+61 3 9272 5644

Latest News in Israel – 15th December

IDF says terrorist rockets aimed for Israel, but hit Gaza School

Israel’s military posted a statement on Facebook late Wednesday night saying that a missile fired on Israel from Gaza earlier in the evening, hit and caused damage to a classroom in a school in Gaza.

“The Iron Dome intercepted two rockets launched from the Gaza Strip. What they did not tell you is what happened with another rocket launched from Gaza … The residents of Gaza, it’s important that you know, the rocket hit the Ghazi al-Shawa public school in Beit Hanun and destroyed a classroom there!” read a statement on the Arabic Facebook page of the Government Coordinator of Activities in the Territories (COGAT).”The terrorists in Gaza now prove what we have repeatedly said — that they are destroying their children’s future with their own hands.”

Rockets were fired at Israel for the sixth-straight night as two were intercepted over the city of Sderot and a third rocket landed in open territory in Eshkol Regional Council, causing no damage or injuries.

“I expect the prime minister, the defense minister and the chief of staff to strike at the terror organizations mercilessly,” Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi said.  “We will not tolerate continued firing at Sderot.”

Over a dozen rockets have been fired toward Israeli territory over the past week, and while Israeli defense officials believe that Islamic Jihad militants are responsible for the rocket fire, the IDF has retaliated against Hamas targets in the Strip with airstrikes and artillery fire.

As policy commands and “in response to the rocket fired from the Gaza Strip at Israel earlier today, the IAF targeted a Hamas military compound in the southern Gaza Strip,” read a statement released by IDF Spokesperson Unit.

Tensions along Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip have been high as of late, after US President Donald Trump announced that the United States recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. His declaration set off riots across the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza.

Militant groups in Gaza, including Hamas, have called for a new Palestinian uprising — or intifada — over Trump’s statement.  (Jerusalem Post)

IDF strikes Hamas targets in Gaza Strip in response to rocket fire

The IDF struck Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip in response to earlier rocket fire fired from the enclave, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit confirmed.

The IDF said the targets were training sites and weapons storage units.

Earlier tonight, three rockets were fired into Israeli territory, as two rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome over the city of Sderot and a third fell in open territory in Eshkol Regional Council, causing no damage or injuries.

This was the sixth night in a row with rockets fired at Israel.

The IDF confirmed earlier that one of the rockets fired from Gaza landed inside the Strip and hit a school there.

“The State of Israel an attack, or attempted attack, on its citizens and will continue to defend them and its sovereignty sharply and decisively,” the IDF statement read. “The terrorist organization Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, leads the people of Gaza into a life of poverty, destruction and despair, and bears responsibility for the situation.”

Tensions along Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip have been high as of late, after US President Donald Trump announced that the United States recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. His declaration set off riots across the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza.

Militant groups in Gaza, including Hamas, have called for a new Palestinian uprising — or intifada — over Trump’s statement.

Over a dozen rockets have been fired toward Israeli territory over the past week, and the IDF has retaliated against Hamas targets in the Strip with airstrikes and artillery fire. As policy commands and “in response to the rocket fired from the Gaza Strip at Israel earlier today, the IAF targeted a Hamas military compound in the southern Gaza Strip,” read a statement released by IDF Spokesperson Unit.

However, Israeli intelligence suggests the recent rocket fire is being carried out by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. (Jerusalem Post)

Soldiers clash with hundreds of rioters in Ramalla

Undercover Border Police officers dressed as Palestinians arrested three rioters during a violent standoff outside Ramallah on Tuesday, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.

Some 400 Palestinians clashed with Israeli security forces, burning tires and throwing stones and firebombs, the IDF said.

Security personnel shot tear gas and stun grenades at the rioters.

According to the Red Crescent, 361 Palestinians were wounded in violent clashes with Israeli security forces in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

An undercover Israeli security personnel kicks a Palestinian while an Israeli soldier holds him down at a riot near Ramallah, December 2017 (credit: Abbas Momani/ AFP)An undercover Israeli security personnel kicks a Palestinian while an Israeli soldier holds him down at a riot near Ramallah, December 2017 (credit: Abbas Momani/ AFP)

The majority, 285, suffered from tear-gas inhalation. In addition, 59 were wounded by rubber bullets and seven from live bullets.

For the last six days, Palestinians have rioted and protested against US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.


