Transdnistria

June 25, 2018

Here a fresh short documentary film about Transdnistria by arte.tv (click the picture):

Transnistria: The Country Which Doesn't Exist

Some of my related articles:

Pridnestrovie in Context of Ukraine

Some progress with Moldova/Transdnistria dispute on 2008

Transdnistrian number game

The two Images of Transdnistria

Transnistria follow-up

Ten things you maybe didn’t know about Pridnestrovie

The two Images of Transdnistria

Is Transnistria the next follow up of Kosovo UDI?

 

 

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Israeli Intelligence Keeps Its Qualitative Edge

June 13, 2018

The Israeli Intelligence Community have been first in the spy game for decades. Today it includes three main members: Military Intelligence Directorate aka Aman (military intelligence branch of the Israeli Defense Forces), Mossad (overseas intelligence) and Shin Bet aka ISA aka “Shabak” (internal security) and two smaller units: The intelligence branch of the Israeli Police and The Centre for Political Research (the intelligence branch of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs).  In addition there is National Security Council   to evaluate global conditions according to overall intelligence, and preparing national and security responses and SIGINT service: this proposed service would supply all the other services with SIGINT intelligence.

Recent years Israel has took again steps forward to keep its superiority – qualitative edge – of Intelligence services in future too. Latest example about this development work is The Shahaf Combat Intelligence Collection battalion, which is responsible for collecting visual intelligence in the Lebanon sector, from the Mediterranean shore at Rosh-Hanikra to the foot of Mount Hermon.

Integrated Radar and MARS systems

Located in the Galilee region, The Shahaf Combat Intelligence Collection battalion employs surveillance operators, mobile surveillance resources and warfighters performing intelligence collection operations, if necessary, across the border as well. The battalion has a personnel of about 750 regular troopers and the capacity to grow by another 100 in an emergency.

According IsraelDefense the Radar systems introduced to the battalion in 2009 changed the world of intelligence collection. In the past, when optics reigned supreme, the surveillance operator would scan the sector. Such a scanning cycle took a few minutes to complete, which meant that each point within the sector was scanned once every few minutes, leaving space for Hezbollah to take advantage of. Today, Radars reign supreme as they enable continuous scanning of a given sector. This technology changed the operational concept of the battalion. Recently, Radars capable of seeing through foliage have been introduced, and they have improved ability to identify Hezbollah intrusion attempts and issue alerts.

Another intelligence collection element introduced to the Lebanon and Syria sector in recent years is the MARS surveillance system. According IsraelDefense this system consists of multiple surveillance cameras for different ranges and with different resolution characteristics, capable of monitoring a very broad sector. The optical system is integrated with the Radar, and when the Radar spots something, the optical system is alerted and takes up the monitoring process. The MARS surveillance system was yet another factor that contributed to the improved effectiveness of the battalion’s intelligence collection work. Instead of having each surveillance camera operated by a team of six surveillance operators in shifts, the MARS system makes it possible for a single surveillance operator to control multiple sensors simultaneously.

A combat intelligence soldier surveying the field.

Intelligence in Context

In order to bridge the existing gaps, the IDF employs other surveillance resources from the air which, in combination with the combat intelligence collection setup, provide a unified status picture.

According IsraelDefense ‘Intelligence in Context’ is an intelligence collection concept that integrates an extensive range of resources and that integration makes it possible to overcome the weaknesses of each resource individually. Another advantage of this operational concept is the ability to focus on relevant collection. Instead of starting to search one house after another within the town of Bint Jbeil to find out what Hezbollah are doing, the context, namely – the integration with other intelligence sources, enables the battalion to focus. The field forces do not always know where the information had come from, owing to compartmentalization reasons, but that information guides field forces to ‘look over there’. This improves the effectiveness of the battalion’s capabilities by orders of magnitude.”

One of the challenges of collecting intelligence opposite Hezbollah involves the other side’s competence. “The enemy is smart,” says Lt. Col. Tomer Meltzman, the commander of The Shahaf Combat Intelligence Collection battalion. “Hezbollah are fully aware of the fact that we are watching them, and the troopers of the battalion keep asking themselves whether what they see through the lens should be taken at face value. The procedure for writing mission reports at the battalion includes facts, interpretation and recommendations. The facts are what you see, backed up by visual evidence. The context is the interpretation of what you see, and the recommendations are the combination of facts and insights. The question each team member asks himself with regard to Hezbollah is this: ‘Does what I see truly reflect whatever actually happens’?

All of the collection reports from all of the companies are routed to me, and a dialog is under way with the collection teams around the question of what Hezbollah are doing or what they are planning. As in the Lebanon sector the issue of information security is observed very strictly compared to other sectors, compartmentalization is implemented even between the individual companies and teams within the battalion. Consequently, one team may see something and come up with a certain interpretation for the local event in its sector, but at the battalion commander’s level, that interpretation is integrated to form a more complete collection picture. Although information security and compartmentalization are intended to safeguard operational activities, they present a serious challenge as far as the implementation of the ‘Intelligence in Context’ concept is concerned.”

All of these compel the IDF to employ creative techno-operational thinking so as to maintain the advantage embodied in intelligence collection from within Israel or through the use of the Lebanese airspace. “We operate on two levels: we meet periodically with the relevant industries on the ground, in order to germinate new ideas that would solve operational problems. Additionally, we keep track of civilian technologies that may contribute to us,” says Meltzman.

Another field is understanding the context of the target in real time. “While to this day we have had Radars and optical systems, the next leap will involve the identification of the context of the target. When you spot an individual on the other side of the border, you want to know who he is, whether the Israeli intelligence community has a record for him, whether he is new to the sector and whether he is connected to other individuals in the sector. The ability to analyze such information in real time can shorten the loop closure processes for the targets we spot.”  says Meltzman.

Source: IsraelDefense

Upper Level developments

The issue regarding the suitable structure of the Israeli Intelligence Community (IIC), and questions as to dividing responsibilities and jurisdictions between Aman, Shin Bet, and Mossad, became agenda issues many times in the past. The Commission to investigate the intelligence network following the War in Iraq maintained that, it is finally time to restructure the IIC in accordance with a proper work distribution, professional designation, as well as a correct constitutional and legal frame of reference.

According WikiPedia the Commission recommended on reforming the current IIC structure, ending up with three or four independent intelligence services, alongside the National Security Council, with the distinction between them being based upon the respective spheres of responsibility of each service:

¤ Aman (IDF): its jurisdiction is to consist primarily of “military intelligence”—alerting the political leadership and the security arms to the possibility of war and estimating the means of the enemy, and identifying prospective targets during a war or a limited military conflict.

¤ Mossad: is to be charged with, in addition to foiling attacks, a strategic-political emphasis, which includes evaluating the stability of regimes, and engaging in industrial-scientific-technological and nuclear-related intelligence as well as against global terrorism.

¤ Shabak: is to be tasked with the security of the State, its citizens, and organs, against Palestinian and other forms of terrorism, and against internal subversion.

¤ National Security Council: is to evaluate global conditions according to overall intelligence, and preparing national and security responses.

¤ SIGINT service: this proposed service would supply all the other services with SIGINT intelligence.

As the result of the process known as the Arab Spring and of a dramatic technological revolution, Aman, Mossad and ISA have recently undergone far-reaching changes. For example in the IDF Military Intelligence Directorate, where almost 1,000 officers changed positions and the organizational structure has been revolutionized.

A senior intelligence officer interviewed in IsraelDefense concludes the background of this massive wave of changes in Aman:

In the era of the Internet and the social networks, events take place at a mind-boggling pace. Processes that once took years are now being concluded within days and even hours. However, beyond the regional instability, the really fateful change, as far as the intelligence agencies are concerned, has been a technological one. In the past, the primary intelligence effort was SigInt (Signals Intelligence, based on the spotting of electronic signals and monitoring of radio communication networks and telephone lines). Today, no one uses telephones or radio transceivers anymore. The enemy has evolved into an entity that is usually amorphous, with no definite chain of command, and each independent intelligence objective keeps a number of different cellular telephones which it uses to send written messages through E-Mail, the social networks and WhatsApp, or uses the Internet-based Skype network that offers basic encryption capabilities. The entire concept and all of the resources should be revised in order to keep on collecting SigInt in this day and age, and that is only one example of the change.”

