October 18, 2017

In News Surrounding Israel by The Friends of Israel

Unity deal could allow Hamas leader to become PA President

Hamas’ decision to sign a reconciliation deal with Fatah last week may have been motivated by more than just a desire to reconcile after years of bitter rivalry.  A cunning plan to pave the way for senior Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal to win the Palestinian Authority presidency after current leader Mahmoud Abbas, may have been the true aim behind Hamas’ willingness to compromise.

This new information was confirmed by senior Palestinian officials as well as Egyptian intelligence officials involved in mediation between the rival factions.  According to these sources, one of Hamas’ principal aims in the agreement – after the terrorist organization had nixed all previous reconciliation efforts – was to replace the aging Abbas with Mashaal, the former head of Hamas’ political bureau.



Israel says it will not negotiate with a Hamas-based Palestinian government

Israel’s security cabinet stated on Tuesday evening (17th) that it would not negotiate with a Hamas-based Palestinian government, as Hamas is a terrorist organization set on destroying Israel.

A statement issued following the security cabinet meeting said Israel’s position would stand until Hamas agrees to disarm and end all its terrorist activities, recognize Israel, return the bodies of Israeli soldiers and living Israeli citizens being held in Gaza, and sever all ties with Iran.

In addition, the Israeli government demanded that any financial and humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza be distributed by the Palestinian Authority and the existing  networks set up for such actions.  Israel also demanded that Gaza security be placed under the complete control of the Palestinian Authority, including border-crossing points to Egypt and Israel as well as the responsibility of preventing the tunnels dug by Hamas being used for smuggling.

(jpost.com; reuters.com)


Near-lynching of Jews in Jerusalem’s Old City

Two Jewish residents of the Old City were nearly lynched Monday night (16th) near their homes not far from the Lion’s Gate.

The attack started when one of the victims went outside to throw away his trash.  A number of Arabs approached him and began beating him.  When a neighbor heard yelling, he rushed outside to help, only to be attacked.

The two suffered bruises on their bodies, and one was evacuated to the hospital after suffering a head injury.

Police arrested some of the attackers, who were interrogated at the Merchav David police station in Jerusalem.



Report: Israel hit Sinai targets after rocket attack

Bedouin tribal sources told the London-based Al-Arabi Al-Jadida newspaper that Israeli Air Force planes attacked targets in the Rafah and a-Sheikh Zweid area in northern Sinai shortly after rockets were fired at the Eshkol Regional Council on Sunday evening (15th).

The Islamic State terror movement said on Monday (16th) that it was behind the rocket attack.  The Israeli Defense Forces refused to comment.

(alaraby.com.uk; ynetnews.com)


Netanyahu tells Russian Defense MInister: We will not allow Iran into Syria – Itamar Eichner

Prime MInister Benjamin Netanyahu told visiting Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu Tuesday (17th) that Israel will not allow Iran to entrench its military forces in Syria.



UN threatens to blacklist Israeli telecommunications giant Bezeq – Adam Kredo

The UN Human Rights Council has written to the CEO of Israeli telecommunications giant Bezeq, demanding that it cease operations in the West Bank or face a potential designation as a human rights abuser.  Bezeq is the successor to Israel’s original telephone company.

“Bezeq provides landline, cellular, Internet, and cable TV service to residents of settlements in the West Bank,” the UNHRC wrote in its letter.



Israeli symbols banned again from Abu Dhabi judo tournament

Israeli athletes participating in the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam judo tournament in less than two weeks will not be permitted to sport any of the country’s insignia, the contest’s organizing committee announced to the Israeli Judo Association.

This marks the second time an Abu Dhabi tournament isn’t allowing Israeli athletes to be adorned with their flag – the first incident took place two years ago.



Israeli doctor elected head of World Medical Association – Judy Siegel-Itzkovich

Israel Medical Association chairman Prof. Leonid Eidelman was elected president of the World’s Medical Association (WMA) at its annual meeting in Chicago.

Eidelman manages the anesthesiology department at the Rabin Medical Center-Bellinson Campus in Petah Tikva.



Roman theater uncovered at base of Jerusalem’s Western Wall – Ilan Ben Zion

Israeli archeologists on Monday (16th) announced the discovery of a Roman-era theater in Jerusalem’s Old City that abuts the Western Wall.  The unfinished semi-circular theater is believed to date to the second or third centuries.  It might have been designed to seat 200 people.  The excavations have exposed the first row of seats, and part of the stage.  They have also exposed eight previously uncovered rows of stones in the Temple Mount’s western retaining wall.



Work on Israel-Cyprus-Greece electricity link to start in 2018

Nasos Ktorides, who heads the EuroAsia Interconnector project, said Monday (16th) in Nicosia, Cyprus, that work on an electric cable linking the power grids of Israel, Cyprus and Greece is on track to start in the first quarter of 2018.

The 945 mile undersea electric cable with 2,000-megawatt capacity will be able to both receive and transmit electricity.

Work on the cable is expected to  be finished in 2022.

(washingtonpost.com; ap.com)