December 18, 2017

In News Surrounding Israel by The Friends of Israel

Two rockets fired from Gaza at Israel Sunday, no injuries reported

Two rockets were fired Sunday night (17th) from the Gaza Strip, with one exploding near the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council near the Gaza border, less than a week after multiple rockets were fired at southern Israel.

A residential home suffered damage from the rocket, but there were no casualties in the launch – the 18th to have taken place in the past two weeks.



Terrorist carrying 2 pipe bombs nabbed in Samaria

Israeli security forces arrested a Palestinian from Jenin on Sunday (17th) who was found to be carrying two pipe bombs.

The would-be terrorist was detained while trying to smuggle the explosives into the Military Court of Samaria.

Israeli troops stationed at the court asked the suspect to remove his coat after he aroused their suspicion.  They discovered two pipe bombs on his person.  

Sappers were called to the scene to disable the bombs and the courthouse was closed for precautionary reasons.

The suspect was taken into custody for questioning.



Damaged Gaza house belongs to terrorist

A rocket fired from Gaza on Friday evening (15th) towards southern Israel missed the mark and fell on the Beit Hanoun home of a Gaza terrorist.

The terrorist is the brother of Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri.

On Friday, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai said concerning the rocket firing: “The terror operatives in Gaza are proving in an unambiguous fashion what we continually stress: They are destroying the future of Gaza’s residents with their own hands.”



Nazareth Christmas celebrations not cancelled, says mayor

With Christmas just a week away, Nazareth is filled with tens of thousands of tourists and pilgrims.  As such, the announcement made last week by the city’s Muslim Mayor, Ali Salam, that the municipality was cancelling Christmas festivities, was greeted with more than dismay.

Salam’s original decision to cancel Christmas celebrations this year was his way of protesting the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

In a video clip, a Christian Arab, Jonathan Elkhoury, spoke forthrightly about how Christians in Israel felt about Salam’s declaration.

“Again, Christians are suffering because of extremist Muslims and Arab leaders who decide what they can and cannot do,” Elkhoury said.

The Nazareth municipality responded with this statement: “The traditional lighting of the huge Christmas tree was never in danger and the week-long Christmas market and street fair will continue, as will the annual procession of groups marching, including Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.



Israel threatens to return Lebanon to the ‘Stone Age’

In a rare interview with Saudi Arabian media, a top Israeli government minister last week threatened to return neighboring Lebanon “to the Stone Age.”

Israeli Intelligence Affairs Minister Yisrael Katz was speaking to the Saudi online newspaper Elaph when he was asked about the threat of increased Iranian arms supplies to Lebanon’s Hizbullah terrorist militia.

“The more accurate that Hizbullah’s missiles get, the stronger and wider Israel’s strikes will be,” Katz warned.  “What happened in 2006 will be a picnic compared to what we can do now.  I remember a Saudi minister saying they will send Hizbullah back to their caves in south Lebanon.  I am telling you that we will return Lebanon to the Stone Age.”

Israel has expressed growing concern that Iran is exploiting Syria’s ongoing civil war ro bolster its own military presence in both that country and neighboring Lebanon, all with the purpose of eventually making good on its promise to wipe Israel off the map.

Saudi Arabia, too, does not look kindly on Iranian expansionism, and the topic has led to increased cooperation between the oil-rich Arab kingdom and the Jewish state.



Welcome to the Palestinian mindset, where an Arab leader who talks about peace with Israel is a traitor – Khaled Abu Toameh

A declaration of war on the U.S., in the Palestinians’ view, would have been the appropriate response to President Trump’s Dec. 6 announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.  They were banking on the Arab heads of state taking more drastic measures against the U.S. and the sense of let-down on the Palestinians’ part is large as they spoke of the Arab leaders’ “weakness” and “cowardice.”

Welcome to the Palestinian mindset, where an Arab leader who talks about peace with Israel is a traitor, while an Arab leader who talks about destroying Israel or launching rockets at it, like Saddam Hussein, is a “hero.”

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said that statements issued by governments were inadequate in the extreme.  He stated that the Palestinians were expecting that Arabs and Muslims would overthrow U.S. ambassadors out of their countries, shut down the U.S. embassies, cut off diplomatic relations with the U.S, or boycott U.S, officials, delegations and goods.  “We expected a series of measures and steps that would rise to the level of the event,” Abbas said.



Fatah calls for protests against U.S. VP Pence’s Jerusalem visit

Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction on Saturday (16th) called for a massive demonstration next week to protest against a visit to Jerusalem by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence after Washington said it would recognize the holy city as Israel’s capital.

It also prompted Abbas to cancel a meeting with Pence who arrives Wednesday (20th) in Jerusalem.



UN to vote Monday on call for U.S. Jerusalem decision to be withdrawn

The United Nations Security Council is due to vote on Monday (18th) on a draft resolution that would insist decisions on the status of Jerusalem have no legal effect and must be rescinded, diplomats said on Sunday (17th), after U.S. President Donald Trump recognized the city as Israel’s capital.

The one-page Egyptian-drafted text, which was circulated to the 15-member council on Saturday (16th) and seen by Reuters, does not specifically mention the United States or Trump.  Diplomats say it has broad support but will likely be vetoed by Washington.



Trump Administration: Western Wall will surely be part of Israel

WASHINGTON – The Trump Administration said it cannot envision an outcome in which the Western Wall is not part of Israel – the first signal by any U.S. administration that it recognizes a claim to Jerusalem outside the 1967 lines.

Senior administration officials briefing reporters on Friday (15th) said, “We cannot envision any situation under which the Western Wall would not be part of Israel.  As the president said, the specific boundaries of sovereignty of Israel are going to be part of the final status agreement.”  



Austrian government’s platform refers to Israel as Jewish state for first time

The new Austrian government headed by conservative Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz, has, for the first time, included a clear reference to Israel’s Jewish character in its new platform.

The platform also states Austria’s commitment to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, with the aim of meeting Israel’s security needs while establishing a viable Palestinian state.

So far, Germany has been the only European nation whose government, under Chancellor Angela Merkel, has recognized Israel’s Jewish character.