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Islamic Jihad Threatens Revenge as Israel Closes Gaza Border Crossing


Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) on Monday accepted the suggestion of IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot to close the Kerem Shalom crossing between Gaza and Israel. The closure will not apply to humanitarian aid, including food and medicine, approved on an individual basis by Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Kamil Abu Rokon.

The decision comes in response to continued arson terror perpetrated by Gazan terrorists via incendiary kites and balloons sent from Gaza into Israeli territory, as well as other attempts at terror attacks. In addition to the closure of Kerem Shalom, the decision was made not to allow the expansion of the fishing zone around Gaza to continue throughout the season.

In a statement, the IDF said, "The State of Israel aspires and acts to improve the humanitarian reality in the Gaza Strip in many ways. However, in light of the situation in which the Hamas terror organization exploits the Gazan residents and launches arson and explosive balloons and kites towards the communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip, Israel decided to take these measures. The current situation does not allow the residents of southern Israel to maintain their daily routine. Should these severe conditions continue, Israeli measures will persist and intensify.

"The Hamas terror organization is accountable for the activities in the Gaza Strip and their consequences. The Hamas terror organization is the one who is dragging the residents of the Gaza Strip into an abyss, and the IDF will continue to operate as necessary to safeguard the security needs of the State of Israel."

The Islamic Jihad terrorist organization, Hamas' main ally in Gaza, on Monday, blasted the Israeli government's decision to close the crossing, saying it was tantamount to "a declaration of war against the Palestinians." An official statement by the Islamic Jihad said that "given the aggressive policy, we see the declaration of the Israeli terror government and its army as a declaration of war against the Palestinians. We will not remain helpless and respond."

The group also pointed an accusing finger at the international community, saying, "The entire world bears responsibility for its silence and its inability to curb the terror policy adopted by the occupation, its government and its army against our people."

Estimate: 80,000 buildings in Danger of Collapsing in the Face of Earthquake

By the Jerusalem Post and World Israel News

80,000 buildings in Israel are in danger of collapsing in the face of a serious earthquake in Israel, Deputy Minister of Housing and Construction Jackie Levy told The Jerusalem Post on Monday. Levy issued a statement on the urgency of the issue, after northern Israel experienced dozens of earthquakes over the past few days.

Levy says he has been fighting for greater action on this issue for several years, and that while his ministry had budgeted NIS 60 million every year for the last three years to reinforce buildings, that is only "a drop in the ocean. This needs a massive systemic solution – a national plan," he said, noting that his ministry has already put together a five-year plan which he hopes will be approved soon.

The plan, which his ministry put together with the Finance Ministry, requires a budget of NIS 250 million every year for five years – which will deal only with the homes of those who live on the Great Rift Valley, the highest risk zone. In addition, the remaining homes of those who are in lower-risk areas will also need to be reinforced. All buildings constructed before 1984 were not built according to standards which began to be enforced that year for earthquake durability. "There are many old structures that will simply collapse like a tower of cards during an earthquake," Levy said.

Due to the series of tremors that occurred over the past week in Israel, an emergency meeting will be held Thursday with all relevant authorities who would have a role to play in case of a major earthquake.

Homes have rattled throughout the north from Haifa to Kiryat Shmona as a series of light earthquakes struck the region since July 4, measuring between 2.0 and 4.5 on the Richter scale. Only a few of the roughly 30 tremors were actually felt, according to the Israeli Geophysics Institute, although they have alarmed Israelis. Betzalel Treiber, the former head of the NEMA, pointed out "It is the duty of the state to make the effort and fix these buildings," he stated.

The other aspect that is not yet up to par, he said, is how ready the authorities would deal with the aftermath, which is the point of Thursday's meeting. Treiber did sound one note of optimism, however. "A new seismological web [of sensors] is being set up in Israel and … will be completed by the end of the year."

It will be connected to the national warning system, he continued, and will enable citizens to get at least a few critical seconds' warning of an upcoming earthquake – and if the epicenter is far enough away, it could even be dozens of seconds, he added, which will be effective.

Watchdog Group: United Nations Ignores Anti-Semitism, De-Judaizes Holocaust

By the Jerusalem Post

The United Nations has failed to combat anti-Semitism seriously and in some cases has de-Judaized the Holocaust, a Geneva watchdog group said on Monday. UN Watch accused the world body in a report presented at a special event at the Knesset.

Israel has long argued that the UN's treatment of it is tantamount to anti-Semitism because of the body's long record of excessively condemning Israeli actions above and beyond those of other nations. "When it comes to Jews, when it comes to Israelis, the UN has become a hostile and biased body," said Yesh Atid head MK Yair Lapid, who chaired the Knesset event. "The organization that is meant to fight anti-Semitism, which is sworn to fight anti-Semitism, is guilty of anti-Semitism itself."

The bulk of the report protested the failure of UN officials and relevant bodies, including outgoing High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, to properly address the problem of anti-Semitism. Zeid did not make a "single standalone statement" in reaction to an antisemitic event during his four years in office, UN Watch said. He also "trivialized and de-Judaized the Holocaust," the group said.

Among the examples it gave was Zeid's opening speech to the UNHRC in June 2017, in which he "juxtaposed Hitler's concentration camps to Palestinian refugee camps." The watchdog group added that Zeid "cynically instrumentalized the Holocaust to defend Muslims and criticize Israel, but "has never used the Holocaust to defend Jews against modern antisemitism."

North Korea Reportedly Offered Israel to Cut its Weapons Sales to Iran if Israel Paid it $1 Billion.

By World Israel News

North Korea's ambassador to Sweden in 1999 proposed to his Israeli counterpart: Israel will give North Korea $1 billion in cash and Pyongyang will cancel its agreement to sell missile technology to Iran, the Wall Street Journal reported. According to the report, based on the account of senior North Korean diplomat Thae Yong Ho, Israel refused and days later offered food aid instead. The talks ended without an agreement.

Since then, North Korea has steadily supplied conventional and ballistic weapons and nuclear technology to countries hostile to Israel, such as Iran and Syria. North Korea has a history of selling dangerous technology, including helping Syria build a nuclear reactor and providing the country with chemical weapons. Israel bombed the Syrian nuclear facility in 2007.

As conflict spread across the Middle East since the Arab Spring in 2011, North Korea has stepped up small-arms shipments to Libya and Syria. A North Korean machine gun called the Type 73 has also turned up in battles in Yemen, Iraq and Syria, likely supplied by Iran, which imported them in the 1970s and 1980s.

The account of the proposal, recorded in a 2018 memoir by Thae, the translator at the supposed meeting who later defected to South Korea in 2016, demonstrates how North Korea has used the threat of weapons proliferation as leverage for cash that could in turn be used to finance its nuclear and missile programs. Israel declined to comment on the events outlined by Thae.

Israel's ambassador to Sweden at the time, Gideon Ben Ami, said in a television interview last week that he had three meetings with North Korean officials in 1999, but he did not mention the North Korean extortion attempt.

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