The Threat of the Australian Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

Australian Defence Minister Richard Marles speaks at a press conference in front of the USS Asheville, a Los Angeles-class nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine, during a tour of HMAS Stirling in Perth. The prospect of Australia acquiring nuclear submarines via the Aukus agreement has raised concerns around regional stability and global non-proliferation efforts. Photo: AAP / dpa

Why Australia’s Aukus submarine deal is a clear threat to nuclear non-proliferation

The way the submarine deal is structured sets a bad precedent of supplying a non-nuclear weapon state and NPT member with weapons-grade fuelIf the Aukus partners want to set good standards for non-proliferation, they should expand IAEA safeguards or abandon using nuclear submarine technology

Riaz Khokhar

Australian Defence Minister Richard Marles speaks at a press conference in front of the USS Asheville, a Los Angeles-class nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine, during a tour of HMAS Stirling in Perth. The prospect of Australia acquiring nuclear submarines via the Aukus agreement has raised concerns around regional stability and global non-proliferation efforts. Photo: AAP / dpa

The recently announced Aukus submarine deal between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States faces two major challenges.

First, the supply of a conventionally armed nuclear submarine to a non-nuclear weapon state and member of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is not only unprecedented but threatens the international non-proliferation regime.

Second, the trilateral deal could deepen geopolitical tensions in the region, setting the Australian navy against Chinese maritime forces in ways that would increase the nuclearisation of the Indian Ocean region and could violate Australia’s own pledge of a nuclear weapons-free zone.

The Aukus partners have said their trilateral partnership to provide Australia with a conventionally armed nuclear submarine would set “the highest possible non-proliferation standards” in ways that “strengthen the global non-proliferation regime”. To ensure this, the US and the UK would provide Australia with complete, welded power units, from which “removal or diversion of any nuclear material would be extremely difficult”.

Additionally, the nuclear material would not be in a form to produce nuclear weapons directly and instead would need further processing in nuclear facilities that Canberra does not have.

On top of that, Australia has been negotiating with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to develop a “suitable verification arrangement” against the diversion of nuclear fuel.

China warns Aukus against going down ‘dangerous road’ over nuclear-powered submarine pact

02:52

China warns Aukus against going down ‘dangerous road’ over nuclear-powered submarine pact

China warns Aukus against going down ‘dangerous road’ over nuclear-powered submarine pact

But nuclear experts have warned that instead of the highest possible non-proliferation standard, the US was on its way to setting a bad precedent of supplying a non-nuclear weapon state and a member of the NPT with weapons-grade fuel. The nuclear material could remain outside IAEA safeguards for as long as the nuclear submarine remains on patrol.

During that period, it would be impossible for the IAEA to ensure the nuclear material is not removed or diverted for military applications. Some members of the IAEA such as China and Indonesia have argued that the Aukus partners have been less transparent and kept their negotiations with the IAEA private.

Some experts have said the IAEA needs to involve interested member states in these negotiations to reach uniform, non-discriminatory principles regarding the application of safeguards on nuclear submarines.

Another problem is that the IAEA is bound by its statutory obligations to ensure its assistance “is not used in such a way as to further any military purpose”, but the definition of “non-proscribed military activity” or “non-peaceful activities” is unclear. The Aukus partners cannot themselves assume the connotations of these terms and privately negotiate the application of safeguards without the input of other interested IAEA members.

Indonesian political and military officials see the Australian nuclear submarine capability as meant for war and the Aukus pact as a smaller Nato. Since a nuclear submarine could use weapons-grade fissile material, they suggest its use of Indonesian sea lanes could be blocked as it could violate the Asean nuclear-free zone.

What to know about Australia’s Aukus subs and why it’s causing anxiety in Asia16 Mar 2023

The US is expected to provide three of its Virginia class fast-attack nuclear submarines to Australia by the early 2030s. One of the pillars of the Aukus agreement is to provide Australia with a range of defence capabilities, including hypersonic and counter-hypersonic weapons systems to increase interoperability among the US allies.

It would be the first time the US provided a conventionally armed nuclear submarine to a non-nuclear member state of the NPT. Worse, in terms of damaging the global non-proliferation regime, Washington would follow an earlier precedent of Russia’s provision of nuclear submarines to India.

These plans appear to show that Australia could provide US forces with a “protective screen” to attack Chinese targets in the event of conflict and reinforce the US Navy’s strategy to deter Chinese nuclear capability in the region.

For a non-nuclear weapon state and member of the NPT, acquiring or developing an armed nuclear submarine is not the right way to go about doing that. China is not the only country with nuclear submarine capability in the Indo-Pacific. The US and India also operate submarines in the region.

Two Chinese nuclear-powered Type 094A Jin-class ballistic missile submarines are seen during a military display in the South China Sea on April 12, 2018. Photo: Reuters

While China and the US are NPT member states and nuclear powers, India is a non-NPT state. This would be the first time a non-nuclear weapon state and a member of the NPT would operate a nuclear submarine utilising what have been called “grey areas” around IAEA safeguards.

In addition, the US is planning to deploy its B-52 bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons on a rotational basis at the Royal Australian Air Force base at Tindal in the Northern Territory. There are concerns this move could have severe implications for the Treaty of Rarotonga that establishes the South Pacific nuclear-free zone.

Australia faces tough task soothing Asia anxieties over Aukus subs: analysts17 Mar 2023

If the Aukus partners want to set the best standards for the global non-proliferation regime, they would be better served to extend the IAEA safeguards to any submarines on patrol to ensure that the agency’s oversight does not stray from the nuclear material at any point. Alternatively, they could shelve the nuclear submarine technology and explore other options with similar military capabilities and features.

