Israel News for January 19, 2016

Terrorist Captured
Early today security forces arrested Moras Adais, a 16 year old Palestinian, for murdering Dafna Meir in Otniel on Sunday. Adais was arrested at his home in a village near Otniel and has no previous record of terror activity. It appears he acted alone, like most of the “lone wolf” terrorists in this recent wave of terror. His father told the Palestinian media that he fully supports his son’s actions, saying “I am proud of my son”.

Adais was not employed as a laborer and presumably snuck into Otniel. The settlement is fenced only in the forested area between one of the large yeshivot and Highway 60, from which terrorists infiltrated in the past. In other parts of the settlement there is no fence, but only electronic measures such as motion detectors and security cameras.

The PM and Defense Minister visited Otniel today and paid a Shiva call to the family of Dafna Meir. They blamed the Palestinian Authority for inciting violence and the international community for using a double standard vis a vis Israel.

Meanwhile, PA President Abbas said in a message to Palestinians that he was opposed to any violence and that “the resistance will continue through peaceful means, and we will not call for anything else.”

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Workers Banned
Starting today, Palestinian laborers have been temporarily banned from working in settlements. The IDF said this was not a “collective punishment” against the workers, but that it was necessary in order to maintain order and to better supervise the workers inside the settlements. The fear is that other attackers might try to imitate the two recent attacks that occurred in Otniel and Tekoa.

According to army statistics, around 120,000 Palestinians are employed by Israelis, legally or illegally, both within and beyond the Green Line.

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EU vs Israel (again)
The Foreign Ministers of the EU passed a resolution yesterday requiring that all agreements between the European Union and Israel must “unequivocally and explicitly indicate their inapplicability to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967.”

The resolution states that,“The EU and its Member States are committed to ensure continued, full and effective implementation of existing EU legislation and bilateral arrangements applicable to settlements products. The EU expresses its commitment to ensure that – in line with international law – all agreements between the State of Israel and the EU must unequivocally and explicitly indicate their inapplicability to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967. This does not constitute a boycott of Israel which the EU strongly opposes.”

The resolution condemned Israeli settlement activities, calling them illegal under international law and a threat to a two-state solution, and urged Israel “to end all settlement activity and to dismantle the outposts erected since March 2001, in line with prior obligations,” adding that, “Settlement activity in east Jerusalem seriously jeopardizes the possibility of Jerusalem serving as the future capital of both states.”

Believe it or not, the language of the resolution was supposed to be much tougher against Israel, but a coalition of smaller EU members, including Greece, Poland, Romania, Hungary and the Czech Republic, blocked the language from inclusion. The tougher language was formulated by France, Germany, Britain, Italy and Spain.

On the bright side the resolution called on all parties (meaning Israel and the PA) to “condemn attacks when they occur.” THat’s something that the Palestinians have not done.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that even though the drafts were softened, the EU “continues to employ a double standard with Israel, while ignoring the PA’s responsibility for the diplomatic stalemate as well as its incitement which is feeding the wave of terrorism.”

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid said the conclusions published by the foreign ministers of the European Union continued a problematic line of attempts to intervene in Israel’s sovereign affairs.

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U.S. Ambassador
Speaking at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) conference in Tel Aviv, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro criticized Israeli settlements and Israel’s lax law-enforcement against settlers in the West Bank.

Shapiro said, “Too much Israeli vigilantism in the West Bank goes on unchecked,” and that “there is a lack of thorough investigations… at times it seems Israel has two standards of adherence to rule of law in the West Bank – one for Jews and one for Palestinians.”

Shapiro supported the two-state solution as the only way of preventing Israel from turning into a bi-national state, and noted the American administration’s concern and displeasure with Israel’s settlement policies.

The Prime Minister’s Office rejected Shapiro’s allegations of double standards and issued a response saying,”the ambassador’s statements, on the day when a mother of six who was murdered is buried, and on a day when a pregnant woman is stabbed – are unacceptable and wrong. Israel enforces the law on Israelis and Palestinians. The onus for the stalemate in the diplomatic process is the Palestinian Authority, which continues to incite and refuses negotiations.”

Apparently, having a Jewish U.S. Ambassador is not such a great thing for Israel.

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Heritage Cartel
It has become tradition for Israeli high schools to organize heritage trips to Poland to teach students, close up, about the Holocaust. The logistics behind the tours go like this: The Education Ministry publishes tenders for tour companies to fly the high-schoolers to Poland. Six companies apply. Each school can then bargain with the six to negotiate the lowest price. The reality of the situation turns out to have been much different.

Following a months long investigation, the police uncovered price fixing between the six companies to eliminate any competition. Great for the companies, but a rip off for the schools and students. Police raided the offices of the six companies yesterday and confiscated property and assets. Homes of some of the company executives were also searched. Suspects were arrested, including several CEO’s and high ranking executives.

Shame on the companies for taking advantage of kids trying to learn more about the Holocaust. How low can you go?

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