West Bank Information Via The ‘CIA Fact Book’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA FACT BOOK)

 

West Bank

Introduction The September 1993 Israel-PLO Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements provided for a transitional period of Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Under a series of agreements signed between May 1994 and September 1999, Israel transferred to the Palestinian Authority (PA) security and civilian responsibility for Palestinian-populated areas of the West Bank and Gaza. Negotiations to determine the permanent status of the West Bank and Gaza stalled following the outbreak of an intifada in September 2000, as Israeli forces reoccupied most Palestinian-controlled areas. In April 2003, the Quartet (US, EU, UN, and Russia) presented a roadmap to a final settlement of the conflict by 2005 based on reciprocal steps by the two parties leading to two states, Israel and a democratic Palestine. The proposed date for a permanent status agreement was postponed indefinitely due to violence and accusations that both sides had not followed through on their commitments. Following Palestinian leader Yasir ARAFAT’s death in late 2004, Mahmud ABBAS was elected PA president in January 2005. A month later, Israel and the PA agreed to the Sharm el-Sheikh Commitments in an effort to move the peace process forward. In September 2005, Israel unilaterally withdrew all its settlers and soldiers and dismantled its military facilities in the Gaza Strip and withdrew settlers and redeployed soldiers from four small northern West Bank settlements. Nonetheless, Israel controls maritime, airspace, and most access to the Gaza Strip. A November 2005 PA-Israeli agreement authorized the reopening of the Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt under joint PA and Egyptian control. In January 2006, the Islamic Resistance Movement, HAMAS, won control of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). The international community refused to accept the HAMAS-led government because it did not recognize Israel, would not renounce violence, and refused to honor previous peace agreements between Israel and the PA. HAMAS took control of the PA government in March 2006, but President ABBAS had little success negotiating with HAMAS to present a political platform acceptable to the international community so as to lift economic sanctions on Palestinians. The PLC was unable to convene throughout most of 2006 as a result of Israel’s detention of many HAMAS PLC members and Israeli-imposed travel restrictions on other PLC members. Violent clashes took place between Fatah and HAMAS supporters in the Gaza Strip in 2006 and early 2007, resulting in numerous Palestinian deaths and injuries. ABBAS and HAMAS Political Bureau Chief MISHAL in February 2007 signed the Mecca Agreement in Saudi Arabia that resulted in the formation of a Palestinian National Unity Government (NUG) headed by HAMAS member Ismail HANIYA. However, fighting continued in the Gaza Strip, and in June, HAMAS militants succeeded in a violent takeover of all military and governmental institutions in the Gaza Strip. ABBAS dismissed the NUG and through a series of presidential decrees formed a PA government in the West Bank led by independent Salam FAYYAD. HAMAS rejected the NUG’s dismissal and has called for resuming talks with Fatah, but ABBAS has ruled out negotiations until HAMAS agrees to a return of PA control over the Gaza Strip and recognizes the FAYYAD-led government. FAYYAD and his PA government initiated a series of security and economic reforms to improve conditions in the West Bank. ABBAS participated in talks with Israel’s Prime Minister OLMERT and secured the release of some Palestinian prisoners and previously withheld customs revenue. During a November 2007 international meeting in Annapolis Maryland, ABBAS and OLMERT agreed to resume peace negotiations with the goal of reaching a final peace settlement.
History The territory now known as the West Bank was a part of the British Mandate of Palestine entrusted to the United Kingdom by the League of Nations after World War I. The terms of the Mandate called for the creation in Palestine of a Jewish national home without prejudicing the civil and religious rights of the non-Jewish population of Palestine.

The current border of the West Bank was not a dividing line of any sort during the Mandate period, but rather the armistice line between the forces of the neighboring kingdom of Jordan and those of Israel at the close of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. When the United Nations General Assembly voted in 1947 to partition Palestine into a Jewish State, an Arab State, and an internationally-administered enclave of Jerusalem, a more broad region of the modern-day West Bank was assigned to the Arab State. The West Bank was controlled by Iraqi and Jordanian forces at the end of the 1948 War and the area was annexed by Jordan in 1950 but this annexation was recognized only by the United Kingdom (Pakistan is often, but apparently falsely, assumed to have recognized it also). The idea of an independent Palestinian state was not on the table. King Abdullah of Jordan was crowned King of Jerusalem and granted Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank and East Jerusalem Jordanian citizenship.

During the 1950s, there was a significant influx of Palestinian refugees and violence together with Israeli reprisal raids across the Green Line.

In May 1967 Egypt ordered out U.N. peacekeeping troops and re-militarized the Sinai peninsula, and blockaded the straits of Tiran. Fearing an Egyptian attack, the government of Levi Eshkol attempted to restrict any confrontation to Egypt alone. In particular it did whatever it could to avoid fighting Jordan. However, “carried along by a powerful current of Arab nationalism”, on May 30, 1967 King Hussein flew to Egypt and signed a mutual defense treaty in which the two countries agreed to consider “any armed attack on either state or its forces as an attack on both”. Fearing an imminent Egyptian attack, on June 5, the Israel Defense Forces launched a pre-emptive attack on Egypt which began what came to be known as the Six Day War.

Jordan soon began shelling targets in west Jerusalem, Netanya, and the outskirts of Tel Aviv. Despite this, Israel sent a message promising not to initiate any action against Jordan if it stayed out of the war. Hussein replied that it was too late, “the die was cast”. On the evening of June 5 the Israeli cabinet convened to decide what to do; Yigal Allon and Menahem Begin argued that this was an opportunity to take the Old City of Jerusalem, but Eshkol decided to defer any decision until Moshe Dayan and Yitzhak Rabin could be consulted. Uzi Narkis made a number of proposals for military action, including the capture of Latrun, but the cabinet turned him down. The Israeli military only commenced action after Government House was captured, which was seen as a threat to the security of Jerusalem. On June 6 Dayan encircled the city, but, fearing damage to holy places and having to fight in built-up areas, he ordered his troops not to go in. However, upon hearing that the U.N. was about to declare a ceasefire, he changed his mind, and without cabinet clearance, decided to take the city. After fierce fighting with Jordanian troops in and around the Jerusalem area, Israel captured the Old City on 7 June.

No specific decision had been made to capture any other territories controlled by Jordan. After the Old City was captured, Dayan told his troops to dig in to hold it. When an armored brigade commander entered the West Bank on his own initiative, and stated that he could see Jericho, Dayan ordered him back. However, when intelligence reports indicated that Hussein had withdrawn his forces across the Jordan river, Dayan ordered his troops to capture the West Bank. Over the next two days, the IDF swiftly captured the rest of the West Bank and blew up the Abdullah and Hussein Bridges over the Jordan, thereby severing the West Bank from the East. According to Narkis:

First, the Israeli government had no intention of capturing the West Bank. On the contrary, it was opposed to it. Second, there was not any provocation on the part of the IDF. Third, the rein was only loosened when a real threat to Jerusalem’s security emerged. This is truly how things happened on June 5, although it is difficult to believe. The end result was something that no one had planned.