Generally, the intelligence community must adapt itself and provide real-time information about Jihad organizations and arms transfers, but also about enemy targets in caves and in urban areas – so that the information may be handed over promptly and the targets may be ‘treated’ by precision-guided munitions. IDF Military Intelligence Directorate also led a comprehensive program known as IBW (Intelligence Based Warfare), whose objective was to deliver tactical intelligence all the way down to the tactical echelon, namely – the platoon engaged in combat on the ground.”

According IsraelDefense  substantial organizational changes have taken place within the other intelligence agencies of the State of Israel, ISA (Israel Security Agency) and Mossad.

At ISA, the most important, most significant change was concluded last year and included a substantial reinforcement of the cyber activities in the context of a cyber-SigInt division. ISA had recruited extensively for its cyber activities, and is currently regarded as one of the leading agencies in this field – as it is the agency in charge of securing all national infrastructure and utility systems.

The Mossad has also adapted itself to the era of cyber warfare. The world media attributed numerous cyber warfare operations to this agency, including the attack against the Iranian nuclear reactors using the Stuxnet computer virus. One thing is certain, though: the relations between Israel’s three intelligence agencies – the IDF Military Intelligence Directorate, ISA and Mossad – are the best ever.


Trivia 1:

The Israeli Defense Forces’ Secretive Unit 9900, which specializes in deciphering “visual intelligence,” now has 100 autistic volunteers so far. Autistic soldiers have special skills deciphering intelligence photos–and benefit from the chance to use those skills. Afterwards, the military helps them find jobs in the civilian world. Source: JewishNewsSyndicate


Trivia 2:


Trivia 3:


Trivia 4:

Black Cube is a private intelligence agency, which is based in London, Paris and Tel Aviv. The company was founded in 2010 by former Israeli intelligence officers Dan Zorella and Avi Yanus. Its employees include former members of Israeli intelligence units, including Aman, Mossad and Shin Bet, as well as legal and financial experts. Black Cube’s main business is “litigation support”, in which the company provides intelligence, evidence and advisory services in multi-jurisdictional legal and criminal cases.


Trivia 5:

The head of Israel’s security service said on Wednesday that 250 terror attacks had been prevented since the beginning of 2018.  Shin Bet head Nadav Argaman, speaking at an international counter-terrorism conference hosted by the Public Security Ministry in Jerusalem, said Israel has arrested 400 Palestinians who planned to commit lone wolf attacks, including suicide bombings, abductions and shooting attacks.

He explained that Israel’s threats “are varied and spread over several unstable and challenging arenas,” adding that his organisation’s success is due to “the combination of quality, dedicated human assets, advanced technology and unique and professional operation methods”.  “As a learning, incorporative, advanced and technological organisation we put great emphasis on strategic cooperation with our friends in the (intelligence) community in both Israel and abroad, with the Israeli high-tech industry and with other civilian bodies,” he said.

Argaman added that “the security service knew to adapt itself and use technological, intelligence and operational tools in order to find these assailants ahead of time.”

According to the statistics that he presented, the Shin Bet prevented 400 attacks in 2017 and arrested 1,384 Palestinians who had planned terror attacks, thirteen of which had planned to commit suicide attacks, whereas others had planned to abduct soldiers and civilians.  Source: BICOM  


Palestinian Leadership After Abbas and Peace Process: Seven Views

May 11, 2018

Since 2005, when Mahmoud Abbas was elected to a four-year term as president of the Palestinian Authority (PA), he still remains in the position without having held any further elections. His departure cannot be predicted, but some scenarios for the new leadership and its effect to the peace process are already made.

BESABESA Center had an online debate (View PDF ) on May 6, 2018, where six analyst answered to the question, if a change in Palestinian Authority Leadership would affect the peace process. Here some highlights about their viewpoints:

Ido Zelkovitz, Head of the Middle Eastern Studies program at Yezreel Valley College and research fellow at the Ezri Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies at the University of Haifa:

The Fatah movement and the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Movement) leadership are experiencing a deep internal and external crisis. In retrospect, Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has failed to lead the establishment of a vital and sovereign Palestinian independent state according to the 1967 borders.

Chairman Abbas, who is now in the final stretch of his term of office, has three goals: to leave a legacy, to put policy guidelines in place for the future, and to select his political heir. In order that the issue of succession will not generate internal warfare in Fatah, the leadership must create a mechanism that will help the movement stabilize inner rivals in its high commend. We can assume that Abbas will do everything he can to influence the choice of his successor.

A second important point: it seems that in the new, post-Abbas Fatah, the leadership is going to be more focused on Palestinian domestic affairs. After the election of Abbas’s successor, one can expect Fatah leaders to try to find an answer to Hamas’s challenge of historical birthright as leaders of the Palestinian national movement.

Hamas would like to see reforms and elections take place in PLO institutions that would allow it to integrate into the PLO and take it over from within. This would allow Hamas to replace Fatah as leader of the Palestinian national movement and gain inter-Arab and international legitimacy.

In the short term, a change in PA leadership will have only a small impact on its ability to move forward with the peace process. As long as the Palestinians are focused on their own domestic politics, the chances for progress in the Israeli-Palestinian channel are slim.

Hillel Frisch, Professor of Political Studies and Middle East Studies at Bar-Ilan University

At present, the issue of change is hypothetical. Abbas shows no sign of either abdicating or designating a successor and no gumption to take a leap forward on either the issue of Israel as the state of the Jewish people or the right of return. In the longer term, of course, an alliance between pragmatists such as Jibril Rajoub, the former head of preventive security in the West Bank; and Majid al-Faraj, the chief of general intelligence (provided they prevail over other candidates) could pave the way for a Jordanian-Palestinian federation, which is the only feasible option for the inhabitants of the Palestinian Authority.

Rajoub and Faraj share a common security background and have both cooperated with the Israeli security structure. They share a commitment to governance at the expense of ideology, as well as a mutual hostility to Hamas — particularly to Muhammad Dahlan and jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouthi, who would be their chief rivals for Abbas’s mantle.

The succession will entail conflict and instability. Consolidation will initially take priority over peacemaking. Instability might have its virtues, for the more unstable the situation, the more palatable a federation between Jordan and the Palestinian Authority will become.

Palestine-Jordan confederation, Three-state option

 

Amir Tibon, Washington correspondent, Haaretz

Yes. The current leader of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, has failed to create pressure on Israel to change the status quo. This failure is evident on a number of fronts. Abbas had an opportunity in 2014 to accept a fair and reasonable peace plan presented to him by President Barack Obama, which would have put pressure on Israeli PM Netanyahu to either accept it as well or take the blame for the failure of peace talks – at a time when Obama still had more than two years left in the White House and there was a Democratic majority in the US Senate. Instead of doing that, Abbas left Obama’s plan unanswered, saving Netanyahu from a perilous political moment.

On the other hand, Abbas has pushed back against attempts from within his own party to encourage significant civil unrest in the West Bank along the lines of global civil rights movements. By depressing such efforts, he has helped Israel avoid a major international headache. A new Palestinian leader who would be willing to openly accept a plan like the one proposed by Obama, and who would encourage the Palestinian people to take to the streets in support of such a plan and an end to the occupation, could challenge Israel – and perhaps even initiate a change in Israeli politics.

clinton parameters

Also Obama’s plan was based on sc Clinton parameters

Asaf Romirowsky, Fellow at the Middle East Forum, and coauthor with Alex Joffe of Religion, Politics, and the Origins of Palestine Refugee Relief

In January, the 82-year-old Mahmoud Abbas marked his 13th year as chairman of the Palestinian Authority (PA), an achievement in the sense that the original term was four years and he has consistently derailed any further elections.

