November 28, 2018

In News Surrounding Israel by The Friends of Israel

Netanyahu’s Vision For The Middle East Has Come True – Anshel Pfeffer and Davide Lerner

→Representatives of Arab League member-states at the MED 2018 conference in Rome last Thursday (22nd) either ignored or downplayed the Palestinian issue.  Instead, on the stage and behind the scenes, there seemed much more appetite for normalization with Israel.

→Oman’s Foreign Minister said it quite clearly when he called on the Arab world to “come to terms with the reality that Israel is a fact of life in the region,” and therefore should have its share of “rights as well as obligations.”

→Even Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, seemed to realize that this wasn’t a venue for Israel-bashing and refrained from mentioning Israel in his talk.

→One senior Middle Eastern diplomat commented that “the basic fact is that, for better or worse, the world isn’t bothering Israel anymore about the Palestinians.  It’s a total change of paradigm.”

→One leading European expert on the Middle East echoed the widespread feeling.  “It’s hard for me now to convince editors and think-tank directors of the need to write papers on Israel and Palestine.  No one can see any point, and quite frankly, I’m not sure I can either.”



Attack Caught On Film: Vehicle Veers And Cuts Down Soldiers

Three IDF soldiers were lightly wounded in a ramming attack Monday (26th) near Karmei Tzur in Gush Etzion.  The terrorist was shot by one of the soldiers.

Teams of Magen David Adom and an IDF medical force gave the wounded treatment and evacuated them to the Hadassah Ein Kerem and Shaare Zedek hospitals in Jerusalem.

The attack took place near the el-Arub junction, while soldiers carried out engineering work on the road between Beit Ummar and el-Arub.

A senior MDA medic said “We arrived at the scene and saw three young people conscious but injured. We provided first aid at the scene, then placed them in ambulances and evacuated them to hospitals.”  

In response to the attack, National Union Secretary Ophir Sofer said, “We’re tired of explanations about the lone terrorist who operates without a terrorist infrastructure, and therefore there’s no intelligence prior to the attack.  One thing is clear – demolishing terrorist homes and deporting their families are deterrents of the first order.

“The time has come for lawyers and attorneys to be partners in the war on terror and not stand on the side as if they were representatives of the court in The Hague,” Sofer added.



Report: Syrian Regime Grants Citizenship To Iranians, Hizbullah Fighters

The Syrian regime naturalized as many as tens of thousands of Iranians, including members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and Iran-backed militias like Hizbullah that are deployed in southern Syria along the border with Israel, according to a report by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)

The report explained that “systematic action by the regime to settle [them] throughout Syria” served two purposes: concealing the fighters’ presence and changing the country’s demography.

Concealing the presence of Iranian and Hizbullah fighters in southern Syria could be seen as contravening understandings reached between Israel and Russia to keep such groups away from the Jewish State’s northern border.

In late October, Moscow agreed to expand a buffer zone along the Golan heights.  Russia had refused the Israeli request for a 25-mile buffer zone, but expressed willingness to enforce an off-limits zone of 6-10 miles.

The issuance of Syrian identity cards to Iranian and Hizbullah fighters may be aimed at enabling them to stay there, without violating the understandings.

Syrians who fled Damascus and other areas during the seven years of civil war have long complained of demographic changes and their areas being taken over, either by government or by outsiders.

A Syrian refugee and writer named Mohammed Ruzgar wrote in 2015 that the regime in Damascus had bulldozed neighborhoods under the pretext of rebuilding them.

“We estimate that some 200,000 Sunni Muslims have left because of this ‘project’ while the regime is giving houses to members of the Shiite militias fighting alongside it,” he wrote.  Sunni areas of Damascus, he claimed, had become a “Shiite canton.”

Hinting at such a policy, Assad reportedly said in a July 2015 speech, “The homeland does not belong to those who live there, nor to those who hold a passport or are citizens.  The homeland belongs to those who protect and guard it,” according to MEMRI.



Israel Reporter Attacked In Berlin ‘For Speaking Hebrew’

An Israeli journalist was recently attacked in Berlin while trying to film a report, with video capturing a group of men harassing her and then apparently attacking her with a firecracker.

Antonia Yamin claimed the attack occurred because she spoke Hebrew, with several men throwing firecrackers at her and her cameraman, while filming a report.

A video of the incident was published Sunday (25th) on Twitter, by Yamin, Europe Correspondent for Israel’s public broadcaster Kan.

Yamin had taken a break during her work day to report about Brexit negotiations between the UK and the European Union.  While reporting in Hebrew on a local street, several men can be seen in the video approaching Yamin and interrupting her.  The video shows her visibly annoyed and hurrying away along with the cameraman as firecrackers are thrown at them.

“As you can see on the video, you can’t report in Hebrew in Neukolln Berlin without being disturbed and without people throwing firecrackers at you,” Yamin wrote.

The German daily Bild reported that the assailants were immigrants.

Yamin later said that she was asked by police to give a statement but shied away from labeling the attack as anti-Semitic.



Israel, Cyprus, Greece And Italy Agree On Israel-Europe Gas Pipeline – Sonia Gorodeisky

After two years of intensive discussions, Israel, Cyprus, Greece and Italy, with the backing of the EU, have reached agreement on laying the world’s longest underwater pipeline for the export of gas from the Eastern Mediterranean to Europe.

The project which will cost an estimated NIS 25 billion, was initiated by Minister of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz, who first presented it at a conference in Abu Dhabi two years ago.

The pipeline, which will have a capacity of 10-20 billion cubic meters of gas, will be laid from Israel’s economic water to Cypriot waters and across Cyprus and via sea onto Greece, Crete and Italy.

Steinitz said, “The agreement that we have drawn up will enable Israel to become an energy supplier to Europe, and that has both economic and political importance.  This will be the first time ever that Israel has joined with the EU on any major infrastructure project.”

If all goes according to plan, the pipeline could be in place by 2025.