The Arab League’s Khartoum conference in September declared continuing belligerency, and stated the league’s principles of “no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it”. In November 1967, UN Security Council Resolution 242 was unanimously adopted, calling for “the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East” to be achieved by “the application of both the following principles:” “Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict” (see semantic dispute) and: “Termination of all claims or states of belligerency” and respect for the right of every state in the area to live in peace within secure and recognised boundaries. Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Lebanon entered into consultations with the UN Special representative over the implementation of 242. The text did not refer to the PLO or to any Palestinian representative because none was recognized at that time.

In 1988, Jordan ceded its claims to the West Bank to the Palestine Liberation Organization, as “the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.”

Geography Location: Middle East, west of Jordan
Geographic coordinates: 32 00 N, 35 15 E
Map references: Middle East
Area: total: 5,860 sq km
land: 5,640 sq km
water: 220 sq km
note: includes West Bank, Latrun Salient, and the northwest quarter of the Dead Sea, but excludes Mt. Scopus; East Jerusalem and Jerusalem No Man’s Land are also included only as a means of depicting the entire area occupied by Israel in 1967
Area – comparative: slightly smaller than Delaware
Land boundaries: total: 404 km
border countries: Israel 307 km, Jordan 97 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims: none (landlocked)
Climate: temperate; temperature and precipitation vary with altitude, warm to hot summers, cool to mild winters
Terrain: mostly rugged dissected upland, some vegetation in west, but barren in east
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Dead Sea -408 m
highest point: Tall Asur 1,022 m
Natural resources: arable land
Land use: arable land: 16.9%
permanent crops: 18.97%
other: 64.13% (2001)
Irrigated land: 150 sq km; note – includes Gaza Strip (2003)
Natural hazards: droughts
Environment – current issues: adequacy of fresh water supply; sewage treatment
Geography – note: landlocked; highlands are main recharge area for Israel’s coastal aquifers; there are about 340 Israeli civilian sites–including 100 small outpost communities in the West Bank and 29 sites in East Jerusalem (July 2008 est.)
People Population: 2,461,267
note: in addition, there are about 187,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank and fewer than 177,000 in East Jerusalem (July 2009 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 37.3% (male 470,735/female 446,878)
15-64 years: 59.1% (male 744,822/female 708,695)
65 years and over: 3.7% (male 37,471/female 52,666) (2009 est.)
Median age: total: 20.5 years
male: 20.4 years
female: 20.8 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.178% (2009 est.)
Birth rate: 25.95 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 3.7 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female
total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 15.96 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 17.87 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 13.93 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 74.54 years
male: 72.54 years
female: 76.65 years (2009 est.)
Total fertility rate: 3.22 children born/woman (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS – deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: NA
adjective: NA
Ethnic groups: Palestinian Arab and other 83%, Jewish 17%
Religions: Muslim 75% (predominantly Sunni), Jewish 17%, Christian and other 8%
Languages: Arabic, Hebrew (spoken by Israeli settlers and many Palestinians), English (widely understood)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 92.4%
male: 96.7%
female: 88% (2004 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 14 years
male: 13 years
female: 14 years (2006)
Education expenditures: NA
Government Country name: conventional long form: none
conventional short form: West Bank
Religion The Muslim community makes up 75 percent of the population, while 17 percent of the population practice Judaism and the other 8 percent of the population consider themselves Christian.
Economy Economy – overview: The West Bank – the larger of the two areas comprising the Palestinian Authority (PA) – has experienced a general decline in economic conditions since the second intifada began in September 2000. The downturn has been largely a result of Israeli closure policies – the imposition of closures and access restrictions in response to security concerns in Israel – which disrupted labor and trading relationships. In 2001, and even more severely in 2002, Israeli military measures in PA areas resulted in the destruction of capital, the disruption of administrative structures, and widespread business closures. International aid of at least $1.14 billion to the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 2004 prevented the complete collapse of the economy and allowed some reforms in the government’s financial operations. In 2005, high unemployment and limited trade opportunities – due to continued closures both within the West Bank and externally – stymied growth. Israel’s and the international community’s financial embargo of the PA when HAMAS ran the PA during March 2006 – June 2007 interrupted the provision of PA social services and the payment of PA salaries. Since then the FAYYAD government in the West Bank has restarted salary payments and the provision of services but would be unable to operate absent high levels of international assistance.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $11.95 billion (includes Gaza Strip) (2008 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $6.641 billion (includes Gaza Strip) (2008 est.)
GDP – real growth rate: 0.8% (includes Gaza Strip) (2008 est.)
GDP – per capita (PPP): $2,900 (includes Gaza Strip) (2008 est.)
GDP – composition by sector: agriculture: 8%
industry: 13%
services: 79% (includes Gaza Strip) (2007 est.)
Labor force: 605,000 (2006)
Labor force – by occupation: agriculture: 17%
industry: 15%
services: 68% (June 2008)
Unemployment rate: 16.3% (June 2008)
Population below poverty line: 46% (2007 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Budget: revenues: $1.149 billion
expenditures: $2.31 billion
note: includes Gaza Strip (2006)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 11.5% (includes Gaza Strip) (2008)
Commercial bank prime lending rate: 7.73% (31 December 2006)
Stock of money: $1.574 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money: $3.048 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit: $1.455 billion (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $2.475 billion (31 December 2007)
Agriculture – products: olives, citrus, vegetables; beef, dairy products
Industries: cement, quarrying, textiles, soap, olive-wood carvings, and mother-of-pearl souvenirs; the Israelis have established some small-scale, modern industries in the settlements and industrial centers
Industrial production growth rate: 2.4% (includes Gaza Strip) (2005)
Electricity – production: NA kWh; note – most electricity imported from Israel; East Jerusalem Electric Company buys and distributes electricity to Palestinians in East Jerusalem and its concession in the West Bank; the Israel Electric Company directly supplies electricity to most Jewish residents and military facilities; some Palestinian municipalities, such as Nablus and Janin, generate their own electricity from small power plants
Electricity – consumption: NA kWh
Electricity – imports: NA kWh
Electricity – production by source: fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Exports: $339 million f.o.b.; (includes Gaza Strip) (2006)
Exports – commodities: olives, fruit, vegetables, limestone
Imports: $1.3 billion c.i.f.; (includes Gaza Strip) (2006)
Imports – commodities: food, consumer goods, construction materials
Economic aid – recipient: $1.4 billion; (includes Gaza Strip) (2006 est.)
Debt – external:
Currency (code): new Israeli shekel (ILS); Jordanian dinar (JOD)
Currency code: ILS; JOD
Exchange rates: new Israeli shekels (ILS) per US dollar – 3.56 (2008 est.), 4.14 (2007), 4.4565 (2006), 4.4877 (2005), 4.482 (2004)
Communications Telephones – main lines in use: 350,400 (includes Gaza Strip) (2007)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 1.026 million (includes Gaza Strip) (2007)
Telephone system: general assessment: NA
domestic: Israeli company BEZEK and the Palestinian company PALTEL are responsible for fixed line services; the Palestinian JAWAL company provides cellular services
international: country code – 970 (2004)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 0, FM 25, shortwave 0 (2008)
Radios: NA; note – most Palestinian households have radios (1999)
Television broadcast stations: 30 (2008)
Televisions: NA; note – many Palestinian households have televisions (1999)
Internet country code: .ps; note – same as Gaza Strip
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 8 (1999)
Internet users: 355,500 (includes Gaza Strip) (2007)
Transportation Airports: 3 (2007)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2007)
Roadways: total: 5,147 km
paved: 5,147 km
note: includes Gaza Strip (2006)
Military Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 545,653
females age 16-49: 515,102 (2009 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually: male: 30,233
female: 28,745 (2009 est.)
Military expenditures: NA
Transnational Issues Disputes – international: West Bank and Gaza Strip are Israeli-occupied with current status subject to the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement – permanent status to be determined through further negotiation; Israel continues construction of a “seam line” separation barrier along parts of the Green Line and within the West Bank; Israel withdrew from four settlements in the northern West Bank in August 2005; since 1948, about 350 peacekeepers from the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), headquartered in Jerusalem, monitor ceasefires, supervise armistice agreements, prevent isolated incidents from escalating, and assist other UN personnel in the region
Refugees and internally displaced persons: refugees (country of origin): 722,000 (Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA)) (2007)