When a new leader is appointed or seizes power, will he have the ability and courage to promote peace between Palestinians and Israelis? Abbas, like Arafat, understands the need to promote the notion of a Palestinian state as a way to show readiness for a farewell to arms. However, pragmatically speaking, Palestinian statehood would force the Palestinians to give up the Nakba narrative they have been carrying as a “badge of honor” for over 70 years. Consequently, world opinion would be forced to judge them as a state and not as an underdog. This, of course, has not been the chosen path.

Moreover, Palestinian self-determination has never seen the conflict as one between two national groups with legitimate claims and aspirations. Israel’s existence – indeed, Zionism itself, the very idea of Jewish nationalism – is regarded as wholly illegitimate. Palestinian acceptance of the two-state solution was a means of appeasing the West, which desired all parties to live in peace according to democratic, national ideals. However, for Arafat in his day and now for Mahmoud Abbas, the two-state solution is an instrument with which to buy time until the Palestinians can finally overcome and defeat Israel.

The reality is that tactics like unilateral statehood through UDI and other antics have been used to internationalize the conflict and thereby avoid real talks with Israel. Further, they give Palestinian leaders a halo of “normalcy” that undermines every accepted model for peace, even according to UN standards. Unilateralism was never the modus operandi, but rather, mutually agreed-upon concessions by all parties as illustrated by UN Security Council Resolutions 242, and 338, the Oslo Accords, and the Roadmap for Peace.

The Palestinian legacy is rooted in their determination to reject statehood and accept a Jewish state. Talk is cheap. Land and lives are costly. If the Palestinians genuinely want to talk about statehood, any future leader will need to come to terms with accepting and recognizing Israel, get the Palestinians’ own territories under control, stop firing rockets at Israeli towns, and start creating a functioning civil society.

Gregg Roman, Director, Middle East Forum

Most of the decisions made by the Palestinian Authority are designed to either keep the current leadership in power or to spite Israel. Leaders are judged on how they stand up to the Jewish state, not on how well they govern.

The leadership organs and governing structure of the Palestinian Authority (in its current form) are based on a Fatah-centric amalgamation of corrupt kleptocrats and their sycophants. Expecting the resignation, death, or removal of Mahmoud Abbas to change the way the PA operates is naïve.

Real change in the PA must come from the bottom up. The local authorities that control major Palestinian population centers must be either directly elected or appointed by the Israeli authorities. New leadership should be selected on merit and desire to improve Palestinian daily life; it should not be based on party preference (which would eliminate Hamas, Islamic Jihad, PFLP, or Fatah candidates). It should emanate from the Palestinian security forces, civil society, and major Palestinian clans and families.

Only Palestinian leaders who are committed to working with Israel to establish their own polity, society, economy, and culture – people who are not focused on rejecting Israel – should be allowed to rule. Setting up a Palestinian entity forged with the goal of developing their own independent governing institutions that build a Palestine in the West Bank and Gaza should be the preferred solution, not replacing one rejectionist with another.

 

Jonathan Rynhold, Director, Argov Center for the Study of Israel and the Jewish People, Bar-Ilan University

Mahmoud Abbas has lacked the courage to make the decisions required to move the peace process forward. Nonetheless, he remained firm in his commitment to non-violence and security co-operation with Israel, which is regarded positively within the Israeli security establishment. Of the candidates for the succession, Muhammad Dahlan would probably be the most inclined to enter negotiations under a regional umbrella, due to his ties to the UAE. This idea has been discussed intensely by Israel, Egypt, the US, and representatives from the Gulf. However, Dahlan lacks support in the West Bank.

Of the other candidates, Gen. Majid Faraj, head of the General Intelligence Services, is considered by the US as most likely to continue security cooperation with Israel and thereby maintain stability. However, once Abbas leaves the stage, the struggle for the leadership is likely to be vicious. In this competition, it is quite possible that some of the candidates will seek to brandish their nationalist credentials by encouraging violence against Israel. In any case, a moderate stance towards Israel is unlikely to be viewed as garnering a political advantage within the West Bank, so the likelihood of diplomatic progress is low, and security cooperation may come under pressure too.

My view

I agree that a change in PA leadership will have only a small impact on its ability to move forward with the peace process, especially if the new leader is anti-Hamas pragmatist like Majid al-Faraj or Jibril Rajoub who have both cooperated with the Israeli security structure – their selection would not change the way the PA operates.

On the other hand in my opinion there is big probability that Hamas will replace Fatah as leader of the Palestinian national movement and gain inter-Arab and international legitimacy.This view is based to their real support on the grassroots (e.g. in last elections) and their activity in struggle against Israel (like now ongoing ”Return March” campaign). Based on this view I think that Muhammad Dahlan and jailed terrorist Marwan Barghouthi could be the next, and best, post-Abbas leaders of the Palestinian Authority.

From my viewpoint a strong Palestinian leader is needed for progress of the peace process. I compare the similar situation in Israeli side. Ariel Sharon was a strong leader and no-one could claim that he had been earlier too soft with Palestinians. Anyway exactly due his background in 2005 he could implement the Israeli disengagement from Gaza – withdrawal of the Israeli army from Gaza, the dismantling of all Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip and four settlements in the northern West Bank; the plan and how it was carried out had been criticized heavily. So in my opinion a strong charismatic Palestinian leader is needed to get both governing structure of the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian grassroots to accept a bitter compromise with Israel.


Appendix:

Israel’s 5 Strategy Options Regarding West Bank After Abbas

Earlier Prof. Hillel Frisch published an article Israel’s Five Policy Options Regarding Judea and Samaria in BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 336, March 29, 2016 where he made five Israel’s post-Abbas policy options (can be found as PDF from here). The five approaches (none of them ideal) were following:

  • conflict management option,
  • creative friction,
  • constructive chaos,
  • unilateral withdrawal, and
  • unilateral annexation.

My resume of these options is represented below:

Israel’s 5 Strategy Options Regarding West Bank After Abbas [Source: Prof. Hillel Frisch/BESA Center]
Unlike in an excellent article by Prof. Frisch I think that unilateral withdrawal is both feasible and doable; its main benefit might be that Israel can deside it individually. Sure this option was promoted e.g by Isaac Herzog, ex-leader of the Zionist Union, but I understand that the proposal has support in addition to center-left also from center and center-right in Israeli’s political sphere. I would like to emphasize also one aspect namely separate truce with Gaza/Hamas and in best case implementation sc Sinai option which could solve refugee question with positive outcome to some of problems in West Bank too.

If peace negotiations don’t start, they fail again or regional solutions can’t be realized this time so from my viewpoint Israel could independently carry out what I have called a ‘Cold Peace Solution’, a minimal level of peace relations, where Israel would annex main settlements from West-bank inside the security fence and return to negotiations about other than so solved border issue when both parties feel need to make a long term deal. This solution in my opinion is the best way forward and it even might be possible to implement. If unilateral solutions are made in the framework of constructive unilateralism so this approach might be the right roadmap towards more permanent two-state solution.

Cold-Peace-Solution by Ari Rusila

More in

 



Some Aspects About ”The Great Return March” Campaign

April 30, 2018

When we are brave, we are getting closer toward martyrdom, martyrdom, martyrdom…we say to Nikki Haley, to Netanyahu, to the criminal Lieberman we are afraid neither of death nor of martyrdom.” (Senior Hamas leader Ismail Radwan on 27th Apr. 2018)

“The Great Return March” Campaign has now been implemented a month and probably it will will climax on May 15 (Nakba Day) 2018 with aim of a massive procession of 100,000 Gazans storming the Israel security fence around Gaza. The main goal of this action is not immediately to kill Israelis but to get attention by getting Gazans killed themselves as when Israel must use lethal force to protect Israelis and Israeli border this will bring the Palestinian case back to the agenda and the media headlines will come back.

Behind the hypcrate statements from international organizations and behind the body count of main stream media I would like to highlight some other aspects of this ongoing play.

