Building permits for Palestinians approved; UNRWA suspected of violations

August 2, 2019

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Israel’s Security Cabinet on Tuesday unanimously approved Netanyahu’s plan to grant 700 building permits to Palestinians in Area C of Judea and Samaria, together with 6,000 permits for construction in neighboring Jewish towns. Palestinians are rarely granted building permits in Area C and recent years have seen the total number of approvals remain in the single digits, compared to the thousands green-lighted for Israeli settlers. The current change seems to be a result of pressure from the US. Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh scoffed at the Israeli security cabinet’s approval, stating “we do not need permission to build our homes on our lands.” 


An internal ethics report sent to the UN secretary-general in December alleges that the commissioner-general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), Pierre Krahenbuhl, and other officials at the highest levels of the UN agency have committed a series of serious ethics violations. AFP has obtained a copy of the report, which describes “credible and corroborated” allegations of serious ethical abuses. The allegations include senior management engaging in “sexual misconduct, nepotism, retaliation, discrimination and other abuses of authority, for personal gain, to suppress legitimate dissent, and to otherwise achieve their personal objectives.” 


Israel successfully conducted a series of tests of the Arrow 3 missile defense system in Alaska, in cooperation with the American Missile Defense Agency, the Defense Ministry said on Sunday. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that the tests "were successful beyond any imagination…Today Israel has the ability to act against ballistic missiles that could be launched against us from Iran or anywhere else." Iran would have a tremendous amount to lose if it were to directly attack a well-protected Israel. It was likely not coincidental that the Arrow-3 announcement was made just days after Iran tested its Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile.  


Israel has expanded its operations against Iranian targets to Iraq, where Air Force jets have struck twice in ten days, a report said Tuesday morning. Asharq Al-Awsat, an Arabic-language newspaper published in London, cited Western diplomatic sources as saying an Israeli F-35 plane was behind a July 19 strike on a rocket depot in a Shiite militia base north of Baghdad. They also said that Israel was behind another strike in Iraq carried out Sunday at Camp Ashraf, the former headquarters of the exiled People’s Mujahedin of Iran. On Thursday, official Syrian media said Israel fired a missile at the Quneitra region in a rare daytime raid. Israeli strikes in the war-torn country have reportedly become a common occurrence, but daytime attacks are rare. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has not commented on any of the strikes.


The IDF found a pipe bomb near Joseph's Tomb during preparations for the arrival of 1,200 Jewish worshipers to the compound in the West Bank city of Nablus. The bomb was neutralized in a controlled explosion. Twelve Palestinians were reported injured Monday night during clashes with Israeli security forces, as the Jewish worshipers entered the religious site. The Israeli military said Palestinians rioted, burned tires and threw rocks at the soldiers, who responded using riot dispersal equipment until the confrontations escalated, leading to the injuries.


Three Israeli soldiers were injured by Palestinian gunfire near the Gaza border early Thursday, sparking the heaviest cross-border fighting in weeks. According to the IDF, one terrorist was armed with a rifle and grenades and wearing a Hamas uniform. He was identified by Gaza media as Hani Abu Salah, a member of Hamas’s military wing whose brother was killed in a clash with the IDF last May. According to the IDF, Israel believes Abu Salah was not acting on the orders of Hamas. Also on Thursday, guns were fired at an Israel Defense Forces vehicle adjacent to the Burqa Junction, northeast of Ramallah in the West Bank.



Shabbat Shalom,


Jackie Congedo, Director, JCRC


Shep Englander, CEO, Jewish Federation of Cincinnati 


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Interns in Israel Thrive

A Cincinnati group of Jewish college students are at the end of their 2019 Onward Israel summer internship program.  Will Coleman, Sycamore High School graduate and current hunior at Indiana University, writes about their final few weeks, including a recap of highlights, which included painting, a walking tour, and a film viewing in Tel Aviv.  He also shared about their last few days together before they headed home to Cincinnati. 


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"We Need to Talk" About Israel

Facilitated Discussions Begin

Join the Cincinnati Public Library, the Jewish Federation, and the Jewish Community Relations Council for book club discussions of Yossi Klein Halevi's New York Times bestselling book, Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor. It's one Israeli's powerful attempt to reach beyond the wall that separates Israelis and Palestinians.


Next discussion: Pleasant Ridge Branch Library, Thursday evening.

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The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) is the non-partisan, public affairs arm of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati.

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