Archive for October 3, 2018

Merkel to visit Israel amid deep disagreements over Palestinians, Iran

October 3, 2018

Source: Merkel to visit Israel amid deep disagreements over Palestinians, Iran | The Times of Israel

Berlin says trip, beginning Wednesday evening, will focus on economy, innovation and technology; chancellor to receive her third Israeli honorary doctorate

A Bedouin child writes on a picture of German Chancellor Angela Merkel ahead of her expected visit to Israel on Wednesday, in the West Bank Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar, Oct. 2, 2018. Arabic on the poster reads, "save Khan al-Ahmar" and "save our school." (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)

A Bedouin child writes on a picture of German Chancellor Angela Merkel ahead of her expected visit to Israel on Wednesday, in the West Bank Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar, Oct. 2, 2018. Arabic on the poster reads, “save Khan al-Ahmar” and “save our school.” (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to land in Israel Wednesday evening for a two-day visit centered around a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a joint session of the Israeli and German cabinets.

The visit highlights Israel and Germany’s historically close partnership, but may also lay bare deep policy disagreements between the two.

In Jerusalem, in addition to her meeting with Netanyahu, the German leader will visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial for the third time and receive her third honorary doctorate from an Israeli university.

She is not expected to enter the Palestinian territories, but her visit to Israel has prompted calls for the German chancellor to urge Israel to stop its planned demolition of a Bedouin village in the West Bank.

“Germany and Israel are connected with a unique relationship. Out of the heritage of our history, out of the break of civilization that was the Holocaust, we Germans have a special responsibility for the relationship with Israel,” Merkel said Friday in a video for her weekly podcast.

“We can be very thankful that today we’re close partners and friends,” she stressed.

Merkel and Netanyahu last met in June in Berlin and agreed that the next round of German-Israeli government consultations — which have been taking place for the last ten years — would focus on the economy, innovation and technology, the Chancellery said Tuesday, citing Israel as being “one of the world market leaders” in information technology and cybersecurity.

“We can learn a lot in many areas,” said Merkel, who will be accompanied by a delegation of leading German businesspeople.

But the two leaders are also expected to discuss geopolitical issues, as well as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and, specifically, the planned Israeli demolition of Khan al-Ahmar and the US administration’s increasingly tough policies vis-a-vis Ramallah; as well as the Iran nuclear deal and European efforts to salvage the pact and continue trading with the Islamic Republic.

Merkel and Netanyahu have deep disagreements on all of these issues.

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel (left) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu give a joint press conference at the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem on February 24, 2014. (Olivier Fitoussi/POOL/Flash90)

Merkel, who has been in power since 2005 but is increasingly embattled at home, is scheduled to arrive at around 7:30 p.m. at Ben-Gurion Airport, where she will be greeted by Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi.

Later that evening, she will dine with Netanyahu and his wife Sara at the Prime Minister’s Residence on Jerusalem’s Balfour Street.

On Thursday morning, Merkel will visit Yad Vashem, where she will walk through the Holocaust museum, the Hall of Names, and the Hall of Remembrance and visit the Children’s Memorial.

Merkel previously visited the site in 2006 and 2008.

The chancellor will then receive an honorary doctorate from Haifa University and meet with students, at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

Merkel is being recognized for “her leadership grounded in principles of equality, freedom and human rights; for serving as a model to women around the world; in appreciation of her warm friendship and robust ties between The Federal Republic of Germany and the State of Israel,” Haifa University said in a statement.

“Throughout her life, Dr. Merkel has demonstrated exemplary standards of excellence, wisdom and humanity,” university president Prof. Ron Robin said.

In 2007, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem bestowed an honorary doctorate on Merkel. Four years later, Tel Aviv followed suit.

Later on Thursday, Merkel and Netanyahu will tour an exhibit on innovation at the Israel Museum and hold a roundtable with businesspeople.

President Reuven Rivlin will then host the chancellor and her delegation for a working lunch in his official residence, before she heads back to the King David Hotel, where she is staying, for a meeting with Netanyahu and a joint press conference, which will be followed by the so-called G2G consultations. At around 7:00 p.m, the delegation will head back to Berlin.

Merkel is not expected to visit the Palestinian Authority during this week’s visit.

However, Palestinian schoolchildren in Khan al-Ahmar, the West Bank village Israel is slated to demolish in the coming days, are reportedly asking her to intervene on their behalf.

Bedouin children hold pictures of German Chancellor Angela Merkel ahead of her expected visit to Israel on Wednesday, in the West Bank Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar, Oct. 2, 2018. Arabic on the poster reads, “Save Khan al-Ahmar” and “Save our school.” (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)

On Tuesday, the students held posters of Merkel pleading with her to pressure Israel to halt demolition plans for the encampment of corrugated shacks outside an Israeli settlement east of Jerusalem.

