Israel Brief November 29, 2011: First Rockets from Lebanon strike Israel since 2009

ISRAEL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Rockets from Lebanon strike Israel

Source: JTA, 11-29-11

Four Katyusha rockets were fired into northern Israel from Lebanon — the first rockets to be fired on the area since 2009.

The rockets fired late Monday night caused damage to two buildings in the western Galilee and struck a gas tank, causing a fire that took firefighters hours to control. No one was injured in the attacks.

The Sheikh Abdullah Azzam Brigades, which is affiliated with al-Qaida, on Tuesday claimed responsibility for the attacks. The Israel Defense Forces had said that it did not believe that Hezbollah fired the rockets.

Israel reportedly shelled the area from where the rockets were fired, causing no damage.

The IDF said in a statement that it holds the Lebanese government and the Lebanese army responsible for preventing attacks on Israel. It also said that the attack is “a blatant violation of U.N. Resolution 1701,” which ended the Second Lebanon War.

The United Nations International Force in Lebanon said it would maintain calm on the border in the wake of the attacks.

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Israel Political Brief October 27, 2011: Ilan Grapel Lands at Ben Gurion Airport

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Ilan Grapel Lands at Ben Gurion

Source: Virtual Jerusalem, 10-27-11

Ilan Grapel was released from an Egyptian jail and boarded a jet bound for Israel on Thursday afternoon as a part of an ilan grapel ben gurion exchange for 25 Egyptians held in Israeli prisons, Reuters reported.

Grapel, 27, who has been held in Egypt for five months on spying charges, landed at Israel’s Ben Gurioun Airport shortly after 7PM local time.

Israeli representatives reported that Grapel was in good health and is happy to be free. His mother Irene met him at Ben-Gurion Airport. Grapel is expected to meet briefly with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday evening.
Ilan Grapel Hugs with his Mother Upon Arrival Avi Ohayon/GPO/FLASH90

Grapel was being escorted to Israel by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s envoy Yitzhak Molcho, and Kadima MK and former deputy Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) head Yisrael Hasson. Both men were insturmental in negotiating his release.

Meanwhile, the 25 Egyptian prisoners to be swapped for Grapel crossed into Egypt via the Taba crossing. According to the Israel Prison Service all of the Egyptian prisoners were serving time for criminal – rather than security-related – offenses.

ilan grapel ben gurion On Wednesday, MK Michael Ben Air took issue which that characterization saying, as weapons smugglers [who sold arms to terrorists -ed.] they should be classified as terrorists.

The United States, which provides Egypt with billions of dollars in military aid, took a hand in the negotiations due to Grapel’s dual American-Israeli citizenship.

The US-brokered exchange deal was reached on the heels of an Egyptian-brokered swap between Israel and Hamas that freed captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinian security prisoners.

As a part of the deal to release him, the US has reportedly promised to Egypt’s ruling junta the F-16 strike fighter.

via israelnn.com

Israel Political Brief October 27, 2011: Illan Grapel Freed in Prisoner Exchange with Egypt

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Grapel Freed in Prisoner Exchange with Egypt

Source: Virtual Jerusalem, JTA, 10-27-11

Dual American-Israeli citizen Ilan Grapel reportedly has been handed over to Israeli authorities in Egypt.

Thursday afternoon’s release of Grapel, who has been held in Egypt since June and accused of being a spy, is part of the prisoner exchange between Egypt and Israel. He is scheduled to fly from Egypt to Israel on Thursday evening,

At the same time, 25 Egyptians were released from Israeli prisons and taken to the Taba border crossing for release. ilan grapel alleged israeli spy arrested in egyptThe Egyptians to be released under the Grapel deal, including three minors, are criminal and not security, prisoners, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) arrived in Israel late Wednesday to escort Grapel back to his parents’ home in New York, a statement from his office said. Grapel’s parents are Ackerman’s constituents and Grapel worked as an intern for the congressman.

Ackerman’s office said that the congressman had “personally” intervened with the Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the prime minister of Israel and the U.S. State Department to secure Grapel’s release.

Grapel, who has refuted the spying charges, is scheduled to be debriefed by Israeli defense officials before he leaves for New York.

