Wednesday, December 19, 2018

From Ian:

Ahead of UN meet, Netanyahu calls Hezbollah tunnel-digging ‘act of war’
Ahead of a United Nations Security Council meeting on the attack tunnels Hezbollah dug across the Lebanese-Israeli border, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday urged the international community to take decisive action against the Shiite terrorist group.

At an English-language press conference at the Knesset, Netanyahu called Hezbollah’s tunnel-digging an “act of war,” and accused the Lebanese Armed Forces of doing nothing to counter those acts. While Beirut did not know about the tunnels while they were being dug, its military now knows but still fails to act, he maintained.

He also revealed that he recently spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin in a bid to convince Moscow not to defend Hezbollah and its Iranian sponsors during Wednesday’s Security Council session.

Netanyahu said that the four tunnels the Israeli army has so far discovered in its recently launched, ongoing effort to uncover such passages were aimed to “penetrate our territory, kidnap our people, including civilians, murder civilians, and conquer the northern piece of the Galilee. This is not merely an act of aggression. It’s an act of war. It’s part of a war plan, I would say.”

Every third house in South Lebanon is used in one way or another to hide Hezbollah’s tunnel-digging project, the prime minister charged. “It’s targeting Israeli civilians while hiding behind Lebanese civilians. That’s a double war crime,” he charged.
Israel to present evidence proving Lebanese army assists Hezbollah
Some two weeks after Israel launched Operation Northern Shield to eliminate Hezbollah's cross-border attack tunnels from Lebanon, Israel has said it will present the U.N. Security Council with damning evidence proving that the Lebanese army has been helping Hezbollah in its excavation efforts in violation of the U.N.'s resolutions.

The council was set to meet on Wednesday, days after the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon concluded that the tunnels snaking under the Israel-Lebanon border and jutting into Israeli territory were a violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701.

The resolution, which ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah, prohibits the presence of any Lebanese armed group south of the Litani River, apart from the central government's military, known as the Lebanese Armed Forces.

On Tuesday, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon said that "now that UNIFIL has confirmed that the Hezbollah tunnels are a severe breach of Resolution 1701, the Security Council is duty-bound to use every means at its disposal against Hezbollah, which continues its buildup under the auspices of the Lebanese government."

Danon plans to emphasize that Lebanese troops have given their tacit approval and turned a blind eye to Hezbollah's tunneling activity, effectively sanctioning it.
IDF: Suspicious rock formation, strange fire helped locate 4th Hezbollah tunnel
The Israeli military on Wednesday said it had become aware of a recently uncovered cross-border tunnel from Lebanon thanks to a number of suspicious incidents in the area in recent years.

The tunnel near the Lebanese village of Ramyeh, the fourth uncovered so far in the army’s operation to unearth and destroy Hezbollah attack tunnels, had been monitored for years before the Israel Defense Forces launched Operation Northern Shield this month.

The IDF noted that several factors had led it to suspect that a tunnel was being dug from a forested area near Ramyeh: the burning of a single tree in May 2016, the appearance of a new rock formation at the site, and the creation of new and unnatural paths in the area.

The army said the tunnel, which it uncovered over the weekend, crossed a few meters into Israeli territory but was not yet operational.

The village is opposite the Israeli town of Zarit, where residents in the past complained of hearing digging sounds, prompting an IDF investigation in 2014. But the military said that probe had not had results, and the tunnel was found unrelated to locals’ reports. There were no details on when Hezbollah began building the tunnel.

The army said IDF chief Gadi Eisenkot toured the area with other top military commanders Wednesday to survey the digging operation.

“The effort to expose and neutralize terror tunnels will continue as needed,” the military said in a statement.



Netanyahu: In Syria, IDF is fighting against Iran alone
Israel needs economic strength to maintain its military might, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told an economic conference on Monday, adding that the Israeli military was the only army currently fighting against Israel's archenemy, Iran.

Speaking at the Globes Business Conference, Netanyahu said that "without military strength, they'll just slaughter you. With or without an economy they'll slaughter you. There's no choice – you need military might. And that costs money. Therefore, we need additional power in the form of economic strength."

"My plan is to strengthen Israel because the strong survive," Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu also said that to fund its military requirements, Israel needed a free market.

"You can't do it without liberalizing the economy," he said. "We've made important reforms that have increased equality. In the past, Israel was ranked second to last in measurable equality, and now we're improving [in the rankings]."