Israel says the village was illegally built and offered to resettle residents a few miles away. But Palestinians and other critics say the demolition is aimed at displacing Palestinians in favor of settlement expansion. Israel’s Supreme Court recently rejected a final appeal against the plans.

Israel has come under heavy criticism, with major European countries urging it to avoid such actions. Germany, too, has heavily criticized Israel’s intention to destroy the village.

GermanForeignOffice

@GermanyDiplo

The German government is deeply concerned by impending demolition of Khan al-Ahmar. We urge the Israeli government to refrain from resettling the residents.

“The consequences a demolition and displacement would have on the residents of this community, including their children, as well as on the prospects of the two-state solution would be very serious,” Germany said in a joint statement with four other European nations last month.

Khan al-Ahmar is not the only sticking point between Berlin and Jerusalem. While Israel welcomed the US administration’s recent cuts to UNRWA, an agency supporting Palestinian refugees, Germany has criticized the move and stepped up its financial contribution to UNRWA to allow its operations to continue.

Germany and Israel are also at odds about the future of the Iran nuclear deal. While Netanyahu has condemned the deal as existentially dangerous for Israel, and urged the international community to join US sanctions on the regime, Merkel’s government remains staunchly supportive of the 2015 landmark pact, working to find ways to help Iran circumvent the sanctions the US has imposed on Iran.

AP contributed to this report.

 

Hezbollahs deputy leader says hes not threatened by PMs speech

October 3, 2018

Source: Hezbollahs deputy leader says hes not threatened by PMs speech

Naim Qassem claims Lebanon’s terror group is prepared to face ‘Israeli aggression,’ which he adds is unlikely to happen, and labels prime minister’s remarks during UN General Assembly as ‘unsuccessful show.’
Hezbollah’s deputy secretary-general, Naim Qassem, said on Wednesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech at the UN neither interests nor threatens the terror group.The remarks were made in response to the claims Netanyahu made during his speech at the UN General Assembly last Thursday when he identified three locations near Beirut airport where he said the Shi’ite group Hezbollah was converting “inaccurate projectiles” into precision-guided missiles.

“We are not interested in or threatened by Netanyahu’s unsuccessful show,” the deputy leader stressed.

Naim Qassem (Photo: Reuters)

Naim Qassem (Photo: Reuters)

“We are fully prepared to deal with the Israeli aggression if it happens, even though we do not expect it, and it does not affect the hard work we put in to improve our preparedness and our weaponry,” Qassem vented.

Qassem, who spoke at a conference in Beirut, also suggested the terror group’s resistance is what led to the May 2000 withdrawal of Israeli military forces from southern Lebanon.

“As we fought on the battlefield, those on the background chanted: ‘No, you can’t,’ but in the end we achieved victory after victory. It’s proven by the 2000 withdrawal and the 2006 liberation (Second Lebanon War-ed). The victory of the resistance axis is the victory of Lebanon,” he exclaimed.

Earlier on Wednesday, thousands of residents of the Dahieh suburb south of Beirut, an area controlled by Hezbollah, received anonymous mobile phone notifications warning them they live in close proximity to a Shiite terror group’s weapons storage compound that has the potential of exploding at any moment, the Asharq al-Awsat newspaper reported on Wednesday, implying also that Israel is responsible for incident.

Watsapp message

Watsapp message

“Important message, near your home, a Hezbollah site has been established, proceed with caution,” read the mysterious Watsapp message.

According to the Arab newspaper, Israeli political sources refused to comment on the claim that Israeli intelligence is behind the messages.

Immediately after Netanyahu’s speech at UNGA speech the IDF released video evidence of what it said were Hezbollah rocket building sites in Beirut.

The IDF said Hezbollah also has other sites within and outside of Beirut where its members have been working to create an infrastructure intended to stockpile precision missiles in the future.

According to the military’s intelligence, one of the sites is located inside a Hezbollah soccer stadium while another is adjacent to the Beirut–Rafic Hariri International Airport.

 (Photo: Reuters)

(Photo: Reuters)

On Monday, Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, spoke to foreign ambassadors before taking them on a tour of the area mentioned in the prime minister’s UN speech, where Bassil reiterated that there were “many statements … affirming the possession of accurate missiles by Hezbollah. However, this does not mean that these missiles are present in the vicinity of Beirut airport.” he stressed in an apparent attempt to dismiss Netanyahu’s claims.

Reuters contributed to this report.

