Elul 1, 5774 / Wednesday, Aug. 27 '14

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Headlines

  1. IDF Fires at Syria after Officer is Wounded in Golan
  2. Rock Ambush Injures Baby in Samaria
  3. Iran Hails Hamas 'Victory', Qatar Offers Money
  4. Infant Terror Victim Adelle Biton Returns Home Tomorrow
  5. Israel Claims 'Victory' Following Gaza Operation
  6. You'll Never Guess Who's Selling This T-Shirt...
  7. Gaza Ceasefire: What Did Israel Agree to?
  8. Second Eshkol Rocket Victim Dies of His Wounds


1. IDF Fires at Syria after Officer is Wounded in Golan

by Orly Harari

Pitched battles between Syrian president Bashar Assad's forces and rebels, in the area of Quneitra, spilled over into Israel Wednesday morning. Two mortar shells exploded in the Israeli Golan Heights.

They caused no casualties but damaged some vehicles. Shortly afterwards, an IDF officer was light-to-moderately wounded by what is believed to be stray gunfire from the battle in Quneitra.

IDF artillery fired at a Syrian military position in retaliation for the attacks.

Around 3 p.m. it was reported that opposition forces managed to take control of Al Rawadi, a village in Syria located in close proximity to the Quneitra Crossing to Israel. The fierce fighting between the Syrian army and opposition forces was continuing at full force, reports Yedioth Aharonoth.

Shortly afterwards a firefighting crew was dispatched to the Quneitra area to deal with a fire that broke out due to the mortar shells.

Nati Hajaj, spokesperson for the Israel Fire Department Northern Division, told Walla! that only one crew accompanied by IDF forces was sent due to the security risk. Additional firefighting teams are waiting for IDF permission to enter the area.

"If the fire spreads in a way that will endanger communities, I believe that we will press the army to bring forces into the area. I hope we won't need that," said Hajaj.

Agriculturalists have been instructed to leave the areas next to the border with Syria, for fear of being hurt by the fire. In addition, the Volcanic Park and the Emek Quneitra Observation Point have been closed off to tourists.

The echoes of numerous expolsions can be heard throughout the Golan as the rebel forces attempt to wrest Quneitra, Assad's last stronghold in the Golan, away from him. This is the rebel's second offensive in Quneitra. They have already seized most of the rest of the area bordering on Israel.

Rockets were fired at the Israeli Golan from Syria earlier this week. On Sunday night, sirens sounded in Israel communities in the Golan, and the remains of five rockets were found scattered in the area the next morning. The rockets caused no casualties and lightly damaged an electric cable.



2. Rock Ambush Injures Baby in Samaria

by Uzi Baruch, Gil Ronen

An 11-month-old baby girl was lightly hurt Wednesday when Arabs threw rocks at the car she was in, at Yitzhar junction in Samaria.

A Magen David Adom ambulance that was alerted reached the junction and gave the baby first aid. It then took her to Schneider Children's Hospital in Petah Tikva.

The ambulance driver said that the rock that hit the baby was the size of a fist and that the fact that the baby did not suffer more severe injuries is “a miracle.”

The attack took place just as it was reported that after a year and a half of intensive operations and treatment, four-and-a-half-year-old Adelle Biton will be returning to her home in the town of Yakir, in Samaria, tomorrow (Thursday).

On March 2013, as she was travelling in a car with her siblings and mother Adva close to the city of Ariel, their car was ambushed by Arabs, who hurled rocks at the car, causing it to veer off the road and crash headfirst into a truck.

Adelle, who was just three years old at the time, was left critically injured and fighting for her life; investigators say she was struck directly in the head by fist-sized rock thrown by her attackers.

Following a difficult period in intensive care and extensive operations she was transferred for rehabilitation at the Beit Lowenstein hospital in Raanana. As her recovery slowly progressed, she was allowed home to Yakir for weekends.

Three children were wounded on Monday evening in a rock attack in the Wadi Joz neighborhood of eastern Jerusalem.

The attack occurred when a 22-year-old Arab terrorist threw rocks towards avehicle that was travelling in the neighborhood.

