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Latest News in Israel – 27th September

Cpt. Karin reports from Mexico on the IDF’s humanitarian work

Cpt. Karin reports from Mexico on the IDF's humanitarian work

Posted by Israel Defense Forces on Monday, 25 September 2017

3 Israelis killed, 1 seriously hurt in terror shooting near Jerusalem

Three Israeli security officers were killed and one was seriously hurt in a terror attack outside the Har Adar settlement near Jerusalem early Tuesday morning, police said.

According to police, the assailant arrived at the rear entrance of the settlement and opened fire on a group of security personnel, including Border Police officers and the community’s private guards, who were opening the entrance to Palestinian workers.

The terrorist, a laborer from the nearby Bayt Surik village, was shot and killed by security forces at the scene, police said. The 37-year-old approached the entrance to Har Adar just before 7 a.m. as part of a group of Palestinians who work in the settlement.

He “aroused the suspicion” of officers on the scene, who called for him to stop. The terrorist then took a pistol out of his shirt and shot at the Israelis, before being gunned down, police said.

He killed a Border Police officer and two private security guards, all in their 20s. They all sustained gunshot wounds to the upper body. (Initial reports that they had also been stabbed were incorrect.)

One of the private security guards was a resident of the nearby Arab Israeli community of Abu Ghosh, according to the Zaka emergency response organization.

The slain Border Police officer was identified as Solomon Gavriyah, 20, from Be’er Yaakov. He was posthumously promoted to staff sergeant.

The seriously injured victim was identified as Har Adar’s security coordinator. He suffered gunshot wounds to the stomach and chest, and was fully conscious when he was taken to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem. Upon reaching the hospital, he was taken to an operating room for surgery, a Hadassah spokesperson said.

Police said the terrorist, a father of four, had a legal work permit, making him one of the few Palestinians with such a document to commit a terror attack in recent years. His permit was of a lower level and was only applicable for work inside Israeli settlements, like Har Adar, which lie along the “seam line” between the West Bank and Israel, according to the Shin Bet security service.

He was identified by Palestinian media as Nimer Mahmoud Ahmad Jamal. The Shin Bet would not immediately confirm his identity, but said he did not have a known history of involvement in terrorist activities.

In the hours after the attack, security forces raided ttacker’s home. The IDF also said it set up a closure around Bayt Surik, allowing residents to enter freely but only exit for “humanitarian” reasons.

Har Adar is located just inside the West Bank, off the main highway leading into Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. The affluent community has not been a common target for terror attacks. One exception was in October 2016, when a border police officer was stabbed in the arm near the settlement.

He praised the response of security personnel at the scene, saying a border policeman and a policewoman in a nearby jeep opened fire on the attacker, “otherwise he could have entered the town and carried on with his murderous errand.”

Responding to questions about the rarity of attacks from Palestinians with work permits, Alsheich said, “To my regret there is no profile for a terrorist.”

“It could just be someone who is fed up with everything and decides to take out his rage in an attack,” he said, adding, “The incitement [against Israel] is constant.”

Chen Filipovitz, the head of the local council, praised his settlement’s security guards for their quick reaction.

“Our workers and security coordinator worked as needed,” Filipovitz told Channel 2 news after the attack. “It was not inside the community but at the gate where workers enter. There are hundreds of workers who enter every day to work in Har Adar and the surrounding communities.”

The Hamas terror group praised the attack, saying, “Once again Jerusalem proves that it is at the heart of the conflict with the occupation, and that there is no way to get it out of the equation of the conflict.”

The terror attack comes two years after a wave of unrest broke out, mostly in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

The violence had greatly subsided in recent months.

Since September 2015, some 51 Israelis, two visiting Americans, an Eritrean national, a Palestinian man and a British student have been killed in stabbing, shooting and vehicular attacks by Palestinian assailants. In that time, nearly 300 Palestinians and a Sudanese national were killed by Israeli fire, a majority of them attackers, according to authorities.

