Living on the Fault Line
A major earthquake isn’t likely here, but if it comes, watch out.
Posted June 15, 2010 by Wayne J. Guglielmo
This chart shows the location of the Ramapo Fault System, the longest and one of the oldest systems of cracks in the earth’s crust in the Northeast. It also shows the location of all earthquakes of magnitude 2.5 or greater in New Jersey during the last 50 years. The circle in blue indicates the largest known Jersey quake.
The couple checked with Burns’s parents, who live in nearby Basking Ridge, and they, too, had heard and felt something, which they thought might have been an earthquake. A call by Burns some 20 minutes later to the Bernardsville Police Department—one of many curious and occasionally panicky inquiries that Sunday morning, according to the officer in charge, Sergeant John Remian—confirmed their suspicion: A magnitude 2.6 earthquake, its epicenter in Peapack/Gladstone, about seven miles from Bernardsville, had hit the area. A smaller aftershock followed about two and a half hours later.
After this year’s epic earthquakes in Haiti, Chile, Mexico, Indonesia, and China, the 2.6 quake and aftershock that shook parts of New Jersey in February may seem minor league, even to the Somerset County residents who experienced them. On the exponential Richter Scale, a magnitude 7.0 quake like the one that hit Haiti in January is almost 4 million times stronger than a quake of 2.6 magnitude. But comparisons of magnitude don’t tell the whole story.
Northern New Jersey straddles the Ramapo Fault, a significant ancient crack in the earth’s crust. The longest fault in the Northeast, it begins in Pennsylvania and moves into New Jersey, trending northeast through Hunterdon, Somerset, Morris, Passaic, and Bergen counties before terminating in New York’s Westchester County, not far from the Indian Point Energy Center, a nuclear power plant. And though scientists dispute how active this roughly 200 million-year-old fault really is, many earthquakes in the state’s surprisingly varied seismic history are believed to have occurred on or near it. The fault line is visible at ground level and likely extends as deep as nine miles below the surface.
During the past 230 years or so, New Jersey has been at the epicenter of nearly 170 earthquakes, according to data compiled by the New Jersey Geological Survey, part of the United States Department of Environmental Protection. The largest known quake struck in 1783, somewhere west of New York City, perhaps in Sussex County. It’s typically listed as 5.3 in magnitude, though that’s an estimate by seismologists who are quick to point out that the concept of magnitude—measuring the relative size of an earthquake—was not introduced until 1935 by Charles Richter and Beno Gutenberg. Still, for quakes prior to that, scientists are not just guessing.
“We can figure out the damage at the time by going back to old records and newspaper accounts,” says Won-Young Kim, a senior research scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York, directly across the New Jersey border. “Once the amount and extent of contemporary damage has been established,” Kim says, “we’re then able to gauge the pattern of ground shaking or intensity of the event—and from there extrapolate its probable magnitude.”
Other earthquakes of magnitude 5 or higher have been felt in New Jersey, although their epicenters laying near New York City. One—which took place in 1737 and was said to have been felt as far north as Boston and as far south as northern Delaware—was probably in the 5 to 5.5 range. In 1884, an earthquake of similar magnitude occurred off New York’s Rockaway Beach. This well-documented event pulled houses off their foundations and caused steeples to topple as far west as Rahway. The shock wave, scientists believe, was felt over 70,000 square miles, from Vermont to Maryland.
Among the largest sub-5 magnitude earthquakes with epicenters in New Jersey, two (a 3.8 and a 4.0) took place on the same day in 1938 in the Lakehurst area in Ocean County. On August 26, 2003, a 3.5 magnitude quake shook the Frenchtown/Milford area in Hunterdon County. On February 3 of last year, a 3.0 magnitude quake occurred in the Morris County town of Mendham. “A lot of people felt this one because of the intense shaking, although the area of intensity wasn’t very wide,” says Lamont-Doherty’s Kim, who visited the site after the event.
After examining the known historical and geological record, Kim and other seismologists have found no clear evidence that an earthquake of greater than 5.3 to 5.5 magnitude has taken place in this area going back to 1737. This doesn’t mean, of course, that one did not take place in the more remote past or that one will not occur in the future; it simply means that a very large quake is less likely to occur here than in other places in the east where the seismic hazard is greater, including areas in South Carolina and northeastern New York State.
