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Netanyahu warns Assad thru Moscow: Don't let Iran have bases Nov 26, 2017 @ 22:11 air base, Bashar Assad, Binyamin Netanyahu, Russia

Syrian military targets will be attacked if you let Iran set up bases in Syria, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned Syrian ruler Bashar Assad via Moscow. This was reported Sunday night, Nov. 26 by senior officials in Jerusalem. The Israeli message, in an effect an ultimatum, notified the Syrian ruler that if he allowed Iran to establish bases in his country, Israel would abandon its policy of non-intervention in the Syrian war, which it has upheld throughout the entire six-year conflict, and not hesitate to strike at the Syrian army and other targets buttressing his regime in Damascus.

This is the first time Israel has ever sent an ultimatum to the Assad regime.

According to Jerusalem sources, it was conveyed through Russian intermediaries. They did not specify who those intermediaries were, but other sources put forward the names of Nikolai Patrushev, Russian National Security Adviser, or Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov.

DEBKAfile's military sources add that Netanyahu took this pre-emptive step after learning that Tehran is pressing Assad to make available for its use the T-4 Tiyas Military Airbase, which is located between Homs and Palmyra. T-4 is Syria's largest air force facility. It had become evident that the Trump administration has no intention of making any moves in Syria to prevent Iran's military establishment in the country and had washed its hands of Syria in general.

Moscow made it clear that the Iranian presence was at the invitation of the Assad regime, and therefore legitimate. Therefore, Israel saw that to save itself from being presented with this peril establishing itself just across its northern body, it would have to take matters in its own hands.

US Kowtows to Palestinians and Reverses Decision to Close Washington PLO Office November 25, 2017 8:21 AM

VOA News

FILE- The Washington office of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Nov. 18, 2017.The State Department said Friday that the office can stay open, with restrictions.
FILE- The Washington office of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Nov. 18, 2017.The State Department said Friday that the office can stay open, with restrictions.

The U.S. has reversed its decision that would have closed the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) office in Washington.

The U.S. said last week the PLO had to close its office because the organization had violated a little-known provision in U.S. law prohibiting a PLO Washington office if the organization asked the International Criminal Court to investigate Israelis or prosecute Israelis for crimes against Palestinians.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas asked the international court earlier this year to "open an investigation and to prosecute Israeli officials for their involvement in settlement activities and aggressions against our people."

Mustafa Barghouti, a Palestinian legislator, told the Associated Press that the U.S. made a "correct" decision in reversing its original choice. He said the first decision should not have been made because "the United States cannot play the role of a mediator and at the same time take the side of the Israelis against the Palestinians ...We cannot have peace in this region if the United States government continues to be biased to the Israeli positions."

A State Department spokesman says the U.S. has "advised the PLO Office to limit its activities to those related to achieving a lasting, comprehensive peace between the Israelis and Palestinians."

US changes course, allows PLO office to remain open

Days after insisting PLO's Washington office must close, U.S. State Department says instead it has advised the office to limit its activities in next 90 days "to those related to achieving a lasting, comprehensive peace" between Israel, Palestinians. Associated Press and Israel Hayom Staff

The PLO's Washington office |
Photo: AP

U.S President Donald Trump's administration has backtracked on its decision to order the Palestinian Liberation Organization's office in Washington to close, instead saying it will merely impose limitations that it expects will be lifted after 90 days.

Last week, U.S. officials said the PLO mission could not stay open because the Palestinians had violated a provision in U.S. law requiring the office to close if the Palestinians call on the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israelis. The move triggered a major rift in U.S.-Palestinian relations that threatened to scuttle Trump's ambitious effort to broker a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

The United States delayed shuttering the office for a week while saying it was working out the details with the Palestinians, before abruptly reversing course late Friday, as many Americans were enjoying the long Thanksgiving Day weekend. State Department spokesman Edgar Vasquez said the U.S. had "advised the PLO office to limit its activities to those related to achieving a lasting, comprehensive peace between the Israelis and Palestinians."

