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The Daily TIP: Former Israeli Commander: "Hamas for Israel is Like ISIS for the Western World"

Posted by Tip Staff - June 12, 2017

Former Israeli Commander: "Hamas for Israel is Like ISIS for the Western World"
French Intellectuals Accuse Gov't of Covering up Anti-Semitism in Murder of Jewish Woman
Television Joins the Ranks of Israel’s Popular Exports
Israeli Company to Make $1 Billion Renewable Energy Investment in Africa


Former Israeli Commander: "Hamas for Israel is Like ISIS for the Western World"

"Hamas for Israel is like ISIS for the Western world," the former head of Israel's Southern Command said on Monday, 10 years since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip.

Yoav Galant, the commander of Israel's Southern Command from 2005 to 2010, is currently a member of Knesset with the Kulanu party and the minister of housing and construction. He offered his assessment in a conference call hosted by The Israel Project.

Galant described the "brutal" manner in which Hamas ejected Fatah, the party led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, in 2007. "They slaughtered the people in the streets. They threw them from the roofs, five or ten stories high. They closed and circled areas, headquarters, and the positions held by Fatah and others. And then either burned them or activated tunnels full of explosives underneath them." What Galant sees from ISIS now is "very similar on the way that it was done."

Using these tactics, Hamas ousted Fatah from Gaza, even though Fatah had five to six times as many personnel there as Hamas.

Ten years since this violent upheaval, Galant said, Israel continues to seek quiet, disarmament, and a way to extricate itself from Gaza's internal turmoil. The problem with these goals or interests is that they are at odds with one another. If there's quiet, then Hamas will stockpile weapons and threaten Israel. If Israel is forced to act against Hamas, there will be no quiet and it will be once again responsible for Gaza.

Galant pointed out that since winning "so-called democratic elections" in 2006, Hamas --- a force of some 30,000 to 40,000 people --- has taken the 2 million residents of Gaza hostage. "Most of the population do not want to be involved in terror action," Galant said, "but they are risking their lives if they will obey this monster that is called Hamas that seeks only its political benefit and personal benefit and not the future of the people of Gaza."

(Longtime Palestinian affairs reporter Khaled Abu Toameh made a similar point in February 2016, writing that Hamas has prioritized building up its terror infrastructure over rebuilding Gazan homes.)

Galant said that Israel would like to see a prosperous Gaza, but "you could have read the official Saudi papers and media recently and they said what we said --- Hamas leaders and Hamas militias are taking whatever is entering into Gaza and instead of building hospitals and schools, they are using those materials, whether it's concrete or iron or whatever, in order to create tunnels in order to create rockets. And this is of course a big problem."

Still, Hamas remains "a small, isolated, extremist organization."

The main threat that Hamas presents to Israel is its ability to build tunnels to launch terror attacks. Although it will take time, Galant said that Israel is working on a countermeasure "by creating an obstacle under the ground that will eventually prevent the option to use tunnels against." While Galant expressed his confidence that "the IDF will do its job in the best way," he cautioned that "we have to be on alert this summer."

In 2014, as the threat of ISIS was gaining more public attention, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu observed "that ISIS and Hamas are branches of the same poisonous tree."



French Intellectuals Accuse Gov't of Covering up Anti-Semitism in Murder of Jewish Woman

A member of the European Parliament and 17 prominent French intellectuals have accused French authorities of covering up the anti-Semitic motive behind the murder of Sarah Halimi, the Jewish Telegraph Agency reported Friday.

Halimi – a 66 year-old former kindergarten teacher and widow – was murdered in the early hours of April 4. The suspect, Kada Traore, a 27-year-old immigrant from Mali, broke into her apartment and viciously beat her. Traore could be heard yelling “Allahu Akhbar” and “Shaitan” (Arabic for Satan), which prompted neighbors to call the police. By the time anti-terror units were deployed, Traore had thrown Halimi out of the window of her third-floor apartment.

During the investigation, authorities focused on Traore’s mental health rather than the political motivation behind the crime. He was placed in a psychiatric institution and has not been charged with a hate crime, despite clear evidence that suggests he murdered Halimi for being Jewish.

During a speech in parliament, Frédérique Ries, a lawmaker from Belgium, on Thursday sharply criticized the conduct of French police and media.

“French authorities have treated her murder with icy silence,” Ries, who is Jewish herself, said, adding, “No national mobilization for Sarah, she died as the media remained quasi-indifferent.”

Last week, 17 leading French intellectuals, including the historian Georges Bensoussan and the philosopher Alain Finkielkraut, published a scathing letter echoing the criticism of Ries.

