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October 25, 2014 / 1 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Bethlehem’

Obama White House Condemns Designation of Gush Etzion Lot as ‘State Land’

Monday, September 1st, 2014

The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama has sharply condemned the Israeli government’s decision Sunday to designate a lot in Gush Etzion as state land.

The decision came as a direct result of the kidnapping and murder by Hamas terrorists of three teenage yeshiva students on the site in early June.

The U.S. claimed the move would damage future final status talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

“We have long made clear our opposition to continued settlement activity,” a Statement Department spokesman said. “This announcement, like every other settlement announcement Israel makes, planning step they approve and construction tender they issue, is counterproductive to Israel’s stated goal of a negotiated two-state solution with the Palestinians. We urge the government of Israel to reverse this decision.”

In general, the U.S. has opposed Israeli development in Judea and Samaria, although most past administrations have ameliorated their concerns, depending on circumstance.

The 4,000-dunam lot is located adjacent to the Gush Etzion community of Alon Shevut, not far from bus stop and hitchhiking post where Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Frenkel and Gilad Sha’ar were abducted by Hamas terrorists and then murdered on June 12. Their bodies were found three weeks later in Judea after a massive manhunt by thousands of IDF soldiers and security personnel, in a field owned by the Hebron-based Qawasme clan along Highway 60 between Hebron and Gush Etzion in the PA town of Halhul.

Prior to the designation, the Judea and Samaria civil administration had designated the status of the area — known as Geva’ot — as ‘survey land’ as ordered by the political establishment after the bodies of the three teens were recovered. The move froze the status of the area and prevented construction plans from moving through the system until a determination could be made about its future, according to the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).

Geva’ot is not new. In 1982, an Israeli cabinet decision laid the groundwork for development of the area as an IDF Nahal community, which started in 1984 and then closed two years later. For the next 10 years the site became the home of the Shevut Yisrael Yeshiva, with small pre-fab homes. In 1998, The Gush Etzion Regional Council reached out to the government, requesting construction of a full-scale city on the site similar to Ariel, Ma’ale Adumim, Modi’il Illite and Beitar Illit. Plans began but two years later were dropped due to international diplomatic pressure. In 2008, once again the plans were picked up and moved forward in 2009, especially after the Annapolis Summit came to naught. By 2012, initial authorization for 523 homes was secured from the Defense Ministry — and there the project was frozen.

Gush Etzion is well within the area Israel is likely to retain in any final status agreement with the Palestinian Authority.

The PA immediately responded that the site belongs to districts of two separate PA-controlled cities: Bethlehem and Hebron. Bethlehem is located across the road and is more than five and a half miles north. Hebron is the same distance, to the south.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, declared Sunday evening, “The settlement enterprise is illegal,” in a sweeping condemnation of every Jewish city, town and village built in Judea and Samaria, including any that might be built on the newly-designated state land. Nearly 400,000 Jews now live in Judea and Samaria.

He, too, said the move would “bring about a further deterioration” in talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority – which at this point includes Hamas in its unity government.

The PA has had to be repeatedly dragged to the negotiations table over the years, each time with ‘enticements’ and ‘good will gestures’ forced on Israel by the United States.

Arabs Riot at Rachel’s Tomb, Border Guards Wounded

Friday, August 8th, 2014

Two Border Guard security personnel were lightly wounded while trying to control a mob of some 600 Palestinian Authority Arabs rioting Friday afternoon near Rachel’s Tomb.

Three of the rioters were allegedly shot in the legs with rubber bullets, according to the Hebrew-language 0404.co.il website.

The rioters burned tires and hurled firebombs and rocks at the Border Guards, who at first used standard crowd control methods but then allegedly opened fire when all else failed.

The scene at Rachel's Tomb on Friday afternoon, when hundreds of Arabs rioted violently at the urging of Hamas terrorists in Gaza. August 8, 2014

The scene at Rachel’s Tomb on Friday afternoon, when hundreds of Arabs rioted violently at the urging of Hamas terrorists in Gaza. August 8, 2014

Security personnel succeeded in dispersing most of the mob but about 100 of the hard-core rioters remained into the early evening hours.

Hamas terrorists in Gaza have urged Arabs in Israel to riot and attack Jews in as many ways as possible, to encourage a budding third intifada.

The tomb of the Jewish matriach, one of the holiest sites in Judaism, is located on the outskirts of Bethlehem, barely five minutes south of Jerusalem.

Due to Palestinian Arab violence, Israeli authorities were forced to build high, strong walls around the once-modest tomb, transforming it into a virtual fortress in order to protect the Jews who visit the site to pray.