The IAEA would also have to address these issues and ensure the transparency and participation of all member states in these negotiations.

The concerned member states would do well to provide solutions to these problems in general terms, not just those specific to Australia, and sideline geopolitics to set a uniform, non-discriminatory criteria for all non-nuclear weapon states and members of the NPT.

Riaz Khokhar is a research associate at the Center for International Strategic Studies (CISS) and a former Asia Studies visiting fellow at the East-West Centre in Washington

The Iran-led ‘axis of resistance’ is gearing up outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

The Iran-led ‘axis of resistance’ is gearing up for a Ramadan terror offensive

Israel, too, is seriously preparing for a scenario exceeding in scope the military conflict with Gaza in May 2021.

(March 19, 2023 / JNS) Sometime on March 11 or 12, a terrorist infiltrated in Israel from Lebanon, and planted a sophisticated bomb near the Megiddo Junction, some 37 miles south of the Israel-Lebanon border. The bomb detonated on March 13, seriously wounding Israeli Arab Shareef ad-Din, 21, as he drove along Highway 65.

The incident marks major intelligence and operational failures on the part of the Israel Defense Forces. The political echelon should have ordered a military response; its failure to do so further erodes Israel’s deterrence.

It is believed that the terrorist was a Palestinian member of Hamas in southern Lebanon who was trained by Hezbollah to operate the shaped charge. Hamas recruits in the Tyre and Sidon refugee camps.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah knew about and approved the joint operation with Hamas, which left no fingerprints and for which neither organizations has taken responsibility.

According to intelligence data from various sources, Israeli security officials believe that in the runup to Ramadan there will be an unprecedented conflict with the Palestinian terrorist factions on several fronts, that may deteriorate into a military conflict more acute than the conflict in the Gaza Strip in May 2021.

Subscribe to The JNS Daily Syndicate by email and never miss our top stories

Visible signs also testify to this: The Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad organizations have increased the incitement against Israel in recent weeks, and launched a campaign of psychological warfare to weaken Israel morale.

Saleh al-Arouri, the vice chairman of the Hamas movement and head of its military wing in the West Bank, the man who coordinates in Beirut the activity with Hezbollah, said in an interview by the official Hamas website on March 14, 2023, that the events to come will be very difficult for the “occupation and its settlers.” The “resistance” in the West Bank is in a state of escalation, and it is diversifying its weapons.

Marwan Issa, the shadowy deputy commander of Hamas’s military wing in the Gaza Strip, hinted at the possibility of massive rocket fire from the Gaza Strip towards Israel. He told the Al-Aqsa channel on March 15, 2023, that the “political project in the West Bank has ended; the enemy brought the Oslo Accords to an end; and the coming days will be eventful.”

Issa continued: A political solution in the West Bank “is a thing of the past…. Any escalation in the Al-Aqsa Mosque area will result in a reaction in the Gaza Strip; Hamas in Gaza will not [just] be an observer to events in Jerusalem.”

“The desire to commit suicide among the [Muslim] residents of the West Bank is unprecedented, and the state of resistance in the West Bank is excellent. So is the state of national unity in the face of the occupation,” the Hamas official claimed.

A spokesman for the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad threatened Israel with a new intifada and an unprecedented conflict.

The accumulation of these statements by the heads of terrorist organizations in the media, in combination with intelligence information, indicate an impending escalation. The security summit in Aqaba on Feb. 26 initiated by the United States has failed, and the fate of the next meeting, scheduled to take place in Sinai on March 19, is uncertain. It is very doubtful whether Israel will be able to stop the approaching tsunami of terrorism, since this is a strategic decision by the terrorist organizations in coordination with Iran.

The terrorist cells are showing an increased use of explosive devices in Judea and Samaria, and are attempting to activate them within Israel proper as well. The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) has recently foiled several attempted bombings by Palestinians from Judea and Samaria who were recruited by Hamas from the Gaza Strip through social networks.

According to Hamas officials, the attack on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv on March 9, 2023 marks the organization’s decision to resume attacks within the Green Line.

According to security sources, Hezbollah Secretary-General Nasrallah increased his coordination meetings in Beirut’s al-Dahiya neighborhood with PIJ secretary general Ziad al-Nakhala and Hamas military chief Saleh al-Arouri, toward the beginning of Ramadan. An agreement was reportedly reached between Hezbollah, Hamas, PIJ00 and the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to step up terrorist activities in the coming days.

Nasrallah said last week that Israel would collapse even before it marks the 80th year of its founding. The internal dispute in Israel and the wave of protests over the government’s judicial reform have increased the feeling among the terrorist organizations that Israel is on the verge of disintegration and that this is the time to increase the pressure.

Despite the hoopla at the time, the agreement regarding the division of Lebanon’s economic territorial waters designed by the United States, signed on October 27, 2022, did not reduce Hezbollah’s motivation for terrorism against Israel. Moreover, it allows Hamas to strengthen its military infrastructure in southern Lebanon and in the refugee camps in Tyre and Sidon.

Hamas officials say that the attacks on Israel in the coming days will be from all directions according to the doctrine of unification of the fronts, including rocket fire from southern Lebanon and infiltration operations from southern Lebanon into Israeli territory.

According to security officials in Israel, behind all this malevolent activity is Iran, which in the past year has smuggled arms and funds through Jordan to the northern West Bank into the hands of the terrorist organizations.

The axis of resistance led by Iran is preparing for a major escalation in the month of Ramadan. Israel is also seriously preparing for a scenario that may be bigger than the military conflict that took place in May 2021.