Video footage released by the IDF of the Ramallah demonstration focused briefly on one of the undercover officers.

He wore jeans, a black T-shirt and a Palestinian flag as a bandanna around his forehead.

While holding a rioter around the neck with his arm, he fired into the air with a gun in his other hand to disperse the protesters.

The suspects were interrogated by security forces. The IDF and other security forces will continue to act to thwart terrorist attacks and maintain security in the area, the army said.

Near Nablus, some 40 masked settlers entered the village the Burin and threw stones at residents and their homes, the IDF said.

Soldiers were able to remove the settlers from the village, the army said.

“Security forces will continue to act to prevent the recurrence of such cases,” it said.

Settlers said the incident occurred after Palestinians threw stones at Israeli cars in the area.

Separately, the IDF on Tuesday issued a demolition order for a fourth-grade classroom in the Beduin herding village of Abu a-Nawar, located in the West Bank just outside of Jerusalem and near Ma’aleh Adumim.

The “construction was built without a permit in a way that puts those residing in it in life-threatening danger,” the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria said.

“The order was issued after the High Court of Justice rejected a petition filed by the court on November 15, 2017, and after those who filed the petition did not apply for a permit despite the time extension granted to them by the court,” it added. (Jerusalem Post)

Hamas: We will liberate ‘occupied Tel Aviv’

The Hamas terrorist organization declared on Wednesday that “Al-Quds [in its entirety] is the eternal capital of Palestine, not its eastern or western part, and is an Arabic Islamic city.”

The statement, released in honor of the 30th anniversary of the founding of Hamas, is in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel will not cancel the right of the Palestinian national and religious people to the city, and Al-Quds will remain an Arab Islamic state, Hamas stressed.

The terrorist group further stressed that it was continuing the path of liberation and the resistance in all its aspects until the last layer of historic Palestinian land is liberated, noting that it “bombed occupied Tel Aviv that was established on our occupied land in Jaffa.”

The statement also called for an end to the Palestinian Authority’s security coordination with Israel and stressed that the “right of return” is a private and collective right that cannot be revoked by any party.

Earlier this week, Mahmoud al-Zahar, a member of Hamas’s political bureau and one of the leaders of the terrorist organization, vowed that the group would continue the path of resistance “in order to liberate every inch of Palestine from the filth of the occupation.”

“The promise of Allah will come true in the security system of the world to come, in which Al-Quds is linked to the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” he said.

In a message to Israel, Zahar added, “Beware of the power of Hamas and the power of the [Al-Qassam] Brigades.” (Arutz Sheva)

Tillerson Says U.S. Embassy Move to Jerusalem Unlikely During Trump’s Current Term

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday that moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem could take at least three years if not longer, raising the possibility that such a move is unlikely to take place during  President Trump’s current term in office.

“It’s not going to be anything that happens right away,” Tillerson said in comments he made at the State Department, The New York Times reported, “Probably no earlier than three years out, and that’s pretty ambitious.”

Tillerson last week had put the timeline as sometime during the next two years.

After Trump’s historic announcement last Wednesday that the United States was recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, White House officials said in background briefings that the move would be completed over a period of three to four years.

But Tillerson’s comments Tuesday were the most explicit, on-the-record statement from an administration official to date outlining their plans. They have cited logistical considerations for the delay.

White House officials have noted that when U.S. embassies were moved to new locations in the past, it took as long as five years.

But Mar Zell, the chairman of Republicans Overseas Israel, said he was disappointed, by Tillerson’s news and suggested that moving the embassy could have been as simple as changing the sign in front of the U.S. Consulate buildings in Jerusalem.

“I have stated in previous interviews that if the United States wished to do so, it could have moved the embassy immediately by redesignating the American consulates in Jerusalem as embassies. All it would have required is changing the signs on them. Nor would it have been a  problem to relocate the ambassador’s residence to Jerusalem or simply provide him with an office there,” he told Haaretz.

Trump signed the same national security waiver his predecessors have signed before him to delay the embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem for another six months. Administration officials have said it was likely Trump was likely to sign waiver in future, again citing the time needed to logistically coordinate such a move.

Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem broke with decades of American policy not to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital until a decision on the city’s status is forged in a future possible peace deal with the Palestinians. Israel annexed traditionally Arab East Jerusalem in 1967 from Jordan during the Six-Day War.  The Palestinians seek East Jerusalem as a future capital of a Palestinian state.