Hamas Rockets Hit PA Controlled Bethlehem and Hebron, Oops

Saturday, July 12th, 2014

Yesterday, one of our bloggers, Jameel@Muqata, asked the not so rhetorical question… should the IDF intercept a Hamas rocket that is going to their own citizens in Palestinian Authority controlled areas.

This evening, on Shabbat, at 6:57pm, multiple rockets were launched at the Gush Etzion area.

The IDF confirms that two Hamas rockets hit inside Palestinian Authority controlled cities.

One Hamas rocket hit in Bethlehem, the other in Hebron.

Hebron is a Hamas stronghold in Judea.

No reports yet if Abbas will file a complaint with the UN.

Hunt for Kidnapped Teens, Night 7: IDF Nabs 30 Hamas Men, 2 ‘Shalitniks’

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

It’s the seventh night of desperate searching after an Israeli teen whispered to a police dispatcher, “We’re being kidnapped,” before his cell phone was cut off.

Dual Israeli-American citizen Naftali Frenkel, age 16, and his two friends, Gilad Sha’ar, 16 and Eyal Yifrach, 19, were kidnapped by terrorists last Thursday night as they hitchhiked home for the Sabbath from Gush Etzion.

Thousands of IDF soldiers were fanned out across Judea and Samaria, hunting for them and the terrorists who abducted them. There’s still been no news of their location or condition, and no clear idea of who took them. Constant prayer vigils by millions of Jews around the world continue at all hours of the day and night.

On Wednesday night, IDF troops ‘visited’ some 100 private homes and public institutions linked to the Hamas terrorist organization, mostly in the Hevron area, Israel public radio reported.

While looking for the missing boys, they were also out hunting for the terrorists who kidnapped them – and the rest of the Hamas members who may have assisted in some way.

And while they’re at it, they’re also hauling in those who were released early from Israeli jails in exchange for the freedom of former IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. The former hostage was kidnapped in a cross-border raid near the Gaza border by a consortium of Hamas and other allied terrorists in 2006. Shalit was held captive by Hamas for five years — until Israel agreed to swap more than a thousand terrorist prisoners for his freedom.

Those who were released signed pledges agreeing to certain conditions before they were freed. Under the circumstances, however, Israel is now determined to re-incarcerate the many who intelligence services know have violated their agreements.

Within the past seven days, 53 of the ‘Shalit terrorists’ have been picked up so far. They will appear before a military judge, unless their sentence was handed down by a civilian court. If the violation is found to be valid, the terrorist will return to jail to serve the remainder of the original sentence. In many cases, that is life in prison.

These cases are included in some 300 Palestinian Authority unity government terrorists that were rounded up by IDF troops, nearly all of whom are members of Hamas. A few were Islamic Jihad terrorists as well.

Accomplishing “Operation Brother’s Keeper” is not easy; Israeli soldiers encounter “resistance” at each location. Rocks, bottles… and last night even two firebombs (Molotov cocktails) were hurled straight at them in Jenin when they entered the area to search and make arrests. There were similar clashes in Bethlehem and Birzeit. In one case Arabs attempted to run over IDF soldiers with a car; other troops returned fire and hit the vehicle before it fled the scene.

But the soldiers are clear about their mission and they are firm in their resolve, as are the Israeli Air Force pilots who fly their missions in retaliation for the rocket attacks fired at Israeli civilian populations.

Last night (Wednesday) pilots carried out air strikes against five Hamas terror targets in Gaza, including a concealed rocket launcher and two terrorist bases. Direct hits were confirmed and all personnel returned safely to base.

The strikes came in response to a missile attack on Ashkelon by Gaza terrorists earlier in the evening. One of the rockets hit a house (no one was home at the time) and damaged it. The second exploded in an open area, causing no damage. No injuries were reported in either attack.

2 Days After Pope’s Visit, Bethlehem Church Fire Not Arson?

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Just two days after Pope Francis visited the Church of the Nativity in Palestinian Authority-controlled Bethlehem, there was a fire. Coincidence?

The church — important to Roman Catholics around the world — is built over the grotto believed to be the birthplace of the founder of Christianity, Jesus. It is considered one of the holiest sites in the faith.

A cleric at the church, Father Ibrahim Faltas, denied the fire had been set intentionally and claimed a candle tipped over near a curtain, setting it aflame.