Yoni Ben Menachem, a veteran Arab affairs and diplomatic commentator for Israeli radio and television, is a senior Middle East analyst at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He served as director general and chief editor of the Israel Broadcasting Authority.

Originally published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Obama’s Nuclear Fallacy: Daniel 8

Obama’s Non-Nuclear Memoir

Barack Obama, A Promised Land (New York: Crown, 2020)

“Whatever you do won’t be enough. … Try anyway.”

— President Barack Obama

It was December 2009 and the still-new president was in his hotel room in Oslo getting dressed in the tuxedo he would wear for the ceremony to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. An aide knocked on the door and urged him to look out the window. Pulling back the shades, Barack Obama saw several thousand people in the narrow street below holding lit candles over their heads to celebrate him. “[O]n some level,” he notes in his excellent new 700-page memoir, “the crowds below were cheering an illusion … The idea that I, or any one person, could bring order to [this chaotic world] seemed laughable.” (p. 446)

Obama famously had questioned how he deserved this prize so early in his presidency. One answer was the “Prague speech” he had given that April, stating “clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.” Now, 11 years later, Obama devotes more words in his memoir to describing the scene on the streets through which his motorcade lumbered en route to the speech site than he does to the content of the speech. (p. 348)

The reticence clearly is not an accident. Throughout the book he barely mentions and never explores in depth what had been hailed earlier as the Prague Agenda.

For example, in an insightful 12-page discussion of Russian politics and U.S. efforts to “reset” relations with Moscow, Obama writes merely that his initial meeting with President Dmitry Medvedev produced “an agreed-upon framework for the new strategic arms treaty, which would reduce each side’s allowable nuclear warheads and delivery systems by up to one-third.” (p. 462)

Nowhere in the text does he mention the considerable labor that he personally devoted to shaping his administration’s Nuclear Posture Review, which was completed in 2010. His signature nuclear policy innovation, a “forty-seven-nation nuclear security summit” to strengthen international efforts to keep nuclear materials away from terrorists, gets no more mention than these four hyphenated words. North Korea receives two glancing comments.

Why does Obama — who was deeply engaged in nuclear policy issues throughout his presidency — devote so little to the topic in his memoir? What does this omission reveal about the politics of nuclear weapons in the United States? And finally, what should those working to reduce nuclear risks around the world learn from Obama’s attempts to grapple with his own legacy on nuclear matters?

There are many ways to interpret Obama’s nuclear reticence. He paid more personal attention to nuclear policy than any president since Ronald Reagan, and he was more knowledgeable about details than any predecessor, except perhaps Jimmy Carter. Disappointment over the results are surely a factor. Although this memoir covers only the first 18 months of his presidency, it is informed by knowledge of what happened later, including the near collapse of arms control with Russia, renewed qualitative arms racing with Russia and China, North Korea’s burgeoning arsenal, and the impossibility of winning Republican support for a nuclear deal with Iran.

But Obama faced lots of other disappointments that he discusses at length. He writes 30 pages on climate change policy and his diplomatic intervention to save the Copenhagen climate summit in December 2009. You can imagine him saying of New START nuclear policy what he writes wryly about the Copenhagen effort:

All that for an interim agreement that — even if it worked entirely as planned — would be at best a preliminary, halting step toward solving a possible planetary tragedy, a pail of water thrown on a raging fire. I realized that for all the power inherent in the seat I now occupied, there would always be a chasm between what I knew should be done to achieve a better world and what in a day, week, or year I found myself actually able to accomplish. (p. 516)

An earlier passage may partially answer why nuclear issues barely register in the book. In recounting the 2009 press conference in Moscow with Medvedev where Obama had described the framework for what became the New START Treaty, Obama wryly (as usual) notes that Robert Gibbs, his press secretary, “was more excited by Russia’s agreement to lift restrictions on certain U.S. livestock exports, a change worth more than $1 billion to American farmers and ranchers.” This, Gibbs said, was “[s]omething folks back home actually care about.” (p. 462) Later, Obama bemoans the absence of a strong domestic constituency “clamoring” for the treaty’s ratification by the Senate, which left him no choice but to make “a devil’s bargain” with Republican leaders to boost funding to modernize the nuclear weapons infrastructure. (p. 608)

To sell books or political candidates today, the less said about nuclear policy the better. The public and media don’t follow the details. They can’t reasonably assess the pros and cons of policy options. Until there is a nuclear war — or a real scare that one is imminent — busy people are unlikely to demand big changes.

One could say that the public doesn’t care or follow what’s going on in Afghanistan, either, yet Obama writes much more about it. The difference is that Afghanistan was a war and topic of necessity — as Obama insisted in the 2008 campaign. He had to deal with it. Nuclear policy is an issue of choice so long as deterrence seems to be working. When the political payoff is negligible, it is better to turn to other things. People do get alarmed by Iranian or North Korean proliferation. The president should try to address those challenges. But neither the public nor Congress and the defense establishment see how stopping proliferation requires fidelity to nuclear disarmament, as Obama argued.

Public inattention means that Republican leaders could have relatively free hands to pursue arms control and disarmament measures if they wanted to. Their supporters will not protest, and Democrats by and large will go along. Democratic leaders face a much tougher challenge. The more public their arms control-related initiatives, the more that nativist Republican forces will counter them with narratives of weakness, naivete, and indulgence of evil Iranian Ayatollahs, Chinese Communists, or Russian cheaters. Those narratives win in cable news and internet combat in swing states and districts. To counter them and buy the necessary Republican votes, Democrats are compelled to fund new or different military capabilities that signify strength and revenue to defense contractors and host states. This says more about the public and the political-psychology of enmity than it does about Democrats, but the reader imagines that the Obama of the Prague speech underestimated the challenge.

