The emir of Qatar and the Hamas prime minister in Gaza
* “Bombed arms factory in Sudan belongs to Iran’s revolutionary guards”
* “The Iranians know how to exploit every country that isn’t properly governed and Sudan is a country of that kind”
* “If the Sudanese are correct in what they are claiming, this would mean that the Israeli air force flew its longest ever bombing mission in its history last week. If the Israelis can get to Khartoum undetected, this should signal something to the Iranians”
* Syrian army kills 20 women and children in a bakery
(You can comment on this dispatch here: www.facebook.com/TomGrossMedia. Please also press “Like” on that page.)
1. Doctors fight to save wounded soldier’s other arm
2. Peres: A million people in shelters
3. “UN silence on Gaza rockets gives terrorists a green light”
4. Hamas gives Qatar emir state reception; others say visit gave Hamas green light to attack
5. Emir of Qatar’s second wife “pays for anti-Israeli media in U.S.”
6. Jewish groups troubled by “European union’s one-sided criticism of Israel”
7. Report: Bombed arms factory in Sudan belongs to Iran’s revolutionary guard
8. Syrian army shelling kills 20 in a bakery
9. Jordan foils major terrorist plot
10. Ignoring threats, Jordanian sworn in as Israel envoy
11. Tension rises in Lebanon as gunmen occupy Tripoli streets
12. Terror attack against Israeli civilians thwarted in Cyprus
13. Turkey again rejects Israeli offer to repair relations
14. “My country is under attack. Do you care?” (Arsen Ostrovsky, Huffington Post, Canadian edition)
[All notes below by Tom Gross]
DOCTORS FIGHT TO SAVE WOUNDED SOLDIER’S OTHER ARM
Last Tuesday night and Wednesday, at least 86 rockets and mortar shells were fired from Gaza and aimed at Israeli civilians. Hamas proudly claimed responsibility for most of these attacks, with Islamic Jihad claiming they had fired the others.
The Israeli-developed Iron Dome defense system (which the American army now says it wants to purchase) managed to intercept many of the major rockets that were on a trajectory to hit Israeli cities, but others got through and a number of civilians in Israel were injured by the rockets, including two Thai farm workers who were severely injured.
Schools throughout southern Israel were closed last week and the population took refuge in bomb shelters, thereby greatly reducing the number of injured.
One young Israeli soldier, Ziv Shilon, who was defending an Israeli community close to the Gaza border, lost an arm in an attack from Gaza on Tuesday. Doctors at Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba say his condition had now improved, he has regained consciousness, and they hoped to be able to save his other arm, which was also injured in the blast.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Shilon’s mother, Margalit and wished her son a speedy recovery. “There is nothing like a son’s love for his mother. Today, the entire nation loves and embraces your son. We will do our utmost to assist his rehabilitation,” Netanyahu said.
PERES: A MILLION PEOPLE IN SHELTERS
Israeli President Shimon Peres commented last week: “Right now there are a million people, mothers and children, sitting in shelters and being bombed. Nobody in Europe, Asia, America or anywhere else would agree to this day after day. We are behaving with a great deal of patience, we don’t want to see anyone being killed in Gaza, but no-one in the world could agree to the current situation. I want to tell the residents of Gaza and their leaders, they have to decide what they want – to build or to shoot.”
Israeli Foreign Minister Lieberman, speaking at a meeting with visiting EU Foreign Policy Chief, Baroness Catherine Ashton, added: “The situation in southern Israel, which is being bombarded with rockets from Gaza, is intolerable. No European state would allow such a reality in its territory as the residents of southern Israel are forced to suffer.”
Lieberman again asked that the EU act to prevent the smuggling of arms into the Gaza Strip.
The Egyptian government brokered a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas at the end of the week, but it is not known how long it will hold.
So far this year, at least 729 rockets and mortars have been launched at Israeli civilians, far in excess of the estimated 653 launched in all of 2011. Slowly, the deterrence that was put into place following Israel’s strong-handed incursion into Gaza in the first days of January 2009, is being eroded.
