- In Jlem terror attack, bomb explodes aboard bus; Israel exposes Hamas terror tunnel found inside Israel
- Bipartisan House resolution calls for veto of any UNSC resolution that undermines bilateral negotiations by setting out a unilateral imposed framework
A bomb exploded aboard a bus in Jerusalem on Monday in a terror attack, according to Israeli police. The bombing took place during rush hour in Jerusalem’s Talpiot neighborhood and injured 21 people. On Monday night, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would “find out who placed the bomb” and “settle the score with these terrorists.” The attack on Monday was the first bus bombing in Israel since November 2012 and is a stark reminder of the days during the Second Intifada, 2000-2005, when Palestinian suicide bombers routinely attacked Israeli public buses. Palestinian terrorist organizations, including Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the PFLP, rushed to praise the attack. According to Israeli journalist Khaled Abu Toameh, Hamas tweeted: “We welcome the Jerusalem bus blast and consider it a natural response to Israeli crimes and the desecration of Al-Aqsa Mosque.” The terror attack ends the weeks of calm in Jerusalem after a wave of deadly terror attacks began in the fall of 2015. The attacks have been fueled by incitement from the Palestinian Authority (PA), Fatah, the political party of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, and leaders from across Palestinian society. Palestinian leaders have also refused to condemn the violence. The terror wave has resulted in the deaths of over 30 people.
The Israeli army also announced on Monday that it uncovered the first Hamas tunnel inside Israel since the summer 2014 Gaza war. An IDF spokesperson stated that Hamas dug the tunnel “in order to carry out attacks against civilians.” The IDF also confirmed that it was “a new tunnel that had been built recently.” Since the 2014 war, Hamas has continued to build its network of terror tunnels. In January, Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’ deputy political bureau chief, vowed to continue digging tunnels in preparation for a future conflict with Israel and stated that the tunnels have become a “strategic weapon.” Avi Issacharoff, a journalist for The Times of Israel, explained that Hamas “devotes close to 1,000 men working 24 hours a day, six days a week, and many millions of dollars per month, to the task.” During Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, launched in response to Hamas’ continued rocket fire, the army destroyed 32 tunnels. In January, Haaretz’s defense correspondent Amos Harel wrote that “Hamas is investing great efforts and huge sums in the tunnel project. It is reasonable to assume that the number of tunnels crossing under the border is close to that on the eve of Protective Edge.” Netanyahu on Monday praised the tunnel discovery as a “pioneering achievement.” He explained that Israel has been investing in technology to detect and destroy tunnels, declaring, “This is a continuous effort that demands great determination, and to which we are committed.”
A Republican and a Democrat from the House Armed Services Committee introduced a resolution on Monday calling on the Obama administration to continue the twenty-plus-year American policy of vetoing any United Nations Security Council resolution that unilaterally tries to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict instead of encouraging bilateral negotiations.
The resolution, which was introduced by by Reps. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) and Gwen Graham (D-Fla.), pointed out that President Barack Obama said in 2011 that “peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the United Nations,” and noted that UN has consistently treated Israel unfairly. 41 out of 48 UN Human Rights Council resolutions in the past two years criticizing a specific country have been targeted at Israel.
Given all this, the resolution continued, the United States should “continue to uphold its practice of vetoing any United Nations Security Council resolution that inserts the Council into the peace process, unilaterally recognizes a Palestinian state, makes declarations concerning Israeli controlled territories, or dictates terms and a timeline for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.”
“Tensions and hostility can only decrease when actions of mutual recognition and trust are taken by both sides,” Lamborn said in a statement. “The Palestinian Authority’s ploy of using United Nations’ bodies as a condemnation method and end-around Israel are unconstructive. They do not further the goals of peace.
“The United States and Israel share the same goal of wanting a lasting peace in the Middle East,” Graham said in a statement. “We believe to reach that goal there must be direct, bilateral negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.”
A letter signed by over 90 percent of the House was sent to President Barack Obama last week, asking him to veto an attempt by the Security Council to impose terms of a peace deal on Israel.
The Obama administration stated in December 2014 that it opposed UN-imposed peace plans, the last time a major push of this nature occurred.
There are many complicating factors in creating a mechanism by which the Palestinians can unilaterally declare statehood. The Palestinian Authority only controls the West Bank, not Gaza, which is ruled by the Iran-backed terrorist organization Hamas. PA President Mahmoud Abbas is in the eleventh year of a four-year term as president, and created a new court last week that would allow him to further consolidate his hold on power. This came on the heels of revelations in the leaked “Panama Papers” that Abbas took control of an independent business development agency, giving his son an opportunity to benefit personally from the Palestinian economy. These developments call into question whether Abbas has created the institutions necessary for effective independent governance. (via TheTower.org)
Security Industry Association (SIA) – the leading trade association for electronic and physical security solution providers — has named Israel’s Tiger by Lynx TFG as the Best New Product in 2016. The Tiger app allows any mobile device to stream video in real-time to a personal control center. Tiger can help in medical emergencies or in disaster zones. “Whether providing medical ambulatory services, road services, technical support teams or security and task forces – with Tiger, the control center will be equipped with the ability to monitor any event from any perspective and angle,” according to the company’s website. “Tiger provides an instant solution to start live broadcast to a remote site. With a multitude of usage possibilities including: live view from a city marathon, ad-hoc security event, road accident, remote site maintenance or security patrol. Tiger adjusts to any scenario.” SIA CEO Don Ericsson said, “The impressive slate of new and improved products offered for consideration in SIA’s New Product Showcase at ISC West represented truly diverse technological innovations.” SIA New Product Showcase judges saw many new companies enter the competition this year for the first time, and several first-time winners like LYNX TFG emerged over strong contenders! I congratulate LYNX TFG on their win as Best New Product in 2016.” The Israeli tech triumphed over a field of 99 entries from small, medium and large companies in the security industry. Lynx TFG is located in Kochav Yair. (via Israel21c)
Is another Gaza war inevitable? Judging by the latest reports in the Israeli media, it might seem that way. At a funeral for seven Hamas militants killed in a tunnel collapse, Hamas’ Gaza-based chief Ismail Haniyeh declared that the so-called “terror tunnels” are a mainstay of the terrorist group’s strategy against Israel. A senior Israeli defense official told reporters that Hamas has mostly rebuilt its tunnel infrastructure, which Israel destroyed in Operation Protective Edge in 2014. During the operation, the IDF demolished 32 tunnels, 14 of which crossed into Israel for the purpose of conducting terror attacks. Hamas publically confirmed their ongoing efforts to rebuild the tunnels by praising its subterranean heroes who are “toiling day and night” on reconstruction. Meanwhile, reports have trickled out of Gaza that six tunnels collapsed over the past two months, killing at least thirteen Gazans.
The debate further heated up when a sneak peek at a State Comptroller report showed great dissatisfaction with how the Israeli Defense Ministry was handling the tunnel threat. Residents in communities near the Gaza border complain that they can hear and feel digging under their homes. In response, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised he would respond appropriately to all threats and “will act very forcefully against Hamas, and with much more force than…Protective Edge.” Opposition leader Isaac Herzog, not to be outdone, called on Netanyahu to “bomb the tunnels and destroy this threat.…Why are we waiting? For terrorists with…weapons drawn to emerge in a kibbutz?” Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett similarly called for a preemptive attack on the tunnels. In any case, the public remains on edge.
But is war inevitable? And is it the best option?
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