Israel Roundup: Balloon Fires, Coronavirus Lockdown Continue

  • Hamas continues to show its opposition to the Israel UAE agreements
  • Pompeo visited the Middle in an attempt to expand the treaty unsuccessfully
  • Coronavirus has struck hard at the Israel Arab population

With dazzling flames, Israel is battling Hamas’ incendiary balloons and rockets shot at them from Gaza. Israeli civilians living along the border have been constantly terrorized by deliberate wildfires caused by incendiary balloons shot at them from Gaza. The attacks began several days before Israel’s peace with the UAE was announced.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visits with the Sultan of Oman.

Still the incendiary balloon attacks have not stopped. Each day there has been more than twenty fires created by incendiary balloons containing explosives in them. The Palestinians have vowed not to stop throwing these balloons from their territories despite Israel’s retaliation in the air and by tanks located on the border.

Winds blowing inland from the Mediterranean Sea carry the balloons toward Southern Israeli towns and farmlands.

In response to Israeli air attacks at Hamas’ military locations in Gaza, sporadically this whole week there have been rocket attacks at Israel, most of which have been intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system. One rocket succeeded in causing damage to a house in the city of Sederot, located near the border. Hamas blames Israel for escalation of violence.

In the beginning of the week, Hezbollah made an attempt to retaliate as it promised for the death of one of its warriors in a blast in Syria caused by Israeli missiles. As part of the so called equation policy, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah will not give up until his special forces will bring him at least one Israeli casualty.

A Hezbollah sniper squad fired shots at IDF forces located along the border but did not cause any injuries. Israel retaliated in turn with mortar fires at Hezbollah stations near the Israel-Lebanese border. The IDF northern command has been preparing for such an incident for the past five weeks.

This incident was the second unsuccessful try by Hezbollah to get its revenge. Hezbollah is already under immense political pressure after the Beirut port explosion, the coronavirus pandemic, and investigations into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Harari in 2005.  After the explosion, a third of the Beirut residents are homeless.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah vows to take revenge for the death of one of its warriors.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Bahrain, Oman, and Sudan to try to bring them into the peace treaty between the UAE and Israel without success. These Arab gulf states, as well as Saudi Arabia, all agree that until a two-state solution between the Palestinians and Israel is reached, they are not ready to join in with the UAE to make peaceful relations with Israel.

Sudan’s transitional government dashed hopes for a speedy breakthrough, but says that it still has no mandate to take this step. Pompeo met with the Sultan of Oman, and they spoke about the importance of building regional peace, stability and prosperity, through a united Gulf Cooperation Council.

Bahrain is allied with Saudi Arabia, and relayed the same message to Pompeo that the Saudis had given not to make peace until the Palestinian crisis is solved. Pompeo is now heading home after his visit to the Middle East to try to expand relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

The coronavirus lockdown has been extended in Gaza for 72 hours after infections have spread. The Arab population in Israel has a larger percentage of infections than the Israeli population, close to the percentages seen in the Orthodox Jewish cities. The Arabs have large families, like the Orthodox, and live in close quarters.

An annual pilgrimage to Ukraine for New Year prayers by Breslov Chassidim has been limited or completely cancelled due to Coronavirus.  Ukraine will not allow chartered planes to land in the country coming from Israel for the celebration in the city of Uman. Last year over 30,000 Jews visited Uman Ukraine for this festival.

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David Wexelman

Author of 5 books on the internet on topics of Jewish mysticism, managing two websites. www.progressivejewishspirituality.net
http://www.worldunitypeace.org

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