UN SILENCE ON GAZA ROCKETS GIVES TERRORISTS A GREEN LIGHT”
Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor said it was intolerable that the UN Security Council had failed to issue a statement condemning fire from Gaza, after more than 80 rockets slammed into southern Israel in a single day.
Prosor warned Security Council members that if they don’t condemn the rocket attacks, “there could be tragic consequences” because Hamas and other terrorists will interpret the silence “as a green light for terror and provocation.”
“The purpose for the rocket fire is to kill Israeli civilians in order to escalate the situation in the region and bring a confrontation between Hamas and Israel,” said Prosor (who is a longtime subscriber to this email list).
There is a related article at the end of this dispatch, “My Country is Under Attack. Do You Care?” by Arsen Ostrovsky, an international human rights lawyer.)
* Among other recent dispatch on Gaza, please see:
Reuters: New iPhones snapped up in Gaza despite high prices (& Chomsky in Gaza)
HAMAS ACCORDS THE EMIR OF QATAR A STATE RECEPTION; OTHERS SAY VISIT GAVE HAMAS GREEN LIGHT TO ATTACK
On Tuesday, the day before Hamas launched its wave of rockets, the emir of Qatar became the first head of state to visit the Gaza Strip since Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007. The emir initially pledged $250 million and then upped it to $400 million during his visit.
The money is meant to be used to build two housing complexes, and a new hospital. The emir, his wife and the Qatari prime minister led a large delegation that entered Gaza from Egypt in a convoy of black Mercedes and armored Toyotas.
In the West Bank, aides to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who heads the rival Palestinian Fatah faction, warned that the visit was “dangerous” as it gave the impression that Gaza’s Hamas prime minister was a head of state and thus further split the Palestinian people and territory in two.
“The visit sends a message to the rest of the world that the Hamas regime is a legitimate government and that the Gaza Strip is an independent political and geographic entity,” said one.
The visit was also seen as a severe blow to the claim by PLO chief Abbas to be the “sole legitimate leader” of all Palestinians.
“We call on the Qatari prince to visit the West Bank too!” read a headline in Al Quds, a leading newspaper in the West Bank. (The emir has never visited the West Bank.)
Israel also condemned the visit. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor said the emir has chosen to “support a terror organization that makes the lives of Israelis and Palestinians miserable.” He questioned Qatar’s choice of supporting one side of the internal Palestinian conflict, and said the decision to support violent extremists was in effect to “throw the peace process under the bus.”
Palmor, who is a subscriber to this email list, added: “It helps Hamas entrench themselves in Gaza, not to yield one inch to the Palestinian Authority, and enhancing the division and the reality of two de facto states.”
“Most of the money that he’s pouring in Gaza will go to Hamas pockets, directly or indirectly. You think that will encourage them to hold national elections?” asked Palmor.
Other observers said the visit gave Hamas, which refuses to renounce the use of violence against Israeli civilians, a greater sense of confidence, leading to the rocket barrage against Israel the following day.
However, the visit can also be viewed as a step by Sunni Gulf State leaders to lure Hamas away from its close allegiance with militant Shia Iran .
The five-hour visit ended with a huge rally at the Islamic University in Gaza City, where the emir and his wife were granted honorary doctorates.
EMIR OF QATAR’S SECOND WIFE “PAYS FOR ANTI-ISRAELI MEDIA IN U.S.”
Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned, the second wife of the emir of Qatar, is financing work between a U.S. public relations firm and Al Fakhoora, a Qatar-based pro-Palestinian organization that participated in the flotilla that tried to circumvent Israel’s naval border with Gaza two years ago and stirred up international public opinion against Israel.
Documents revealed that the Qataris paid $240,000 to just one American firm for communications services rendered over a six-month period, according to the Washington-based Israel Project.
