“‘I have a lot of respect for Dani Dayan,’ said Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president and founder of J Street, the largest Jewish group focused on promoting a two-state solution and opposing the settlements. ‘We don’t agree politically on almost anything, but as a diplomat, his approach has been exactly the right one for the State of Israel’ … ‘Dani Dayan has the exact opposite approach from ambassador Dermer,’ Ben-Ami said, calling the ambassador’s snubbing of J Street “a big mistake for Israel.” Ben-Ami said that ‘at a time when both Israel and the United States are experiencing a trend of political hatred and division, it’s important to have people like Dani, who are open to dialogue with those they disagree with. He knows that we’re going to argue and disagree with each other on many things, but insists that we should do so respectfully, without boycotts and insults.’”
“J Street welcomes the ruling by Europe’s top court yesterday that Hamas should remain on the EU terrorism blacklist. Hamas is a terrorist organization that routinely conducts attacks against Israeli civilians. The EU – along with the rest of the world – should regard them as such.”
Palestinians declared a hard-won victory Thursday against what they saw as an attempt by Israel to limit access at their holiest site, the al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Israel installed metal detectors at the gates to the sensitive shrine after three Israeli Arab gunmen killed two Israeli police officers there on July 14. Now, nearly two weeks later, the detectors and other extra security devices are being dismantled. Jerusalem’s grand mufti, Mohammed Hussein, a spiritual leader and custodian of the mosque, urged Muslims on Thursday to return to their shrine for worship, declaring the crisis over. Worshipers had refrained from entering the compound, praying on the streets outside instead.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that the Palestinian who killed three Israelis last week should be executed. Netanyahu was speaking during a condolence visit with the Salomon family, who lost three family members in an attack in their West Bank home of Halamish. “The death penalty for terrorists is something that the time has come to do,” the prime minister told the family.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a proposal to the United States under which Israel would annex West Bank settlements and in exchange relinquish some Arab cities in Israel to Palestinian control, Channel 2 reported on Thursday. Netanyahu reportedly suggested that jurisdiction of several Israeli Arab villages in the Wadi Ara region could be transferred to Palestinian control in exchange for Israel annexing Jewish settlements in the Gush Etzion bloc in the West Bank.
For the first time since two Israeli policeman were shot and killed at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount compound on July 14, thousands of Muslim worshippers entered Al-Aqsa Mosque on Thursday to pray. Over 100 Palestinian worshippers and one police officer were wounded in clashes as police tried to disperse the masses of worshippers arriving at the site.
Initial Reports: Attempted Stabbing Attack in West Bank, Jerusalem Post
According to initial reports, a Palestinian attempted to carry out a stabbing attack at the Gush Etzion junction in the West Bank on Friday afternoon.
Jordan’s attorney general announced on Thursday that he intends to pursue murder charges in an international court against the Israeli Embassy security guard who killed two Jordanians after one attacked him. Attorney General Akram Masadeh also wants the guard charged with illegal weapons possession, the Jordanian news agency Petra reported.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would seek to pass a law to shut down the Jerusalem bureau of Al Jazeera if law enforcement will not do so after his multiple requests.
Tens of thousands of Muslim worshippers prayed on the Temple Mount on Friday. Earlier, the Israeli police decided to bar men under the age of 50 from entering the the site. During the mid-day prayers, thousands of men who didn’t meet the age requirement gathered near checkpoints outside the Mount. No clashes or other violent incidents were reported there. Morning prayers at the site proceeded without incident.
In its handling of the Jordan embassy crisis, the government put public opinion before Israel’s foreign policy needs, embarrassing an important ally, and closed the embassy precisely when it was most needed, according to Efraim Halevy, a former head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence service.
Iran successfully launched a missile into space on Thursday, state media reported, two days after the United States House of Representatives approved a bill that would impose additional sanctions against the country, and Russia and North Korea.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II said on Thursday that the way Israel deals with its security guard who shot two Jordanian citizens outside the Israeli embassy in Jordan last week would directly affect relations between the two countries.
The Military Advocate General charged on Thursday the mother of the 19-year-old Palestinian man who stabbed three Israelis to death at their Shabbat table Friday night with incitement. The indictment said that the mother, Abtisam al-Jalil, gave an interview the day after the attack in which she praised her son’s actions.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, relenting after a months-long feud with the White House that undercut his sway on foreign policy, is lifting a freeze on State Department staff working at the National Security Council. Under an agreement signed with the NSC, Tillerson will allow as many as 33 State Department employees at a time to work at the White House office for a minimum of one year, down from 47 under the Obama administration, according to people familiar with the decision.
