The IDF’s Priority: War Readiness

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Truces with Hezbollah and Hamas are enabling the IDF to focus on combat training and force build-up programs as part of Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot’s push towards a high state of war readiness. The need to achieve consistent war readiness is based on the assessment that the Middle East of the future will be significantly more dangerous, less stable, and more complex than it is today, due in part to the proliferation of powerful weapons throughout the region. The IDF must be in a position to deal simultaneously with multiple fronts, near and far, and be able to defeat both non-state and state actors.

Israel is enjoying a period of relative calm, but in five to ten years, its strategic environment will likely be significantly more complex and challenging than it is today. For that reason, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has, under the Gideon multi-year working plan, placed combat training and war readiness at the top of its agenda.

The IDF General Staff has identified the objective of attaining a good state of war readiness, and keeping this readiness high, as a crucial objective for Israel in the medium to long term. It is an objective that has been neglected in past years due to budget instability and the lack of a clear strategic directive to place war readiness front and center.

This dangerous blind spot appears to have been corrected. IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot is intensively promoting the objective of war readiness throughout the whole of the military. A multi-year working plan provides a stable funding environment in which this can be achieved.

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The day of deranged inversion

Fatah, headed by Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas, has called for a “day of rage” tomorrow.

This is ostensibly to protest against the metal detectors which the Israeli government has installed at Temple Mount in Jerusalem. That was in response to last Sunday’s attack there by two Israeli Arabs. Already armed, they burst from the compound and murdered two Israeli Druze police officers, leaving a third officer injured.

Dozens have already been hurt overnight in violent demonstrations against the police in both the Temple Mount area and in east Jerusalem, with Arab youths throwing stones at officers and setting dumpsters on fire. According to Jerusalem’s police commissioner Yoram Halevi, many of those who took part in the rioting were encouraged to do so by the provocative statements being made by the Palestinian leadership.

You don’t say.

It’s the usual story. Arabs are incited to attack Jews by mendacious claims (made by Abbas, amongst others) that the Jews are attacking Muslim holy site; Arabs launch murderous attack on Israelis from said Muslim holy site; Israelis take security measures around said Muslim holy site to defend against further such attacks; Arabs claim these defensive security measure are further attack on Muslim holy site; Arabs incite further attacks on Israelis in protest at presumed attack on holy site; and on and on.

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Trump furious with Abbas: You lied to me

President Donald Trump lambasted Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, after the president claims the PA leader deceived him regarding his party’s involvement in anti-Israel incitement.

Trump met with Abbas in the PA-controlled city of Bethlehem last week during his two-day visit to Israel. The two held a joint press conference, at which time the president praised Abbas’ commitment to restarting negotiations with Israel for a final status agreement.

But according to a report by Channel 2 Sunday evening, the closed-door meeting between the president and the PA chairman was anything but cordial.

A US official present during the meeting claims the president expressed outrage with Abbas, yelling at him regarding Abbas’ claims that his Fatah faction was not involved in anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement.

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Abbas and Palestinian Authority Honor Terrorists Amid Trump Visit

The Palestinian Authority (PA) honored two terrorists this month in the lead up to President Trump’s visit with his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Media Watch reports.

Though Abbas tried to present a moderate stance to the American president, the PA named public squares in Jenin and Tulkarem after terrorists Karim and Maher Younes, two Israeli Arab cousins convicted in the 1980 kidnapping and murder or Israeli soldier Abraham Bromberg.

Both terrorists were sentenced to 40 years in jail.

Abbas’ Fatah party and Jenin’s municipal authorities sponsored one of the ceremonies.

“…Jenin District Governor Ibrahim Ramadan conveyed a greeting [expressing] honor and pride to the prisoners and their relatives on behalf of [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian leadership,” the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reported on Friday and translated by PMW.

In Tulkarem, the public ceremony featured a Palestinian official openly supporting the PA’s policy of glorifying terrorists and supporting convicted murderers.

“This is in appreciation of fighter Maher Younes… I thank the Tulkarem Municipality and all of the district’s bodies for this national act of standing side by side with the prisoners and expressing support for them. We permanently stand by our fighters,” proclaimed Tulkarem District Governor Issam Abu Bakr, quoted in Ma’an news on May 11.

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Palestinians: This is How We Intimidate Journalists

Seven Palestinian journalists are the latest victims of the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) continued crackdown on the media.

The repressive measures are aimed at silencing critical voices among the journalists and deterring others from reporting stories that reflect negatively on the Palestinian leadership in particular and Palestinians in general.

In the view of President Mahmoud Abbas and his PA, Palestinian journalists exist to write stories slamming Israel or praising PA leaders. Media, for them, is defined as a mouthpiece for Abbas, the PA leadership and the Palestinian cause.

Any journalist who dares to think outside this checkpoint is subject to severe punishment. Under Abbas and the PA, there is no room for an independent media.

The three major Palestinian newspapers — Al-Quds, Al-Ayyam and Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda — are controlled, directly and indirectly, by the PA.

Although Al-Quds, the largest Palestinian daily, is privately owned and published in Jerusalem, it too serves as a mouthpiece for the PA. The newspaper’s publisher and editors know that if they publish any story that is critical of Abbas or the PA leaders, they will face punitive measures, such as banning the distribution of Al-Quds in PA-controlled territories. As such, the editors and journalists have long resorted to self-censorship. This forced silencing explains the absence, for example, of any news items about Palestinian corruption or human rights violations in Al-Quds and the two other newspapers.

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A Palestinian State or an Islamist Tyranny?