The once-mostly Christian town of Bethlehem — controlled today by the Palestinian Authority — is now populated by a Muslim majority. Christian residents have been systematically attacked by local Muslims and quietly have fled, until now only a small fraction remain. The Pope, however, made no reference to the vicious campaign of harassment carried out against his people during his visit to the region, focusing instead of Arab-Israeli relations.

Pope Prays for Protection from Suicide Bombers

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

Pope Francis included a stop at the Suicide Bomber Protection Wall during today’s whirlwind tour of Bethlehem, presumably to pray for protection from Palestinian suicide terrorists. The Vatican did not release a statement about the stop, but sources close to the Holy See said the Pontiff was likely checking the last line of defense against Palestinian terrorists before entering Israeli-controlled Jerusalem.

Until this wall was put up, more than 1000 Israelis were murdered and countless more maimed and injured by citizens of the Palestinian Authority.

Under Palestinian Authority control, the number of Christians living in Bethlehem dwindled to under 15% of the population, from approximately 50% when it was under Israeli rule. Most Arab Christians fled to safer areas due to Muslim and Palestinian Authority threats, harassment and terror.

PA Hoping to Use Pope As Political Pipebomb

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

The Palestinian Authority is hoping to use the upcoming visit by Pope Francis as a political pipebomb with which to further attack an already-dead peace process.

The itinerary of the Holy See is set to begin in Amman, where the Pope will meet with King Abdullah II. From there the leader of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church will fly to the Holy Land on Sunday for a two-day visit that starts in Bethlehem — a logical choice given its proximity to Jordan and its importance in Christianity.

He will hold a mass there, meet there with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, and later visit a “refugee camp,” allegedly to “underscore his support for the Palestinians,” according to PA Christian Affairs adviser Ziyad Bandak, who was quoted by Arutz Sheva.

Bandak said through that visit, the Pope will ‘see firsthand the “suffering of the Palestinian Arabs under the Israeli occupation…’

“This visit will help us in supporting our struggle to end the longest occupation in history,” he reportedly said. “I know that Israeli officials are not happy with this decision. We welcome this visit and consider it as support for the Palestinian people and confirmation from the Vatican of the need to end the occupation.”

Foreign Ministry spokesman Paul Hirschson told CBN News, however, the Pope is “coming here to spend time with everybody,” noting the convenience of the scheduled itinerary.

The Pope and his entourage are also expected to meet with Israeli leaders and to discuss the status of Jerusalem. The agenda is likely to include the extremely controversial issue of who will have authority over the area that houses King David’s tomb.

“He’s coming here to see us. He’s coming on a Christian pilgrimage… With all due respect to everybody’s inflated egos with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this is not the focus of his visit. It’s a wonderful thing that he’s coming to visit. Hundreds of foreign journalists and thousands of Christian pilgrims are looking forward to his visit. We don’t always have to exploit every single thing.”

The fact is, fully 60 percent of all incoming visitors to Israel at present are Christian.

And most of the Christian Arabs in Bethlehem have been viciously harassed by that city’s Muslims. Many have fled as a result. So if anything, the Pope is beginning his visit there as a gesture of solidarity to his people in that city, who desperately need his support.

Moreover, if we’re talking about the “longest occupation in history,” we may as well go back 2,000-plus years. Let’s discuss the expulsion of most of the Jews from this Land by the Romans and the subsequent occupations by our Gentile enemies, one after the other, including the rivers of Jewish blood that ran in our streets.

That history is all written down for anyone to see – and there remain at least several descendants of Jewish families in the Galilee village of Peki’in who can trace their lineage all the way back to those times. Not to mention the Yemenite Kohanim and Levi’im (members of the priestly sect), many of whom can also trace their lineage back to the time their ancestors were forced to leave, during the period when the Holy Temple in Jerusalem still stood.

But just as the Jews lost that ancient war, so too were we promised by the Creator that eventually we would return to our Land. Every monotheistic faith knows of that promise, and has read it in what the Christians refer to as the “Old Testament:”

Deuteronomy 30:1 –And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you shall call them to mind among all the nations, to which the L-rd your G-d has driven you, :2 –And shall return unto the L-rd your G-d, and shall obey His voice according to all that I command you this day, you and you children, with all your heart, and with all your soul; :3 –That then the L-rd your G-d will turn your captivity, and have compassion upon you, and will return and gather you from all the nations, from where the L-rd your God has scattered you. :4 –If any of yours are driven out upon the outmost parts of heaven, from there will the L-rd your G-d gather you, and from then will He fetch you: :5And the L-rd your G-d will bring you into the Land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will do you good, and multiply you above your fathers.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/pa-hoping-to-use-pope-as-political-pipebomb/2014/05/21/

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