For Democrats, the most plausible way around the mass constituency problem is to appoint motivated experts to key administration positions and to team them with military leaders who share the view that nuclear deterrence can be maintained between the United States and Russia and China with much leaner arsenals. Obama had a few such officials (e.g., Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. James “Hoss” Cartwright and Under Secretary of Defense for Policy James Miller) but neither Secretary of Defense Robert Gates nor Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shared his nuclear policy predilections or exerted themselves against domestic and international resistance to them.

The political logic of selecting and working with military leaders who share a president’s view on the relative importance of conventional versus nuclear forces for securing the United States and allies is affirmed, indirectly, in another line from Gibbs. Talking about what became the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Obama wonders if the public would understand the arcane rule changes involved. Gibbs assures him, “They don’t need to understand it. … If the banks hate it, they’ll figure it must be a good thing.” (p. 553) In nuclear policy, the equivalent line might be, “If the military hates it, the public will figure it’s a bad thing.” In general, Obama stays shy of arguing with the military. Indeed, the memoir’s discussions of Gen. David Petraeus, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, and Adm. Mike Mullen are sugarcoated compared to Bob Woodward’s account of White House-military relations in Obama’s Wars.

According to the Constitution, civilians should direct the military, of course. But the public trusts military leaders more when it comes to national security, especially compared to Democrats. To shift national nuclear policies in the current environment, the president needs to win 60 votes in the Senate to advance legislation — 67 to ratify treaties. This requires persuading senators from swing states to support the agenda. If the military joins opponents against a Democratic president, that president and his or her policies will lose. (This logic may, in part, be reflected in President-elect Joe Biden’s selection of retired Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III as secretary of defense. Due to the public’s trust in the armed forces, Austin’s military experience is likely to be a political asset. His impact on potential nuclear policy is unclear. Austin comes from the Army, a service that is less invested in the nuclear enterprise, as they and the Marines don’t have any nuclear weapons. As former commander of U.S. Central Command, he will have the best possible credibility for arguing in favor of returning to the Iran nuclear deal — credibility that Biden will need in front of the Congress and the public.)

To win military leaders’ support for new nuclear policies, or at least their politically useful nonresistance, experts and civilian officials will need to offer the military better alternatives for deterring or defeating threats. The best such alternatives would be dialing down Russian and Chinese coercion of their neighbors, and negotiating verifiable reductions of Russian nuclear forces and limitations on China’s military buildup. The United States, of course, will have to provide reciprocal reassurance to Moscow and Beijing, which is easier said than done. The other, not mutually exclusive, need is to improve U.S. and allied non-nuclear capabilities to prevent Russia or China from taking small bits of disputed territory and then leaving Washington with the dreadful choice of capitulation or major conflict that could escalate — purposefully or inadvertently — to nuclear war. To allay concerns of arms racing, Washington should make clear to Moscow and Beijing that it prefers to negotiate confidence-building and arms control mechanisms with them if they want to.

Rather than the audacious hope of Senator Obama, President Obama’s experience suggests that people seeking the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons need an attitude more like Albert Camus’ Sisyphus, whom “we must imagine happy” as he repeatedly pushes the rock up the hill. This is the Obama that comes through the superb memoir: patient, ironic, steadily trying, and grinning even as he knows that whatever we can accomplish may not be enough.

Become a Member

George Perkovich is the Ken Olivier and Angela Nomellini Chair and vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Rocket launched from outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

 Streaks of light are seen from Ashkelon as the Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched from the Gaza Strip toward Israel on August 5. (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)

Rocket launched from Gaza after Hamas vows revenge for slain terrorists

Rocket fire comes just two days after two commanders of Islamic Jihad and Hamas were killed in clashes with Israeli forces in Jenin.

A rocket fell in an open area in southern Israel on Saturday evening, setting off sirens in Nahal Oz near the Gaza Strip.

The rocket fire comes just two days after two commanders of local branches of the Islamic Jihad and Hamas terrorist groups in Jenin were killed in clashes with Israeli forces.

The two commanders were identified as Nidal Hazem, a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement’s al-Quds Brigades and the commander of the Baha Force unit, and Youssef Shreim, a member of Hamas’s al-Qassam Brigades.

A third individual identified as Omar Awadin and a fourth individual identified as Louay Khalil Al-Zaghair were killed amid the clashes as well and 23 others were wounded.

The IDF, Shin Bet and Border Police announced after the raid that they had assassinated Hazem and an additional member of the Islamic Jihad movement named Youssef Abu Ashrin.

According to the IDF, Hazem was involved in “significant terrorist activity” and Abu Ashrin was involved in producing explosives and firing at IDF soldiers, among other terrorist activity.

One of the other Palestinians killed was shot by Israeli forces after attacking the forces with a sledgehammer, according to the IDF. Israeli forces fired at a number of Palestinians who shot at them during the raid as well. No Israeli personnel were injured.

Hamas: Israeli crimes will not go unanswered

After the raid on Thursday, Hamas spokesman Abd al-Latif al-Qanou warned that “The crime of assassinating the heroes of the resistance in Jenin will not go unanswered, and our people and its resistance are capable of striking the occupation and making it pay the price for its crimes.”

“The Palestinian resistance in the West Bank will remain present and escalating, and no one will be able to stop its expansion or prevent it from responding to the crimes of the occupation.”

Israel and the Palestinian Authority are set to hold a meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh on Sunday in an attempt to lower tensions ahead of the month of Ramadan which is set to begin in the middle of the week.

