News Digest — 6/12/20

Government Set To Give Final Approval Of ‘Trump Heights’

The Israeli government is expected to give its final approval on Sunday (14th) to begin building Trump Heights, a future settlement named after US President Donald Trump.

“The initiative to establish a new settlement in the Golan Heights, that will be called by the name of President Donald Trump, expresses an appreciation for his actions for the State of Israel in general and the Golan Heights specifically,” a government statement regarding the proposal read as quoted by Israel’s Walla news agency.

“There is importance in progressing the decision about establishing the settlement at this moment in order to strengthen the political ties between Israel and the United States,” the statement added.

Sunday’s stamp of approval will allocate roughly 8 million shekels for initial development – more will be added as the settlement begins to grow.  According to the Finance Ministry, it will cost at least 28.5 million shekels to build up the community to completion.

About 20 families are scheduled to move to Trump Heights this summer, the Israeli news site Srugim reported.

In June 2019, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unveiled a sign indicating where the future settlement in the Golan Heights would be, as a thank you for Trump’s unwavering support to Israel, such as the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

Shortly afterward a small pre-military academy was established in the area.  Currently 25 students are studying there and many more are expected to follow after expansion plans are completed.



Report: Palestinians Prefer Living Under Netanyahu Over Abbas

There may be a huge gap between the opinions of Palestinian Authority (PA) officials and PA residents concerning Israel’s sovereignty plans, Channel 13’s Arab affairs commentator Zvi Yehezkeli reported on Tuesday (9th).

Yehezkeli interviewed several Arab residents of Judea and Samaria about their opinions on Israel applying sovereignty over portions of the territories.  Some were interviewed openly, while other interviews were documented with hidden camera glasses.

“It is a million times better for Israel to be responsible for the entire territory.  We’re ready to live under Israel’s military boots rather than under the head of Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas],” one person said.

“What has the PA done for us?” one businessman asked.  “I don’t want a state.  I want money.  Money is preferable to a state.  The entire Palestinian people want this.  What does it want?  It doesn’t want the PA.  The PA robbed us and destroyed us.”

When asked why Palestinians always say they want a state, resistance, and intifada, the businessman replied,”Our government is looking for that.  We want money.”

Yehezkeli asked another man who would win if an election was held in PA-controlled areas between Abbas and Bibi Netanyahu.  “Bibi,” the man responded without hesitation.

“In Israel there is law and order.  Life is good,” said a PA policeman, adding that in the PA “all the money goes to Abu Mazen, to the PA, to the leaders.”

“I prefer Israeli sovereignty, one hundred percent,” he said.

Yehezkeli also noted that when the United States moved its embassy to Jerusalem, the PA promised a wave of violence, but the public mainly chose not to take to the streets.  He feels that on the issue of annexation, the gap between the PA leadership and its people may even be wider than one could imagine.



Hezbollah’s Colombian Drug Cartel Exposed In Saudi Documentary

A Saudi Arabian network is airing a comprehensive investigation showing how the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah has managed to plant its people in the heart of the cartel war and earn millions of dollars, Israel Hayom reported on Thursday (11th).

The Iran-sponsored terrorist group is known for its willingness to use Lebanon’s drug growth and trafficking market to fill its coffers, but the documentary that will be aired is expected to reveal the organization’s tremendous effort to win a share of the world’s largest and most lucrative drug market.

The Al Arabiya special entitled “Hezbollah’s Jihad Narcotics” exposes Hezbollah’s infiltration of the Colombian drug cartels and the tremendous profits it made..

According to details already released from the film, Hezbollah activists began to connect to the drug cartels in Colombia starting in the early 1990s, but their great success came only after 1995, when the Cali drug cartel was crushed by authorities and the drug production market split into several much smaller cartels.

Hezbollah activists quickly took advantage of the situation and used Lebanese immigrant relations with senior government officials and drug cartels to take part in the cocaine production process as well as its shipment to the United States.  The group operated by Hezbollah focused on the Venezuelan border and exploited Hezbollah’s international ties to distribute the drugs.

