December 5, 2018

US Envoy: UN Cannot Vote Away Jerusalem’s Status As Capital

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman lambasted the United Nations on Monday (3rd) over its anti-Israel bias, using the occasion of Hanukkah to highlight Israel’s legitimate claim to Jerusalem.

Friedman, the first US envoy to serve in the recently opened embassy in Jerusalem, tweeted “More than 2,000 years ago, Jewish patriots (Maccabees) captured Jerusalem, purified the Holy Temple and rededicated it as a house of Jewish worship.  The UN can’t vote away the facts: Jerusalem is the ancient and modern capital of Israel. Happy Hanukkah from this blessed city.”

Friedman, who is Jewish, is among US President Donald Trump’s close associates and is considered very pro-Israel.  He served as Trump’s adviser on Israel-related matters during his presidential campaign.

In December, 2017, Trump up-ended decades of US policy by officially recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.  Several months later he inaugurated a new embassy in the city.

These decisions triggered condemnation from Arab states and other countries, and the UN General Assembly passed a non-binding resolution condemning Trump’s stance on Jerusalem.  The US reacted angrily to this, with Trump vowing to “take names” of those who voted against the US.

On Sunday (2nd), President Trump sent out a Hanukkah greeting in which he vowed to defend the Jews and their traditions: “Melania and I send our warmest greetings to our Jewish brothers and sisters in the United States, in Israel, and around the world celebrating Hanukkah.”

“For eight nights, Jewish families and friends will come together to engage in the lighting of the menorah.  This special tradition started more than 2,000 years ago during the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, which followed a trying period when Jews were persecuted for practicing their faith,” Trump wrote.



EU, In Unusual Move, Warns Palestinians To Drop Muslim-Only Language For Temple Mount

In an unusual move, the European Union has publicly warned the Palestinians that they must drop their United Nations bid to reference the Temple Mount solely by its Muslim name of al-Haram al-Sharif.

It spoke out about the issue on Friday (11/30) at the UN General Assembly, which approved six anti-Israel resolutions, including two that ignored Jewish ties to the most holy site in Judaism, the Temple Mount.

The EU’s 28 member states voted in favor of those two resolutions, but warned that this was the last year it would do so.

“The EU stresses the need for language on the holy sites of Jerusalem to reflect the importance and historical significance of the holy sites for the three monotheistic religions, and to respect religious and cultural sensitivities,” it said in a statement that was read out on the floor of the UN

“The future choice of language may affect the EU’s collective support for the resolutions,” it added.

The EU has historically supported the annual passage of pro-Palestinian resolutions involving Jerusalem at the UNGA, where the Palestinians have an automatic majority.

Its opposition, or even a decision to abstain, would mark a dramatic shift in its policy toward those texts.



Hamas Not Enamored By Pending Condemnation At The UN

This Thursday (6th), a United States resolution will be put to the vote in the UN General Assembly condemning Hamas rocket attacks on Israel and calling for an end to violence.

The United States has succeeded in winning over support from all 28 member states of the European Union to support the resolution, after incorporating other relevant UN resolutions, but without referring to a two state solution.  US delegation leader Nikki Haley, who is leaving her position at the end of the year, said that the resolution was not in support of a specific peace plan. Any country would be free to vote for or against the activities of Hamas, as well as other terrorist groups such as Islamic Jihad, the US delegation said.

“If the United nations fails to accept this resolution, they have no right to participate in any future peace negotiations,” the delegation said.

Hamas is now trying to thwart the impending vote.  As early as last week, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh sent a letter to the General Assembly in which he complained about the planned vote.  International law would allow Palestinian organizations to use any means to fight against Israel until “Palestine from the River to the Sea is liberated” he stated.

Israel UN Ambassador Danny Danon sees the Thursday vote as a historic opportunity to condemn Hamas.  “Any country voting against condemning Hamas should not later turn to the United Nations if they become victims of a terror attack,” Danon said at the annual IAC conference, which took place last week in Miami, Florida.

“We talked to ambassadors from around the world and explained the importance of their support,” Danon continued.  “”We have created a broad consensus in the United Nations regarding Hamas, and that is a great achievement for us.”



Hamas Court Sentences 6 To Death For ‘Collaborating’ With Israel

A Hamas-run military court has sentenced five Palestinians and an Israeli resident to death for “collaborating” with Israel, the Hamas-controlled Interior Ministry announced on Monday (3rd) in a memo on its official website.

Five were sentenced to death by hanging and one by firing squad, the ministry said.  The Israeli resident, identified by her first name Amal, was sentenced in absentia, it added.

One of the five Palestinians sentenced to death, identified by his first name, Ali, was first connected to the Israel intelligence services in 2000 and had since provided it with information on operatives in Gaza, their residences and their means of transportation, the ministry claimed.

Ali, 48, provided Israel with information on the area where Mazen Fuqha, a senior Hamas official who was mysteriously assassinated in Gaza in March 2017, lived, it said.

The court also sentenced eight Palestinians to various degrees of hard labor for “collaborating”  with Israel, according to the ministry.

Since 2007, Hamas authorities in Gaza have carried out 25 execution sentences.

The PA has long criticized Hamas authorities for carrying out executions without the approval of PA Leader Mahmoud Abbas.

According to Palestinian law, the Leader of the PA must approve the enforcement of any execution sentencing.  Since 2006, Abbas has not given his official blessing for the implementation of a single death sentence.



Vice President Pence: We Will Stand With Israel To Confront Those Who Seek War

Vice President Mike Pence told the Israeli- American Council on Friday (11/30):

→“71 years ago this week, the United States joined with 32 other nations to declare to the modern world an ancient truth – that the Jewish people have a natural, irrevocable right to an independent state of their own in their ancestral and eternal homeland of Israel.”

→“If the world knows nothing else, let the world know this: America stands with Israel….We stand with Israel because her cause is our cause, her values are our values, and her fight is our fight.  We stand with Israel because we believe in right over wrong. We believe in good over evil, liberty over tyranny. And we stand with Israel because support for the Jewish state is not a partisan issue; it is an American issue.”

→“As we’ve seen in recent weeks, the terrorist threat still festers at Israel’s borders.  Hamas has sent a stream of rockets into Israel, including more than 300 rockets and mortars in a single six-hour span earlier this month.  These attacks against Israel must end, and they must end now.”

→“But we recognize terrorists across the region, from Hamas to Hizbullah, are really, truth be told, nothing more than proxies of a vile regime.  They’re the pawns of Iran and its ayatollahs, who in recent years have devoted more than $16 billion to spreading violence, sowing chaos and bloodshed across the Middle East and the wider world.”

→“As we continue to hope and work toward peace, we will continue to stand without apology with Israel and all our allies and partners across the world to confront those who seek war.”

→“What happened that day…at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh…was not just criminal, it was evil.  The 11 members of the Jewish community who perished were victims of one of the oldest hatreds known in the human race….There is no place in America for anti-Semitism and violence, and we will confront and condemn it ‘everywhere it rears its ugly head.’”