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Archive for Israel

Newsline: Families of missing students protest outside Israel’s embassy in Mexico City

Relatives of the 43 Mexican students who disappeared in 2014 protested outside Israel’s embassy, demanding the extradition of a former top investigator wanted in connection with the case. Hundreds gathered outside Israel’s embassy in Mexico City, with no visible police presence. Some carried pictures of the missing students while others sprayed graffiti on the embassy walls. Tomas Zeron, who previously led Mexico’s Criminal Investigation Agency, is accused of manipulating the probe into one of the country’s worst human rights tragedies. “Israel is protecting Tomas Zeron, a human rights violator who tortured those he detained at the time to build the ‘historical truth,'” Meliton Ortega, a representative of the students’ families, told AFP. (https://www.cbsnews.com/news/families-43-missing-students-mexico-urge-israel-to-deport-tomas-zeron-protests/) But Israeli Ambassador to Mexico Zvi Tal criticized the demonstrators’ actions. “It is clear to us that the violence displayed during the demonstration, where they left the walls of our headquarters painted with offensive graffiti, here is written ‘Death to Israel,’ has no relation to the Ayotzinapa case,” he said in a video address in front of the embassy. Mexico has repeatedly asked Israel to hand over Zeron, who is accused of kidnapping, torturing suspects and manipulating evidence — allegations he has denied. The 43 teaching students had commandeered buses in the southern state of Guerrero to travel to a demonstration in Mexico City before they went missing. Investigators say they were detained by corrupt police and handed over to a drug cartel that mistook them for members of a rival gang, but exactly what happened to them is disputed. So far, the remains of only three victims have been identified.

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: UK is considering relocation of British embassy to Jerusalem

Liz Truss has told her Israeli counterpart she is reviewing moving the British embassy in Tel Aviv to the contested holy city of Jerusalem. 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 on Wednesday. (https://news.yahoo.com/truss-tells-israel-she-considering-000039584.html) Mr Trump, when president, sparked controversy by moving the US embassy to Jerusalem in 2017. A Downing Street spokeswoman said Ms Truss informed Mr Lapid “about her review of the current location of the British Embassy in Israel”. Ms Truss said she understood the “importance and sensitivity” over its location. Then the Foreign Secretary, she made the pledge during the Tory leadership contest in a letter to the Conservative Friends of Israel. Britain has long maintained its Israel embassy in Tel Aviv despite Israel designating Jerusalem as its capital.

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: President of Chile refuses to accept Israeli ambassador’s credentials

The president of Chile sparked a diplomatic row with Israel Thursday, after he snubbed Israel’s new ambassador to Chile. On Thursday, Israel’s new ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzeyli, was scheduled to meet with President Gabriel Boric and to present his credentials and formally replace Marina Rosenberg as ambassador. The ceremony – typically a formality – made international news, however, when Artzeyli was rebuffed at the last minute. Walla reported that Artzeyli had already arrived at the presidential residence when he was refused entry. According to a report by Israel’s Yediot Aharanot, Artzeyli was told that the meeting was cancelled after Boric was angered by Israel allegedly “killing children in Gaza”. (https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/359936) In fact, Boric appeared to be referencing the killing of a 17-year-old Palestinian Arab who had attacked IDF soldiers during an operation early Thursday morning, following the murder of IDF Major Bar Falah. Late Thursday night, Chile’s foreign ministry issued an apology to Artzyeli. Chilean foreign ministry officials said the ceremony for receiving Artzyeli’s credentials has been rescheduled to October.

Newsline: Moroccans Protest Israeli Ambassador’s Sex Scandal

Dozens of pro-Palestinian demonstrators protested outside Morocco’s parliament against the kingdom’s normalisation of ties with Israel after the Jewish state recalled its top envoy from Rabat amid a probe, AFP correspondents said. Around 100 people chanted slogans against the rapprochement between Morocco and Israel, criticising its ambassador David Govrin and Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita. “Today, we are in front of the parliament to protest against the hideous acts” allegedly committed by Govrin, said Amine Abdelhamid, a pro-Palestinian activist against normalisation between Morocco and Israel. “Morocco’s dignity is not for sale, the normalisation must end,” he said. (https://www.albawaba.com/news/moroccans-protest-sex-scandal-israeli-ambassador-rabat-1490585) Protesters burned an Israeli flag at the end of the demonstration. According to Israeli media, ambassador David Govrin is facing allegations of exploiting Moroccan women, sexual harassment and indecent exposure. Rabat cut relations with Israel in 2000 following the outbreak of the second Palestinian intifada, but in 2020 Morocco followed the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in formalising ties with Israel.

Newsline: Israel’s Ambassador to Morocco recalled amid harassment allegations

Israel’s Foreign Ministry recalled Ambassador David Govrin from his post in Morocco amid an ongoing inquiry into allegations of sexual harassment, according to a spokesperson. A delegation from Israel, led by the Foreign Ministry’s Inspector General Hagay Behar, arrived in Morocco and is conducting the review. In a statement to i24NEWS the Israeli Foreign Ministry said that, “The issue is known about and is being dealt with.” (https://www.i24news.tv/en/news/israel/diplomacy/1662371775-morocco-embassy-allegations-israeli-diplomats-accused-of-impropriety) Allegations include the exploitation and harassment of Moroccan women, possible conflicts of interest and the disappearance of gifts received by the mission. A number of other leading Israeli politicians and diplomats are also linked to these claims, according to reports. Besides the accusations of sexual misconduct, it is also examining the disappearance of a gift card received by the embassy from the Moroccan royal household during Israeli independence day celebrations, and a dispute between the ambassador and the embassy’s head of security. If the inquiry surfaces any truth to the allegations, it could cause a diplomatic incident between the two nations that only recently renewed diplomatic contact as part of the Abraham Accords.

Newsline: U.S. senior diplomat to visit Jerusalem, Ramallah for talks with Israelis, Palestinians

Barbara Leaf, the State Department’s most senior diplomat for the Middle East, will arrive in Israel on Thursday for talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials in Jerusalem and Ramallah, Israeli and Palestinian officials told Axios. (https://www.axios.com/2022/08/31/us-state-leaf-visit-israel-palestinians-talks) Leaf’s visit comes as the U.S. tries to convince Palestinian leadership, which is frustrated with the diplomatic stalemate in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, not to pursue a bid at the UN Security Council for full UN membership. Hady Amr, the State Department’s point person on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, arrived in Jerusalem on Tuesday to prepare Leaf’s visit, Israeli and Palestinian officials said. Palestinian officials in recent days doubled down on their intention to pursue a vote at the Security Council, saying they will push for it even though they know the U.S. will veto it. According to Palestinian officials, President Mahmoud Abbas is planning to start the process immediately after his speech at the UN General Assembly, which starts on Sept. 20.

Newsline: Israeli envoy in Turkey sees ambassador appointment “within weeks”

The #Israeli charge d’affaires in Turkey said the re-appointment of an ambassador to Ankara could happen within weeks, while repeating Israel’s expectation that the Hamas office in Istanbul be closed down. In a roundtable meeting with journalists, Israel’s current top representative in Ankara Irit Lillian said the process of re-appointing an ambassador to Turkey was only a matter of “when and not if.” “I hope it will be on time and it will be just a few more weeks and the process will be over,” Lillian said. (https://news.yahoo.com/israeli-diplomat-turkey-expects-ambassador-121337710.html) Earlier this month, Turkey and Israel agreed to re-appoint respective ambassadors more than four years after they were called back, marking another milestone after months of improved relations. 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.