Newsletter : 20fx0518.txt
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Jordan Hints they'll Wage War with Israel if Judea-Samaria Annexed
Jordan's King Abdullah warned of "massive conflict" between his country and Israel if the
Jewish state proceeds with annexing territory this summer in Judea and Samaria. In an
interview with the German newspaper Der Spiegel, the Jordanian monarch reiterated that a
two-state solution was the "only way forward" as a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian
"What would happen if the Palestinian National Authority collapsed? There would be more
chaos and extremism in the region. If Israel really annexed the West Bank in July, it
would lead to a massive conflict with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan," said Abdullah. He
also suggested that his country could pull out of its peace agreement with Israel. Jordan
and Egypt are the only Arab nations that formally recognize the Jewish state.
"I don't want to make threats and create an atmosphere of loggerheads, but we are
considering all options. We agree with many countries in Europe and the international
community that the law of strength should not apply in the Middle East," said the king.
The comments by the Jordanian leader come as several European nations are pushing for
punitive action against Israel if the country forges ahead with annexation. E.U.
foreign-policy leaders are set to discuss the issue at a virtual meeting on Friday.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a quick visit to Israel last week to meet with Israeli
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz. Pompeo urged
progress on President Donald Trump's Middle East peace plan.
Under the plan's proposal, Israel could push ahead with annexation some 30% of territory
in Judea and Samaria, which includes Israeli settlements and the Jordan Valley, as part of
efforts to resume talks with the Palestinians. In an interview last week, U.S. Ambassador
to Israel David Friedman said that Washington would not oppose Israeli annexation after
Report says Israeli Jets Struck Iran-Backed Fighters in Syria
By World Israel News, Reuters & the Jerusalem Post
Syrian opposition activists said Sunday that unknown warplanes attacked Iran-backed
fighters in eastern Syria near the Iraqi border, killing several of the soldiers. The
strikes late Saturday targeted a base near the border town of Boukamal, killing seven
fighters, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an
opposition war monitor.
Omar Abu Laila, a Europe-based activist from Syria's eastern Deir el-Zour province,
confirmed a strike hit Iran-backed Iraqi fighters in the area but had no exact word on
casualties. The strikes came days after reinforcements were brought into the area from
Iraq, the Observatory and Abu Laila said.
Abu Laila, who runs Deir Ezzor 24, an activist collective that reports on news in the
border area, said Israel was most likely behind the attack, but gave no evidence. Israel
rarely comments on such reports, although it has acknowledged carrying out airstrikes
inside Syria on numerous occasions over the course of Syria's bloody nine-year civil war.
Israel has vowed not to permit the Iranian military to become entrenched in Syria near its
There have recently been several reports of suspected Israeli strikes inside Syria,
including one on May 4 that left 14 Iranian-backed fighters dead, according to the
The strikes, which destroyed a structure inside the base, came just days after Iranian
militias sent reinforcements to the site. The death toll is expected to rise as a number
of people were also reported wounded.
The formerly Iranian-backed and currently Russian-backed Palestinian Liwa al-Quds
(Jerusalem Brigade) militia, which was located in Aleppo, entered the city of Al-Bukamal
in the Deir Ezzor area, in order to take over the headquarters of Iranian militias in the
city after a request by Russia, according to Halab Today.
Earlier this month, alleged Israeli airstrikes targeted a research center and a military
base in Aleppo where Iranian militias are based, the fifth such strike in two weeks,
according to Syrian media. During those strikes, sites in the Deir Ezzor area were also
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that airstrikes that were likely
carried out by Israel targeted the scientific research center in Aleppo where both Iranian
militias and Syrian forces are based, destroying ammunition depots in the area.
Western intelligence sources say Iranian-backed militias have long been entrenched in
Aleppo province where they have bases and a command center and installed advanced weapons,
part of a growing presence across government-controlled Syria. Aleppo was targeted by
alleged Israeli airstrikes last year in March as well.