News of Trump’s Jerusalem in declaration has sparked protests in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza and around the Arab world, some of them violent.

Tillerson’s announcement, according to Zell, indicated that the United States plans to build a new embassy from scratch. “Why they made this decision, I don’t know,” he said. “It strikes me as a needless expense considering that the president is currently cutting back on the State Department budget.”

He surmised that the decision might have been prompted by political considerations. “Maybe they wanted to take the sting out of the presidential proclamation on Jerusalem in order to facilitate the creation of a coalition of Arab states to combat Iran,” Zell said. (Ha’aretz)

Israeli Finance Ministry Announces $227 Million Tax Cuts on Consumer Items

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon on Monday announced that Israel’s government will reduce customs and sales taxes on dozens of items, a move he said would save Israeli consumers more than 800 million shekels ($227 million) annually.

Under Kahlon’s plan, the prices of electrical appliances, clothing and textile items, perfumes, and even inflatable swimming pools will be drastically reduced. Sales taxes amounting to 245 million shekels ($69 million) would be cancelled, and customs duties totaling 555 million shekels ($157 million) would also be dropped, seemingly by January.

“We are removing customs and sales taxes with the aim of lowering prices in stores,” Kahlon said.

Kahlon said tax cuts on such a scale had not been implemented in Israel since the 1990s, and stressed that “in order to bring down prices, bold steps must be taken.” He said every Israeli would feel the reduction in prices.

Foreign ministers from India, Russia and China notably refrained from recognizing East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine at their…

The plan is set to go into effect as soon as Kahlon signs the necessary ministerial orders, as the tax cuts do not require the approval of the Israeli government or the Knesset Finance Committee.

Kahlon said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been briefed on the move. But the plan may prove to be only temporary, as it would need to be reassessed ahead of the formulation of the 2019 Israeli state budget to see whether it has indeed led to a reduction in consumer prices. (JNS/the Algemeiner)

Israeli business leaders to travel to Bahrain in next normalization step

A delegation of Israeli business leaders is due to visit Bahrain next month in a follow-up to the current visit to Jerusalem of a Bahraini interfaith group, said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center which is the organizer of both initiatives.

Cooper, speaking to The Jerusalem Post at a dinner for the interfaith group, said: “The Bahrainis have approved it. It will be a Wiesenthal Center delegation. The idea is to establish some direct contacts, which are not political, but the idea is to start normal contacts.”

The interfaith group’s visit has sparked outrage among Palestinians and also back home in Bahrain.

Cooper termed the visit of the 24-member interfaith delegation, which began on Saturday and concluded on Wednesday, a “breakthrough.”

The delegation included Christians, Sunnis, one Shi’ite, a Hindu leader, a Buddhist, a Sikh and others – all of them organized by the pro-monarchy NGO This is Bahrain. The vast majority of the delegation were expatriates who live in Bahrain, but it also included several native Bahrainis. Muslims comprised a minority of the delegation.

“This was not done under the radar. It was done openly by two NGO’s knowing full well it would generate controversy,” Cooper said. He says the delegation’s visit should be viewed as a follow-up of a pledge by King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa to him and Wiesenthal Center dean Marvin Hier who visited Manama last February to allow his subjects to travel to Israel freely.

The delegation made the trip to Jerusalem at an extremely volatile time and despite anger among Palestinians and in the Arab world over US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Its members insist it was a non-political visit but their critics see it as paving the way for normalization between Israel and the Gulf states at the expense of the Palestinian cause. “We’d planned this many months ago. We’ll never let a political statement stop us. Politics changes but our mission to spread coexistence doesn’t change,” said Betsy Mathieson, the head of the group. She says the delegation is a reflection of how religions coexist in Bahrain and that This is Bahrain seeks to spread a message of peace worldwide.

But human rights monitors say that Bahrain, ruled by a Sunni minority, is in fact very far from a model country and that the government persecutes members of its Shi’ite majority.

Mathieson said that people criticizing the group “have misunderstood. We haven’t met with any government officials. We believe it’s our duty to share the example of the way we live in Bahrain. And we see the same in Jerusalem – people of all faiths living in harmony and peace. We’ve seen it with our own eyes.”

