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Archive for Israel

Newsline: US ambassador says two citizens injured in Jerusalem terror attack

Two U.S. citizens were among the injured after a pair of explosions rocked two bus stops in Jerusalem during the height of the rush hour commute Wednesday morning, the U.S. Ambassador to Israel confirmed. The bombs injured at least 18 victims and killed a Canadian-Israeli teenager in what Israeli police said were attacks by Palestinians. “Sadly, I can now confirm that two U.S. citizens were among those injured in today’s terror attacks in Jerusalem,” Amb. Tom Nides tweeted. (https://www.foxnews.com/world/us-citizens-injured-jerusalem-deadly-terror-attack-ambassador-says) The first explosion occurred just after 7 a.m. local time at a crowded bus station. Israeli police suspect that a bag with explosives was detonated remotely.

Newsline: Israel summons Ukrainian ambassador

Israel said it had summoned the Ukrainian ambassador for a dressing down after Kyiv voted in favour of a resolution to open an international probe into Israel’s prolonged occupation of the West Bank. The resolution, approved at U.N. headquarters in New York last week, asks that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) “urgently” weigh in on Israel’s “prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of the Palestinian territory”, which it said were violating the Palestinians’ right to self-determination. Israel “expressed its dissatisfaction” with Ukraine’s decision to vote in favour of the resolution in a conversation with Ambassador Yevgen Korniychuk, according to a statement released by the Israeli foreign ministry. “It was clarified to the ambassador that this behaviour does not embody friendly behaviour,” the statement said. (https://news.yahoo.com/israel-admonishes-ukrainian-ambassador-over-135245644.html) In a statement about the meeting on Facebook, the Ukrainian embassy in Israel wrote: “The ambassador expressed disappointment with the position of Israel, whose representative abstained during the vote in the U.N. General Assembly on the issue of Russian reparation payments to Ukraine.” While the Israeli statement said the ambassador had been “summoned”, Ukraine said the meeting had been prearranged and was not a summons.

Newsline: Church leaders voice concern over possible UK Embassy move to Jerusalem

The leaders of the Christian Churches in Jerusalem have joined in expressing their deep concerns over the possible transfer of the UK Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. British Prime Minister Liz Truss hinted to this possibility on September 21 during a bilateral meeting in New York with her Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid. The proposed relocation has spurred strong criticism, including from the Palestinian leaders and the Arab League, as both Israeli and Palestinian authorities claim Jerusalem to be their capital city. This is the reason why most nations, including the United Kingdom, use Tel Aviv as their diplomatic headquarters. In a statement, the Council of the Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem said the relocation of the UK embassy would be “a further impediment to advancing the already moribund Peace Process”, between Israel and the Palestinians. (https://www.heraldmalaysia.com/news/church-leaders-urge-british-pm-not-to-move-embassy-to-jerusalem/68051/1) The US have already relocated their embassy to Jerusalem. The move was announced in 2017 by the Trump Administration and sparked international condemnation.

Newsline: Relocation of British embassy to Jerusalem considered

Liz Truss has told her Israeli counterpart she is reviewing moving the British embassy in Tel Aviv to the contested holy city of Jerusalem. A Downing Street spokeswoman said Ms Truss informed Mr Lapid “about her review of the current location of the British Embassy in Israel”. (https://news.yahoo.com/truss-tells-israel-she-considering-000039584.html) The Prime Minister raised following Donald Trump on the possible move with Yair Lapid during a meeting at the United Nations summit in New York. Britain has long maintained its Israel embassy in Tel Aviv despite Israel designating Jerusalem as its capital. Mr Trump, when president, sparked controversy by moving the US embassy to Jerusalem in 2017.

Newsline: Israel appoints ambassador to Turkey for first time since 2018

Israel will have an ambassador in Turkey for the first time in four years, the latest step in warming relations between the two countries following a years-long rift. Irit Lillian, a senior diplomat who has been in charge of the Israeli embassy in Ankara for the last two years, will serve as the ambassador, Israel’s foreign ministry announced. (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/9/20/israel-appoints-ambassador-to-turkey-first-time-since-2018) In 2018, Turkey withdrew its ambassador from Israel and ordered Israel’s ambassador to leave in protest at Israel’s killing of dozens of Palestinians in protests along the Gaza border. Once-warm relations began to deteriorate after the election of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, an outspoken critic of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, as prime minister in 2003. Tensions peaked in 2010 when Israeli forces stormed a Turkish ship that broke through an Israeli blockade to deliver humanitarian aid to the Hamas-administered Gaza Strip. Nine Turkish activists were killed. However, the two countries have in recent years made efforts to put their troubled relationship behind them, as regional alliances shift.

