Israel Update: 18 May 2017
Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., and Israeli intelligence officials have been conducting talks since Tuesday with White House and U.S. intelligence operatives to determine if intelligence supplied by Israel to the U.S. regarding a planned ISIS attack was leaked by President Trump at his meeting last week with the Russian Foreign Minister. An Israeli official said that Israel’s assessment is that even if Trump passed on Israeli intelligence, no one is in danger, nor is the incident expected to have any significant influence on Israeli-American intelligence cooperation.
ISRAEL’S OPPOSITION POLITICIANS
Opposition Zionist Union party leaders including Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni, together with five other Knesset members, visited the settlement blocs of Ma’ale Adumim and Gush Etzion on Thursday.”Ma’ale Adumim was built by Yitzhak Rabin in his first term as prime minister,” Herzog said: “A month before Rabin’s assassination, he promised at the Knesset that Ma’ale Adumim will be part of Israel in any agreement…”
Yair Lapid, chairman of the Israeli opposition Yesh Atid Party, said Sunday, “Israel has been looking for an opportunity to separate from the Palestinians for years and years now. We have offered three times to the Palestinians more than 90% of the territories in order for them to build a country of their own, and three times they refused…Take, for example, the disengagement in 2005. We left Gaza, we dismantled the settlements, the army left, we even left them with 3,000 greenhouses for them to build an economy for themselves, and instead of doing so, they fired 15,000 missiles on our children and women and elderly.” “The question is not how you draw the map. The question is the seriousness of the players involved… We’ve been serious for many, many years now, and the Palestinians were playing games.”
A Jordanian citizen stabbed an Israeli police officer in the neck and head in Jerusalem’s Old City on Saturday and was shot dead by the policeman
Jordan on Saturday said an Israeli policeman’s shooting and killing of a Jordanian assailant as he stabbed him repeatedly was “a heinous crime,” … The Israeli government called the Jordanian reaction “outrageous,” saying it appeared to be backing the “terror attack” in Jerusalem. Security camera footage showed the stabbing attack.
Israeli President Rivlin met with a delegation of Jordanian sheikhs representing different tribes across Jordanian society who were in Israel for a five-day visit to meet people from different parts of Israeli society and strengthen ties.
Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activity in the Territories (COGAT) announced that Palestinian tour groups coming to visit Israel must be accompanied by an Israeli security representative. The move came in response to a stabbing attack in Tel Aviv in April, by a Palestinian who had entered the country on a permit issued at the request of Natural Peace Tours, a tourism service for Palestinians.
A Fatah member of the PA parliament was caught on camera throwing rocks at IDF soldiers near Ramallah last weekend.
About 200 Palestinians participated in a protest-turned-riot, blocking roads and throwing rocks at passing Israeli vehicles when a settler—who claimed that his life was in mortal danger and that he shot into the air—opened fire killing a rioter and injuring a news photographer; the shooter’s wife said that the mob encircled their vehicle and tried to drag them out.
The IDF broke up a Palestinian cell that made pipe bombs from fireworks and used them in several attacks in the Tulkarem area of the West Bank.
The Israel Security Agency announced Tuesday the arrest of a terror cell associated with the banned northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel that was planning a shooting attack against IDF soldiers in southern Israel. The cell members had purchased a Carlo Gustav submachine gun and electronic transmitters to set off improvised explosive devices.
Former Israel Prison Service Commissioner Lt.-Gen. (res.) Orit Adato said in an interview that it was simply not true that Palestinian security prisoners suffer inhumane conditions saying that they were supplied ” with all their needs”…. She pointed to Yahya Sinwar, the hard-line Hamas leader in Gaza, who, she said, is alive today only because of brain surgery he received while imprisoned in Israel.
All 50 U.S. governors have signed a pledge to reject the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel. At least 16 states have passed legislation banning state entities from investing in businesses that boycott Israel.
SHARIA IN ISRAEL
President Rivlin and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked installed Hana Mansour Khatib the first ever female judge, or qadi, for Israel’s Sharia Court system on Monday in Jerusalem, along with three other regional qadis
Israel’s ambassador to Nigeria, Guy Feldman, cancelled the embassy’s Independence Day reception and with the money saved set up a week-long soccer league for 225 Nigerian refugee children who were displaced by the threat from Boko Haram terrorists.
Israel in recent years has become an unlikely centre for automotive innovation as it has no car manufacturing to speak of. Over 200 local companies working in transportation technology will be at the EcoMotion Conference in Jaffa. Among them, Tel Aviv-based StoreDot claims to be developing an electric vehicle battery that can be recharged in five minutes – compared to the hours that are typically required today. The company says a single charge would run a car for about 480 kilometers (300 miles) — farther than almost any electric vehicle now on the market and nearly as much as a gasoline-powered car.
Israeli researchers and a cosmetician say they have made a breakthrough in fighting wrinkles and sagging skin by finding a way to insert a water-absorbing acid into deep layers of skin without the need for injections. The product, called Prophecy, will start marketing in Israel in the next two weeks and globally in September
Re-live the dramatic events of the Six-Day War (June 5-10, 1967) between Israel and the surrounding Arab countries through the lens of 12 short videos released over four weeks.
COMMENT & OPINION
AVI MAYER: The long history of Arab rejectionism and the consistent refusal to countenance the notion that Jews might have national rights in their homeland have served only to perpetuate a conflict that should have ended eighty years ago. Likewise, the cultivation of a fantasy of “return” to homes that no longer exist is an act of cruelty. That a unique definition of refugeedom is applied to Palestinians, enabling refugee status to pass from one generation to the next in perpetuity, is scandalous. That the great grandchildren of Palestinian refugees remain trapped in refugee camps in Lebanon, denied citizenship and barred from seeking employment in a vast range of fields, is outrageous. These are all part of what one UN official called an Arab desire to “keep [the Palestinian refugee] as an open sore [and] as a weapon against Israel.
Gerald Steinberg: The combination of six decades of war and terror, Iran’s shrill threats of annihilation, and discriminatory boycott campaigns reinforce the dismal lessons of Jewish history for Israel. For most Israelis, the main obstacles to peace include terror and the Palestinian rejection of Jewish historical claims and the right to sovereign equality, independent of border concerns. The “average Israeli” pays close attention to the widely heard chant “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” which leaves no place for the Jews. But the problem is more than words: the rhetoric is accompanied by rocket attacks from Gaza and terror from the West Bank. Israelis have also not forgotten the mass terrorism that occurred in the wake of the 1993 Oslo agreements that created the Palestinian Authority. Viewing the massive violence in Syria and Iraq, the presence of ISIS in Sinai, and the strengthening of the Iran-Hizbullah regional alliance, Israelis – including those who support a two-state solution in theory – perceive withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines and a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza as a dangerous fantasy. Israeli policies with respect to Palestinians and the West Bank will continue to be framed by history and perceptions of vulnerability. This will only change when the Palestinian side – and the wider region – address them directly.