“Everything about this crime suggests there is an ongoing denial of reality” by authorities, the intellectuals wrote. They also cited testimonies of neighbors who said Traore had called Halimi a “dirty Jew” to her face.

“We demand all the truth be brought to light in the murder of Sarah Halimi,” the intellectuals concluded.

Because the murder of Halimi occurred in the months leading up to the French general election, many French Jews believe authorities deliberately downplayed the anti-Semitic motive behind the attack not to fuel support for Marine Le Pen’s Front National.



Television Joins the Ranks of Israel’s Popular Exports

Israel has been gaining international recognition for its production of critically-acclaimed television shows that become popular abroad, particularly in the United States and Europe. Both Bloomberg and Variety recently reported on the reputation of Israeli dramas in the U.S., citing an entrepreneurial spirit, a necessity for creativity, and a desire for cultural communication among the driving factors of this trend.

The rise of Israeli television has paralleled that of streaming services like Netflix and Amazon. Israeli producers have adopted the entrepreneurial culture of the technology industry to fit well into this niche. Just like the thriving Israeli startup industry, top Israeli producers have successfully tapped into the global market.

“In the new world, so much of [the TV industry] links to technology and so much of the technology is diverted to content, and Israel is a leader in technology, so we have that advantage,” Udi Miron, president of Tel Aviv TV firm Amaney Communications, told Variety. “But most of all, I think it’s the way we are thinking. Israel is great at understanding and adapting to new things, new ideas. You can feel the creative energy here.”

Foreign observers note the quality of the richly developed characters and story lines in popular Israeli shows like Homeland and In Treatment, as well as newcomers like Fauda. As the television business model has changed to accommodate the rise of streaming services, a niche has developed for the creative storylines produced by Israeli production houses like Keshet and Hot.

Peter Traugott, president of scripted programming at the LA office of Keshet Studios, told Bloomberg, “You no longer need 10 million people to like something for it to be a hit.”

The creativity and well-developed characters in Israeli shows comes in part from small budgets and strictly enforced schedules. “Our budgets are the budgets of coffee in American TV,” Dori Media Group CEO Yoni Paran told Variety. “So you have to think outside the box to make anything happen and for anyone in the international market to even look at you.”

Saval noted that, perhaps above all, these shows owe their success to a widespread Israeli desire to change the conversation from one of war and terrorism to one surrounding the positive contributions that Israel makes to the world.

“We want to be acknowledged not as the country that has walls or that kills Palestinians, but as a country admired for its art and beauty and its contributions to modern culture,” said Amaney Communications CEO Orly Katz. “We want to go from being hated to being loved.”

Israeli Company to Make $1 Billion Renewable Energy Investment in Africa

Jerusalem-based renewable-energy developer Energiya Global will invest $1 billion over the next four years to advance green power projects across 15 West African countries as part of a memorandum of understanding signed earlier this week between Israel and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

“In honor of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s two terms in office, and Liberia’s friendship with the State of Israel, Energiya Global and our international partners will finance and build a commercial-scale solar field at Roberts International Airport, which will supply 25% of the country’s generation capacity,” announced Yosef I. Abramowitz, Energiya Global CEO.

“We are prepared to finance and build the first National Demonstration Solar Projects in all ECOWAS-affiliated countries in order to promote political stability and social and economic development, as well as to advance knowledge transfer.”

Energiya Global and its associated companies developed the first commercial-scale solar field in sub-Sahara Africa in Rwanda, which increased the country's power generation by 6%. The group broke ground on a similar power plant in Burundi, which will supply 15% of the country’s power by the end of the year, according to a company statement.

Energiya Global has fields at various stages of development in 10 African countries and will announce its full program at the Israel-Africa Summit in Togo at the end of October.

The announcement coincided with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech at the ECOWAS Summit in Liberia on June 4, marking the first time a non-African leader was invited to speak at the forum. Netanyahu outlined Israeli technological innovations in agriculture, water and green energy that can support economic development in West Africa. The resulting MoU will promote investments, technology and cooperation.

“With 600 million Africans without electricity, the State of Israel can literally help African heads of state bring power to the African people,” says Member of Knesset Avraham Neguise, chairman of the Israel-Africa Caucus of the Israeli Parliament, who accompanied Netanyahu.

“Our humanitarian and diplomatic goals are supported by the private sector as well, which can work quickly and efficiently to improve the lives of millions of people. … We look forward to working with ECOWAS to deploy $1 billion over the next four years, starting with this first investment of $20 million in Liberia by Energiya Global,” said Neguise.

(via Israel21c)


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