US Backs Security Council Settlement Condemnation
TWO ISRAELI BROTHERS SHOT DEAD IN WEST BANK TERROR ATTACK — IDF: Two Israeli brothers were shot dead in a terror attack in the northern West Bank town of Huwara on Sunday, February 26, the military and medics said. The two were named Hallel Yaniv, 21 and Yagel Yaniv, 19, and were residents of the West Bank settlement of Har Bracha.
The Israel Defense Forces said a Palestinian gunman opened fire from close range at an Israeli-owned car on the Route 60 highway, then fled the scene, apparently on foot. Graphic footage from the attack in Huwara showed the victims’ car riddled with bullets. Troops at the scene found 12 nine-millimeter shell casings, indicating the attacker used a handgun or makeshift submachine gun. An initial probe of the shooting suggested the gunman took advantage of a traffic jam on the highway to carry out the attack. The IDF said it had launched a manhunt for the gunman, closing off several roads in the area. On Sunday evening, after holding a situation assessment with top defense officials, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant ordered the military to ramp up operations in the West Bank to locate the gunman. “Gallant directed the security forces to focus operational and intelligence efforts to capture the terrorists, while taking any necessary action, including offensive actions, to prevent further attacks,” his office said in a statement. (TOI / VFI News)
US BACKS UN SECURITY COUNCIL CONDEMNATION OF SETTLEMENTS: The UN Security Council on Monday, February 20, published a statement expressing its “dismay” over Jewish settlement activity in Judea and Samaria during a briefing on the situation in the Middle East.
The statement, which received the support of all 15 members of the Security Council, including the US, reads: “The Security Council reiterates that continuing Israeli settlement activities are dangerously imperiling the viability of the two-state solution.” The statement is non-binding, unlike a resolution which was proposed last week, which would have demanded that Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory.” That resolution was shelved at the behest of the Biden Administration.US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield, in explaining the Biden Administration’s support for the non-binding statement in an address which condemned both the recent terrorist attacks in Jerusalem in which 11 Israelis have been murdered and Jewish “settlement” activity, appearing to draw a moral equivalence between the murder of civilians and the building of homes by Jewish people in the disputed region of Judea and Samaria.The ambassador called on “all parties to take steps to restore and maintain calm.” She did not mention the fact that the Israeli government has agreed not to legalize any additional outposts in Judea and Samaria in the coming months as part of an agreement with the Biden Administration not to engage in any further unilateral actions. Nor did she specify that the nine that were authorized, such as Beit Hogla, have been awaiting legalization for years. (INN / VFI News)
ISRAEL BOMBS HAMAS SITES IN GAZA, HOURS AFTER ROCKETS SHOT TOWARD ASHKELON, SDEROT: Israeli warplanes carried out bombing raids against the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip early Thursday morning, February 23, the military said, hours after Palestinians fired six rockets into southern Israel in an apparent revenge attack for a deadly Israeli incursion into Nablus a day earlier.
The Palestinian rockets were fired at the Israeli cities of Ashkelon and Sderot, and other areas near the Gaza Strip. The military said five of the projectiles were downed by the Iron Dome anti-missile system and the last one landed in an open area. There were no reports of damage or casualties and no Palestinian group claimed responsibility. On Thursday, the Israeli fighter jets hit a Hamas weapons workshop in central Gaza, as well as an unspecified “military site” in the northern part of the Strip used by the group to store naval weapons, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement. “The complex is located near a mosque, a medical clinic, a school, a hotel, and a police station. This is further proof that the Hamas terror organization places its military assets in the heart of a civilian population,” the military said. “The strike deals a serious blow to Hamas’s ability to fortify and arm itself,” it added. There were no immediate reports of injuries. (TOI / VFI News)
IRANIAN GIRLS ARE BEING POISONED TO STOP THEM FROM ATTENDING SCHOOL: Hundreds of girls around Iran have been poisoned in their schools since November, the country’s Deputy Health Minister Younes Panahi confirmed to Iranian state news agency.
“After the poisoning of several students in Qom schools, it was found that some people wanted all schools, especially girls’ schools, to be closed.” “It has been revealed that the chemical compounds used to poison students are not war chemicals, and the poisoned students do not need aggressive treatment, and a large percentage of the chemical agents used are treatable.” The statement came after scores of girls in Qom began to experience respiratory poisoning with several requiring hospital medical treatment. According to Persian media, the poisoning began in Qom and spread to other cities in the area. At least 14 girls’ schools in four different cities have been hit.Last week, a Telegram account featured a message from a group that calls itself “Devotees of the Supreme,” which said that education is forbidden for girls and will only poison them. The message also warned that girls all across Iran would be poisoned if their schools were not shut down. (JPost / VFI News)
US 5TH FLEET COMMANDER: ‘IRANIAN ACTIONS HAVE THE ATTENTION OF EVERYONE’: As tensions rise over Iran’s advancing nuclear program, Iranian attacks in the waterways of the Middle East and elsewhere in the region “have the attention of everyone,” Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, the head of the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, told American media Tuesday, February 21.
