Israel Update: 13 December 2017
Wishing my readers Chanukah Sameach. HRG
A Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance has been filmed dropping off several rioters at a demonstration in Ramallah on Monday. The IDF’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, wrote to the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross: “A Red Crescent ambulance was documented aiding Palestinian rioters in Ramallah, under the guise of providing medical treatment. I view this with the utmost severity and demand the incident be investigated.”
ATTACK ON SECURITY GUARD
The condition of the security guard stabbed in the chest by a Palestinian terrorist at the entrance to the Jerusalem Central Bus Station on Sunday, stabilized Monday morning. Asher Elmaliach, 46, sustained serious injuries when he was stabbed in the heart. The terrorist was chased by a police officer and civilians, tackled to the ground and taken into custody.
A Hamas plot to kidnap Israelis in the West Bank during the Hannukah holiday was thwarted by Israeli security forces. Three Hamas cell members were arrested.
The IDF last weekend destroyed a kilometre-long attack tunnel, constructed by the Hamas terrorist group, coming from the Gaza Strip that extended hundreds of metres inside Israeli territory and ending approximately one kilometre (0.6 miles) from the nearest Israeli community. It was destroyed using a different method from the one discovered in October, which was blown up with explosives.
GAZA ROCKET ATTACKS ON ISRAEL
Last Thursday, three rockets were fired from Gaza at Israel, with one reaching Israeli territory. In response, I.D.F. tank and aircraft carried out strikes on two Hamas positions.
Last Friday night, three rockets were fired from Gaza at Israel. One landed in the courtyard of a kindergarten in Sderot, damaging the building. Another hit a Sderot street, damaging cars and a house. A third incoming rocket was intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence battery. There were no serious injuries caused by the rockets, but some Israelis suffered anxiety attacks requiring medical treatment. Israel retaliated with a series of air strikes on Hamas targets.
Israel’s Iron Dome system intercepted a rocket fired from Gaza at Ashkelon on Monday. Iron Dome identified more rockets launched from the strip, leading to Code Red sirens being sounded over a large area.In retaliation, Israeli tanks and planes attacked Hamas military positions in northern Gaza.
Since last Thursday, Code Red rocket alert sirens have been going off in the south of Israel on an almost daily basis. The Israel Air Force attacked a Hamas military complex in the southern Gaza Strip overnight Tuesday In response to rocket fire at the Ashkelon area,, the Israel Air Force attacked a Hamas military complex overnight Tuesday.
GAZA FAKE NEWS
The Palestinian health ministry and local news media blamed the deaths of two Gazans on Tuesday on an Israeli air raid. The I.D.F. denied the reports stating that it did not carry out any attack in the Gaza Strip that day. Islamic Jihad later confirmed that the explosion was an accident caused by the men mishandling explosives. Dozens of passers-by were also injured.
The IDF (Israel Defence Forces) has facilitated the opening of a maternity hospital on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights – part of a significant expansion of Operation Good Neighbour, which provides Israeli assistance to war-ravaged Syrian villages near the Israeli border. The hospital opened two weeks ago and is staffed entirely by Syrian doctors, while the incubators, beds, and ultrasound equipment come from Israel. The operation is expanding and reaching villages as far as 20 km. from the border in an area with 200,000 people… In preparation for winter, the IDF has provided 30 tons of warm clothing and a mass supply of diesel fuel so villagers can heat their houses. IDF supplies of flour have brought the price of bread down by at least half in the assisted villages.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said last Thursday: “There’s a 1995 law in the United States that requires the United States to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to relocate our embassy…After many, many reaffirmations by our Senate, including as recently as this past summer – the vote, I think, was 90 to none with 10 abstentions – the President is simply carrying out the will of the American people…It is just an acknowledgment of what is the reality on the ground….So the reality is… there’s nothing that’s different other than that the President has now implemented the 1995 law.
The Knesset Lobby for the Protection of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem was launched last week with members from every party except the Arab Joint List. The Mount of Olives cemetery is 3,000 years old, and contains the graves of 150,000 Jews, including leaders and rabbis from throughout Jewish history. The site has been plagued by vandalism and rock-throwing by east Jerusalem Arabs
Despite some fiery rhetoric, Palestinian demonstrations against Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem have been nowhere near the scale of the two intifadas. All in all, it has involved a few thousand people in the West Bank and Gaza. The recent confrontations are not the result of a spontaneous, popular outburst, but the fruit of an almost unprecedented propaganda effort by the Palestinian Authority.