A regional intelligence source said Israel was stepping up raids in Syria at a time when
world attention and the region, including Syria, were distracted by the coronavirus
Muslim Activist Tells Samaria Council Leader `We Pray for Israeli Sovereignty'
By United With Israel
Last week, Samaria Council Chairman Yossi Dagan hosted several prominent Muslims to mark
the traditional Iftar meal and celebrate Lag b'Omer, Israel National News reported Sunday.
The Iftar meal, held to end the fast each day during the holy month of Ramadan, was
attended by Sheikh Abu Khalil Tamimi of Ramallah, labor leader Mohammed Massad of Jenin,
Israeli-Arab activist Sara Zoabi and several other Muslims whose identities were kept
confidential for fear of reprisals by anti-Israel Palestinians.
The host and his guests discussed the Trump peace plan and its impact as well as other key
issues facing the two sides, including eradicating terror and incitement, and ways promote
peace and cooperation. Zoabi, known for her pro-Israel work, thanked Dagan for the
initiative to bring the two sides together. "I think the deal of the century is the right
thing for Arabs and Israelis," she said. "I know that a large percentage of Palestinians
are interested in the program and applying sovereignty, and even pray for it."
Terror is the result of Palestinian Authority incitement," Dagan said. "We work with local
leaders and sheikhs who oppose the PA and oppose the path of terror. We have disagreements
and there are many things where we see eye to eye," he said, adding shared dialogue was
important for those willing to consider partnering for peace.
Dagan said the Muslims present represented leaders "who are interested in quiet and in
coexistence" and were an "alternative to the murderous Palestinian Authority." The
economic models called for in the Trump plan were already in place in the industrial areas
of Judea and Samaria, Dagan explained, describing the Palestinians who work there as "our
natural partners for co-living here."
Sheikh Tamimi said sovereignty for settlements in Judea and Samaria was nothing new to the
Arabs. "I believe that sovereignty exists in the 1967 region and I think the situation
must be dealt with through dialogue and promotion of coexistence. To stop the spread of
hatred. For the average Palestinian, sovereignty is meaningless because Israel has been in
control of Area C since 1967, so there's nothing new here," he said, referring to areas in
Judea and Samaria that are under complete Israeli control.
"Most Palestinians also want to live in peace and to reach good political agreements and
solutions as quickly as possible. This is what the average Palestinian thinks about the
Deal of the Century and sovereignty," he said. "We want to get ready for the regional
changes, to concentrate on economic cooperation also with the settlers
we need to
think together what our common future will look like."
Muhammad Massad, who heads a Palestinian Workers Union with 40,000 members, said his job
is to maintain the rights of Palestinian workers even after Israel applies sovereignty.
"The Palestinian workers are against terror, and against the corruption of the Palestinian
Authority," Masad said, adding that if Israeli and Palestinian workers keep working
together through good and bad times, "then our children will be ashamed of the fight.
Peace negotiations will not be necessary because there is peace."
Police: Chinese Ambassador's Death due to Cardiac Arrest
By YnetNews. The Jerusalem Post
Du Wei, the Chinese ambassador to Israel who was found dead in his apartment in Herzliya
on Sunday, has died due to cardiac arrest the police confirmed Sunday. Du was found dead
in his bed by his housekeeper after the ambassador failed to attend breakfast. Police
forensics investigators arrived at the scene to begin their investigation and transfer the
body for an autopsy at the National Center of Forensic Medicine in Tel Aviv.
Ambassador Du began his tenure in Israel in February in the midst of the coronavirus
epidemic and remained in home isolation for two weeks in accordance with the Health
Ministry's regulations. He is survived by a wife and son, both of whom are not in the
Du had posted a message of encouragement to Israelis shortly after taking on the post,
which was published on the Chinese Embassy's official Facebook page. "The world is
engulfed in a major challenge of pandemic and Israel is impacted," said the statement.
According to Foreign Ministry procedures, when an ambassador dies at his post, the
ministry's chief of protocol along with the relevant division head contact the embassy to
offer assistance in coordination with local authorities, and in transporting the deceased
remains back home. Foreign Ministry Director-General Yuval Rotem spoke with the Deputy
Chief of Mission, Dai Yuming, to express his condolences and offer any possible aid to the
On Friday the ambassador posted a message via the Chinese Embassy's website, rejecting
claims made by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a brief visit to Israel last week, of
a Chinese government cover-up of the coronavirus spread. The Chinese Embassy in Israel
said Pompeo has been labeling Chinese products, investments, and people as security risks
without producing any evidence to support his claims. "We trust that our Jewish friends
are not only able to defeat the coronavirus but also the 'political virus,' and choose the
course of action that best serves its interests," said the statement.
There is no evidence that anything but natural causes was involved. However, the death of
the ambassador of a high-profile state like China at this complex time amid the
coronavirus pandemic and in the wake of Pompeo's visit, with stories about US pressure on
Israel regarding China relations feeds online conspiracy theories. First of all,
the story spread widely throughout international media, from Hebrew media to reports at
the BBC, CNN and other outlets.
Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan had come in October 2019, the most high-profile visit
by a Chinese official, and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke of the growing
friendship with China. This comes as China is touting its Belt and Road Initiative for the
The level of conspiracies and anti-China comments after the death of the ambassador
reached a crescendo on Sunday afternoon. Some wrote that China should be "sent packing,"
and another said, "Something smells fishy here." Some thought a spy movie was coming after
Pompeo's critique. "A long list of suspects," wrote one person. "Sounds like CSI," a
reference to the US murder investigative show.
Others postulated that the ambassador died of COVID-19. More reasonable tweets and
comments included assertions that the "optics do not look good." Others expressed
condolences and sadness.
Among the responses to a tweet by Israeli journalist Barak Ravid were comments such as:
"China taking care of loose ends," "I heard he was recently reassigned to Israel from
Ukraine," and "I'm not being a conspiracist but it's rather odd to hear this news soon
after Pompeo's visit."
Then there are those who blame Israel, with comments about how China must respond "very
strongly" to Israel. "Someone trying to stir tensions between Israel and China." And, of
course, "[sounds like] a script written by Stephen King."
The allegations that Pompeo had someone to do with the death seem to be the most common.
"If you remember the Pompeo visit, you can connect the dots," or "Pompeo visit was
successful I guess."
Washington is adamant about no more deals between Israel and China that could jeopardize
US security ties. The Chinese Embassy in Israel took Pompeo's trip seriously and rebutted
his accusations. That the ambassador died soon after was bound to feed conspiracies and
rumors. These are tense times, and ambassadors currently are playing a larger role in
China's worldwide efforts.
Pandemic Piques Interest in Aliyah among US Jews
By World Israel News
Israel's relative success in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak has sparked an increase
in the number of U.S. Jews wanting to move to Israel, Makor Rishon reported. Nefesh
B'Nefesh reported an almost 300% increase in the number of requests to immigrate to Israel
compared with the same period last year, the report said. The wave of immigration to
Israel is apparently gaining momentum after the epidemic caused a large number of deaths
in American Jewish communities.
Founded in 2002 to promote aliyah, Nefesh B'Nefesh reported that even though it canceled
its March aliyah fair in New Jersey due to the pandemic, 829 households had filed
immigration forms, up from 561 households who filed in the same period last year just for
New Jersey. And this is just the beginning of the trend," said Nefesh B'Nefesh Vice
President Zeev Gershinsky, noting that bigger households were interested so that comparing
the total number of persons showed a 76% increase over 2019.
Gershinsky said the average age of the applicants was 28 and included 19 doctors and 18
registered nurses who turned to the organization, having heard there was a shortage of
doctors in Israel. Two-thirds of the applicants stated that they want to make aliyah
already this summer. Just under half of the applicants come from New Jersey, New York and
Florida, which have all been badly hit by corona outbreaks. The pandemic and the almost
total drop in air traffic to Israel has not stopped people from making aliyah during the
Last month, Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog said he expects that up to 100,000 people
may move to Israel once the pandemic is under control and called for the government and
aliyah-oriented groups to prepare for "a major wave of immigration.
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