern communities on high alert with the IDF detecting “irregular Iranian activity” and “abnormal movements of Iranian forces in Syria.”

Just before the explosion reports, Haaretz reported the IDF believes Iran is “making efforts to carry out an imminent retaliation against Israel,” according to the newspaper’s characterization.

Threats of Iranian retaliation follow numerous airstrikes against Iranian military targets in Syria that have been attributed to Israel.

Besides yesterday’s strike, ten days ago, Syrian state television reported that “enemy” rocket attacks struck military bases in Hama province and in the Aleppo countryside, with reports of 26 or more pro-regime fighters, mostly Iranians, killed in the blasts.

On April 14, there were reports of a “violent explosion” in the southern section of Aleppo province in Syria in an area where Iranian forces were present. Hezbollah-affiliated media outlets at the time claimed the incident involved a controlled explosion.

On April 9, strikes blamed on Israel hit the Iran-run T-4 military base that was reportedly used to operate Iran’s advanced drone fleet. The strikes came after the base was brazenly used by Iran to send an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) into Israeli territory in February before it was quickly shot down by the Israeli military. The IDF revealed its investigation concluded the Iranian drone sent from T-4 was carrying explosives and seemingly deployed to attack an Israeli target.

Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.

PJ MEDIA EXCLUSIVE: Gen. McMaster Sparked a Row With the Israeli Delegation at a White House Meeting on Hezbollah

H.R. McMaster (Rex Features via AP Images)

PJ MEDIA, BY DAVID STEINBERG, SEPTEMBER 12, 2017:

During the week of August 27, an Israeli delegation met with members of the National Security Council (NSC) at the White House to discuss the current threat to Israel by the terror group Hezbollah.

Israel believes this threat is currently dire. This meeting preceded a two-week long Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) exercise to rehearse for possible war with Hezbollah. The Jerusalem Post described this exercise, which commenced on September 4 and is ongoing, as the IDF’s largest in 20 years.

Hezbollah has been a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization since 1997. However, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster reportedly brought NSC Senior Director on Counter-Terrorism Mustafa Javed Ali to the White House meeting with Israel. Ali, a McMaster appointee, is described by a senior administration source as being “opposed to Hezbollah’s designation as a terrorist organization.”

What then transpired at the meeting has been confirmed to PJ Media by several administration sources, by members of non-governmental organizations involved in national security, and by a source within the Israeli government.

The Israeli delegation demanded that Mustafa Javed Ali leave the room.

This demand was made despite the clear likelihood that Ali would later be privy to the meeting’s materials and discussion. As such, sources speculated that Israel intended the demand to serve as a message to President Trump that McMaster’s behavior has constituted a subversion of Trump’s stated Middle East policy.

Mustafa Javed Ali, second from right, attending West Point’s 2015 Senior Conference. The conference was described as having focused on “unconventional approaches to counterterrorism.”

None of the several sources were aware if Trump had been made aware of the incident.

As has been widely reported, Trump’s Chief of Staff General Kelly has instituted tight restrictions on information and contacts reaching the president. Additionally, Kelly has been said to be working closely with General McMaster on issues related to the flow of information within the administration.

Friction between General McMaster and the Israeli delegation did not end with Israel’s demand that Ali leave the room.

Sources reported that McMaster went on to explicitly dismiss the Israelis’ specific concerns about Hezbollah.

In particular, the Israelis expressed concern that the “safe zone” currently being established within Syria — an idea that had been vociferously supported by Hezbollah’s sponsor, Iran — would immediately become a safe zone for Hezbollah to operate.

McMaster was said to “blow off” this major Israeli concern, and to be “yelling at the Israelis” during the meeting.

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For months, General McMaster has been under fire regarding his personnel decisions from Trump voters and the large majority of Americans who support Israel. McMaster has fired or otherwise removed all NSC appointees who strongly supported President Trump’s Middle East campaign platform.