The Israeli government has blamed the terrorism and violence in part on incitement by Palestinian political and religious leaders, compounded on social media sites that glorify violence and encourage attacks.   (the Times of Israel)

Israel mourns victims of Har Adar terror attack

The police officer and two security personnel murdered by an Arab terrorist in Har Adar Tuesday morning have been identified as Border Police Officer St. Sgt. Solomon Gavriya, 20 of Be’er Yaakov; Youssef Ottman, 24, of Abu Gosh; and Or Arish, 25, of Har Adar.

St. Sgt. Solomon Gabaria, Yossef Otman and Or Arish, the victims of the Har Adar West Bank terror shooting

According to police, Gavriya enlisted in the Border Police 18 months ago and was assigned to patrol the greater Jerusalem area. He was stabbed six months later during a terrorist attack while guarding Har Adar’s fence.

Despite his injury, Gavriya, whose family immigrated from Ethiopia, insisted on returning to duty two months later.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Gavriya saved a number of lives by promptly responding to the terrorist’s gunfire, and was posthumously promoted to staff sergeant.

Hours after his murder, dozens of Gavriya’s family members and friends gathered at his parents Be’er Yaakov residence to support the mourning family.

“He was the salt of the earth; a true patriot,” said Nissim Gozlan, head of the Be’er Yaakov Council.

Baruch Bugla, one of the leaders of the city’s Ethiopian community, told YNet Gavriya was “an extraordinarily apt pupil.”

“He had a huge heart and was his parents’ firstborn child, brother to a sister who’s also a soldier, [as well as] to two little brothers,” Bugla added.

Sarah Adamsu, who knew Gavriya since he was a child, described him as “a special boy” raised by a “humble and special family.”

“After the first attack, his family begged him not to go back [to duty], but he loved the service and it was in his blood,” she said.

Border Police Superintendent Moshe Davush, commander of the unit Gavriya served in, described him as a humble yet gifted officer and warrior.

“He served under me for 18 months and was an exemplary combat soldier who was extremely modest,” said Davush.

“Only a year ago, he prevented harm from coming to Jerusalem residents by stopping a terrorist attack with his bare hands,” he continued. “Despite his injuries, he insisted on returning to a combat role in the Jerusalem area.”

Gavriya was buried in Be’er Yaakov Tuesday night.

Murdered security guard Youssef Ottman’s father, Issam, described his son on Tuesday as altruistic and brave.

“He would always help people without hesitation,” his father told YNet. “He was a combat soldier and was discharged with distinction. I wouldn’t wish this on any father, on any man who brought his children up to choose life.”

Issam continued: “The person who murdered him is not a human being.”

Dozens of family members and friends also gathered at Arish’s parents’ Har Adar home to console them after the sudden loss.

According to his family, Arish was assigned to work the evening shift, but requested the morning one as well to save additional money for college.

“His mother is crying and is in total disbelief,” a neighbor said Tuesday afternoon. “She cried out that she was about to bury her son. The father is completely shattered. He spoke to him just last night.”

Arish’s uncle, Yaakov Hayun, described his nephew as a “charming boy everyone loved,” who opted to pursue a career in security after serving with distinction in the IDF’s paratrooper brigade.

“He was a special boy,” said Hayun. “After his release, we tried finding a direction for him in life, and he started a security course and began working in the field several months ago. He was a charming boy everyone loved,” Hayun added.

A fourth man who survived the attack has been identified as Har Adar’s security coordinator, Amit Steinhart, 33, who was shot in the shoulder and hip.

Steinhart was rushed to Jerusalem’s Hadassah University Medical Center in Ein Kerem in serious condition. A hospital spokesperson said his condition was upgraded to stable following emergency surgery, and he is expected to survive.

Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh praised all four men for acting quickly to neutralize the terrorist before he killed more people in the settlement.

“[The killer] could have entered the town and continued his murderous mission,” said Alsheikh.  (Jerusalem Post)

Erdan: Israeli-Arab security guard slain in Har Adar was symbol of coexistence

With security guard Youssef Othman’s relatives reeling following his death just hours earlier during an attack in Har Adar that killed two other people, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan sought to comfort them by elevating the 25-year-old to the status of a national hero and symbol of coexistence.

