Israel News for 9-25-17

PM Bows to Trump
PM Netanyahu told his security cabinet last night that he would postpone a meeting scheduled for this week of the West Bank Civil Administration’s planning committee, at the request of US President Trump. The PM told the ministers present that he had no intention of humiliating the Trump administration by making decisions relating to settlements, particularly since Trump’s special advisor Jason Greenblatt will be visiting the region this week.

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Missile Aid
The US Senate last week voted to increase US aid to Israel for development and production of anti-missile defense systems. The US House of Representatives approved the same amount for the Israeli missile defense programs in July.

The Trump administration proposed granting Israel $147 million for its anti-missile programs in the 2018 fiscal year. At Israel’s requests, the Senate increased the grant by $558 million to $705 million, $100 million more than the aid that Israel received last year for this purpose.

US aid for the missile programs is unlinked to the $3.1 billion annual military aid, which was the amount set by the 10-year Israel-US memorandum of understanding. Missile aid comes from the US Department of Defense budget, while military aid is part of the US foreign aid budget.

Starting in 2019, when the new memorandum of understanding goes into effect, military aid will total $3.8 billion annually – $3.3 billion in regular military aid and $500 million in aid for the missile program. Israel will no longer be able to ask Congress to supplement this aid. This condition was demanded by the Obama administration, in an attempt to prevent Congress from giving Israel too much US taxpayer money.

One question remaining is whether Israel will have to pay back $75 million granted by Congress as part of the regular defense budget after the memorandum was signed.

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Interpol Lobbying
Israel and the US are lobbying to persuade Interpol, the international policing organization, to deny membership to the Palestinian Authority. Israel claims that Palestinian acceptance to Interpol will only politicize the organization and give Palestinians another platform to harass Israel from. Israel also fears the PA would manipulate Interpol to put out arrest warrants for high ranking Israeli officials, and that classified documents passing through the police organization relating to terrorism would trickle down to Hamas and terrorist groups related to Fatah.

The Interpol General Assembly is currently meeting in China to decide on how to proceed.

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New UN Rep
Danielle Daseta, an Ethiopian immigrant, has been appointed Israel’s new representative for environmental, developmental and economic issues at the UN. As part of her new position, Daseta will be promoting Israeli innovation and collaborations with other members of the international organization. Daseta made Aliyah in 1984 with her family during Operation Moses.

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IDF in Mexico
An Israeli delegation, made up of 71 IDF soldiers and officers, has been conducting search and rescue operations in Mexico City in the aftermath of the massive earthquake that hit the city last week.

PM Netanyahu spoke on the phone to Israeli Ambassador to Mexico, Yoni Peled, and the commander of the IDF delegation, Col. Dudi Mizrahi, over the weekend. He said, “You are doing is a mitzvah. You are shining Israel’s light in the world, a big light. It is important from a humanitarian standpoint and also to show the world the true Israel. You are making the State of Israel very proud.”

To view images of the IDF rescue efforts click here.