Despite statements made by Waqf religious trust officials that Muslim prayer will resume as normal at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque on Thursday, the Israeli army is preparing for violent clashes Friday in the West Bank. The Waqf is the Muslim religious trust tasked with administering day-to-day affairs of the holy site.
Israeli forces conducted a series of raids Thursday evening in and around the town of Tuqu, southeast of Bethlehem in the southern occupied West Bank, after an Israeli settler was allegedly injured after a rocks were thrown at his vehicle.
The head of the Arab League warned Thursday that Israeli attempts to control highly sensitive religious sites in Jerusalem by force risk igniting a “religious war”.
Three days have passed since Abed al-Fatah Abu Halal, an Egged bus driver from Ar’ara, was stabbed in Petah Tikva by a Palestinian terrorist, and according to his family, no one from the government or the Knesset made any contact with him or came to visit him at the hospital.
The Trump administration has appointed former U.S. Army Col. Derek Harvey as its senior director for Middle East policies on the National Security Council.
Reporters demand police stop blocking press from Old City, Times of Israel
The organization representing international media operating in Israel on Thursday sent a formal demand to Israeli officials calling for the lifting of a ban preventing journalists entering areas of the Old City of Jerusalem to cover the unrest at the Temple Mount.
Only a few days after three relatives were slaughtered in a terrorist home invasion, the Salomon family is inviting the Israeli public to attend the circumcision of a newborn whose birth they were celebrating when the attack occurred.
Netanyahu defends Shin Bet after Likud MK calls agents ‘cowards’, Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday rejected criticism of the Shin Bet security service by a political ally from his Likud party, who had called its agents “cowards” for pushing for the removal of new security measures placed at the Temple Mount.
Rival Palestinian lawmakers came together for the first time in a decade on Thursday in Gaza’s parliament, the latest sign that an emerging Gaza power-sharing deal between the territory’s Hamas rulers and a former Gaza strongman is moving forward.
Nathan Guttman argues, “While Netanyahu and Adelson did not comment on the state of their relationship, a legal twist could, in fact, turn this distancing into a valuable asset for Netanyahu. According to a report Wednesday on Israel’s Channel 10 TV news, the state comptroller’s office is now looking into the nature of the ties between Netanyahu and Israel Hayom since the paper was established a decade ago. If the comptroller finds a direct link, the report stated, Netanyahu could face legal action for breaking election funding laws. A well-publicized dispute with the newspaper could help the Israel leader refute claims of an improper direct link to the publication.”
Amos Harel observes, “Intelligence figures say attendance at violent demonstrations may be lower than during the intifadas, but on Friday twice as many people came out compared to the height of the period of the Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike in May. All the Palestinian organizations want their people to take to the streets for a “day of rage” tomorrow, with Fatah field activists taking part in organizing the demonstrations. For all these reasons, the defense establishment sees the crisis as an ongoing situation, with the settlers’ taking over Hebron’s ‘Machpelah House also contributing to the tense atmosphere.”
Yotam Berger covers this week’s Temple Mount protests.
Peter Beinart states, “Anti-Muslim bigotry is becoming, alongside Israel, the central cleavage in American Jewish politics. But the battle lines are different. The ADL, which rarely criticizes Israeli policy in the West Bank, denounces anti-Muslim bigotry in the United States. That’s the good news. The bad news is that hostility to Islam, and support for policies that discriminate against Muslims, has become commonplace in one wing of the American Jewish community.”
Ilana Sumka writes, “Imagine Israel banning Reform Jews, or Democratic Jews, for their religious or political beliefs. That may sound impossible, but so does the phrase ‘Israel bans rabbi from entering’ – and it just happened.”
Mazal Mualem analyzes, “At a meeting of his security Cabinet on July 24, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convinced his ministers to support the removal of the metal detectors that had just been installed at the Temple Mount compound entrance. Once that was done, he immediately set to work minimizing the damage the decision had done to his image … While the Channel 2 poll showed that Israelis were unhappy with the way Netanyahu reacted to the crisis, it also indicated that most Israelis — and not only the right — believed that installing the metal detectors in the first place was the right thing to do. “
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