Late last month, Israel and the PA held talks to reduce tensions in Aqaba.

On Friday evening, a Palestinian identified as Yazan Omar Khasib was shot and killed after attempting to stab an IDF soldier near Beitin.

This is a developing story.

Hamas supports escalating resistance outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

UAE Pavilion advertises the 2023 conference in Dubai on the final day of the COP27 UN Climate Change Conference, held by UNFCCC in Sharm El-Sheikh International Convention Center [Dominika Zarzycka/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images]

Sharm El-Sheikh summit: Hamas supports escalating resistance against occupation

March 18, 2023 at 11:09 am | Published in: Asia & AmericasIsraelMiddle EastNewsPalestineUS

The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas announced on Friday that it advocates escalating resistance against the Israeli occupation, which has intensified its crimes against Palestinians, Al-Resalah newspaper reported.

This came in press remarks delivered by senior Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzouq, who stressed that the Sharm El-Sheikh meeting plans to rein in Palestinian resistance.

Regarding European and US efforts to de-escalate Israeli violations against Palestinians, Abu Marzouq criticised: “The Europeans do not take practical measures to pressure the Israeli occupation to stop its crimes.”

He commented on the security coordination between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Israeli occupation: “The security coordination is based on passing information about the Palestinian resistance to the occupation. The Palestinian Authority should know that coordination with the Palestinians is more important than security coordination with the Israeli occupation.”

Abu Marzouq indicated that his movement supports hunger striker Khader Adnan, who has been under illegal administrative detention inside Israeli jails.

Regarding his visit to Moscow, Abu Marzouq said the two sides discussed the latest developments concerning Palestine and the Israeli occupation forces, as well as the escalating crimes of colonial settlers in the occupied West Bank under the cover of the extremist Israeli government.

Islamic Jihad, Hamas commanders killed in clashes outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

 IDF soldiers during a raid on Jenin. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

Islamic Jihad, Hamas commanders killed in clashes with Israeli forces in Jenin

The spokesmen of both terror groups called the killings a ‘crime’ and threatened to exact a price from Israel.

By TZVI JOFFRE

Published: MARCH 16, 2023 15:48

Updated: MARCH 16, 2023 17:34

   

IDF soldiers during a raid on Jenin.

Two commanders of local branches of the Islamic Jihad and Hamas terrorist groups were killed in clashes with Israeli forces in Jenin on Thursday.

The two killed were identified as Nidal Hazem, a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement’s al-Quds Brigades and the commander of the Baha Force unit, and Youssef Shreim, a member of Hamas’s al-Qassam Brigades.

A third individual identified as Omar Awadin and a fourth individual were killed amid the clashes as well and 20 others were wounded.Top ArticlesRead More

 An IDF raid in Jenin, January 26, 2023. (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)An IDF raid in Jenin, January 26, 2023. (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON’S UNIT)

Could the Saudi-Iranian deal lead to peace with Israel? – opinion

The IDF, Shin Bet and Border Police announced after the raid that they had assassinated Hazem and an additional member of the Islamic Jihad movement named Youssef Abu Ashrin. Abu Ashrin has not been reported as one of those killed in Palestinian reports and it is unclear if Youssef Shreim is the same individual.

According to the IDF, Hazem was involved in “significant terrorist activity” and Abu Ashrin was involved in producing explosives and firing at IDF soldiers, among other terrorist activities.

One of the other Palestinians killed was shot by Israeli forces after attacking the forces with a sledgehammer, according to the IDF. Israeli forces fired at a number of Palestinians who shot at them during the raid as well. No Israeli personnel were injured.

Footage from the scene showed two individuals seemingly shot by Israeli forces laying in the middle of a street.

Ohio’s Housing Market: What It Means For Real Estate InvestorsSponsored by fundthatflip.com

Chase Marriott Bonvoy’s New Sign Up Offer Means Up to 13 Free Nights at a HotelSponsored by Chase Marriott on Conde Nast Traveler

Measure the nation’s progress with numbers instead of rhetoric.Sponsored by USAFacts

Don’t Play This Game if You Are Under 40 Years OldSponsored by plarium.com

Hazem and Shreim were reportedly commanders in their respective terrorist groups. Hazem is also the nephew of Fathi Hazem, the father of the terrorist who carried out the Dizengoff shooting attack last year.

Hamas threatens to react

Hamas spokesman Abd al-Latif al-Qanou warned that “The crime of assassinating the heroes of the resistance in Jenin will not go unanswered, and our people and its resistance are capable of striking the occupation and making it pay the price for its crimes.”

“The Palestinian resistance in the West Bank will remain present and escalating, and no one will be able to stop its expansion or prevent it from responding to the crimes of the occupation.”

Islamic Jihad spokesman Tariq Ezz El-Din warned as well “the occupation bears full responsibility for the cowardly assassination crime carried out by Zionist special forces against the fighters and mujahideen of our Palestinian people in Jenin this evening and will pay the price for these crimes.”

“We say to this criminal occupier, do not rejoice in your act too much, for our martyrs are in heaven, and this is the name of our wishes, but you will regret a lot because our resistance will not spare the blood of our martyred leaders and will avenge them with all force.”

The governor of Jenin, Akram Rajoub, stressed that Israel “crossed all red lines” in the clashes on Thursday. “It is clear that the life of the Palestinian citizen for the Israeli government is worth nothing.”

The spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, claimed that the clash in Jenin aimed “to detonate the situation and drag the region into a square of tension and violence.”

The spokesman additionally claimed that the clashes show that Israel “is not at all interested in calming the situation and preventing its eruption, contrary to all international efforts seeking to prevent escalation in the holy month of Ramadan.”

