Israel Update: 13 July 2017
CO-EXISTENCE & CO-OPERATION
Israeli Energy Minister Steinitz and Palestinian Prime Minister Hamdallah on Monday signed a deal under which Israel will increase the power supply to Palestinian cities in the West Bank. As part of the deal, a new electrical substation was inaugurated near Jenin that will transmit 60 megawatts of electricity purchased from the Israel Electric Corporation. The internationally-funded substation is one of four to be operated in the area by a PA-owned transmission company and represents the first time the Palestinians will be able to control the distribution of the electricity to their own towns and cities. The station was built by the Israel Electric Corporation, by both Israeli and Palestinian workers, but it is owned by the Palestinian Electric Authority (PEA) and the PA. The IEC also trained Palestinians to work, maintain and fix the site.
Israel and the P.A. on Thursday announced an agreement that will provide millions of cubic meters of drinking water to the Palestinians from a desalination process. The deal is part of a larger trilateral agreement for the construction of a 220-kilometer (137-mile) pipeline transferring water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea to benefit Israelis, Jordanians and Palestinians, and replenish the dwindling Dead Sea. As the water runs down the gradient it will be used to generate electricity that will also power a desalination plant to produce drinking water.
High mortality rates from vehicular accidents have spurred Palestinians and Israelis in the West Bank to set up a volunteer organization that will campaign for more careful driving; ten people have recently died in a span of ten days on Road 60. The organization will additionally try to fight the use of cars that do not meet the necessary safety standards.
An Israeli soldier was moderately wounded in a car ramming on Monday. The assailant then exited his vehicle and tried to stab another soldier before he was shot.
Pilots, Navy and Air Force rescue fighters from the British Army completed a three-day joint exercise with their Israeli counterparts Wednesday. Israel’s Black Hawk helicopter squadron hosted the Royal Navy rescue fighters who operate on the twin-engine Bell 412 helicopter from the Royal Air Force (RAF). The British squadron which participated in the drill is stationed in nearby Cyprus.
BRAVERY AWARD FOR ESSEX SERGEANT
Detective Sergeant Richard Burgess, of Essex police, who is also training to be an Anglican priest, has been nominated for a bravery award for saving a Jewish man from a beating by Arabs in Jerusalem while on holiday in Israel last year.
COUNTER TERRORISM AT CHECKPOINTS
The IDF caught 25 Palestinians carrying knives at checkpoints in the West Bank between April and June this year. Despite the high numbers, as a result of changes to search methods not a single Israeli was harmed and no soldier was forced to open fire on the attacker. Some checkpoints have a reinforced concrete room with shatter-proof glass, along with a scanning machine capable of detecting and identifying the exact location of metal or sharp objects on the body. The system allows for a comprehensive search without endangering the safety of the soldier who stands in an adjacent room.
Radiohead lead vocalist Thom Yorke in response to criticism from Ken Loach (a British filmmaker) said “Playing in a country isn’t the same as endorsing its government. We’ve played in Israel for over 20 years through a succession of governments, some more liberal than others. As we have in America.” “We don’t endorse Netanyahu any more than Trump, but we still play in America,” Yorke said. “Music, art and academia is about crossing borders not building them, about open minds not closed ones, about shared humanity, dialogue and freedom of expression. I hope that makes it clear Ken.”
Suaad Abd-Elhadi of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has developed a test that detects Parkinson’s – a degenerative brain disease – both definitively and at an earlier stage.
Growing cooperation between India and Israel has been most beneficial for Rajasthan, with the state receiving the best technical know-how in the agricultural sector and water conservation…With technical assistance from Israel, Rajasthan was among the first states in India to adopt drip irrigation. Crops of olives and dates, which were unfamiliar to Indian farmers, are now gaining acceptance in the state. “There is so much to learn from Israel in the dairy sector, water recycling, horticulture and farming,” said Prabhulal Saini, Agriculture Minister of Rajasthan.
P.A. SALARIES PAID TO TERRORISTS – PROOF OF MOTIVATION
Khaled Rajoub, who tried unsuccessfully to murder Israelis in a vehicular attack on Feb. 2, 2014, told his Israel Police interrogators that his motivation was that his family would receive monthly payments from the PA. “The important thing is that I will die and they will kill me, so that my children will receive a [PA] allowance and live happily.” “Too bad I couldn’t kill anyone, and I am determined. Meaning if you release me now, I will take a car, look for soldiers, run them over, and kill them.”
UNESCO, the UN cultural organization, declared the ancient core of Hebron (which includes the biblical Cave of the Patriarchs) in the West Bank as a Palestinian World Heritage site in danger last Friday…
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said: “The UNESCO vote on Hebron is tragic on several levels. It represents an affront to history. It undermines the trust that is needed for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process to be successful. And it further discredits an already highly questionable UN agency….
Possibly the oldest known depictions of the Biblical story of Jonah have been found at a fifth-century Roman synagogue in Israel’s lower Galilee. In the recently discovered mosaic, Jonah’s legs are shown dangling from the mouth of a large fish,.
Rwandan President Kagame began a two-day visit to Israel on Monday for talks focused on boosting cooperation for the future, but also touching on the two nations’ common experience in the past overcoming the horrors of genocide.
COMMENT & OPINION
Stephen Daisley: In announcing Ma’arat HaMachpelah (The Cave of the Patriarchs) to be ‘Palestinian, Unesco is not only robbing Jews of one of their most sacred places but severing their links to Sarah and Abraham, Rebecca and Isaac, Leah and Jacob. It is a wilful desecration by an organisation charged with preserving the past. Where Palestinians’ cruder methods have failed, their champions across the UN estate have perfected a cleaner, more effective, war on Israel. In place of incitement, denial and instead of violence, rejectionism. Without lifting a finger or pointing a gun, Unesco has driven Jews out of their national and religious story. It is an altogether more respectable form of ethnic cleansing.
Sadanand Dhume: Today, many middle-class Indians view Israel not as the neocolonial oppressor of caricature, but as Americans do: A plucky country surrounded by dangerous neighbors that has thrived against the odds. Some are also attracted to Jewish civilization because, like Hinduism, it predates Islam and Christianity…The notion of slowing down India-Israel ties out of deference to either pan-Islamic sentiment worldwide or domestic Muslim sentiment finds few takers
Robert Fulford: If the Palestinians care about peace, why do they pay salaries to terrorists? Palestinians have been encouraged to believe that these actions, whether blowing up a bus or knifing an old man, are part of a sacred historic movement.
Yisroel Katz, Israel’s Intelligence Minister, has released a video, complete with graphics, animation and English-narration, outlining his proposal for an artificial island off the coast of the Gaza Strip that will host a port, a cargo terminal, a desalination plant and even an airport. Katz says the island will help connect the blockaded Palestinian enclave to the world, while maintaining Israel’s security