Newsletter : 18fx0702.txt
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IDF Boosts Golan Lines with Tank, Artillery and Rocket Units
By DEBKAfile & United with Israel
The IDF Northern Command Sunday, July 1, upgraded the preparedness of the Golan Bashan
Division with tanks, artillery and rocket units after evaluating the level of fighting on
the Syria side of the border. This was announced by the military spokesman.
His announcement went on to stress "the high importance the IDF attaches to maintaining
the disengagement of forces agreement on the Golan concluded in 1974 by Israel and Syria."
He added: "Israel abides by a policy of non-involvement in Syrian affairs, along with a
firm response to violations of its sovereignty and possible harm to its citizens."
DEBKAfile added that this statement provides advance notice that Israel will not tolerate
the entry of Hizbullah and pro-Iranian Shiite forces to the Quneitra region opposite IDF
Golan lines, and further emphasizes non-acceptance of their entry into the historic
disengagement zone between Quneitra and the Israeli border.
While boosting its defensive stance on the Golan, Israel by this statement marks out a
security zone based on the 1974 disengagement lines for accommodating the tens of
thousands of Syrian refugees massing on its border, as well as rebel forces retreating
from Quneitra. This zone covers 235 sq.km between southern Golan and Mt Hermon. It is
inside the disengagement line, which runs east of the Israeli border and is between a few
meters wide at Nahal Roked in the southern Golan, up to 6 kilometers broad at its northern
tip and widens out to 10km on Mt. Hermon.
The question is whether the Russian and Syrian forces taking part on the southwestern
Syrian offensive will honor the security zone Israel has marked out, when the objective of
their current offensive is to restore Syrian government authority to all the southern
Opening the Sunday cabinet session in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said:
"We shall persist in defending our borders and extending humanitarian aid, but will not
let `anyone' step across into our territory. I am in constant contact with the Kremlin and
White House on this question."
On Saturday, the IDF transferred 6 injured Syrians, four of them children whose parents
were killed in the fighting, to Israel hospitals for treatment. The IDF's 210th Division
provided the life-saving medical treatment and then brought them into Israel for further
The risky operation was part of a unique and complex medical operation run by the IDF on
its border with Syria to provide essential aid to refugees of the Syrian civil war and
victims of Bashar al-Assad's renewed attack on the south. During the special operation,
humanitarian aid was transferred to Syrians fleeing hostilities who are living in tent
camps throughout the Syrian Golan Heights.
As part of the operation, which took place over several hours, 300 tents were transferred
along with 13 tons of food, 15 tons of baby food, three pallets of medical equipment and
medicine, and 30 tons of clothing and footwear.
Thousands of Syrian civilians fleeing the hostilities are living under poor conditions
in these camps near the Israeli border, often lacking access to water, electricity, food,
and other basic necessities, the IDF noted. "The IDF is closely monitoring the events
transpiring in southern Syrian and is prepared for a wide variety of scenarios, including
additional humanitarian aid distribution to Syrians fleeing hostilities," the military
Since the Syrian conflict began, there has been a significant shortage of medical
infrastructure, doctors, and medical supplies. Responding to the lack of proper medical
resources in Syria, the IDF has provided life-saving humanitarian aid while maintaining a
non-intervention policy in the conflict. Since 2013, over 3,500 civilians who were injured
in Syria have received medical treatment in Israel.
In addition, since 2016, as part of Operation Good Neighbor, over 1,300 Syrian children
suffering from various illnesses and ailments have received one-day treatment in Israel's
specialty clinics. The Mazor Ladach field clinic, established by the IDF and international
aid organizations in the southern Golan Heights, has provided medical treatment to
approximately 6,000 Syrian civilians suffering from various conditions since its opening
in August 2017.
During Operation Good Neighbor, 1,524 tons of food, 947,520 liters of fuel, 7,933 diaper
packages, 54 tons of baby food, 24,900 boxes of medicine and medical equipment, 775
medical equipment units, 250 tons of clothing, 13,920 hygienic products, and 300 tents
have been provided to Syrians since June 2016.
Palestinians Plot Massive Protest Against Trump Peace Plan
By World Israel News
The Palestinian Authority recently gave the go-ahead to activists based in Arab
communities in Judea and Samaria to stage protests against President Donald Trump's
unreleased Middle East peace plan, reported the Jerusalem Post. The revelation of protest
plans arrives on the heels of a visit to the region by two of Trump's senior advisers,
Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, with whom PA officials refused to meet.
