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Latest News in Israel – 24th February

Updates from Israel and the Jewish World

Compiled by Dr Ron Wiseman

WATCH: Netanyahu calls for new Golan Heights community named after Trump

If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has his way, alongside Katzrin, Ramot and Ramat Magshimim on the Golan Heights, there may someday soon be a community named Kiryat Trump.

Netanyahu, who on Tuesday toured the Golan with his wife and sons, said a community or neighbourhood on the Golan Heights should be named after US President Donald Trump in appreciation for his decision last month to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the strategic plateau.

“I am here with my family and many citizens of Israel at the foot of the Golan Heights, happy with the joy of the holiday and our beautiful country,” Netanyahu said in a video post. “And there is more joy – a few weeks ago I brought President Trump’s official recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights forever.”

Netanyahu said there “is a need to express our appreciation by calling a community or neighbourhood on the Golan Heights after Donald Trump. I will bring that to the government [for approval] soon.”

Trump’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights came in late March, some two weeks before the April 9 elections, 52 years after Israel captured the region during the 1967 Six Day War, and 38 years after Israel annexed the region. (Jerusalem Post) Herb Keinon

1,500 worshippers flock to Joseph’s tomb in Nablus to pray on Passover

An Israeli soldier prays together with other worshippers inside Joseph’s Tomb in the West Bank.

Some 1,500 worshipers arrived early morning Wednesday for prayers at the Tomb of Joseph in Nablus, according to media reports.

Included among the worshipers were a group of Likud members of Knesset and Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan. Rabbis and other public figures also took part.

According to security officials, the prayers took place without incident. (Jerusalem Post) Staff

Trump administration discourages use of ‘two-state solution’

The White House is discouraging the use of the term “two-state solution” when describing possible outcomes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A senior White House official on Monday confirmed to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency a report that appeared over the weekend on Sky News Arabic, a satellite TV station, and picked up by the Times of Israel.

“The two-state solution term means different things to different people,” the official told JTA. “There is no point in using a phrase that never achieved peace. Our plan provides a clear, realistic and detailed vision of what peace could actually look like.”

The Trump administration plans to release a detailed peace plan as early as June. The plan’s lead architects are Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adivser; Jason Greenblatt, his top peace negotiator, and David Friedman, his ambassador to Israel.

Last month, speaking to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Friedman said that Israel would retain security control of the West Bank. Friedman did not elaborate, but Palestinian leaders see control of their own defense and foreign policy as a necessary component of statehood.  (JTA) Ron Kampeas

Kushner: ‘Deal of the century’ will require painful concessions

Jared Kushner, son-in-law and adviser to US President Donald Trump issued some comments Tuesday on the much talked about “deal of the century” being proposed by the administration to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “Both sides will have to make difficult concessions,” he said. Kushner also said that the deal was set to be announced last year but the Israeli elections changed the timing.

Kushner criticized the Two-state paradigm along with previous efforts to reach an agreement. “If people focus on the old traditional talking points, we will never make progress. The Arab peace initiative of 2002, which I think was a very good attempt but if that would have worked it would have made peace a long time ago,” Kushner said. “We will do something different.”

He maintained that the administration’s approach was unique and that they studied all the previous attempts, how and why they failed.

Regarding timing, Kushner said that the deal would likely be announced only after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. He also congratulated Prime Minister Netanyahu on his election victory and added that the coalition building process was also a factor.

“Our focus is really on the bottom up —which is how do you make the lives of the Palestinian people better? What can you resolve to allow these areas to become more investable,” Kushner said. “We deal with all the core status issues because you have to do it, but we have also built a robust business plan for the whole region. I think that the two together have the opportunity to push forward,” adding that Israel’s security is of primary importance but that both sides will have to make compromises.

Kushner also said that he believes that the proposal will not be accepted easily on both sides but that ultimately, they will see that it will improve their lives in a practical manner. “Let’s see if the leadership on both sides have the courage to make progress.”  (Ynet News) Staff

Police bust Palestinian illegal weapons trade in West Bank

Police units carried out operation on Monday in the West Bank village of Jaba, near the Binyamin area in which weapons and ammunition were confiscated.

In a statement, Israel Police said “units seized an automatic weapon, a pistol and ammunition.

