Monday, July 7, 2014

In The News: Israel Has 'New Causes For Concern' In West Bank And Gaza

New Causes For Concern In Israel - West Bank And Gaza

Israel needs to be acutely concerned about several developments over the last few hours.

First, late Sunday saw the continuation of demonstrations and violent clashes in several Arab towns and villages throughout the country. Sunday was the third successive night of Arab protests within Israel, and they’re getting worse. Carefully timed demonstrations, especially in the south — close to Omer, for example — are starting to look like rather more than spontaneous outbursts.

Arab Knesset member Ahmad Tibi said on Monday morning that these are protests by young Arabs consumed by frustration and anger, but it may well be that they are in fact being orchestrated. Anti-Israel incitement in the mosques of the Negev on Sunday appeared to have been deliberately engineered  by the northern branch of the Islamic Movement, which is close to Hamas, designed to whip up anger among the Arabs in Israel and cause protests similar to those of October 2000, at the start of what became the Second Intifada.

The second area of concern relates to the West Bank. Sunday night saw substantial protests for the first time in there too — at Al -Arub, near Hebron, at Joseph’s Tomb, near Nablus, and close to the industrial area on the outskirts of Tulkarem.

On Sunday night, however, the protests did spread to the West Bank. Most Palestinians in the West Bank do not want a third intifada; the Palestinian Authority, and its security forces, certainly don’t. Therefore, one must hope that the PA will be able to contain the demonstrations and maintain calm.

Third and last, we come to the relentless deterioration of the situation with Gaza. Rocket fire on the south is now routine. The slogan “quiet in return for quiet” has proved empty. Israel is doing its best to prevent escalation, responding quietly to a fairly major rocket onslaught — 30 rockets fired on the south in the course of Sunday alone.

But what changed on Sunday night was the deaths of seven Hamas fighters in the collapse of a tunnel in the Rafiah area. Hamas claims that Israel blew up the tunnel, causing the seven fatalities. But Tal Lev Ram, Army Radio’s military correspondent, reported on Monday morning that the seven were killed in a “work accident”: they entered the tunnel, which had been blown up several days ago, and while they were assessing the damage it collapsed on them.
The problem is that even if there was no Israeli strike, Hamas still insists that Israel is responsible for the deaths of its seven operatives. And the Hamas military wing consequently sees itself as obligated to escalate its response against Israel.
The journey from here to a major escalation, one that neither side actually wants, is perilously short.

Many in Israel were shocked by the announcement Sunday that six Jewish extremists are suspected in the brutal revenge killing of 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir. The news fanned the flames in the West Bank, Gaza, and parts of Israel, with ongoing protests, rioting and rocket attacks. Stay with The Times of Israel’s news liveblog for updates throughout the day.

A senior Hamas official tells The Times of Israel the group does not accept the idea that “quiet will be answered with quiet” in the Gaza Strip, saying that if Israel wants peace in the south it must release all the prisoners freed in exchange for Gilad Shalit who were recently re-arrested following the abduction of the three Israeli teens, and must adhere to the ceasefire agreement reached in the aftermath of Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012.

The Hamas official claims the terror group was not involved in the abduction and killing of Naftali Fraenkel,  Gil-ad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach on June 12, adding that Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal has spoken with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and assured him of this fact.
He says Israel has no evidence tying the group to the attack. Israeli leaders, he says, have launched an unjustified campaign against the Palestinian public in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and arrested dozens of prisoners released for Shalit for no real reason.

There is tension in the political and miltary air as the possibility of a concentrated Israeli strike on Gaza is becoming more realistic in recent days.
Photos by Flash 90, approved for publication by the IDF, show a gathering of tanks, APCs and ground forces, identified as a Bedouin unit, on the outskirts of Gaza. This could be a last-minute warning to Hamas that if it does not immediately desist from firing on Israel, the IDF intends to mass larger forces and use them against Gaza in a ground offensive.

Hamas on Monday prefaced its rocket fire toward Beersheba with a video clip calling on residents of the city to flee “before it’s too late.”

“To the settlers of Beersheba, your leaders have killed our children, bombed our homes, and sentenced you to death. Run before it’s too late,” read the message in Hebrew and Arabic in the one-minute video, distributed via social media.

It wasn’t the first time Hamas used psychological warfare against Israelis over recent months.

In March, the movement sent threatening text messages to a large number of Israelis reading “get out of our land,” and in May it produced a music clip to the tune of the Israeli national anthem, “Hatikvah,” calling on Jews to emigrate or face death.

Palestinians fired an anti-tank missile at an IDF unit Monday morning as it patrolled along the border with the Gaza Strip, the army said. The soldiers also came under small arms fire. There were no injuries, and soldiers returned fire.

“An IDF patrol was attacked along the security fence in the southern Gaza Strip,” the army said in a statement. “Initial indications suggest they were attacked with an RPG anti-tank missile and firearm[s]. No injuries are currently reported.”

The attack came amid a sharp escalation in violence in the south in recent days.