Jordan Constitution Concerning Tribal Justice System

(This article is courtesy of the Jordan Times of Amman)

Cabinet amends law to limit scope of ‘tribal justice system’

Cabinet amends law to limit scope of ‘tribal justice system’

By JT – Sep 01,2016 – Last updated at Sep 01,2016

AMMAN — The Cabinet on Thursday approved a draft law amending the 2016 Crime Prevention Law, which targeted provisions governing controversial tribal customs like Jalwa (forced relocation), Diyeh (blood money) and administrative governors’ authorities related to these affairs.

The law will be sent to the next Lower House, which will convene after the September 20 elections, for endorsement as stipulated in the Constitution, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

“Jalwa”, a term first coined by tribes, entails the forced relocation of a clan if one of its members murders someone or commits other serious crimes like rape, in a bid to avoid friction between the two tribes, both of the victim’s and the murderer’s, if they were living in the same area.

Interior Minister Salameh Hammad has recently held several meetings with tribal and religious leaders, along with jurists, from across the Kingdom.

The figures reached an understanding that regulates tribal customs and norms and limits tribal cases that fall under the Crime Prevention Law to homicide, honor and cases when members of the tribes involved in the dispute do not honour pledges made on their behalf by mediators.

Under the amending law, jalwa should be limited to the murderer, his father and sons, and for a period not exceeding one year, with the possibility of renewing it if deemed necessary by the concerned administrative governor. The proposed version of the law also stipulates that jalwa should be made from one district to another within the same governorate.

The law also tasks the chief Islamic justice with deciding the value of diyeh in murder cases that end with reconciliation, and levies on those parties in tribal disputes who dishonor pledges made by mediators to pay mediators, or guarantors of the deals made, a fine of no less than JD50,000 in compensation for the damage caused to their reputation.

The administrative governor, according to the amendments, has the power to oversee all the tribal procedures included in this law, Petra added.

The amendments aim at regulating tribal customs and norms related to conflicts and cases of jalwa, atwah (a tribal agreement that functions as a temporary conciliation between conflicting parties until the civic law decides on the case) and diyeh, according to Petra.

The law is meant to avoid exaggerated practices that may cause social problems as a result of relocating families away from their places of residence, which normally results in damage to innocent families’ members, who might lose their jobs, education opportunities or businesses.

 

Israel aims to eliminate use of coal, gasoline and diesel by 2030

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Israel aims to eliminate use of coal, gasoline and diesel by 2030

Energy minister to present plan to reduce pollution, strengthen ‘peace axis’ through sole use of natural gas and alternative fuels for energy production and transportation

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz speaking at an energy conference in Tel Aviv, February 27, 2018 (Dror Sithakol)

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz speaking at an energy conference in Tel Aviv, February 27, 2018 (Dror Sithakol)

The Energy Ministry forecast Tuesday that within 12 years Israel would be fully reliant on natural gas and alternative fuels for the production of electricity and for transportation.

“We intend to reach a situation in which Israel’s industry will be based on natural gas, and most importantly, transportation in Israel will be based on natural gas or electricity,” Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said at an energy conference in Tel Aviv. “From 2030 onwards, the State of Israel will create alternatives and will no longer allow the import of cars that run on gasoline and diesel fuel.”

Steinitz said he would be submitting a master plan with this vision to the government.

In 2014, electricity was produced through a fifty-fifty split between coal and natural gas. The aim for 2030 is to alter that to 83% natural gas and 17% renewable energy, with “zero pollutants,” Steinitz said.

Illustrative photo of Israeli natural gas rigs in the Mediterranean Sea, September 2, 2015. (Flash90)

Already this year, the balance of electricity production will be 71% natural gas, 25%-27% coal, and 2% renewable energy, with the economy transitioning to using coal only for emergency and backup purposes by 2030.

“We have abolished the strategy of diversification of fuels,” Steinitz said, noting that Israel had previously believed that this kind of diversification — using coal and natural gas — was essential for energy security. “We realized we can reach energy security even without this diversification.”

“There is a historic opportunity to transform Israel into one of the first Western countries in which energy is produced with zero pollution and harm to the environment,” he said.

Steinitz said that according to OECD data some 2,500 people die in Israel annually because of air pollution. He added that the controversial natural gas legislation passed two years ago has been a “huge success,” having enabled the development of Leviathan, Israel’s largest natural gas field, which is expected to come online next year. The one and a half-year holdup in the development of Leviathan caused by delays in passing the gas regulations cost Israel some $20 billion, he said.

The development of the field allowed Israel to sign its “most significant export deals” with neighboring Egypt and Jordan since the signing of peace accords with these nations, he said.

Earlier this month, the partners in the Tamar and Leviathan offshore natural gas fields said they signed deals to export 64 billion cubic meters of gas to the Egyptian firm Dolphinus over a 10-year period. In September 2016, Jordan struck a deal to buy 8.5 million cubic meters of Israeli gas per day over 15 years, a deal estimated to be worth $10 billion.

“This strengthens the peace axis,” Steinitz said. “It is a geopolitical success that has been made possible because of natural gas.”

Israel, a country with scarce natural resources, discovered offshore natural gas fields that may enable it to achieve energy independence and become an exporter of natural gas. The Tamar gas field was discovered in 2009 and started production in 2013, while the Leviathan field — the largest deep water natural gas field discovered in the world in the past decade — was discovered in 2010 and is expected to start production in 2019.

Steinitz was speaking at a conference organized by the Israel Institute for Energy and Environment that dealt with the potential of and challenges to Israel’s natural gas industry.

Steinitz and other speakers were heckled by a group protesting against the planned Leviathan rig, which they say will be set up just 10 kilometers off the northern shore and will cause pollution and billions of dollars’ worth of environmental damage.

