Jerusalem – In a joint operation by Navy ships and IAF helicopters, four fishing boats were detained Thursday opposite the Rafah coast in an area where sailing is forbidden in the southern Gaza Strip, due to fear that these were booby-trapped explosive boats.

The attack on the fishing boats continues the sequence of operational successes by the IDF in attacking Palestinian military cells in the past two days, in which 11 armed Palestinians were killed. In one strike, in the area of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, two Palestinian children were also killed, age 10 and 12. According to the IDF, the children approached a Kassam rocket launcher that was attacked, and tried to rearm it. However, despite the latest events, sources in the Israeli army southern command asserted on Thursday that the sequence of events does not attest to a change in Israel’s policy in the Gaza Strip or a change in the method of warfare. They described this as regular IDF activity.

Israeli army sources added that in the past months, after Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip, the organization has stepped up its military activity against Israel, mainly through mortar shell fire at Israeli territory close to the fence. They added that the strikes against these cells may be what has raised the rate of Palestinian casualties. This fact could explain why in the past three months, IDF forces have attacked over 20 Kassam rocket launchers from the air and from the ground. In addition, in this period 17 terrorists were killed who approached the border fence and tried to place bombs near it.

Bombs Hit Food Crossing In Gaza Strip

On Wednesday, for the first time in two months, Palestinians bombed the Sufa crossing in the southern Gaza Strip. Four mortar shells landed on the main crossing, which is used to bring in basic commodities. Thousands of tons of merchandise, such as oil, rice, beans, sugar, salt, and frozen food, go through the Sufa crossing every day. As a result of the bombing, the Sufa crossing was closed to goods entering the Gaza Strip.

Altogether Thursday, 11 mortar shells were fired from Gaza at the Negev. Three shells landed at the Kerem Shalom crossing. This crossing was also closed for about an hour. Two more shells landed in the Kissufim area, and the landing sites of two others were not found.

One Kassam rocket was fired on Thursday at Sderot, hitting the industrial zone after working hours.

In the IDF attack in Gaza, the senior commander of the Hamas military wing was killed, while three others were wounded. The number of terrorists who died reached 13 on Thursday: seven from Iz a Din al-Kassam, three from the Al-Quds Brigades, a senior wanted man from the PFLP in Nablus and two children from Beit Hanoun who were sent to arm a rocket launcher.

The IDF confirmed that the IDF carried out an aerial attack about 2 a.m. against a number of armed terrorists who were spotted by lookouts near the border fence in the northern Gaza Strip, near Kibbutz Nahal Oz, located on the Gaza border.

Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades: Soon We

Will Attack

The sharp IDF responses to the rocket and mortar shell fire, along with its success in hitting terrorists and launchers, has sparked the anger of the terror organizations and the Palestinian leadership.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Fatah’s military wing, threatened to carry out an operation shortly called “Breached Wall 2,” in which they would fire hundreds of rockets and mortar shells at Israeli targets.

On Thursday, Mahmoud Abbas’ spokesman also condemned what he called “Israeli crimes and attacks on the Palestinian people of the Gaza Strip and West Bank.” He said: “There is no excuse for the assassination of 13 Palestinians, including two children, in one day. This is a massacre.” He added that Israeli crimes had reached a peak of violence against the Palestinian people. He placed responsibility for the ongoing wave of violence against innocents on the Israeli government and said that Israel’s recent military operations put in doubt its desire to advance the peace process. On the other hand, Ahmed Abdul Rahman, the Fatah spokesman, announced that Abbas had received from Israel an agreement in principle to return some of the Palestinian leadership in the diaspora to their homeland. He said Israel was procrastinating but that efforts to bring them back continue.

David Bedein can be reached at Media@actcom.co.il. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com

Both the United States and Israel define the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an integral part of Fatah, as a terrorist organization. U.S. and Israeli government spokespeople refuse to comment as to why both nations continue to arm Fatah despite its identity as a terror entity.

David Bedein can be reached at Media@actcom.co.il. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com

Against Draft Dodging

Dozens of managers, hi-tech workers and social activists have signed a petition calling on employers throughout Israel not to hire Israeli army draft dodgers.

Reuven Agassi, a hi-tech worker who joined the initiative, told IDF Radio: “The state has given you service, took care of you until you were 18, and the first day that you are asked to serve or give something back, you say you are not prepared to do this. I think that the country has many ways to bring people back to their senses and bring them back to serve, to serve the country, because serving in the IDF is only one of the things that they can do. They can do other things for society.”

Nava Shoham, chairperson of the IDF Widows and Orphans Organization, told the Israeli media that they are looking for a popular artist to perform for the children and their guests. One of the criteria that Shoham hase decided is whether the performer served in the IDF.

“Over the years, the current on the topic of enlistment in the IDF has flowed in one direction: Consideration, tolerance, permissiveness,” Shoham said. “Israeli society accepted the position that it was okay not to serve. … The time has come to say no! The time has come for change. Every citizen must enlist for the most meaningful service for which he is capable – in keeping with his capabilities and limitations.

“There is no lack of wonderful people who, despite severe illnesses or harsh economic conditions, decided to serve (despite the fact that they received or could have received an exemption), and volunteered for a meaningful post.”

Shoham concluded by saying that “the IDF Widows and Orphans Organization will continue to invite only artists who proudly served the country. I am glad to say that there are still many of these, and they should certainly be given preference over those who felt that it did not suit them to wear a uniform.”

Riot In Samaria

On Wednesday afternoon, activists from an Israeli organization known as the Israeli Anarchists, in cooperation with dozens of Arabs from the Ramallah area, uprooted about 5,000 vine seedlings in a vineyard between the settlements of Neriya and Nahliel in the Dolev-Talmonin bloc in western Binyamin, north of Jerusalem. Jewish residents in the area noticed what was happening only when then uprooters finished. Some of them even filmed the uprooters leaving the area. The army and police were informed by the residents beforehand about the danger that the vineyard would be attacked. Some residents said that there were even troops in the area during the uprooting. For some unknown reason, the Israeli police did not stop the uprooters.

The vineyard belongs to a resident of the area, Shlomi Cohen. A short while after he left the vineyard, he was quickly called back after about 100 activists and Palestinians carrying PLO flags entered the vineyard. They were accompanied by AFP news teams and other agencies. And they immediately began their vandalism.

“Until I managed to come back, there was nothing I could do already. They uprooted 5,000 saplings and burned pipes, irrigation systems, sprinklers and seedlings. They were very determined and thorough, and did not leave any stone unturned – they uprooted plants, broke things and shattered anything they could within a period of 20 minutes. For some reason that remains unclear, the army did not arrive in time.”

He also said that when the army did arrive, half the vineyard was already destroyed. “The army chased out the vandals, but did not detain them. “They did nothing to them. They told me that they would come to investigate and that I could come and complain, but as of now no one has been arrested.”

The vineyard was planted on state land belonging to the World Zionist Organization. Last night, after the destruction of the vineyard, dozens of residents of the area ++gathered to plant the vineyard again.

The uprooting of the vineyard near Dolev is one of the largest incidences of destruction of Jewish agricultural areas in recent years.

In recent years, Palestinians, together with left-wing Israeli organizations, came several times to olive groves or vineyards in areas where Jewish farmers work. In some cases they created provocations on purpose in order to drag the settlers into a confrontation. In other cases, the Palestinians destroyed their own olive trees with the purpose of blaming the settlers.

©The Bulletin 2007

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.