But no area on the East Coast is as densely populated or as heavily built-up as parts of New Jersey and its neighbors. For this reason, scientists refer to the Greater New York City-Philadelphia area, which includes New Jersey’s biggest cities, as one of “low earthquake hazard but high vulnerability.” Put simply, the Big One isn’t likely here—but if it comes, especially in certain locations, watch out.
Given this low-hazard, high-vulnerability scenario, how far along are scientists in their efforts to predict larger magnitude earthquakes in the New Jersey area? The answer is complex, complicated by the state’s geographical position, its unique geological history, the state of seismology itself, and the continuing debate over the exact nature and activity of the Ramapo Fault.
Over millions of years, New Jersey developed four distinct physiographic provinces or regions, which divide the state into a series of diagonal slices, each with its own terrain, rock type, and geological landforms.
The northernmost slice is the Valley and Ridge, comprising major portions of Sussex and Warren counties. The southernmost slice is the Coastal Plain, a huge expanse that covers some three-fifths of the state, including all of the Shore counties. Dividing the rest of the state are the Highlands, an area for the most part of solid but brittle rock right below the Valley and Ridge, and the lower lands of the Piedmont, which occupy all of Essex, Hudson, and Union counties, most of Bergen, Hunterdon, and Somerset, and parts of Middlesex, Morris, and Passaic.
For earthquake monitors and scientists, the formation of these last two provinces—the Highlands and the Piedmont—are of special interest. To understand why, consider that prior to the appearance of the Atlantic Ocean, today’s Africa was snuggled cozily up against North America and surrounded by a single enormous ocean. “At that point, you could have had exits off the New Jersey Turnpike for Morocco,” says Alexander Gates, professor of geology and chair of the department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Rutgers-Newark.
Under the pressure of circulating material within the Earth’s super-hot middle layer, or mantle, what was once a single continent—one that is thought to have included today’s other continents as well—began to stretch and eventually break, producing numerous cracks or faults and ultimately separating to form what became the Atlantic Ocean. In our area, the longest and most active of these many cracks was the Ramapo Fault, which, through a process known as normal faulting, caused one side of the earth’s crust to slip lower—the Piedmont—relative to the other side—the Highlands. “All this occurred about 225 million years ago,” says Gates. “Back then, you were talking about thousands of feet between the Highlands and the Piedmont and a very active Ramapo Fault.”
The Earth’s crust, which is 20 to 25 miles thick, is not a single, solid shell, but is broken into seven vast tectonic plates, which drift atop the soft, underlying mantle. Although the northeast-trending Ramapo Fault neatly divides two of New Jersey’s four physiographic provinces, it does not form a so-called plate boundary, as does California’s infamous San Andreas Fault. As many Californians know all too well, this giant fault forms the boundary between two plates—to the west, the Pacific Plate, and to the east, the North American Plate; these rub up against each other, producing huge stresses and a regularly repeating pattern of larger earthquakes.
The Ramapo Fault sits on the North American Plate, which extends past the East Coast to the middle of the Atlantic, where it meets the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, an underwater mountain range in constant flux. The consequences of this intraplate setting are huge: First, as Gates points out, “The predictability of bigger earthquakes on…[such] settings is exceedingly poor, because they don’t occur very often.” Second, the intraplate setting makes it more difficult to link our earthquakes to a major cause or fault, as monitors in California can often do.
This second bit of uncertainty is especially troubling for some people, including some in the media who want a neat story. To get around it, they ignore the differences between plate settings and link all of New Jersey’s earthquakes, either directly or implicitly, to the Ramapo Fault. In effect, such people want the Ramapo Fault “to look like the San Andreas Fault,” says Gates. “They want to be able to point to one big fault that’s causing all of our earthquakes.”
Gates does not think that’s the case, and he has been working with colleagues for a number of years to prove it. “What we have found is that there are smaller faults that generally cut from east to west across the northeast-trending Ramapo Fault,” he explains. “These much smaller faults are all over the place, and they’re actually the ones that are the active faults in the area.”
But what mechanisms are responsible for the formation of these apparently active auxiliary faults? One such mechanism, say scientists, is the westward pressure the Atlantic Ocean exerts on the North American Plate, which for the most part resists any movement. “I think we are in an equilibrium state most of the time,” says Lamont-Doherty’s Kim.
Still, that continuous pressure on the plate we sit on causes stress, and when that stress builds up sufficiently, the earth’s crust has a tendency to break around any weak zones. In our area, the major weak zone is the Ramapo Fault—“an ancient zone of weakness,” as Kim calls it. That zone of weakness exacerbates the formation of auxiliary faults, and thereby the series of minor earthquakes the state has experienced over the years.
All this presupposes, of course, that any intraplate stress in this area will continue to be released gradually, in a series of relatively minor earthquakes or releases of energy. But what if that were not the case? What if the stress continued to build up, and the release of large amounts of energy came all at once? In crude terms, that’s part of the story behind the giant earthquakes that rocked what is now New Madrid, Missouri, between 1811 and 1812. Although estimates of their magnitude have been revised downward in recent years to less than magnitude 8, these earthquakes are generally regarded as among the largest intraplate events to have occurred in the continental United States.
For a number of reasons—including the relatively low odds that the kind of stored energy that unleashed the New Madrid events could ever build up here—earthquakes of plus-6 magnitude are probably not in our future. Still, says Kim, even a magnitude 6 earthquake in certain areas of the state could do considerable damage, especially if its intensity or ground shaking was of sufficient strength. In a state as geologically diverse and densely populated as New Jersey, this is a crucial wild card.
Part of the job of the experts at the New Jersey Geological Survey is to assess the seismic hazards in different parts of the state. To do this, they use a computer-simulation model developed under the direction of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, known as HAZUS, for Hazards US. To assess the amount of ground shaking likely to occur in a given county during events ranging in magnitude from 5 to 7 on the Richter Scale, NJGS scientists enter three features of a county’s surface geology into their computer model. Two of these features relate to the tendency of soil in a given area to lose strength, liquefy, or slide downhill when shaken. The third and most crucial feature has to do with the depth and density of the soil itself and the type of bedrock lying below it; this is a key component in determining a region’s susceptibility to ground shaking and, therefore, in estimating the amount of building and structural damage that’s likely to occur in that region. Estimates for the various counties—nine to date have been studied—are sent to the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management, which provided partial funding for the project.
To appreciate why this element of ground geology is so crucial to earthquake modelers, consider the following: An earthquake’s intensity—which is measured on something called the Modified Mercalli Scale—is related to a number of factors. The amount of energy released or the magnitude of an event is clearly a big factor. But two earthquakes of the same magnitude can have very different levels of intensity; in fact, it’s quite possible for a lower magnitude event to generate more ground shaking than a higher magnitude one.
In addition to magnitude, other factors that affect intensity are the distance of the observer or structure from the epicenter, where intensity is the greatest; the depth beneath the surface of the initial rupture, with shallower ruptures producing more ground shaking than deeper ones; and, most significantly, the ground geology or material that the shock wave generated by the earthquake must pass through.
As a rule, softer materials like sand and gravel shake much more intensely than harder materials, because the softer materials are comparatively inefficient energy conductors, so whatever energy is released by the quake tends to be trapped, dispersing much more slowly. (Think of a bowl of Jell-O on a table that’s shaking.)
In contrast, harder materials, like the solid rock found widely in the Highlands, are brittle and break under pressure, but conduct energy well, so that even big shock waves disperse much more rapidly through them, thereby weakening the amount of ground shaking. “If you’ve read any stories about the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, you know the most intense damage was in those flat, low areas by the Bay, where the soil is soft, and not in the hilly, rocky areas above,” says Karl Muessig, state geologist and NJGS head.
The map that accompanies the online version of the NJGS’s Earthquake Loss Estimation Study divides the state’s surface geology into five seismic soil classes, ranging from Class A, or hard rock, to Class E, or soft soil (state.nj.us/dep/njgs/enviroed/hazus.htm).
Although the weakest soils are scattered throughout the state, including the Highlands, which besides harder rock also contains areas of glacial lakes, clays, and wetlands, they are most evident in the Piedmont and the Coastal Plain. “The largest expanses of them are in coastal areas where you have salt marshes or large glacial lakes, as in parts of the Passaic River basin,” says Scott Stanford, a research scientist with NJGS and lead author of the estimate. Some of the very weakest soils, Stanford adds, are in areas of filled marshland, including places along the Hudson waterfront, around Newark Bay and the Meadowlands, and along the Arthur Kill.
Faults in these areas—and in the coastal plain generally—are far below the ground, perhaps several hundred to a thousand feet down, making identification difficult. “There are numerous faults upon which you might get earthquake movement that we can’t see, because they’re covered by younger sediments,” Stanford says.
This combination of hidden faults and weak soils worries scientists, who are all too aware that parts of the coastal plain and Piedmont are among the most densely populated and developed areas in the state. (The HAZUS computer model also has a “built environment” component, which summarizes, among other things, types of buildings in a given area.) For this reason, such areas would be in the most jeopardy in the event of a large earthquake.
“Any vulnerable structure on these weak soils would have a higher failure hazard,” Stanford says. And the scary truth is that many structures in New Jersey’s largest cities, not to mention New York City, would be vulnerable, since they’re older and built before anyone gave much thought to earthquake-related engineering and construction codes.
For example, in the study’s loss estimate for Essex County, which includes Newark, the state’s largest city, a magnitude 6 event would result in damage to 81,600 buildings, including almost 10,000 extensively or completely; 36,000 people either displaced from their homes or forced to seek short-term shelter; almost $9 million in economic losses from property damage and business interruption; and close to 3,300 injuries and 50 fatalities. (The New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation has conducted a similar assessment for New York City, at nycem.org.)
All of this suggests the central irony of New Jersey geology: The upland areas that are most prone to earthquakes—the counties in or around the Ramapo Fault, which has spawned a network of splays, or auxiliary faults—are much less densely populated and sit, for the most part, on good bedrock. These areas are not invulnerable, certainly, but, by almost all measures, they would not sustain very severe damage, even in the event of a higher magnitude earthquake. The same can’t be said for other parts of the state, where the earthquake hazard is lower but the vulnerability far greater. Here, the best we can do is to prepare—both in terms of better building codes and a constantly improving emergency response.
Meanwhile, scientists like Rutgers’s Gates struggle to understand the Earth’s quirky seismic timetable: “The big thing with earthquakes is that you can commonly predict where they are going to occur,” Gates says. “When they’re going to come, well, we’re nowhere near being able to figure that out.”
Planning for the Big One
For the men and women of the state police who manage and support the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management (OEM), the response to some events, like hurricanes, can be marshalled in advance. But an earthquake is what responders call a no-notice event.
In New Jersey, even minor earthquakes—like the one that shook parts of Somerset County in February—attract the notice of local, county, and OEM officials, who continuously monitor events around the state from their Regional Operations and Intelligence Center (The ROIC) in West Trenton, a multimillion dollar command-and-control facility that has been built to withstand 125 mph winds and a 5.5 magnitude earthquake. In the event of a very large earthquake, during which local and county resources are apt to become quickly overwhelmed, command and control authority would almost instantly pass to West Trenton.
Here, officials from the state police, representatives of a galaxy of other state agencies, and a variety of communications and other experts would assemble in the cavernous and ultra-high tech Emergency Operations Center to oversee the state’s response. “A high-level earthquake would definitely cause the governor to declare a state of emergency,” says OEM public information officer Nicholas J. Morici. “And once that takes place, our emergency operations plan would be put in motion.”
Emergency officials have modeled that plan—one that can be adapted to any no-notice event, including a terrorist attack—on response methodologies developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. At its core is a series of seventeen emergency support functions, ranging from transportation to firefighting, debris removal, search and rescue, public health, and medical services. A high-magnitude event would likely activate all of these functions, says Morici, along with the human and physical resources needed to carry them out—cranes and heavy trucks for debris removal, fire trucks and teams for firefighting, doctors and EMTs for medical services, buses and personnel carriers for transportation, and so on.
This is where an expert like Tom Rafferty comes in. Rafferty is a Geographic Information Systems Specialist attached to the OEM. His job during an emergency is to keep track electronically of which resources are where in the state, so they can be deployed quickly to where they are needed. “We have a massive database called the Resource Directory Database in which we have geolocated municipal, county, and state assets to a very detailed map of New Jersey,” Rafferty says. “That way, if there is an emergency like an earthquake going on in one area, the emergency managers can quickly say to me, for instance, ‘We have major debris and damage on this spot of the map. Show us the location of the nearest heavy hauler. Show us the next closest location,’ and so on.”
A very large quake, Rafferty says, “could overwhelm resources that we have as a state.” In that event, OEM has the authority to reach out to FEMA for additional resources and assistance. It can also call upon the private sector—the Resource Directory has been expanded to include non-government assets—and to a network of volunteers. “No one has ever said, ‘We don’t want to help,’” Rafferty says. New Jersey officials can also request assistance through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), an agreement among the states to help each other in times of extreme crisis.
“You always plan for the worst,” Rafferty says, “and that way when the worst doesn’t happen, you feel you can handle it if and when it does.”
Contributing editor Wayne J. Guglielmo lives in Mahwah, near the Ramapo Fault.
Saturday, 4th September 2021, 4:45 am
Anti-nuclear campaigners protest outside the Faslane nuclear submarine base (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
But as Taliban militias tote their AK47s on every street corner from Kabul to Kandahar, the future of the nuclear-armed Nato alliance is more uncertain now than at any time in its 72-year history as the other 29 members try to work out the implications of US President Joe Biden’s unilateral withdrawal from Afghanistan.
And with hardline environmental nationalism becoming the new established religion in Scotland as the Green Party takes ministerial office, and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon uses the deal to ratchet up pressure for a second independence referendum, the SNP’s defence spokesman has reminded supporters that however many road projects are blocked or gas boilers ripped out, the one true faith which binds them is nuclear disarmament.
Despite Scottish independence looking increasingly unlikely ─ the most recent poll, by consultants Redfield & Wilton last month, put confirmed support for Yes at 44 per cent ─ on Thursday SNP defence lead and Glasgow South MP Stewart McDonald reacted to a Financial Times story about UK contingency plans for Trident to say nuclear submarines would be removed from Faslane “at pace” following independence.
Ruling out the possibility of the UK retaining the Trident submarine base on the Clyde and the neighbouring weapons storage facility at Coulport as a British Overseas Territory like Gibraltar, he emphasised that, “with a clear cross-party majority of Scotland’s elected politicians opposed to Trident, there is no possible parliamentary arithmetic that would allow these weapons to be kept at Faslane”.Read More Read MoreBoris Johnson’s nuclear weapon plan is militarily absurd and morally repugnant –…
There is no question First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is fully committed to Trident’s ejection, and in January she endorsed the Scottish Women’s Covenant on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. “They are morally, strategically and economically wrong,” she said. “The Scottish government is firmly opposed to the possession, threat and use of nuclear weapons and we are committed to pursuing the safe and the complete withdrawal of all nuclear weapons from Scotland.”
No room for doubt there, so there will be no modern equivalent of the Irish “treaty ports”, the three deep-water bases at Berehaven and Queenstown in Cork and Lough Swilly in Donegal retained by Britain in the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 which created the Irish Free State. Maintained in the event of recurring German submarine warfare, with war looming, the Royal Navy was dismayed by their willing return in 1938.
While global conflict might not be as imminent, since the 2014 referendum and the last time disruption of the UK’s nuclear deterrent was a possibility, international relations have deteriorated markedly.
Russia’s proxy war with Ukraine was only months old and its threat to the Baltic republics is now all too real, China has become far more belligerent and the Middle East more volatile than ever, and now the USA’s commitment to the Nato concept is questioned because of the abandonment of Afghanistan and the allies’ resulting war of words.
The contradiction of the SNP opting to remain in Nato ─ which has never indicated any intention of surrendering its “first-strike” nuclear capability ─ with disarmament has long been argued away by pointing to members like Norway without nuclear bases, and Canada which stopped hosting American weapons in 1984.
Further, with the Arctic ice cap melting and polar seas opening, it has been claimed Scotland’s geographical position would make ejection from the bloc inconceivable.
There is nothing new in the SNP’s position or the underlying problems since 2014, but the last thing the alliance needs now is the threat of disruption within one of the three nuclear-armed members, yet SNP policy would make Scotland the first Nato member to actively interfere with a major component of the deterrence infrastructure.
Maybe Ms Sturgeon isn’t too bothered, but the willingness to disrupt is incompatible with membership of Nato while the nuclear umbrella remains fundamental to its strategy for deterring aggressive nuclear-armed adversaries.
With suggestions that the UK Trident fleet could operate out of an ally’s port ─ either the US base in King’s Bay, Georgia, or the French facility at Longue in Brittany ─ regarded as financially preferable but politically impossible, the only alternative to a treaty port arrangement is a new UK base, possibly at Devonport or Milford Haven.
In 2014, the Royal United Services Institute put relocation costs at £3-4 billion, but taking inflation, notoriously slack defence procurement and the engineering complexities of handling nuclear material into account, £10bn might be closer to the mark.
By comparison, Hinkley Point nuclear power station has gone from £18bn in 2016 to £23bn and the £4.65bn cost of the Channel Tunnel was 80 per cent higher than expected.
If, as Mr McDonald says, “negotiating their removal will be one of the most important tasks a newly independent Scotland will face”, extracting compensation for the disruption would be as important for the other side. When he added “capitals across Europe will be looking to Edinburgh for assurance that we will be a reliable and trustworthy partner,” that applies equally to reliability as a continued defence partner and as a fair dealer in the hardest of haggles.
And what of the Clyde bases’ 6,000 employees? Turning them into a renewables manufacturing hub, as has been proposed, won’t get close if Forth Ports’ plans for a 175-acre site in Leith is anything to go by. It’s good news, but will create only 1,000 direct jobs.
Meanwhile, 600,000 people sit on NHS Scotland’s waiting lists, drug deaths are an international disgrace, and the Covid death toll has hit a six-month peak with infection rates in two health board areas the highest in Europe. If anything is morally wrong in Scotland, nuclear weapons we hope never to use are not top of the list.
Sept. 5, 2021, 7:48 AM MDTBy Reuters
Taiwan’s air force scrambled on Sunday against renewed Chinese military activity, with its defence ministry reporting that 19 aircraft including nuclear-capable bombers had flown into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone.
Chinese-claimed Taiwan has complained for a year or more of repeated missions by China’s air force near the self-ruled island, often in the southwestern part of its air defence zone near the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands.null
The latest Chinese mission involved 10 J-16 and four Su-30 fighters, as well as four H-6 bombers, which can carry nuclear weapons, and an anti-submarine aircraft, Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said.
Taiwanese combat aircraft were dispatched to warn away the Chinese aircraft, while missile systems were deployed to monitor them, the ministry said.
Download the NBC News app for breaking news and politics
The Chinese aircraft flew in an area closer to the Chinese than Taiwanese coast, roughly northeast of the Pratas, according to a map provided by Taiwan’s defence ministry.null
There was no immediate comment from China.
The last such large-scale activity, on June 15, involved 28 Chinese air force aircraft, the largest incursion reported by Taiwan to date.
China often mounts such missions to express displeasure at something Taiwan has done or at shows of international support for the democratically ruled island, especially by the United States, Taiwan’s main arms provider.
It was not clear what might have prompted China to launch its aircraft this time, though a U.S. warship and a U.S. Coast Guard cuttersailed through the Taiwan Strait late last month.
China has described its activities as necessary to protect the country’s sovereignty and deal with “collusion” between Taipei and Washington.
Taiwan’s defence ministry warnedlast week that the threat from China was growing, saying China’s armed forces can “paralyse” Taiwan’s defences and are able to fully monitor its deployments.
“No one wanted North Korea and Pakistan to get nuclear weapons, but it happened. Obama and Biden also don’t want Iran to have nuclear weapons, but it will happen if [Israel] doesn’t stop it,” former Israeli ambassador to the US Ron Dermer tells Israel Hayom in a special holiday interview.
Ron Dermer, who until recently was Israel’s ambassador to the United States, is warning that despite their promises, the US and the international community will not prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.
“In no uncertain terms, the world will allow it to happen,” Dermer said.
“No one wanted North Korea and Pakistan to get nuclear weapons, but it happened. [Former US President Barack] Obama and [current US President Joe] Biden also don’t want Iran to have nuclear weapons, but it will happen if we [Israel] doesn’t stop it,” the former ambassador continued.
“The Iranians want to turn Israel into South Korea, and Tel Aviv into Seoul. They want to surround us with a conventional ring of precision weapons and create a balance of terror so that any time someone fires a rocket from Gaza – you will think twice before responding.
“In year 15 of the nuclear deal, when your expectation is that the international community will prevent them from acquiring a nuclear weapon, [Iran’s] conventional might will be such that people will say, ‘Now it’s already too late to stop them. They will destroy Tel Aviv.’ Anyone who says we will have all the same options when the deal expires as we have now is wrong. We won’t have options,” warns Dermer.