Protesters demonstrating outside an energy conference in Tel Aviv against setting up a gas rig 10 kilometers from Israel’s shores, February 27, 2018 (Shoshanna Solomon/Times of Israel)

“Instead of a proposed rig, the companies should be setting up a floating production storage and offloading facility above the rig, not close to the shore of Dor Beach,” said protest head Yoni Sapir.

In addition, a gas-processing to be set up on land could pollute local water sources, said Eli Budman, a toxicologist who was protesting outside the hotel.

Steinitz dismissed them as “not in my backyard” protesters who were ignorant of the issues. “We will not submit to pressure by anyone. We are convinced we are doing the right things for the future of Israel,” he declared.

An environmental heckler disrupting the speech of Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz at an energy conference in Tel Aviv; 27 Feb. 2018 (Shoshanna Solomon/Times of Israel)

Responding to the demonstrators, Environment Minister Ze’ev Elkin said Israel cannot both cut its consumption of coal and stall development of the natural gas industry. “We can’t go in both directions,” he said.

The ministry was prioritizing the reduction of pollution, he said, and natural gas had to play its part as soon as possible. “Pollution is the number one environmental challenge of Israel,” he said. “The progress of Leviathan is of environmental interest to Israel.”

At the conference Yona Fogel, the CEO of Paz Oil Company Ltd. an oil refiner, said the price of natural gas in Israel as set by the agreement reached by government and the producers of the gas was too high. “There is a market failure here,” he said. Paz’s two plants, in Haifa and Alon Tavor, were ready to receive natural gas but “the gap between implementation and desire” was very high, he said.

Mathios Rigas, CEO of Energean Oil & Gas, a Greek oil and gas explorer that won the license to develop and operate the smaller Karish and Tanin offshore natural gas fields — which are estimated to have reserves of 2 trillion cubic feet (TCF) and are earmarked to supply fuel to Israel and compete with Tamar and Leviathan — said he expects drilling at the fields to start in 2019 and supply of gas to start in the first quarter of 2021. Energean will be investing some $1.6 billion in the development of the fields, he said, and has already raised the funds to manage the project, he said.

Yossi Abu, the CEO of Delek Drilling LP, a unit of Delek Group Ltd., which together with Noble Energy Inc. is a partner in the Tamar and Leviathan fields, said that he expects more deals with Egypt following the one with Dolphinus signed earlier this month. Egypt is estimated to need some 20 to 40 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year for the next decade, he said, and this presents an opportunity for Israel.

The pipeline infrastructure already in place will allow Leviathan to supply gas to Egypt and Jordan when production starts in the fourth quarter of 2019, he said, and will allow Israel to be part of a regional grid connected to the two Arab countries, as opposed to the energy island it has been until now.

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COMMENTS

(Theology) The War Will Never Ever End

THE WAR WILL NEVER EVER END

 

Today the headlines from Israel and Gaza, war, more deaths and destruction. In 1948 the Jewish people took back about 1% of the Holy Land and renamed it Israel, as it was, is, and will always be. The people that later became known as the Palestinians were displaced into the other 99% of the Middle-East. None of their Islamic brothers wanted them and they became know as a people without a Nation, displaced. The Arab people who did take them in like the people of Jordan soon threw them out because of the ways in which they acted toward their hosts. Even though their brothers who possess 99% of all the land, no one wants them in their countries. Instead, these “brothers” used them as a pawn for over sixty years, not supporting them, just using them.

Then the Israeli PM did that which he had no authority to do, he gave up some of the Israeli land in an effort to obtain peace with the Palestinian people and their Islamic neighbors. The PM gave them what is now called the West Bank and Gaza, hoping for peace. As I wrote then, Israel only accomplished giving these hate filled people closer bases into which to use to attack Israel and their people from.

God gave to the Israeli PM his just reward for giving away land that is no mans property to give away. He was told not to do it, he did it anyway. He quickly stroked, suffered, never repented and died. This is called the Holy Lands for a reason, this land above all of earths land is called Holy because it is where Christ will rule from the NEW Jerusalem after Satan and his angels are put into hell for ever.

Toward the end of times the ten demons who possess the ten human rulers here on earth new Jerusalem will be sub-planted by the three demon generals who sit at Satan’s left hand. These three “super leaders” will come from the three divisions of human powers. 1) the Americas, 2) Europe/Russia, 3) Asia. You see yet, the sign of God is 3, the sign of man is 6. The three men who would be gods, three of the last four “super” anti-Christs. Have you figured out yet who “The” anti-Christ is, The Root who sub-plants them from beneath is? Should be obvious, their boss, Satan himself, The Anti-Christ. He who would be God but who will instead only rule Hell once the trumpet of God sounds. He comes from beneath for two symbolic reasons. One is because where he now is “god” is geographically beneath the current world super powers where his base is. His throne is now upon the Temple Mount above the Wailing Wall as he demands “Submission” from all.

When Gods’ trumpet sounds, the world will then see and understand that they have been duped by their leaders and that these “super” leaders have been Satan’s henchmen. Friends, it will be too late for those who bowed to the will of Satan to repent. The demons will be cast straightway into Hell because they have already been judged. Satan will be cast into his new Kingdom after the last humans have had their turn before the  judgement seat of Christ. Unfortunately, billions of duped humans will spend forever there in the fire with him. This religion IS NOT a “great and peaceful religion” no matter what the buffoons say on TV. IT IS the most powerful attack on the people of earth that has ever been established.——-“THE WAR WILL NEVER END—UNTIL GODS’ TRUMPET SOUNDS”…..People wake up, or you are going to die twice, 1) the physical death, 2) Eternal separation from the presence and grace of God in Hell with Satan and his followers…… People, Please wake up!!!

The Grief and Frustration of Jordan’s Unemployed University Graduates

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF GLOBAL VOICES)

 

‘The Educational System Has Failed Us’: The Grief and Frustration of Jordan’s Unemployed University Graduates

The Clock Tower, a landmark at the University of Jordan. Photo by Yazan Dahdoud. Used with permission.

The year of 2017 brought with it an unfortunate rise of unemployment in Jordan, hitting a peak of 18.5%. The future does not look so bright either, with 2018 promising an even bigger rise.

For university degree holders, the situation is worse than that of the general population: 23% are unemployed. Of those graduates who are jobless, 27% are men, while 68% are women.

Tuition fees have skyrocketed in recent years, but those who manage to pay aren’t guaranteed a decent living at the end of the academic road. Graduates who Global Voices spoke with complained that while at university they had to navigate politics and confusing government job advice, and afterward they have found themselves stuck with menial and underpaid work — or no work at all.

“My education has, if anything, hindered my employment,” Lara Mohsen, a former student at Al-Balqa Applied University, told Global Voices.

The education that Lara and many more are referring to is that provided by public and private universities. Since the form of government in Jordan is a parliamentary monarchy, the students have to deal with ever-changing admission policies, with each government either building on or completely changing the policies of the one before it.

Moreover, students often find themselves witnessing dangerous tribal clashes on campus since tribal rule is predominant in Jordan and the inner problems of tribes can often find their way into educational institutions through youth.

