Israel News for June 23, 2017

Increased Security
PM Netanyahu announced last night that he intends to beef up security arrangements and implement other changes at the Damascus Gate in the Old City, where numerous terror attacks have taken place including the recent one that claimed the life of Hadas Malka.

He said, “I asked for changes at the Damascus Gate. They have prepared a plan to augment security and restrict the freedom of action by potential terrorists. I approved the this plan and it will be implemented extremely soon.”

Regarding the Damascus Gate he said, “The gate has become a gathering for murderers time and again, for attackers time and again. It has become a symbol of terrorism and has also become a symbol for anti-terrorism, of the fight against terrorism. That is why I asked for a plan and changes.”

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Blood Money
Speaking in the name of Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, PA spokesman Nabil Shaath said the Palestinians have a “social responsibility” to offer monetary payouts to the families of prisoners in Israeli jails because they are “political prisoners,” and that the payouts are the PA’s way of “look(ing) after innocent people affected by the incarceration or killing of their loved ones as a result of the military occupation.”

The statement incurred a wave of responses from victims of terror groups, saying that it showed the true face of the Palestinian political leadership.

Can the peace process move forward while these terror payments continue?

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Lights On
Egypt has shipped 1 million liters of fuel to power the sole electricity power plant in Gaza yesterday. The move undercuts Abbas’s attempt to punish Hamas by cutting off his supply of electricity to Gaza and stopping tax payments to Israel, which caused Israel to cut its electricity supply to Gaza too. Hamas officials said more fuel shipments are expected this week, adding that 1 million liters can keep the plant running for three-and-a-half days.

Abbas has not commented publicly on the Egyptian shipment, but aides have said he is upset with the Arab nation for undercutting his pressure campaign. The Egyptian aide seems surprising, since Egypt has been trying to isolate and weaken Hamas, which it blames for supporting unrest in the Sinai. But there are political motives behind the aide, which relate to a former Gaza leader, Mohammed Dahlan, whom the Egyptians would like to see back in power. The aide is apparently part of a deal to increase Dahlan’s political presence in Gaza.

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Beersheva Parade
Around 4,000 marchers participated in Beersheva’s first ever gay pride parade last night. City Mayor Rubik Danilovich said in a statement, “Be’er Sheva is for everyone and I am the mayor for everyone. … Be’er Sheva is united, accepting and tolerant. Even if we are difference, we are all equal in the same exact way.”

The parade was originally supposed to take place in 2016 but was cancelled by the Supreme Court’s rejection of a petition submitted by the Israeli National LGBT Taskforce (also known as the Aguda) and Pride House (a local Be’er Sheva LGBT center), requesting that Be’er Sheva’s first ever Pride parade be allowed to march down the city’s main road.

Police arrested a hared man with a knife who was trying to make his way into the crowds.

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Big Donation
US billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a major Republican party supporter, will donate around $20 million for the major expansion of Ariel University, which is located in the West Bank (Samaria). The expansion will include buildings will be dedicated to natural sciences, social sciences and community health, as well as a faculty of Jewish heritage. The cost of the entire project is estimated at $113 million.

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