According to the documentary, American and Colombian investigators in 2008 were able to trace Hezbollah’s network of dealers and distributors and compile a list of personalities and institutions that helped launch it.  But the exposure of the network caused it to be dismantled and its heads were never prosecuted.

In the past decade, Iran has provided Hezbollah with over $200 million a year, but since the US sanctions on Iran were renewed in 2017 and other sanctions were imposed on Lebanese banks, that amount has shrunk significantly.  Experts now estimate that Hezbollah will work on other fronts to get money for its budget.

A report by The Washington Institute said the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) treats Hezbollah as a special target in part due to its combination of widespread political, military, and criminal activities as well as its deadly targeting of Americans.  Prior to the September 11 attacks, Hezbollah had killed more Americans than any other terror group.

The report said the Trump administration considers Hezbollah a high national security priority and has spearheaded a robust Cross-government effort aimed at stifling its activities.



Report: Hamas Outraged After Discovering Iran Spied On Deputy Leader

A crisis has reportedly emerged in relations between Hamas and Iran after the Gaza-based terror group discovered that Tehran had been operating spies to track one of its senior leaders.

According to a Channel 12 news report Thursday (11th), a staffer in Hamas deputy leader Moussa Abu Marzouk’s office was an agent for Iranian intelligence, and reported on Marzouk’s movements and conversations during his various trips abroad.

Other agents are believed to have been involved as well, the report said.

The report by Channel 12 senior Arab affairs correspondent Ehud Yaari, did not cite sources for the information nor say when the alleged spying was thought to have taken place.

According to Yaari, Abu Marzouk, who resides in Qatar and is in charge of Hamas’ foreign relations, is known to be averse to its close ties with Iran.

The Islamic Republic is a longtime financial supporter of Hamas, the terror organization that rules the Gaza Strip and seeks Israel’s destruction.  Israel has long charged Iran with trying to arm Palestinian terror groups in Gaza and maintains a blockade of the Strip to try and stop the import of sophisticated weapons systems.

At the same time, Hamas has also resisted moving too close to hardliners in Tehran, unlike fellow Gazan terror group Islamic Jihad, which has built up a large arsenal of weapons, thanks in large degree to support from Iran.

According to Channel 12, on discovering the Iranian spying, a furious Abu Marzouk complained to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, who personally raised the issue with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah “and other senior figures.”

The staffer suspected of spying, was forced to leave Abu Marzouk’s office, and fled to Sudan, the report said.



‘You Can’t Mention The Temple – You’re In A Mosque’

A Waqf Guard approached a Jewish woman visiting the Temple Mount and demanded that she stop photographing and even forbade her from discussing the word ‘Temple.’  “You can’t mention the Temple – you’re at a mosque,” he told her.

Jerusalem resident Shaina Hirsch visited the Temple Mount on Wednesday (10th).  Due to her “secular” outward appearance, she was allowed to wander around the premises unaccompanied by Islamic personnel.

Hirsch broadcast her visit via her Facebook live account.

At one point a number of Waqf guards approached and ordered her to stop filming, telling her “You can’t mention the word Temple here,” and demanded that she leave the area.

At one point, she stopped filming, fearing arrest.  The guards accompanied her to the exit, and she reported they even tried to confiscate her phone.

“They pushed me around, tried to take my phone, and threatened to arrest me,” she said.  “All I was doing was trying to visit my favorite historical site in Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, and mentioned the ‘Temples’ that once stood at this place, when they suddenly approached me and told me to stop.”

“They claimed that since the time of Adam and Eve only mosques have existed on the Temple Mount, and that the rest was Zionist propaganda.  They told me to stop talking about the Temple because it wasn’t respectful.  People need to know their history and this type of brainwashing and historical revision can’t be allowed to go on,” Hirsch added.