January 18, 2018

Netanyahu says U.S. Embassy will move to Jerusalem sooner than expected

When U.S. President Donald Trump publicly recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, both he and his administration said it would take several years to actually move the American Embassy there.

But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he expects the move to happen much sooner.

Speaking to reporters during his current visit to India, Netanyahu suggested that the U.S. Embassy could move to Jerusalem within a year.

All that would be needed for that to happen would be for the U.S. to change the status of its large consulate facility in Jerusalem to that of a full embassy.



Report: Israel strikes Hizbullah weapons depot near Damascus – Dov Lieber

Israel carried out airstrikes at the Mezzah military airport southwest of Damascus Tuesday night (16th), hitting a Hizbullah weapons depot according to Syrian opposition reports.



Israel backs U.S. aid cut to UNRWA – Daniel J. Roth

Responding to the U.S. announcement that it would enact cuts in aid to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon said Tuesday (16th): “UNRWA has proven time and time again to be an agency that misuses the humanitarian aid of the international community and instead supports anti-Israel propaganda, perpetuates the plight of Palestinian refugees and encourages hate.  Just over the last year alone, UNRWA officials were elected to the leadership of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, UNRWA schools denied the existence of Israel, and terror tunnels were dug under UNRWA facilities.  It’s time for this absurdity to end.”



U.S. support for UNRWA has gone on long enough – Michael Rubin

UNRWA has become the poster child for UN bureaucratic bloat, mission creep, and twisted morality.  When the UN created UNRWA in 1949, it was meant to be a temporary agency to address a temporary problem.  But Arab states like Egypt, Syria, and Iraq used UNRWA to undercut normalization with Israel and transformed an aid agency into a weapon against israel.

IF UNRWA promises to take care of housing, education, and support for many Palestinians, this allows the PA and Hamas to spend their money on terror pensions, terror tunnels, and an arsenal of rockets.  It’s long past time to cut off UNRWA and ask the ‘UN High Commissioner for Refugees,’ to take over.



MK Oren: ‘UNRWA a corrupt organization’ which shouldn’t exist

MK MIchael Oren praised President Trump’s decision to cut funds the U.S. gives UNRWA, after Palestinian Authority Leader Mahmoud Abbas’ anti-Israel speech earlier this week.  “President Trump’s decision to cut UNRWA’s budget is an excellent decision for us and for the entire Middle East,” Oren told the Israeli press.  
“UNRWA is a corrupt and inflated  organization that perpetuates a refugee problem that doesn’t exist.”

“According to their count, there are five million refugees in the Middle East, and we must remember that there are almost no refugees from 1948 who live today.  How did they reach five million?  Because only in UNRWA does the refugee status go from father to son and to the grandson, and every Palestinian refugee receives three times the budget of every other refugee in the world, including refugees from Syria,” added Oren.



Behind the fiery rhetoric, the Palestinian leadership is cornered and flailing – Loveday Morris

On Sunday (14th), Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas hurled insults at the Trump administration and on Monday (15th) the Palestinian Central Council recommended a raft of measures that included reversing Palestinian recognition of Israel.  However, Abbas’ Palestinian Authority relies for its survival on his relationship with Israel, analysts say, making any bolder measures unlikely.

Past threats to end security cooperation with Israel have not been carried out, while the Palestinians have little to show for efforts to promote their cause internationally.  That leaves them flailing as the Trump administration accuses them of turning their back on negotiations.

“The PA relies on Israeli security cooperation, while Palestinians depend on the Israeli economy, with tens of thousands working in Israel,” said Kobi Michael, a senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies and former deputy director-general of Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs.



Germany searching for 10 Iranian spies

Authorities searched private homes and offices across Germany for 10 suspected Iranian spies following extensive investigations by the country’s domestic intelligence service, Stefan Biehl, a spokesman for the Federal Prosecutors Office, said Tuesday (16th).  “We believe the suspects spied on institutions and persons in Germany at the behest of an intelligence unit associated with Iran.”  He declined to comment on a report by the weekly magazine Focus that the suspects were spying on Israelis in Germany.



Ayatollah Ali Khamenei just explained why Israel takes a hard line on Iran – Tom Rogan

On Tuesday (16th), Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tweeted: “Palestine is from the river to the sea and #AlQuds is undoubtedly its capital.”  Khamenei is actually saying that all of Jerusalem and all Israeli territory from the West Bank to the Mediterranean Sea is Palestinian territory and highlighting his regime’s determination to see Israel eradicated.  Eradicating Israel is also an existential demand of the theocracy.  Iran believes that Israel’s existence is incompatible with its warped notion of Islamic emancipation and the purity of Islamic holy sites in Israel.



India walks back cancellation of $500 million missile deal with Israel

As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s India visit wraps up, it was announced Wednesday (17th) that a massive Israel-India weapons deal will go ahead as planned.  The deal, which had been initially canceled last month, was for $500 million worth of Spike missiles.



Nahariya hit with nearly an inch of rain in ten minutes

The northern Israeli city of Nahariya was hit with a fierce cloudburst on Wednesday (17th), with almost an inch of rain falling within ten minutes and turning the streets into rivers.

Heavy rainfall also hit other places in Israel, with Ashkelon getting downpours which led the Israel Nature and Parks Authority to close the Ashkelon National Park to visitors.

Stormy weather is expected to increase over the next couple of days with heavy rainfall, strong winds and chances of snow in the north.  

The storms are expected to abate on Saturday (20th).