From the United Nations to the European Union and the mainstream press, it seems that the Jews living in Judea and Samaria are the obstacle for the Middle East coexistence. But have these well-known “observers” really observed what is going on in the areas self-governed by the Palestinian Authority, and that two-thirds of the world’s nations want to turn into another Arab-Islamic state?

Recently, one of the brightest Palestinian novelists, Abbad Yahiya, saw his fourth book, Crime in Ramallah, seized by the Palestinian police in the West Bank. The order came from Palestinian Attorney General Ahmed Barak, who ruled that the book “threatens morality“. The novel’s publisher was arrested and a warrant was issued for Yahiya’s arrest.

His novel revolves around the murder of a Palestinian girl in Ramallah, and follows the lives of three other boys, from a homosexual to a drinker of alcohol. The novel takes aim at Palestinian taboos such as fanaticism, Islamic extremism and homosexuality. The young gay protagonist of the novel ends up moving to France.

“I do not know what to do”, said Yahiya, who fled to Qatar. “If I return, I will be arrested”.

The head of the Union of Palestinian Writers, Murad Sudani, attacked Yahiya and called for an exemplary punishment as happened with Boris Pasternak and other Soviet novelists. According to Sudani, Yahiya’s novel “violates national and religious values”. He went on to say that “my freedom as a writer ends when the freedom of the country begins”. So Palestinian writers should behave like the Soviet “engineers of souls”, then at the service of Communism, now of Islamic extremism and the Palestinian war against Israel.

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Palestinians’ Real Enemies: Arabs

Palestinians living in refugee camps in the Arab world are facing ethnic cleansing, displacement, and death — but their leaders in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are too busy tearing each other to pieces to notice or even, apparently, care much.

Between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas, it looks as if they are competing for the worst leadership, not the best. Clearly, neither regime gives a damn about the plight of their people in the Arab world.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who is scheduled to visit Washington in the coming weeks for his first meeting with US President Donald Trump, spends most of his time abroad. There is hardly a country in the world that he has not visited since he assumed office in January 2005.

Hamas, for its part, is too occupied with hunting down Palestinians suspected of “collaboration” with Israel, and arming its members as massively as possible for war with Israel, to spend much time on the well-being of the two million people living under its thumb in the Gaza Strip. Hamas does have resources: its money is otherwise designated, however, to digging attack tunnels into Israel and smuggling weapons into the Gaza Strip.

The globetrotting Abbas, treated to red-carpet receptions wherever he shows up, has no time to attend to his miserable people in the Arab countries. Abbas devotes more than 90 percent of his speeches to denunciations of Israel, uttering barely a word about the atrocities committed against his people in Syria, Lebanon, Libya and Iraq. The 82-year-old PA president is, as always, fully preoccupied with political survival.

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Agenda for the Trump-Abbas meeting

The day after Israel celebrates its 69th Independence Day, US President Donald Trump will greet PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas at the White House. The date of their meeting, May 3, is notable not least for its timing.

The timing of the meeting presumes a linkage between the establishment of Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian state. This is not merely obnoxious, it is also blind to reality.

In reality, an independent state of Palestine has existed for the past 12 years in Gaza. Rather than build that up and declare independence, Abbas and his comrades surrendered Gaza to Hamas in 2007.

Hamas, in turn, transformed independent Palestine into a base for jihad.

Abbas’s failure to declare independence in 2005 – and the subsequent failure of his US-trained forces to defend their control over Gaza in June 2007 from Hamas terrorists – is generally overlooked. But it is critical that Trump understand the significance of his behavior before he meets with Abbas.

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Human Rights Group: Israel Bears ‘Ultimate Responsibility’ for Gaza Electricity Supply as Crisis Looms

Israel should refuse the Palestinian Authority’s request to cut off electricity supplies to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on the grounds that it is the “ultimate occupying power” in the coastal enclave, a Human Rights Watch (HRW) official told The Algemeiner on Thursday.

Speaking from Tel Aviv, Omar Shakir — the Israel and Palestine Director for HRW — called on the Israeli government and the PA to “ensure that electricity supplies to Gaza are maintained.”

Shakir was speaking after the PA informed Israel it would no longer pay for the electricity which the Jewish state provides to Gaza, a move which could plunge the territory’s two million Palestinian residents into a long-term blackout.

The Fatah-controlled PA’s move — which reverses its ten-year policy of paying for Gaza’s electricity despite having been violently ousted from the Strip by Hamas in 2007 — comes at a time of escalating PA-Hamas tensions that may yet mushroom into a major headache for Israel.

“Palestinians in Gaza are already facing electricity shortages, sometimes only three or four hours a day,” Shakir said. “Their humanitarian needs should not be used as a political football.”

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UN official: Gaza could soon be unlivable – Arab-Israeli Conflict

Gaza’s latest electricity crisis could be “the tipping point” that makes the Strip unlivable for its two million residents, a UN official told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.

“The UN has been warning for some years that the chronic problems of Gaza are accumulating to the extent that we may be approaching a tipping point at which Gaza becomes unlivable,” said Robert Piper, coordinator for humanitarian aid to the Palestinians.

Piper’s comments came after the Gaza power plant shut down on Sunday due to a lack of funds to pay the hefty taxes imposed by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank on the diesel fuel necessary to run the plant.

It is one more blow for the Hamas-controlled enclave, where unemployment is at 42% and fresh water is a scarce commodity.

Gaza will now operate on only four hours of electricity a day, down from eight. The plant had hit a crisis point in December that was averted by tax-free donations from Qatar and Turkey that provided the necessary diesel fuel.

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