Israel approves residency for 4,000 Palestinians, after 10-year freeze

Move was first announced this summer as part of Defense Minister Gantz’s effort to strengthen Palestinian Authority

Israel announced on Tuesday it had officially legalized the status of 4,000 Palestinians, mostly in the West Bank, following a decade-long freeze in which almost no such requests were authorized.

The move was part of the government’s ongoing effort — led by Defense Minister Benny Gantz — to strengthen the Palestinian Authority. Senior PA official Hussein al-Sheikh said in a statement that the names of those approved would be announced later on Tuesday.

Israel’s military liaison to the Palestinians, known officially as the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, said that 1,200 undocumented Palestinians would receive identity cards. Another 2,800 Palestinians registered as Gazans would receive a change of address entitling them to live in the West Bank.

 

The Palestinians in question live in West Bank areas where the Palestinian Authority has limited self-rule, and they will carry identity cards emblazoned with the PA’s winged eagle.

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IDF temporarily closes off areas near Gaza border amid warnings of attack

Military reopens sites 2.5 hours later; move comes after both Hamas and Islamic Jihad threatened to renew violence along the frontier in recent weeks

The Israel Defense Forces on Tuesday closed off a number of areas near the Gaza border for several hours amid threats of attack by terror groups in the enclave.

The five sites affected by the move are all in direct line of sight from the Strip, making them vulnerable to anti-tank guided missile attacks and sniper fire.

“The entrance to the Black Arrow memorial site” — which has been targeted by ATGM attacks from Gaza in the past — “the Bells Hill, named for Asaf Siboni, may his memory be blessed; Nizmit Hill; the Garden of the Fallen; and the Lone Ranger Hill will be closed,” the military said.

 

The IDF said the highly irregular decision to close the sites was made following a “situational assessment.”

The military said no other safety instructions or precautionary measures were issued to residents of the area. Agricultural work near the border was allowed to continue.

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Justice minister details bill that would block Netanyahu from forming government

Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar has announced details of a bill he is drafting that will prevent those accused of serious offenses from forming a government.

The bill would block an individual from forming a government if the charges he faces carry a potential prison sentence of more than three years.

That person would also be blocked from participating in a confidence vote on a new government and won’t be able to serve as “alternate prime minister” — a position created for the previous power-sharing government between Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz and carried on to the current one between Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid.

 
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Israel says it will keep Golan as Assad’s fortunes, U.S. views shift

FILE PHOTO: A general view shows the town of Majdal Shams near the ceasefire line between Israel and Syria in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights

By Dan Williams

JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Israel will keep the Golan Heights, which it captured from Syria in a 1967 war, even if international views on Damascus change, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Monday.

In 2019, then U.S. President Donald Trump broke with other world powers by recognising Israel as sovereign on the Golan Heights, which it annexed in 1981 in a move not recognised internationally.

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Kushner in Knesset: We all have a role in advancing Abraham Accords

Jared Kushner spoke at an event in honor of the one-year anniversary of the peace and normalization agreements between Israel and Arab states.

White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner during a visit with Israeli delegation to Rabat, Morocco
(photo credit: US EMBASSY IN MOROCCO/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
It is time to act to ensure the Abraham Accords fulfill their potential, Jared Kushner, former senior adviser to US president Donald Trump, said Monday at a ceremony in the Knesset.
 
“What we created is a new paradigm in the region,” he said. “It can have many different outcomes. It is imperative on all of us to set high expectations for what we want the Abraham Accords to achieve.”
 
Kushner, who founded the Abraham Accords Institute for Peace, spoke at an event in honor of the one-year anniversary of the peace and normalization agreements between Israel and Arab states. His wife, Ivanka Trump, attended as well.
 
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Israel seeks to ease immigration for doctors, nurses due to manpower shortage

Government committee will weigh steps to encourage medical professionals to immigrate to Israel, amid escalating protests by healthcare workers over their work conditions

New immigrants from North America arrive on a special aliyah flight arranged by the Nefesh B’Nefesh organization, at Ben Gurion International Airport on August 14, 2019. (Flash90)

The Israeli government on Sunday approved the establishment of a committee to ease the immigration process for doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers, in order to overcome the manpower shortage in the health sector.

The cabinet voted to approve the suggestion of Immigrant Absorption Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata to establish a committee with representatives from the health, finance, and immigration ministries as well as the Prime Minister’s Office to potentially allow thousands of medical workers from the former Soviet Union as well as the US, Canada, and Argentina to easily move to Israel.

The reforms suggested would simplify the transfer of medical licenses between countries and guarantee jobs to doctors who immigrate to Israel.