Trump had repeatedly promised that his administration would reject the Bush/Obama policy of denying the doctrinal Islamic roots of terror, most notably expressed by Trump’s willingness to declare jihadist attacks to be “radical Islamic terrorism.” Indeed, Trump honored this pledge early in his term via the many appointees to the NSC brought on by former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and others.

Under McMaster, however, all of these voices have been removed from the NSC in what has been described as a “purge.”

In their stead, McMaster has astonishingly welcomed figures such as Kris Baumanand Robert Malley to his NSC. Bauman’s and Malley’s careers have been so objectively subversive to the Trump agenda on Israel that McMaster might as well have appointed Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter.

Mustafa Javed Ali in attendance at former President Obama’s 2010 White House Iftar Dinner. Ali worked within the FBI at the time. Per a source: “No Muslim reformers or liberals were welcome at those events.” (List of expected attendees available at link.)

Little information has previously been public about McMaster appointee Mustafa Javed Ali. Regarding Israel’s demand that he leave the meeting, a source claimed:

Israel possibly knows more about Javed Ali than [the Trump administration] does.

Earlier this year, Ali was rumored to have caused the cancellation of a scheduled talk to the NSC by Ayaan Hirsi Ali on account of her “Islamophobia.” Mrs. Ali, who escaped to the Netherlands from Kenya after fleeing a forced marriage, violence, and being a victim of female genital mutilation, is now an activist exposing Islamic doctrine. She has lived under 24/7 protection since 2004, when a Muslim murdered Dutch film director Theo van Gogh for making a film with Mrs. Ali that criticized Islam. A five-page note threatening the same fate for Ali was left pinned to van Gogh’s chest with a knife.

Sources within the Trump administration have confirmed to PJMedia that this rumor about Mustafa Javed Ali was correct: Mrs. Ali had been invited to speak to the NSC. She was later disinvited due to Javed Ali’s interference.

On August 11, Mrs. Ali published a Wall Street Journal op-ed criticizing Trump for “losing focus” on his terrorism campaign pledges. Within the op-ed, she chose to mention only the “most charitable” criticism being floated about General McMaster:

Some administration critics have blamed the loss of focus on Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, who became White House national security adviser in February. The most charitable formulation of this criticism is that military men who slogged their way through wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have an aversion to the argument that we face an ideological opponent, as opposed to a series of military problems.

But I put the responsibility on Mr. Trump. With regard to radical Islam, he simply seems to have lost interest.

Yet senior administration sources are far less charitable about McMaster and his appointee Mustafa Javed Ali. As mentioned above, they described Ali as taking the breathtaking position that Hezbollah should not be a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization. They described Ali as holding the same view regarding the Muslim Brotherhood.

They claimed Ali’s work within the NSC essentially amounts to him attempting to prevent the Trump administration from using any of the means at its disposal to target Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood as organizations. They claimed Ali advocates only targeting such groups’ identifiably “violent” members, and ignoring all other elements of their activities that may be subversive of U.S. interests.

These are recognizable as Obama-era policies — the “smart set” foreign policy strategies behind the Obama administration’s disastrous “Countering Violent Extremism” programs. This is the thinking that marched the Middle East to bloody catastrophe: a half-million dead in Syria.

Yet General McMaster appointed Ali as NSC Senior Director on Counter-Terrorism, and purged the NSC of voices supporting President Trump’s Mideast agenda. Then McMaster reportedly sat Ali in front of an Israeli delegation visiting the White House to share its concerns about Hezbollah.

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I have previously reported here at PJMedia of an extensive public relations push — coordinated by administration supporters of General McMaster — to encourage conservative outlets and think-tanks to reject claims that McMaster is antagonistic to Trump’s foreign policy and to the State of Israel in general. That push was remarkably successful: an online search for critical McMaster stories from the right will reveal such articles virtually halted in mid-August.

The broader questions of President Trump’s continued silence are more difficult to read. None of the sources contacted for this article believe the president has fundamentally shifted his thinking.

Trump likely understands he would not have defeated Hillary Clinton without stating “radical Islamic terrorism.” Yet sources could offer only speculation as to how Trump intends to win his Middle East agenda while saddled with a National Security Council subversive to those goals.