May 21, 2018

Shavuot: Israelis Flock To National Parks Beaches For Shavuot

Some 200,000 Israelis visited national parks Sunday (20th) for the Shavuot holiday, as tens of thousands more flocked to beaches across the country.

With Israel in the grips of a heat wave, nature reserves and parks with water saw the highest numbers of visitors, among them Banias, Ein Gedi, the Snir Stream nature reserve and the Gan Hashlosha park.

Elsewhere, some 30,000 people visited the Sea of Galilee, the Kinneret Authority said, with all 15 of Galilee beaches seeing large numbers of visitors.

Shavuot began at sundown Saturday night (19th) and will end on Monday evening (21st) at sundown.



Netanyahu On UN: Nothing New Under The Sun

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday (18th) reacted to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) vote to establish a Commission of Inquiry to examine possible war crimes committed by Israel during the recent confrontations on the Gaza border.

“There is nothing new under the sun. The organization that calls itself the Human Rights Council has once again proved that it is a hypocritical and biased body whose goal is to harm Israel and to back terrorism, but it has mostly proved to be irrelevant.  Israel strongly rejects the decision made by an automatic anti-Israel majority, the results of which are known in advance,” Netanyahu wrote on Twitter.

“The State of Israel will continue to protect its citizens and soldiers as its right to self-defense grants it,” he added.



Danon To UNHRC: Investigate Hamas’ War Crimes

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, responded on Friday (18th) to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) decision to establish a commission to examine possible war crimes committed by Israel recently on the Gaza border.

“The fact that this shameful decision was made even after Hamas officials admitted the vast majority of those killed were terrorists, proves once again that nothing can separate this Council from its hatred of Israel.  The day this council investigates the war crimes of Hamas is the day it can be called the Human Rights Council,” said Danon.



Egypt Opens Gaza Border For Month Of Ramadan

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi said he would open the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt for the month of Ramadan.  Ramadan began on Thursday (18th).

It will be the longest period the crossing has been open since at least 2013.  Egypt, under Sisi has joined Israel in seeking to hem in Gaza, which is controlled by the Hamas terror group, and which has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, which Sisi reviles.  Sisi is also trying to control terrorist activity in the Sinai Peninsula.



Catastrophic Destruction As Syrian Regime Pounds Palestinian Refugee Camp

Amid scenes labeled “apocalyptic” and  “crimes against humanity,” the Syrian regime continued its offensive on Sunday (20th) to retake the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk, a neighborhood in south Damascus.  Tens of thousands of Palestinians were forced to leave years ago, but thousands still remain in Yarmouk under a brutal siege.

There is a lot of outrage online over what has happened in Yarmouk, but the world remains silent over the brutality of Assad’s regime.

Idrees Ahmad, an academic and frequent commentator on the Syrian conflict wrote on Thursday (17th) that what is happening in Yarmouk requires people to be outraged.  He accused people of hypocrisy for saying Israel’s actions in Gaza were crimes while ignoring “Palestinian Yarmouk.”



Israel Builds ‘World’s Highest Anti-Missile Wall’ Around New Airport

The world’s highest fence against anti-tank missiles, with closed-circuit cameras and radar equipment affixed to 210 foot poles and a 21 mile security fence is just part of the defensive infrastructure that will make the Ramon International Airport safe.

Expected to open in March 2019, the airport is in the final stages of construction in the Timna Valley in southern Israel, near the resort city of Eilat.

The 21-mile fence stands 20 feet high, surpassing the 16 foot tall security fence along the Egyptian border.  It comes at a cost of $80 million.



Seething At Gaza Leadership, Palestinian Sets Himself Ablaze

A 20-year-old Palestinian father of two from Gaza set himself on fire Saturday night (19th) in the city’s Sheikh Radwan neighborhood, all while cursing the strip’s Hamas rulers who he apparently blamed for his family’s poverty and the dismal economic situation in Gaza.

The young man, Fathi Harb, survived the self-immolation, and is currently in moderate condition.

Video footage of the incident shows the young man burning and screaming in agony while passersby rushed to douse the flames.



PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas Hospitalized For Third Time In A Week

RAMALLAH – Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has been hospitalized, once again, a Palestinian official said on Sunday (20th), providing no further details on his condition.

It was the third time Abbas, 82, was taken to the hospital in a week.  

He was hospitalized on Tuesday (15th) and again on Friday (18th), the official Palestinian news agency WAFA said.



Iranian Demonstrators Killed In Violent Clashes In Kazerun

On May 17, violent clashes broke out in the Iranian city of Kazerun between demonstrators and Iranian security forces.  The local police station was set on fire. At least five citizens have been killed, scores were injured, and dozens arrested.  Many social media users in Iran are criticizing state-run media for preferring to cover events in Gaza instead of reporting on Kazerun, using slogans like “The government is supporting Gaza and committing crimes in Kazerun.”



Irish Minister Of Defense Defends Use Of Israeli Drones – Marie O’Halloran

Irish Minister of State for Defense, Paul Kehoe has rejected accusations that he has “blood on his hands” over the purchase of drones from an Israeli manufacturer, amid claims the machinery was tested in Palestinian areas.  Kehoe said his main priority was to purchase the best equipment for Defense Force personnel. Between 2007 and 2009, Ireland bought four UAVs and upgraded them in 2016. Kehoe said they were “an information-gathering asset with no offensive capability.”