News Digest — 5/17/19

Gaza Border Protest Canceled Due To Heat And Ramadan

Hamas ordered Palestinian demonstrators in the Gaza Strip who regularly participate in the weekly March of Return to stay home Friday (17th), according to a report on Army Radio Friday morning.

Channel 13 News reported that according to Palestinian media sources, the weekly protest was canceled due to the current heatwave in Israel as well as the daily Ramadan fast.

Meanwhile, Israel police and Border Police are on high-alert in the Old City of Jerusalem Friday (17th), as Ramadan prayers take place for the second week on the Temple Mount.

The roads in the Old City have been closed to make room for the crowds ascending the Mount to pray.



Hamas ‘Salutes’ Jeremy Corbyn For Nakba Rally Support

Hamas, the militant Palestinian terror group, praised Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for his support for an anti-Israel rally last Sunday (12th) in central London, MaillOnline reported.

“We have received with great respect and appreciation, the solidarity message sent by the British Labour Party Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, to the participants in the mass rally that took place in central London last weekend in commemoration of the 71st anniversary of Nakba,” a Hamas statement read.

Corbyn’s message was read out at the rally, organized by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which is deemed to be anti-semitic.  He is listed as a patron on the campaign’s website.

The Hamas statement which called upon the “current British government to stop supporting the Israeli occupation state” said that Corbyn’s message “condemned the Israeli occupation forces’ shooting at Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza who were calling for their rights to be recognized,” and said that “He stressed that peace cannot be achieved with occupation of the Palestinian territories.”

Referring to Trump’s peace plan which is “doomed to failure,” the statement saluted “Mr. Jeremy Corbyn for his principled position in rejecting the so-called ‘deal of the century’ if it is based on erasing Palestinian rights, primarily the right to an independent Palestinian state.”

The rally marked the 71st anniversary of the Nakba, or “catastrophe,” referring to the formation of the State of Israel in 1948.  It was organized by the PSC with support from the Stop the War Coalition, Palestinian Forum in Britain, Friends of Al-Aqsa and the Muslim Association of Britain, as well as several trade unions and the Momentum faction of the British Labour Party.



Friedman To New York Times: ‘Where Am I Off In Saying God Is On The Side Of Israel?’ – Alex Traiman

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman fired back at The New York Times on Wednesday (15th) over an article castigating him for claiming that Israel was “on the side of God” while speaking about the Israel-Palestinian conflict and the upcoming U.S. peace proposal.

Speaking to a group of evangelical faith leaders at the Aish Hatorah World Center in Jerusalem, overlooking the Western Wall plaza and the Temple Mount, Friedman said that, “apparently, there was nothing more offensive I could have said to the New York Times.’

The event organized by the Latin Coalition for Israel, led by Pastor Mario Bramnick, was also attended by First Lady of Guatemala Patricia Marroquin, Guatemalan Ambassador to Israel Mario Bucaro Flores and former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Danny Ayalon.

The Times called Friedman’s comments “the latest sign of anything but an even-handed approach to the conflict by the Trump administration,” noting that the Palestinians were “slack-jawed” at Friedman’s comments.

The article claimed that the Palestinians were complaining that Mr. Friedman “was representing the interests of Israel’s right-wing government more than those of the United States.”

Friedman defended his remarks, saying that “billions of people around the world accept the Old Testament as part of their faith.”  He explained that the Old Testament chronicles the Jewish people’s initial arrival and subsequent exiles from the land of Israel.

“Most of the prophecies are about the return of the nation of Israel to their land.  And it is happening in our lifetime,” Friedman said. Adding that “just being in this room is evidence that the prophecy of Ezekiel and others have come true.”

“So where am I off in saying that God is on the side of Israel?” Friedman asked.  “The fact that God has fulfilled His prophecies and delivered the people of Israel to their land is demonstrably true.”

Following the lead of U.S. President Donald Trump, who has continuously criticized mainstream media outlets, and Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer, who recently called the Times a “cesspool of hostility” to Israel, Friedman fired back sharply at the paper, stating, “if anyone speaks to the editors,they should tell the Times to spend a little less time defending terrorists and spend a little more time defending the truth.”



Hezbollah Could Use Maritime Border Dispute To Go To War With Israel – Giora Eiland

The growing tension between the United States and Iran in recent days might result in Iran-backed organizations, especially Hezbollah, acting against Israel if Tehran deems it suitable for its interests.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah understands the Lebanese public will not forgive him for starting the Third Lebanon War – which would most likely lead to partial destruction of Lebanon – all in the name of Iran.

Nasrallah, however, understands that he’d be able to justify such a war if it’s motivated by seemingly genuine attempts to defend Lebanese national interests.  As far as he’s concerned there is an interest worth defending, he believes Israel has gas fields that extend into Lebanese territory – fields that are estimated to be worth billions of dollars.

In May 2000, Israel surprised the world by pulling its troops out of southern Lebanon and unilaterally ending an 18-year-old conflict.  The Lebanese government refused to cooperate with Israel on the withdrawal, prompting the Jewish state to negotiate with the UN in order to agree upon internationally recognized land borders.

The issue of the maritime border, however, was never fully resolved.  Israel and Lebanon each proposed a different system by which the sea border would be determined.  The UN refused to solve the issue, effectively creating a maritime space that has remained in dispute ever since.

The dispute was essentially non-existent until Israel began discovering large amounts of natural gas reserves in the disputed waters.  Israel issues exploration licenses for waters within the borders determined by its system, with Lebanon doing the exact same thing. This creates a dangerous overlap.

Recently the Lebanese government – quite wisely as far as it’s concerned – has chosen another method to establish the maritime border, which the country claims complies with international law.  Based on this international system, large parts of the disputed area should be under Lebanese sovereignty. Israel doesn’t have to adhere to Lebanon’s rules, especially since the law itself states the border can be debated in light of “historical reasons or special circumstances.”

If more large gas reserves are discovered in the disputed waters, the conflict over the maritime border will intensify, which is exactly what Nasrallah is waiting for.

The Israeli government has two options: continue to insist on the border determined by its system many years ago or agree with Lebanon and enter into indirect negotiations with the Lebanese government in order to resolve the dispute.

And, in light of the recent escalation between Washington and Tehran, the need for a resolution has become more pressing than ever.



Rabbi’s 7th-Grade daughter Finds Swastika, Message ‘You Don’t Belong Here’

A 7th grader at Escobedo Middle School in Las Vegas, a rabbi’s daughter, came to school recently to find a note with a swastika and the words “You don’t belong here” on her desk, reported local NBC News 3.

The father, Rabbi Craig Rosenstein, told a News 3 reporter that his daughter came home with the note, and that “apparently, there was a second picture that was a drawing of Hitler with his hand in the air and the Nazi salute with a swastika above it.  His daughter, who is adopted, is also African American.

He said that he has spoken to the school staff who say two boys have been identified and that the incident is under investigation.

In a statement to News 3, a district spokesperson wrote in part, “The school is taking this incident seriously and appropriate staff has been in contact with the student’s parents.  Racially motivated incidents are never tolerated in the Clark County School District.”

“When there’s a phrase that says, ‘You don’t belong here,’ that to me is terrorism,” said the rabbi to News 3.  “That’s an emotional threat that may lead to a physical threat,” he added.

The rabbi tweeted: “If this can happen to my child, it can happen to yours.  This needs to stop.”