News Digest — 9/8/20

UAE Delegation To Visit Israel On September 22

The United Arab Emirates will make its first official visit to Israel on September 22nd, a source with the provisional itinerary said Monday (7th), according to Reuters.

The newswire reported that Israel and UAE officials wouldn’t comment about the timing of the visit.

The agreement between Israel and the UAE was announced on August 13 in the White House by President Donald Trump while flanked by senior advisers.

Events have moved quickly since then with a US-Israeli delegation visiting Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, on August 31.  Within a day they had linked their first deal on banking and financial services.

Signals the UAE would reciprocate the visit were plentiful with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu extending an invitation and a senior Emirati official telling an Israeli news site that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan would like to visit Jerusalem.

Netanyahu has stressed that the peace with the UAE differs from those with Egypt and Jordan in that it’s “peace for peace,” and doesn’t require land concessions.

The agreement does appear to be warmer.  The UAE seems eager to work with the Israelis on a host of issues.  Observers say the UAE is interested in gaining access to Israeli technology and know-how.

Although the Arabs have traditionally decried Israel as a foreign body within the region, attitudes appear to be changing.  According to reports, Emirati citizens have responded positively to the deal on social media.

Arab states also seem to have soured on the Palestinian cause.

A popular Arab pundit, Amjad Taha, says the Palestinian Authority is viewed as corrupt, and when Hamas supported Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, and a man hated by the Gulf States, “this was from our perspective, the end.  They called this man the ‘Jerusalem martyr.’  This was the breaking point for Arab support for them.”



Malawi To Open Embassy In Jerusalem, Making It The First African Country In Israel’s Capital

Lazarus Chakwera, President of the southeastern African country of Malawi, announced his plan to open an embassy in Jerusalem during a State of the Union address to the Malawian parliament on September 4.

“My administration recognizes that foreign relations have a significant role to play in promoting the socioeconomic development and growth of Malawi,” Chakwera said.

“Our focus on the world stage will be reforming the foreign affairs ministry headquarters and its missions abroad so that our embassies are able to deliver on the ambitious objectives of promoting Malawi’s national interests globally,” he said.

“The reforms will also include a review of our diplomatic presence, including our resolve to have new diplomatic missions in Lagos, Nigeria and Jerusalem, Israel.  I will be sharing more details about this in the near future,” Chakwera said.

The announcement was met with applause by the Malawian parliament.

Chakwera, a Christian with a PhD in theology, became president in June.  He visited Israel in November 2019.

Christians make up over three quarters of Malawi’s population according to a 2018 census.

Pastor Zacc Kawalala responded to his president’s announcement on Facebook, saying, “New Diplomatic Mission in Jerusalem, Israel!!! (Psalm 122:6)  Dancing all the way.”

Malawi does not currently have an embassy in Israel, though the countries have had relations since 1964.

If Chakwera follows through on his plan, it would make Malawi the first African nation to establish a diplomatic office in Jerusalem.

Israel is home to 89 foreign embassies, but only the US and Guatemala have located their embassies in Israel’s capital, with the remainder in Tel Aviv.

On Friday, (4th) Serbia and Kosovo announced their intention to establish embassies in Jerusalem as well, as part of a US-brokered economic normalization agreement.



Turkey Expresses ‘Concern’ At Kosovo, Serbia Embassy Move To Jerusalem

Turkey has expressed disappointment and “concern” at Friday’s (4th) announcement that Kosovo intends to establish diplomatic ties with Israel and that Kosovo and Serbia plan to open embassies in Jerusalem.

The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement on Kosovo’s planned embassy in Jerusalem saying, “It is disappointing that such a step, which would constitute a clear violation of international law, is even being considered by the Kosovo authorities.”

The statement also elaborated on Turkey’s support for its fellow-Muslim nation, saying that, “Turkey, one of the first countries to recognize Kosovo, has also provided great support for the efforts toward the international recognition of this country from the very outset.  However, we do not find it right to build this process against international law and especially upon the suffering of the Palestinian people whose territories are under occupation.”

“We call upon the leadership of Kosovo to comply with these resolutions and refrain from acts that would harm the historical and legal status of Jerusalem, and that would prevent Kosovo from being recognized by other states in the future,” the statement read.