Yazan Bahbouh, who graduated as an accountant from the University of Petra, told Global Voices that he couldn’t see the benefit of his degree:

I graduated as an accountant from the University of Petra, and I got offered a job at a private company almost immediately. I was above the clouds, since it is uncommon for a recent graduate to land a job so quickly. The first day on the job, I realized I would be counting boxes for inventory. A job that I would be performing alongside high-school drop outs at the very same company. I resigned only a few weeks after. I couldn’t handle getting paid even less than my colleagues who drive the vans, given that they make more on tips than I, a person who has spent 4 years of his life getting an education.

Dana, a pharmacy graduate, told Global Voices that she was exploited at her job to do extra work that is not in her job description:

After five years of college, I graduated as a pharmacist. I found a job at a local pharmacy that had a vacancy and started working right away. One week into the job, I found out that I must take turns with my other colleague who has the night shift to wipe floors, and dust shelves. I thought ‘great, I really needed continuous four-hour lab training lectures for this’ and left the job immediately.

The story of Yazan and Dana are not unique. University graduates often refuse jobs that they consider beneath their level of education, but with 100,000 new graduateslooking for jobs every year, the positions that Yazan and Dana refused could easily be filled by many others desperate for them.

The difficulty of navigating the market’s ‘continuously changing’ needs

Taima, a graduate in translation from Yarmouk University, said that she gets paid as much now as she did during her freelancing years as a student:

I used to work as a freelance translator while I was still a student. A lot of translation bureaus would demand a degree in translation, so I would revert to translating for individuals who just wanted a one-time kind of service. I thought that once I graduated I would be able to land those bureau jobs and make a better living. You would be shocked to find that I now make the same amount as I did as a student.

She continued:

A [translation] bureau once told me that there is an ‘overflow’ of translation and language graduates. Later on, I realized I should have contemplated more carefully what to study, since the market needs are continuously changing.

Jordan’s Civil Service Bureau issues annual reports on the specializations needed most in the job market, and what sectors of the market have reached full employment. The agency also sends advice to the Ministry of Higher Education as to what majors are not needed in the market and thus should be shut down, and what majors should accept lower student numbers.

However, universities and students are often skeptical of such reports, given that they are issued by the government, which many view as being responsible for theunemployment problem to begin with.

The reports often advise universities to exterminate majors that are not required in the public sector (such as psychology), even if there might be demand for them in the private sector. Moreover, a specialization might not pay off in Jordan due to the current state of the economy, but could be lucrative elsewhere.

For example, take Rawan, a dual citizen of Jordan and the US. After graduating from the Jordanian University of Science and Technology with a degree in veterinary medicine, Rawan was left unemployed for about a year, and has now decided to move back into the US:

I love my country, and I love living here [in Jordan], but I also cannot stay without work forever. I really thought I would move here for good, but the circumstances are not in my favor.

And there are other holes to be found in the bureau’s advice, such as the fact that many people choose to avoid studying a major, whether it’s officially recommended or not, that would require them to open their own businesses, as the trade policies that the government makes have been proved as ineffective.

The University of Jordan recently created a new major within its foreign languages faculty, a move which goes against the bureau report, which advised that universities decrease the number of students accepted into the specialization over the next five years.

The new and competitive program at the University of Jordan charges 60 Jordanian dinars (85 US dollars), which is three times the amount of any other in the faculty. Opening a new major with triple the charges in a faculty whose degree is said to be redundant by the government is quite the opposite of abiding by the report’s findings.

The consequences of Jordan’s nationality law in higher education

Jihad, the son of a Jordanian mother and a Yemeni father, faces an even bigger problem. Born and raised in Jordan, Jihad is still considered Yemeni because the law in Jordan only allows Jordanian nationality to be passed down through the father.

Therefore, he is required to enroll under the international program at the University of Jordan. Although he passed the national Tawjeehi (the general secondary examination that grade 12 students must take in order to apply for university admission), he is still required to register as a foreigner, and pays 500 US dollars per credit hour while his colleagues enrolled in the competitive program pay 45 Jordanian dinars (63 US dollars).

Jihad works a job at a local medical center, earning 550 Jordanian dinars per month (500 US dollars). At that rate, he would have to work for approximately 22 years to pay for his education (that is, of course, only taking into account the official credit hours of the program, and excluding the cost of books, allowance, and added registration fees).

“I could open a whole hospital with the 132,500 US dollars that his education is going to cost me,” Jihad’s dad joked.

Luckily for others, new regulations issued in 2017 would give the children of Jordanian mothers and foreign fathers the same higher education privileges as Jordanian citizen, although that won’t be of much use to Jihad and the others whom have applied for universities before then. Moreover, Syrian refugees and non-Jordanian passport holders who were born and raised in Jordan (people who migrated to Jordan from Gaza in the 1948 and 1967 Israeli-Palestinian wars, for example) are excluded, and thus still have to enroll in the international program.

Discrimination against people with disabilities in the job market

The stories of students who struggle with unemployment are abundant, but some face additional challenges like disabilities.

Hakeem is a short-sighted student who studied finance at the University of Jerash. After struggling through high school and university, he finally graduated with a 3.2 grade point average in 2015. He remains unemployed until this very day, as companies would prefer hiring one of the many candidates who do not have a disability to deal with.

Hakeem’s childhood friend, who has himself regularly switched jobs ever since he graduated, told Global Voices that he hoped an education would help his friend:

I wanted [Hakeem] to get an education because I believed that he and I would have an equal chance to both study and work, but the educational system has failed us.

These stories paint a picture of joblessness in Jordan as experienced by university graduates, who invested money into a degree that they thought would bring them gainful employment, but that instead left them with disappointment in the real world and consequently in one’s country and self.

Iraqi Christians in Mosul Celebrate Christmas For First Time in 3 Years

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)

 

Iraqi Christians in Mosul Celebrate Christmas For First Time in 3 Years

(PHOTO: REUTERS/MUHAMMAD HAMED)Ameen Mukdad, a violinist from Mosul who lived under ISIS’s rule for two and a half years where they destroyed his musical instruments, performs at Nabi Yunus shrine in eastern Mosul, Iraq, April 19, 2017.

Christians in Iraq attended a Christmas service in Mosul for the first time since Islamic State militants took over the city in 2014, hoping they will soon be able to return to their homes.

Armoured vehicles guarded Saint Paul’s, the only functioning church in Mosul. Its bombed-out window frames were covered with white sheets during the Christmas service, the BBC reports.

The patriarch of Iraq’s Chaldean Catholic Church, Louis Raphael Sako, urged the worshipers to pray for “peace and stability in Mosul, Iraq and the world.”

Islamic state, also known as IS, ISIS, ISIL or Daesh, was driven out of Mosul in July, but Christians are yet to rebuild their lives and their homes. Less than a dozen Christian families have been able to return to the city thus far.

“The situation made us so sad,” Voice of America quoted Fadi, a worshiper, as saying. “This is our city, our grandparents’ city. We lived here, we grew up here. We built our schools, universities, churches families and friends here.”

