Israel News for January 15, 2016

Terror Attacks
An IDF officer was lightly wounded near Nablus yesterday when a Palestinian terrorist stabbed him. The terrorist was shot and killed. Earlier in the day a terrorist attempted to stab soldiers near Hebron and was shot and killed.There were no Israeli casualties.

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PM Supports Shaked
PM Netanyahu publicly threw his support behind a controversial law proposed by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked known as the “NGO transparency bill”.

The law states that if a nongovernmental organization receives more than half its funding from a foreign government, the NGO must disclose that fact and its representatives must wear tags that reflect that when they appear in the Knesset. Almost all of the NGOs that receive foreign government funding are left-wing.

The law has been criticized by the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, as well as by the ambassadors of Germany, Britain, France, Holland and the European union.

The bill was approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation a few weeks ago, which in theory obligates the coalition to support it. It is now being discussed by the Knesset.

The PM compared the bill to a law enacted by the U.S. Congress in January 2015. That law says that if representatives of an NGO that receives money from a foreign country are appearing at a congressional hearing, they must submit a written declaration about their foreign funding before the hearing. The American law, Netanyahu said, is far more stringent than the Israeli proposal, because it applies even if the NGO receives only one dollar from a foreign government, whereas the Israeli law would apply only to groups that obtain more than half their funding from foreign governments.

In a statement to the foreign media the PM said, “I fail to understand how greater transparency is undemocratic. … It is the most obvious request in every democracy. Transparency is the heart of democracy. When you hear about the use and abuse of NGOs here – transparency is the least we want and is much warranted and it is common sense. Israel is being held to a different standard here.”

Israel held to a higher standard? Impossible!

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One More Thing
During the same talk with the foreign media, Netanyahu lashed out against Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom for saying that Israel may be guilty of the extrajudicial killing of Palestinians. He said, “What the Swedish FM said is outrageous, it’s immoral it’s unjust. It is definitely wrong and it singles out Israel in an absurd way… and it’s stupid.”

The PM also made some comparisons, saying, “People are defending themselves against assailants wielding knives, who are about to stab them to death, and they shoot them, and that’s extrajudicial killings?”

“So why is San Bernardino not extrajudicial killings? And, the other day in Paris, a knife-wielding terrorist was shot to death. Is that extrajudicial killings? Does the Swedish foreign minister suggest that there be examinations of what happened in Paris or in the United States?

No ambiguity here. But do you think the PM’s remarks will change the way the Swedes view Israel?

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PM vs. Brazil
PM Netanyahu is standing firm in his appointment of Dani Danon as Israel’s Ambassador to Brazil despite Brazil’s refusal to accept Danon’s credentials, which they must do for the ambassador to officially take his position. The reason for their refusal is because of Danon’s past position as head of the Yesha council, which represents the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria — which Brazil considers to be occupied territory according to international law.

There were recent reports that Foreign Ministry officials had retracted their pro-Danon stance and were ready to relent and appoint a different ambassador, but the PM’s latest position seems to contradict that.

This could develop into a real breakdown in relations between the two countries, which wouldn’t be beneficial for either side. Let’s hope they figure out a solution asap.

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Refugee Camp Apathy
According to a Walla report, many Palestinians living in refugee camps in the West Bank are refusing to join the current wave of terror, claiming that they have nothing to gain from it. They feel the only result will be a return of Israeli soldiers and Shin Bet to their camps. Ironically, this “wave of terror” is one of the calmest periods over the last decade in the refugee camps, which were a hotbed of violence during the second Intifada (2000-4).

One Palestinian resident of Jenin described the current wave of violence as, “a passing fad”. He explained that they did not gain anything from the second intifada, they just paid a heavy price so there is no reason to join the current wave of violence and send their kids out with knives.

According to the report many in the refugee camps share his sentiments and do not believe that the recent wave of terror will continue much longer or that it will make a difference. They feel no allegiance to the Palestinian authority and do not see the this wave of terror as their struggle.

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Shopping Peace
In a 200 million shekel project, Israeli business mogul and owner of supermarket chain Rami Levi, is set to build the first Palestinian Israeli mall. The 20,000 square meter mall is to be located in the Palestinian town of A-Ram, which is located northeast of Jerusalem and is estimated to have around 50,000 inhabitants.

The plan is to have Palestinian chain stores next to Israeli chain stores, with both Palestinians and Israelis shopping side by side. The security situation does not bother Rami Levy who said, “we will serve everyone regardless of race or nationality.” He also promised equal employment opportunities regardless of race, nationality or religion.

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