Joining in the circle of mourners seated on plastic chairs outside the Othman house in Abu Ghosh, Erdan told Youssef’s father, Issam: “I am filled with amazement at your strength and that of your family and your great contribution to the security of the state. It has to be said in every place that the path of Youssef and the Othman family will win, not the path of the cursed terrorists. We will do everything so that Youssef’s heritage of love and cooperation will win.”

Moments later, Erdan visited the separate area near the back of the house where the women were mourning, and told Youssef’s grandmother. “I am filled with sorrow. We will do everything so that many people see Youssef as an example, so they will see what a person he was, a person who loved people.”

What may have impressed Erdan so much is that Youssef volunteered for the Border Police, served in the territories and received recognition for being an excellent fighter. Although Abu Ghosh is remembered for siding with the Jewish forces during the War of Independence and is known for its friendliness with and hospitality toward Israeli Jews, his path was unusual. Most Abu Ghosh youths take advantage of their exemption from the military and do not serve.

“He is a person who gave to the state from himself, who shielded with his body citizens of Israel,” Erdan said. “It is possible that he prevented an attack in which the cursed terrorist would have entered and shot children on their way to school.”

Issam Othman works in security at nearby Kiriyat Ye’arim (Telz-Stone) and used to work in Har Adar. In fact, it was he who made the connection between Youssef and Har Adar, according to Youssef’s younger brother Suhaib, who himself is about to join the Border Police.

“We are educated in the home to love the State of Israel,” Suhaib, 19, said. He added that Youssef wanted to rejoin the Border Police in a permanent capacity.

Issam Othman described his late son as “an exemplary child, a good child. Everyone loves him. The residents in Har Adar are crazy about him, they consider him one of their own. Also here in the village they all love him. He was a good young man with thoughts of the future and how to advance in life. He served in the border police and was responsible for a security unit at Har Adar. Today he completed his mission in this world.”

He told The Jerusalem Post that only his belief in the hereafter was keeping him from collapsing from the grief. “I believe the holy one blessed be he will take care of him properly because he is a guardian of Israel, that [God] will open his arms and embrace him. I have no doubt about this. It gives me strength to hang on.”

Summing up his visit, Erdan said: “I know it sounds like a cliché, but I emerge encouraged from the people here. With people like the people in Abu Ghosh you know there can be a better future.”

But not all of the people Erdan met seemed pleased with the hard line posture of the government toward the Palestinians, which, they implied, perpetuates the cycle of violence.

Osama Othman, Youssef’s relative, told Erdan that 20 years ago his brother was murdered in an attack at Jerusalem’s Mahaneh Yehuda market. “It was the same government as today and the conflict still continues. We are not satisfied.

We want a solution. With all due respect to [the] ministers, it is the citizens who are suffering, Arabs and Jews. What is needed is to take responsibility and solve this conflict once and for all. We are asking for solutions. There are many incidents. You should work on it.”

Erdan replied: “I understand you. Everyone wants to solve the conflict. But we need on this difficult day to unite.” He said it was the “interpretation of religion” that causes assailants to carry out attacks like the one that killed Youssef. But then he added: “What caused it is still being investigated.”

Abu Ghosh Mayor Issa Jaber called on his town’s residents not to take reprisals: “What is needed is to exercise restraint, be patient and let the security forces do what is needed. We are a state of law.”

Jaber, from Meretz, voiced criticism about the government’s approach to the Palestinian issue to Erdan: “The majority of the people on both sides want peace. We call on the government to make every effort to achieve the great vision of peace between the two peoples.” (Jerusalem Post)

Netanyahu Delays Settlement Planning Committee Meeting Ahead of Greenblatt Visit

Ahead of the arrival of Jason Greenblatt, the Trump administration’s international negotiations representative, in the Middle East this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly delayed a committee meeting on construction efforts in the West Bank.

The Civil Administration Planning Committee was slated meet this week to discuss the advancement of construction plans for some 2,000 new homes.

Netanyahu purportedly announced the meeting’s postponement during a security cabinet meeting Sunday, indicating it would resume during the coming weeks and was delayed at the request of the White House, Yedioth Ahronoth reported.

