Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Israel Backs Hungary, Says Soros Is A Threat, New Syrian-Hezbollah Offensive Defies Ceasefire



Israel backs Hungary, says financier Soros is a threat


Israel's foreign ministry has issued a statement denouncing U.S. billionaire George Soros, a move that appeared designed to align Israel more closely with Hungary ahead of a visit to Budapest next week by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


Soros, a Hungarian-born Jew who has spent a large part of his fortune funding pro-democracy and human rights groups, has repeatedly been targeted by Hungary's right-wing government, in particular over his support for more open immigration.

But hours after the ambassador made his comments over the weekend, Israel's foreign ministry issued a "clarification" saying that Soros was a legitimate target for criticism.

"In no way was the statement (by the ambassador) meant to delegitimize criticism of George Soros, who continuously undermines Israel's democratically elected governments," said foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon, adding that Soros funded organizations "that defame the Jewish state and seek to deny it the right to defend itself".

Israel is normally quick to denounce anti-Semitism or threats to Jewish communities anywhere in the world. While it made that point in the statement, it chose to focus on the threat it believes Soros poses to Israeli democracy.


Among the organizations Soros funds is Human Rights Watch, which is frequently critical of Israel's occupation of the West Bank and its policies toward the Palestinians.

Like Hungary, Israel has passed legislation that seeks to limit the influence of non-governmental organizations that receive a large portion of their funding from abroad.

The strong ties between Netanyahu and Orban have raised eyebrows in the European Union, where Orban is regarded as an illiberal maverick. His party has curtailed press freedom and stymied EU efforts to tackle the migrant crisis.

Hungary has held discussions with Israel about purchasing security fences to keep migrants out, while Israel has sought better ties with countries that it hopes will take its side in any EU discussions where Israel is criticized.









Less than 24 hours after the US-Russian sponsored ceasefire went into force in southwest Syria, it broke down early Monday, July 10, when large-scale Syrian army and Hizballah forces launched a general offensive on Syrian rebel forces in the Al Suweida province. This region was listed with Quneitra and Daraa as one of three demilitarized locations to be covered by the truce.  

Syrian’s army’s 5th Armored Division led the offensive which the Syrian army’s general command designated “Operation Big Dawn,” to mark it as the opening of a new phase in the war in southern Syria.

Our military sources described the attack as focusing on the northern rural areas of Al Suweida province to provide the Syrians and Hizballah with a pretext for claiming they are not part of the town and therefore not part of the ceasefire agreement reached by Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin in Hamburg last Friday, July 7.

In the early hours of their drive forward, Syrian and Hizballah troops captured 11 villages and small towns, including Tal Asfar and Al-Qasr, which lie 33km from the town of Suweida, 70km from Daraa on the Jordanian border and 78km east of Quneitra and the Israeli Golan border.
They forced the rebels defending them to retreat; most belonging to the Syrian Democratic Forces, who were trained and armed by the US and Jordan.

According to our sources, Damascus decided to terminate another short-lived ceasefire in the six-year Syrian war when the Jordanian army and intelligence took advantage of the pause in fighting to transfer large quantities of weapons and military equipment to allied Syrian rebel forces defending Daraa. Under no illusions about the sustainability of the US-Russian ceasefire deal, Jordan moved fast to bolster its Syrian allies for the next round of fighting.

The Assad regime, for its part, felt free to resume combat because the Trump-Putin ceasefire deal had not set out demarcation lines as dividers between the opposing armies, leaving that task to US and Russian officers on the ground to take up.








Last month IDF Military Intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Herzl Halevi made a stunning revelation. Hezbollah and Iran are transforming the terrorist group into a military force capable of independently producing its own precision weapons.

Speaking at the Herzliya Conference, Halevi reported, “We are seeing Hezbollah building a domestic military industry on Lebanese soil based on Iranian know-how. Hezbollah is producing weapons systems and transporting them to southern Lebanon.”
Halevi added, “Over the past year, Iran is working to establish infrastructure for the independent production of precision weapons in Lebanon and Yemen. We cannot be indifferent to this development. And we aren’t.”

Not only is Hezbollah building a missile industry. It is deploying its forces directly across the border with Israel – in material breach of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 from 2006, which set the terms of the cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah at the end of the Second Lebanon War.
Under the terms of 1701, Hezbollah is prohibited from operating south of the Litani River. Only the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and UNIFIL – the UN’s peacekeeping force – are supposed to be deployed in southern Lebanon.

According to Halevi, operating under the cover of a phony environmental NGO called “Green Without Borders,” Hezbollah has set up observation posts manned with its fighters along the border with Israel.

In Halevi’s words, with these posts, “Hezbollah is now able to operate a stone’s throw from the border.”

In a media briefing on Sunday, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman discussed Halevi’s revelations. Liberman said that the security community “is absolutely aware [of the missile plants] and is taking the necessary action.”

Last month Israel filed a formal complaint with the UN Security Council against Hezbollah for setting up observation towers along the border and manning them with its fighters.

Not surprisingly, UNIFIL and the Security Council rejected Israel’s complaint. Ever since six UNIFIL soldiers were killed in a roadside bomb in 2007, UNIFIL has turned a blind eye to all of Hezbollah’s operations in southern Lebanon. As to the strike for which the complaint to the Security Council began setting the conditions, what purpose would it serve?

In a future war, Israel shouldn’t aspire, for instance, to destroy Hezbollah as a fighting force. The goal, in my opinion, should be to destroy or neutralize as much of Hezbollah’s missile arsenal and its missile assembly plants as possible. If possible, Israel should also seek to destroy Hezbollah’s tunnel infrastructure along its border.

Over the past 11 years, Hezbollah’s missile arsenal has become an unacceptable and ever-growing strategic threat to Israel. Whereas in 2006 Hezbollah’s missile arsenal numbered some 15,000 rockets, today it fields approximately 150,000.

To be sure, in the 11 years since the Second Lebanon War Israel has also massively upgraded its military capabilities. Last week air force chief Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel said the force today can inflict a level of damage on Hezbollah in two days that it took it weeks to inflict in 2006.

The question is not whether Israel has the ability to respond to a Hezbollah assault. Given the lethality of Hezbollah’s arsenal, it would be reckless to assume that Israel can easily absorb an opening volley of missiles.

But battle losses aren’t the only consideration Israel needs to take into account. For instance, there is the US. How would the US respond to a war? 






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