Authorities intercepted a massive shipment of tens of thousands of firecrackers, as well as knives, Tasers and other weapons Thursday that police say was en route to rioters in East Jerusalem. Intelligence information led police and customs officials to the shipping container in Afula, which had been marked as containing Christmas lights, police said. The container contained some 18,000 firecrackers, 5,200 knives, 4,300 Taser-flashlight devices, 5,000 electric shock devices and 1,000 swords, according to a police statement.
The families of the two terrorists who killed four people in a brutal attack in a Jerusalem synagogue on Tuesday morning have hailed the two as heroes, as candies to celebrate the attack were handed out in the West Bank and Gaza. Alaa Abu Jamal, a cousin of the terrorists, said that Israeli policies were to blame for the attack at the synagogue, when the two entered the compound during morning prayers, armed with meat cleavers and a gun. “This occurred because of the pressures of the occupying Israeli government on the Palestinian people and in Jerusalem generally, and the ongoing harm to the al-Aqsa mosque; this act is something normal for any person who is connected to his people, to courage and to Islam.
Israel is to ease controls on carrying weapons for self-defence after a deadly Palestinian attack on a Jerusalem synagogue, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said on Tuesday. “In the coming hours, I will ease restrictions on carrying weapons,” he said in remarks broadcast on public radio, indicating it would apply to anyone with a licence to carry a gun, such as private security guards and off-duty army officers. Aharonovitch did not elaborate, but it is believed that under the planned changes security personnel would be allowed to carry their arms even when off duty.
The people who killed the four worshipers at a Jerusalem synagogue “came with great hatred and … incitement against the Jewish people and its state,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday. He blamed the Palestinian Authority and others for spreading “libels against the state of Israel” and other incitements that he said have led to today’s killings and other recent deaths.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorized planning to advance 1,060 new housing units in neighborhoods in Jerusalem beyond the 1967 lines, officials in the Prime Minister’s Office said Monday. According to the officials, 660 of these units will be constructed in the northern neighborhood of Ramot Shlomo, and another 400 in Har Homa. Netanyahu has also given the green light to move forward infrastructure projects in the West Bank, including – the officials said – roads that will serve the Palestinians as well.
The London-based pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat reported on Thursday that the Palestinian Authority has agreed to delay by two months its plan to seek a Security Council resolution calling for an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines within three years. The paper quoted Palestinian sources in Ramallah as saying that the PA leadership will give US Secretary of State John Kerry a two-month window to present his own plan for peace. The sources said that the PA leadership was nevertheless determined to proceed with the Security Council bid.
Britain’s House of Commons voted in favor of recognizing a Palestinian state late Monday in a move that will not alter the government’s stance on the issue, but that carries symbolic value for Palestinians in their pursuit of statehood. Lawmakers in Britain’s lower house of parliament voted by 274 to 12 to pass a non-binding motion stating: “That this House believes that the Government should recognize the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution.
A senior Palestinian official said Monday that the Palestinian Authority has mustered the support of seven of nine UN Security Council members needed to bring to a vote its resolution that would force an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines by November 2016. Speaking in an interview with the Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency, Sha’ath said, “We are at the stage of lobbying within the Security Council to get nine or more votes.” Sha’ath said that the PA was facing opposition to the move from the US, who was not only threatening to veto the resolution should it be brought to a vote, but also was urging other Security Council members to oppose the resolution and push back a vote on the measure until after US midterm elections in November.
The Palestinians are pushing a United Nations resolution that makes stiff demands against Israel and could put the Obama administration in a difficult position should it come to a vote. The draft resolution, which was given to Fox News on Wednesday by a diplomat who wished to remain anonymous, calls on Israel to withdraw from the West Bank and East Jerusalem by November 2016 as part of a new push for independence and full U.N.
A public opinion poll published on Tuesday showed that half of the Palestinian public supports an armed intifada against Israel. The poll, published by the Nablus-based An-Najah University, included 1,360 Palestinians (860 from the West Bank and 500 from the Gaza Strip) above the age of 18, was conducted during the period from 11-13 September. It has a margin of error of three percent.
Hundreds of people attended the Monday funeral of 16-year-old Mohammed Sinokrot, who died of his wounds sustained during a protest over a week ago in the Wadi Joz neighborhood of East Jerusalem. His death sparked street violence in the area and masked rioters threw stones at police during the funeral as well, leading to the arrest of three. The even that wounded and eventually led to the death of Sinokrot occurred on the 31st of August.
Israeli officials on Monday enthusiastically embraced reports that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi recently offered the Palestinians an independent state in the Sinai Peninsula in return for dropping claims to the pre–1967 borders. According to the offer, which was reported by the Arab media and by Israel’s Army Radio, Egypt would give the Palestinians land in the Sinai that would effectively expand the territory of the Gaza Strip fivefold. This “Greater Gaza” would be a fully independent state under the sovereignty of the Palestinian Authority, and would serve as a homeland for all Palestinians “refugees.
Children dressed as Hamas militants and armed with mock weapons were among the Palestinians celebrating what they described as Hamas’ “victory of the resistance” over Israel after seven weeks of violence and bloodshed. While the mainstream media neglected to publish photos of Hamas fighters as they launched more than 4,480 rockets at Israel in July and August, there are nevertheless news service photos of children in Gaza and the West Bank cities decked out in full Hamas regalia, celebrating the group classified by the U.S.
Hamas’s true objective in Operation Protective Edge – and negotiations that may follow – is in “liberating” Jerusalem from the Jews, a Hamas spokesman stated earlier this week. “The time has come for us to say that the true war is not aimed at opening border crossings,” Sami Abu Zuhri said. “Our true war is aimed at the liberation of Jerusalem, Allah willing.
Tarek Fahmi, the head of the Israeli Unit at the Egyptian National Center for Middle East Studies, said that “the goal of the talks today is to neutralize the main crisis points, particularly [the question of] the Gaza airport and Israeli concessions regarding the sea, as well as the issue of the tunnels.” Fahmi said that the negotiating sessions that took place on Monday were “critical.” “Israel insists on demilitarizing the Gaza Strip from rockets and missiles, and the declaration of a cease-fire that would last between five and seven years,” he said.
Since the collapse of the cease-fire, Palestinians in Gaza have launched dozens of rockets and mortars at Israel, pounding the western Negev. Ashkelon, Ashdod, and the smaller communities within just a few kilometers of the Gaza border have absorbed the worst barrages since before dawn on Wednesday. On Wednesday the IDF struck two terror operatives in Gaza who were responsible for earlier rocket fire on Ashkelon and Gaza frontier communities.