Greenblatt’s arrival in the region follows a meeting between Netanyahu and President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session last week in New York.

The White House stated on Sunday that Greenblatt’s visit would continue “the administration’s quiet, steady discussions towards peace.”

Greenblatt last visited Israel in late August as part of a high-level American diplomatic delegation led by Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner. (the Algemeiner/JNS)

4,000-year-old decapitated toads discovered in ancient Jerusalem tomb

Remains of nine headless toads discovered by archeologists inside a well-preserved jar placed in a 4,000-yearold tomb in Jerusalem shed new light on burial customs during the Canaanite period of the Middle Bronze Age, the Antiquities Authority said on Monday.

The excavation, which took place in 2014 prior to the expansion of the Malha neighborhood near Jerusalem’s Biblical Zoo, also yielded evidence of the cultivation of date palms and myrtle bushes, possibly as part of funerary rituals.

According to the excavation’s directors on behalf of the Authority, Shua Kisilevitz and Zohar Turgeman-Yaffe, the section of the Nahal Refaim basin, where the tomb was unearthed, was once fertile ground for settlements, particularly during the Canaanite period.

“In recent years, excavations in the area have uncovered two settlement sites, two temples and a number of cemeteries, which provide new insight into the life of the local population at that time,” the researchers said in a joint statement.

Kisilevitz and Turgeman- Yaffe added that, after removing a large rock blocking the tomb’s opening, they discovered several bowls and jars still intact.

“In one of the jars, to our surprise, we found a heap of small bones,” they said.

“For an archaeologist, finding tombs that were intentionally sealed in antiquity is a priceless treasure because they are a time capsule that allows us to encounter objects almost just as they were originally left. At that time, it was customary to bury the dead with offerings that constituted a kind of ‘burial kit,’ which, it was believed, would serve the deceased in the afterworld.”

David Tanami, an Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist, works his way into the narrow tomb opening to bring out a jar at a Canaanite burial site near Jerusalem’s Biblical Zoo.

A subsequent study of the bones, by Dr. Lior Weisbrod of the University of Haifa, revealed the corpses of the nine headless toads.

Another intriguing finding came to light through analysis of sediments collected from the clay jars and examined under a microscope. The examination, by Dr. Dafna Langgut of Tel Aviv University, revealed that shortly before the vessels were placed in the tomb they came into contact with various plants, including date palms and myrtle bushes.

“This fact is interesting because this is not the natural habitat for those species and they, therefore, seem to have been planted here intentionally,” concluded Langgut.

“During this period, the date palm symbolized fertility and rejuvenation, which could explain why the ancients cultivated the trees in this environment where they do not grow naturally.”

Based on their findings, the scholars say the florae may have been part of an orchard planted in an area where funeral rituals were held, during which offerings of food and objects were made to the deceased.

They concluded that the jar with the headless toads was among these offerings.  (Jerusalem Post)

Palestinian ‘Reconciliation’: Jihad is Calling!

by Bassam Tawil            The Gatestone Institute


Leaders of Hamas maintain that under no circumstances will they agree to lay down their weapons. Hamas is, in fact, continuing full-speed-ahead digging tunnels under the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel. Hamas is planning to use the tunnels to smuggle armed terrorists into Israel.

The accord with Hamas requires Mahmoud Abbas to lift the sanctions he recently imposed on the Gaza Strip, such as refusing to pay Israel for the electricity it supplies to Gaza. It also requires Abbas to resume payment of salaries to thousands of Palestinians who served time in Israeli prison for terror-related offenses.

Above all, Hamas wants to use the agreement to be removed from the U.S. State Department List of Foreign Terror Organizations.

The Russians are closing their ears to what Hamas itself declares day after day: that its true goal is to eliminate Israel and that it has no intention of abandoning its murderous, genocidal agenda.

The Palestinian terror group Hamas has once again made clear that its true intention is to pursue the fight against Israel until the “liberation of Palestine, from the (Jordan) river to the (Mediterranean) sea.” Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, says that despite the latest “reconciliation” agreement reached with the Palestinian Authority (PA) under the auspices of the Egyptian government, it will continue to prepare for war with Israel.

