June 22, 2018

In News Surrounding Israel by The Friends of Israel

Israel’s Response to Gaza Terror Will Intensify, Prime Minister Warns

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a stern warning to Hamas on Wednesday (20th) amid escalating tensions along the border with the Gaza Strip, saying Israel will employ whatever means necessary to ensure its citizens’ safety and security.

Speaking at a graduation ceremony in southern Israel, Netanyahu said, “I do not intend to go into detail about what we are planning in regard to Gaza.  Our operations there will intensify as necessary. We are ready for any scenario and our enemies would do well to understand that – now.”



15 Fires Break Out In Gaza Border Communities

Fifteen fires broke out on Thursday (21st) in the regional Councils of Sha’ar HaNegev and Eshkol due to incendiary balloons being launched into Israel from the Gaza Strip.

All the fires were finally brought under control.



Booby-Trapped Gaza Balloons Land On Trampoline; Mom Tells kids: ‘They’re Not Toys’

A cluster of balloons carrying an explosive device that was launched at Israel from the Gaza Strip landed in a nearby community on Wednesday (20th), getting stuck on a trampoline.

“Balloons on a trampoline in the backyard – that’s a decorative play area and beckons the most innocent ones, and yet our children have lost their innocence, because of this phenomenon,” said Meirav Vidal whose house it was.

“These days it is important to explain to kids that balloons are also ‘suspicious objects’ that they have to keep away from – to not touch them and call an adult,” Vidal said.

A second cluster of balloons got stuck in a tree in another family’s backyard.



Israel Deploys Electronic-Eye To Track Fire Balloons, Kites From Gaza

Facing a wave of airborne incendiary attacks from the Gaza Strip, Israel has deployed a system that can spot fire-starting balloons and kites in the sky, track their progress, and then direct firefighters to their landing spots, enabling them to rapidly extinguish the flames and minimize damage.

Israeli officials are concerned that if the fire attacks don’t stop – or aren’t foiled –  they could push an escalation of violence that would lead to a major military confrontation with terror groups in the Gaza Strip.



IDF Deploys Additional Iron Dome Batteries Near Gaza Amid Heightened Tensions

The Israeli Army deployed additional Iron Dome missile defense systems in southern Israel on Wednesday (20th), after terror groups in the Gaza Strip launched dozens of rockets and mortar shells earlier in the day.

Residents of the area were encouraged to go about their daily lives as usual, but to also prepare themselves for another round of violence.

The Israel Defense Forces in a letter encouraged residents in the area to be prepared to enter their bomb shelters or the most protected part of their homes if need be.

(afp.com; timesofIsrael.com)


Hamas Leader Paid Gazan Family To Lie About Baby’s Death – Ilana Curiel

Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar paid a Gazan family $2,200 to lie about eight-month-old Leila al-Ghandour dying from tear gas inhalation rather than a pre-existing medical condition during the border riots on May 14, according to an indictment filed with the Beersheba District Court on Thursday (21st).  The baby’s brother, Salim al-Ghandour, died in 2017 of a similar disease when he was only a few months old.



Minister: Major Gaza Operation To Topple Hamas ‘Very Likely’

Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan told Army Radio Thursday (21st) that a major military operation in Gaza “in the next few months” with the goal of toppling Hamas, is possible.

Asked if Israel is on the verge of a full-scale military operation in Gaza, Erdan replied in the affirmative.

“It’s not something we want, but we might have no choice,” he said.

(gglz.net; worldisraelnews.com)


Israel Welcomes U.S. Announcement Of Withdrawal From UN Human Rights Council

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday (20th): “Israel thanks President Trump, Secretary Pompeo and Ambassador Nikki Haley for their courageous decision against the hypocrisy and the lies of the so-called UN Human Rights Council.  For years, the UNHRC has proven to be a biased, hostile, anti-Israel organization that has betrayed its mission of protecting human rights. Instead of dealing with regimes that systematically violate human rights, the UNHRC obsessively focuses on Israel, the one genuine democracy in the Middle East.”

“The U.S. decision to leave this prejudiced body is an unequivocal statement that enough is enough.  Israel welcomes the American announcement.”



Report: Hizbullah retreating From Israel-Syria Border, Iran Entrenched

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is one of the primary bodies on the ground monitoring Syria’s bloody civil war, issued a report on Thursday (21st) stating that Hizbullah units in Syria were retreating from the Israeli border, in response to Russian demands that both Iran and Hizbullah withdraw from this area.

However, Iran does not appear to be willing to move its military forces from near the Israeli border and remains entrenched throughout Syria.



Merkel: Iran’s ‘Aggression’ In Middle East Must Be Countered

Measures are needed to counter Iran’s “aggressive tendencies” in the Middle East, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday (21st) after talks in Jordan with King Abdullah.

The Jordan monarch said that peace in the region could only take place once the Palestinians have a state with Jerusalem as its capital.