In the Nineveh Plains, which was also liberated from IS a few months ago, Christians earlier this month celebrated the reconsecration of the first church, St. George’s, to be reopened there since IS was driven out of the region.

“ISIS wanted to eliminate the Christian presence here — but ISIS is gone and the Christians of Telleskuf are back,” Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Matti Warda of Erbil, Kurdistan, said at the ceremony in Telleskuf.

“I am moved by the fact that the church of St. George has not only been reopened, but that it has become more beautiful and glorious than before. That is the way God’s Providence work,” the archbishop declared.

About 80,000 Christians have yet to return home and remain displaced inside of the country as winter has arrived, Juliana Taimoorazy, an Assyrian Christian who founded the Iraqi Christian Relief Council and serves as a senior fellow at the Philos Project, told The Christian Post last week.

She said as many as 50,000 Christians have returned to their homes. Between 150,000 and 180,000 Iraqi Christians were displaced when IS took over in 2014.

“There are many who left Iraq. They went to Turkey. They went to Lebanon. They went to Jordan. The number of Iraqi Christians that are in Turkey is about 45,000. In Jordan, it is about 20,000. In Northern Iraq, we probably would want to say that there are at least 80,000 to 100,000 are displaced in the Northern Part of Iraq.”

Taimoorazy added: “While those aren’t official numbers, as there isn’t a way of counting these people with no census system in place, these numbers are provided to Iraqi Christian Relief Council by various aid organizations and officials from Iraq.”

AHEAD OF TRUMP ANNOUNCEMENT, MUSLIM LEADERS WARN OF BACKLASH

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE JERUSALEM POST)

 

AHEAD OF TRUMP ANNOUNCEMENT, MUSLIM LEADERS WARN OF BACKLASH

BY SETH J. FRANTZMAN
 DECEMBER 6, 2017 17:48

 

All have warned against moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

4 minute read.

 

erdogan abbas

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (L) address the media at the Presidential Palace in Ankara January 12, 2015. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Ayman Safadi, the foreign minister of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, has been actively campaigning on Twitter against US President Donald Trump’s plan to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. His is one of many voices throughout the region, among countries the Jewish state has relations with and those it doesn’t, among its enemies and luke-warm friends, warning of the consequences of such a move.

On December 3, Safadi tweeted that he had spoken with his counterpart in the United States, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson “on dangerous consequences of recognizing Jerusalem as capital of Israel. Such a decision would trigger anger across Arab, Muslim worlds, fuel tension and jeopardize peace efforts.”

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Safadi had reached out to the Arab League and Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which represents 57 Muslim countries, for support against the US move, he said. He went further on December 4, tweeting that he had spoken with foreign ministers from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Morocco, Iraq, Oman and Tunisia.

Jordan appears to see the recognition as a serious crisis. This is compounded by Israel’s lack of an ambassador in Jordan since July, after an Israeli security guard shot two Jordanians.

Egypt, the other Arab country in the region at peace with Israel, has also opposed Trump’s declaration. Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry spoke with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on December 5 about the potential embassy move.

“The two expressed their hope that the US administration reconsiders its plan before making a final decision, due to its potentially dangerous impact on the region and the peace negotiations,” Egypt Today reported. Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi also spoke with Trump and said the decision would “complicate” issues in the Middle East. The relatively ambiguous statement from Cairo notes that Sisi “affirmed the Egyptian position on preserving the legal status of Jerusalem within the framework of international references and relevant UN resolutions.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been a vociferous critic of Trump’s recognition. On December 5, Hurriyet reported that he said “this could go as far as cutting our diplomatic relations with Israel. You cannot take such a step.” He added that this is a “red line” for Muslims.

King Abdullah of Jordan traveled to Ankara on Wednesday, December 6 at the height of the Jerusalem crisis with intentions of discussing Jerusalem and de-escalation zones in southern Syria.

“I would like to call out to the entire world from here and say Jerusalem is protected by UN resolutions and is a legal status and any steps that would challenge this status should be shied away from, no one has the right to play with the destinies of billions of people for personal gain, because such a move would only serve the purposes of terrorist organizations,” Erdogan said in comments on December 6 with King Abdullah.

In Lebanon, The Daily Star’s front page ran a photo of the Dome of the Rock across the entire page claiming “no offense Mr. President, Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine.” Walid Joumblatt, the Druze leader of the Progressive Socialist Party in Lebanon tweeted a petition on December 5 calling on world leaders to remember that “Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine.” He also tweeted a lyrical discussion about how moving the embassy to Jerusalem was an “abhorrence” that involved moving stones while forgetting the humans.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman told Trump on December 5 that moving the embassy would be a dangerous step that would provoke Muslims in the region. It would have “gravely negative consequences,” the Kingdom said.  But Saudi Arabia has also been accused by commentators in the region of giving Trump a “wink and a nod,” on the Jerusalem issue. The Kingdom is trying to lead a peace push with the Palestinians at the same time.

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, chairman of the Quds Committee in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, warned the US that the OIC “expresses its deep concern and strong condemnation of the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and transfer its embassy.” The UAE’s foreign ministry also warned of “grave consequences of US recognition.” Qatar also “rejected any measure,” that would lead to recognition its foreign ministry said on December 4.

Iraq, which is recovering from years of war on Islamic State, has also expressed concern about Jerusalem. The cabinet said in a statement that it saw the decision with “utmost worry and warns of this decision’s ramifications on the stability of the region and the world.”

“Today the enemies and others have lined up against the Islamic Ummah and the Prophet of Islamc’s path [are]: US, global arrogance, [and the] Zionist regime,” tweeted Iranian Supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei. He went on to claim that the US and “Zionists” represent a new “Pharoah,” a religious reference. “It is out of despair and debility that they want to declare Al-Quds [Jerusalem] as capital of the Zionist regime.” Iranian president Hassan Rouhani also joined the condemnations. “We call on Muslim peoples to enter into a big uprising against the plot of transferring the US Embassy to Jerusalem.” Iranian allies among the Houthis in Yemen have also held a rally against the Jerusalem move.

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Two Years on, the Stakes of Russia’s War in Syria Are Piling (Op-ed)

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE MOSCOW TIMES)

 

Two years ago, on Sept. 30, 2015, Russian warplanes launched their first airstrikes in Syria, plunging Russia into a civil war that had already been festering for four years.

Moscow intervened in Syria vowing to fight Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, terrorist groups banned in Russia. Its objective was to transform its relationship with Washington and Brussels by disarming an imminent threat to the West after it had hit Russia with sanctions for the Kremlin’s “adventures in Ukraine.”

Days before the airstrikes began, Putin delivered a speech at the United Nations General Assembly calling for a united front against international terrorism, framing it as the modern equivalent of World War II’s coalition against Hitler.

But two years later, Russia’s hopes of winning concessions in Ukraine for its campaign against Islamic State have come to very little. Putin’s strategic alliance with the United States never materialized.

Russia, however, has met two less lofty goals. One was to rescue the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad, Moscow’s longtime ally, from the inevitable defeat at the hands of an armed Sunni rebellion.

