Most Israelis Think Moving U.S. Embassy Will Spark Violence, But Still Say Do It
(Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University
61% of Israeli Jews and Arabs expect the transfer of the American embassy to Jerusalem for Israel's 70th Independence Day will spark a violent Palestinian eruption against Israel, according to the Peace Index survey of March 13-14, 2018, released Thursday.
At the same time, 69% of Israeli Jews said the embassy transfer should not be postponed, while 78% of Israeli Arabs said it should be postponed.
In addition, 70% of Israeli Arabs said they do not expect a violent Palestinian eruption against Israel after PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas retires or passes away.
Turkish Singer Sentenced to 10 Months in Prison for "Insulting Erdogan"
Turkish singer and actress Zuhal Olcay was sentenced to 10 months in jail for "insulting" President Erdogan, Hurriyet
reported on Thursday.
The Istanbul Prosecutor's Office stated that Olcay had made an insulting hand gesture against Erdogan during a concert in Istanbul on Aug. 5, 2016, and had revised lyrics to a song to criticize Erdogan.
The prosecutor sought a four-year prison sentence.
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Palestinian Preparations for the "Great Return March"
(Israeli Intelligence Heritage and Commemoration Center
Senior Hamas figure Isma'il Radwan said the "great return march" events at the Israel-Gaza border would begin on March 30, and the "march of the millions" would be held on May 15.
After tent camps are erected 500 meters from the fence, there will be an effort to enlist masses of Palestinians who will "march toward their lands."
The Silencing of Pro-Israel Students on Campus
- Andrew Pessin and Doron Ben-Atar (Tablet
Campus anti-Israelism does not operate like a genuinely academic movement governed by ordinary intellectual norms (such as objectivity, rigor, and the pursuit of truth) and moral or social norms (such as civility and respect).
A movement governed by those norms would favor freedom of speech and welcome the diversity of views.
But campus anti-Israelists refuse even to consider the possibility that Israel is not entirely evil and that Israeli Jews, being not entirely demonic, have their own legitimate claim to self-determination.
No, anti-Israelism - particularly in its invasions, disruptions, and personal attacks - is about something much darker.
Not dialogue, debate, and free exchange of ideas; not openness, pluralism and diversity, and the pursuit of knowledge that (ought to) characterize the Western university, as well as the civilization of which the university is the heart - but rather: Silencing.
North American Baby Boomers Teach Israeli Kids English
- Ben Sales (JTA
Hodaya Koskas, 14, from Israel, and Barrett Brickell, 71, a retired schoolteacher from Ottawa, Canada, have been video chatting every week since September through Israel Connect,
a program where older North American adults tutor Israeli kids in English once a week via video chat.
For seniors, the program is a relatively easy way to connect with Israel and help kids. For kids, the sessions expand their vocabulary, improve their pronunciation, and introduce them to North American culture.
Brickell, who taught for nearly 20 years, now tutors three kids as part of Israel Connect. "I end up liking them a lot. The time I get to spend with young people is very meaningful to me, and I have a feeling that they enjoy it."
Israel Connect now has 400 volunteer tutors and 500 Israeli high school students from 35 schools, mostly on Israel's periphery.
There is a waiting list of 100 schools that want to join the program. Most of the students' chats happen while they're at school, under a teacher's supervision.
Zambia to Boost Bilateral Relations with Israel
Zambia President Edgar Lungu met Tuesday with Israeli Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman.
He said that bilateral relations between Zambia and Israel should result in economic growth if best practices, especially in agriculture, which Israel has implemented well, are emulated.
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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
- U.S.: Contingency Plans Being Made in Case Iran Nuclear Talks with Europeans Fail - Cindy Saine
The U.S. says it had constructive talks with its European partners last week on changes to the Iran nuclear agreement, but it is making contingency plans in case the talks fail and President Trump decides to pull out of the 2015 deal.
Lead negotiator and State Department Policy Planning Director Brian Hook said Wednesday, "We have had constructive talks with the Europeans...but I can't predict whether we will reach an agreement with them or not....We always have to prepare for any eventuality, and so we are engaged in contingency planning because it would not be responsible not to."
Hook conceded Tehran is in "technical compliance" with the terms of the Iran nuclear agreement, but pointed to a shift in policy, saying the Trump administration is taking into consideration the totality of Iran's actions in the world, including its support for terrorism.
- Israel-Bound Plane Flies over Saudi Arabia for First Time - Oliver Holmes
Saudi Arabia has opened its airspace for the first time to an Israel-bound Air India passenger plane, breaking a 70-year ban on flying over the Arab kingdom.
"This is a historic evening. The Israeli skies are connecting with the Saudi Arabian skies in one direct flight," said Israeli transport minister Yisrael Katz.
"We are celebrating the strengthening relations with India and the first civilian connection with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states."
There was no confirmation that the Israeli flagship carrier El Al will be granted airspace access. Avoiding Saudi Arabia typically adds hours to Israel-bound flights. (Guardian-UK)
- Second U.S.-Funded Counterterrorism Training Center Opens in Jordan
The Jordan Gendarmerie Training Academy, the second U.S.-funded counterterrorism center in the pro-Western kingdom, opened on Thursday in Al-Swaqa. At the center, law enforcement officers from partner countries in the Middle East and beyond can practice shooting, storming hideouts and responding to bomb threats.
Paul Davies, director for the State Department's Office of Anti-Terrorism Assistance, says that additional training centers are to be built in Senegal and Kenya. Earlier this week, Tunisian police officers practiced storming rooms in the new center. (AP-ABC News)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- U.S. Reaches Out to Palestinian Authority Officials Targeted in Gaza Bombing - Michael Wilner
U.S. officials reached out to Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and director of Palestinian intelligence General Majid Faraj in letters last week after they were targets of a bombing during a visit to Gaza. Senior presidential adviser Jared Kushner and special representative for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt wrote:
"We were deeply troubled to hear about the March 13 attack on your motorcade. We are relieved that you are unharmed, and we wish a speedy recovery to your injured staff."
"This attack underscores that only the Palestinian Authority, in cooperation with regional and international partners, can provide Gaza with a freer, more prosperous future in which Gazans can fully utilize their potential. Gaza needs responsible and responsive governance - not militant and extremist groups that seek conflict and are profoundly unfit to govern. Yesterday's incident demonstrates once again that Hamas is profoundly unfit to govern Gaza. Please convey our best wishes for recovery to those injured. Working together, we can bring a better future to all Palestinians." (Jerusalem Post)
See also Palestinians Call to Put U.S. Ambassador Friedman on "Global Terror List" - Khaled Abu Toameh
The Palestinian Authority Ministry of Information in Ramallah on Thursday called for U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman to be added to a "global terror list." (Times of Israel)
- Israel's Quiet Backchannel to the Palestinians - Noa Landau
At the end of last month, following America's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Israeli finance minister and security cabinet member Moshe Kahlon marched into the Muqata in Ramallah with a broad smile on his face, and declared in Arabic, "Rahat a-Quds!" (You've lost Jerusalem!). Those present, familiar with Kahlon's direct but endearing style, responded with forgiving amusement and shook the hand of their guest. It wasn't Kahlon's first visit to Ramallah, or his first meeting with senior Palestinian Authority officials.
Since he became finance minister, he has succeeded in developing a quiet channel with the Palestinian leadership. First it was on the basis of economic cooperation, while later other issues were added. His conversations are sprinkled with the Arabic he learned from his parents. Kahlon is currently Israel's only active diplomatic channel with the Palestinians. (Ha'aretz)
- Greece's Energean to Develop Two Israeli Offshore Natural Gas Fields - Shoshanna Solomon
Greek firm Energean Oil & Gas said Thursday its board has approved its investment to develop the Karish and Tanin natural gas fields off Israel's shores. The two fields are earmarked to supply natural gas to the domestic market. Energean said it has already secured long-term gas agreements with some of the largest private power producers and industrial companies in Israel to purchase the gas. A 90-km. gas pipeline will link a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) facility to the Israeli coast, with the supply of gas starting in 2021.
(Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
Dore Gold told the Valdai conference in Moscow on February 19, 2018:
- "Israel has been taking a strong stand, and will continue to take a strong stand, against the conversion of Syria into a satellite state of Iran, which would be used as a launching pad for aggression against the northern part of my country. As a result, we are prepared to take measures, and active measures, against the supply of advanced weaponry to Iranian proxy forces like Hizbullah, which could alter aspects of the military balance."
- "We have also been concerned about the deployment of a Shiite expeditionary army under Iranian command, made up of Iraqi, Afghan, and other troops, along Israel's northern border, which would be backed by Iranian air and naval bases, which we understand are being planned at the present time."
- Gold added: "It's important to stress that from the point of view of Israel...the Golan Heights will remain under Israeli sovereignty." At that point, Vitaly Naumkin, President of the Institute of Oriental Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences and Advisor to President Putin on Syria, said: "What you said about the Golan contradicts international law."
- Gold responded: "Our claim to the Golan Heights is not in violation of international law....Great international lawyers, after the 1967 Six-Day War, drew a distinction between wars of self-defense and wars of aggression. Taking territory in a war of aggression is a violation of international law. Asserting your rights to territory in a war of self-defense is a whole different story."
- "The Soviet Union sought to have Israel branded as the aggressor after the Six-Day War. They tried it in the General Assembly, but they failed. They tried it in the Security Council, but they failed because it was generally understood by the international community that Israel was acting out of self-defense, and therefore our claim to the Golan Heights is on very strong legal grounds....We are not oblivious to international law. We seek to fulfill international law."
Amb. Dore Gold, president of the Jerusalem Center, is a former Israeli ambassador to the UN and a former director-general of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
See also Time for International Recognition of Israeli Sovereignty in Golan - Dan Lavie
At a Kohelet Policy Forum conference in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, Zvi Hauser, a former cabinet secretary, and Itzik Tsarfati, a former attorney and chairman of the Coalition for the Israeli Golan, presented a policy paper (in Hebrew) that calls for international recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
"Israel has an opportunity to receive recognition of its sovereignty over the Golan as a consequence of the war in Syria," they argue. "Israel must aspire toward international recognition that the 1967 borders are no longer sacrosanct and of the need to change the border in accordance with the current reality on the ground." (Israel Hayom)
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