 

The Great Return March campaign exhausted?

It is no secret that the campaign of protests at the border has been a disappointment for Hamas, as it failed to meet the group’s initial expectations. The number of participants (average Gazans, no-Hams members) has diminished from week to week, and Yahya Sinwar, the head of Hamas in the Gaza Strip and his associates, including many high-ranking officials in the group’s military wing, feel that the campaign has exhausted itself. They say that if Hamas continues to conduct the campaign as it is currently being handled, it will erase any achievement it has managed to reach.

The popular turnout is diminishing week by week. Some 3,000 protesters turned out on 20th April, significantly smaller than the 10,000-15,000 at previous Friday’s demonstration. In the three weeks before, there were an estimated 20,000 and 30,000 protesters, respectively.

However some 10,000-14,000 Palestinians participated March on Border for fifth week [27.-28.4.2018] but only four (3 on Friday and 1 wounded died on Saturday) was killed and over 600 injured (174 wounded due use of live ammunition) – lower figures anyway than during first week.

According Hamas the weekly Gaza border riots will not end on May 15th, the day the Arabs mark as ‘Nakba’ or “Catastrophe” in Arabic (Israel’s rebirth as a state), but will continue through Ramadan, Hamas political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh said on 26th Apr 2018 according JewishPress. The events at the Gaza border “brought the Palestinian issue back to center stage, and revived the memory of the right of return,” Haniyeh said. He claimed the demonstrations would also have the effect of spoiling the Israeli celebrations marking the move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem on May 14, as well as the Jerusalem Day celebrations on the day prior (May 13), marking Israel’s victory in the 1967 Six Day War. Haniyeh added that the demonstrations would no longer be limited to the Gaza border, but are to be expanded and spread throughout Judea and Samaria. At a press conference held by the “supreme national authority of the great return march,” it was stated that on May 15, 2018, all the demonstrators would move towards the security fence to cut through the barbed wire, calling on the international community to protect them (al-Aqsa, April 17, 2018).

A protest in Khan Younis on March 30. The photographer, Yasser Murtaja, was killed in a protest in the same location the following week. Aerial image by Yasser Murtaja, Ain Media

Behind body count

According The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center the Hamas-controlled ministry of health in the Gaza Strip reported that 40 [now 44] Palestinians have been killed during the “great return march” events since March 30, 2018, when the rioting began along the Gaza Strip-Israel border (updated to April 25, 2018); 32 of the 40 Palestinians killed (80%) were terrorist operatives.

One significant aspect with ongoing fence-storming campaign is that not a single rocket has been fired into Israel from Gaza in over two months, yet since March 30 during fence-storming more Palestinians in Gaza have been killed than it did in the previous 16 months, during which time militants launched over 60 rockets and mortars. Another aspect more: Compared the death ratio of civilians vs militants, it is now 1:5 as during previous Gaza conflicts/wars it was about 2:1 so this ”peaceful” demonstration seems to be much better for civilian population as terrorists can not use them so much as human shields than during previous conflicts.

Israeli army leaflets dropped over Gaza to warn Palestinian demonstrators not to approach the border fence

All violent deaths are not made by IDF. Arab media outlets reported that the explosion occurred in the town of Beit Lahiya killing 55-year-old Mohammed Nimr Maqadmah – a member of the Hamas terror group’s military wing, it is unclear if Maqadmah was killed in a targeted killing, or in an accidental explosion while building a bomb. Local media outlets initially claimed the explosion was the result of an Israeli drone attack, but subsequent reports by Arab news sources suggested the explosion may have been an accident. Three other people were injured in the explosion, one of which is reportedly Maqadmah’s son. On Sunday night, a Hamas terrorist from the Al-Qassam Brigades was killed during a tunnel collapse in the central Gaza Strip. The terrorist was identified as 33-year-old Tha’er Nayef az-Zare’ey. Source: Arutz Sheva  , more in report by The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center

In addition there was a funeral of Fadi al-Batsh in the Jabalya refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip on 27th April where thousands attended. Al-Batsh, a Palestinian engineer working for Hamas on weapons projects was killed in Malaysia and whose death was attributed by foreign media outlets to the Mossad.

Identities of Palestinians killed during the “great return march” who were terrorist operatives or affiliated with terrorist organizations

A quarrel inside Hamas

Sources in Egypt and within Hamas confirm that a quarrel over an Egyptian initiative to end Gaza border marches has split Hamas into two opposing camps, Israel Hayom recently learned from senior Hamas sources. Tensions within Hamas’ leadership have caused a rift between the two strongest and influential people in the movement today – Ismail Haniyeh, the political bureau chief, and Yahya Sinwar, the head of Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Sinwar is displeased with the fact that Haniyeh has chosen to remain in Gaza. This decision breaks with years of tradition, as his predecessor, former political bureau chief Khaled Mashaal, managed the movement’s affairs from Syria before moving operations to Qatar. Sinwar has complained to his associates that Haniyeh was intervening in internal affairs.

The rift exacerbated an already strained relationship between the two “exploded” after Haniyeh snubbed Egyptian efforts to discuss a possible prisoner swap deal with Israel and an easing of the blockade on Gaza in exchange for a cessation of the border demonstrations. A delegation of Egyptian intelligence and security officials visiting Gaza submitted a proposal to Haniyeh. According to a senior Hamas official, Hamas then received an ostensibly improved offer from Egypt to halt the campaign of border demonstrations in exchange for the possibility of significantly advancing a potential prisoner exchange deal with Israel, in addition to its offer of opening the Rafah terminal and easing the blockade on Gaza.

Haniyeh reportedly rejected the Egyptian proposal without consulting the heads of the movement or even divulging its details to the organization’s leadership. “Not only did Haniyeh reject the improved proposal,” a senior Egyptian intelligence official told Israel Hayom, “he even rejected the invitation we gave him to come to Cairo with a delegation of Hamas officials to discuss details of the deal to stop the marches on the border and the possibility of a prisoner exchange.”

High-ranking Hamas officials, including Sinwar, were furious with Haniyeh and had accused him of coordinating Hamas policy with Tehran rather than the group’s own leadership. According the Egyptian official “Sinwar exploded with rage and screamed at Haniyeh,” the official said “when he learned that [Haniyeh] wasn’t planning to accept the Egyptian delegation’s proposal.”

Meanwhile, a senior Hamas official in Gaza told Israel Hayom there are voices in Hamas that argue that the border marches have run their course in their current format and that the diminishing number of demonstrators from week to week is actually undermining the potential for the grand finale demonstration. The official said that Sinwar and other high-ranking Hamas figures share this view. Furthermore, an associate close to Sinwar told Israel Hayom that the Sinwar camp believes that if the border marches continue in their current format it could undo any progress that has been made thus far and that it could undermine the general Palestinian interests as well. According to Sinwar, Haniyeh made a terrible mistake by rejecting the first Egyptian proposal and an even bigger mistake in rejecting the revised proposals.

sinai option by Ari RusilaSinwar’s associates say that while he has worked tirelessly, in conjunction with other Hamas figures, to rehabilitate the group’s relations with Egypt, Haniyeh undermined Sinwar’s efforts by offending the Egyptians’ honor when he refused an invitation to come to Cairo to discuss an Egyptian proposal for Hamas.

The relations between Egypt and Hamas have been one core question in (partial) Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Besides planned Hamas-Israel ceasefire deal Egypt has a decisive role if sc ‘Sinai option’ (more in Sinai Option again) will go further as partial solution to conflict. Also even without these kind progress Egypt’s actions with Rafah crossing have great importance for welfare of Gaza population.

Long truce?

Jerusalem Post   reports  that European groups recently passed on to Hamas a wide-reaching proposition to solve the humanitarian crises in Gaza. The proposed deal is that Hamas would relinquish armed struggle against Israel for at least five years and in exchange, an EU-created institution would pay the salaries of the Gaza strip civic administration and run all humanitarian affairs there.