While some Western analysts have misinterpreted the agreement as a sign that Hamas is moving towards moderation and pragmatism, leaders of the Islamist movement maintain that under no circumstances will they agree to lay down their weapons. Hamas is, in fact, continuing full-speed-ahead digging tunnels under the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel. Hamas is planning to use the tunnels to smuggle armed terrorists into Israel.

Just last week, two Hamas terrorists were killed when the tunnels in which they were working collapsed, in separate incidents in the Gaza Strip. The terrorists were identified as Khalil Al-Dumyati and Yusef Abu Abed.

The news about the collapse of the tunnels coincided with the reports of the new “reconciliation” agreement reached in Cairo between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA). This means that while the Egyptians and Abbas’s representatives were discussing with Hamas leaders ways of ending their 10-year-long dispute and achieving “national unity,” Hamas terrorists were busy tunneling under the Gaza Strip to prepare for attacks on Israel.

The “reconciliation” accord does not require Hamas to stop terror attacks on Israel. Nor does it require Hamas to abandon its charter, which explicitly calls for the elimination of Israel. Instead, the agreement, which has yet to be implemented, requires Abbas’s PA government to resume funding for various government institutions and civil servants in the Gaza Strip.

In other words, this agreement benefits Hamas by absolving it of its responsibilities toward the two million Palestinians living under its control in the Gaza Strip. Moreover, the agreement emboldens Hamas by allowing it to redirect its resources and energies towards amassing weapons and digging tunnels to be used for launching terror attacks against Israel. The accord requires Abbas to lift the sanctions he recently imposed on the Gaza Strip, such as refusing to pay Israel for the electricity it supplies to Gaza, reducing medical supplies and forcing thousands of civil servants in the Gaza Strip into early retirement. It also requires Abbas to resume payment of salaries to thousands of

Palestinians who served time in Israeli prison for terror-related offenses. All this in return for one “concession” on the part of Hamas: dismantling the shadow government it established in the Gaza Strip a few months ago — something to which Hamas happily agreed in return for Abbas lifting the sanctions.

Make no mistake: Hamas has no intention of relinquishing security control over the Gaza Strip. Thousands of Hamas “security officers” and members of its military wing, Ezaddin Al-Kassam, will remain the law-enforcement force in the Gaza Strip. This means that even if Abbas’s government will be allowed to operate in the Gaza Strip, it would have limited civilian powers only, such as paying salaries and funding various projects.

One week after the Cairo “reconciliation” agreement, Hamas is still urging Abbas to lift the sanctions he imposed on the Gaza Strip. Why the rush? Jihad against Israel is calling. Hamas’s message to Abbas: Hurry up and give us the funds because we need to invest our energies and money in building more tunnels and smuggling weapons (through Egypt) into the Gaza Strip.

Hamas has been seeking international recognition and legitimacy and is hoping that the agreement with Abbas’s Palestinian Authority will facilitate this mission. Above all, Hamas wants to use the agreement to be removed from the U.S. State Department List of Foreign Terror Organizations.

This position was relayed last week to the Russian government by a senior Hamas delegation that visited Moscow. Hamas is hoping that in wake of the Egyptian-sponsored agreement with the PA, the Russians will exert pressure on the U.S. to remove Hamas from the terror list.

Musa Abu Marzouk, a senior Hamas official who participated in the Moscow discussions, confirmed that he and his friends had asked the Russians for their help. “We asked the Russians to help stop the US from keeping Hamas on the (terror) list,” Abu Marzouk said. “We also asked that the Russians help remove the (Israeli and Egyptian) blockade on the Gaza Strip.” Abu Marzouk and the Hamas delegation appear to have found a sympathetic ear in Moscow. They now claim that the Russians told them that Moscow does not consider Hamas a terror organization “because Hamas won a free and fair (parliamentary) election in 2006.”

