Israel Update: 27 October 2016
by Hazel Green
In an interview with (Israeli financial daily) Globes, Shlomi Fogel, chairman of the Ampa Capital holding company and chairman and CEO of Israel Shipyards, said that for some time he has been studying with Israeli Jordanian, Egyptian, Palestinian and Gazan businessmen the possibility of setting up industrial zones and free trade areas along the Israel-Gaza border.
In response, a Gazan businessmen, Nabil Bouab, (also interviewed by Globes) said that Hamas, reeling under the pressure of the world’s highest unemployment rate and with a GDP per capita among the world’s lowest, would support such an initiative. Just over a week later, Globes quoted Hamas Deputy Economic Minister Hatem Owida as making a guarded statement that seemed to come out in favor of the initiative.
SUKKOT IN EFRAT
A couple of dozen Palestinians from surrounding villages accepted an invitation from Efrat’s mayor to come to his house and celebrate the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, (Tabernacles). One, a contractor said, “Seventy percent of our village works in Efrat. They treat us very well and we are very good to them, too.” The mayor said more than 1,000 Palestinians work daily in Efrat: at shops, maintaining infrastructure, fixing solar panels, building new houses, and remodeling older ones
Four Palestinians arrested by the P.A.last Thursday for attending a Sukkot holiday event in Efrat were freed on Sunday evening. Efrat Mayor Oded Revivi, who hosted the gathering, called on the Palestinian Authority to release his guests.“It is absurd that having coffee with Jews is considered a crime by the Palestinian Authority,” he said. “Initiatives that seek to foster cooperation and peace between people should be encouraged, not silenced. It’s time the Palestinian Authority asks itself whether it would prefer to fan the flames of conflict instead of working to bring people together.”
The IDF on Wednesday apprehended two Palestinian Arab children carrying knives near the Jewish community of Migdal Oz in the West Bank. The two eight-year-olds told investigators, “They took us by car, gave us knives and told us to go do terrorist attacks.”
Released for publication Thursday: An East Jerusalem resident has been arrested for planning shooting attacks on Israeli security forces and civilians. He had been involved in several attacks in which Molotov cocktails, stones and firecrackers were thrown at security forces and Israeli vehicles. Officials said that as an Israeli resident he had access to the entire city and that his arrest prevented a serious attack.
A rare, ancient papyrus dating to the First Temple Period — 2,700 years ago — has been found to bear the oldest known mention of Jerusalem in Hebrew.
The UN’s cultural organization on Wednesday (26 Oct) passed another resolution on Jerusalem’s Old City that ignores the site’s Jewish history. UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee approved the resolution by 8 votes to 2 with 8 abstentions.
According to PM Netanyahu, the resolution won’t be implemented as the decision was not unanimous – Croatia & Tanzania demanded a secret vote.
Italian Prime Minister Renzi on Friday said that the (other) UNESCO resolution last week that failed to acknowledge Judaism’s connections with the Temple Mount and holy sites in Jerusalem’s Old City was “incomprehensible, unacceptable and wrong.”
The Czech Republic’s lower parliament voted 119-4 on Wednesday to condemn (last week’s) UNESCO Jerusalem resolution which it warned only strengthened anti-Semitism.
Israel’s southern residents, living just minutes from the Gaza border, have become increasingly worried by the sight of rocket experiments. Hamas conducted exercises last Friday morning involving the use of long-range rockets, each of which left in their tracks plumes of white smoke across the sky. One resident recorded from the window of his home the rockets being launched from the Hamas training facility.
A Hamas operative died while working in a tunnel in the Gaza Strip Monday, the second death reported in recent days in the Palestinian terror group’s ranks.
Sirens warning of an impending rocket attack blared early Monday morning in Gaza periphery communities in southern Israel. The projectile reportedly landed inside the Gaza Strip. In response, Israeli air force jets struck “terror infrastructure belonging to the Hamas organization in the northern Gaza Strip.”