This offer is unique in including an assumption of comprehensive authorities by a European body that would operate in the Gaza strip. For Hamas, it may be tempting that the financial aid for health, education and developing public administration would come directly from a European body and not via the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, currently controlled by Mahmoud Abbas, as is currently the practice. Hamas refused the demands made by Abbas that the security, legal and tax collecting powers in the Gaza strip be handed over to the PA as a condition for national reconciliation.

The Hamas negotiation team is reportedly still studying the European offer before responding to it. Officially Hamas denies any offer from EU and there is no confirmation about neither from EU.

2015 “no-paper”

The concept of connecting wide-scale humanitarian and financial aid to Gaza with Hamas rejecting terrorism and violence is not new and it might be possible that also this time the question is about unofficial talks with or without ”white papers”. For example few years ago according Israel Hayom [18th Aug. 2015] as well the Times of Israel reported that Hamas and Israel essentially agreed on a long-term cease-fire. A “comprehensive” agreement between Hamas and Israel included e.g. lifting of an blockade placed on the Gaza Strip in return for a long-term ceasefire. The gist of the deal is that Israel will end the blockade and allow thousands of Palestinian day laborers to enter Israel. Gaza will import items through a Cyprus port overseen by NATO representatives (until a floating offshore port can be developed) and cease all rocket fire and tunneling for eight years. A prisoner swap may be in the works too. I predicted then that this kind of Hamas-Israel Deal could pave way for the ‘Cold Peace Solution’ and this  new EU proposal could do the same job if true and agreed.  [More in Hamas and Israel on Verge of the Deal  and  Gaza State Under Construction, West Bank Remains Bystander ]

PA

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas does not have a mandate from his people to reach any agreement with Israel: his term in office expired in January 2009. For Abbas last Hamas-Fatah deal is a boost to his sagging popularity and same time a likely blow to any challenge from Mohammed Dahlan and other potential rivals if elections go ahead.

Earslier Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) reportedly told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to accept the plan or resign. It is likely that MbS did this to hasten the sidelining of the Palestinian issue so that he could facilitate normalisation with Israel.

The Kingdom of Jordan began the process of revoking the Jordanian citizenship of about 30 Palestinian Authority and Fatah officials and their families, London-based Arabic language newspaper Raialyoum reported according Jpost and Alaraby. The officials who are slated to lose their citizenship include Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and Palestinian Authority negotiator Ahmed Qurei (“Abu Ala”). They also stated that there would be major changes in the visa arrangements for entry into Jordan of the senior officials, granting them only temporary visitor’s rights. Jordan granted citizenship to Palestinians in the West Bank after extending sovereignty to the territory following its capture in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. King Hussein officially severed Jordan’s legal and administrative ties to the West Bank in 1988, relinquishing claims to sovereignty and withdrawing Jordanian nationality from Palestinian residents.

Epiloque

Today it seems clear that the Great Return March” is not a peaceful demonstration. Gazans are trying to infiltrate into Israel, damage its infrastructure and kill Israelis; it is a massive attempt by dozens of rioters to breach a border fence less than a kilometer from Israeli civilians.From my viewpoint the IDF operates to protect Israeli civilians and will not allow harm to be done to the security infrastructure that protects them. According IDF the snipers only fire under direct order from a battalion commander or officer of higher rank to neutralize situations in which the fence could be breached.What would be the alternative as a breach would require the IDF to open deadly fire at hundreds or thousands of Gazans trying to break into Israel.

Interesting detail with ongoing ”Return March” is that Hamas used that exact same tactic to breach the Egyptian border 10 years ago. On January 22, 2008, a group of unarmed Hamas demonstrators–mostly women–rushed the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt and managed to break through. That night, Hamas operatives planted explosives along the border wall in several places, creating huge gaps in it. The next day, anywhere from 200,000 to 750,000 Gazans (estimates vary) poured through those breaches into Egypt.

In 2005, the Palestinians of Gaza had a choice. They could have used their newly acquired freedom to build a strong economy in that coastal and fertile land, or they could have used that freedom to fight Israel. The fact that they chose the latter is not Israel’s responsibility, and it is not too late for Gaza’s Palestinians to choose a different path.

Israel could independently implement a ‘Cold Peace Solution’, a minimal level of peace relations, to ensure its character as a Jewish and democratic state, by fixing a border between Israel and a future Palestinian state in the West Bank unilaterally.

Cold-Peace-Solution by Ari Rusila

 

Some of my previous related articles:

Western Donors Still Funding Terrorists

Hamas and Israel on Verge of the Deal

Gaza State Under Construction, West Bank Remains Bystander

Gaza Update: Hamas Downfalling – IDF Prepared

Gaza Blockade – It’s Egypt not Israel!

Hamas’ Relations With Egypt Worsened

 

 

 


Appendix 1: Israel, EU and Palestine

 

 


Appendix 2: Media persons as terrorists

On April 25, 2018, the death of media person Ahmed Abu Hussein was reported. He was seriously wounded during the “great return march” events on Friday, April 13, 2018, while covering a demonstration near the border fence in the Jabalia area. Due to the complicated nature of his wound he was transferred to a hospital in Ramallah, and from there to the Intensive Care unit in the Tel Hashomer hospital in Israel (Ma’an, April 26, 2018). He died from his wounds in the hospital.

An examination of Ahmed Abu Hussein’s identity revealed that in addition to being a media person, he was also a PFLP member. That was manifested in several ways: the PFLP’s military wing issued formal death notices for him; at his funeral red PFLP flags were carried; and the Ahmed Abu Hussein’s Facebook page posted notices glorifying the PFLP, its leaders and terrorist attacks (such as the assassination of Israeli minister Rehavam Ze’evi).

Ahmed Abu Hussein was the second media person killed during Palestinians riots near the border fence. Before him, press photographer Yasser Murtaja was killed on April 6, 2018, while covering the march. Like Ahmed Abu Hussein, Murtaja had a double identity: in addition to being a media person, he was also an operative in Hamas’ security forces. The double identities of media personnel who are also operatives in terrorist organizations operating in the Gaza Strip were widely exposed and documented by the ITIC during Operation Protective Edge. Source: The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center

Remark:  Also this PFLP terrorist  ( Ahmed Abu Hussein)  got treatment in the Intensive Care unit in the Tel Hashomer hospital in Israel


Appendix 3:  Compensation

Terrorists and their leaders get good compensation for their activities:

 

 


Western Donors Still Funding Terrorists

April 12, 2018

International aid money for Palestine is supposed to be rebuilding and developing the Palestinian territories. Some Western countries learned few years ago the shocking revelation that thousands of Palestinian terrorists, including men who have masterminded suicide bombings and murdered children, are given cash handouts from aid money. The European Union, US and other Western donors have been duped by assertions that the Palestinian Authority no longer funds terrorists – PA claims to have ended such links two years ago.

Indeed since 2014, the amount allocated to the Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs has been removed from the PA budget (in an attempt to disguise the fact that it is the PA that finances the payments to imprisoned and released terrorists). In August 2014, the PA closed the PA Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs and announced the ‎establishment of a new PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, which they claimed ‎would pay the salaries. ‎ Investigations discovered that the PA passes millions on to the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) – which in turn gives it to convicted terrorists locked up in Israeli prisons and their families. Now, the amount earmarked for the Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs has once again been openly included in the PA budget.

Payments in the 2018 budget dealing with prisoners, released terrorists, and families of shahids (martyrs).

On March 4, 2018, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas approved the PA’s 2018 budget, in the sum of around NIS 18 billion (around USD 5 billion). The budget specifies the allocation of funds to government ministries and various bodies. The budget includes two items dealing with the allocation of funds to two institutions subordinate to the PLO that assist terrorists and their families.

The Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs is an institution headed by PA Minister Issa Karake. On May 29, 2014, this institution was made subordinate to the PLO, in order to mislead the donor countries (mainly the United States) and to create the impression that their aid funds are not being used for funding terrorism.