Vasquez said even those restrictions will be lifted after 90 days if the U.S. determines the Israelis and Palestinians are engaged in serious peace talks. In an effort led by Trump adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, the White House has been preparing a comprehensive peace plan to present to both sides in the coming months.

"We therefore are optimistic that at the end of this 90-day period, the political process may be sufficiently advanced that the president will be in a position to allow the PLO office to resume full operations," Vasquez said.

The reversal marked a serious departure from the administration's interpretation of the law only a week earlier. Officials said then that one way or another, the office had to close because Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had called on the ICC to investigate and prosecute Israelis. That same law, though, says that the president can let the office reopen after 90 days despite an ICC push if serious Israeli-Palestinian talks are deemed to be underway.

Asked how the Trump administration explains its new interpretation of what must happen if the Palestinians call for an ICC investigation, Vasquez said, "These actions are consistent with the president's authorities to conduct the foreign relations of the United States."

There were no indications that the Trump administration had initially moved to close the office as part of a premeditated strategy to strengthen its hand in eventual peace talks.

Instead, officials explained the move by saying Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in a strict interpretation of the law, determined that Abbas' speech had crossed the legal line.

The chaos that ensued, with the U.S. unable for several days to explain if the office was truly closing and when, indicated it had caught much of the government off guard.

The move led the Palestinians to issue an angry response last weekend threatening to suspend all communication with the U.S. Additionally, senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat accused the U.S. of bowing to pressure from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government "at a time when we are trying to cooperate to achieve the ultimate deal."

Vasquez said the original position had never been intended to create leverage or impose pressure. The State Department said that the administration is actively working to pursue lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace.

The requirement about the mission closing stems from a little-known provision in U.S. law that says the U.S. cannot allow the Palestinians to have a Washington office if they back the ICC's move to investigate or prosecute Israeli nationals for alleged crimes against Palestinians.

Speaking at the United Nations in September, Abbas said that the Palestinians had "called on the International Criminal Court to open an investigation and to prosecute Israeli officials for their involvement in settlement activities and aggressions against our people."

The PLO is the group that formally represents all Palestinians. Although the U.S. does not recognize Palestinian statehood, the PLO maintains a "general delegation" office in Washington that facilitates Palestinian officials' interactions with the U.S. government.

The United States allowed the PLO to open a mission in Washington in 1994, after then-President Bill Clinton waived a law that said the Palestinians could not have an office. In 2011, under the Obama administration, the U.S. started letting the Palestinians fly their flag over the office, an upgrade to the status of their mission that the Palestinians hailed as historic.

Israel opposes any Palestinian membership in U.N.-related organizations until a peace deal has been reached.

The Israelis and Palestinians are not engaged in active, direct negotiations. But Trump's team, led by Kushner, is working to broker a deal aimed at settling the intractable conflict.

The Trump administration has not disclosed details about its effort to achieve an agreement that ostensibly would grant the Palestinians an independent state in exchange for an end to its conflict with the Israelis. Kushner and other top Trump aides have been shuttling to the region to meet with Palestinians, Israelis and officials from Arab nations.

Rabin assassin Yigal Amir files request for retrial

22 years after Prime Minister's assassination, Yigal Amir calls for retrial. Contact Editor
JTA, 26/11/17 20:50

Yigal Amir
Yigal AmirFlash 90

JTA - Yigal Amir, who assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in November 1995, has filed a request for a retrial.

The request was filed with Israel's Supreme Court on Sunday, after Amir met with his attorney, Gabi Shachar, in prison. During the meeting Amir reportedly signed the documents necessary to request the retrial, Hadashot news reported.

Amir, 47, was sentenced to life in solitary confinement in prison for the assassination, which took place after a rally in Tel Aviv.

Amir confessed to shooting Prime Minister Rabin and reenacted it for police. He opposed Rabin's territorial concessions, a condition of the Oslo Accords, which Rabin signed with Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat.

Amir's wife, Larissa Trimbobler, whom he married in a proxy ceremony while in prison, in a Facebook post a week ago said that Amir would seek a retrial and in a second post a day later wrote that Amir's defense lawyers have evidence that the bullets he fired at Rabin did not cause his death.

Amir's lawyer on Sunday would not say whether he would present new evidence, according to Hadashot news. "At this stage I'm not going to detail the evidence," he said.

Yigal Amir, Yitzhak Rabin, Rabin assassination

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Israel's main hiking trail to pass through Judea and Samaria

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin says new, expanded route will improve Israel's national hiking trail and increase tourism in Israel's periphery - National hiking trail stretches from Israel's border with Lebanon in the north to southernmost tip in Eilat. Shlomo Cesana and Israel Hayom Staff

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin |
Photo: Oren Ben Hakoon

The government was expected to adopt a historic decision on Sunday to expand Israel's 1,200-kilometer (746-mile) national hiking trail to pass through Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights.

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin proposed extending the popular Israel National Trail so that it passes through the capital and historically and religiously significant areas beyond the Green Line. The government was expected to announce the establishment of an interministerial team to formulate a strategic plan for expanding the trail. The team, to be headed by Tourism Ministry Director General Amir Halevy, will include Negev and Galilee Development Ministry Director General Ariel Mashaal, Jewish National Fund Director General Danny Atar, and Israel Nature and Parks Authority head Shaul Goldstein.

Inaugurated in 1995, the Israel National Trail stretches from near Israel's border with Lebanon in the north to Israel's southernmost tip on the Red Sea in Eilat. In 2012, National Geographic included the Israel National Trail in its list of the world's 20 best hikes. According to the magazine, the trail "delves into the grand scale of biblical landscapes as well as the everyday lives of modern Israelis" and "powerfully connects to … the sublime beauty of the wilderness of the Middle East."

According to Levin, the expansion of the trail's route will both improve the trail and increase tourism in Israel's periphery.

"The decision to establish a tourism trail that runs along the length and breadth of Israel is an important decision, given the all-time record-breaking incoming tourism to Israel and the efforts to add tourist attractions that will serve visitors to and travelers in Israel," he said.

Back to home page       |       Newsletters from: finally coming to Israel

Online superstore to open shipping center in Israel, create special Amazon Israel website, reducing shipping times, expenses, import taxes. Contact Editor
David Rosenberg, 26/11/17 18:26


The world's largest online retailer may be finally opening up operations in Israel, in a move that could lower shipping prices, waiting times, and import fees for Israeli consumers – while also placing greater pressure on traditional brick-and-mortar retailers., the Seattle-based online marketplace, is currently in talks to open up its first shipping center in Israel, Calcalist reported on Sunday.

While the now ubiquitous retail giant began as an online book, music, and computer software store, Amazon has since expanded to a wide range of consumer goods, from food and clothing to car parts, toys, and appliances.

After hitting the US market in 1995, Amazon has expanded across the globe, opening shipping centers across North America, Europe, Australia, India, China, and Japan.

Shoppers outside of the above regions have also fueled the company's expansion, with international orders increasingly able to compete with domestic retailers.

Until now, however, Israeli consumers, like many other international customers, have been limited by shipping costs and other restrictions, which leave some products unavailable or excessively expensive to import.

While US customers often have the option of guaranteed one or two-day shipping times, international shipments to Israel can take weeks – and are often slowed by delays at Israel's import and customs authority. While free shipping is available on many items in the US, extra international shipping charges apply to all orders to Israel, as do Value Added Tax charges for all orders over $75, as well as import tax fees on shipments over $500.

According to sources with first-hand knowledge of the negotiations, however, Amazon is planning to open its first Middle East shipping center in Israel, with an eye on the Modi'in area on Highway 443.

The company is interested in building a storage center with 270,000 square feet or more of storage space, and will launch a separate website catering to the Israeli market.

Earlier this year, Amazon announced it was opening new offices in Israel for its research and development operations.

If Amazon does open the shipping center in Israel, the move would likely accelerate the trend away from brick-and-mortar stores towards online retailers. Israeli shoppers are expected to spend some $4 billion by the year's end online, an 18% increase over 2016. With reduced restrictions on items, shipping times, and import fees, an Amazon shipping center in Israel could lead to a multi-billion dollar increase in annual online sales in Israel, a senior Israeli logistics company executive told Calcalist.

"A direct local presence can double or even triple its activity in Israel, generating billions of shekels a year from local consumers."

As for the dreaded Value Added Tax, however, Israeli consumers are unlikely to find relief even from the expansion of Amazon operations in Israel, with shipments processed in Israel liable for the same 17% flat rate imposed on all consumer goods in Israel.

Argentina's Jews had key role in Eichmann's capture, Mossad agent says


Like clouds and wind: A secret study into Mossad's failed Nazi hunt >
Ben Kingsley playing Adolf Eichmann in film about the Nazi's capture by Israel

November 25, 2017 05:35
"The Jewish community helped. It's not something we publish but the Jewish community certainly helped... " 2 minute read.

Adolf Eichmann Israel

Adolf Eichmann sits during his trial in Jerusalem, 1961.. (photo credit:REUTERS,REBECCA FRIEDMAN,REPUBBLICA CONFERENCE/PR)

Argentina's Jewish community gave Israel's spy agency all the cars and some of the safe houses used to abduct the Nazi murderer Adolf Eichmann, a Mossad agent revealed.

Career Mossad agent Avner Avraham revealed this information, ending decades of official secrecy around the exact role of the Jewish Community of Argentina in Operation Finale, in which Mossad agents flew Eichmann from Buenos Aires to Israel in 1960 to be tried for his role in murdering hundreds of thousands of Jews during the Holocaust, for which he hanged in 1962.

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"The Jewish community helped. It's not something we publish but the Jewish community certainly helped the Mossad with vehicles and also with safe houses," Avraham said during a lecture he delivered earlier this month at the Mahar conference on Balkan Jews, which the Jewish community of Montenegro organized with help from the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress in the coastal city of Budva.

Efraim Zuroff, a leading hunter of Nazis for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told JTA that, to his knowledge, the extent of the Jewish community's involvement in Eichmann's capture – an episode which led to the Israeli ambassador's expulsion from Buenos Aires and a rupture in bilateral relations – had previously not been widely known.

"It was known that there was some involvement, but not exactly what," he said.

Trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in Israeli court in 1961
Trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in Israeli court in 1961

Avraham in 2011 curated with permission from Mossad an exhibition on Eichmann's capture – a watershed moment in Israel that many scholars identify as the episode that prompted open debate about the genocide in Israel, where it had been something of a taboo for its traumatic effects.

The exhibition, "Operation Finale: The Capture & Trial of Adolf Eichmann," features a photograph of the car that was used to transport Eichmann to a safe house from the site of his abduction. The Mossad had three cars there that night.

Whereas a small number of Argentine Jews willingly helped Mossad (although they were not told exactly what the cars and safe houses were needed for, according to Avraham) at least one, Luba Volk, was used by the spy agency without her knowledge, the agent said.

The wife of an engineer who worked in an Argentine factory, Volk was offered shortly before the abduction to head a regional office for Israel's national airline, El Al, which was set up solely to handle the Nazi's transportation to Israel. A stay-at-home mother of a three year old son, she happily accepted the offer from an El Al employee – who also didn't know the real purpose of the new regional office.

She came under surveillance by local authorities after the abduction and there were fears that Nazis in Argentina might try to hurt her, so the Israeli foreign ministry advised her to leave with her husband, Aryeh Volk, who was fired following the Eichmann abduction, and their son for Uruguay.

"Unfortunately, and I'm very sorry to say this, the Mossad didn't really take care of her," Avraham said.

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