Undercover police officers arrested the masked rock thrower, who tried to resist arrest by throwing rocks at the officers.

He was taken for questioning, and admitted to several incidents of rock throwing. The investigation is ongoing.

Arutz Sheva has reported on many occasions about rock attacks, which have become frequent occurrences in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria in recent years.

Such rock attacks can be lethal, as was the case in an attack in September of 2011 which targeted Asher Palmer and his infant son Yonatan. The two were killed when an Arab terrorist hurled large rocks at their car.



3. Iran Hails Hamas 'Victory', Qatar Offers Money

by AFP and Arutz Sheva

Two of Hamas's major sponsors and backers, Iran and Qatar, have hailed the ceasefire agreement it reached with Israel Tuesday as a victory for the Gaza terror organization.

Iran said Wednesday that Palestinians had emerged the victors and brought their Israeli foe "to its knees" during the 50-day conflict.

"The heroic Palestinian people have forged a new era with the victory of the resistance which has brought the Zionist regime to its knees," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

"This victory prepares the way for the final liberation of all the occupied lands especially Quds (Jerusalem)," it said, congratulating the Palestinian people and the terror groups in Gaza that Iran supports.

Iran used to give Hamas over $20 million per month but scaled back its support two years ago, when Hamas sided publicly with the Syrian rebels fighting President Bashar Assad. Assad enjoys the support of Iran and its proxy, Hezbollah. There has been a recent rapprochment, however, between Hamas and Iran, which continues to actively back the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terror group. Weapons sent from Iran to Gaza on the Klos C vessel, which was intercepted by Israel, appear to have been meant mostly for the PIJ.

Qatar, a key backer of Hamas, hailed the Gaza ceasefire accord and offered to help rebuild the enclave battered by seven weeks of Israeli bombardment.

The accord for a long-term ceasefire was thanks "firstly to the resistance and the sacrifices" of the Palestinians, the gas-rich Gulf emirate said in a statement.

It said Qatar, which is home to Khaled Meshaal, the exiled chief of the Islamist movement Hamas, was "ready to contribute to the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip as soon as possible".

The conflict, which began on July 8 when Israel launched Operation Protective Edge in a bid to stamp out cross-border rocket fire, cost the lives of 2,143 Palestinians and 70 on the Israeli side.



4. Infant Terror Victim Adelle Biton Returns Home Tomorrow

by Ido Ben-Porat

After a year and a half of intensive operations and treatment, four-and-a-half-year-old Adelle Biton will be returning to her home in the town of Yakir, in Samaria, tomorrow (Thursday).

But along with her family's the joy at her return, there are also fears for the long road to recovery which lies ahead for the infant victim of terror.

On March 2013, as she was travelling in a car with her siblings and mother Adva close to the city of Ariel, their car was ambushed by Arabs, who hurled rocks at the car, causing it to veer off the road and crash headfirst into a truck.

Adelle, who was just three years old at the time, was left critically injured and fighting for her life; investigators say she was struck directly in the head by fist-sized rock thrown by her attackers.

Following a difficult period in intensive care and extensive operations she was transferred for rehabilitation at the Beit Lowenstein hospital in Raanana. As her recovery slowly progressed, she was allowed home to Yakir for weekends.

Earlier this year the hospital took steps to release Adelle from their care, saying there was little more they could do for her. Her family took the case to court, and in May it was agreed that she would be allowed to remain for an additional four months.

"Our Adelle is returning home," mother Adva told Yediot Aharonoth.

Adelle is responding to certain and capable of some movement, but still requires constant care and has a long and arduous period of intensive therapy still ahead of her.

"Beit Lowenstein is not helping us any more," continued Adva. "At home Adelle will receive more treatment and more family warmth." Among other things, her daughter will be receiving speech therapy and physiotherapy.

Adding to the sense of celebration, Adva is currently in her ninth month of pregnancy - and will soon give birth to her first son after four daughters.

"Thank God, there will be happiness and joy... God is helping us," she said.

