Ein Gedi Botanic Garden

Ein Gedi Botanic Garden
Seek the serenity of a Judean Desert sky in Autumn at the Ein Gedi Botanic Garden

Monday, June 16, 2014

Standing Up to Terror: The Heat is On

June 16, 2014 - It may take time, but Israel will prevail against terror. That was the message delivered today by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu following a security consultation at IDF Central Command HQ in Jerusalem.

The meeting -- one of many -- follows last Thursday's kidnapping of three teenage yeshiva boys by Hamas terrorists in Gush Etzion. Two of the boys are 16 years old, including a dual American-Israeli citizen; both learn at the renown Mekor Chaim Yeshiva in Kfar Etzion. The other boy is 19, also a yeshiva student. They were grabbed while hitchhiking on a road that should have been safe -- in Area C, Israeli-administered and secured territory under the internationally-recognized Oslo Accords -- in order to reach their homes in time for the Sabbath. 

They didn't make it.

Over the weekend, Palestinian Authority unity government terrorists also launched a number of rocket attacks from Gaza towards the coastal city of Ashkelon. Home Front Command moved an Iron Dome anti-missile battery to the outskirts of Ashdod, "just in case."  No one was injured in the attacks on Ashkelon, and the missiles were intercepted, but some property was damaged due to falling shrapnel. 

It's not really a way to live as a long-term situation. 

Last night (Sunday), Arab terrorists  carried out a drive-by shooting attack on the IDF checkpoint at the entrance to Jerusalem from the southern approach to Highway 60, the Gush Etzion tunnel road. That road is the main artery that leads to Efrat, the Jewish communities in the Gush Etzion bloc, Kiryat Arba-Hevron and ultimately, the southern Hevron Hills communities, Tel Arad, Arad and Be'er Sheva. Miraculously, no one was injured, but five bullet casings were later found at the site of the shooting. Obviously, the terrorists meant business.

This evening -- Monday -- Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed the nation: 

"Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz and GOC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Nitzan Alon, we are here in the midst of a complex operation (<http://mfa.gov.il/MFA/ForeignPolicy/Issues/Pages/Behind-the-Headlines-The-Hamas-kidnapping-of-three-Israeli-teens-15-Jun-2014.aspx>). 

"We need to be prepared for the possibility that it may take time. This is a serious event and there will be serious consequences. We are working together in a considered, responsible and very determined manner.

"We are currently focused on one mission – bringing the boys, our boys who were abducted, home. We are also operating against Hamas. We have arrested over 100 Hamas activists (<http://www.idfblog.com/2014/06/15/idf-searches-hamas-kidnappers/>). We are also carrying out additional actions but I will not say any more.

"In recent days we have also seen an attempt to open an additional front in the Gaza Strip (<http://www.idfblog.com/2014/06/14/response-rocket-fire-idf-targets-gaza-terror-sites/>). We have taken strong action in response to this firing. If need be, we will take even stronger action. I promise that those who try to attack Israeli citizens will be hit.

"The IDF, Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) personnel and the police are doing very good work in the field and for this they have my gratitude and that of all Israelis. I would like to speak to the dear and splendid families of Gilad, Naftali and Eyal. I have spoken with people who have visited you and I have also been impressed by my conversations with you, by your strength in this time of trial. I and all Israelis support you at this time. We are making every effort to bring the boys home.

"In conclusion, I would like to say something to the international community: I have just spoken with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. I told him that I appreciate the important and cogent thing he said, both in condemnation of this reprehensible act (<http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2014/06/227599.htm>) and regarding Israel's right to defend itself. 

"I have also heard from other elements who spoke out yesterday and this is important. But I expect all responsible elements in the international community – some of whom rush to condemn us for any construction in this place or for enclosing a balcony in Gilo – to strongly condemn this reprehensible and deplorable act of abducting three youths. 

"Whoever opposes terrorism needs to condemn terrorism wherever it is perpetrated. I expect other countries to join in these condemnations and to support the State of Israel's legitimate and necessary acts of self-defense."

It seems that we are once again gearing up for a military operation. hundreds of soldiers abruptly terminated their training exercised in the Golan Heights yesterday and were ordered to deploy to Hevron. A limited call-up of reservists was initiated as well, with some 2,500 soldiers expected to seal off the area around Hevron and other selected cities in Judea and Samaria.

The heat is on.


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