JEWISH GROUPS “TROUBLED BY EUROPEAN UNION’S ‘ONE-SIDED CRITICISM’ OF ISRAEL”
The Anti-Defamation League and other American Jewish groups expressed concern over continuing one-sided criticism of Israel by the European Union for the lack of progress in achieving a negotiated two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Last week, Baroness Ashton, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said Israeli construction in the Gilo neighborhood of south-west Jerusalem was threatening “to make a two-state solution impossible.” (Gilo is one of Jerusalem’s largest areas and no-one realistically expects it to form part of any future Palestinian state.)
At the same time, Ashton chose to omit any criticism of the Palestinian Authority for its continuing refusal to return to the negotiation process, following her meeting last month with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
REPORT: BOMBED ARMS FACTORY IN SUDAN BELONGS TO IRAN’S REVOLUTIONARY GUARD
Opposition sources in Sudan claim that the arms factory that was bombed in Khartoum last week belongs to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
In recent years, several reports published in the Arab media said that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard have built weapons manufacturing plants in Sudan and these supplied arms to Hamas and other groups.
After the fall of Libya’s Gaddafi regime last year, the Al-Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps smuggled dozens of antiaircraft and SA-24 missiles from Libya to Sudan, in order to later pass them on to Hamas.
The Sudanese government blamed Israel for the bombing. “A formation of four planes came from the east and used advanced technology that jammed our radars, technology that is available only to a few countries,” the Sudanese information minister, Ahmed Bilal Osman, said.
Israel has not publicly commented on the reports.
But sources with links to Israeli intelligence said: “This was a major arms producing center. The factory did not belong to the Sudanese military industry. The factory belongs to the government in Tehran and is run by Iranians.”
Other Israeli observers noted that if indeed Israel was behind the attack, it may have also been intended to send an additional message to Iran: the distance flown by the Israeli air force to Sudan (1,900 km, or 1,180 miles) would have been 320 km longer than that required to fly from Israel to Iranian nuclear installations, and the logistical difficulties of carrying out such a raid would have had some similarities.
Both during a previous strike on a weapons convoy in Sudan in 2009 (See “Israel’s Sudan strike targeted weapons capable of hitting Tel Aviv and Dimona”) and in last week’s strike on the arms factory, Sudanese communication systems were reportedly jammed using sophisticated technology while the attack was carried out.
Sudan has been listed as a state sponsor of terrorism by the U.S. State Department since 1993, and is a close ally of Iran.
Israeli deputy prime minister and former chief of staff of the Israeli army (and a longtime subscriber to this email list), Moshe Ya’alon, said in response to last week’s events that “The Iranians know how to exploit every country that isn’t properly governed and Sudan is a country of that kind.”
Another subscriber to this email list, the leading Israeli political commentator Ehud Ya’ari, said “If the Sudanese are correct in what they are claiming, this would mean that the Israeli air force flew its longest ever bombing mission in its history last week. If the Israelis can get to Khartoum undetected, this should signal something to the Iranians.”
SYRIAN ARMY SHELLING KILLS 20 IN A BAKERY
At least 20 people, almost of all whom were women and children, were killed on Tuesday when the Syrian army shelled a bakery in the city of Aleppo.
JORDAN FOILS MAJOR TERRORIST PLOT
Jordanian Intelligence says it has foiled a major terrorist plot led by a group of 11 terrorists. Places and people to be targeted in Jordan were said to include shopping malls, residential areas, diplomats and foreign nationals.
The Jordanian news agency wrote: “The objective of the plot, labeled by Jordan as 9/11 (2) in reference to the Amman hotel bombings of 2005, was to cause chaos and anarchy and spread fear among the population, setting the stage for further operations to follow.”
“The plan was to bomb two shopping malls as a start, divert the attention of all security forces in Amman to those incidents and shortly afterwards, members of the groups would attack sensitive installations and targets, using machine guns, car bombs and mortar shells.”
All members of the terror cell are Jordanian nationals who had been in Syria for training, according to the Jordanian authorities.