The Fund for Families of Martyrs and the Injured is a PLO institution that takes care of the families of shahids (i.e., terrorists who were killed) and the wounded. This institution receives its budget from the PA. It pays them monthly pensions and provides them with welfare, health, education and rehabilitation services. The fund cares for tens of thousands of families (in 2012 it cared for more than 30,000 families of shahids and injured Palestinians). It operates two central offices, one in Ramallah and the other in Gaza, along with 15 sub-branches throughout Judea and Samaria.

The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center has now made an analysis about the 2018 budget of the Palestinain Authority. According this analysis,

the PA allocated around NIS 1.28 billion (around USD 360 million), approximately 7% of the budget, to two institutions that assist terrorists imprisoned in Israel, released terrorists, and families of shahids (martyrs). The institutions are the Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs and the Fund for Families of Martyrs and the Injured, both of which are subordinate to the PLO. Since 2014, the amount allocated to the Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs has been removed from the PA budget (in an attempt to disguise the fact that it is the PA that finances the payments to imprisoned and released terrorists). Now, the amount earmarked for the Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs has once again been openly included in the PA budget.

 

Some developments (to stop funding of terrorism)

The PA’s 2018 budget: The total budget is NIS 18.089 billion (arrow left). 1st arrow right is an estimate of the amount of external aid and donations to the general budget (NIS 2.160 billion). 2nd arrow right is an estimate of the external grants for development purposes (NIS 630 million). In total, the PA expects to receive NIS 2.790 billion (around USD 790 million) in aid from donor countries in 2018. Hence the allocations for assistance to prisoners, released terrorists, and shahids represent nearly 46% of the foreign aid funds that the PA expects to receive.

The US Congress has already March 2018 passed the Taylor Force Act, which is designed to deny hundreds of millions of dollars in US aid that the Palestinian Authority (PA) uses to incite terrorism and to compensate murderous terrorists and their families. The Taylor Force Act would require the US Secretary of State to verify that the PA has ended its policy of paying off terrorists and their surviving family members. The bill also calls on the PA to publicly condemn terror attacks and to take steps to bring the perpetrators to justice. The legislation easily passed both chambers of Congress with strong bipartisan support, 256-167 in the House, and 65-32 in the Senate. The legislation was named after American war veteran Taylor Force, who was stabbed to death in a Palestinian terror attack that left 10 others wounded in Jaffa in March 2016. (Source: United with Israel )

Other developments earlier:

  • Peace can never take root in an environment where violence is tolerated, funded and even rewarded.” (US President Trump, 2016)
  • The British government’s Department for International Development in October froze 2016 part of its aid to the PA over concerns it was being used to fund salaries for convicted Palestinian terrorists.
  • In September 2016, the German government for the first time admitted that the Palestinian Authority likely grants financial support to terrorists and their families, and vowed to further investigate the matter. It is not clear if Germany has since cut back on funding.

 

The Great Return March Campaign to change focus

After sc Arab Spring Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has stepped aside for other Mideast conflicts, such as Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Iranian-Saudi and Shiite-Sunni proxy wars. To bring the Palestinian case back to the agenda and media headlines the new innovations are needed, the ongoing ”knifeintifada” in Judea and Samaria and ocassional quassam-fire fro Gaza are interesting issues only in Israel, the Western mainstream media has more newsworthy material elsewhere.

The latest innovation is the idea of a massive procession of 100,000 Gazans with the objective of storming the Israel security fence around Gaza to demonstrate the return of Gaza’s refugees to their original homes. Naturally these fence-stormers will not be the original refugees, there is on some tens of thousands of them worldwide and they are at least 69 years old.

The aim of this action is not immediately to kill Israelis but to get attention by getting killed themselves. According to the plan currently being formulated, there will be a series of ongoing events which will take place over the course of six weeks, between March 30 (Land Day) and May 15 (Nakba Day).

The organizers’ objective is to extend the scope of the events beyond the Gaza Strip and to promote marches not only in Gaza Strip but in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. According to the organizers, they are currently coordinating with Palestinians abroad and with Israeli Arabs. The campaign has good financing as Hamas spent $15 million behind the scenes to fund and organize the march to Gaza’s border with Israel. In addition Hamas has applied the same practice than PA to pay compensations to Gazans wounded or killed during demonstrations – payments are $500 about serious wound and $3000 about death during clashes with IDF.

Sources and more background about PA salaries to terrorists and their familes in Palestinian Media Watch , about PA 2018 budget in The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center  and about Return March campaign in my article “The Great Return March” Campaign Starts 30th March 2018


Appendix: Preparing for martyrdom

Rewarding terrorism and brainwashing starts already in kindergartens via hate education:

 

 


“The Great Return March” Campaign Starts 30th March 2018

March 28, 2018

Logo: all Palestine belongs to the Palestinians

After sc Arab Spring Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has stepped aside for other Mideast conflicts, such as Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Iranian-Saudi and Shiite-Sunni proxy wars. To bring the Palestinian case back to the agenda and media headlines the new innovations are needed, the ongoing ”knifeintifada” in Judea and Samaria and ocassional quassam-fire fro Gaza are interesting issues only in Israel, the Western mainstream media has more newsworthy material elsewhere.

The latest innovation is the idea of a massive procession of 100,000 Gazans with the objective of storming the Israel security fence around Gaza to demonstrate the return of Gaza’s refugees to their original homes. Naturally these fence-stormers will not be the original refugees, there is on some tens of thousands of them worldwide and they are at least 69 years old.

The aim of this action is not immediately to kill Israelis but to get attention by getting killed themselves. If Israel must use lethal force to protect Israelis and Israeli border the media headlines will come back. If the situation will lead to wider violent protest and self-initiated suicide terrorist acts in the West Bank and among Israel’s Arab citizens or even a full-scale intifada, the better fro Hamas side.

Promotion video by The Palestinian Information Center; Click picture below:

The ”Official” Plan

The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center reports that preparations continue in the Gaza Strip for a mass march to Israel’s border (the “great return march”). The Palestinian organizations operating in the Gaza Strip have organized a “national committee” which in turn appointed professional committees to promote events in the internal Palestinian and international arenas. The organizers’ objective is to extend the scope of the events beyond the Gaza Strip and to promote marches not only in Gaza Strip but also simultaneous “return marches” from Lebanon, Syria and Jordan to the Israeli border. According to the organizers, they are currently coordinating with Palestinians abroad and with Israeli Arabs. One of the activists involved in media preparations is Zaher Birawi, a Palestinian activist based in Britain who is affiliated with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, and who in the past played a central role in organizing convoys and flotillas to the Gaza Strip.

Palestinians carrying a key (the symbol of the return) flying the Palestinian flag. The Arabic reads, “A new spring day and we are close to the return, with the help of Allah” (Facabook)

According to the plan currently being formulated, there will be a series of ongoing events which will take place over the course of six weeks, between March 30 (Land Day) and May 15 (Nakba Day). The plan includes the erection, on Land Day, of a tent camp (or camps) near the security fence on the Israeli border, where thousands of Palestinian families will stay. The campaign will peak with a march of thousands of Palestinians to the Israeli border, probably on Nakba Day (no time table is not final).

Senior figures in the Palestinian terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip, led by Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), welcomed the initiative and called on the Palestinian public to participate.

According The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center Khaled al-Batash, a PIJ operative and coordinator of the national and Islamic forces in the Gaza Strip, held a press conference with Senior Hamas figure Isma’il Radwan and senior Fatah figure Imad al-Agha, and announced the “establishment of the national authority of the border camp and march.” According to al-Batash, the committee was established through a national consensus of Hamas, Fatah, the PIJ, the PFLP, the Palestinian People’s Party and other groups. He said members of the committee included representatives of human rights organizations, clans, mukhtars, refugees’ committees, health organizations and activists from every sector of Palestinian society. He said the activities of the “great return march” would begin simultaneously in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, in coordination with Palestinians abroad and with Israeli Arabs.