Cooper says he’s seen a rise in “malign activities” on Iran’s part in the region over his two years leading the Bahrain-based 5th Fleet.While Cooper pointed to recent weapons confiscations by American and allied forces in the region as a success, he acknowledged that Iran has been able to carry out drone attacks targeting shipping in the Middle East and other assaults in the region. Earlier during the previous week, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s nuclear watchdog, announced that their monitors in Iran had detected uranium enrichment levels of 84% purity, only 6% less than the amount needed to create a nuclear weapon. Regarding Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Cooper says, “Obviously, the nuclear component is all being handled via diplomatic means,” adding, “I think over two years, we have for sure seen an increase in the number of malign activities, much of which we’ve been catching just in the last 60 to 90 days.” (INN / VFI News)
ISRAEL’S ‘TOP GUN’: THE US-ISRAELI AIRCRAFT THAT CAN TAKE DOWN IRAN: Israel’s F-35 Adir elite fighter aircraft sped off one by one down the Nevatim Air Force Base runway near Beersheba, curving at first slightly to the right and then bursting forward with a stunning thrust, cutting deep rightward, as well as sailing upward at an acute angle.
IDF Lt.-Col. M, commander of the 140 F-35 squadron, told media that the entire squadron could be up in the air during the exercise in less than 10 minutes and in an operational situation, far more rapidly. However, the four American F-15s, even during the exercise, seemed to take off at a much faster rate – within 30 seconds or less – practically one right after another. A Gulfstream G-500/G-550 (Nachshon) was also involved to train for intelligence collection. Asked about a variety of tasks, such as refueling, which might be necessary when striking distant locations such as Iran, M declined to address specific targets but said, “The Air Force would be ready for all tasks,” sending a message that the IDF has creative solutions for long-range flights. Some analysts have noted that the aircraft that Israel possesses can also fire long-range missiles to strike targets in Iran from a significant distance, and then hightail it back to Israel while remaining out of range of Iranian defenses, or while maximizing their ability to get out of range before those defenses kick in. CENTCOM, IDF and anonymous US officials all made it clear, either explicitly or implicitly, that Iran should take notice of the joint capabilities of Washington and Jerusalem to project and use power anywhere in the Middle East. (JPost / VFI News)
‘GLOBAL TERRORIST’ HEZBOLLAH FINANCIER ARRESTED IN EUROPEAN CAPITAL: A Lebanese and Belgian citizen considered a key financier of the Iranian-backed militant group Hezbollah was arrested Friday, February 24, in Bucharest, Romania’s capital, federal authorities said.
Mohammad Ibrahim Bazzi, 58, who was labeled a “global terrorist” by the United States in 2018 when $10 million was offered for information about his whereabouts, has funneled millions of dollars to Hezbollah over the years, authorities said. U.S. Attorney Breon Peace in Brooklyn said the extradition of Bazzi and Lebanese citizen Talal Chahine, 78, was sought on charges contained in an indictment returned last month in Brooklyn federal court. “Mohammad Bazzi thought that he could secretly move hundreds of thousands of dollars from the United States to Lebanon without detection by law enforcement,” Peace said in a release. “Today’s arrest proves that Bazzi was wrong.” Charges lodged against Bazzi and Chahine included conspiracy to cause U.S. individuals to conduct unlawful transactions with a global terrorist, and money laundering conspiracy. Daniel J. Kafafian, acting head of the Drug Enforcement Administration in New Jersey, said the defendants “attempted to provide continued financial assistance to Hezbollah, a foreign terrorist organization responsible for death and destruction.” (BB / VFI News)
NETANYAHU: ISRAEL IS NOW MAIN TRANSIT POINT BETWEEN ASIA AND EU, AFTER OMAN OPENS AIRSPACE: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday, February 23, welcomed the authorization for Israeli planes to fly over Oman.
“The Far East is not so far away and the skies are no longer the limit. This is a day of great news for Israeli aviation. Israel has, in effect, become the main transit point between Asia and Europe,” Netanyahu said. “We have worked to open the airspace, first over Saudi Arabia, and from 2018 when I visited Oman, to add Oman as well so that we can fly directly to India and on to Australia. This was achieved today, after considerable effort, including in recent months. Here is good news – Israel is opening up to the east on an unprecedented scale.” Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen thanked Omani Sultan Haitham bin Tariq al-Said for the decision, calling the move” historic and significant decision for the Israeli economy and the Israeli traveler.” (INN / VFI News)
PALESTINIAN WASTE FIRES ARE ‘KILLING US SLOWLY,’ WARN ISRAELIS IN WEST BANK: Israelis living in the West Bank warned that illegal waste fires are “killing us slowly,” during an emergency discussion concerning illegal waste fires at the Knesset’s Interior Affairs Committee on Monday, February 20.
“I didn’t imagine that I would have to fight to get clean air, our house is closed all the time. My children have an aggravation of hives and tingling in the throat, and the neighbors’ children have asthma. I don’t want to get into a situation of severe and serious illnesses. This is an anxiety that accompanies me every day,” said Reut Schechter, a mother of five whose family was one of the first to move into the settlement of Kedem Arava. “We have been suffering from these fires since our first day, and recently it has increased to the extent that there are fires all day long. The fires can be for days in a row, several days in a row. We report and the feeling is that there is no response. The suffering is daily – you cannot play outside, do sports or go on a walk.” “We literally leave the children at home and the distress is very, very great. I am a victim of terrorism, my father was killed in a shooting attack when I was a child, but the feeling is the same – a feeling that we are simply being killed, amid great suffering and no one cares.” Trash burning in the West Bank trash burning is common in Palestinian towns and cities throughout the West Bank and in many areas across Israel. The chairman of the committee, MK Yakov Asher, noted that plastics and metals are burned in the fires as well and called for heavier enforcement at the crossings through which waste passes and to formulate relevant legislation on the matter. (JPost / VFI News)
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Blessings from Jerusalem,
Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff