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Israel Update 25.12.19

Chanukah Sameach and good wishes for 2020 to my readers.



U.S. UN Ambassador Kelly Craft told the UNSC last week: “This Council seems either unwilling or unable to see the reality that Israelis live in constant fear of attack. In place of recognizing this reality, the Council tolerates an endless string of condemnations of Israel.” “Millions of Israelis live under the threat of attack each and every day…Rocket fire impacts both Israelis and Palestinians. In Gaza, Palestinian women were also forced to take shelter, as rockets – fired by terrorists from crowded civilian neighbourhoods – flew overhead…Will this Council also condemn them?  Read more here


Adele Raemer ,who lives in a kibbutz adjacent to the Gaza border,  also spoke at the UNSC.  She asked: “Have you ever had to run for your life? When I hear the Red Alert early warning system for incoming rockets, I know that I have between 5-10 seconds to get to someplace safe….If I am out, I either throw myself down next to a wall, or just lie down wherever I am, cover my head and hope that whatever falls doesn’t fall too close.”  Read more here




Rocket warning sirens wailed in Sderot and other Gaza border communities just after 2:30 a.m. last Thursday 19/12 , sending residents rushing to bomb shelters when  Gazan terrorists fired a rocket at southern Israel, which was intercepted by Iron Dome. In response, the IAF bombed a Hamas weapons factory.                 Read more here



The ICC’s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said last Friday she would launch a full investigation into alleged war crimes in the Palestinian territories as soon as the court’s jurisdiction had been established. Read more here


The Forum of Israeli Mayors of Gaza border communities condemned the ICC announcement regarding an investigation into alleged Israeli war crimes. “The prosecutor should come out here and see what 19 years of war crimes look like with civilians subjected to shelling day and night,” they said. Read more here


A joint statement from the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Justice stated (inter alia) that the ICC’s decision was unfounded and outrageous, turning the ICC into a political weapon waging political war against the Jewish state.  The Court has jurisdiction only in cases brought before it by sovereign states …there is no Palestinian state and there never has been such a state. Accordingly, the Court has no jurisdiction in this case and claiming otherwise is a distorted act of legal acrobatics. The parties agreed that the end of the conflict between them would be reached through direct negotiations. The Palestinians keep avoiding negotiations and consistently and systematically violate their commitments, including by this appeal to the Court.  Complete statement here


The ICC’s top prosecutor Bensouda reportedly met with a Palestinian group, but avoided meeting with Israeli organizations, before last Friday’s announcement. The Israeli organizations sought to present the chief prosecutor with information on alleged crimes by the Palestinian Authority. Despite avoiding the Israelis, Bensouda met several times with Palestinian organizations before the decision, with the most recent meeting occurring roughly two weeks before the announcement.Read more here


Australia rejected the effort by the ICC’s chief prosecutor to launch an investigation into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, arguing that the matter must be resolved by the two parties at the negotiating table. Germany…cautioned against politicization.   Read more here




According to the Israeli army’s Chief of Staff , Iran’s Quds Force is moving advanced weaponry into Iraq monthly. He said that the IDF is undertaking enormous efforts, “in the open and undercover, not to allow the enemy to equip itself with high-accuracy weapons, even at the price of confrontation.” He also noted that Iran is continuing “to build missiles that can reach our territory and to double its enriched uranium.” Read more here




Israel’s Defence Minister has signed an order to prevent convicted terrorists with Israeli citizenship, and their families, from receiving payments from the Palestinian Authority. The PA guarantees financial support to Palestinians who carry out attacks against Israeli citizens.The order targets eight people serving sentences in Israeli prisons for attacks that killed dozens of Israelis. Read more here




British PM Johnson said: “We will stop public bodies from taking it upon themselves to boycott goods from other countries to develop their own pseudo-foreign policy against a country which with nauseating frequency turns out to be Israel.” Read more here


A Spanish court has found that a decision by the city of Camargo in northern Spain to boycott companies over their ties to Israel was illegal,  The ruling called the city’s support of the boycott campaign “a clear violation of the fundamental rights to equality” and “to transmit freely ideas and opinions.” Read more here




Some 30 Jewish gravestones on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, which were covered up by the Jordanians 72 years ago to construct a parking lot, have recently been uncovered, and another 70 graves will soon be uncovered. The director of the Mt. of Olives Information Centre, said that 70% of the gravestones in the ancient Jewish cemetery had been destroyed by the Jordanians (article in Hebrew) Read more here




Germany’s Bundestag has passed a resolution calling for a national ban on the activities of Hizbullah. The spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in parliament, said… “The separation between a political and a military arm should be abandoned, and Hizbullah as a whole should be placed on the EU terrorist list,” Britain banned Hizbullah in March, as have the Netherlands, the U.S. and Canada.  Read more here




Israeli security firm Elbit Systems has announced  the award of a $65 million contract to supply the Dutch military with defence equipment over 2 years.             Read more here


Elbit Systems has been awarded a $35 million contract by the government of Montenegro for the acquisition of Remote Control Weapon Stations (RCWS) for their new light tactical vehicles. Read more here




Over the past two years, the “marches of return” and arson balloons and kites floated over the border from Gaza by Hamas have started 2,155 fires that consumed over 8,600 acres of forests, fields, and nature preserves, causing damage estimated at $50 million. The Jewish National Fund and families of victims of terrorism have filed a civil suit in U.S. federal court that is seeking to expose how money to fund these activities makes its way to Gaza. The lawsuit says the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR) has functioned as a pipeline to transfer donations to terrorist organizations, using the BDS National Committee (BNC)  Read more here




Israel’s Defence Minister has held several meetings with officials in the security establishment to define priorities for enforcement by the IDF Civil Administration in the West Bank, with a focus on the years-long Palestinian and European attempt to establish facts on the ground with illegal Palestinian construction. Over 1,000 illegal housing starts are underway in Area C – the majority of which are funded by foreign money. He said, “We will no longer stand aside while the European Union builds political, illegal construction here.”  Read more here




Israel’s IceCure Medical has received U.S. FDA approval to expand the use of its cryoablation technology to treat benign and cancerous tumours in livers and kidneys, using special needles to inject liquid nitrogen to freeze and destroy tumours without the need for surgery. Read more here


Israeli startup Theranica has developed a medical device, Nerivio, for the treatment of acute migraine.Itis worn on the upper arm and uses smartphone-controlled electronic pulses to stimulate the body’s neural pathway at the onset of a migraine.The device is FDA approved and is available by prescription in the U.S.
Read more here


77% of patients suffering from stage IV metastatic pancreatic cancer and treated with a protocol developed by Israeli biopharmaceutical company BioLineRx were able to get their disease under control, according to results of an ongoing study. Read more here




There are 177,000 Christians in Israel, up 1.5% from last year. 78% are Arabs. A British report in July found that the number of Christians in the Middle East has dwindled from 20% of the population a century ago to just 5%.  Read more here


70.9% of Christian high school students in Israel achieve college-entry matriculation exam grades, a rate slightly higher than Israeli Jews (70.6%). Read more here


Out of 3,000 Christians who lived in Gaza in 2007 when Hamas seized power, no more than 700-800 remain, among 1.8 million Muslims. Gazan Christian Khalil Sayegh said “The Christians are suffering from the current situation in Hamas-controlled Gaza….They cannot hold government jobs. But, in addition…Christians in Gaza have to tolerate being harassed in the streets just for being Christians.” Read more here




The Jerusalem Municipality distributed complimentary Christmas trees to Jerusalem residents celebrating Christmas.Read more here


A Christian leader, Laurie Laurie Cardoza-Moore set the record straight on the myth that Jesus Christ was a Palestinian. “Jesus Christ was born in the city of Bethlehem in Judea to a Jewish mother. That means he was born and died a Judean Jew. The Bible makes no reference to a place called Palestine … the narrative that Jesus was Palestinian is deeply rooted in a global anti-Semitic movement to rob Christians of their true Hebraic heritage and align the Church with radical terrorist groups that seek the annihilation of the Jewish State,” she said.  Read more here




J Post Editorial: Israel does not intentionally harm civilians in Gaza or anywhere else. Yes, civilians are harmed in Gaza by IDF actions, but they are not the target. In 2015, a panel of former top military leaders and generals from eight democratic countries investigated the 2014 Gaza War. Their conclusion: Israel’s conduct in the conflict “met and in some respects exceeded the highest standards we set for our own nations’ militaries…The IDF not only met its obligations under the Law of Armed Conflict, but often exceeded these on the battlefield at significant tactical cost.”…Furthermore, Jews living at the site of the biblical Shiloh, or in the shadow of the Western Wall and the Temple Mount, are not committing war crimes. To say that a Jew living in Judea – the cradle of Jewish civilization – is a war criminal is ridiculous…Syria intentionally commits war crimes. Iran intentionally commits war crimes. Turkey intentionally commits war crimes. Israel does not.                  Read more here


Eugene Kontorovich, a professor at the George Mason University Law School, said that the ICC “ignores international law by inventing a Palestinian state that does not exist and creates a crime that no one in international law has ever been charged with before: the crime of people living in places. To say it is a war crime for a Jew to live in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City [of Jerusalem] is absurd. It is quite clear that the crime of people living somewhere is a crime for which one must be Jewish to be eligible.”  Read more here


The ICC has been deliberating on whether it has jurisdiction over Israel, which is not a party to the Rome Treaty that established the court. “Israel is not a state party of the ICC and the Palestinian entity is not a state under international law,” said Roy S. Schondorf, Israeli deputy attorney general for international law. “We have a strong legal basis for the fact that the court does not have jurisdiction.” Tal Becker, a former legal adviser to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, said, “It is a real act of overreach for a court to try and determine its jurisdiction…to determine the scope of the entity of the Palestinian state…when the parties themselves have said it’s a matter for negotiations. Palestinian statehood is referred to by Palestinians themselves as a future aspiration and not a current legal reality.”                                      Read more here


Jonathan Schanzer:Over the past five years, the Israelis have been fighting a quiet war targeting “game-changing weapons” that Iran was transferring to its proxies. Their recent targets are precision-guided munitions, or PGMs. Iran is working overtime to allow its proxies to convert their dumb rockets into smart ones like the deadly Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) which is capable of striking within 5-10 yards of their intended targets. When enough PGMs reach the hands of Israel’s enemies, the effect will indeed be game-changing….When the Iranian PGM project comes online, Iron Dome may no longer provide the Israeli leadership with the luxury of time to weigh their options when they must respond to a hailstorm of precision strikes. The political and military leadership will be forced to respond more rapidly and with greater force. Read more here