 

Following the announcement, Tamano-Shata tweeted that “all of Israel will benefit” from such a move.

Israel has long suffered from a chronic shortage of healthcare workers, which has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and is currently threatened by a labor dispute among hospital interns.

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German military planes fly over Jerusalem for 1st time since WWI in show of ties

Israeli Air Force, Luftwaffe jets perform flyby above capital after air chiefs visit Yad Vashem, as part of kickoff for multinational exercise

Israeli Air Force and German Luftwaffe aircraft performed a flyby over the Knesset in Jerusalem on Sunday afternoon as a display of the close cooperation between the two countries and their militaries, the Israel Defense Forces said.

This was the first time that German aircraft have flown over Jerusalem since World War I.

“The flyby expresses the strong partnership and connection between the air forces and the countries, as well as the commitment to continued cooperation in the future,” the IDF said.

 

Earlier on Sunday, the heads of the IAF, Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin, and the Luftwaffe, Lt. Gen. Ingo Gerhartz, visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem.

Sunday’s flyby was a continuation of a commemorative effort that began last August, when Israeli jets flew over the Dachau concentration camp and the Fuerstenfeldbruck airfield, where 11 Israeli Olympic athletes were killed by Palestinian terrorists in 1972.

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After reports on Jewish prayer, minister insists Temple Mt status quo ‘in place’

Public Security Minister Omer Barlev says police ‘scrupulously maintain’ regulations at flashpoint holy site, under which Jews are banned from worshiping

Illustrative: An Israeli police officer stands guard as a religious Jew in army uniform visits the Temple Mount, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, in the Old City of Jerusalem on August 3, 2021. (AP Photo/ Maya Alleruzzo, File)

Public Security Minister Omer Barlev insisted on Sunday that the status quo on the Temple Mount “was in place and will remain in place,” after months of media reports showing Jewish worshipers openly praying at the site while police turned a blind eye.

“Israel Police scrupulously maintains the status quo at the Temple Mount, which is holy to both Jews and Muslims,” said Barlev, whose ministry is responsible for overseeing law enforcement.

Barlev made his remarks following a meeting with senior Israeli law enforcement officials, including Israeli police chief Kobi Shabtai and Jerusalem police chief Doron Turgeman. Foreign Ministry and Shin Bet officials were also present, according to Barlev’s office.

 

“The police have worked to protect the status quo — save for exceptional circumstances — which they have quickly identified and acted against,” Barlev said.

The Temple Mount, known to Muslims for its Al-Aqsa Mosque, is the holiest site for Jews and site of the third holiest shrine in Islam. It is one of the most emotionally contested places in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and clashes there were part of the backdrop to the 11-day conflict launched by Hamas from Gaza in May.

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Swedish FM: Israeli government interested in 2-State Solution

Minister Ann Linde says Swedish relations with Israel much better under Bennett-Lapid govt. than under Netanyahu.

Sweden’s Foreign Minister Ann Linde

Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde believes that the current Israeli government desires a two-state solution to the Arab-Israel conflict.

“I think the current government does want to promote a two-state solution,” Linde told Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot.

“The previous government did not want any relations with the Swedish government because of our recognition of Palestine. I do not think it is a personal question, but more how the current government in Israel looks at ways to resolve quagmires,” she said.

To the question of whether Sweden will be active in efforts to reach a two-state solution, she said: “To tell the truth, I do not think we are today in the position of negotiating on the issue, but we are certainly one of the more veteran and experienced players in this issue and this type of solution. I have visited Israel many times, both professionally and personally. I love Israel very much, and there I also have very good relations with the Palestinians.”

“In recent years, we have asked for official telephone conversations with Israel. The requests have not been answered. After Lapid was appointed foreign minister, we met at the foreign ministers’ conference in Brussels, and we agreed to return to full diplomatic relations.

“It is to be hoped that in the long run, the Palestinian Authority will allow talks that will lead to a two-state solution,” Linde said.

To the question of whether Sweden will be active in efforts to reach a two-state solution, she said: “To tell the truth, I do not think we are today in the position of negotiating on the issue, but we are certainly one of the more veteran and experienced players in this issue and this type of solution. I have visited Israel many times, both professionally and personally. I love Israel very much, and there I also have very good relations with the Palestinians.”

“In recent years, we have asked for official telephone conversations with Israel. The requests have not been answered. After Lapid was appointed foreign minister, we met at the foreign ministers’ conference in Brussels, and we agreed to return to full diplomatic relations.

“It is to be hoped that in the long run, the Palestinian Authority will allow talks that will lead to a two-state solution,” Linde said.

 
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