Israel “will not conduct diplomatic negotiations with a Palestinian government that relies on Hamas”

Security Cabinet votes to not enter negotiations with Palestinian unity government until Hamas disarms and recognize state of Israel; Netanyahu’s Office releases list of conditions for Hamas & PA; Palestinians reject conditions, claim Israel avoiding negotiations, Oct. 18, 2017.

 

Netanyahu’s public address on Monday evenings (GPO)

Israel’s Security Cabinet voted on Tuesday to not negotiate with the Palestinians until Hamas disarms and recognizes the State of Israel, the Cabinet releasing a list of necessary conditions to enter negotiations for the peace process.

The vote came following the recently announced Palestinian unity government between Fatah and Hamas. Egypt’s State Information Service confirmed the PA’s future control of the Gaza Strip with a meeting scheduled for all relevant Palestinian leadership in Cairo towards the end of November.

The Palestinians claim the Egyptian brokered unity deal will go into effect December 1, 2017 and a reported 3,000 Palestinian Authority police will be deployed to the Gaza Strip. A joint police force it to be created as the Palestinians begin to merge and integrate government bodies. The unity government is reportedly to be formed by January of 2018.

The Office of the Prime Minister released a list of the necessary conditions for negotiations with the Palestinians of Wednesday morning, the main requirement that Hamas disarm and “desist from terrorism”. The Prime Minister’s Office reiterated, “Pursuant to previous decisions, the Government of Israel will not conduct diplomatic negotiations with a Palestinian government that relies on Hamas, a terrorist organization that calls for the destruction of Israel…”

Other conditions for negotiations, specific to Hamas, are that the terrorist organization must disarm, sever ties with Iran and that “IDF fallen and Israeli civilians held by Hamas must be returned,” in reference to Lt. Hadar Goldin and Sgt. Oron Shaul, who were killed during 2014’s Operation Protective Edge, and Avraham Mengistu who is believed to be imprisoned by Hamas.

The Palestinian Authority must “exercise full security control in Gaza, including at the crossings, and prevent smuggling,” in specific reference to Hamas’s tunnel network. The PA also must “act against Hamas terror infrastructures in Judea and Samaria [West Bank]” and ensure that humanitarian aid and equipment for Gaza are used only for “the mechanisms that have been established for this purpose,” referring to Hamas’s use of aid and equipment for its terror activities.

The Palestinians lashed out Wednesday, rejecting the conditions and accusing Israel of avoiding negotiations. A spokesman for PA President Mahmoud Abbas, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, stated on Wednesday “The Israeli position won’t change the official Palestinian policy of reconciliation that results in the end of the occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian state on 1967 borders with east Jerusalem as its capital.”

Hamas rejected the conditions, calling on Palestinians to “continue to strengthen the internal Palestinian front, and complete the reconciliation in every file under what was agreed in the Cairo agreement,” a Hamas spokesman stating “This Israeli intervention into internal Palestinian affairs is rejected. The Palestinian people at all levels should not respond to these blatant Zionist interventions.”

Archeologist discover ancient Roman theatre next to Western Wall

Roman theatre discovered adjacent to Western Wall in Jerusalem, dates back 1,700 years; Theatre may have been used for acoustic performance or bouleuterion; Site to open in 6 months to public, Oct. 17, 2017.

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Israeli archeologists made yet another fascinating discovery in Old City Jerusalem- a Roman theatre built next to the Western Wall.

Archeologists from the Israel Antiquity Authority confirmed the discovery of the first Roman public structure ever discovered in Jerusalem on Monday, an ongoing archeological dig still underway.

The head of the excavation team, Joe Uziel, explained that the structure dates back around 1,700 years and was built by the Romans beneath the Wilson’s Arch, which is adjacent to the men’s prayer section of the Western Wall.

Uziel explained how for months the team was sure they would find a Roman road, only to find a Roman theatre and the first Roman public structure made in Jerusalem discovered to date.