Referring to unsuccessful efforts to galvanize a popular protest movement in Israel against the rising cost of living, Netanyahu remarked: "Do you know why the yellow vest protest isn't catching on? The minimum wage in Israel is higher, in absolute terms, than in France. Contrary to reports, the price of electricity won't increase by 8% – maybe just by a few percentage points."
Netanyahu ahead of U.N. debate: Hezbollah puts all of Lebanon at risk
Hezbollah’s attack tunnels are not just an act of aggression, but an act of war that is also putting the Lebanese people in jeopardy, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday, four hours before the UN Security Council met to discuss the issue.

“It is important to understand what Hezbollah is doing here,” Netanyahu said in an English statement to journalists.”It's targeting Israeli civilians, while hiding behind Lebanese civilians -- That's a double war crime.”

Asked at an impromptu press conference after the statement what message he had for the people of Lebanon, Netanyahu replied: “Hezbollah is putting you in great jeopardy, you should act in your own defense and roll them back, fight Hezbollah for the future of Lebanon."

Netanyahu, who was keen on delivering a message before the Security Council meeting, said that while Israel does not know if the Lebanese Army was aware of Hezbollah's tunnel project “in real time,” now that it does know, it is not taking any action against it.

“They should be there, they should be going to the entry of these tunnels, they should be uncovering them and neutralizing them , they are not doing that. It is their obligation to do so,” he said.

The Lebanese Army has been a “total failure,” he said. “They failed to take action to control their own territory, they failed to take action to prevent the use of their territory against the territory of a neighboring state, and they failed to dislodge the tyrannical Hezbollah.. They haven't even tried,” he said.
Israeli PM Netanyahu Says Hezbollah Shuttered Precision-Guided Missile Plants After Exposure
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah had shut down plants to develop precision-guided missiles after Israel exposed them, and currently had at most just “a few dozen” of the weapons.

There was no immediate comment from Hezbollah, which fought a war with Israel in 2006.

Netanyahu has accused Hezbollah — a Shi’a proxy of the Iranian regime — of developing and stockpiling weapons capable of targeting his country’s key infrastructure.

In a Sept. 7 speech to the United Nations, he named three locations near Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport where he said the group was turning “inaccurate projectiles” into precision-guided missiles.

At the time, Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, a political ally of Hezbollah, dismissed Israel‘s accusations and accused Netanyahu of trying to “justify another aggression” against Lebanon.

Netanyahu told an economic conference on Wednesday: “Those sites near the Beirut airport, the underground sites for precision conversion of missiles, which (Israeli) military intelligence gave me, to expose, those sites were closed.”

“They are trying to open other sites,” he said, without elaborating on where they might be located. “But through these measures we are denying them precision arms,” Netanyahu added.

Hezbollah had hoped to obtain “thousands of precision-guided missile (but) they have, at most, a few dozen,” he said.




Hillel Neuer Visits Hezbollah Terror Tunnels Ahead of UN Security Council Meeting


Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, presents IDF new findings about Hezbollah Attack Tunnel
IDF Spokesperson for International Media, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, presents new IDF findings about the fourth Hezbollah attack tunnel dug from Lebanon into Israel prior to the Israeli PM's statement ahead of the UN Security Council discussion of Hezbollah's terrorist tunnels which violate Israeli sovereignty and UNSC Resolution 1701.


Hizbullah TV Report: South Lebanese Organize BBQ on Border to Ridicule Israeli Anti-Tunnel Activity
On December 10, 2018, Al-Manar TV (Lebanon) aired a report showing the locals of a town on the Israel-Lebanon border having a barbeque to mock the Israeli army's anti-tunnel activity on the border. The locals, who are from the Mays Al-Jabal border town, raised a Lebanese flag near the Blue Line in the presence of Lebanese MP Qasem Hashem. The reporter said that a "battle of wills" took place between the Israeli and Lebanese armies when the Israeli soldiers aimed their rifles at the locals and the Lebanese soldiers aimed theirs at the Israeli soldiers. The report said that the Israeli soldiers eventually acquiesced and lowered their weapons in accordance with the Al-Naqura Understandings.


US targets Hamas, Hezbollah with anti-human shield legislation
The US House of Representatives passed legislation targeting those who use “human shields” in military confrontations with Israel. The tactic is often employed by Palestinian terrorist group Hamas and the Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah organization, who Israel says conceal their arsenals in civilian structures such as schools, homes and hospitals.

