Thursday, June 22, 2017

Liberman: Abbas Trying To Draw Hamas Into War With Israel, Hezbollah Active On Lebanon Border, Arab States Demand Qatar Sever Iran Ties

Liberman: Abbas trying to draw Hamas into war with Israel

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Thursday that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is trying to trigger war between his arch rival Hamas and Israel by cutting off supplies to the Gaza Strip.

Liberman also reiterated his long-held stance that any future peace agreement will need to be based on a “population swap,” and noted that such a deal would only come as a result of broader regional cooperation between Israel and relatively moderate Arab states.

Speaking at an annual regional security conference at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center, 
Liberman predicted that Abbas would apply increasing pressure on Hamas by limiting supplies to the Gaza Strip, in order “to draw it into a war with Israel.”

Abbas has recently increased his efforts to wrest control of Gaza from Hamas, a terror group that has ruled the territory ever since driving out Abbas’s PA forces in a violent coup 10 years ago. The two sides have been at loggerheads ever since.

Abbas is going to soon increase the cutbacks, stop paying wages to Gaza [civil servants] and also [cut] the transfer of fuel and medicines as a double strategy: to harm Hamas and pull Hamas into a war with Israel.”

Abbas, he said, was acting unilaterally and without coordination with Israel or Egypt.
Liberman assessed that the reason the Oslo Accords signed 25 years ago failed to bring an end to the conflict with the Palestinians was that they were based on a mistaken principle of land for peace.
“After 25 years we can reach that conclusion,” he said. “It is an erroneous principle that will create asymmetry because it establishes a Palestinian state that is 100 percent Palestinian and a binational State of Israel that has 22% Palestinians.”

Israel is alleged to have carried out several airstrikes in Syria in recent years aimed at preventing game-changing advanced weapons from falling into the hands of the Iran-allied Hezbollah terror group, whose forces have fought in Syria on behalf of the regime in its battle to end a six-year insurgency.
“Hezbollah is exploiting the situation in Syria in order to set up a front against us on the Golan and to smuggle in advanced weapons and set up a base across from us,” Liberman said.
“I’m warning the Syrian regime that it will bear responsibility for that. The Damascus international airport cannot be used to smuggle for Hezbollah. When it reaches a certain point we won’t hesitate to act. I hope the US and Russia will reach a good agreement on the Syrian matter, but it won’t impinge on our freedom to act in the north.”

Hezbollah has been disguising its terror activities in southern Lebanon and pretending to operate as an environmentalist NGO group they called "Green Without Borders," the IDF said on Thursday. 

The Israeli military has learned that the Shi'ite terror organization has been establishing observation posts near the Blue Line bordering Lebanon and Israel, presumably in order to gather intelligence. Hezbollah has been carrying out these activities at least since April, the army added.

In footage released by the army Hezbollah operatives can be seen erecting observation pots. Head of the IDF's Intelligence Branch, Maj.-Gen. Herzi Halevi, spoke about Hezbollah's misleading and dangerous actions in the region, saying that the disguised operations were part of yet another attempt by the terrorist group to "further entrench its terrorist infrastructures [in the area]." 

Halevi also said that by acting in such a way, the organization was "once again blatantly breaching UN Resolution 1701," which called for the disarmament of armed groups in Lebanon. 

Danny Danon, Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations in New York, condemned Hezbollah's disguised activity in a letter to the President of the UN Security Council,tweeted by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday.

Israel told the United Nations Security Council on Thursday that Hezbollah is establishing observation posts along the Israeli-Lebanese border under cover of a purported environmental NGO.

Israel’s military intelligence chief on Thursday released film and photographs of the Hezbollah positions at the border fence.

Hezbollah’s purported use of such facilities under cover of the NGO is a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, passed at the end of the Second Lebanon War in August 2006.
In the letter, Danon called on the council to demand the Lebanese government dismantle the Hezbollah outposts, as required by the resolution.
The letter came on the same day that IDF intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Hertzl Halevi released video and photographs the IDF said showed the installations in question.
“Hezbollah is using an environmental organization as a cover for activities along the border with Israel,” Halevi said.
Speaking at the Herzliya Conference, Halevi warned that “Hezbollah blatantly violates UN Security Council Resolution 1701. We call on UNIFIL to undertake its responsibilities — not only in keeping the peace, but in removing the possibility of war.”

Israel has long criticized what it considers UNIFIL’s failure to disarm or meaningfully challenge Hezbollah, as required by the force’s mandate.

Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries that have cut ties to Qatar issued a steep list of demands Thursday to end the crisis, insisting that their Persian Gulf neighbor shutter Al-Jazeera, cut back diplomatic ties to Iran and close down a Turkish military base in Qatar.

In a 13-point list — presented to the Qataris by Kuwait, which is helping mediate the crisis — the countries also demand that Qatar sever all ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and with other groups including Hezbollah, al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the list in Arabic from one of the countries involved in the dispute.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain cut ties to Qatar this month over allegations the Persian Gulf country funds terrorism — an accusation that President Donald Trump has echoed. Those countries have now given Qatar 10 days to comply with all of the demands, which include paying an unspecified sum in compensation.

According to the list, Qatar must refuse to naturalize citizens from the four countries and expel those currently in Qatar, in what the countries describe as an effort to keep Qatar from meddling in their internal affairs.

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