Israel Update: 15.6. 2017
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has sought advice from Israel about how to better combat terrorism after the Manchester and London Bridge attacks. He said in an interview that both his office and Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Mark Rowley, the head of national counter-terrorism policing, have been in touch with officials in Israel.
CO-EXISTENCE – ISRAELI HOSPITALS
A senior Palestinian official donated tens of thousands of shekels to the Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa to improve treatment of childhood cancers and Israeli-Palestinian medical cooperation after he himself underwent cancer treatment at the Israeli hospital.
He said:” “Palestinian, Israeli, Syrian and children from other countries receive treatment in the hospital for a variety of serious illnesses and need all the help they can get. I decided to contribute as much as I could, both a humanitarian act and a symbol of solidarity.”
The BBC’s Tim Samuels spends 24 hours immersed in an extraordinary medical scene – Israeli doctors tending to Syrians who have been smuggled over the border for life-saving treatment into a country Syria is technically still at war with. In the Ziv hospital in the northern Israeli town of Safed, Tim follows two doctors on their rounds as they treat Syrians – both civilians and fighters – who have been seriously wounded in their country’s civil war.
Dave Sharma is the Australian Ambassador to Israel. Following a recent visit to the hospital he wrote: “Ziv Medical Centre remains a picture of multicultural Israel at its best, with hospital staff drawn from the Jewish, Arab and Druze communities” He commented on “ a noticeable increase in the level of ease of the Syrian patients and their families about seeking treatment in Israel. When I first visited in 2013, the patients were anxious, shy and reluctant to speak with visitors. Visiting this time, there was much less nervousness — the patients were talkative and more willing to share their stories…as more patients have returned to Syria with the stories of how they are treated inside Israel, the sense of ignorance and fear about Israel is dissipating.”
P.A. PAYMENTS TO TERRORISTS & THEIR FAMILIES
Palestinian officials say there are no plans to stop payments to families of Palestinians killed or wounded carrying out attacks against Israelis, contradicting comments by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at a Senate hearing on Tuesday. One Palestinian official said, “There have been talks about making the payments in a different way, but not ending them. They could perhaps be labelled differently,” but “they are not going to be stopped.”
GAZA ELECTRICITY CRISIS
Gaza residents had power for only three hours on Tuesday. Hamas could, if it wanted to, pay for enough electricity to significantly improve power supplies. But it prefers to spend millions a month digging attack tunnels into Israel and manufacturing rockets. Estimates say Hamas is spending $130 million a year on preparations for war.
HAMAS TERROR TUNNEL FOUND UNDER U.N.-RUN SCHOOLS.
Israel has protested to the United Nations Security Council after a terror tunnel was discovered under two UN-run schools in the Gaza Strip, appealing to the world body to condemn Hamas and prevent its facilities being exploited by the terror group, The tunnel was discovered by UNWRA workers on June 1st.
HAMAS – THE RED CRESCENT & THE RED CROSS
The secretary-general of the Red Crescent Society of the United Arab Emirates accused Hamas on Monday of attempting to prevent the distribution of humanitarian aid in Gaza during the 2014 war. Mohamed Ateeq Al-Falahi said the Red Crescent’s staff was stationed at a UAE field hospital in Gaza when Hamas fighters began provoking Israeli forces by firing rockets from that hospital. This led Israel to attack the hospital as the launch point for the rockets, thus sabotaging the distribution of the humanitarian aid…”This shows (Hamas’) wicked intentions and how they sacrificed us,” said Al-Falahi. “What hurts is that the betrayal came from our own people: Muslims fighting Muslims, who were giving humanitarian aid to Muslims.
The International Committee of the Red Cross urged the Hamas terrorist organization to clarify the fate of the five missing Israeli nationals it allegedly holds in the Gaza Strip. Hamas is thought to hold three Israelis who entered the Strip illegally as well as the remains of two soldiers killed in fighting in 2014. The group has refused to confirm who it is holding or what their condition is.
Hosting a meal to conclude the 17th day of Ramadan fasting on Monday night, Israel’s President Rivlin called for cooperation between the state and Arab leadership to uproot violence in Arab towns. The traditional iftar meal is hosted annually at the President’s Residence and he took the opportunity to speak out about burgeoning crime in Arab communities
Israeli author David Grossman was awarded the prestigious Man Booker International Prize award in London on Wednesday night. Fellow Israeli writer Amos Oz had also been short-listed. Grossman said: “It’s a great sign of honour to our language, which is a very insular language, he said. “And yet, since it was a dormant language for something like 1,800 years, it is such a phenomenon that in the last 120 years the Hebrew language has been revitalized, awakened from its long sleep and became a language of every day.”
The Swiss Council of States, the upper house of Parliament, has approved legislation passed by the lower house in March that directs the government to “amend the laws, ordinances and regulations” to prevent funding to NGOs “involved in racist, anti-Semitic or hate incitement actions
An Israeli firm has “cracked the code” on making meat salty and healthy. Israel-based ingredients company Salt of the Earth claims its popular product, Mediterranean Umami, can cut sodium in processed meat by up to a third.
After decades of foot dragging, it appears that a solution for one of the biggest pollution hazards in Israel, the Kidron Valley, has been found, as a combined initiative between Israel and the Palestinian Authority may restore the valley to its natural, non-polluted beauty. The plan is for Israel and the P.A. each to build a pipeline in their own territory—and both pipes will be connected
INCLUSIVITY & TOLERANCE
Over 200,000 attended the annual Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade including some 30,000 visitors from abroad
COMMENT & OPINION
Dore Gold: For years, Israeli officials have noted that UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency has provided a breeding ground for the growth of terrorist activity against Israel. In 2014, UNRWA used its schools for storing rockets, and UNRWA building supplies were found to have been used by Hamas for tunnel construction…Successful UN refugee programs overseen by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees have led to a diminution of the refugee problem in different parts of the world. But by UNRWA’s own data, the number of Palestinian refugees (750,000 in 1948) has mushroomed to five million today. Refugee status has continued from generation to generation in perpetuity…With the implementation of the Oslo Accords in the 1990s, 26 refugee camps fell under Palestinian control. Yet despite the advent of Palestinian self-government, not a single Palestinian camp has been closed. The only explanation for this is that the Palestinian leadership wanted to keep their grievance with Israel alive and perpetuate the conflict…If a new peace initiative is to start, it should include at the outset a program to dismantle the refugee camps
Fred Haroun: I am embarrassed that we did not take Israel’s offer right after the (Six Day) war to make peace in exchange for land. I am embarrassed that since then, Egypt’s and Jordan’s realization of the foolishness of war was not matched by the rest of the Arab world, particularly my own country of Lebanon. I am embarrassed that we never made a single credible comprehensive offer of peace to Israel. I am embarrassed that still today, 69 years after our first war against Israel, we still use the Palestinians as pawns in our war of hatred.
(The author is a Canadian, originally Lebanese, who lived in Lebanon until 1984)
Einat Wilf: Just as India and Pakistan and other nations did not need the murder of a third of their people to receive a country at that time, the Jewish people would have obtained its own state at the end of World War II, not because of the Holocaust, but rather because of the dismantling of the British empire as a result of the war…the right of the Jewish people to have a country in its own homeland is a universal right, which is reserved for every people – the right to stand on its own authority and to control its fate. http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.795550
Note: No Israel Update next week due to family commitment. Returning hopefully on 29 June.