War with Hamas, Secret Airstrikes in Egypt, Chinese Spy Stuff, and More

Why did Egypt allow over Israeli airstrikes inside their border, and why are Israeli developers worried about working with Chinese construction firms?


Israel NewsFeb 4, 2018

Israel NewsFeb 4, 2018


    An IDF helicopter lands during a military training exercise that Hamas has claimed is a ruse to start an open war in Gaza. (Source: IDF Twitter screenshot).

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In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the LORD of hosts has blessed, saying, "Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance." (Isaiah 19:24-25)

In the coming kingdom, Egypt and Israel will be allies. We aren’t in the kingdom yet, but recent secret cooperation between the two states indicates shared objectives.

Over 100 Israeli Airstrikes in Egypt Reveal Secret Alliance

A New York Times investigation revealed a secretive and effective military alliance between longtime rivals Egypt and Israel that has resulted in over one hundred Israeli airstrike in Egypt—all with the approval of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

The strikes, which have targeted Islamic militant groups, began in earnest in 2015 after terrorists shot down a Russian passenger jet killing 224 people and began making more ambitious attacks in the Sinai region. The Egyptian military, which was struggling to contain the Sinai branch of the Islamic State, struck a deal with the Israelis that let Israel have stronger control of its border region and gave Egypt the support needed to push back the terrorists.

The strikes were conducted with unmarked drones, planes, and helicopters that would frequently fly routes that gave the impression they were based in Egypt. The strikes were also conducted in North Sinai, a closed military zone that prohibits journalists from reporting there.

This collaboration between Israel and Egypt is the strongest evidence of a quiet political realignment in the Middle East spurred by common enemies such as the Islamic State and Iran. In public, however, the status quo remains. The Egyptian government and state media still openly condemn the Jewish State and treat it as an enemy.

The publicity of Egypt’s cooperation with Israel in Sinai is likely to spark tension in Egypt as this is just the latest hint that the state is fighting Israel only in the public media but is secretly taking a softer stance. For example, after President Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Egypt flared along with the rest of the Arab world but took no action to retaliate.

Both Israeli and Egyptian officials have declined to comment. Netanyahu commented only generally saying Israel will “do whatever is necessary to defend ourselves.”

Israeli Builders Warn against Using Chinese Infrastructure

Hezekiah answered, “"They have seen all that is in my house. There is nothing in my storehouses that I did not show them.” (Isaiah 39:4)

A letter penned by the Association of Contractors and Builders, a coalition of Israeli infrastructure workers, urged government regulators to avoid and even ban future contracts with Chinese state-owned firms for developing critical infrastructure in Israel.

“A small number of large [Chinese] state-owned groups are currently in control of a significant part of Israel’s vital infrastructure that has been allocated to this day,” the letter read. “One concern is the harm to public interests from Chinese government activities through companies that control the local economy.... Interests of the Chinese government do not necessarily coincide with Israeli interests.”

The primary concern listed is that the Chinese companies that have been contracted for much of Israel’s central infrastructure are state-owned, which raises the concern that information gathered by the contractors will be shared with the Chinese government. There is no clear line drawn when it comes to information sharing in state-owned companies.

Even though China and Israel do not have a historically adversarial relationship, an article by the Jerusalem Post cites experts who “worry that China’s political and strategic goals in the region—its energy dependence on Iran and Saudi Arabia—could run counter to the Jewish state as it gains control of critical infrastructure.”

Currently, the Chinese state-owned company China Railway Tunnel Group is bidding for the chance to run the communication systems for Tel Aviv’s Red Line light rail, which is scheduled to open in 2021.

If they win the bid, the Chinese government-controlled company would manage around 3,000 closed-circuit surveillance televisions in the Red Line in Tel Aviv, along with the Wi-Fi, radio frequencies, and communication in the tunnels, according to the JPost Article. This raises concerns of the risk of being surveilled by a foreign government.

Israel is not the only state to rely heavily upon China for infrastructure development. Chinese firms are well known for their efficiency and speed in setting up infrastructure systems. They operate in many African countries in exchange for access to resources and are a sign of China’s global economic development strategy.

Hamas Predicts War with Israel in Days

I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war! (Psalm 120:7)

Several Arab news sources are claiming that Hamas officials in Gaza are preparing for an imminent all-out war with Israel that they expect within days.

Al Hayat, a large Arab daily newspaper, reported that Hamas and Palestinian leaders said they had “expectations of more than 95% that an Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip was imminent.” They claim that a large scale Israeli military training drill in the south is a guise for opening up a southern front against Hamas. Hamas members have reportedly evacuated headquarters and deployed road blocks across the Gaza Strip.

A report from Haaretz, an Israeli news source, says that it is unlikely that Israel will start a war without further provocation such as a missile barrage from the strip. Some suspect that the war cry from Hamas is a ruse to bolster support during a dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza after a failed reconciliation between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.

The two groups have been feuding over a power struggle that has resulted in internal violence, energy shortages, and fighting for control of resources. The Palestinian Authority claims Hamas has not yet given up control over security or tax collection, while Hamas accuses the PA of dodging its responsibility toward the Gaza Strip, according to Haaretz.

Israel Legalizes Settlement after Controversial Murder

I will plant them on their land, and they shall never again be uprooted out of the land that I have given them," says the LORD your God. (Amos 9:15)

Israel officially gave legal status to a previously unauthorized Jewish settlement deep in the West Bank on Sunday after a Palestinian shooting attack last month that killed one of its residents.

The legalization, which was passed unanimously by the Israeli government, is seen as a response to the murder of Rabbi Raziel Shevach who was shot dead near Havat Gilad on January 9. Israeli troops searching for his attackers shot a Palestinian suspect in the city of Jenin in the northern West Bank. However, they are still searching for the man suspected of Shevach's killing.

A Saturday raid on the West Bank village of Burqin, near Nablus, sparked clashes between soldiers and Arab youth. The settlement, which has about forty families and is fifteen years old, will now receive status as a “community,” which includes building permits and a state budget.

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