Israel Update: 25 October 2017
Five rockets were fired across the border from Syria on Saturday, four of which landed relatively deep inside Israeli territory. Israel believes that the rockets may have been deliberately launched to target Israel, rather than constituting errant spillover, since there was no fighting going on in Syria at the time, military sources said. Israel fired back into Syria, hitting three rocket launchers
Before dawn some 50 Syrian women and children huddled at an Israeli military post along the Golan Heights fence. The group is among nearly 5,000 Syrians who have made the perilous journey from rebel-controlled areas of Syria to Israel to receive medical treatment….In the waiting room at Ziv hospital in Safed, one woman said, “I never thought I would come here.” Her daughter was in danger of losing her sight in one eye to an infection. “I was surprised that Israel wanted to help the Syrians. I never expected this in my life.” As she spoke, 25 Syrian children were gathered around a table colouring under the supervision of two Arab-Israeli nurses
Palestinian, Jordanian and Israeli emergency services participated in joint exercises on Tuesday in southern Israel to prepare for region-wide natural disasters. The two-day exercise involves 400 firefighters, medics and first-responders. Israel’s Foreign Ministry said the operation was aimed at “saving lives, irrespective of nationality.”
After signing a reconciliation agreement with Fatah recently, Tehran was the first stop for the Hamas leadership. Any hopes that Hamas would become more moderate as a result of the reconciliation process have been dashed by this visit to Tehran and the Hamas leaders’ affirmation there of armed resistance as their unshakable strategic choice.
“Over is the time Hamas spent discussing recognizing Israel. Now Hamas will discuss when we will wipe out Israel,” Yahya Sinwar, the new leader of Hamas in Gaza, said Thursday, according to the Hamas-linked Shehab news agency, adding “No one in the universe can disarm us,”
Fatah and Hamas announced recently that they are moving ahead towards Palestinian reconciliation and possible national elections.
Fatah spokesman Osama Al-Qawasmi told Fatah-run Awdah TV on Aug. 23, 2017, that Hamas should not recognize Israel, since Fatah itself does not recognize and will never recognize Israel.
According to a spokesman for the Jewish community of Hebron, a Palestinian assailant dropped a large stone on a group of children sitting at the spring, hitting one on the head. The 12-year-old was knocked unconscious, fell into the pool and had to be rescued by friends
On Saturday evening, 27 Palestinian adults and 40 teenagers and children from the town of Beit Awwa were stopped in the midst of stealing tens of tons of agricultural produce from Moshav Shekef near the West Bank. The Palestinians picked 20 tons of grapes and 5 tons of tomatoes, while also damaging greenhouses. The adults were arrested while the children were released. One moshav resident said, “Unfortunately, this is a phenomenon that is repeated almost every day…”
A Palestinian man arrested by Israeli police Thursday driving a stolen truck said he had sought to use the truck to run over Israeli soldiers “because of Al-Aqsa,” referring to Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.
An attempt to smuggle thousands of military tactical shooting gloves (which help users maintain a better grip on a gun and also protect the hands during combat operations) into the Gaza Strip was thwarted by Israeli border crossing officials on Sunday. The gloves were hidden in a shipment marked as clothing.
VIDEOS FROM “RESERVISTS ON DUTY”
A Muslim woman, and Bedouin, Druze, and Christian men tell their personal stories as Israeli citizens. (1 min 41)
Dema Taya, an Arab-Israeli Muslim woman, tells an Israeli Arabic news channel: “I hope and wish for all the Arab countries, citizens, and societies to have a democratic state like the State of Israel.” “I define myself as an Arab, a Muslim with Israeli citizenship, proud of my religion, proud of myself, and that I’m living in a country that respects my will and my rights.” “I’m proud to stand up and speak for Israel and that I’m an integrated part of it….More than 90% of the citizens of Gaza and the West Bank wish they were living under such a government. (3 min 30)
Israel Aerospace Industries has unveiled a new system that safely neutralizes land-based mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The AMMAD MK II system, which can be easily adapted to any kind of armoured vehicle, generates a magnetic field that activates the charge at stand-off range.
Israel’s Labour Party leader Avi Gabbay said Israel must maintain control over the Jordan Valley as “Israel’s eastern security buffer” under a future peace agreement, echoing a sentiment expressed by previous Labour leaders, most notably Yitzhak Rabin.
Mayor Nir Barkat said: My vision is that Jerusalem will never be divided. The city has to function as one metropolitan centre with different residential areas. Jews, Muslims and Christians can live anywhere they want in London and New York, and they can do likewise in Jerusalem…We have more Arab residents living in predominantly Jewish neighboruhoods than Jewish residents living in predominantly Arab neighbourhoods. The first group doesn’t need protection; unfortunately, the second does. The majority of residents in our city do not want it divided. The Arab residents realize that as Arab-Israelis they enjoy by far the best status of Arabs in the Middle East.
BALFOUR DECLARATION CENTENARY (November 2nd)
UK Prime Minister Theresa May said Wednesday that her country would celebrate “with pride” its role in the creation of the State of Israel and upcoming 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, which pledged London’s support for a Jewish homeland.
As we approach the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration on 2nd November, Rabbi Sacks has recorded a short video reflecting on what this declaration meant in 1917, and what it means for us today.
COMMENT & OPINION
Former Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon said: “I don’t see prospects for a [peace] agreement in the foreseeable future. The gap between us is not bridgeable. They have not agreed to any proposal to divide the land. They are not prepared even to accept a state along the 1967 lines and a division of Jerusalem….I don’t foresee that they will have a leadership that will want to divide the land….We need to find a way for [the Palestinians] to live in political autonomy
Yoni Ben Menachem: Recent statements by Yahye Sinwar, leader of Hamas in Gaza, and Salah al-Aruri, deputy chairman of Hamas’ Political Bureau, made clear that the goal of the reconciliation agreement with Fatah is not to take a softer line toward Israel on the path to some sort of diplomatic settlement but, rather, to pave the way for Hamas to “destroy the Zionist entity.” Their words contradict the way in which Egypt has been portraying the reconciliation agreement to the Trump administration. The Hamas leadership, now that it has been taken over by the movement’s military wing, sees the reconciliation process as an opportunity to synchronize with Iran and gain strength for the ongoing anti-Israeli struggle. It has no intention to moderate its positions and ideology.