He explained, “From a research perspective, this is a sensational find. The discovery was a real surprise. We did not imagine that a window would open for us onto the mystery of Jerusalem’s lost theater. Like much of archeological research, the expectation is that a certain thing will be found. But at the end of the process, other findings, surprising and thought-provoking, are unearthed.”

The team explained that the structure, “which is “relatively small structure compared to known Roman theaters, such as at Caesarea, Beit She’an and Beit Guvrin,”and is likely a “odeon”, used for “acoustic performance”. Another theory is that “the structure might have been what is known as a “bouleuterion”, the building where the city council met, in this case, the council of the Roman colony of Aelia Capitolina.”

The team will continue its excavation for another 6 months before opening the site to the public.

The discovery is one of a few made in the past few months. In August, archeologists in northern Israel reported to possibly have found the Roman city of Julias, the home of Peter, Andrew and Philip. The discovery was made at Beit Habek in the Bethsaida Valley Nature Reserve on the shores of the Sea of Galilee by a group of archeologists from the Institute of Galilean Archeology. Julias was built on Bethsaida by the King Herod Phillipus, son of King Herod the Great. The city was named after Julias Augusta, the mother of Emperor Tiberius.

Just a few days later, a 2,000 year-old chalkstone quarry and vessel workshop in the lower Galilee dating to the Roman Period was found. The Israel Antiquities Authority confirmed the discovery, the fourth workshop of this kind in Israel to be discovered. Archeologists have been digging and researching the area in Reina after finding a similar workshop in the region. Two of the previously discovered quarries near Jerusalem.

 

 

 

Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

IAF retaliates to missile fired at Israeli jets from Syrian Army

The IDF responded to missile fired at Israeli jets Monday morning; IDF: We see the Syrian regime as responsible and see these missiles as a clear Syrian provocation, and it will not be accepted, Oct. 16, 2017.

An Israeli F-16 fighter jet (Reuters)

Israel’s Air Force responded to a surface-to-air missile fired from a Syrian anti-aircraft battery on Israeli jets east of Damascus Monday.

The event took place during a reconnaissance mission over Lebanon. The IDF responded, striking and destroying the Syrian SA-5 anti-aircraft battery.

The IDF confirmed the events, releasing the statement “Earlier today, an anti-aircraft missile was launched from Syria toward IAF aircraft during a routine flight over Lebanon. No hits confirmed.”

IDF Spokesman Ronen Manelis responded to the event, warning Syria against provocation or attacking the IDF. He stated that the IDF are “prepared for any possibility… We see the Syrian regime as responsible and see these missiles as a clear Syrian provocation, and it will not be accepted.”

The IDF confirmed it had updated Russia on the incident, Russia’s Defense Minister, Sergey Shoygu currently in Israel for meetings centered on Iran, Syria and Hezbollah.

Russian Defense Minister to arrive in Israel Monday

Shoygu to arrive for meetings with Liberman and Netanyahu Monday; Meetings to center on Iran, nuclear deal, Syria and Hezbollah, Oct. 16, 2017.

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Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu will arrive in Israel Monday to hold meetings with Israeli officials on Iran, Hezbollah Syria.

Shoygu is scheduled to meet with Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman as well as Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Shoygu will arrive in Israel following meetings in Washington with US Defense Secretary James Mattis, their meeting centered on Iran’s missile program and the nuclear deal.

Liberman previously met with Shoygu in Russia in April, their meeting centered on Syria, Hezbollah and Iran.

The meeting comes following numerous diplomatic steps by the United States and Israel regarding Iran in the past few weeks. Last week President Trump officially decertified the nuclear deal and announced sanctions on Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.

 

 

 

Photo: Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu, CC, 2017

Two rockets fired from Sinai into Israeli territory Sunday night

No damages or injuries reported; ISIS claims responsibility for the attacks

A smoke trail is seen as a rocket is launched from the northern Gaza Strip towards Israel

Two rockets were fired from the Sinai Peninsula into Israel Sunday night, the IDF confirming the attacks amidst varied media reports.