Israel and the PA will hold a meeting in Egypt

The raid in Jenin comes as Israel and the Palestinian Authority reportedly are preparing to hold a meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh next week in an attempt to lower tensions ahead of the month of Ramadan which is set to begin in the middle of next week.

Late last month, Israel and the PA held talks to reduce tensions in Aqaba.

On Thursday, Azzam al-Ahmad, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee, told Palestine TV that “it is not justified to hold another meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, if Israel does not abide by what was signed and agreed upon.”

According to al-Ahmad, PA officials were holding meetings in Amman on Thursday to discuss the possibility of participating in the meeting at Sharm el-Sheikh.

On Thursday, a member of the Islamic Jihad movement’s political bureau, Muhammad al-Hindi, told Quds news that “The aim of the Sharm al-Sheikh meeting is to try to achieve the goal of the Aqaba meeting by activating the so-called security coordination between the Palestinian Authority and the enemy under direct American auspices in order to besiege and strike the Palestinian resistance and involve the authority in that, especially in Nablus and Jenin.”

Earlier this month, Khaled Mashaal, the head of Hamas’s foreign political bureau, warned that the region is “on the verge of heated days” of violence and that the situation will escalate during Ramadan.

“Things are going to escalate in Ramadan, and we are on the verge of hot days due to the continued aggression and crimes of the occupation, and the Palestinian people know that there is no recovery for the homeland except through resistance in all its forms,” said Mashaal.

Last week, Abdel Fattah Hussain Harusha, the terrorist who murdered Hallel and Yagel Yaniv in Huwara, was killed in a firefight with the IDF and the National Counter Terror Unit (YAMAM) in Jenin.

In total, six Palestinians died in that raid and 26 more were wounded, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. Two YAMAM officers were lightly injured by Palestinian fire during the raid in Jenin.

Israeli forces kill three Palestinians outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Israeli forces gather during a Palestinian protest demanding Israel to reopen closed roads leading to Nablus.
Israeli forces gather at the Huwara checkpoint near Nablus in the Israeli-occupied West Bank [File: Mohamad Torokman/Reuters]

Israeli forces kill three Palestinians in occupied West Bank

The Israeli army says ‘gunmen opened fire’ at an army position west of Nablus, with their soldiers responding with ‘live fire’.

Published On 12 Mar 202312 Mar 2023

The Israeli military says its forces shot and killed three Palestinian men who opened fire on soldiers in the occupied West Bank, the latest bloodshed in a year-long wave of violence in the region.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health said the men were killed on Sunday by Israeli fire near the city of Nablus and identified them as Jihad Mohammed al-Shami, 24, Uday Othman al-Shami, 22 and Mohammed Raed Dabeek, 18.

The Israeli army said “gunmen opened fire” at an army position near the Jit junction west of Nablus, with the soldiers responding with “live fire”.

“Three armed gunmen were neutralised during the exchange of fire and an additional armed gunman surrendered himself to the forces,” the army said in a statement, noting that none of the Israeli soldiers was wounded.

The soldiers, members of the elite infantry Golani reconnaissance unit, confiscated three M-16 rifles and a pistol used by the Palestinians, the army said.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, an armed offshoot of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party, claimed the men who were killed as members.

Ongoing violence

Tensions between Israeli forces and settlers on one side and Palestinians on the other have escalated over the past year.

Israeli forces have arrested thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank and killed more than 200 Palestinians, civilians as well as fighters. More than 40 Israelis and foreign nationals have died in attacks by Palestinians over the same period.

On Friday, an Israeli settler shot dead a Palestinian man near an illegal settlement in the northern occupied West Bank.

A day before, a Hamas gunman opened fire in Tel Aviv, wounding three people, one of them critically, before being killed by police and passersby. The group said the attack was a response to an Israeli raid killing three Palestinian fighters in the West Bank earlier that day.

Israeli raids have become deadlier this year since a new far-right government came into power, empowering settler groups in the occupied West Bank, who recently rampaged through the town of Huwara in an attack that has been labelled a “pogrom”.

Israeli settlements, illegal under international law, house between 600,000 and 750,000 Israeli settlers across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, despite Palestinians seeking the land as part of a future state.

The United States defence secretary, Lloyd Austin, expressed concerns about Jewish settler violence against Palestinians while on a visit to Israel on Thursday.

In a joint news conference with his Israeli counterpart Yoav Galant, Austin said Washington’s commitment to Israel’s security was “iron-clad” but warned against acts that could trigger more insecurity.

Hamas strikes outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Hamas strikes in the heart of Israel; Three injured in Tel Aviv attack, Palestinians erupt in joy

World News

Published on Mar 10, 2023 11:00 AM ISTFollow Us

A Palestinian gunman opened fire on a busy street in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Thursday night. Three people suffered injuries in the attack carried out by a member of the armed wing of the Palestinian group Hamas, Israeli police said. Hamas called the shooting a revenge attack for the Thursday morning operation of Israeli forces in the West Bank, in which three Palestinians were killed. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu termed the incident a “terror attack.’  Watch this video to know more. #israel #palestine #telavivattack #telaviv #attack #hamas #terrorattack #israelpm #benjaminnetanyahu #westbank #palestine #palestinians Hindustan Times Videos bring you news, views and explainers about current issues in India and across the globe. We’re always excited to report the news as quickly as possible, use new technological tools to reach you better and tell stories with a 360 degree view to give you a better understanding of the world around you

Rising Violence Outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Rising violence, growing political crisis in Israel strain U.S. support

Protests in Israel disrupt Defense Secretary Austin’s visit

Tens of thousands took to the streets in Tel Aviv to protest the Israeli government’s proposals to overhaul the legal system. The demonstrations came as Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Austin stressed the importance of an “independent judiciary” during his visit.