AFTERMATH OF VIOLENCE
The Education Ministry suspended the principal of a state-funded Arab school in East Jerusalem after he appeared — together with a teacher from another school, a Palestinian soccer coach and members of his team — in a photo holding up a banner lauding the East Jerusalem terrorist who killed two Israelis in a shooting attack earlier this month
A Palestinian Arab who stabbed and wounded two police officers in Jerusalem last month wrote in a will made before the attack that he was seeking a “martyr’s death,” according to an indictment submitted Thursday.
RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT
Research by Weizman Institute scientists shows that a decrease in the concentration of oxygen in air could help set the “biological clock”, helping travellers readjust to new daylight hours and help beat jet-lag.. http://www.timesofisrael.com/shift-in-oxygen-levels-can-reduce-jet-lag-israeli-study-finds/
A delegation of Israeli start-ups that are developing technologies to assist people with disabilities is in Sydney this week. Among the start-ups participating in the delegation, organized by PresenTense Israel, are Paratrek, a tourist venture that offers treks and extreme sports to people with disabilities through the use of their Paratrekker, an offroad wheelchair & Sesame Enable, a company that has developed a touch-free smartphone — controlled by head movements — for people with disabilities who have limited or no use of their hands;
Fiji received 12 portable solar generators Wednesday from Israel to address the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Winston earlier this year.
Then-Foreign Minister Golda Meir created Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation (MASHAV) in 1957 after a trip to Africa. Since then, MASHAV has trained 270,000 participants from 132 countries, of which 70% involved agriculture.
COMMENT & OPINION
In an interview published Monday in the Palestinian daily Al-Quds, Israeli Defence Minister Lieberman outlined an alternative reality for Gaza. “There are extremely radical elements in Gaza who have the destruction of Israel at the top of their priorities. But I want to be clear: if they make the decision to stop digging tunnels, smuggling arms and firing rockets at us, we will be the first investors in the rehabilitation of Gaza. We will be the first to invest in a maritime trading port, an airport and an industrial zone. Gaza could one day be the new Hong Kong or Singapore. Hamas invests more than NIS 100 million in military infrastructure instead of in health and education.”
NEW YORK POST EDITORIAL: If you needed any more clues as to why a final Israeli-Palestinian settlement remains so elusive, consider the case of four Arabs who accepted an invitation for the holiday of Sukkot in the nearby Israeli community of Efrat. The Palestinian Authority arrested them. The invite from the Israeli mayor was intended to promote peace. Sadly, it’s all par for the course for the PA – whose textbooks teach hatred of all Jews, whose laws reward Israeli-killing terrorists, and whose leaders have spent decades silencing (often fatally) any Palestinian who dares work with Israel’s government.
Benny Morris: My opinions about the history of 1948 haven’t changed at all. My opinion changed during the 1990s about only one thing – the Palestinians’ willingness to make peace with us. In 2000, after Yasser Arafat’s “no” at Camp David (which was backed by his successor Mahmoud Abbas), and in light of the second intifada and the nature of that intifada, I realized they weren’t interested in peace. Unfortunately, the situation hasn’t changed since. In 1947-1948 there was no a priori intention to expel the Arabs, and during the war there was no policy of expulsion. Moreover, it’s well known that tens of thousands of Arabs remained in the territory of the Jewish state – in Haifa and Jaffa, in Jisr al-Zarqa and Fureidis, in Abu Ghosh and Ein Nakuba, in the Galilee and the Negev.
One commentator said that there is growing resentment internationally of Palestinian attempts after 2011 – the year Palestine was accepted into UNESCO – to “abuse, hijack or disrupt the work of international forums that have nothing to do with their conflict with Israel.”
Clifford D May: Over and over, the Israelis are asked to make concessions, to “take risks for peace.” Under pressure, they sometimes do. Reciprocal concessions are not demanded of Palestinian leaders because what would be the point of asking for what they can’t or won’t do? Hamas, which rules Gaza, rejects the very idea of peaceful coexistence with the Jewish state. Hamas’ openly stated goal is Israel’s annihilation. As for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, he can’t set foot in Gaza and, in the West Bank, his support has grown so thin he couldn’t sign a peace agreement with Israel even if he wanted to – and it’s by no means clear he does…