Tomorrow will also see another development related to the attack, in which Adva and her three other daughters were also lightly injured, as a military court will be conducting a hearing for the main terrorist convicted for the crime - one of a group of five Arab youths arrested for throwing rocks at cars in the area.

Adva said she wanted to attend to advocate against "concessions or agreements" with the terrorist, but Adelle's homecoming was more important to her.

"If I could, I would stand there and look the terrorist in the eyes, so he can see that he hasn't broken us, and so that judges will know that we demand he receives the punishment that is due to him."



5. Israel Claims 'Victory' Following Gaza Operation

by Gil Ronen

Israel is claiming victory in the 50-day war with Hamas, which temporarily ended in a ceasefire that went into force Tuesday.

"We were victorious in the negotiation phase,” said Liran Dan, Head of the National Information Directorate in the Prime Minister's Office, in an interview with IDF Radio Wednesday. “The military blow that the IDF dealt Hamas – the hardest it has experienced since it was founded – was heavy and meaningful. What we saw is that in a prolonged and well executed campaign, Hamas suffered a harsh military blow and damage to the most heavily constructed arrays it built.”

Idan said that Hamas built up networks of rockets, attack tunnels and terror forces over years with the intent of using them against Israel, and these have been smashed by the IDF. 

"We should ask the opposite question,” Dan said. “What has Hamas achieved with this campaign? It set out with a very clear goal and did not achieve it.” Hamas wanted sea and air ports, it wanted funding allowed into Gaza, it wanted the blockade of Gaza lifted, it wanted the terrorists who were released in the Schalit deal and recently rearrested released, it wanted Turkey and Qatar to mediate in the negotiations, and received none of these things, he noted. Hamas thought that the Israeli public's spirit would break after one week's fighting, and was proved wrong, he insisted. 

Dan also noted that Hamas's order of battle is larger than that of the entire Islamic State.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu did not hold a Cabinet vote on the decision to cease fire. He relied on a legal opinion that allows him to make the decision on his own, without Cabinet approval. Netanyahu preferred not to bring the matter to a vote because he would have faced opposition from four ministers – Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home), Avigdor Liberman and Yitzchak Aharonovich (Yisrael Beytenu) and Gilad Erdan (Likud).

Residents of the Gaza Belt are very unhappy about the cease fire, but Brigadier General Motti Almoz, the IDF Spokesman, promised the residents that IDF forces will not be withdrawn from the Gaza Belt any time soon.

"We are present around the Gaza Belt all of the time and we will not leave it until we see the situation stabilizing,” he assured. “We are doing this with a lot of love and there is no argument or disagreement with the residents of the Gaza Belt. The residents have experienced something. The burden of proof is on us, and we understand this. We will not budge from there until trust is restored.”

The celebrations in Gaza are not surprising but they do not represent the true feelings in the leadership of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, he added. “It will take ten years to repair the damage caused to Gaza in this operation, but it has the potential to create a completely different security reality. The fact that entire strategic arrays of Hamas have collapsed is very clear.



6. You'll Never Guess Who's Selling This T-Shirt...

by Ari Soffer

"Sheriff's t-shirt"?

That's how retail giant Zara is marketing this rather... bizarre choice of design for a children's outfit, to say the least:

"Sheriff's outfit"? Screenshot

Zara Israel apologized for the shirt and promised it would be taken off the shelves.

"The design for the item from the Cowboy Collection for babies was inspired by the sheriff's character in wild west movies,” the firm said,

"In this item, one can see that the word 'sheriff' is written on the star. And yet, we can understand the sensitivity, the context and the connotation that resulted. The item is not on offer in Israel and once the matter was made apparent it was decided to take it off the sales shelves worldwide and destroy it.

"We express our sincere apologies if, as a result, we hurt our clients' feelings.”



7. Gaza Ceasefire: What Did Israel Agree to?

by AFP, Arutz Sheva Staff

Azzam al-Ahmed, head of the Palestinian Authority (PA) delegation in the Cairo truce talks, revealed to AFP on Tuesday night what exactly was in the long-term ceasefire deal that Israel agreed to, and which went into effect at 7 p.m. that night.

