The Trump administration wants to send the Palestinians a message that time is not working in their favor, the Hebrew news site nrg reported on Friday, citing unnamed US government sources.
The essence of the message, the sources said, is that if the Palestinians do not cooperate with the Trump administration, Israel would be given a free hand to build more settlements and perhaps even apply sovereignty over parts of the West Bank.
According to the nrg report, Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer has started preliminary talks with Jason Greenblatt — President Donald Trump’s special representative for international negotiations — about settlement construction. Large gaps remain between the Israeli and American positions on the issue, nrg said, and no agreements have been reached yet.
Israel has been exporting gas to Jordan since January, it was announced on Thursday.
Yossi Abu, CEO of Israeli company Delek Drilling, said that “since early this year we started to export, it’s not huge quantities, but it’s still an export to Jordan.” Delek and American company Noble Energy hold controlling stakes in Israel’s Leviathan and the smaller Tamar gas fields and have been largely responsible for their development so far. This is the first time ever that Israel has exported energy.
The AFP says that the gas exports to Jordan are part of a £400m ($490 million) 2014 deal with two state-owned companies, Arab Potash and Jordan Bromine, to import 2 billion cubic meters (71 billion cubic feet) of gas from the Tamar field over 15 years.
A masked Palestinian wearing the headband of Hamas’s armed wing
The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Major General Yoav Mordechai told Hamas on Thursday that the IDF is well aware of its cooperation with Islamic State in Sinai.
“Hamas leaders: Your efforts to hide your cooperation with Islamic State’s smuggling from Sinai, through lies and manipulation in attempts to broadcast ‘business as usual’ with Egypt, are not hidden from our view,” the head of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories unit wrote in Arabic on Facebook.
According to Mordechai, Bilal Brahma, a Salafist- linked Hamas member and top smuggler with Sinai Province, the Islamic State group in Sinai, was reported by Hamas to have been killed in the restive peninsula. But despite Hamas setting up a mourning tent for him, he is alive and receiving a salary from Hamas’s “military” wing, Izzadin Kassam, while being treated in a hospital in Gaza by Jihad Cahlut, who is supposedly responsible for contact with ISIS terrorists in Sinai, according to Mordechai.
“Hamas is brazenly lying to its neighbors and to Egypt, which works to destroy tunnel infrastructures; this comes one week before representatives of the terrorist organization will make an expedition to Egypt,” he said. “Hamas’s senior delegation may want to consult with Bilal to know which tunnels are best for crossing from Gaza to Egypt and save the time waiting in Rafah.”
Israel’s ambassador to France called on local cities to ban events tied to the pro-Palestinian Israel Apartheid Week, scheduled to begin Monday.
Aliza Ben-Nun wrote to mayors of nine cities across France asking them to cancel events organized by the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, the Foreign Ministry said Friday.
Ben-Nun said that the events are likely to cause disturbances, incitement to hatred and violence towards Israel and the Jewish community. She also wrote that the boycott is prohibited under French law.
British Prime Minister Theresa May called on UK universities to “investigate and swiftly address” campus antisemitism.
“Higher education institutions have a responsibility to ensure that they provide a safe and inclusive environment for all students, and we expect them to have robust policies and procedures in place to comply with the law,” May said Wednesday, during a traditional Parliament session of Prime Minister’s Questions.
A Palestinian man who stabbed a Jewish settler in his West Bank home was shot dead by the knifing victim.
The resident of the Mor Farm outpost, in the south Hebron Hills, was lightly wounded in the Wednesday afternoon attack before using his gun to shoot the stabber. The knife attack and shooting occurred in front of the man’s children, according to reports.
Mahmoud Abbas shaking hands with Benjamin Netanyahu, Sept. 2, 2010
Two congressmen introduced a measure to establish and provide money for an international fund to promote peace between Israel and Palestinians.
Reps. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., and Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., introduced a bill on Monday urging the United States to establish — in cooperation with the Israeli government, the Palestinian Authority, regional governments and the international community — a fund to promote Israeli-Palestinian cooperation, dialogue and joint economic development.
The measure, called the International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace Authorization Act of 2017, would require the United States to provide at least $50 million to the fund annually from 2017 to 2021 and provide two bipartisan representatives to serve on its board.
Israel’s prime minister, defense minister and army chief of staff did not update the Security Cabinet about the serious threat of Hamas tunnels from Gaza, the nation’s state comptroller said in a report on the 2014 Gaza War.
The Security Cabinet did not have enough information about the threat posed by the tunnels to make decisions about how to proceed during the war, leaving the Israeli military unprepared, Yosef Shapira wrote in the 200-page report released Tuesday afternoon.
The government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not provide the military with clear objectives for the war and also failed in the one identified objective of what was dubbed Operation Protective Edge — to identify and destroy the tunnels. According to the report, which also scored then-Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon and former Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, the Israel Defense Forces only destroyed about half the cross-border tunnels.
The report also criticized the Security Cabinet for not holding discussions on and dealing with the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, including the collapse of infrastructure including water and electricity.
The Star of David is the best-known symbol of Jewish identity and of patriotism for the state of Israel.
So it may come as a surprise that a six-pointed star hangs around the neck of Sgt. Yossef Saluta, a Muslim Arab.
The 20-year-old poses proudly wearing the necklace and his Israeli army uniform, a rifle slung over his shoulder. He is among a tiny but growing number of Arab Israelis to defy tradition — and often their communities — to serve in the Israeli military.
“There is more openness among Arab Muslims that are not Bedouins to volunteer and join the army,” according to Col. Wagdi Sarhan, the head of the minorities unit in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). “We’re talking about recruitment of dozens of Arab Muslim youth and we are hopeful that the numbers will grow.”
The Israeli Air Force retaliated for rocket fire from Gaza with strikes targeting five Hamas positions in the coastal strip.
It was not known if the targeted positions were hit by Monday’s airstrikes, which came in response to a rocket fired hours earlier that landed in an open area of the Shaar Hanegev Regional Council in southern Israel early in the morning, the Israel Defense Forces spokesman said. No damage or injuries were reported.