Three suspects from the area were also arrested in connection with the weapons and the ammunition.”

“Police operations continue to in order to prevent attacks and criminal incidents,” it added

This comes after it was announced also on Monday that over the last few months, an under cover police officer carried has out an operation in the West Bank against Palestinians that sold weapons, which could reach into Israeli areas.

The Israel Police said that during the operations, “the undercover officer bought five automatic weapons – all Carl Gustavs – from the four suspects.”

“The suspects were arrested by police units during the transactions and immediately the weapons were seized and examined,” the police continued. “The weapons were being transferred from both Judea and Samaria into Israeli areas.

“The operation was focused at preventing terror attacks and illegal activities,” the Israel Police added.

The police confirmed that two of the suspects are Palestinians from Anata, while the two other suspects are from Shuafat near Jerusalem.  (Jerusalem Post) Ilanit Chernick

The Palestinian Arab leadership doesn’t want peace, and this is how you know

People say, “If Israel would only do this and that, there would be peace.” But it is the Palestinian Arab leadership that has rejected peace multiple times!

The Palestinian Arab leadership does not want peace, and they never have. What they want is to destroy Israel and the Jewish people through whatever means they can. That means murdering and killing innocent Jewish men, women, and children. That means burning Israeli fields and destroying Israeli homes.

The far Left likes to blame Israel for the lack of peace in the Middle East. But if you take a look at history, you will see that the Palestinian Arab leadership has turned down peace offers. Saeb Erekat, a chief PLO negotiator, even said that Mahmoud Abbas has rejected past Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s land offers. Olmert offered more land than he ever should have, yet Abbas STILL declined.

The reason the Palestinian Arabs are “angry,” for lack of a better word, is not about land. It is not because they want the land of Israel, which historically, Biblically, and legally belongs to the Jewish people. They just don’t want a Jewish state to exist. If they really wanted to make peace with Israel, peace would have come about long ago. (Palestinian Media Watch) Leah Rosenberg

Watch the Video:

Main problem with Trump’s peace plan

Israelis have learned through bitter experience to fear peace deals, and whether or not this is the most pro-Israel agreement in history, these things have a habit of exacting a heavy price in blood

by Shlomo Pyuterkovsky           Ynet News


The upcoming publication of President Donald Trump’s deal of the century is putting the region on edge. Conflicting reports of the content of the peace deal are taunting us – and probably will for months more. The Palestinian Authority is anxious about the deal and even in Israel the details aren’t met with much enthusiasm.

Israel should – for the time being – be celebrating. The details of the deal have yet to come out but it is already clear that it will be much better for Israel than any other deal proposed by a third party in recent decades.

Naturally, there is much doubt over whether Trump has truly been the best US president for Israel. Think whatever you want about Trump as a person, but there is no doubt that his administration is the best we could hope for. We had yet another example of this in the past few weeks, with Trump recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Three or four years ago no one in Israel could have dreamt of such a massive gesture. So why are we still worried about the deal of the century?

Truthfully, the uncertainties stem not from the main contents of the deal’ the main problem is with its very existence. Our painful experience as Israelis has taught us to always fear proposed peace deals because they tend to end in bloodshed.

Everyone who lived in Israel in the mid-90s remembers the rivers of blood that drowned the Oslo Accords. A wave of suicide terror attacks in the two years between September 1993 (when the accords were signed) and September 1995 murdered 164 Israelis.

And a few years later, when the peace talks with the Palestinians at Camp David reached a dead end in July 2000, the result was the Second Intifada. This uprising was deadlier than the first, and claimed the lives of more than 500 Israelis alone in the 18 months between the start of the intifada and Operation Defensive Shield in Passover 2002.

These are just two examples that stand out.

The knowledge that a political process and specifically its outcome is the trigger for bloodshed causes us to fear any such process. The deal of the century is no different. Ehud Barak, who was prime minister during the Camp David summit, once said that the failure of peace negotiations exposed the true nature of the Palestinians, but it is worth it at such a deadly cost?

Thus, while we have great appreciation for Trump’s administration and its giant pro-Israeli gestures, we must caution against the danger of promoting it as the deal of the century.

The thought of trumpeting the end of the conflict through some plan or another might well prove deadly to all sides.