The legislation—titled the “Sanctioning of the Use of Civilians as Defenseless Shields Act”—passes to the Senate, where it is set to be approved, before heading to President Donald Trump to be signed into law.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lobbying group and the Christians United for Israel organization pushed for the bill, which has received bipartisan support.

“This is the first time Congress has taken legislative action against this heinous practice,” AIPAC wrote in a statement. “The importance of this (bill) is underscored by the recent discovery of Hezbollah terror tunnels into Israel that originated under the cover of civilian houses in Lebanon. And just weeks ago—using the cover of civilian populations in Gaza—Hamas fired more than 500 rockets at communities across southern Israel.”

The legislation calls for sanctions on members of terrorist groups or foreign state actors that deliberately place civilians in harm’s way.

For example, Israel alleges that Hamas regularly uses supposedly neutral locations such as hospitals and UNWRA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) schools to store caches of rockets, forcing the Israeli military to strike these targets. By ramping up civilian casualties, Hamas hopes to turn world opinion against Israel.
GOP senators pitch resolution to recognize Israeli sovereignty of Golan Heights
Two Republican senators introduced a resolution on Tuesday calling for the US to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton drafted the motion, which claims that Israel’s national security depends upon its permanent control of the territory. Otherwise, the text says, Israel will be vulnerable to attacks from Syria and Lebanon.

“Israel’s northern border is threatened by Iranian forces and their proxies in Lebanon and Syria, including Hezbollah’s 150,000 rockets, armed drones, newly discovered terror tunnels, and more,” said Senators Cruz and Cotton in a statement. “Meanwhile, with the ayatollahs’ help, Bashar al-Assad’s regime is on the verge of securing victory in Syria’s civil war. He may soon turn his attention back to threatening the Jewish state.”

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War and annexed the territory in the early 1980s. But the United States and the international community have long considered it Syrian territory under Israeli occupation.

In recent years, Israel has tried to convince Washington to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the area and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly stressed that Israel will control the territory “forever.”

In June, Yesh Atid party chairman Yair Lapid met with high-level American lawmakers, urging them to advance the issue.
CAMERA Op-Ed The U.N.’s Anti-Israel Bias Isn’t Up For Debate
“Everyone,” the late New York senator and diplomat Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said, “is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” However, some journalists seem too willing to conflate the two—and too willing to ignore reality when it’s staring them in the face. Media coverage of the United Nation’s anti-Israel animus proves this point.

On Dec. 6, 2018 the United Nations General Assembly failed to pass a resolution condemning Hamas, the U.S.-designated terrorist group that rules the Gaza Strip. Hamas’s charter approvingly cites Adolf Hitler and calls for Israel’s destruction and the genocide of Jews. After extensive pro-Hamas lobbying by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)—itself a former U.S.-designated terror group with American and Israeli blood on its hands—the resolution condemning the Gazan terror group “for repeatedly firing rockets into Israel and for inciting violence, thereby putting civilians at risk,” failed.

The resolution, entitled “Activities of Hamas and Other Militant Groups in Gaza,” actually received a majority of the votes. But thanks to a preceding measure requiring a two-thirds majority, it fell short.

The U.N., of course, was founded due to a Nazi war of aggression that had the elimination of world Jewry as a chief objective. Yet, today’s U.N. attacks the Jewish state ad nauseam. And it’s not an opinion to say as much—it’s a fact. But some press outlets pretend otherwise.

For example, The Washington Post’s report on the General Assembly vote described the U.N’s “anti-Israel bias” as merely “perceived.” And The Post, among other newspapers, has often minimized the U.N.’s institutional mistreatment of Israel by presenting it as merely a claim by “Israel and its supporters.” But in this case perception is reality—and the numbers say as much.

In 2018, the U.N. General Assembly passed 21 resolutions condemning Israel, and a mere 6 for the rest of the world, according to U.N. Watch, a Geneva-based NGO that monitors the international body. Israel, a democracy, was condemned seven times more than the brutal North Korean dictatorship, which still runs gulags, and was the subject of a mere 3 resolutions. Indeed, just on Nov. 15, 2018 the General Assembly adopted nine resolutions against Israel—all while ignoring human rights situations in China, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Turkey and Pakistan, for example.

One of those resolutions even condemned Israel for “repressive measures” against the Syrian people, although the U.N. itself has largely failed to condemn or punish Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad for murdering his own people en masse.


