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Israel News for June 20, 2018

Gaza Fighting
Israeli fighters attacked targets in Gaza last night in response to continued incendiary kite attacks. Following the Israeli operation, around 45 rockets and mortar shells were fired at Israel from Gaza. Seven of them were intercepted by the Iron Dome system and at least 3 landed within Gaza. One mortar shell exploded on a pathway near a nursery in the Eshkol Regional Council. No injuries were reported in any of the attacks, although there was damage. The IDF responded with additional strikes against terror targets in Gaza, hitting 25 targets in total.

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US Withdraws
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, along with Secretary of State Pompeo, announced yesterday that the US was withdrawing from the United Nations’ Human Rights Council, calling it “an organization that is not worthy of its name.” She specifically referred to the organization’s “chronic bias against Israel” and that its membership includes accused human rights abusers such as China, Cuba, Venezuela and the Democratic Republic of Congo. She said, “We take this step because our commitment does not allow us to remain a part of a hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights.”

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Drone Crashes
An IDF unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) crash landed last night in the al-Khader area in southwestern Syria. The IDF announced that the incident, which is being investigated, was due to a technical failure and that no classified information was compromised.

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Demolition Postponed
PM Netanyahu has ordered the postponement of the evacuation and demolition of five illegal buildings in the Palestinian village of Khirbet Susya in South Mount Hebron. The demolition, which was scheduled for Tuesday morning, is being postponed following international pressure. This is the third time in the past few months that the evacuation is put off.

The demolition of illegal Palestinian homes in Khirbet Susya is seen as one of the symbols of the Palestinian battle in the West Bank, and Israel has been under heavy international pressure—mainly in recent weeks—to prevent the evacuation, which would have received wide international coverage.

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Terrorist Sentenced
The Lod District Court on Tuesday sentenced Ismail Abu Aram to 22 years in prison for stabbing Niv Nehemia at a supermarket in the city of Yavne and seriously wounding him in August 2017. He was also ordered to pay Nehemia NIS 200,000. Nehemia said after the sentence was handed down, “I would have been happier if he had received more, if the punishment had been set like in the new terror law, which is 25 years in prison at the most. They could have given him more, but it’s a good sentence, the highest that has been given so far. But had they given the maximum punishment, it would have created maximum deterrence.”

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Peace Talks
Jared Kushner and US special Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Tuesday to discuss the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians and a number of other regional developments.

The White House released a statement saying that the meeting in Amman centered on Israel-Palestinian peace proposal which is expected to be rolled out in the near future by the Trump administration. The discussions also focused on bilateral relations between the US and Jordan, on regional developments and on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

On Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with King Abdullah in Amman where they “discussed regional developments, advancing the peace process and bilateral relations.” Netanyahu also ”reiterated Israel’s commitment to maintaining the status quo at the holy sites in Jerusalem.” According to the Petra news agency, King Abdullah, “stressed the need to make progress in efforts to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the basis of the two-state solution and in accordance with international law, relevant UN resolutions, and the Arab Peace Initiative.”

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Housing in Nahariya
The government announced the approval of a plan to build and market 10,000 new “affordable” housing units in the northern city of Nahariya. But not everyone is happy about it. Some groups claim that the existing infrastructure, educational system and job market cannot sustain the new development. In addition, there are already a lot of vacant units in Nahariya.

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