If true, the Russians seem to have bought the lie that Hamas is headed towards moderation and pragmatism, supposedly thanks to the latest “reconciliation” agreement. More disturbing still, concerning the reported Russian position, is that Moscow, it seems, does not view Hamas as a terror group; the reason for this omission is apparently that Hamas “won” an election. The Russians are ignoring the fact that since Hamas won in 2006, the terror movement has launched thousands of rocket and other terror attacks against Israel. The Russians are also ignoring Hamas’s continued buildup and preparation for war by digging tunnels and amassing weapons in the Gaza Strip. More significantly, the Russians are closing their ears to what Hamas itself declares day after day: that its true goal is to eliminate Israel and that it has no intention of abandoning its murderous, genocidal agenda.

How do the Russians and the rest of the world define “non-negotiable”? The same way as Abu Marzouk after the Moscow visit, with regards to the Hamas weapons: “The weapons of the resistance belong to all the Palestinians and are non-negotiable,” Abu Marzouk emphasized. “No one can tamper with this issue.”

The statement means that Hamas insists on maintaining its terror and military capabilities in preparation for war against Israel.

At the risk of overwhelming the international community with troubling facts, here is a final one: Hamas aims to use the agreement with the Palestinian Authority as a smokescreen for concealing its true goal: the destruction of Israel.

Here is how it works: Hamas is telling Abbas, “You continue to pretend as if you want to talk peace with the Jews, while we prepare for war.”

In the eyes of Hamas, the “reconciliation” agreement should serve as functional sharing between the PA and Hamas, with each side playing the role it wants. Abbas will go on pretending he wants peace, while Hamas builds more tunnels and acquires additional weapons. That is their real agenda: Hamas wants to collaborate with Abbas in fooling the world. Abbas’s job will be to “pursue peace” and rake in the money, while Hamas plans for the next round of terrorism against the Jews.

It remains to be seen whether the Western-funded Palestinian Authority will be complicit in this scheme to scam the world. Also interesting should be seeing whether the international community will once again fall into the web of lies woven by the master manipulators, Abbas and Hamas.

New U.S. Perspectives on Israeli-Palestinian Peace – U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman interviewed by Naama Lanski (Israel Hayom)

Chief Palestinian negotiator “Saeb Erekat…asked [me] how he could talk to me when I sat with Netanyahu at the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem Day, which he called ‘the worst day in our history.’ I said to him, candidly, it’s the best day in my history, it was the day that the Kotel [Western Wall] opened for Jewish prayer after 19 years. My parents cried when they heard that Jerusalem had been reunified and immediately made plans for my bar mitzvah at the Kotel, which we celebrated a few years later.”

“I told Erekat that our narratives are very different. I’ll never try to convince you that your pain is not heartfelt, and I hope that you’ll never try to convince me that our pain and our wishes are not heartfelt. That’s not what this is about. It’s not about convincing each other who is right and who is wrong. We have to respect our different views….We have to put these overarching emotional issues aside and find a way for Palestinians to have a better life, to achieve their ideals, in a way that doesn’t threaten Israel.”

“I have no interest or tolerance to hear that the Jewish people don’t have a connection to Jerusalem. It’s a waste of time. Don’t waste my time telling me something that I fundamentally reject.”

“Over the last eight years…there was an equivalence created between settlements and terrorism. Settlements are an issue…it’s a fair point for discussion. But that’s all it is – a point for discussion. Terrorism, meanwhile, is murder. And you can’t say that one side should stop terror in exchange for the other side freezing settlements. There’s no equivalence there.”

“A lot of academics will look at how Israel treats the Palestinians without recognizing…the security risks and the terrorism that led to this point….Here you have a conflict that has lasted for several generations and led to unspeakable acts of barbarism against innocent Jewish civilians. So in the context of that conflict, you get to a place where you impose a security apparatus that at least temporarily keeps people safe.”

“There’s this…disconnect that holds Israel to an impossible standard. They expect Israel to accept incoming missiles without defending itself when every other nation in the world, including the United States, would do so….It doesn’t mean that people can’t criticize Israel. But that’s different than expecting Israel to act differently than any other nation – that’s where it becomes irrational and hateful.”