“It will be impossible for you to act when the knife is at your throat because the price will be too high.”
Dermer also rejects Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s claim that former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu neglected the Iranian issue as “detached from reality.”
“I saw for 20 years, four of which were spent in the Prime Minister’s Office and seven in the embassy in Washington, how Netanyahu rallied the world to apply international pressure against Iran. He was the one who convinced many officials in the international realm, among other reasons because they understood he was willing to act, and that created more pressure. Netanyahu was the most active force in the Israeli and international arenas on this matter, and there are many things that still are not known [to the public]. He thought that everything needed to be done, and that’s what he did,” says Dermer.
Dermer also alleges that during the Obama presidency, senior Israeli officials worked to undermine the Netanyahu governments’ policies in relation to Iran.
“There were people who impeded the prime minister from doing his job of defending Israel’s interests. This was true between the years 2009 and 2012 when people worked against the military option, and during the campaign stop the nuclear deal in the years 2013-2015,” says Dermer.
Dermer, who was Netanyahu’s close adviser for 20 years, played a crucial role in former US President Donald Trump’s historic decisions in regards to Israel.
The bounds of cynicism
Throughout his years of public service, Dermer has largely avoided speaking with the Israeli press. In his interview with Israel Hayom he explains the reasons why, while harshly criticizing the conduct of numerous journalists.
“There’s an entire group of people [journalists – A.K.] who have no bounds to their cynicism toward the politicians in Israel. For some reason, however, when they board a plane and cross the ocean, their cynicism disappears. When an American president says something, they become naïve. I found myself investing hours dealing with nonsense that was written or said,” explains Dermer.
In the broader interview with Israel Hayom, Dermer divulges why his tenure was extended to seven years, reveals details about the relationship with the Trump administration, the F-35 deal with the UAE, and the efforts to free Jonathan Pollard. Dermer also responds to the allegations against him and Netanyahu regarding ties to the Democratic party, and discusses their approach to US Jewry.
Iran’s New Defense Minister Vows to Build Up IRGC’s Military Power – Politics news – Tasnim News Agency
In a meeting with IRGC Commander Major General Hossein Salami in Tehran on Saturday, Defense Minister Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani reaffirmed the Defense Ministry’s full support for all armed forces of the country.
Highlighting the need for a revolutionary approach in the military sector coupled with the continuation of the previous efforts, the general said the Defense Ministry will employ all of its capacities to deepen and boost the defense capabilities and fulfill the needs of the armed forces, specifically the IRGC, including by supplying modern and strategic systems and equipment.
Brigadier General Ashtiani stressed that coordination, synergy and convergence among Iranian military units will ensure the fulfillment of the strategic needs of the armed forces and strengthening of the defense power.
“Creating up-to-date defense capacities proportional to the future threats and the developments ahead is a strategy of the Armed Forces and will continue to grow by God’s grace,” the minister added.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei has stressed the need for the simultaneous reinforcement of operational military capabilities and spiritual motives of the Armed Forces.
The commander-in-chief of the Iranian military forces has also praised the Armed Forces for employing a combination of military effectiveness and spiritual motivations, urging an incessant push to strengthen those capabilities.
The Armed Forces belong not to a specific individual or faction, but to the nation and country, protecting the national security, Ayatollah Khamenei said in April 2016
Incendiary balloon units reportedly set to resume attacks on Israel amid ongoing disagreements over improving living conditions in the enclave
4 Sep 2021, 1:46 pm
Hamas is warning of continued unrest along the border fence with Israel, amid ongoing talks regarding a mechanism to allow Qatari aid money back into the Gaza Strip, as well as various steps to improve life in the enclave.
Reports in Palestinian media indicated that units in charge of incendiary balloon attacks on Israeli planned to resume activities. The past week has seen repeated nightly riots along the border fence with Hamas’ blessing.
The terror group’s spokesman Abdel Latif al-Qanou said in a statement Saturday: “Our Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip are determined to extract all their demands and break the siege on the Gaza Strip and no longer accept the gradual easing [of restrictions].”
He added that “our people’s options are open and all tools and means are available to pressure the occupation and oblige it to lift the siege on our people.”