Newsline: Israel Appoints New Ambassador to Morocco

The Israeli Foreign Ministry has appointed Alona Fisher as head of Israel’s liaison office in Rabat, replacing David Govrin, following sexual harassment allegations and administrative malpractice against him. Fisher was a former Israeli ambassador to Serbia and Montenegro. She has also served as Israel’s ambassador chargé d’affaires to Spain, France, and Argentina. This move came after the Israeli Foreign Ministry recalled Govrin, as it “continues to investigate recent sexual harassment allegations.” Govrin addressed the allegations, describing them as “false.” He said that the chief security officer of the Israeli Liaison in Rabat made up the allegations because the former recommended dismissing him. Officials in Morocco took a firm stance against Govrin and demanded recalling him instantly, threatening to arrest him. (https://english.aawsat.com/home/article/3877421/israel-appoints-new-ambassador-morocco) Moroccan officials affirmed that the police continue to question women who work at the embassy.

Newsline: Turkey, Israel to restore full diplomatic ties

Turkey and Israel said on Wednesday they will re-appoint respective ambassadors more than four years after they were called back. Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s office said on Wednesday the two countries decided to restore full diplomatic ties. “It was decided to once again upgrade the level of the relations between the two countries to that of full diplomatic ties and to return ambassadors and consuls general,” Lapid’s office said in a statement following a conversation between the prime minister and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the appointment of ambassadors was one of the steps in the normalisation of ties. “Such a positive step came from Israel as a result of these efforts, and as Turkey, we also decided to appoint an ambassador to Israel, to Tel Aviv,” Cavusoglu said at a news conference in Ankara, adding Turkey was selecting someone. (https://news.yahoo.com/israel-says-restore-full-diplomatic-112344311.html) The two regional powers had expelled ambassadors in 2018 over the killing of 60 Palestinians by Israeli forces during protests on the Gaza border against the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.

Newsline: Honduras to consider returning Israeli embassy to Tel Aviv from Jerusalem

Honduras is considering moving its embassy in Israel back to Tel Aviv, a year after moving it to Jerusalem, according to the Honduran foreign ministry. (https://news.yahoo.com/honduras-consider-returning-israeli-embassy-170817610.html) Former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, a conservative who considered himself a close Washington ally, moved Honduras’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem in 2021. The United States had moved its embassy to Jerusalem in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump, reversing decades of U.S. policy. Hernandez was extradited to the United States earlier this year on charges of drug trafficking. His successor, leftist Xiomara Castro, took office in January. “The issue of moving the embassy to Tel Aviv has already been discussed with President (Castro) and is a topic of interest to her, as well as maintaining a balanced relationship with the other Arab countries and Israel,” Honduran Foreign Minister Enrique Reina said in a statement. Reina discussed the issue in a meeting with Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki on Sunday in Bogota, where they were visiting for the inauguration ceremony of Colombian President Gustavo Petro. The United States, Honduras, Guatemala and Kosovo are the only countries with embassies in Jerusalem; other countries have them in Tel Aviv.

Newsline: Abbas to ask Biden to move US embassy to Tel Aviv

Following President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the US elections, the Palestinian Authority is reportedly planning on asking him to immediately move the US embassy back to Tel Aviv, i24 news reported, citing Israel Hayom. (https://www.jpost.com/us-elections/abbas-to-ask-biden-to-move-us-embassy-to-tel-aviv-report-648471) The reports cited a Palestinian Authority senior adviser named Nabil Shaath, who told the Hebrew-language newspaper that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has been covertly communicating with the president-elect in an effort to go back on many of President Donald Trump’s pro-Israel policies, such as recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the embassy back to Tel Aviv.

Newsline: Former U.S. Ambassador Warns Trump Might Ditch NATO, ‘Turning America’s Back’ on Israel

A second term for U.S. President Donald Trump would threaten the future of NATO, embolden Russia’s role in the Middle East and put Israel in a tough situation, says former U.S. ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, ahead of the 2020 election. Shapiro told Haaretz that “NATO would be unlikely to survive a second Trump term,” noting that the 45th president has expressed interest in the past in withdrawing the United States from the influential alliance, which has served as a deterring force against Russia ever since the days of the Cold War. (https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-ex-u-s-ambassador-warns-trump-might-ditch-nato-turning-america-s-back-on-israel-1.9275008) According to Shapiro, the impact of such a withdrawal would “embolden an aggressive Russia, and its appetite would not be limited to European targets, but would also extend deeper into the Middle East.” Two of Trump’s former senior advisers – his former chief of staff, retired General John Kelly, and his former National Security Adviser John Bolton – have stated that Trump expressed interest in pulling out of NATO.