New Zealand government’s ‘vile abstention’.
Despite a majority in favour of what would have been a historic resolution condemning terror against Israel, it was not adopted because the general assembly voted to require a two-thirds majority. The United States ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, pointed out that the demand for a two-thirds majority was a double-standard since no such demand was made on anti-Israel resolutions.

Shamefully, New Zealand’s representative at the UN abstained, unlike most other democratic countries, on whether the double-standard be allowed. The motion passed with 75 countries in favour and 72 against. Hillel Neuer, director of UN Watch, tweeted that, in abstaining, New Zealand had “aided terror”.

The Israel Institute of New Zealand demanded answers from the government about who made the decision and what the rationale was for what Mr Neuer has called a “vile abstention” and which International lawyer, Arsen Ostrovsky, tweeted was a “cowardly action” that “directly led to defeat of ultimate resolution to condemn Hamas.”
Clifford D. May: A modest Mideast détente
Perhaps former U.S. President Barack Obama deserves that Nobel Peace Prize after all. His achievement: bringing Israelis and Arabs closer together. He produced that result by throwing both under the bus. While there, they had coffee and a little baklava and recognized how much they actually have in common.

Evidence of this modest détente: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's October meeting with Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said in Oman's picturesque capital. The two men spent 10 hours in the royal palace, discussing affairs of state, dining, and enjoying a musical performance. Photos of them warmly shaking hands were made available to the media.

Not long after, the Israeli national anthem was played for the first time in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, as an Israeli athlete accepted a gold medal at an international judo tournament. Accompanying him was Sport Minister Miri Regev. She broke into tears.

Earlier this year, Bahrain came out in support of Israel's right to defend itself from Iranian forces in Syria. Over the weekend, the Bahraini foreign minister defended Australia's recognition of west Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Bahrain's king, Hamad bin Khalifa, even opposes economic boycotts of the Jewish state. Saudi Arabia cooperates with Israel on intelligence, cybersecurity and other issues.
Yisrael Beytenu bill aims to deduct 'martyr payments' from PA funds
Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Lieberman and four members of his party presented a bill to the Knesset on Tuesday seeking to deduct the amount of money the Palestinian Authority pays terrorists and their families from tax revenues Israel collects for the Palestinian Authority, aiming to amend the current policy of merely freezing the funds.

The current law, authored by MKs Avi Dichter (Likud) and Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid), was enacted only six months ago. Stern said the frozen Palestinian tax revenue would be set aside, giving the Israeli government discretion on whether to ultimately hand it over to the Palestinians at a later date.

The policy was enacted to combat the Palestinian practice of paying wages to the families of terrorists who are killed while perpetrating attacks or are jailed in Israeli prisons.

A previous version of the legislation stipulated the money would go to Israeli victims of Palestinian attacks, but it was scrapped due to potential legal complications.

The introduction to the Yisrael Beytenu bill explains that the proposed legislation is "designed to rectify the absurd situation in which rather than deducting the money paid for terrorism against the citizens of Israel, the Israeli government opens a 'savings account' for the Palestinian Authority, which will only be used to increase terrorism."
MKs give initial okay to evicting terror suspects’ families from their homes
Lawmakers gave initial approval Wednesday to controversial legislation that would allow Israel to forcibly relocate the families of Palestinian terrorists from their homes to other areas of the West Bank.

The bill was approved in its preliminary reading by a majority of 61 to 47 following a heated debate and despite vehement opposition from Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit.

According to the proposed legislation by Jewish Home MK Moti Yogev, within a week of an attack or attempted attack, the IDF’s Central Command will be permitted to expel the relatives of suspected Palestinian assailants from their hometowns to other parts of the West Bank.

The explanatory text accompanying the bill touts Israel’s deterrence as “the cornerstone of Israeli security and a way to save lives and uphold law and order.”
What Will Happen if the Palestinian Authority Collapses?
The Aftermath

In the situation described above, some of the involved parties are likely to benefit from a Jordanian intervention. The Palestinian residents will welcome it because it will restore order and livable conditions. Israel will welcome it because it will stabilize the general situation in PA areas and impose a more stringent security environment against acts of armed violence. For Amman, in the short term at least, these developments will mean trouble and heightened risks. However, there are substantial medium- and long-term benefits for Jordan.