Moscow leveraged its ties with Iran, another regime ally, to deploy Shia militias from Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan to fight the Syrian rebels. This allowed Moscow to send a modest ground force to Syria — artillery and some special operations forces — without a large footprint.

Russia helped Assad recast the civil war and the popular uprising against his regime as a fight against jihadi terrorists by focusing its airstrikes over the last two years on moderate Syrian rebel groups, while paying little attention to Islamic State.

This rendered the conflict black and white — a binary choice between Assad and jihadists. It allowed Moscow to sell its intervention as support for Syria’s sovereignty against anarchy and terrorism. Russia made clear that it saw the path to stability in the Middle East as helping friendly autocrats suppress popular uprisings with force.

At home, the Kremlin sold its Syrian gambit as a way of defeating terrorism before it reached Russian soil. Russia, after all, needed to prevent Russians and Central Asians who joined Islamic State from returning home to wreck havoc at home soil.

Moscow was also able to use Syria as a lab for its newest weaponry.

By workshopping newly-acquired precision cruise-missile strikes, Russia joined the United States in an exclusive arms club. Showcasing military prowess, while keeping casualties figures low — some 40 Russia servicemen died in Syria — it was able to win public support at home for the intervention.

But perhaps most importantly, the Kremlin’s intervention in Syria has reaffirmed Russia’s status as a global superpower which is capable of projecting force far from its own borders.

Andrei Luzik / Russian Navy Northern Fleet Press Office / TASS

While Moscow may have been offended by former U.S. President Barack Obama’s dismissive description of Russia as a “regional power,” it impressed Arab leaders with its unwavering support for Assad, which was important at a time when U.S. commitment to allies’ security and the stability in the region was in doubt.

Moscow’s backing of Assad ensured it had channels with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, despite their support for Syrian rebels. It was even able to convince the Gulf to wind down its support for the opposition as a Russia-led victory for the regime became inevitable.

Russia’s alliances with Jordan and Egypt proved useful in setting up direct lines to armed opposition groups to reach de-escalation agreements. And even as it fights alongside Shia Iran, Moscow has avoided being drawn into a sectarian proxy war with Sunni Arab states.

Russia’s most stunning diplomatic coup was to change Turkey’s calculus in the war from a proxy adversary into a major partner in securing the decisive victory in Aleppo. Through the Astana process, Russia alongside Turkey wound down fighting with moderate rebels.

Russia’s victory in Syria was helped by Washington’s decision not to immerse itself into Syria and a war by proxy with Russia. Instead, the U.S. focused its military operations on defeating Islamic State in eastern Syria.

Now, with de-escalation in western Syria, regime forces and Russian airpower are turned to defeating Islamic State, which has brought them into contact with the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) advancing from the northeast as part of their offensive to liberate Raqqa from Islamic State.

The potential for a U.S.-Russia kinetic collision in Syria with unpredictable consequences is escalating. This highlights the looming endgame in Syria and the choices Moscow and Washington will have to make moving forward.

Washington needs to decide whether it wants to stay in Syria for counterinsurgency operations to prevent the re-emergence of Islamic State. It may also decide to block Iran from establishing the “Shia land bridge” from the Iraqi border to the Mediterranean.

But this entails supporting the SDF and helping them control sizeable real estate northeast of the Euphrates river and blocking regime forces and Russia from advancing east.

Moscow needs to decide whether it wants to be dragged into Assad and Iran’s strategy of ensuring a complete military victory in Syria and preventing the opposition from exercising any autonomous self-rule. That could see Russia pulled into a nasty proxy fight with the Americans.

Two years after Russia intervened in Syria, the war may be winding down. But the stakes for Moscow and Washington are stacking.

The views and opinions expressed in opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the position of The Moscow Times.

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1,300 Jews Get To Visit The Temple Mount: To Honor The 2 Jewish Temples That Once Stood There

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Breaking records, over 1,300 Jews on Tuesday visited the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem for the Tisha B’av fast commemorating the destruction of the Jewish temples that once stood at the site.

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Despite fasting, 1,043 people braved the heat and went up to the Mount during the morning visiting hours, while hundreds more waited in line to visit the holy site.

The site reopened to Jewish visitors in the afternoon. By 5 p.m., almost 1,300 non-Muslim visitors had toured the site.

Hebrew media reports said the number was unprecedented since Israel captured the OId City in 1967.

In light of recent tensions surrounding the site, the Jewish visitors were required to leave their identity cards with police before passing through metal detectors at the Mughrabi Gate, the only gate to the compound through which non-Muslims may enter.

Because of the large number of people seeking to go up to the compound, visitors were escorted around the site in larger groups than usual, Israel Radio reported.

מאות יהודים עלו להר הבית בבוקר צום תשעה באב, ורבים ממתינים בתורים ארוכים. בשל העומס הסיורים מתקיימים בקבוצות גדולות מהנהוג @Roi_Yanovsky

Police said that six people were ejected from the Temple Mount for violating the site’s rules for non-Muslim visitors, which include a prohibition on prayer, while four people were arrested after a scuffle broke out between three Jews and a Muslim man as one of the groups was leaving the compound through the Chain Gate.

500 יהודים שכבר עלו להר הבית הבוקר

In addition to the extra security measures at the Mughrabi Gate, large numbers of police were deployed throughout the Old City ahead of the expected arrival of tens of thousands of worshipers to the Western Wall throughout the day.

Police said cars would be prohibited from entering the Old City beginning at 5 p.m., except those belonging to Old City residents.

On Monday night, thousands of Jews attended prayers at the Western Wall to observe the start of Tisha B’Av, days after violence shook the city.

Prayer leaders read aloud from the Book of Lamentations, believed by Jews to be the biblical prophet Jeremiah’s account of the destruction of the First Temple by invading Babylonians in 586 BCE.

The Western Wall is a remnant of the retaining wall of the Second Temple, built on the site of the First and destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE.

The wall is at the foot of the Temple Mount compound, known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif, which houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the gilded Dome of the Rock shrine in the heart of the Old City. The compound is the third-holiest site in Islam, after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. It is the most sacred site for Jews.

Tisha B’Av commemorates the destruction of both temples, as well as several other disasters in Jewish history.

Jewish men pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City during the annual Tisha B'Av fast day commemorating the destruction of the Jewish temples, on July 31, 2017. (AFP Photo/Menahem Kahana)

Jewish men pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City during the annual Tisha B’Av fast day commemorating the destruction of the Jewish temples, on July 31, 2017. (AFP/Menahem Kahana)

The event comes after relative calm returned to Jerusalem following almost two weeks of Palestinian protests over security measures at the Temple Mount, installed after a July 14 terror attack in which three Israeli Arabs shot dead two Israeli policemen with weapons they had smuggled into the compound.

Muslim worshipers had refused to enter the Temple Mount until the security installations at entrances to the site were removed, while Palestinian protesters staged near-daily protests in and around East Jerusalem and the West Bank, some of which turned violent.