The main foreign organizations leading the  Campaign are following:  The Popular Conference of Palestinians Abroad, The Palestinians in Europe Conference, Filistin Dayanışma Derneği (FIDDER), Intimaa – The International Campaign to Preserve the Palestinian Identity and Aaidun – the Jordanian Society for Return and Refugees.

The coordinating committee and the human rights organizations in the Gaza Strip have already begun preparing letters that will be sent in the coming days to human rights organizations around the globe, to UN agencies, foreign ministers, the International Red Cross and other organizations. The objective will be for the recipients to exert pressure on Israel not to use violence against the Palestinians during the marches and accompanying events.

Public statements of the campaign claim that the intention is non-violent protest; however events can easily get out of control, marchers might try to enter Israeli territory and it seems probable that clashes with IDF occur – and this might be the real tactical aim of the campaign.

The “great return march” events – Fence-storming – would begin on March 30th, 2018 (Land Day or Nakba), and that the so-called “march of the millions” would be held on May 14. or 15., 2018 (On May 14th, 1948 Ben-Gurion declared the state of Israel and five Arab states invaded it).  The other milestones for the campaign regarding the main reference dates over the next few months are following: April 17 – Palestinian Prisoners’ Day,  June 5 – the 51st anniversary of the “Naksa” (the 1967 “setback”) and  November 2 – the 101st anniversary of the Balfour Declaration.

On 25th March, Hamas held a large-scale military exercise in Gaza in which it fired rockets into the Mediterranean Sea and tested its readiness for an IDF incursion.

 

IDF is preparing too

After Hamas came to power in the Gaza Strip more than a decade ago, it built, trained, and armed a terrorist army and guerilla force. It deliberately situated these forces in the midst of the civilian population, planting it in high-rise buildings, underground bunkers, and tunnels.

Israel and Hamas have engaged in three large-scale conflicts and numerous smaller-scale flare-ups over the past ten years. As the IDF looks to the future, it is preparing new ways to operate in this urban jungle should the need arise once again. Military drills simulate what the Israel Defense Forces will face in a new kind of ground combat in Gaza – a kind that will inevitably involve civilians amid general chaos.

Jewish News Syndicate reports about a war exercise for IDFs infantry commanders to prepare them for the challenges of combat in Gaza. The drill, held by the Givati infantry brigade, played out over a number of areas, including the southern city of Ashkelon, where officers simulated fighting in and around tall residential towers. In Gaza, such multistory buildings double as military bases for Hamas’s armed wing. The terror group uses them as command posts, lookouts, and firing positions. Such buildings will, in the IDF’s assessment, be used as positions by Hamas cells armed with shoulder-fired missiles, sniper rifles, and additional heavy firepower.

Maj. Guy Madar, a former Givati deputy battalion commander, explained, “In this last drill, we focused in a major way on the concept of the 360-degree threat. The fact is that the enemy can appear from above and below …” He added, “This exercise is about Gaza. We wanted to achieve four training goals: nighttime combat; fighting in armored vehicles; combat in urban closed areas, with a strong emphasis on tall buildings and tunnels; and focusing on the smaller units, at the level of platoons and companies.”

The training also made use of the IDF’s digital network, which links commanders to tanks and strike aircraft. The drill involved new quadcopters that recently entered service in the IDF. The drones – currently commercially made, but to be replaced by military quadcopters – have revolutionized the ability of low-ranking commanders to request and receive an aerial picture of their battle space.

Gaza-fence. Photo credit: Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

Bottom line

There is a small obstacle with this project as the Palestinians are divided e.g after the attempted assassination of Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in Gaza. So the major actors – the Palestinian Authority and Fatah on the one hand and Hamas and Islamic Jihad on the other – might have troubles to coordinate their actions during campaign.  Also there is view that for the Muslim Brotherhood, this march is part of a wider mobilization to implement its long-held aspiration to take over the PLO.

The campaign has good financing as Hamas spent $10 million behind the scenes to fund and organize the march to Gaza’s border with Israel.

The Israeli army will do everything it can to thwart the protestors in ways that avoid bloodshed. The Israeli military intelligence has warned that violence could escalate in May on the Gaza border and in the West Bank. Maj. Gen. Herzl Halevi said that “the month of May, with the days of independence and Nakba, signal that a possible explosion is coming, [driven on the Palestinian side by] growing frustration and hopelessness. This period will demand determined fighting against terrorism, and that we make a clear distinction between civilians and terror operatives”. Israeli security forces are also bracing for a Palestinian “day of rage,” with thousands of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank expecting to march towards the border fence on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover this Friday. Halevi said that “Hamas is at its lowest point because there are civilian and infrastructure crises,” suggesting that it is “running into the arms of Iran and using civilians by sending them to the security fence that divides Gaza and Israel”.

Sources: BICOM , The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center and BESA

 


Update 28/3/2018 by 

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are carrying out intensive preparations for the “great return march.” The first event will be held beginning at 10:00 on Friday morning, March 30 2018. Palestinians will be brought to six locations along the border security fence . A media center will be set up on the Palestinian side of the Erez crossing. Buses will leave from all the mosques in the Gaza Strip beginning at 10:00 to bring participants to the six tent camps along the border. In addition to civilians, members of Hamas and the other organizations will participate. Local committees have been appointed to organize the events in the various districts of the Gaza Strip. They are responsible for recruiting the masses, organizing transportation, and providing food, water, portable toilets and medical services. The activity will peak on May 15, 2018, Nakba Day.


Update 30.3.2018 by Israeli TV Channel 13

At least 12 Gazans have been killed and 1,000 wounded — most of the injuries due to tear gas — in clashes with IDF forces at six locations along the Gaza border. Some 30,000 protests have massed along the security fence. Arab media reported two armed terrorists were killed in a gunfight with IDF soldiers.


Update 30.3.2018 by Times of Israel

The Lebanese Armed Forces dispersed dozens of pro-Palestinian demonstrators who were heading toward Israel’s northern border Friday in solidarity with the “March of Return” protest taking place en masse in the Gaza Strip.  Carrying Palestinian flags, the protesters were moving toward the border fence near the Israeli town of Avivim. Lebanese soldiers managed to disperse them near the village of Maroun al Ras, some two kilometers before they reached the fence, Israel’s Channel 10 reported.



And in addtion the Great Return March campaign is the newest component of hate education for Palestinian kids:


Article first published in Conflicts by Ari Rusila website.


From History: Fasads of Interventions in Yugoslav Secession Wars

February 14, 2018

Term ”humanitarian intervention” came wide distribution during Yugoslav secession wars in mid-90s. Today it is possible to have a critical look at the role that the US, NATO and the EU played in the tragic breakup of a once peaceful and prosperous European state – Yugoslavia. “Humanitarian intervention” was a practical fasade covering the true reasons behind Western intervention in the Balkans. The new perspective on Western involvement in the division of the ethnic groups within Yugoslavia shows that the war was forced from outside — regular people wanted peace – in all cases the biggest beneficiary has been U.S. military-industrial complex.

Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo are good examples how fasades were created with help of U.S. PR-agencies and mainstream western media.

Bosnia, Srebrenica

Srebrenica is an example of (humanitarian)intervention context as well modern media war used more or less successfully in conflicts around the world during last decades. The Aim of PR game played by Bosnian Muslims was to get US to fight aside of them. One part to achieve US involvement was to gain sympathy in West by implementing attacks towards its own citizens.