Israel, the US, and some of the surrounding Arab states can do much to signal to Jordan their willingness to provide and protect those benefits, which include:
  • Jordan’s temporary administrative custody of Areas A and B would bring order and livable conditions back to the population, and would stem (and likely reverse) the exodus of Palestinian residents.
  • Regional players, including the US, will provide substantial financial, diplomatic, and military support for Jordan in its efforts to handle the crisis.
  • A long-term reduction in the tension between Jordan and Israel will be achieved. This tension is a periodic scourge resulting from the confrontational approach of the PA towards Israel. Israeli-Jordanian cooperation is crucial for the kingdom’s survival. For decades, the PA has played a corrosive role between the two governments. Its removal will place this vital relationship on a much surer footing.
  • Last but not least, Jordan cannot afford to yield the political affiliation or loyalty of a substantial part of its citizenry to a government in Ramallah. If, as some contend, a majority of Jordan’s citizens self-identify as Palestinians, a Palestinian polity in the form of a fully-fledged sovereign state (or even an autonomous region) will concretize a fatal division in the kingdom’s makeup.
Poll shows Hamas leader would defeat Abbas to win Palestinian elections
A public opinion poll shows that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas would lose to the leader of the Hamas terror group if elections were held today.

The poll conducted by prominent pollster Khalil Shikaki and released Tuesday shows that Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh would win with 49 percent to Abbas’s 42%.

Shikaki links the results to a perceived Hamas win in its latest confrontation with Israel and dissatisfaction with Abbas’s government, particularly over a new social security law.

The poll interviewed 1,200 people in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and had a 3% margin of error.

Abbas’s Fatah faction and Hamas are bitter rivals. Palestinian elections were last held in 2006 and have been repeatedly delayed since.

Abbas has long said he opposes violence against Israelis and supports peaceful protest against Israel’s military control in the West Bank. The PA cooperates closely with Israeli security, while Hamas has fought three wars with the Jewish state since 2008.
Arab League urges Australia, Brazil to change stance on Jerusalem
The Arab League on Tuesday adopted a resolution calling on Australia and Brazil to “abide by international law” concerning the status of Jerusalem.

It comes after Brazil’s president-elect Jair Bolsonaro announced in November his intention to move his country’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

And on Saturday Australia announced its recognition of West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, although an embassy shift from Tel Aviv will not occur until a peace settlement is achieved.

The Arab League decided Tuesday to dispatch a “high-ranking delegation” to Brazil and Australia to inform officials there of the need to “abide by international law” concerning Jerusalem.
US ‘quickly’ pulling out troops from Syria as Trump says IS ‘defeated’
The United States will withdraw its troops from Syria, a US official told AFP on Wednesday, after President Donald Trump said America has “defeated ISIS” in the war-ravaged country.

The stunning move will have extraordinary geopolitical ramifications and could fuel Israeli concerns that its enemies — primarily Iran — could gain a further foothold in the neighboring country through its various proxies.

“We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency,” the Republican president tweeted, referring to the Islamic State group.

The US official said Trump’s decision was finalized Tuesday.

“Full withdrawal, all means all,” the official said when asked if the troops would be pulled from all of Syria.

Currently, about 2,000 US forces are in Syria, most of them on a train-and-advise mission to support local forces fighting IS.

The official would not provide a timeline for a withdrawal, saying only: “We will ensure force protection is adequately maintained, but as quickly as possible.”

Responding to the reports, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders appeared to confirm a pullout.
Officials: Hebron observer force engaged in misconduct for years
The Temporary International Presence in Hebron has a long record of misconduct resulting in repeated complaints submitted to the Foreign Ministry, Israel Hayom has learned.

The Temporary International Presence in Hebron, or ‎‎‎TIPH, is a civilian observer mission that was established ‎‎‎in the wake of the 1994 Cave of the Patriarchs ‎‎‎massacre, in which Jewish terrorist Baruch Goldstein ‎‎‎killed 29 Muslim worshippers and wounded 125 others ‎‎‎as they gathered for a prayer service inside the ‎‎‎holy site. ‎

The TIPH mission, which comprises personnel from ‎Italy, Norway, ‎Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey, was ‎originally established at the behest of the Israeli ‎government and the Palestinian Authority, with aim ‎of monitoring and recording any violation of ‎international humanitarian law.‎

Recently, however, a growing number ‎of complaints have alleged that the observers are ‎systematically and violently targeting the Jewish ‎community in Hebron. ‎

According to security officials, TIPH has been overstepping its mandate by providing tours to foreign diplomats in the city. The tours, they say, are biased against Israel.

Israel Defense Forces official have also alerted on multiple occasions that the observer force is privy to classified Israeli operations in Hebron and occasionally interferes with the IDF's activity with their presence.
Minister said to freeze Palestinian produce imports, defying security warning
Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel has ordered an indefinite freeze on imports of Palestinian agricultural goods into Israel, Hadashot TV news reported Tuesday.

The decision, taken by Ariel without consultation with other government bodies or security officials, means Palestinian farmers will no longer be able to send 280-300 tons of produce each day to Israeli sellers, costing the beleaguered Palestinian economy as much as NIS 1 million ($260,000) daily.

The move is likely not final. It is opposed by the security services and can be overturned by the cabinet and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

According to Ariel, the decision is a response to a Palestinian Authority order to Palestinian meat purveyors to stop buying lamb from Israeli suppliers — an order that violates standing agreements between Israel and the PA.

Agriculture Ministry officials at Israel’s border crossings, including the checkpoints out of the West Bank, have the authority to approve or reject agricultural products being moved through the crossing.

Ariel’s order to those officials comes at a sensitive time in the West Bank, as Israel’s security services work with the PA to restore calm to the West Bank after a spike in terror attacks over the past week which Israel has pinned on the Hamas terror group.
PA threatens to boycott Israeli produce in response to possible Israeli ban
The Palestinian Authority threatened Wednesday to boycott Israeli produce if Israel moves ahead with a reported ban on Palestinian fruits and vegetables.

On Tuesday, Israel’s Hadashot TV news reported that Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel had decided to indefinitely freeze imports of Palestinian produce into Israel.

It is unclear if Ariel’s decision is final and whether it requires the cabinet’s approval for implementation. He made it without notifying the cabinet, security sources told Hadashot.

“If it is proven there is an official Israeli decision to ban [Palestinian fruit and vegetable imports], the Agriculture Ministry will deal with [Israeli fruit and vegetable imports] in kind,” the PA Agriculture Ministry said in a statement posted on its Facebook page.

Ariel’s decision, if final, would mean Palestinian farmers would no longer be able to send 280-300 tons of produce each day to Israeli sellers, costing the Palestinian economy as much as NIS 1 million daily, the Hadashot report said, without citing a source.

The move constitutes a “death blow” for the Palestinian economy, a source in the Israeli Agriculture Ministry said to the television station.
UN announces cuts in food aid to Gaza, West Bank
The UN’s World Food Programme said Wednesday that it was making cuts in food aid to over 190,000 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, citing a funding shortfall.

As of January 1, the organization will suspend food assistance to 27,000 people in the West Bank, and reduce it by 20 percent to 165,000 people in the West Bank and Gaza, the Reuters news agency reported.

“WFP has been forced, unfortunately, to make drastic cuts to the number of people that we support across Palestine,” Stephen Kearney, the program’s coordinator for the West Bank and Gaza told the news agency.

“It’s not just WFP, it’s across the whole humanitarian community as donor contributions significantly fall,” he said.

Kearney added that the program would need $57 million to maintain the current level of aid for 360,000 Palestinians in 2019.

The United Nations on Monday urged donor states to give $350 million in aid for Palestinians in 2019, saying it needed more but had to be “realistic” following deep US cuts.
Antisemitic Friday Sermon on PA TV: Allah Turned Jews into Apes and Pigs
On December 14, 2018, Palestine TV (Palestinian Authority) aired a sermon delivered by Sheikh Osama Al-Tibi at the Taqwa Mosque in Al-Tira, near Ramallah. Sheikh Al-Tibi said that the Jews have not changed throughout history despite Muslim attempts at peace. He said that he does not claim to be able to mention all of the Jews' despicable traits, and that they are accursed, tyrannical, cowardly, and humiliated violators of agreements who spread discord and corruption, conspire against humanity, bare their fangs at every opportunity, and with whom humanity can never coexist. He said that Allah turned them into apes and pigs, and that their vile and filthy genes are passed down from one generation of Jews to the next. He explained that this is the reason that Europe, America, and other countries "vomited the Jews out" and threw them to the Arabs and Muslims. Sheikh Al-Tibi added that the conflict between the Jews and Muslims will continue until Judgment Day, when the Jews will hide behind the rocks and the trees, which will call to the Muslims to kill the Jews.






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