Qatar and Egypt have been closely involved in efforts to improve conditions in Gaza in the wake of May’s 11-day war between Israel and Hamas, including the transfer of aid to the needy, greater allowances for goods and building materials to enter the Strip and more.
A plan was recently announced to allow Qatari aid back into Gaza, but many other issues remain unresolved.
The so-called “night confusion units” were active throughout most of the past week, setting tires alight at the border and lobbing improvised explosives at Israeli troops.
The “night confusion units” do not officially tie themselves to Hamas, though their activities could not take place without the approval of the terror group that rules the Strip.Advertisement
The riots came at the same time as Israel allowed dozens of truckloads of construction materials into the Strip.
Speaking to defense officials Monday night, Israel Defense Forces chief Aviv Kohavi warned that Israel would not tolerate the border riots.
“Calm and security will allow an improvement in civil conditions, but rioting and terror will lead to a strong response or operation,” he said.
The most severe recent border riots took place on August 21. The violent protest saw hundreds of Palestinian protesters approach the fence, throw stones, and burn tires. Israeli troops responded with tear gas, rubber bullets, and a form of live fire.
An Israeli Border Police officer, Barel Shmueli, 21, was shot at point-blank range when a Palestinian man approached a slit in a barrier where Shmueli was stationed and fired a pistol at him. He was critically injured and later died.
Two Palestinians who took part in the protest, including a 13-year-old boy, were shot by troops and also died.Advertisement
Last month, Qatar and the United Nations announced that they had signed an agreement to return some Qatari subsidies to the Gaza Strip.
The funds do not include payments to Hamas civil servants, who also received cash from Qatar before the May conflict between Israel and terror groups in the Gaza Strip.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that the new mechanism “ensures the money reaches those in need, while maintaining Israel’s security needs.”
Under the somewhat convoluted arrangement, Qatar will deposit the funds each month in a UN bank account in New York, from which it will be transferred to an unspecified Palestinian bank in Ramallah and from there to a branch in the Gaza Strip.
The Gaza branch will then issue the $100 stipends to the recipients in the form of reloadable debit cards. Israel will oversee who receives these cards.
Posted: / Updated: Sep 4, 2021 / 10:17 AM EDT
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Gaza’s ruling Hamas militant group on Saturday launched over a dozen of incendiary balloons into Israel, seeking to ratchet up pressure in order to ease a crippling blockade of the territory.
Photos and videos posted online showed masked Hamas-affiliated operatives holding pictures of Gazans killed in recent clashes with Israeli forces while they launched balloons in the direction of Israel.
There were no immediate reports of any fires in southern Israel. Israel’s new government has compared the balloons, which have sparked a series of wildfires in recent weeks, to rocket fire. It often responds to the launches with nighttime airstrikes on Hamas targets.
Hamas has also staged a series of violent demonstrations along the Israeli border in recent weeks calling for an end to the blockade, which is also conducted by Gaza’s western neighbor, Egypt.
In an angry statement, a Hamas spokesman said Saturday that the Gazan people were determined to “break the siege” and no longer accepted the two countries’ “gradual easing” of the blockade.
Israel and Egypt imposed the blockade when Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007, a year after winning a Palestinian election. Israel says the blockade is necessary to keep Hamas from smuggling weapons into the territory. Critics say the blockade, which greatly restricts trade and travel in and out of Gaza, amounts to collective punishment.
Israel and Hamas, an Islamic militant group sworn to Israel’s destruction, have fought four wars since Hamas took power, most recently an 11-day battle in May.
Egypt, which often mediates between the enemy sides, has been trying to broker a long-term cease-fire since the fighting ended. Israel has agreed to allow the Gulf country of Qatar to resume some aid money to impoverished Gaza families, and on Wednesday Israel began easing the blockade to allow more merchants to cross the border and key construction materials to enter.
But with the Gaza economy in tatters, Hamas has called for much greater concessions from Israel and vowed to step up its activities along the border. Protests over the past two weeks have often turned violent, with one Israeli sniper and three Palestinian protesters, including a Hamas militant, killed in clashes.
Hamas has dismissed Israeli’s loosening of the blockade as inadequate and repeatedly vowed to continue organizing demonstrations until the blockade is further eased. Israel has demanded that Hamas release two Israeli civilians it is holding and return the remains of two dead Israeli soldiers killed in a 2014 war.