Before the dinner, delegation members took pictures with their cellphones as Cooper lit a menorah. Earlier, some of them joined locals in dancing to celebrate Hanukka on the main thoroughfare in the Mamilla area. “We were asked to join. Why not? Music is for everyone,” said Sushil Muljimal, a leader of a Hindu temple in Manama. “Our mission is to convey a message of peace. We’ve got nothing to do with politics. For us, Jewish people are the same, Palestinians are the same, all are the same.”

Qais Abdul-Kareem, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, condemned the visit, saying: “They’ve chosen a very inappropriate time to spread their message of tolerance. This is a time the whole world is centered on the future of Jerusalem after the American move to recognize it as Israel’s capital. In fact, this visit has political substance, which is to pave the way for normalization of relations between certain Arab states, particularly the Gulf states, with Israel when the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not solved and the Israelis continue their occupation and colonization of Palestinian land. This was politically wrong from the beginning and it caused more anger because it came at a very inappropriate time.”

PLO executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi said, “They either are totally clueless or they are being deliberately provocative. I think the lesser of these two evils is that they are clueless.” She said she does not accept “this whole lovey-dovey approach of ‘We’re here to show tolerance.’ Then go home and show tolerance at home. Bahrain certainly can’t boast of a lot of tolerance domestically.”

In Bahrain, the visit was widely condemned on social media under a hashtag that said “Bahrain resists normalization.” Al Jazeera quoted Basmah al-Kassab, a Bahraini blogger, as writing: “I believe the Zionist entity is an unjust occupier. The delegation’s visit to occupied east Jerusalem is shameful and immoral and its claim that it represents the Bahraini people is unjust and insulting.”

In a sense, the trip is a follow-up to a visit by the king’s son, Nasser Bin Hamad al-Khalifa to the Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles in September to unveil the king’s “Declaration of Worldwide Religious Tolerance.” The declaration upholds support for full freedom of religious choice and stresses that governments should protect minorities. It also calls for ensuring that religion “serves as a blessing for all mankind and a foundation of peace in the world.”

A spokesman for the London based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy said at the time that the king is displaying warmth towards Jews and projecting himself as a statesman of religious tolerance in order to cover over rights abuses and persecution against Shiites.

Mathieson said the critics could change their minds. “If every time I let ignorance overcome my mission I’d never do anything. When they understand the real reason for our visit they’ll be happy.”

She said her favorite time during the visit was walking in the Old City with the delegation. “We were warmly met. People of all faiths greeted us. Our message was warmly received.”

Mona George, a Jordanian-born Palestinian with Bahraini citizenship, said her trip was about prayer, not politics. “Because of faith, I liked it. I like visiting churches and to pray. I stayed for two hours on my knees in church. Going to the Church of the Nativity was amazing. I prayed for my family, for my children.”

A Bahraini-born Muslim female participant said the highlight of her visit was praying in al-Aksa Mosque. “There was no problem. No one knew where I’m from.” Asked how the group members spent their time, she said: “I went to the Old City. Some went by themselves to Bethlehem. A group went by themselves to the Dead Sea. Each person did what he wanted.”

The woman, who asked for anonymity, said it was actually the wrong time to make the visit because of Trump’s move. “But we had decided before. It had been arranged before.”

She said she disagrees with the US’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. “I wish he didn’t do it. We are looking for peace. He’s involving himself and making trouble for everyone.”

She added that she is not worried she will face hostility upon returning to Bahrain. “I didn’t do anything wrong. We didn’t meet anyone from the government. We’re here for peace.” (Jerusalem Post)

Teva, Flagship Israeli Drugmaker, Announces Plans to Fire 14,000 Workers – 25% of Worldwide Workforce

Teva Pharmaceuticals announced on Thursday it will lay off 14,000 workers worldwide, nearly 25% of its workforce, over the next two years as the struggling drugmaker moves to cut costs. 1,700 of the fired employees will come from the company’s Israeli workforce. Two facilities in Israel will be shut and another sold.

The layoffs are part of a strategic plan that will be presented by CEO Kåre Schultz, who was hired six week ago to turn Teva around.

The Histadrut labor federation said Teva intends to lay off 1,750 workers in Israel over the next two years after the planned sale or closure of a considerable number of its facilities. It will affect employees at research and development facilities and other office throughout the country.