Less than a week after President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Palestinian protests have largely fizzled out. On Monday, fewer than 20 demonstrators gathered outside the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem and chanted pro-Palestinian slogans, but they were outnumbered by journalists.
President of the Czech Republic Milos Zeman said last Thursday that, as he proclaimed during his visit to Israel four years ago, he “would appreciate the transfer of the Czech Embassy to Jerusalem, and had it happened, we would have been the first to do so. Now we may sooner or later follow the United States “Every country has the right to decide upon the location of its embassy.” The Czech Republic’s Foreign Ministry announced Thursday that it recognized West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Last May, the Czech parliament voted to recognize Jerusalem, along the 1967 lines, as the capital of Israel.
Czech President Zeman on Saturday accused EU states of being “cowards” in their response to his US counterpart Donald Trump recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
An interfaith group from Bahrain which is paying an unprecedented public visit to Israel this week has received a warm welcome in the Jewish state, but is generating uproar across the Arab world. The 25 participants include Sunni and Shiite Muslims, as well as Buddhists, Christians, Hindus and Sikhs
A delegation of Israeli business leaders is due to visit Bahrain next month in a follow up to the current interfaith group visit.
The Jerusalem Municipality will continue its annual tradition of distributing complimentary Christmas trees to Jerusalem’s residents in celebration of the holiday, part of the city’s comprehensive Christmas preparations… Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (Jewish National Fund) invites members of the Christian community in Israel to its annual Christmas tree distribution at locations in Northern Israel at a minimal cost.
COMMENT & OPINION
Haisam Hassanein (Egyptian-American commentator): It is time to settle the status of Jerusalem forever. Successive U.S. administrations have delayed such a move in the hope that Palestinians and Israelis will someday compromise on this issue. This was a grave mistake. First, Palestinian leaders have never compromised freely without pressure…Acknowledging Jerusalem as Israel’s capital just may be the necessary breath of fresh air we need: It will settle this issue, and if they want and need a state, Palestinians will have to move on to issues that truly deserve and demand negotiations.
New York Post editorial : Since Jerusalem actually is Israel’s capital, and has been for seven decades, the Palestinians and the rest of the world are going to have to get over it eventually. The move shouldn’t be controversial: Jewish ties to Jerusalem go back millennia. The holy city is the site of the First and Second Temples; it’s been Jews’ spiritual capital for millennia, even in times of exile. The Palestinians don’t want to recognize those basic facts, but that denial is their problem, and one the rest of the world shouldn’t keep enabling.
Tom Gross: The Arab governments in particular have had enough of Palestinian intransigence…Speak to them in private as I do, and you will hear this time and again. The Sunni Arab states want and need cooperation with Israel and are tired of the Palestinians’ refusal to even negotiate with Israel.
Jeff Jaccoby: During the centuries when various Islamic dynasties controlled Jerusalem, none established Jerusalem as its capital. After 1948 when east Jerusalem and the Temple Mount were under Muslim rule, they were ignored by the Arab and Muslim powers. No foreign Arab leader ever paid a visit, not even to pray at the al-Aqsa mosque. Palestinians placed so low a priority on Jerusalem that the Palestinian National Covenant of 1964, the PLO’s founding charter, makes no reference to it. Only when the Jews returned after the Six-Day War did the Arabs grow passionate about Jerusalem.
Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to the UN: It’s important to be clear about exactly what the President’s decision does. The President has announced that the United States recognizes the obvious – that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. He has also instructed the State Department to begin the process of relocating the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. That is what the President has done.
And this is what he has not done: The United States has not taken a position on boundaries or borders. The specific dimensions of sovereignty over Jerusalem are still to be decided by the Israelis and the Palestinians in negotiations. The United States has not advocated changing any of the arrangements at the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif. The President specifically called for maintaining the status quo at the holy sites.
Finally, and critically, the United States is not predetermining final status issues. We remain committed to achieving a lasting peace agreement. We support a two-state solution if agreed to by the parties.