Earlier Monday, an IDF soldier was lightly wounded by shrapnel in his legs and back when Gaza Palestinians fired two rockets at the Eshkol region. The soldier was taken to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba for medical treatment. Vehicles close to the impact site were damaged.

Nine members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad were killed overnight Sunday, according to Palestinian sources, when Israeli jets struck 14 sites in Gaza Strip, after a day of near-constant rocket fire on Israeli towns near the Palestinian enclave.
The targets were “terror sites and concealed rocket launchers,” the IDF spokesman’s office said, confirming direct hits on the targets.

U.S. and European energy companies have become the target of a “Dragonfly” virus out of Eastern Europe that goes after energy grids, major electricity generation firms, petroleum pipelines operators and energy industrial equipment providers.

 Its malware software allows its operators to not only monitor in real time, but also disrupt and even sabotage wind turbines, gas pipelines and power plants – all with the click of a computer mouse.

The attacks have disrupted industrial control system equipment providers by installing the malware during downloaded updates for computers running the ICS equipment.
Most of the targets were in the United States, Spain, France, Italy, Germany Turkey and Poland – all countries belonging to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
This has led some analysts to suggest the attacks were orchestrated by Russia, which seeks to build buffers between the Russian Federation and the NATO countries.
Given the time of day of the computer attacks – during work hours – and the targeting of strategic data, analysts believe the attacks were sanctioned by a government.
The attacks apparently are ongoing, as companies in the energy sector continue to sustain damage and disruptions to energy supplies in the most affected countries.
Eric Chien of Symantec’s Security Technology and Response Team told Bloomberg in an interview the type of access Dragonfly has indicates something more than snooping.
“When they do have that type of access, that motivation wouldn’t be for espionage,” Chien said. “When we look at where they’re at, we’re very concerned about sabotage.”
“The worst-case scenario would be that the systems get shut down,” Chien said. “You could see the power go out, for example, and there could be disruption in that sense.”

As you will read about below, China and South Korea have just signed a major agreement to facilitate trade with one another using their own national currencies, and even prominent French officials are now talking about the need to use the dollar less and the euro more.  John Williams of recently said that things have never "been more negative" for the U.S. dollar, and he was right on the mark.  The power of the almighty dollar has allowed all of us living in the United States to enjoy an extremely high standard of living for decades, but as that power now fades it is going to have profound implications for the U.S. economy.  In future years the value of the dollar will go down substantially, all of the imported goods filling our stores will become much more expensive, and it is going to cost the federal government a lot more to borrow money.  Unfortunately, with the stock market hitting all-time record highs and with the mainstream media endlessly touting an "economic recovery", most Americans are not paying any attention to these things.

French oil giant Total is one of the largest energy companies in the entire world.  On Saturday, Total's CEO made an absolutely stunning statement.  According to Reuters, he told reporters that there "is no reason to pay for oil in dollars"...

"Doing without the (U.S.) dollar, that wouldn't be realistic, but it would be good if the euro was used more," he told reporters.
"There is no reason to pay for oil in dollars," he said. He said the fact that oil prices are quoted in dollars per barrel did not mean that payments actually had to be made in that currency.

If Gazprom's CEO had made such a statement, it would not have really surprised anyone.  But this came from a high profile French CEO.  A decade ago, it would have been unthinkable for him to say such a thing.  Wars have been started over less.  Virtually all oil and natural gas around the planet has been bought and sold for U.S. dollars since the 1970s, and this is an arrangement that the U.S. government has traditionally guarded very zealously.  But now that Russia has broken the petrodollar monopoly, the fear of questioning the almighty dollar appears to be dissipating.

So why are the French suddenly so upset?
Could it be the fact that we just slapped the largest bank in France witha nearly 9 billion dollar fine?...

The remarks come a week after Paris-based bank BNP Paribas (BNP) SA was slapped with a $8.97 billion fine by U.S. authorities for transactions carried out in dollars in countries facing American sanctions. The fine spurred debate in France about the right of the U.S. in extending its regulatory reach beyond its borders.

This is yet another example of how the Obama administration is alienating friends all over the globe.

And of course our relations with Russia are probably the worst that they have been since the end of the Cold War at this point.  And as the Russians now rapidly move away from the U.S. dollar, they seem intent on bringing the rest of "the BRICS" with them.  The following is a short excerpt from a recent Voice of Russia article entitled "BRICS morphing into anti-dollar alliance"...

The rest of the world could actually severely hurt us by deciding to stop using the almighty dollar, and the more that the Obama administration antagonizes both our friends and our foes around the globe the more likely that is to happen.
We live in very perilous times, and the almighty dollar is more vulnerable now than it has been in decades.
If it starts collapsing, it will take down the entire U.S. financial system with it.
Let us hope that we still have a bit more time before that happens, because once the U.S. dollar collapses it will be exceedingly painful for all of us.

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1 comment:

WVBORN56 said...

Things continue to heat up in Israel and he middle east. If Israel goes into Gaza this time I am thinking that could be a tipping point to Isaiah 17/Psalm 83 war. I am still thinking/hoping the rapture takes place prior to that war too but I am certainly not dogmatic on that belief. Keep looking up things are getting very interesting!