For years, as Israeli politics marched steadily to the right, the growing backlash among its traditional supporters fueled concerns and warnings that the U.S. government may ultimately be forced to reconsider its role as Israel’s most important — and often most unflinching — ally.

Until now, they have remained just that: concerns and warnings. But, with Israel’s new government stocked with ultranationalists and stoking profound questions about the nation’s democratic future, there is a sense that this time may be different.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to weaken the Supreme Court has triggered nationwide protests and a growing constitutional crisis. An eruption of violence in the occupied West Bank — including near-daily Israeli raids, a rampage by Jewish settlers and attacks by Palestinian militants — has led the CIA director to warn that a third intifada could be imminent.

And the international community is aghast over the rise of some far-right figures, including one senior minister who recently called for Israel to “wipe out” a Palestinian village.

Israelis protest against the government's controversial judicial reform bill, in front of the residence of Justice Minister Yariv Levin, in Modiin (Gil Cohen-Magen / AFP - Getty Images)
Israelis protest against the government’s controversial judicial reform bill, in front of the residence of Justice Minister Yariv Levin, in Modiin (Gil Cohen-Magen / AFP – Getty Images)

For the Biden administration, which has echoed many of those concerns, the urgent question is whether they necessitate any change in policy toward a nation heavily reliant on assistance, military cooperation and international political support from Washington.

“The United States should back up our concerns with actions,” said Daniel Kurtzer, who was U.S. ambassador to Israel under President George W. Bush. In an interview, he said the U.S. should consider curbing bilateral programs — but not security aid — and supporting U.N. Security Council resolutions criticizing Israel that the U.S. has historically blocked.

“Maybe it’s time to send that kind of signal,” he said.

Last week Kurtzer, now at Princeton, joined nearly 150 other current and former ambassadors, rabbis and Jewish organization leaders who signed a letter opposing a planned U.S. visit this week by Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who has referred to himself as a “proud homophobe” and a “fascist.” Others have called on the Biden administration to deny Smotrich a visa.

The State Department has called Smotrich’s comments about erasing the Palestinian village of Hawara “disgusting and repugnant.” Although the U.S. hasn’t addressed his status, citing confidentiality, a spokesperson for Smotrich told Israeli media on Thursday that he had been granted a diplomatic visa to enter the country.

However, the Biden administration appears to be boycotting the visit; a National Security Council official told NBC News that no U.S. government officials planned to meet with him.

Already, the rise of the Israeli far-right has shifted the political dynamics in the U.S., with criticism of Israel that was once limited to the most left-leaning Democrats and human rights groups now increasingly common among moderate Democrats and mainstream American Jewish organizations.

In Congress this week, more than 90 Democratic lawmakers led by Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, sent President Joe Biden a letter urging him to use “all diplomatic tools available to prevent Israel’s current government from further damaging the nation’s democratic institutions and undermining the potential for two states for two peoples.”

And late last year, a group of more than 300 rabbis published an open letter declaring that members of Netanyahu’s governing coalition were not welcome to speak at their synagogues.

“It’s a different moment, in terms of the potential damage that would be done should the policies that key figures in this new coalition have called for be implemented,” Rabbi David Saperstein, former U.S. ambassador at large for international religious freedom, said in an interview. “Those changes would significantly damage the democratic character of Israel.”

Especially problematic for the Biden administration is the Israeli government’s retreat from even rhetorical support for a two-state solution and eventual Palestinian statehood, which for decades has allowed the U.S. to defend Israel and to overlook its occupation of the West Bank by regarding it as temporary and best resolved through negotiations.

In a stark example of how Israel’s multiple crises are already creating headaches for the U.S., Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin this week was forced to cut his Israel trip short and relocate meetings as mass protests against the judicial reforms threatened to obstruct his safe passage into Tel Aviv.

When he did meet with his Israeli counterpart, at a site near the airport, Austin made a passing reference to the importance of an “independent judiciary” and “the need to de-escalate” West Bank violence, but made clear the U.S. government had no intention of reducing its commitment to Israel’s security.

“It will not change. It is not negotiable,” Austin said.

Image: (Ohad Zwigenberg / AP)
Image: (Ohad Zwigenberg / AP)

So far, there are no indications the Biden administration intends any substantive shift in its relationship with Israel’s government, beyond more frequent public calls for de-escalation in the West Bank and gentle reminders about the importance of democratic institutions.

Even if the U.S. did opt for a change in policy, it’s unclear whether it could force Israel to change course.

A former senior Israeli government official said the emergence of a major threat to the country’s democracy was a “big dilemma” for its closest ally. But the official said any U.S. efforts to condition elements of the relationship would likely be fruitless because Netanyahu, under the delicate coalition he formed with far-right parties to secure a return to power, is now beholden to them.

“It’s quite pointless at this moment,” the former official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to criticize the current prime minister. “His own members of his coalition are escalating the situation. He’s not managing to control the members of the coalition.”

Any U.S. move to reduce or leverage support for Israel would undoubtedly trigger fierce blowback from nearly all Republicans and many Democrats, not to mention Orthodox Jewish and evangelical groups in the U.S. that have been more supportive of Netanyahu’s approach.

The U.S. could seek to impose conditions on the billions of dollars of annual assistance to Israel, most of it military. Yet conditioning aid to Israel has generally been considered a third rail in U.S. foreign policy, and even many lawmakers now speaking out against Israel’s rightward shift oppose that step.