The clashes left five Palestinians dead. A week after the Temple Mount terror attack, a Palestinian terrorist broke into a home in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank and stabbed three members of a single family to death while they were having Shabbat dinner. In a Facebook post hours before his murderous spree, the terrorist cited the events surrounding the Temple Mount as a main motivator.

The crisis was contained last week when Israeli authorities removed the newly installed measures, including metal detectors, following heavy pressure from Jordan, the custodian of the Temple Mount, and the Palestinians.

Border Police officers stand guard as Jewish men pray during the Tisha B'Av fast at a gate leading to the Old City of Jerusalem's Temple Mount compound on July 31, 2017. (AFP Photo/Menahem Kahana)

Border Police officers stand guard as Jewish men pray during the Tisha B’Av fast at a gate leading to the Old City of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount compound on July 31, 2017. (AFP/Menahem Kahana)

The site has frequently been a flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Under a decades-old agreement enforced by Israel, only Muslims are allowed to pray inside the compound, although non-Muslims are allowed to visit.

AFP contributed to this report.

Attempting to understand the Israeli Palestinian Conflict

(THIS ARTICLE IS FROM THE WORDPRESS BLOG SITE OF ‘SEELISTENUNDERSTAND’)

 

Post July 30th 2017
1. In the last 2 posts, I described the creation of Israel. I did it because the Palestinians claim the state of Israel for them while they can’t submit any evidence to prove their ownership. This you must know: the words, in the oriental world, must not be proved. The Arabs are not scientists. As for them if somebody said a word-it is for sure in the rock. No more proof is needed. This is exactly what is currently happening in the Mount Temple-Al Aqsa. The matter the fact is that the mount temple is the place where the 2 Israeli temples were standing. In order to change these facts, the Palestinians made excavations, in the mount temple in order to remove all evidence. The Israeli department of antiques followed them, cleaned the excavated/thrown send and found these interesting facts/Jewish symbols that are the best evidence of the existence of the Israeli temple there.
2. Since the 1948 (independence) war until the 6 days war the Temple Mount was in the hands of Jordan. The king(s) of Jordan was in charge of controlling the place. In the 6 days war (1967) Israel was attacked by 3 Arab states. One of them was Jordan. So, Israel was forced to protect itself. In this war Israel released east Jerusalem including the Temple Mount. But, in order to establish/maintain good relations with the Jordanians-Israeli Minister of defense agreed to give the Waqf (Muslim committee that watches the holy places) to be in charge of ruling Al Aqsa. It does not mean that Israel pulled its hand of the holiest place for Jews.
3. Like usual, the Arabs described Israel’s gesture in the wrong way (or they did understand it in the right way but tried to deviate the history) and took full responsibility of the place and tried to inherit the Jews rights in the place.
4. The Jews claimed their rights. This conflict was extreme and the result was that Muslims attacked, and killed Israelis. Among the killed Israelis there were Israeli Arabs, Druze policemen. In these attacks 3 Israeli Muslims were killed. I repeat, the Muslims attacked and killed Israelis. The Israelis were killed by arms that were stored in Al Aqsa mosques, which are in the Temple mount area. Following it the Israeli Gov. installed (Magnetometers=MM) Metal detectors in the mount temple. This was done in order to protect the crowd that attends the temple mount to pray. The Muslims disliked the installation of the MM. They claimed that this is a change in the Status Quo in the mount. They started rioting which caused a couple of dead and injured Muslims. They also claimed that Israel is dirtying the holy place. (Can you believe that Israel is doing it in the Jewish holiest place in the world). They also applied to Unesco that decided that the Temple Mount and Jerusalem, in general, is a holy Muslim place, while Israel/Jews have no relation to it. What a poor resolution of a stupid committee. It is interesting to inform you that Jerusalem is mentioned in the bible 720 times. In the Quran-0.000 times. So, whose capital it is?
5. One of the lies that the Muslims are using for years is that “Al Aqsa” is in danger. The danger, according to them, is because Israel poured some chemicals into the walls of “Al Aqsa” that dissolves the walls. When? Where? How? they never detailed. They did not submit any proves of it. For the Arabs, a lie like this, coming out from the mouth of a Muslim recognized/honorable/respected person is enough. He knows better than anybody and whatever he says is the God’s words. They are connected direct by cell phone.
6. The Muslims say that whatever Israel is doing it is aimed to reconstruct the Jewish temple. In order to incite the Palestinians Abu Mazen says that they will prevent it with their blood. Many more hallucination Muslims follows him. They are looking to hate Israel. Among them we find Erdogan of Turkey that is looking to take the lead of the Muslim world. Jordan that tell their citizens that Israel dirt “Al Aqsa”. Same do Qatar, S. Arabia and Egypt are joining this celebration against Israel.
7. The point is that “Al Aqsa” is not behaving anymore like the place of God. It became the place of politics. They spread the incitement with videos, cartoons that are produced by brain washed Muslims.
8. All of this was caused because Israel gave The Muslims the right to control/run the Mount temple. You can’t find such a behavior, that one religion gives its competitor the rights to run the holiest place in the world.
9. Israel did it with open mind as we thought that it will convince the Muslims that Israel is looking for true peace relations. But, it seems that with the Arabs there will never be peace as if they are looking, following the Quran, to spread the Islam all over, even by enforcing the conversion/killing people that do not believe in the Islam.
10. The most important point is that due to the stupid Israeli permission to leave the management of the Temple Mount in the hands of the Waqf, Israel lost precious points in the fight for ruling the holiest Jewish place. But, we are not going to give up as sooner or later the 3rd temple will be built.
11. Until 50 years ago there were many Muslim’s documents that confirmed the ownership of Israelite’s on the temple. Many histories and theological documents, including Prophet Muhammad, promised that the temple mount belongs to the Jews. The interesting point is that Unesco’s representatives are so flat that they does not know, or they know but in order to help the Muslims, they “forgot” it for a short while, of Unesco’s meetings/discussions.
12. I must tell you that I don’t know about one, even a single old/ancient documents that confirm the ownership of the Palestinians of the mount temple.
13. Now, let me tell you, as Israeli citizens that was born in Israel and that have very many Muslim friends the following:
13.1. Most of the Israeli Muslims are honest people, hard workers. Even the most religious ones see the benefit of living in Israel, side by side with the Jews. They want to live in peace.
13.2. The problem with the Arabs is their habits, how they get their knowledge and their education. Basically the family and their home is the surrounding that they grow in. The Arab’s most common habit to sit on the floor and listen very carefully, to the stories of the old people. This come along with black, very strong/concentrated, very sweet or bitter coffee + cigarettes or hookah. The youngsters listen very carefully. It happens daily. This is a part of the social life. Sometimes the stories are very interesting, but most of the time they are not or the teller repeats the same story couple of time.
13.3. The above described can be seen in most Arab homes. In undeveloped countries in the farms/villages where there is minimal schools. Pity that the majority of the Arabs lives in such conditions and get such education. Unfortunately this vast number of people is the people that are the easiest to convince to join the Islam and to send them to be killed in battle or suicide bombs. This must be stopped immediately as the suicide bombs are human being and they deserve their lives like us.
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In friendship
Amir