Israel News for July 28, 2016

State Dept. Angry
The US State Department responded with anger to a recent announcement of building tenders for East Jerusalem by the Jerusalem municipality.

The statement said, “We strongly oppose settlement activity, which is corrosive to the cause of peace. These steps by Israeli authorities are the latest examples of what appears to be a steady acceleration of settlement activity that is systematically undermining the prospects for a two-state solution.”

Reports indicate 323 units are planned for East Jerusalem and 770 for Gilo, which is an established neighborhood in southern Jerusalem. There are also plans to build 531 units in Ma’ale Adumim, 19 in Har Homa, 120 in Ramot, 30 in Pisgat Ze’ev and 42 in Kiryat Arba.

The Sate Department claimed that, “More than 650 Palestinian structures have been demolished this year, with more Palestinian structures demolished in the West Bank and East Jerusalem thus far than in all of 2015.”

The statement added that, “We remain troubled that Israel continues this pattern of provocative and counterproductive action, which raises serious questions about Israel’s ultimate commitment to a peaceful, negotiated settlement with the Palestinians.”

The Jerusalem Municipality apparently feels that the elections in the US present an ideal opportunity to do some building with minimal repercussions from the White House.

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Kaine for Israel
Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, who is also the Democratic nominee for Vice President, signed a letter along with 35 other senators from both parties calling on Congress to add $320 million for missile defense to Israel’s military aid package.

The letter wrote, “Amid growing rocket and missile threats in the Middle East, it is prudent for the United States and Israel to advance and accelerate bilateral cooperation on missile defense technologies.”

For further reading click here.

Hamas Praise
Ismail Haniya, the leader of Hamas in Gaza, called the family of the terrorist who murdered Rabbi Mark and was killed in a firefight with IDF troops seeking to arrest him yesterday. He praised the terrorist as a hero and martyr. What do you expect?

One of the terrorists captured in the raid, who is suspected of participating in the murder, worked for the Palestinian Authority and was arrested by the Shin Bet a few days after the murder, but was then released. An investigation is expected.

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Saudi Denial
A few days ago we reported about a visit to Israel by a Saudi delegation lead by retired general Anwar Eshki, who met with Israel’s Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold in Jerusalem. Today, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry denied that it played any role in the visit and referred to Israel as “occupied territory.” However, since Saudi government permission was most likely necessary for the delegation to make their visit, the Saudis might not be that clueless after all. Wink wink.

Since we’re talking about visits, the official Iranian news agency reported that an Iranian general recently visited the southwest Syria city of Quneitra, located near the Israel-Syria border. The area has been the scene of recent fighting between rebel and government forces. The Israeli Air Force attacked a military outpost near the city this week in retaliation for a mortar that was fired into Israel.

For further reading click here.

Police Wanted
The Jerusalem district police is looking to hire 1,200 new officers, but so far only 200 have taken the bait. The police is offering higher salaries and better benefits, but the prospect of working in East Jerusalem in these turbulent times is apparently not very attractive. Anyone interested?

For further reading click here.