In a separate incident, a Jordanian soldier was shot dead in a clash between Jordanian border guards and Islamist infiltrators who tried to enter Jordan from Syria last week. Mohammad Abdullah Manasir is the first Jordanian victim of the current crisis in Syria. Jordanian sources said four of the infiltrators were killed and 12 managed to escape back into Syria, according to the Jordanian paper, Al Rai.
A number of foreign Islamists have been fighting in Syria alongside the anti-Assad rebels. Jordan’s banned Salafi movement – which promotes a fundamentalist brand of Islam – has sent several fighters to Syria in past months and Jordanian border patrols say they have caught some of them recently.
IGNORING THREATS, JORDANIAN SWORN IN AS ISRAEL ENVOY
Following up an item in an earlier dispatch on this list, Jordan’s new ambassador to Israel, Walid Obeidat, has now been sworn in by Jordanian King Abdullah despite threats from Obeidat’s powerful clan to disown him if he accepted the post.
Obeidat has been under strong pressure to turn down the position, with his clan offering him five million dinars and the promise of political success as incentive not to take up what they called this “disgraceful” appointment to the Jewish state.
It is the first time in two years that Jordan has appointed an ambassador to Israel.
Along with Obeidat, the new Egyptian ambassador to Israel also presented his credentials to Israeli President Peres this month. The Egyptian envoy also presented a friendly letter from President Morsi to President Peres, which created an uproar in Egypt but has been approved by the Egyptian regime.
TENSION RISES IN LEBANON AS GUNMEN OCCUPY TRIPOLI STREETS
Tension is on the rise in Lebanon as armed men took to the streets of the northern coastal city of Tripoli, erecting roadblocks and asking people and car drivers and passengers to identify themselves, the As Safir newspaper in Beirut reported. In some incidents, armed men abused and physically attacked civilians and shot rounds of bullets in the air to frighten others.
At night, sniper fire continued unabated. A 9-year old girl was among those shot dead by snipers, according to press reports.
TERROR ATTACK AGAINST ISRAELI CIVILIANS THWARTED IN CYPRUS
Intelligence officials in Cyprus last week said prevented what would have been a “massive terrorist attack” on the Cypriot port Limassol, uncovering a large quantity of explosives. The terror plot was directed at Israeli tourists, and would have followed the recent suicide bombing that killed Israeli tourists in the Bulgarian resort of Burgas. U.S. and Israeli officials have linked the Burgas attack to Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hizbullah.
(For more on that attack, please see: Her final call: “I just found out I’m pregnant at last”. )
The amount of explosive discovered last week, described as pink and comprising small balls, was reportedly enough to cause massive damage, the Cypriot paper Alithia reported.
Israelis often visits Limassol as part of tourist cruise ship vacations.
In a separate incident in July, Cypriot security officials arrested a Lebanese man with Swedish citizenship who was reportedly a Hizbullah operative, and was said to have collected information regarding Israeli-frequented cafes and restaurants as part of a plan to carry out terrorist attacks on Israelis in Cyprus.
The 24-year-old suspect was arrested in his hotel room, where police found documents and photos of Israeli targets, including flight schedules of Israeli airlines.
Cyprus is one of the most popular tourist destinations for Israelis, with some 32,000 visiting the island in 2011, according to official figures.
A number of planned attacks against Israelis around the world have been foiled in the past year, including in Thailand, India and Georgia. Israel says the plots are part of a concerted effort by Iran, which employs the Lebanese Shiite terror group Hizbullah to target Israelis and Jews globally.
TURKEY AGAIN REJECTS ISRAELI OFFER TO REPAIR RELATIONS
A new Israeli offer last week mend fences with Turkey has again been rebuffed by Ankara, with Turkish officials dismissing an invitation from Israel’s Foreign Ministry to “set aside differences in the interest of containing the regional unrest created by Syria’s civil war”.
The Israeli press provided details of the proposal, which included an offer to negotiate over a 2010 incident in which eight Turkish militants were killed trying to break Israel’s legally-imposed sea border crossings to Hamas-controlled Gaza.