 

Majority of Democratic Congress members plea to restore UNWRA aid 

October 3, 2018

Source: Majority of Democratic Congress members plea to restore UNWRA aid – Arab-Israeli Conflict – Jerusalem Post

( No surprise. The hard left which now runs the Democrat party is always anti-Israel.  We are the “little” Satan to them with the US as the “big” Satan just like radical Islam. – JW ) 

“The administration’s decision will exacerbate the already dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza, where one million people – half the population – depend on UNRWA for food assistance.”

BY CASSANDRA GOMES-HOCHBERG
 OCTOBER 3, 2018 12:32

U.S. President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. C

Almost two-thirds of Democratic Congress members, 112 members of the House of Representatives and 34 senators, sent a letter in appeal to US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to reverse the decision to “end vital United States contributions to the United National Relief [and] Works Agency (UNRWA).”

Addressed to Pompeo, the letter expressed concern regarding the administration’s decisions to pressure Palestinian leadership back to the negotiating table at the expense of furthering the current humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

“The administration’s decision will exacerbate the already dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza, where one million people – half the population – depend on UNRWA for food assistance,” the letter said.

UNRWA also runs 278 schools in Gaza, which are attended by some 300,000 students.

In August, the Trump administration cut all funding to UNRWA, claiming the organization’s “fundamental business model and fiscal practices” that have served a growing community “is simply unsustainable and has been a crisis mode.” In January, Trump’s administration had already suspended more than half of its annual funding – $65 million out of $125 million.

On Monday, UNRWA withdrew some of its foreign staff from Gaza for safety reasons. UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness said that workers had been “harassed and prevented from carrying out their duties” by people angered by the organization’s cost-cutting measures.

The letter also addressed Hamas’s role in perpetuating chaos in the Gaza Strip, by acting “in complete disregard for the safety and freedom of the people of Gaza.” The measure, however, will only “aggravate tensions in the region and further erode prospects for a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.”

J Street, a Washington-based advocacy group, released the letter in a press release, in which it claimed that “this administration’s reckless actions can and must eventually be reversed – and replaced with policies that promote Israelis’ and Palestinians’ shared aspirations for a secure and peaceful future.”

Michael Wilner contributed to this report

 

Syria’s S-300s are being integrated in Russia’s national nuclear C3 command and control system – DEBKAfile

October 3, 2018

Source: Syria’s S-300s are being integrated in Russia’s national nuclear C3 command and control system – DEBKAfile

When Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Oct. 2 that the “unified” S-300 air defense systems in Syria will be installed in Syria by Oct. 20, he really meant its integration in the Russian homeland system.

This element of his report to President Vladimir Putin is the key to the real import of Moscow’s response to the downing of its Il-20 spy plane on Sept. 17, for which Shoigu blamed Israel. DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources report that Putin seized on the disaster to establish in Syria an advanced air defense weapons system linked not only to the Russian Khmeimim Air Base in Latakia, but integrated in Russia’s own C3 command, control and communications system against nuclear attack.

This move is a strategic game-changer for American and Israeli operations in Syria. They are no longer taxed with staying clear of Russian and Syrian missile batteries in Damascus, but are facing their first direct contest with the air defense system which defends Russian cities. Shoigu seemed to offer details on the S-300s delivered to Syria. He mentioned 49 units of “radars, basic target acquisition systems, command posts and four launchers.” But he carefully omitted to reveal how the Syrian and Russian air defense networks were to be linked to the command and control center in Russia and exactly how they would function together. A critical question remains open: Is the Syrian S-300 system fully integrated in the Russian homeland C-3 or only partially?

The C-3 is pretty much an unknown quantity for Western intelligence since Russian military engineers have been working tirelessly on upgrades for some months. Israel military officers have wisely stopped boasting that their air force can easily handle the S-300s, having realized that the version of this anti-air system tested in Israeli war games in Greece and other places is more or less obsolete. It has been has been replaced by a far more sophisticated S-300 which is the version shipped to Syria in the last two weeks.

Moscow has therefore substantially raised the stakes of the military contest between Russia and the United States in Syria to a much higher level. Putin has chosen this arena to directly test Russia’s air defense capabilities against the US Air Force’s F-22 stealth plane and  Israel’s US-made F-35 “Adir” super plane, to find out which comes out best.

 

France freezes Iranian assets over planned Paris attack – Israel Hayom

October 3, 2018

Source: France freezes Iranian assets over planned Paris attack – Israel Hayom

 

World Court orders US to lift some sanctions imposed on Iran 

October 3, 2018

Source: World Court orders US to lift some sanctions imposed on Iran – Israel Hayom

( F_CK ’em… – JW )

 

Netanyahu urges IAEA to send inspectors to Iran immediately

October 3, 2018

Source: Netanyahu urges IAEA to send inspectors to Iran immediately – Israel Hayom