The company’s two manufacturing plants in Jerusalem, which employ 1,100 people, will be shuttered. The plant in Kiryat Shmona will be sold. Spared from the cuts are the Teva-Tech facility in Ramat Hovav in the Negev and the company’s facility in the Tel Aviv suburb of Kfar Sava. Both facilities have already experienced downsizing recently and are the subject of a labor pact through 2021.

The company said that workers who are being laid off would be expected to receive dismissal notices within the next three months. The company also said it would immediately suspend the payment of dividends on its ordinary shares and continue to examine the possible sale of assets beyond its core operations.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with Schultz before the cuts were announced. A statement by the Prime Minister’s Office said Netanyahu told Shultz that he was worried about the state of the company and asked him to minimize the the damage to Israeli workers, especially those in the country’s periphery, and the CEO said he would make an effort.

The prime minister also asked that Teva do everything possible to preserve the company’s identity as an Israeli company. The statement said Schultz promised that it would be so.

The brunt of the cutbacks are falling on the 57,000 people Teva had on its payroll worldwide as of the end of 2016. Although it is an Israeli company, only 12% of its employees are based on Israel, while 42% are in Europe and 18% in the United States. Buying Activis increased its payroll by 10,000.

Teva currently has three factories in Israel, in addition to research and development and management. Its headquarters employs 1,300 people alone. Israeli manufacturing costs are high, which makes local operations vulnerable to cost-cutting. Teva closed its TAPI division, which makes raw materials for pharmaceuticals and employs 1,100 people. That manufacturing can be done more cheaply in India.

Over the last year, Teva has suffered multiple problems. It bought Activis, a U.K. maker of generic drugs, for $40 billion, saddling it with $35 billion in debt just as prices for generics started to turn lower. Meanwhile, the last of its patents on its best-selling Copaxone multiple sclerosis drug expired, cutting sharply into its biggest single source of profits.

Teva is committed to repaying $9.1 billion in 2018 and 2019, at a time when its cash flow is contracting and it has no choice but to cut costs, reduce shareholder dividend and sell assets, all of which it has been doing.

The Histadrut has called for a general strike for several hours on Sunday to protest the layoffs at Teva. The strike is to include the country’s airports and seaports, public transportation, government ministries and local governments, as well as public health services, banks and all of Teva’s plants in Israel, Histadrut Chairman Avi Nissenkorn announced on Wednesday.

“From our standpoint as a family, I’m concerned,” Hagit Ziv, who has worked for some 10 years at Teva’s Migada plant said before Teva’s announcement. “The situation here is not stellar. There isn’t enough work even for the small number of people. All the more so for the number of families who will be left without anything.”

Ziv, a mother of three, described how staff from the plant had blocked traffic on the main highway into the city and, as she spoke, they were sitting tensely at the entrance to the plant waiting to hear what would become of their jobs.

She said layoffs could affect 1,000 families in the area “who will get up tomorrow morning facing the unknown.”

For Meir Ben-Elul of Kiryat Shmona, Teva has been his employer for the past 23 years. Speaking before knowing his own fate, he said: “The feeling is very bad. Employees are crying.” For his part, however, Ben-Elul said he is more angry at Netanyahu than at Teva itself.

“The government should have given [Teva] an ultimatum,” he said. The prime minister should have intervened and should not have allowed Teva to transfer jobs to India. “We are here guarding the north, the country, our children here. Why is the government allowing them to do this? Why is there no safety net to protect us?”  (Ha’aretz)

Trump, Jerusalem, Arabs, Muslims

By Dr. Mordechai Kedar,

Dr. Mordechai Kedar is a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University. He served in IDF Military Intelligence for 25 years, specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena. Thoroughly familiar with Arab media in real time, he is frequently interviewed on the various news programs in Israel.

Trump’s declaration recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city aroused, unsurprisingly, a massive wave of opposition in the Arab and Islamic world for two main reasons – one religious and one nationalist.

The religious reason is rooted in Islam’s conception of itself as a faith whose mission is to bring both Judaism and Christianity to an end, inheriting all that was once Jewish or Christian: Land, places of worship and people. In Islam’s worldview, Falestin in its entirely belongs to Muslims alone because both Jews and Christians betrayed Allah when they refused to become followers of His prophet Mohammed, the punishment for that being expulsion from their land and the forfeiture of all rights to it.