U.S. support for — or at least refusal to block — resolutions calling out Israel on the world stage could be one option to signal a shift in policy, as Kurtzer suggested.

For Israel’s government, perhaps the most alarming shift so far in response to the proposed judicial reforms has been economic, potentially jeopardizing its status as a Mideast economic powerhouse that punches above its weight.

Last week former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a self-avowed Israel supporter, said some businesspeople were already pulling their money out of the country or reconsidering whether to invest.

“As the owner of a global company, I don’t blame them,” Bloomberg wrote in a New York Times op-ed under the headline “Israel Is Courting Disaster.”

Those concerns have already sent the shekel plummeting to the lowest level in years. U.S. financial services firm JPMorgan, in an internal research memo first disclosed by Israeli media and obtained by NBC News, warned the increased risk stemming from the judicial plan could negatively affect Israel’s credit rating.

Another potentially explosive flashpoint is looming over opposition to the judicial plan from elite members of Israel’s military, including more than three dozen reservist fighter pilots who’ve announce they’d boycott a planned training, voicing concern about serving a “dictatorial regime.”

Some reservists have raised concerns that, if Israel undermines its democratic institutions, troops could be vulnerable to war crimes or other allegations in global venues like the International Criminal Court. The fact that Israel has an independent court system to appropriately handle such allegations has been a key Israeli defense in the past.

Dan Shapiro, U.S. ambassador to Israel in the Obama administration and now a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council, said there could be further challenges for U.S. security cooperation if the situation devolves into a full-blown constitutional crisis, with Israel’s parliament and Supreme Court both claiming to have overruled the other.

“If that happens, those in uniform will have to decide whose order to follow. They may not all decide the same way,” Shapiro said. “In that scenario, U.S. officers may not know who to coordinate with.”

Any dramatic shift from the U.S. remains unlikely under Biden, said the former senior Israeli official, pointing to the 80-year-old president’s close friendship with Israel forged over decades as U.S. senator and then vice president. But younger Democratic lawmakers have been much quicker to say U.S. cooperation with Israel isn’t guaranteed.

“Few of these kinds of friends of Israel exists anymore,” the former official said. “The biggest cause of concern should be the next generation of leaders.”

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

Israeli forces kill three Islamic Jihad gunmen outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

People look at a damaged car where three Palestinian militants were killed during an Israeli operation, near Jenin

Israeli forces kill three Islamic Jihad gunmen in West Bank

By Ali Sawafta

[1/4] People look at a damaged car where three Palestinian militants were killed during an Israeli operation, near Jenin, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, March 9, 2023. REUTERS/Raneen SawaftaRead more1234

  • Summary
  • Israel says militants suspected of carrying out attacks
  • Masked gunman in Jaba says raids will not deter them
  • Incident comes as U.S. secretary of defense visits Israel

JABA, West Bank, March 9 (Reuters) – Israeli forces raided a Palestinian village close to the West Bank city of Jenin on Thursday, killing three Islamic Jihad militants they said were suspected of carrying out shooting attacks in the area.

Islamic Jihad claimed the three fighters, who the Israeli military said were suspected of multiple shooting attacks in Jaba village, southwest of Jenin, as well as in the area of Homesh, a nearby settlement outpost that was evacuated in 2005 and is now home to a religious school.

The incident came on the same day U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was visiting Israel, where he was expected to discuss the growing violence on the West Bank.

In Jaba, residents said they heard intense gunfire early in the morning and saw a large Israeli force in the village, where the blood-spattered wreckage of the car in which the gunmen were killed remained in the street.

A Israeli statement said the gunmen had opened fire from their car when Israeli forces entered the area. It said two members of Islamic Jihad were killed as well as what it described as an additional armed suspect.

Jaba, where two Islamic Jihad gunmen were killed in January, has a large presence of armed militants from different factions and as mourners assembled for the funeral of the three killed on Thursday, fighters said the raids would not deter them.

“Day after day, more men from Jaba and neighbouring villages join us,” said one masked gunman, as dozens of others militants prepared to take part in the funeral marches.

Thousands of mourners, some carrying Palestinian flags and the banners of the main factions, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah and chanting for revenge, joined the funeral of the three, as gunmen fired into the air.

Police seized two rifles and another gun as well as explosive devices and arrested three other suspects. According to Noaman Khalileya, owner of a local garage near to where the incident took place, security forces also confiscated his security camera and erased pictures on his mobile telephone.

The operation came days after Israeli forces raided a refugee camp in Jenin and killed six Palestinian gunmen, including a Hamas member suspected of killing two brothers from a Jewish settlement near the Palestinian village of Huwara in the West Bank on Feb. 26.

The Palestinian health ministry said a 14-year-old boy, wounded during the gunbattle that broke out in Jenin during the Israeli raid, had died of his wounds.

In a statement to Voice of Palestine radio, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, accused Israel of launching a “full-scale war” against the Palestinians.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) announced that it had suspended its security cooperation agreement with Israel in January, following a raid in Jenin that killed nine Palestinians, but the raids have put it under growing pressure.

The Islamist group Hamas, which controls the blockaded Gaza Strip but which also has fighters across the West Bank, said PA security forces arrested several members of the group overnight in the West Bank city of Nablus after they took part in the funeral march of the Huwara gunman a day earlier.

“Such a behaviour serves the Zionist occupation only,” it said in a statement.

Israeli forces have conducted near daily raids across the West Bank for months after a spate of deadly attacks by Palestinians in Israel last year. They have made thousands of arrests and killed more than 200 Palestinians, including both fighters and civilians. Over the same period, more than 40 Israelis have been killed in attacks by Palestinians.