Arab reports, including in the Palestinian news agency Maan, assert that the United States, which was heavily involved in the prisoner swap negotiations, agreed to sell to Egypt several F-16 fighter planes in order to grease the wheels of the swap.

Grapel, arrested in Cairo in June, was accused of espionage. Later he was accused as well of incitement and the attempted arson of the country’s Interior Ministry building and police headquarters in Cairo during January’s riots in the capital.

The agreement comes a little more than a week after captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was exchanged for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in an agreement reached with the terrorist organization Hamas.

Egyptian security officials said Grapel entered the country shortly after the start of the Jan. 25 uprising that led to the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak and posed as a foreign correspondent. A law student at Emory University, Grapel allegedly said he was Muslim on the visa application that he filed with the Egyptian Embassy in Tel Aviv and then entered Egypt using his American passport.

Grapel moved to Israel following his graduation from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, served as a paratrooper during the Second Lebanon War and was wounded in Southern Lebanon in August 2006.

via jta.org

Israel Political Brief October 24, 2011: Egypt Will Release Illan Grapel for Egyptian Prisoners

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Egypt Will Release Grapel for Egyptian Prisoners

Source: Virtual Jerusalem, JTA, 10-24-11

Egypt has agreed to release dual American-Israeli citizen Ilan Grapel in exchange for 25 Egyptians being held in Israeli prisons.ilan grapel alleged israeli spy arrested in egypt

The Egyptians, including three minors, are not security prisoners, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement on the deal released Monday evening. They are being held on charges such as crossing the border illegally, drug trafficking and holding unlicensed weapons, according to reports.

Grapel, arrested in Cairo in June, was accused of espionage. Later he was accused as well of incitement and the attempted arson of the country’s Interior Ministry building and police headquarters in Cairo during January’s riots in the capital.

The agreement is subject to the approval of Israel’s Security Cabinet, which will meet to discuss the swap Tuesday, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

The agreement comes less than a week after captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was exchanged for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in an agreement reached with the terrorist organization Hamas.

Egyptian security officials said Grapel entered the country shortly after the start of the Jan. 25 uprising that led to the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak and posed as a foreign correspondent. A law student at Emory University, Grapel allegedly said he was Muslim on the visa application that he filed with the Egyptian Embassy in Tel Aviv and then entered Egypt using his American passport.

Grapel denies he is a spy. He says he came to Egypt to intern for a nongovernmental organization that assists refugees from Sudan and elsewhere.

Grapel is a New Yorker who moved to Israel following his graduation from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He joined the Israeli army, served as a paratrooper during the Second Lebanon War and was wounded in Southern Lebanon in August 2006.

Via jta.org

Israel Marks Five Years since the Second Lebanon War

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

Today, Israelis mark five years since the start of the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

Captured Israeli soldiers Sergeant First Class (res.) Eldad Regev and Master Sergeant (res.) Ehud GoldwasserIsraeli Fallen Soldiers Sergeant First Class (res.) Eldad Regev and Master Sergeant (res.) Ehud Goldwasser. Source jfedsrq.org.

On July 12, 2006, Hezbollah terrorists killed three Israeli soldiers during an attack on an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) vehicle patrolling within Israeli territory alongside the Israel-Lebanon border. Two of the soldiers killed were taken into captivity by Hezbollah, whose attack instigated the outbreak of the Second Lebanon War—during which Israel significantly impaired Hezbollah’s military capabilities.

The war lasted 34 days and ended with the signing of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701. Although a partner to the resolution, Hezbollah has directly violated UN Resolution 1701—rearming and strengthening itself with weapons and training from the Syrian and Iranian regimes. Five years later, Hezbollah has returned to full, routine militant activity in southern Lebanon.

The IDF has produced an infographic presenting Hezbollah’s gross violations of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701. The resolution calls for Hezbollah to remain disarmed and bans paramilitary activity south of the Litani River. Hezbollah has blatantly disregarded UN Res. 1701, for example, in September 2010 Hezbollah operatives were caught transferring weapons from a weapons storage facility to a mosque in a neighboring village, following an explosion at the site.

 

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