Last Minute Lebanon Deal Beats Election Deadline
LEBANON-ISRAEL MARITIME BOUNDARY DEAL, SIGNED AT NAKOURA UNIFIL HQ: The Israeli and Lebanese negotiating teams put the final signatures on their countries’ maritime boundary agreement on Thursday, October 27.
The delegations met around a table at the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) headquarters in Naquora, on the border between the countries, with US Energy envoy Amos Hochstein, the deal’s mediator, in the middle. “We have a maritime border. Congratulations,” Hochstein said at the end of the ceremony, to applause. US President Joe Biden tweeted about the deal, saying it “promotes the interests of both countries and the region, and this moment marks a new chapter of prosperity and hope. Congratulations to all involved.” Earlier, Prime Minister Yair Lapid signed the deal in Jerusalem and Lebanese President Michel Aoun signed it in Beirut. Hochstein met with each leader in their respective capitals. Hochstein said in Jerusalem that the agreement “enhances Israeli security and prosperity and enhances the economy on both sides…[This is] day one of more cooperation, more Israeli integration into the region, a top priority of President Biden. We in the US are clearly very happy that we can play a role and support Israel’s security, economy and prosperity.” (JPost / VFI News)
AFTER A MEETING WITH BIDEN, HERZOG BELIEVES A DEAL WITH IRAN IS NOT ON THE TABLE: President Isaac Herzog’s meeting with President Joe Biden on Wednesday, October 26, lasted 90 minutes and was mostly focused on Iran and other regional issues, including the maritime border deal between Israel and Lebanon.
Herzog left the meeting with the impression that the administration is disappointed with the Iranian approach, and that negotiating the return to the 2015 nuclear agreement is not on the table right now. The discussion included the recent human rights violations and crackdown on protests, as well as the Iranian drones provision to Russia. Shortly after the meeting, NSC spokesperson John Kirby spoke about the prospects of renewing the negotiations in Iran and said that the two sides are too far apart to have a meaningful dialogue right now. The issue of the UN Commission of Inquiry was also a part of discussion with Biden, Blinken and Sullivan, and the three told Herzog in their respective meetings that they strongly oppose the recent COI report. The two Presidents also discussed the recent rise of anti-Semitism in the US, and Biden reassured Herzog that his administration is committed to fight this troubling trend, according to a person briefed on the content of the meeting. (JPost / VFI News)
‘OUR SECRET WEAPON’: UKRAINE ENLISTING US TO PUSH ISRAEL INTO SENDING MILITARY AID: Ukraine is seeking the assistance of the United States in pressuring Israel to supply it with military aid, Kyiv’s envoy to Jerusalem told US media on Sunday, October 30.
Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel Yevgen Korniychuk told the Washington-based news site that he holds weekly meetings with US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides as part of a process to push Israel to send defense equipment to Ukraine. “I’m joking, but I’m calling him our secret weapon. This is why we discuss the different measures of support, and again, we need to change this major trend that makes Israel’s position different from the rest of the democratic world, and have more military-technical cooperation,” Korniychuk said. Though Jerusalem has sent multiple shipments of humanitarian aid to Ukraine, Israel has repeatedly rebuffed Kyiv’s requests for defensive weapons, specifically missile defense systems. Israeli officials have expressed fear that advanced military technology could fall into enemy hands and cited production and supply limitations. (TOI / VFI News)
ARAB-ISRAELI LAWMAKER SLAMMED FOR HAILING PALESTINIAN TERRORISTS KILLED BY IDF FORCES AS ‘OUR MARTYRS’: An Arab-Israeli Knesset member on Tuesday, October 25, hailed five Palestinian terrorists as “our martyrs” after they were killed in an Israel Defense Forces raid overnight, saying they were to be “praised” for “resisting the occupation.”
Aida Touma-Sliman of the Arab majority Joint List party wrote on Facebook: “Nablus separates from our martyrs today. Our Palestinian nation bids farewell to its martyrs.” “The more the occupation increases its crimes, the resistance escalates. An important lesson in the history of nations,” Touma-Sliman added. She included a photo of the funeral of the gunmen in the West Bank city of Nablus. The Lion’s Den terror group, a recent terrorist organization to emerge from Nablus, has claimed responsibility for several attacks over recent weeks, including the murder of IDF Staff Sgt. Ido Baruch earlier the previous month. The group was also behind a bomb plot at a gas station near the Jewish Kedumim settlement. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz slammed Touma-Sliman over her remarks. “I’m ashamed of public representatives who support terrorists and are prepared to let them continue to spill the blood of Israeli citizens,” Gantz wrote on Twitter. “MK Aida Touma-Sliman once again proves that her party cannot be included in a government or relied on in order to form one. Israel’s security comes before the formation of a coalition,” he added. Touma-Sliman has come under fire for praising terrorists in the past. Last year, she bragged about meetings she had held in Ramallah with the six NGOs designated as terrorist groups by Israel, which she said “fight the great terror of the occupation.” (BB / VFI News)
SOMALIA BOMBINGS: AT LEAST 100 KILLED IN TERRORIST ATTACKS BY AL-SHABAAB: At least 100 people were killed and 300 people were wounded by two car bombs in Somalia’s capital of Mogadishu on Saturday, October 29, Somalian President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said.