There is also many arguments about political PR game behind exaggerated death numbers, misrepresentation of early reports and manipulated pictures. Indeed President Izetbegovic according mentioned UNSG Report told in 1993 that he had learned that a NATO intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina was possible, but could only occur if the Serbs were to break into Srebrenica, killing at least 5,000 of its people.” So from here are the numbers originating – two years before events in Srebrenica. (Source: UN report The Fall of Srebrenica  )

The myth of 8,000 executed men and boys is busted. It was planed well before to get U.S.involvement with war against Serbs. An essential part of narrative was the death toll of 8,000 and that the victims were civilians. However the figures after decade and half intensive bodycount don’t match. Besides numbers it has came clear that most of the military-age men from Srebrenica assembled in the village of Susnjari and from there under-took a 60 kilometer trek through minefields and Serbian ambushes to Tuzla as they were affraid Serb revenge due their atrocities against Serbs during preceding two years. As for the women, children, and elderly, they were left behind and deposited at the UN compound in Potocari. Quite possibly that was done as a convenient bait to the Serbs to perpetrate the anticipated massacre, but whatever the ultimate motive behind it may have been, on the whole nothing sinister occurred. The 20,000 or so enclave residents dumped in Potocari were put by the Serbs on buses and evacuated safely to Muslim territory.

Also the presence of radical Muslims in Balkans is linked to the advent of mujahedeen foreign fighters who joined Bosnian Muslims in their battle against the Serbs in Bosnia’s 1992-95 independence war. After Dayton Saudi-backed charities were funding the movement as well investments and Wahhabis have been establishing a permanent presence in Macedonia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Serbia, Croatia and even in Bulgaria.

Despite international community’s state building efforts in Bosnia the country is splitting parts. Since war mid-90’s foreign aid has exceed USD 80 bn for artificial creature designed in Dayton agreement aiming multi-ethnic state with EU perspective. As a result Bosnia is now even more divided, with less national identity, 20 percent of population living under the poverty line, with a nightmare triple administration plus international supervising making the country as worst place in Europe to do business west of Ukraine, even as it seeks to join the European Union.
More in Srebrenica again – Hoax or Massacre?  and NIOD Report on Srebrenica )

In Balkans Srebrenica was not only case being part of bigger political came and fabricated manipulation; few years later the same tactic was implemented in Kosovo e.g with the Racak case was similar. After over decade it is still difficult in western media to admit that also Serbs were victims of war crimes – instead from year to year media repeats one sided picture about Serbs created mid 90s when US selected its side. Also the same manipulated approach was later applied in Kosovo.

Croatia’s Krajina

Before the war, 12% of Croatian citizens were of Serbian nationality. Half of them lived in the region called Krajina. Krajina was created by Austrians in 16th century as a military zone to protect the Christian West from the advance of Muslim Ottoman Empire. Serbian peasants that escaped Ottoman rule were given free land there in exchange for their military service. The Republic of Croatia declared its independence on June 25, 1991. By the end of the year, the Yugoslav People’s Army and different Serb forces took control of more than one third of the country, proclaiming their own independent state: Republika Srpska Krajina (RSK) with a capital in Knin.

In January 1993, Croatian forces – between 17,000 and 20,000 troops – launched a surprise attack against the Serb-held Krajina. The Serbs fought back and as part of a ceasefire agreement the area became a so-called “Pink Zone” placed under UNPROFOR protection, and within which the warring factions pledged there would be no fighting. No final agreement was concluded until July 16. Croatian President Franjo Tudjman ordered all United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) units to leave Croatian territory by March 31, 1995. The move, supported by U.S., gave the Croatian Government a green light to start their ethnic cleansing.

In 4th August 1995, 200,000 Croat army and police troops from Croatia attacked the United Nations protected zones (safe havens) with Serbian population in northern Dalmatia, Lika, Kordun and Banija. They were helped on the Bosnian side by the Bosnian Muslim fighters and had the operation backed, coordinated and logistically supported by the leading Western powers. During this operation, 2,650 Serbs (mainly civilians) were killed and some 250,000 were “ethnically cleansed” from their ancestral homes. In Europe this was the largest refugee crisis since the Holocaust, since World War II and until Kosovo war 1999. These war crimes and cleansing were passed over in silence in western media as Croatia was being advised by a shadowy group of retired American officers who had been sent to Croatia to help it fight against the Serbs. In fact especially western mainstream media actively and carefully ignored and covered up the war crimes that its allies committed in Croatia and later in Bosnia and Kosovo.

Croatia’s Operation Storm in 1995 against Serb-held areas in the Krajina would not have been feasible had not “Srebrenica” prepared the ground for it, morally and psychologically. The Srebrenica narrative and the outrage it produced served as a convenient veil to shield atrocities committed during the Croatian offensive in August of 1995 from substantial public examination or criticism.
(More about issue e.g. in my articles Krajina – Victory with Ethnic Cleansing   and Operation Storm – forgotten pogrom  )

Kosovo, Racak

In Kosovo U.S. with help of western media used the same best practice as earlier in Croatia and Bosnia. The main elements were need of humanitarian intervention, multiplying (with 10-50) civilian deaths and fabricating massacres.

In the village of Racak, Kosovo, 45 Albanian civilians were reportedly massacred by Serbian forces on January 15, 1999. US diplomat William Walker, who at the time was the chief of the OSCE ceasefire verification mission to Kosovo, first reported the event and said it was a “crime against humanity”, and that the victims were civilians. There is a widespread belief, that Walker’s role in Racak was to assist the KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army) in fabricating a Serb massacre that could be used as an excuse for military action. The theory was that the KLA had gathered their own dead after the battle, removed their uniforms, put them in civilian clothes, and then called in the observers. (More in High pressure to fabricate Racak reports )

William Walker is the man who sold the world the story of the Racak so-called massacre, used to create a climate to justify the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999. Walker had some earlier experience about clandestine U.S. dirty operations. He was U.S. ambassador to El Salvador in November 1989 when massacres were made by the Atlacatl Battalion/the Salvadoran Army, which was recruited, trained, and deployed by the U.S. military. Before that, he was deputy chief of mission at the embassy in Honduras when U.S. authorities were recruiting officers from Somoza’s deposed National Guard to establish the Contras, and forming military death squads that murdered hundreds of Honduran workers, labor organizers and students.

Walker’s OSCE mission was crawling with CIA operatives and employees of two US paramilitary companies (Dyncorp and MPRI) that had close ties to US military intelligence and to the CIA at least since Bosnian war a half decade earlier . This personnel was there to establish close links with the KLA, to train them, and to prepare the ground in advance of the NATO bombing. Also the CIA had been training the KLA already, since early in 1998, in Albania, where the KLA had its bases. So the decision to bomb had been taken long before. What was needed was an excuse to start, and furnishing that excuse was Walker’s job.

In case of Kosovo U.S. officials claimed that from 100,000 up to 500,000 Albanians had been massacred. When the figure later was near 10.000 from all ethnic groups together the bombings were already over.

In Kosovo since intervention international community has worked with capacity building of Kosovo administration and the outcome I have summarized as follows:
“as Serbian province, occupied and now international protectorate administrated by UN Kosovo mission; as quasi-independent pseudo-state has good change to become next “failed” or “captured” state; today’s Kosovo is already safe-heaven for war criminals, drug traffickers, international money laundry and radical Wahhabists – unfortunately all are also allies of western powers”.

quadruple helix model by Ari Rusila

 

Bottom line

As described earlier Bosnian Muslims, Croatians, Kosovo Albanians and their hired lobbyists made very successful media campaign for their case in western mainstream media and in capitals of West. However the campaigns might not have been so effective unless the politicians were so amenable to campaigner’s views. In my opinion this receptivity is linked to geopolitical changes and interests. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, US big business was focusing on reshaping all of Europe. Nato had lost its enemy and military-industrial complex was afraid to lose its old markets. Nonaligned Yugoslavia was no longer needed in this context. The interest of US Military-industrial complex and Pentagon’s was in creating weak, dependent puppet regimes to Balkans, Black Sea region, Caucasus in order to dominate these regions and their energy sources and transportation routes – economically and politically. Without this political and business interest it would not be so easy for PR-agencies to demonize the Serbs, to hide the reality of Croatian fascism, to canonize the Bosnian Muslims, and to whitewash OC-clans in Kosovo.

My conclusion is that the great powers implement interventions whenever and wherever they see it beneficial for their military, economical and/or political interests with or without UN approval while humanitarian and legal aspects are serving only nothing but a facade.

I would draw following time axis about some core events with this campaign:

 


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