Turkey’s ongoing refusal to countenance rapprochement with Israel has complicated regional geopolitics and frustrated American officials seeking to bridge differences between the two former allies.
I attach an article below.
-- Tom Gross
MY COUNTRY IS UNDER ATTACK. DO YOU CARE?
My Country is Under Attack. Do You Care?
By Arsen Ostrovsky
Huffington Post (Canadian edition only)
October 24, 2012
You see, as most Americans were waking up this morning, and those in Europe and elsewhere around the world were going about their daily routines, here in Israel -- over one million people were running for cover from a hail of rockets being rained down by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza. In the space of 24 hours, since Tuesday evening, 80 rockets have been fired on southern Israel. That’s more than three rockets per hour. By the time I finish this article, odds are that count will have risen to 85 rockets.
Just to put things in context: one million Israelis is roughly 13 per cent of the population. Thirteen per cent of the U.S. population equates to about 40 million people.
A dozen Israelis have already been injured, with several of them seriously. The only reason more have not been hurt is because Israel has invested millions of dollars in bomb shelters and the Iron Dome defense system, while Hamas has invested millions of dollars in foreign aid in more rockets.
But here is why I’m angry.
I’m angry that in 2012, over 600 rockets have already been fired from Gaza with no end in sight. I’m angry that the world only notices when Israel undertakes its (sovereign) right to defend its citizens. Can you imagine if even one rocket was fired on Washington, London, Paris or Moscow? No nation on earth can, or should, tolerate such attacks on its people.
I’m angry that while the United Nations never hesitates to call a ‘special emergency session’ on the ‘Question of Palestine’ or pass the umpteenth resolution blindly condemning Israel, that I am still waiting for a session on the ‘Question of Israel’ and Palestinian terror. In fact, 24 hours after the rocket attacks started, I am still waiting for even one syllable of condemnation from the UN Security Council, the UN General Assembly or Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
I’m angry that Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary-General, could not find a moment to condemn the Palestinian rockets, but did find time to laugh and dance with South Korean rapper Psy from the popular dance craze Gangnam Style.
I’m angry that while the EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton slammed Israel last week over the building of several hundred apartments (in an area that will arguably remain part of Israel anyway), that I am still waiting for her to slam the Palestinians for firing 80 rockets in one day.
I’m angry that there are those who continue to call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against the Jewish State, but are silent in the face of Palestinian terror.
I’m angry that ships and flotillas continue to set sail for Gaza to show ‘solidarity’ with the Palestinians, but where is their solidarity with the people of southern Israel?
I’m angry that while human rights organizations like Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, Oxfam and others do not waste a single opportunity to condemn Israel for human rights violations against the Palestinians, the human rights of Israelis are seemingly not important enough for them. Is Jewish blood really that cheap?
I’m angry that mainstream newspapers like the New York Times, lead their stories about the rocket attacks with such headlines as “Four Palestinian Militants Killed in Israeli Airstrikes,” and not “Palestinian Terrorists Rain Down Over 80 Rockets against one million Israelis.”
I’m angry that so many people are blind to the fact that Iran, which has called for Israel to be wiped off the map and now seeks to obtain nuclear weapons, is the primary funder and supplier of arms to Hamas. I’m angry at the fact that all civilians in southern Israel today were instructed not to send their kids to school and stay in bomb shelters. What sort of inhumane way is that for children to live?
I’m angry when people continue to say that ‘settlements’ are the main impediment to peace, and not Hamas, a terrorist group which does not recognize Israel’s right to exist and seeks its destruction. I’m angry when I see pictures like this, of a home in southern Israel hit by a rocket from Gaza today, yet have the audacity to say “ah, but they’re just like toys; what damage can they do?”
I’m angry that there is someone out there who does not know me and has never met me, yet still wants to kill me -- for no other reason than being Israeli.
I’m angry when I hear residents in southern Israel say “we just lie on top of our children and try to protect them with our bodies” or that “we’re living on borrowed time” -- yet the world seems oblivious to their desperate cries for help.
No, I am not angry. I am outraged.