Throughout the history of Islam, Muslims turned churches into mosques, including: The Great Mosque of Ramle, the Beni Omaya Mosque in Damascus, the Hagia Sofia of Istanbul, and many Spanish churches. The reason for this is the belief that Christianity, like Judaism, was nullified by Islam, making churches unnecessary.

The prophets revered by these obsolete religions are Muslims, according to Islamic tenets. That list includes Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron and others – all of them Muslims. And, according to Islam, Solomon built a mosque, not a Temple, in Jerusalem. The fifteen hundred year gap between the reign of King Solomon and the birth of Islam is of no import to true beleivers.

Jews and Christians can be protected under Muslim rule by being subservient to Islam in what is known as dhimmi status, deprived of the right to own land, bear arms and, naturally, not allowed to harm Muslims. Dhimmis are forced to pay a head tax (jyzia) and are to be kept in a downtrodden state, as is the Quran mandates.  In Islam’s view, Jews are not a nation but a collection of communities to be found in various countries: A Jew in Poland  is a “Pole of the Mosaic religion”  and a Jew in Morocco is a “Moroccan Arab of the Mosaic religion.”

Suddenly, towards the end of the 19th century, it all changed. Jews began coming to Falestin in ever increasing numbers and the Zionists invented a new nation, the “Jewish People” and decided that the land holy to Islam is their homeland and known as  Eretz Yisrael. They built communities and a protective fighting force even though, as Jews, they were not supposed to be allowed to bear arms.

In 1948, the Jews actually declared a state, although they were not allowed sovereignty either, and in 1967, they “conquered” Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem.

They now attempt to pray on the Temple Mount, making it a distinct possibility that Judaism has returned to being an active, live and  even dynamic religion. This brings the very raison d’etre of Islam into question, as, after all, Islam came into the world in order to make Judaism obsolete.

Muslims loyal to their religion and aware of this danger cannot possibly accept the existence of a Jewish state, not even a tiny one on the Tel Aviv coast. To them, Israel as the state of the Jewish people is a theological threat to Islam and only later a nationalistic, political, judicial or territorial threat.

Along comes Trump and authorizes Israel’s existence by recognizing Jerusalem as its capital, a double blow for Islam: Trump, a Christian, has granted recognition to the Jews!! This must be a Christo-Judaic plot against Islam, and it infuriates the Muslim world. Trump’s Declaration reminds them (and also several Jews) of the Balfour Declaration exactly a century ago, conncerning which the Arabs continue to accuse the world, saying: ‘You made the promises of non-owners to those who do not have the right to be given those promises.”

Accordingly, during the week following Trump’s declaration, we have seen Muslims all over the world expressing their fury at the stamp of approval granted the Jewish State, despite its very existence being opposed to that of Islam. Leader and ordinary citizens, men and women, have been going out to the streets to demonstrate their inability to live with the fact that Trump, a Christian, has recognized the capital chosen by the Jewish nation and by extension, the right to their own land.

The disturbances in Wadi Ara, in central Israel, were another manifestation of Muslim fury, as rioters attempted to block the main road and damaged a public bus. The location is not surprising,  because the Wadi Ara area includes the city of Umm el Fahm, where the main concentration of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement headed by the infamous Raed Salah is to be found. The Northern Branch has been declared illegal along with some of the smaller organizations it fostered, resulting in its members having no lawful way to express their fury at the existence of the state of Israel, so that they attempt to act in the public, open space as individuals – without an organizational identity.

Nationalistic motives

Anyone with eyes in his head and an active brain knows and understands that the entire raison d’etre of the Palestinian nationalist movement is based on negating the Jewish people’s right to its land and state. The Palestine Liberation Organization was established in 1964 when the only “occupied” areas were Tel Aviv and Haifa. Its mission was to destroy the State of Israel, a goal Arabs expressed openly at the end of the 1948 War of Independence.

Despite what certain naïve people think, the PLO has never amended its Charter calling for the destruction of Israel and  the Oslo Accords and the agreements with the PLO that followed in their wake were worth nothing  These babes in the woods included Yossi Beilin, Shimon Peres, Yitschak Rabin, Yossi Sarid, Shulamit Aloni, Ehud Barak, Ehud Olmert and a good many others, who, despite proofs of Arafat and his inheritor Mahmoud Abbas’ treachery staring them in the face, continued to foster the illusion of peace in the hearts of war-weary Israelis.  This put the country to sleep, allowing it to be hit with a fatal plague while still drunk on the perfume of the very temporary peace those true believers had achieved.