Kosovo will be the first Muslim-majority country to open an embassy in Jerusalem, “ Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday (4th).  “As I said in recent days, the circle of peace and recognition of Israel is expanding, with more countries expected to join.”    

“Our government is dedicated to opening an embassy in Jerusalem, establishing diplomatic relations, and deepening our bilateral relations with Israel, “ Kosovo’s Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti wrote on Twitter in response to Netanyahu.



‘Hamas Has Missiles That Can Hit Tel Aviv,’ Terrorist Group Leader Warns

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh warned Sunday (6th) that his organization has missiles capable of striking the city of Tel Aviv, Israel’s commercial and cultural center, and areas beyond it.

Haniyeh, who heads the terror group that wrestled control of the Gaza Strip from rival Fatah in 2007, made the threat during a visit to Lebanon, where he met with terrorist leaders including head of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah.  Tensions between Israel and the coastal enclave have escalated in recent weeks as Hamas-affiliated groups fired rockets into Israel and the IDF struck areas in Gaza housing Hamas assets.

Hamas announced last week that international mediators had brokered a new set of “understandings” with Israel, halting the latest round of fighting for the time being in exchange for an easing of Israeli restrictions on the Gaza Strip.

Haniyeh gave a speech in Ein el-Hilweh near the southern port of Sidon, where he received a hero’s welcome by armed men who carried him on their shoulders.

“Our missiles used to have a range of several miles from the border with Gaza.  Now, the resistance in Gaza has missiles that can hit Tel Aviv and beyond,” Haniyeh said.

Hamas rockets have reached the greater Tel Aviv area in previous rounds of fighting, but such launches are rare and considered a serious escalation by Israel.  The seaside metropolis is located some 45 miles north of Gaza.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars and several smaller battles over the last 13 years.

Haniyeh, was criticized during his visit by some in Lebanon on social media.  One post sarcastically asked whether it would be better for him to threaten Israel from the West Bank, which is ruled by the Palestinian Authority and with whom Hamas has a long-standing feud.  Another post said Lebanon has enough problems at the moment, and doesn’t need Hamas threats on top of that.

Lebanon is grappling with its worst economic and financial crisis in decades, and the capital Beirut was devastated one month ago by a massive explosion, the result of nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate igniting at the port.  The blast killed more than 190 and injured thousands.



Palestinians Praise Killers Of Israeli Olympic Athletes

The Fatah organization headed by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday (5th) marked the 48th anniversary of the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics by posting a memorial praising the terrorists who carried out the brutal attack that shocked the world.

“On this day, the fighters of Fatah’s ‘Black September’ movement carried out Operation Munich, which embodied courage and boldness by the Palestinian resistance and its self-sacrifice for the homeland and the cause,” Fatah said in a post on its Facebook page.

On September 5, 1972, a day before the Olympic Games were to begin in Munich, eight Palestinian terrorists killed two members of the Israeli team and took nine others hostage.

The terrorists, members of Black September, a faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), demanded the release of 234 Palestinians being held in an Israeli prison and safe passage out of Germany.

The attack began just after 4: am, when the terrorists jumped over a six-foot fence that surrounded the Olympic village where the athletes were sound asleep, and headed straight for the Israeli dorms.  Some fought back and others escaped.

An hour later, police were alerted and the news made headlines around the world.  By 5: pm, after a day of negotiations, the Germans organized a plan to rescue the hostages, but the operation failed.  In the gunfight that ensued, five terrorists and all the hostages died.

Moshe Weinberg, Yossef Romano, Yossef Gutfreund, Amitzur Shapira, Ze’ev Friedman, Eliezer Halfin,  Andre Spitzer, Kehat Short, David Berger, Yakov Springer, and Mark Slavin were the six Israeli coaches and five athletes who were murdered by the terrorists.  A German official was also killed.  

The following day, a memorial service for the murdered Israeli athletes was held, but the games continued nonetheless.

“Incredibly, they’re going on with it,” commented Jim Murray of the Los Angeles Times.  “It’s almost like having a dance at Dachau,” he wrote at the time, referring to the infamous Nazi concentration camp situated 20 miles from Munich.

Although the remaining three ‘Black September’ terrorists were captured and jailed in Germany, a month later more Palestinian terrorists hijacked a German passenger plane and demanded their release.  The German government caved to the demands and released the three murderers.