Rockets were fired at the Eshkol region, media reports initially reporting rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. Reports were corrected and the Egyptian military currently investigating the attack.

Both rockets landed in open areas in southern Israel with no damages or injuries reported.

Initial reports pointed responsibility to Islamic Jihad. The group last fired rockets into Israel on May 23 during President Trump’s visit in Israel. Rocket attacks from Egypt are usually carried out by Islamic Jihad, ISIS or Hamas.

On Monday afternoon, ISIS took responsibility for the attack.

Sunday’s rocket attack comes amidst heavy fighting between Egyptian soldiers with Islamic extremist groups, mainly in the Sinai region. A reported 24 militants and 6 Egyptian soldiers were killed in clashes Sunday. According to reports from Egypt, the Islamic State carried out an attack on a security outpost using a bombs and grenades.

Egypt has closed the border crossing into Israel amidst high security following Sunday’s attack.

Netanyahu commends Trump’s decisions on Iran, confirms Israel’s withdrawal from UNESCO

PM addresses Trump’s decertification of nuclear deal, commends USA on Iran and UNESCO withdrawal; Rouhani: Iran will continue to respect [the nuclear deal] as long as it serves our interests., Oct. 15, 2017. 

Prime Minister Netanyahu (AP)

 

Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed President Trump’s “important decision” on Iran Sunday, also confirming Israel’s withdrawal from UNESCO.

Speaking during his weekly cabinet meeting Sunday, Netanyahu commended President Trump and the United States for standing up for Israel in the United Nations after it officially announced its withdrawal from UNESCO last week, as well as President Trump’s decision to not recertify the Iran nuclear deal.

President Trump on Friday reiterated his Administration’s stance on the nuclear deal as “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into,” stating on Iran’s ongoing violation of the nuclear deal and advances in its missile program “We cannot and will not make this certification. We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout. I am directing my administration to work closely with Congress and our allies to address the deal’s many serious flaws so that the Iranian regime can never threaten the world with nuclear weapons.”

Addressing Trump’s announcement, Netanyahu stated Sunday morning “It is completely clear, if one examines this agreement, if nothing changes, that Iran will have an arsenal of nuclear weapons within a few years. This agreement does not block this. It creates a sure path to the production of an enrichment system that could quickly bring Iran to dozens of atomic bombs and even more; therefore, the decision is very important.”

On Trump’s decision to not recertify the nuclear deal, as well as his decision to place sanctions on Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, he stated, “President Trump’s decision creates an opportunity to fix the nuclear agreement and stop Iran’s increasing aggression in our region. I believe that any responsible government, and whoever seeks to promote peace and security in the world, needs to take advantage of the opportunity that President Trump’s decision has created in order to improve the agreement or abrogate it and, of course, stop Iran’s aggression. It is self-evident that the President’s decision to impose sanctions on the Revolutionary Guards needs to be supported. The Revolutionary Guards are Iran’s main arm in spreading terror around the world and, of course, in spreading its aggression throughout the Middle East.”

On UNESCO, the prime minister confirmed that Israel is withdrawing from UNESCO following the United States. He reported “I instructed the Foreign Ministry to prepare for Israel’s withdrawal from UNESCO, which has become a platform for delusional, anti-Israeli and – in effect – anti-Semitic decisions. We hope that the organization will change its ways but we are not pinning hopes on this; therefore, my directive to leave the organization stands and we will move forward to carry it out.”

Also reacting to Trump’s announcement Friday, Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Zarif, accused the president of violating the three articles of the nuclear deal. Zarif announced Saturday that he had already “written nine letters to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini listing the cases where the United States has failed to act on or delayed its commitments under the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action].”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani accused President Trump of “insults and fake accusations”, stating that “The government of the United States is against the people of the region, against the people of Iran, and the oppressed nations.” Rouhani stated that President Trump, or any president, cannot revoke and international deal, stating “Iran will continue to respect [the nuclear deal] as long as it serves our interests.”

 

 

 

Photo: Netanyahu, CC, AP, 2016.