- Iran gives Hezbollah domestic rocket production capability
- Syrian regime cut water supply for millions of people – UN report
- Hamas claims to moderate with new charter, but still wants to destroy Israel
- Asian countries welcome Israeli early learning program
The domestic production of rockets by Hezbollah would, wrote Avi Issacharoff of The Times of Israel, “mark a dramatic upgrade in Hezbollah’s ability to acquire more, and more precise, rockets than ever before.” According to the IRGC official, the weapons include rockets with ranges of more than 500 kilometers, surface-to-surface missiles, and drones equipped with anti-tank missiles; they have been used by Hezbollah in Syria, where the terrorist group alongside its patron Iran are fighting to prop up Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.
The attack was one of several war crimes committed by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, according to the report. Another incident listed was the intentional bombing of a school complex in October—a double tap attack, meaning that aid workers who came to rescue civilians from the site were bombed as well. Twenty-one children died, as well as 15 adults. More than 100 people were left wounded.
"Today in a sense the entire country has become a torture-chamber; a place of savage horror and absolute injustice," U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein also said on Tuesday. He called for the release of tens of thousands of detainees from Syria’s prisons, and for torturers and executioners to be brought to justice.
Paulo Pinheiro, chairman of the U.N. Commission of Inquiry, noted that its 2016 report found the Assad government culpable for "extermination as a crime against humanity.”
"We are speaking of a daily massacre going on for six years," Mazen Darwish, a lawyer freed in 2015 after three years in jail, told the 47-member forum.
Assad’s forces are backed by Iran, Hezbollah, and Russia.
The group will also re-frame its enemies — defined in its 1988 charter as “Israel, Judaism and Jews” — as “occupiers.”
Though the new language appears to be more moderate, the Times noted, the terrorist group “would not recognize Israel, however, nor would it give up future claims to all of what Hamas considers Palestinian lands.”
The new charter will also omit any references to Hamas’ ties to its parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, which is under increasing pressure by the government of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
The changes being considered are “not yet final and has not yet been approved by Hamas’s governing bodies,” the Times added.
“Hamas officials and other analysts said the document seemed intended to alleviate the group’s international isolation,” the Times reported, but gave no indication that Hamas would operate any differently than it does now.
Kobi Michael, the former head of the Palestinian desk at Israel’s Ministry for Strategic Affairs, cautioned that Hamas is “trying to use the sort of language that will be more accepted by the international community.” However, he noted that the group “will not change their methods — the use of terror and the use of violence against Israeli citizens.”
Hamas confirmed early last month that it had rejected an Israel’s offer to grant significant economic aid to the Gaza Strip, which was contingent on the terrorist group releasing three Israeli hostages and the bodies of two soldiers. Less than two weeks later, Hamas rejected an offer by Israel’s defense minister to create jobs and build infrastructure in Gaza in exchange for demilitarization.
Hamas’ foreign minister told NPR in May 2011 that the terror group accepted “the state and ’67 borders. This was mentioned many times and we repeated many times.” In December 2012, Meshaal vowed to never recognize Israel. “Palestine is ours from the river to the sea and from the south to the north. There will be no concession on an inch of the land,” he told thousands of supporters at a Gaza rally.
Meshaal’s comments came weeks after Hamas fired hundreds of rockets against Israeli towns, prompting Israel to launch Operation Pillar of Defense to root out terrorist infrastructure in Gaza.