Israel Update: 7 December 2017
FOCUS ON JERUSALEM
President Trump on Wednesday formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, calling it “a recognition of reality” and setting in motion a plan to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv.
Transcript & video of Trump’s speech:
Hours after recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital Wednesday, and saying he had instructed the State Department to begin preparation to relocate the US embassy there, US President Donald Trump signed the waiver putting off any such move by another six months.
In April, Russia recognised (West) Jerusalem as Israel’s capital (http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/Jpost-Exclusive-Moscow-surprisingly-says-west-Jerusalem-is-Israels-capital-486336 ) and the Russian Ambassador to Israel reiterated in a statement today Thursday that Russia considers west Jerusalem to be Israel’s capital, and suggested the possibility that Russia, too, could move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem once a peace deal is reached between Israel and the Palestinians.
The Czech Parliament voted to recognise (west) Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in May & the Czech Republic confirmed that decision yesterday a few hours after Trump’s speech:
Palestinians rioted across the West Bank & Gaza
COMMENT & OPINION
The New York Times: Declaring Jerusalem to be Israel’s capital would not itself mark a change in American law. In 1995, President Clinton signed the Jerusalem Embassy Act which declares “Since 1950, the city of Jerusalem has been the capital of the State of Israel.” Until Wednesday, the Act remained unimplemented by U.S. presidents.
The U.S. already treats Jerusalem as the headquarters of the Israeli government, holding meetings there, and has a large consulate in Jerusalem.
The Senate’s top Democrat, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, said Tuesday he had …called on Trump to move the U.S. Embassy and “show the world that the U.S. definitively acknowledges Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.” Maryland Senator Ben Cardin, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, reiterated his support for recognizing Jerusalem: “I believe that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, so to me, that’s not news
David Horovitz: (Trump) declared America’s recognition of Jerusalem while subtly but clearly indicating that, for now, he was speaking about the ostensibly non-disputed Israeli areas of the city…far from ruling out a Palestinian state, he potentially ruled it in, saying that the US would accept a two-state solution if the Israelis and Palestinians agreed on it…But if Abbas did truly want to come to the negotiating table, there was nothing in Trump’s Jerusalem address on Wednesday that closed the door on any of his ostensible goals
Alan Dershowitz: President Trump’s decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital helps to restore the appropriate balance… President Trump was right to undo the damage wrought by his predecessor.
Elliott Abrams: Lies and evasions make peace impossible. Telling the truth brings it closer. Trump is not destroying his own peace efforts but grounding them in reality…This decision advances peace because it tells Palestinians and Arab governments to respect reality.
According to Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman, former deputy for foreign policy and international affairs at Israel’s National Security Council, U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would send a strong message to the Palestinians that their dream of rewriting history so that it does not include any Jewish historical ties to Jerusalem is simply not going to work. Such recognition would correct a historical anomaly that denies Israel the right to say where its capital is.
Jonathan Halevi:Palestinian reactions to Trump’s speech demonstrate again that the “spontaneous popular protests” are pre-planned actions by the senior echelon of the Palestinian leadership.
TERROR ATTACK IN ARAD
Security forces on Friday arrested two Israeli Bedouin on suspicion of involvement in the fatal stabbing of Sgt. Ron Kokia in Arad last Thursday while waiting for a bus outside a shopping mall.
Following the arrests, mayors of Bedouin communities met with the mayor of Arad to reaffirm their commitment to coexistence after the One said that the Bedouin wanted to live in peace with their Jewish neighbours. Another urged greater oversight of the material that young Bedouin are exposed to.
Israeli planes reportedly struck an Iranian military base 13 km. south of Damascus, overnight Friday.
The Iranian opposition has reported in detail on the location of Iranian bases in Syria and the deployment of Iranian forces and its proxies, numbering 70,000, in that country.
The military facility near Damascus which was reportedly attacked by Israel on Monday is known to Western intelligence services as one of the main development and production centres of the Syrian government’s Scientific Studies and Research Centre where sophisticated weapons are developed for the Syrian regime. The big balls of fire that rose over the area after the strike indicate that the target was weapons, perhaps missiles, which were ready for delivery. Israel’s mostly covert “war between wars” has so far prevented the transfer of large quantities of precision-guided missiles to Hizbullah.
US FUNDING OF THE P.A.
The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the Taylor Force Act on Tuesday. The bill would reduce U.S. funding for the Palestinians unless their official bodies stop subsidizing families of killers of Israelis. It would leave in place funding for Palestinian security forces and a handful of humanitarian enterprises. The Senate is considering an identical bill.
The head of Britain’s armed forces, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, arrived for an official visit to Israel last week as a guest of the IDF Chief of Staff.
The British helicopter carrier HMS Ocean, the flagship of the Royal Navy, docked in Haifa, Israel, last Thursday.
Caesarea-based startup Cnoga Medical Ltd. says it has come up with a way to track blood glucose levels in diabetes patients without pricking or pain.
The Israeli army’s first female combat tank operators completed their training on Tuesday as part of a pilot programme to assess fuller gender integration in the Armoured Corps.
Zambia is set to host the first ever Africa-Israel Summit slated for 2018
Greece, Cyprus, Italy and Israel have signed a memorandum of understanding for constructing an underwater gas pipeline from the Eastern Mediterranean region to Greece and Italy, which will allow the transportation of newly discovered Cypriot and Israeli gas reserves to mainland Europe
COMMENT & OPINION
Ron Ben Yishai: The attack on an Iranian base in Syria was meant to validate the red lines Israel set to the Russians, the Americans, Assad’s regime, Hizbullah and the Iranians. Permanent Iranian military presence in Syria is a red line that will not be accepted, even in its initial stages.
Ron Prosor: Last week the UN Security Council debated a report recently published by UNIFIL, the UN Interim Force in Lebanon, which ignored Hizbullah’s 150,000 short- and medium-range missiles directed towards Israeli cities and threatening the entire Middle East. Instead of detailing the locations of weapon stockpiles and asking the UN Security Council to strengthen its mandate so they are able to raid them, the report goes into detail about the 420 Lebanese shepherds spotted near the border area.
Hizbullah’s ability to roam freely in southern Lebanon emboldens it everywhere else. It grows stronger by the day and wealthier through Iranian funding.