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IDF Deploys Reinforcements to Syrian Border

IDF Sends Aid but Will Not Open Border

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2 Jul 2018 (All day)
IDF Deploys Reinforcements to Syrian Border
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit announced on Sunday that reinforcements are being deployed to the Golan Heights as the Assad regime’s offensive against rebel factions on the other side of the border intensifies. “The IDF attaches great importance to maintaining the 1974 disengagement agreement between Israel and Syria,” read the IDF statement, adding that the IDF will continue its “policy of reacting firmly to cases in which Israeli sovereignty is harmed and Israeli civilians are threatened.” Meanwhile, a growing number of refugees have gathered on the Syrian side of the border. “We’re closely monitoring what is happening in southern Syria,” Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman Tweeted on Friday. “We’re meticulous in safeguarding the State of Israel’s security interests. As always, we’re prepared to provide any humanitarian assistance to civilians, including women and children. But we will not accept any Syrian refugees in our territory.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared during the weekly cabinet meeting Sunday morning that “We will keep protecting our borders,” adding that although Israel will continue sending as much humanitarian aid as possible to the refugees inside Syria they will not be permitted to cross into Israeli territory. The statement came amidst reports that several rebel-held villages in southwest Syria have surrendered to pro-regime forces, which are believed to include large numbers of Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias, including Hezbollah, and Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) cadres.

Meanwhile, Israeli officials have reportedly held discussions in recent days with their counterparts in the US, NATO allies and Russia regarding events in Syria, including the Iranian participation in the offensive in the southwest. Also over the weekend, it was reported that a handful of wounded Syrian refugees had been brought into Israel for medical treatment. The UN estimates that 160,000 Syrians have been displaced by the fighting in the southwest.

Iranian Officials Call for Calm, Warn of Intensified Crackdown
Following a bloody weekend in Iran in which demonstrations against the clerical regime escalated into violent clashes between protesters and riot police in the southern city of Khorramshahr, officials called for calm while warning that a more forceful crackdown was possible if demonstrations continued. Meanwhile, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, made a televised speech on Saturday in which he explained that the US and Sunni Arab states had formed a “conspiracy against the Iranian people” which was to blame for the unrest.

In related news, a massive rally of Iranian expats and their allies was held on Saturday at the Villepinte Congress Center, outside of Paris under the banner “Free Iran.” Leader of the National Council of Resistance of Iran Maryam Rajavi told the tens of thousands of assembled demonstrators that “the overthrow of this regime inevitably requires the willingness to pay the price, requires honesty and sacrifice, requires an organization and a strong political alternative, and requires resistance units and a liberty army." The demonstration also included speeches by former US, European and Canadian government officials who had come to show their support.

Israel Continues to Battle Kite Jihad on Gaza Border
Israeli firefighting units and volunteers battled over a dozen large blazes set by incendiary kites and balloons sent into Israel from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip over the weekend. The Jewish National Fund issued a statement estimating that over 450 fires have been set by the incendiary attacks in recent months, burning more than 7,500 dunams of forests and agricultural fields, along with a handful of buildings and vehicles.

Here is a video about the fires



Jerusalem Light Festival Condemned by PA
The Palestinian Authority issued a statement over the weekend condemning the Jerusalem Festival of Light show in the capital’s Old City as part of an Israeli conspiracy to “Judaize” the city. The annual display, jointly produced by the Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Ministry, the Jerusalem Development Authority and the Jerusalem Municipality, includes laser projections on the walls of the Old City showing various artistic expressions about the history, culture and everyday life in the city.

“What the occupation authorities call the International Light Festival in our occupied capital is nothing but another of the tools of Judaization that the occupation authorities are working to impose,” the PA statement declared. “The truth requires that the festival be called the Festival of Dimness and not the Festival of Light. The occupation is working to use all means, including the light and its aesthetics, to serve its black goals” (including to) “impose more dimness on the history and present of the holiest and most ancient Arab city.”

Australia Defunds PA Over Stipends to Terrorists Families
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced Monday that her government has decided to stop donating money to the Palestinian Authority out of concern that Australian money will be used by the PA to pay stipends to the families of convicted terrorists. She added that money given “to those convicted of politically motivated violence is an affront to Australian values, and undermines the prospect of meaningful peace between Israel and the Palestinians.” However, Australia will continue giving money to UN programs which provide direct humanitarian assistance to Palestinian civilians.

“I wrote to the Palestinian Authority (PA) on 29 May, to seek clear assurance that Australian funding is not being used to assist Palestinians convicted of politically motivated violence,” Bishop said. “I am confident that previous Australian funding to the PA through the World Bank has been used as intended. However, I am concerned that in providing funds for this aspect of the PA’s operations there is an opportunity for it to use its own budget to activities that Australia would never support.”

 

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