The first point raised was Gaza border crossings. Under the agreement, there will be an immediate easing of restrictions on the two main crossings between Israel and Gaza to allow in aid and reconstruction supplies.

Significantly, construction materials needed to repair the water network, electricity grid and mobile phone networks will be allowed in along with humanitarian aid, food and medical supplies. It should be noted that Israel continued supplying humanitarian goods throughout most of Operation Protective Edge.

Construction materials have in the past been used to build terror tunnels to attack Israel, and therefore earlier reports signaled they would not be allowed in until the ceasefire had proven itself for a set amount of time.

The deal did not give specific details about how construction materials might be restricted, in line with the Israeli blockade on Gaza that has been in effect since 2006. It did however call for a lifting of that blockade with no clear timeline.

As for the Gaza fishing zone, restrictions will be lifted immediately to extend the zone to six nautical miles from the shore, to be extended later to 12 miles. Over the past eight years, Israel has set a six-nautical-mile limit for Gaza's fishermen when tensions were lower, restricting it to three miles when hostilities have escalated.

Israel temporarily lifted the ban on August 17, two days before Hamas breached the last truce. 

During the operation fishing was canceled due to security threats, as Hamas terrorists made several attempts to infiltrate Israel by sea, and have often tried to smuggle weapons into the Hamas stronghold under the guise of fishing vessels.

The ceasefire deal likewise would have future discussions held about a swap of terrorists jailed in Israel for the bodies of IDF soldiers Second Lt. Hadar Goldin and First Sgt. Oron Shaul hy''d, who were killed in the operation.

Hamas wants hundreds of prisoners released, among them those arrested in Operation Brother's Keeper, during which the IDF cracked down on the Hamas infrastructure in Judea and Samaria while searching for three Israeli teens abducted by Hamas terrorists.

They additionally demanded the release of roughly 60 terrorists who were freed in the 2011 Gilad Shalit deal and later re-arrested, some of whom quickly returned to murderous acts of terror.

Hamas is also calling for the release of 37 Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) membersall but two of whom are Hamas members, along with the 26 terrorists promised in the fourth batch of releases as part of the Israel-PA peace talks that broke down in April.

The Hamas demand for a Gaza sea and airport will be discussed in Cairo within the next month according to the agreement.

What will Israel get from all of this? The one major Israeli demand has been a demilitarization of Gaza, which has emerged as a terror haven since Israel's withdrawal in 2005. Apparently Israel has linked the lifting of the Gaza blockade and reconstructing the area with the disarmament of the terror groups.

The Palestinian delegation flatly refused this lone demand.

Apparently Israel will raise demilitarization and the limitation on construction materials and weapons in the next stage of talks to be held in the coming month.



8. Second Eshkol Rocket Victim Dies of His Wounds

by Uzi Baruch

One of the victims of Tuesday’s rocket attack on the Eshkol region was pronounced dead at the Soroka Hospital in Be’er Sheva on Tuesday evening.

This brings the death toll in that attack to two, as one person was critically wounded in the attack and shortly thereafter died of his wounds.

Five other people were wounded in the same attack.

The fatal attack came just as the Palestinian Authority (PA) claimed that Israel had agreed to a long-term ceasefire.

Just last Friday four-year-old Daniel Tragerman was likewise murdered by mortar shrapnel in his home in Kibbutz Nahal Oz.

Haim Yellin, head of the Eshkol Regional Council, lashed out at the government on Tuesday evening and said that locals will not return to their homes so long as the current situation continues.

"Maybe there is a ceasefire in Jerusalem, I have no idea what they are talking about,” he told Channel 10 News, adding, “In Jerusalem they feel safe, even in some neighborhoods in Gaza they feel safe, but we certainly do not feel safe.”

Yellin declared that no resident of Eshkol will be called to return to his home until he can determine that there truly is a ceasefire.

"No one is coming back, I do not care what the government says and what Hamas says. Until I know there is a real ceasefire and our security is guaranteed, no one returns,” he said.

Turning directly to the cabinet ministers, Yellin said, "I invite them to come here with their entire families. Make the decisions from here. They need to understand what we have been going through for 14 years.”



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