Al-Shabaab, which the Pentagon describes as the “most kinetically active al-Qaeda network in the world,” claimed responsibility for the attacks, which targeted the country’s education ministry. President Mohamud took office in May and recently declared “total war” on al-Shabaab, saying Saturday that the death toll could rise. “Our people who were massacred… included mothers with their children in their arms, fathers who had medical conditions, students who were sent to study, businessmen who were struggling with the lives of their families,” he said. The U.S. military has been coordinating strikes with the Somalian government against al-Shabaab this year, including an airstrike earlier the previous month that took out Abdullahi Nadir, a top official who was in line to replace al-Shabab’s leader. (FN / VFI News)
IDF TO DRAFT WOMEN INTO BORDER DEFENSE CORPS TANK CREWS: The IDF has decided that female soldiers can serve in the Armored Corps’ tank brigades along the country’s borders, following a successful pilot program.
Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi accepted the recommendation of Ground Forces head Maj.-Gen. Tamir Yadai. “From now on, they will be permanently assigned to the position,” the military said. Kohavi said the army recently concluded a professional and in-depth process to start opening up more and more combat positions for women. “I trust the female soldiers serving in the tank to carry out the mission of border defense professionally and with great success,” he said. “They will be a significant part of the IDF’s operational effort.” The decision was made based on both “professional and operational considerations in accordance with the needs of the military,” the IDF said, adding that all female soldiers who completed the program met all the pre-defined criteria. The pilot program lasted two years and included a training period as well as a year-long operational deployment along the Egyptian border, with the female soldiers serving under the command of the Paran Brigade as tank operators in the mixed-gender Caracal (Wild Cat) Battalion. The program saw three full recruitment and training cycles, with several of the women completing the program as officers. (JPost / VFI News)
SHACHAR SAGIV BECOMES FIRST ISRAELI ATHLETE TO COMPETE IN SAUDI ARABIA: Triathlete Shachar Sagiv has become the first Israeli athlete to compete in Saudi Arabia, the Israeli Olympic Committee said Sunday, October 30, in the latest sign of growing informal ties between the former enemies.
Sagiv competed in Neom on the same day that an Israeli tennis player faced off against a Saudi opponent in Bahrain, as the two countries without any diplomatic ties appear comfortable meeting on the field. Olympic committee head Yael Arad called Sagiv’s presence at the Saudi NEOM leg of the Super League Triathlon on Saturday “a very significant breakthrough.” “In the past year we’ve seen many Arab states come to terms with the fact that hosting an international tournament means hosting Israelis,” she said in a statement.“This is a growing trend and the true force in normalization between nations, and especially people.” Sagiv and his brother Ran broke Israeli records in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by ranking 20th and 35th in the triathlon competition, respectively. They were only the second and third Israeli triathletes ever to participate in the Olympic Games. (TOI / VFI News)
STUDY: ISRAEL’S COASTLINE IS CONTAMINATED WITH OVER 2 TONS OF MICROPLASTICS: A new Tel Aviv University study conducted in collaboration with the Mediterranean Sea Research Center of Israel examined the level of microplastic pollution along Israel’s coastline. The researchers collected sand samples from six beaches, from Haifa to Ashkelon.
The research findings revealed that the Israeli shoreline is contaminated with more than two tons of microplastics, with the most polluted beaches being those of Tel Aviv and Hadera. In light of these worrying findings, the researchers warn exposure to microplastic waste is unavoidable. It should be noted that microplastics are generally proved as dangerous both to the environment and to human health. The study was led by doctoral student Andrey Ethan Rubin and master’s student Limor Omeysi from the laboratory of Dr. Ines Zucker, of the Fleischman Faculty of Engineering and the Porter School of the Environment and Earth Sciences. The study was published in the scientific journal Marine Pollution Bulletin. Rubin explains that over the course of 2021, the researchers collected samples from six areas along the coast: Ashkelon, Rishon LeZion, Tel Aviv, Hadera, Dor Beach and Haifa. The researchers discovered, among other things, that the samples included plastic originating from food packaging, single-use plastic products, and fishing nets. “It was interesting to see that plastics of terrestrial origin, such as food packaging, were more dominant than plastics of marine origin, such as fishing nets,” says Rubin. “This indicates a need for better regulation of coastal waste.” (INN / VFI News)
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Blessings from Jerusalem,
Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff