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>Israel News Faxx
>JN Sept. 10, 2020, Vol. 28, No. 181

IDF Raids Put 50 Hamas Terrorists behind Bars, Stop New Year's Attacks

By United with Israel

The IDF launched a massive series of raids, arresting more than 50 members of the Hamas terror group operating in Judea and Samaria. The counter-terror campaign was the largest such operation since 2014, The Algemeiner reported. The IDF carried out most of the arrests near Bethlehem and Hebron, according to a Channel 13 report. The operation was described as part of a strategy to thwart terror attacks designed to harm Israelis during the Jewish high holidays, which begin next week. Arab-controlled areas within Judea and Samaria, such as Bethlehem and most of Hebron, are overseen by the Palestinian Authority, which is embroiled in a violent decade-plus feud with the Hamas terror group. Hamas ran the PA out of Gaza in 2007, when it launched a bloody coup. While PA leader Mahmoud Abbas cannot set foot in Gaza for fear of being assassinated by rival Palestinian factions, Hamas bankrolls and controls terror cells in PA-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria. These Hamas cells not only carry out murderous attacks on Israeli civilians, they are also intent on undermining the PA's waning authority. Palestinians are also members of the Islamic Jihad terror group, which vies for Iranian funding with its rivals in Hamas.

Israel Faces Lockdown of Up to a Month from Next Week

By DEBKAfile, YnetNews & i24News

The steady spike in coronavirus infection – 3,506 on Tuesday – prompted Israel's health authorities on Wednesday, Sept. 9 to urge a national lockdown lasting three weeks to a month, and starting even before the High Holidays, namely, early next week. This advice by Prof. Ronni Gamzu to the coronavirus cabinet also stems from the extremely uneven response to the weeklong night curfews imposed on 40 hotbed towns and districts on Tuesday. In blatant defiance of the directives, Hassidic rabbis staged a mass wedding in Haifa, attended by Dep. Education Minister Rabbi Porush, and some schools opened as usual. In other areas, schoolchildren in the southern town of Yeruham staged a party with lively dancing, and revelers gathered at Tel Aviv bars – all without masks and within close hugging distance. The police, which until now treated violations with a light hand, were instructed on Wednesday to remove the gloves. They will henceforth start breaking up illicit gatherings and opening criminal investigations against offenders. The week-long curfew in selected areas was to have been a pilot for the coming comprehensive national lockdown. The Health Ministry's Director General, Prof. Hezi Levy, commented in a TV interview that breaches of the health directives and lack of discipline re the wearing of masks and crowding were prevalent in all walks of Israeli society. This conduct kept the infection figures ballooning, although, when analyzed in depth, they proved that no more than 3.3pc of all Israelis had been infected and, so far, the hospitals were by and large coping with coronavirus victims and their other patients. At the same time, they feared the approach of winter and the upsurge of seasonal ailments. The government and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu are taking constant flak for their failure to curb the virus in its second stage, unlike the first. Due to major differences among the coalition parties – i.e. "politics" – the restraints coming up now are said to be several weeks too late to do much good. And it is feared that, when the ministers meet on Thursday to chart the next set of restrictions, they will again water them down for the sake of political compromise. A senior physician at the Sheba Medical Center lashed out at the Israeli public rather than the politicians. He said people were irresponsibly risking lives by ignoring the most fundamental measures for slowing the spread of the coronavirus. Quite simply, Dr. Gadi Segal told people that lockdowns and stiff restraints that were painful for everyone could be avoided if only they donned masks when they got up each morning and wore them all day, while strictly observing the requisite distance from their fellows. The behavior he witnessed he called shameful. People are dying, he said, and it was time for everyone to start taking the pandemic seriously. Small business owners and self-employed workers on Wednesday threatened "anarchy" if the government decides to reimpose a national lockdown in an effort to stave off the spread of coronavirus. Already reeling from a lengthy and draconian coronavirus counter-measure earlier in the year - the effects of which are still very much being felt - they have vowed to keep their businesses open unless they are promised financial restitution in advance. At a Tel Aviv press conference Wednesday, Roee Cohen, president of the Israel Federation of Small Business Organizations, said that "another closure is a death sentence for businesses" and that the government has "long lost its legitimacy in the eyes of the public," including the business sector. Cohen maintained that he suspected it unlikely that these businesses - already shellacked once this year - would comply with the government's instructions and close down. "We are marching toward anarchy. We have children to worry about and mouths to feed," and at the end of the day, "they are the ones we will have in front of our eyes, and not the fines" imposed by inspectors. Figures released on Wednesday by the Federation of Small Business Organizations warned that the cost of a lockdown during the Jewish High Holidays, which start on September 18, would be NIS 13.6 billion ($4 billion). The threat of lockdown resurfaced after Israel has witnessed a massive spike in cases over the last few weeks. Wednesday witnessed a record of more than 3,500 cases in a 24-hour period.

Palestinians Fail to Persuade Arab Ministers to Condemn UAE-Israel Deal

By Reuters & Israel Hayom

Palestinian leaders won renewed Saudi support for Palestinian statehood on Wednesday but failed to persuade the Arab League to condemn last month's normalization deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. At a video conference of foreign ministers, the Palestinian leadership softened its own censure of the UAE for the US-brokered Aug. 13 accord, which is to be formalized at a signing ceremony at the White House next week, but to no avail. "Discussions regarding this point were serious. It was comprehensive and took some time. But it did not lead in the end to agreement about the draft communique that was proposed by the Palestinian side," Arab League Assistant Secretary General Hossam Zaki told reporters. The UAE-Israel accord was the first such accommodation between an Arab country and Israel in more than 20 years, and was forged partly through shared fears of Iran. Palestinians were dismayed by the UAE's move, fearing it would weaken a long-standing pan-Arab position that calls for Israeli withdrawal from territory and acceptance of Palestinian statehood in return for normal relations with Arab countries. A Saudi statement on remarks made by Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud included no direct mention of the normalization deal. But the prince said Riyadh supported the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the borders in place before the 1967 Middle East war, with east Jerusalem as its capital, according to the statement. The United States, Israel and the UAE have urged Palestinian leaders to re-engage with Israel. On a trip to the Emirates, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner said Palestinians should not be "stuck in the past." In televised comments at the meeting, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki referred to the accord as a "surprise," and an "earthquake" for Arab consensus, and voiced dismay at the failure to call an emergency Arab summit after the deal was announced. But he avoided stronger words such as "betrayal" that Palestinian leaders had used in the immediate aftermath of the announcement. Maliki used tougher language against Israel, referring to "colonial and racist occupation", and accused the United States of blackmail, pressure and assault against Palestinians and some Arab states.

Trump Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize for Brokering Israel-UAE Agreement


President Donald Trump was nominated for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for brokering the normalization agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. Christian Tybring-Gjedde, a lawmaker in the Norway parliament who heads his country's delegation to NATO, nominated Trump, Fox News first reported. Tybring-Gjedde, a member of the conservative-leaning populist Progress Party, told Fox that Trump has "done more trying to create peace between nations than most other Peace Prize nominees." Fox quoted from his nomination letter: "As it is expected other Middle Eastern countries will follow in the footsteps of the UAE, this agreement could be a game changer that will turn the Middle East into a region of cooperation and prosperity." Tybring-Gjedde and fellow Progress Party lawmaker Per-Willy Amundsen nominated Trump for the same prize in 2018, citing his Singapore summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un. "I'm not a big Trump supporter," Tybring-Gjedde told Fox. "The committee should look at the facts and judge him on the facts, not on the way he behaves sometimes. The people who have received the Peace Prize in recent years have done much less than Donald Trump. For example, Barack Obama did nothing." Obama, Trump's predecessor, was awarded the prize in 2009 "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples

Sale of US Ambassador's Residence in Israel is Finalized


Going, going, gone: The sale of the official residence of the U.S. ambassador to Israel has been finalized. Neither the buyer's name nor the amount paid for the Herzliya property, about 8 miles from Tel Aviv in central Israel, were made public in the U.S. Embassy's statement announcing the sale. "The buyer was selected solely on the basis of having submitted the highest and best offer," the statement said. According to the statement, the embassy will vacate the property by the spring. There are no plans to continue leasing or renting the property for use by the current ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, or for any other government use once the title is transferred. Reports in the Israeli media late last month said that billionaire businessman Sheldon Adelson was in advanced talks to buy the property, which was put up for sale in January. The asking price was 300 million shekels, or $87 million. Adelson offered the highest bid, The Jerusalem Post reported Tuesday, and there were two lower offers. The sale of the property, which was convenient to the embassy when it was located in Tel Aviv, is another signal that the embassy move to Jerusalem won't be easily reversed. Globes reported last month that the Trump administration wanted to complete the deal before the November elections "to emphasize that the transfer of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is a `fait accompli.'"

Bride Dies after Collapsing at her Wedding

The bride who collapsed at her own wedding last month passed away Wednesday, Soroka Hospital in Be'er Sheva reported. Dr. Shirley Arieli, a 33-year-old pediatrician, was evacuated to the hospital in critical condition after she passed out during her wedding following an apparent heart attack on August 31. Following her collapse, the hospital told Channel 12 News at the time: "Our doctors who were at the wedding did CPR on her until an ambulance arrived. Her condition is critical. All the doctors are in shock. She was brought to the hospital in her wedding gown." Wedding guests, including a number of doctors, continued their attempts to resuscitate the bride as they waited for Magen David Adom emergency first responders to arrive. The wedding was held in the backyard of a private home.

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