News Digest — 12/7/20

6 Border Police Officers Injured By Arab Rioters Near Jerusalem

Six Israeli Border Police officers were injured after riots erupted outside northern Jerusalem Monday morning (7th).

An IDF undercover unit was attacked by Arab rioters during an operation in Kalandia, on the northwest border of Jerusalem.  The IDF unit entered the neighborhood to arrest two suspects for “serious crimes.”

According to a Border Police spokesperson, Arab rioters on rooftops hurled concrete blocks and other heavy objects at the officers, endangering their lives. Other Israeli troops were streamed to the scene to extract officers under attack. 

Six Border Police were struck by the heavy blocks, and several of the officers were evacuated to Jerusalem hospitals – others were treated at the scene.

The officers who came under attack opened fire on the rioters, and used crowd dispersal techniques to break up the mob.

The Palestinian Authority claims that four rioters were wounded when police opened fire.  The four were taken to a Ramallah hospital for treatment.



Israel-U.S. Mark Anniversary Of Embassy Move To Jerusalem

Israel and the United States on Sunday (6th) marked the third anniversary of the announcement by the U.S. President Donald Trump, that the U.S. would move its American embassy to Jerusalem and recognize the city as Israel’s capital.

In a short ceremony in Jerusalem before the weekly cabinet meeting Netanyahu thanked U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and praised Trump for his moves that have “ushered a new period of peace.”

Netanyahu and Friedman place a signed copy of Trump’s declaration on the wall of the cabinet room alongside the 1948 proclamation by the U.S. President Harry Truman, recognizing the newly established State of Israel.

“These two historic proclamations will never be forgotten…by the Jewish people and by the Jewish state – they will be cherished for generations,” Netanyahu said.

Along with the Jerusalem decision, Netanyahu praised Trump for recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the strategic Golan Heights, accepting Israel’s rights in Judea and Samaria, and proposing a new peace plan with the Palestinians “that acknowledges those rights and maintains Israel’s ability to defend itself.”

Netanyahu said he was grateful to Trump for helping to broker the historic Abraham Accords under which Israel signed peace treaties with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, and is expected to sign a peace deal with Sudan.

The accords “ushered in a new period of peace that is dramatically changing the face of the Middle East before our very eyes,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu also thanked Trump for facing down Iran.

“Rather than appease those who chant ‘Death to America’ and ‘Death to Israel,’ in Tehran, you withdrew from the dangerous nuclear Iran deal, placed crippling sanctions on Iran and took out the world’s most dangerous terrorist, Qassem Soleimani,” the prime minister said, calling the U.S.-Israel alliance “stronger than ever.”

In his remarks, Friedman noted that the embassy move was not new, but rather Trump finally actualized the Jerusalem Embassy Act that had been passed by Congress in 1995 “by overwhelmingly partisan majorities.”

“President Trump sent a clear message to the world that the United States stands unflinchingly with its allies, and that the United States bases its foreign policy on truth, not on wishful thinking or fantasies,” Friedman added.



Report: Khamenei Hands Down Power To Son As Health Declines

The health of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is deteriorating, and he has transferred his duties and powers to his son, Mojtaba Khamenei, according to a report by Iranian journalist Mohamad Ahwaze on Saturday (5th).

Citing unnamed sources, Ahwaze tweeted that the 81-year-old leader’s health began deteriorating Friday (4th).  “Those close to Khamenei are very afraid for his health conditions at this time,” he said.

“Iranian sources confirm that the duties and powers of the office of Supreme Leader Khamenei have been transferred to his son, Mojtaba Khamenei, who oversees several security and intelligence departments in Iran,” Ahwaze said.

According to the report, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was forced to cancel a meeting with Khamenei on Friday (4th) due to the supreme leader’s health condition.   

Ahwaze said that Khamenei’s health continued to deteriorate since Friday (4th), which led to the summoning of senior doctors from Masih Daneshvari Hospital in Tehran.

Whether Khamenei’s illness is due to cancer or some other disease is not clear at this point, he said.

Ahwaze’s report has not been officially confirmed.

Khamenei’s 51-year-old son has been talked about as a possible successor to his father, although according to Iranian law the supreme leader must be elected by the Assembly of Experts.



U.S. General: Iran Supplying Weapons, Fighters To Venezuela’s Maduro

The senior commander of American forces for Central and South America says Iran is sending weapons and soldiers to Venezuela in a bid to help prop up its President Nicolas Maduro, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday (2nd).

“We’re really concerned about what Iran is up to, not just globally, but here in this hemisphere,” said Admiral Craig Faller, the head of the U.S. Southern Command.

“We see a growing Iranian influence in there,” Faller said, adding that his command had tracked the “alarming and concerning” presence of soldiers from Iran’s elite Quds Force, which previously fought in Syria to preserve the rule of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.  The Quds Force is on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations and in January its commander, General Qassem Soleimani, was assassinated in Iraq by American airstrike.

Faller pointed out that other regimes hostile to American interests are present in Venezuela, including thousands of Cubans who “basically own” Venezuela’s intelligence service and protect Maduro, adding that several hundred Russians are also in Venezuela to help “keep key elements of Maduro’s military in readiness.”

Iran has been working to support Maduro and extend its influence in South America, and to gain a foothold closer to North America.  In October, the U.S. warned that it would destroy any Iranian long-range missile shipments sent to Venezuela.

In 2018, the U.S., Israel and Colombia reported evidence linking a Maduro accomplice to the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist organization in Lebanon, which is known to have operated in South America for years.



Britain Is Being Sued For The Balfour Declaration In PA Courts

A lawsuit, submitted by private individuals to a PA court on October 22, is suing Britain for issuing the Balfour Declaration, as well as for crimes committed by British soldiers during Britain’s Mandate, Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reported on Sunday (6th).

According to an October 23 report by the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, the lawsuit lays the responsibility of the “Balfour Promise” on Britain, a promise which “gave Palestine as a national homeland to the Jews and enabled the Zionist gangs to occupy Palestine,” violating international law.

The lawyer representing the plaintiffs, Luay Abdo, is confident about the suit’s success in Palestinian courts, the paper reported on November 18.  Abdo highlighted that the goal of the trial is “to extract a confession from Britain that the Balfour Promise destroyed the life of an entire Palestinian people and entity, whose place was taken by a racist, colonist entity.”

Meanwhile, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office website reports that, over the last five years, Britain has donated the equivalent of $632,443,199 to Palestinian causes.  These sums are expected to only increase in the upcoming year.

PMW explains that the historically important document appears not to have had as much power as the suit claims – the power to give land away and enable Zionist control.  It was a statement of policy reflecting solely the position of the UK, a document that was immobile and powerless without significant support from the greater international community, which it later gained.

This eventually led to the adoption of the Partition Plan by the United Nations in 1947, and the subsequent establishment of the State of Israel.

Britain has responded before to the claims that the Balfour Declaration carried the weight of full responsibility for the establishment of Israel.

In October, 2017, then prime minister Theresa May said to the House of Commons, “We are proud of the role that we played in the creation of the State of Israel.”