The goal of the Palestine National Movement is the creation of an artificial Palestinian nation – from scratch because historically, there has never been a Palestinian nation – and grant it permanence by means of an Arab country built on the ruins of Israel, not alongside it.  This is why there is not one map of Palestine to be found in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Every Palestinian map portrays a Palestine in the colors of the PLO flag and extending from the Mediterranean sea to the Jordan River.

The world, and  especially Europe, is divided between innocent  know-nothings who support a Palestinian State in order to achieve peace and Jew-haters who fully understand the PLO’s intentions and support them wholeheartedly. The entire Arab world, including those who signed peace treaties with Israel – Egypt and Jordan – wilfully ignores the PLO’s real intentions, treating it as the only legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. If the PLO succeeds in carrying out its plans, no one in Jordan or Egypt is going to mourn Israel’s demise.

Arafat’s followers know that if they succeed in moving Jerusalem outside the borders of Israel,  a large number of Jews are going to  lose all hope and  leave Israel for the countries from which they or their parents came. This will mean the beginning of the end for the Zionist enterprise, because there is no Zionism without Zion. That’s why they expend so much energy on Jerusalem, taking advantage of the fact that if most countries do not recognize Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel, Jerusalem becomes the weak link in the chain holding Israel together.

Arafat attempted to frighten the Israeli with the slogan: “A million shaheeds will march on Jerusalem,” meaning that millions are willing to jput their lives on the line in order to free the city from the clutches  of the Zionists. This mantra has been internalized in Islamic society and  can be heard at anti-Israel demonstrations all over the world.

In comes Trump and recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city, giving the Palestinian nationalist narrative a hard blow and Israel a kind of insurance policy. This maddens all the Arabs who flourished on the dream of destroying Israel during the golden Oslo Agreement years, because it has  now becme clear that a very powerful nation, the USA, does not see itself a  partner in that dream and is even willing to act against it.

The Arabs , in general, and particularly the Palestiinians, can already picture the dominos falling. The Czech Republic, Hungary and other important states plan to  move their embassies  from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, recognizing the city as Israel’s capital. They noticed that in  April of this year, eight months ago, even Russian President Vladimir Putin declared his recognition of Western Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city. There was no outcry, verbal or otherwise, in response to Putin’s declaration, for  one simple reason: The Arabs are deathly afraid of  Putin, after he made crystal clear to what lengths he is willing to go during the war in Syria, and they carefully refrain from reacting to his statements or decisions.


For both religious and nationalistic reasons, the Arabs and  Muslims are incapable of accepting  Israel as the Jewish State.

The question we are forced to ask ourselves is whether we in Israel, Jews and Christians, are going to recognize the Muslim and Arab problem , but tell them in no uncertain terms that “Jerusalem belongs to  the Jews and you are going to have to learn to live with it” or are going to give in to the Arab and  Muslim dreamers who are incapable of accepting a reality in which the Jewish religions is alive and well.

The Uncompromising Palestinians – Shlomo Avineri (Ha’aretz)

President Trump said explicitly that recognizing Jerusalem and moving the embassy do not in any way determine the borders and the U.S. supports the two-state solution – if it is acceptable to both sides.

The Palestinian response ignored these two statements, which in practice say that as far as the final agreement is concerned, the Trump administration’s stance is not significantly different than the position of previous American administrations.

A responsible Palestinian leadership that strives to reach an agreed upon solution and does not make do with aggressive rhetoric could have seized on these statements.

Only the Palestinian unwillingness to understand that if a solution is found, it will realistically have to be a compromise formula and not the fulfillment of all their demands, prevented the Palestinian leadership from relating to these aspects of Trump’s speech.

Instead, the Palestinian leadership attacked the U.S. and its president, declared that America cannot be an honest broker, and announced that Trump’s speech irreversibly buried the two-state solution.

The roots of this response, which joined a long list of historic missed Palestinian opportunities, can be found in the inability to live with compromise, which characterizes the Arab political discourse in general.

The writer, professor emeritus of political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, served as director-general of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.