News Digest — 8/12/22

In News Surrounding Israel by The Friends of Israel

El-Nashra Reports: Israel Rejects Lebanese Proposal On Maritime Border Demarcation

“Israel has rejected the Lebanese proposal in the maritime border demarcation talks between the two countries, after holding meetings with American mediator Amos Hochstein,” the Lebanese El-Nashra newspaper reported on Thursday (11th).

The same day, Deputy Speaker of Parliament Elias Bou Saab rejected the report in Lebanese media concerning the talks, saying “they contradict the official position that Lebanon alone communicates on the matter.”

Bou Saab stated that while Hochstein is “keen” to continue his efforts, “the time for negotiations is not open to infinity.  The closer we get to the month of September, the more critical time becomes – the more critical time becomes in this file.  In order to preserve stability, things must end before September.”

The deputy speaker added that Operation Breaking Dawn had delayed progress on the matter on Israel’s part and stressed that “we do not have the luxury of time.”

Lebanese reports from the past week have indicated that Lebanon’s latest proposal includes the waters up to Line 23 and the Qana gas field, some of which goes over that line.  Line 23 is slightly north of the Karish gas field.

While earlier statements by Lebanese officials expressed optimism about the progress made in the talks and rejected drone launches by Hezbollah as damaging the efforts to reach a deal, Lebanese media reports on Thursday (11th) expressed concerns of a lack of progress and the risk of a military conflict.

The Lebanese Al-Liwaa newspaper reported on Thursday (11th) based on a “well informed ministerial source” that there was information about the possibility of Israel conducting a “limited military operation” against Lebanon before reaching an agreement in order to avoid being seen as compromising.  The source warned that  the response to such an operation would be “harsh” and that Hezbollah “will surprise Israel with missiles that will rain down on large parts of its territory, and therefore will not let it achieve its goal.”

Hassan Nasrallah, head of the Hezbollah terror organization stated last week that “there is a 50% chance that the maritime border discussions will be resolved through negotiations and a 50% chance that the situation will lead to war.”

In response to Nasrallah’s comments, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric called for everyone “to avoid any rhetoric that would inflame the situation further,” during a press conference Tuesday (9th).



UN Team Visits Senior Islamic Jihad Terrorist In Prison

United Nations (UN) Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland dispatched on Wednesday (10th) a team of UN officials to visit Sheik Bassam al-Saadi, the leader of the Islamic Jihad terror organization in the Samaria region, held in the Israeli Ofer Prison, “to follow-up on UN commitments to maintain calm in Gaza.”

Al-Saadi was arrested last week by Israeli Special Forces in a counterterrorism operation in Jenin, an incident that sparked tensions in the Gaza Strip.

Saadi holds very important information about all the terrorist activities of the Islamic Jihad in the Samaria area and is believed to be behind the terror organization’s unification and intensification in recent months.

Wennesland reiterated that the ceasefire in Gaza is very fragile and called on all sides to preserve the calm.

Wennesland angered Israeli diplomats last week when he expressed “deep concern” over Israel’s strikes in the Gaza Strip against the Islamic Jihad, including the elimination of Taysir al-Jabari, commander of the Islamic Jihad’s northern division who was responsible for multiple terror attacks against Israelis.

Wennesland stated that he was “deeply concerned by the ongoing escalation between Palestinian militants and Israel, including the targeted killing of a Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader inside Gaza.”

In response, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan stated that “while the Palestinian Islamic Jihad is launching missiles at Israeli civilians, the UN envoy expresses ‘deep concern’ for the neutralization of a senior terrorist behind imminent attacks on Israelis.”

“Will he also express deep concern over the neutralization of Ayman al Zawahiri?” the commander of Al-Qaeda who was eliminated by the US recently, Erdan asked.

“Israel expects the international community and the United Nations to stop making false and immoral comparisons between a law-abiding democracy and radical terror organizations, and respect the right of Israel to defend its citizens,” he demanded.



Excavations Underway To Find Secret Trench From Six-Day War In Jerusalem

After 55 years, excavations have begun on the once-occupied Ammunition Hill to search for a secret trench that may have been hidden for decades after it was  last used in the Six-Day War.

The dig began after dozens of IDF soldiers reached out to the Ammunition Hill Center for Six-Day War Heritage and asked that they locate another trench on which they fought, according to the Center’s CEO, Ketri Maoz.

The trench in question supposedly continued eastward and was used by Jordanian soldiers to Watch Mount Scopus, but throughout the past few decades, the trench was filled and covered with mud, soil and dust.

“Ammunition Hill had 3 trenches, one that looked toward the west, i.e. towards the State of Israel, another that crossed the hill widthwise, and another that looked towards Mount Scopus in the east,” Maoz explained.

However, he continued, the other two trenches were the only ones available for tourists to see and visit throughout the years. “In recent years, more and more inquiries have come from Six-Day War fighters who claimed that there is an additional eastern trench that needs to be sought out and found.”

The excavation team is using aerial photos to plan their project and will work for the next three months in the hopes of finding the trench.  If and when it is rediscovered, it will be made available to the public to visit and learn about.

The hope is to not only find the trench, but also perhaps discover some hidden treasures inside which may “shed light on the great battle that took place” on Ammunition Hill and which took the lives of dozens of fighters and policemen.



U.S. At UN: “We Fully Support Israel’s Right To Defend Its People”

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the Security Council on Monday (8th): “We fully support Israel’s right to defend its people against terrorist threats, including from rocket fire aimed at civilians or without regard for them….Let us be clear: Palestinian Islamic Jihad is a designated terrorist organization in the United States and in many other nations.  And it is also an Iranian proxy group, which has conducted attacks against innocent civilians for years…it was the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, not Israel, that held up the agreement on a ceasefire designated to save lives and resume shipments into Gaza, callously prolonging these hostilities.”

“This Council should be able to come together and unconditionally repudiate the terrorism of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, whose reckless actions have put the lives of civilians on both sides at risk.  Their actions must be condemned by all countries in no uncertain terms.  And no country should be expected to tolerate or passively accept such brazen attacks on its civilians.”

“And we should all refrain from jumping to conclusions until we can determine the facts.  For example – Israel was originally blamed for an attack that inflicted civilian casualties in Jabaliya refugee camp.  It now has been confirmed that the attack was caused by a Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket.”



Life On The Border With Gaza – Adele Raemer

As a longtime resident of the region in Israel known as the Gaza Envelope, I have experienced, up close and personal, all of the escalations and operations we have had with Gaza since 2009.  I live on Kibbutz Nirim 1.2 miles from the border.  I can hear the Imam’s call to prayer from the Gaza mosques.

Last week we were warned not to walk on the usual paths around our community for fear of catching the attention of Palestinian snipers.  Another fact of our lives is that we have from zero to 10 seconds from the time we hear the warning of the Red Alert, our incoming rocket alarm system, to get to someplace safe.  That’s not a lot of time.  I take my phone wherever I go, obsessively, so as not to miss an alert from its very first second.  With 10 seconds to protect my life, every second counts.

When I take showers, they are quick and to the point, with the towels laid out so I can jump out and grab them as I run to the safe room.  Throwing out the garbage, going to the kibbutz store to get staples or even getting into the car to leave are all nerve wracking as I scan the surroundings to see where to run for cover if there is an alarm at any given moment.

I believe it is important that the world be given the information that what goes on in Gaza is horrible, but, it isn’t any picnic in Israel, either.

Why do I choose to remain in my home?  Because I am a proud Zionist who knows that it is only here, in our ancient homeland, that Jews can remain safe and free.