Jerusalem terror attack

Israel News for December 15, 2015

Terror Attack
A 21 year old Palestinian from Beit Hanina in East Jerusalem, Abed Almohsin Hassoneh, rammed his car into a group of people standing at a bus stop at the entrance to Jerusalem yesterday afternoon. Fourteen people were injured, including a 15 month old boy who was evacuated in critical condition. The terrorist was shot and killed by security officers before he managed to get out of his car to stab people.

After the attack PM Netanyahu convened an emergency meeting with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, where he ordered protective barriers erected at hundreds of Jerusalem bus stops.

The IDF will also deploy two reservist battalions to the West Bank next month to help stem the terror attacks. The reservists will replace conscripts on routine security assignments so the conscripts can train.

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Abbas Incites
Yesterday PA President Abbas referred to the last three months of violence as a “justified popular uprising,” saying that young Palestinian demonstrators were “driven by despair that a two-state solution is not coming.”

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev condemned Abbas’s comment saying, “There can never be justification for wanton attacks on civilians like we saw today.”

Abbas isn’t alone in his thoughts. According to a poll released by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR), two thirds of Palestinians support the current wave of stabbings against Israelis and favor an armed uprising to achieve their nationalistic aspirations. On the bright side, 73% were opposed to young girls taking part in the stabbings.

Only 45% of Palestinians think that a two-state solution is feasible. Regarding Abbas, 65% want him to resign and believe that Hamas would win a new election. The reason for their dislike of Abbas is that they don’t feel that he’s been supportive enough of the recent violence.

Khalil Shikaki, head of the PSR, believes that the poll suggests that violence will continue through 2016 and that it could include heavily armed terrorists.

Not a very optimistic forecast, with or without Abbas.

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Insufficient Evidence
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon told Israel Radio that although the Duma arson attack that killed members of a Palestinian family was clearly perpetrated by Jewish suspects, there was insufficient evidence to bring them to trial. Three suspects are currently being held and interrogated by the Shin Bet. The High Court of Justice ruled on Sunday that they can continue preventing them from meeting with their attorneys.

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EU Firm
Despite protests by Israel against the EU decision to label goods produced in the West Bank and the Golan, the EU is not backing down. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said after talks with foreign ministers on Monday that the EU is “united on these technical guidelines on the indication of origin, which is in no way a boycott.”

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Pollard Parole
After 30 years you’d think that the information Jonathan Pollard passed on to Israel is no longer relevant to US security. So why are his parole terms, which include monitoring of his computer at home and at work, so strict? That’s the question Pollard’s lawyers are asking District Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan in a bid to have his parole conditions relaxed. The judge is requiring the U.S. Parole Commission to better state its reasons for the parole conditions before ruling on the request.

Pollard’s attorneys cited declarations in which former U.S. National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane and former Senate Intelligence Committee member Dennis DeConcini say information Pollard once possessed is of no value to anyone today.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Rebecca Tinio told the judge, “The majority of the information that Mr. Pollard had and passed along 30 years ago, your honor, remains classified.” She said the Justice Department’s National Security Division told her that his classified information would be labeled top secret, meaning it could be expected to cause “exceptionally grave damage to national security” if it was released.

However, Tinio did say that the government was willing to continue negotiations over Pollard’s parole. So there is hope.

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Israel and Turkey
Is there hope for the restoration of Israeli-Turkish relations that broke off in 2010 after the Israeli raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla that killed 9 Turkish citizens?

The Turkish Daily Sabah news site cited Turkish President Erdogan as reiterating three preconditions for the restoring of relations between the two countries: an apology for the flotilla raid, compensation to the victims’ families and the lifting of the blockade on the Gaza Strip.

While Erdogan reportedly noted that only the first condition has been met, Israel did agree to compensate the families of the flotilla victims. Lifting the blockade of Gaza, however, is a deal breaker for Israel, at least for the foreseeable future.

According to Erdogan, “This normalization process would be good for us, Israel, Palestine and the entire region. The region definitely needs this. I don’t believe the Israeli public is pleased with the current state of relations. We need to consider the interests of the people of the region and introduce peace.”

Meanwhile, back in Turkey, for the first time in history the Chief Rabbi of Turkey lit the menorah on the eighth day of Hanukkah in a public square in Istanbul, in the presence of Turkish government officials, Muslim clerics, foreign diplomats and, of course, members of the Jewish community.

Can you feel the love?

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