While the US team held high-level meetings in Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and
Qatar, the PA chose to maintain its months-long boycott of the Trump administration, which
it launched following the president's announcement that the US would recognize Jerusalem
as the Jewish state's capital and move its embassy in Israel to the location.
The Palestinians surmised that Kushner and Greenblatt met with stakeholders throughout the
Middle East to finalize Trump's plan prior to its official unveiling before Israel and its
Arab neighbors, reported the Post.
On Monday, the first protest is slated for Ramallah, organized by a group called the
National and Islamic Forces who began recruiting participants online on Saturday, with
additional protests planned for other Palestinian communities in the following days and
weeks. The protests coincide with a Palestinian online initiative called "The National
Campaign to Down the Deal of the Century," which employs the phrase Trump has used to
publicize his forthcoming peace plan.
Palestinian sources told the Post that Fatah had instructed its loyalists to
participate in the demonstrations, with the aim of transforming ire against Trump into a
rallying cry for the ailing Abbas and increasingly unpopular PA leadership, which faces
criticism from within for the punitive sanctions it maintains against the Hamas-ruled Gaza
German Spy Agency Admits Employing Himmler's Daughter in 1960s
By Israel Hayom
Germany's federal intelligence service, the BND, acknowledged on Friday that it had
employed the daughter of top Nazi Heinrich Himmler in the 1960s, even though she never
renounced her father or Nazism and remained active in far-right extremism.
The intelligence service told the Bild newspaper Friday that Gudrun Burwitz, a notorious
post-war supporter of the extreme Right, worked as a secretary for the BND from 1961 to
1963. The agency said it ordinarily did not comment on personnel issues, but, as part of
its effort to be transparent about Nazi links in its past, confirmed that Burwitz had
Burwitz worked at the BND when it was led by Reinhard Gehlen, a former Nazi military
intelligence commander who went on to run West Germany's spy agency until 1968. He also
worked for U.S. intelligence after the war and employed many former military officers and
Nazis as spies. Burwitz died in Munich last month at age 88.
She was reported to be a prominent member of Stille Hilfe ("Silent Help"), a secretive
group known to provide legal and financial support to former SS members. She was also
known to attend other neo-Nazi events and rallies before her death. The revelation that
she had worked for the BND spy agency could add to public introspection over the tolerance
of some Nazis after World War II.
Himmler, who, as commander of the SS was one of the most powerful Nazis during the Nazi
era and a principal architect of the systematic extermination of 6 million Jews in the
Holocaust, killed himself in British custody in 1945.
Germany's intelligence services have come under criticism in recent years for failing to
root out right-wing extremists in the post-war era. Critical historians say former Nazis
and far-right sympathizers working inside the security agencies of what was then West
Germany may have protected others.
Because Burwitz was no longer alive, the BND was able to make an exception to its policy
of not commenting on active or former employees. The disclosure was part of an ongoing
process of critically reassessing the agency's own history.
The struggle to bring people with Nazi-tainted pasts to justice has been a perennial theme
of Germany's post-war history, as has been the suggestion that supporters of the far Right
retained positions of influence and power in security agencies.
Jewish Man Survived World War II -- in Axis-Era Japan
Growing up in Imperial Japan during World War II, Isaac Shapiro's best friend was a member
of the Hitler Youth. The friend wore the organization's brown shirt uniform to their
international school every day, but not because he wanted to he was German and
Japan was an ally of the Nazi regime, so he was expected to project support for the
Instead of instilling fear into his classmates, however, the uniform had the opposite
effect his non-German peers gently teased him. "We made fun of him -- everybody at
school made fun of him," Shapiro said. "We didn't support the German Reich. "He was
obviously not very enthusiastic about being in the Hitler Jugend," Shapiro added, using
the German word for Hitler Youth.
Countless Jews have harrowing stories of growing up under the terror of Nazi rule, but
Shapiro has a different tale of growing up under the Axis he was one of the few
Jews living in Japan at the time. He was born in 1931, the year Japan invaded Manchuria,
and was living there when the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945.
Shapiro, now 87, is the author of "Edokko: Growing up a Stateless Foreigner in Wartime
Japan," a childhood memoir that first came out in 2010 and was republished late last year.
The title is a term that refers to someone born and raised in Tokyo.
While Shapiro's story contains elements of World War II-era totalitarianism the
police state, the pervasive propaganda it is unique because it's not a tragedy.
Shapiro wanted the US to win. He survived American bombings in Japan. He had some idea of
what was happening to Europe's Jews. But he also has fond recollections of his Japanese
neighbors and his wartime childhood friends.
"We didn't feel we were living among the enemy," Shapiro told JTA last week, sitting in
the living room of his apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. "Our neighbors were
pleasant, decent people. We got the same food rations the Japanese got. They were very
Shapiro's family came to Japan after a whirlwind of international travel. His parents,
both Russian Jewish musicians, met and married in Berlin. They sensed danger early,
immigrating to what was then Palestine via Paris in 1926 to escape the prospect of Nazi
rule. When they found life difficult there, they moved to Harbin, a city in northeastern
China with a large Russian Jewish immigrant population. In 1931, the year Shapiro was
born, his father took a job at a music conservatory in Tokyo.
Shapiro was born in Japan but lived back in Japanese-occupied Harbin from 1931 to 1936
because his parents had separated. While there, his family got a traumatic taste of the
Japanese police state. One day in 1933, while he was at home with his brothers, the
Japanese military helped a gang kidnap his mother and a family friend, Simon Kaspe. His
mother was released in a matter of hours, but Kaspe was killed. The incident was scary
enough to prompt his parents to reunite the family in Japan. "The Japanese military were
unusually autocratic and difficult," Shapiro said, though he allowed that in general he
"didn't feel any oppression or any change because of the Japanese taking over."
His life was shaken up again by the escalation of World War II and the abolition of any
vestiges of democracy in Japan. After the United States and United Kingdom declared war on
Japan following the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941, Shapiro's British school was closed. His
family needed to obtain permission whenever they wanted to leave Yokohama, the coastal
city where they lived and received all their news from a heavily censored English
"It made us much more conscious of the role of the military," Shapiro said of the start of
the war. "Military police were much more visible everywhere. They would call on us every
now and then. We felt we were under surveillance."
Despite the tight government control, Shapiro spent the early years of the war in the
bubble of an international school. At home, he and his family would talk about their hopes
for an American victory and a defeat of Germany, which Shapiro wrote about privately in
His father played a role in helping Chiune Sugihara, the Japanese diplomat who saved
thousands of Lithuanian Jews. When some of those Jews reached Japan in 1941, before Japan
and the US were at war, Shapiro's father would translate for them at the American
consulate in Yokohama. Those survivors relayed news of the Holocaust to Shapiro's family.
The family also managed to maintain some private Jewish practices while living within a
Nazi ally. They would eat Shabbat dinners at home on Friday night, and his father wore a
kippah at those meals. They avoided pork, and on Passover they imported matzah from
Harbin. "We knew what was happening to the Jews in Germany and we wanted Germany to lose
the war," Shapiro said. "We were very quiet about it and didn't want the Japanese to think
we were against them. Privately, we were hopeful that Japan would lose the war."
The war came home in 1944, when the Japanese military evacuated the coastline and sent
his family to live in Tokyo, where they endured heavy American bombing. Shapiro's family
had to run frequently to air raid shelters and pump water by themselves to put out fires.
A Russian immigrant friend of his was killed in a bombing. "It was frightening because
Tokyo was burning," Shapiro said. "The bombs fell all around us."
By 1945, it was clear that Japan was losing the war, even though the nation's censored
newspaper downplayed the military defeats as temporary setbacks. When the atomic bomb hit
Hiroshima, Shapiro recalls it being covered as a small item in the paper so as not to
When the war ended, Shapiro met an American Army officer who was seeking English
speakers. He signed on with the Army, at age 14, to be a translator -- but ended up
translating for the US Navy in Japan after the war.
"I have to go home and get some clothes and tell my parents," Shapiro recalled telling the
Army officer at the time. But his parents didn't mind. "They were in such a state of shock
about the end of the war and occupation," he said. "They were very tolerant of my deviant
A Marine officer and his wife took in Shapiro and, in 1946, with the encouragement of his
parents, moved with him to Hawaii and acted as his guardians. Shapiro attended high school
there, then went on to college and law school at Columbia University, and a long career at
the law firms of Milbank Tweed and Skadden Arps.
In 1952, he served in the Korean War, sweeping for mines and interrogating Koreans in
Japanese. In the late 1970s, he and his wife got to live in Japan during peacetime,
helping establish Milbank Tweed's Tokyo office. "There were lots of Americans by that
time," Shapiro said of Tokyo. "It was completely different. When we went down to
Hiroshima, it was unrecognizable."
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