In a recent interview with Arutz Sheva, former envoy Jason Greenblatt said that Biden’s views on Jerusalem were actually inconsistent with U.S. law. A new poll here in Israel gives us an update on what elections might look like in November. A powerful explosive was disarmed in southern Israel by Israeli police after being discovered in the entrance to a restaurant. Also an all inclusive update on the attempts to establish brand new communities in Judea & Samaria.
Jason Greenblatt releases statement about President Biden’s visit to Israel
In an interview with Arutz Sheva, Jason Greenblatt talked about Biden’s visit to Israel, specifically the controversial visit to East Jerusalem. He started out saying,
"Let’s take East Jerusalem as a question, everybody keeps saying East Jerusalem should be the capital of a state called ‘Palestine,’ that of course includes the Temple Mount. Where does that come from? Where it comes from, at least according to what I was briefed by my government, it came from people saying it for so long that now it’s become ‘this is what it is.’ But there’s no piece of paper out there that says East Jerusalem belongs to the Palestinians, and I got to speak in front of the UN Security Council about this where I was able to say that the aspiration of Palestinians for East Jerusalem as their capital is not a right. But Europe and the United Nations and others keep saying East Jerusalem belongs to the Palestinians.”
Greenblatt was very critical of Biden going, unaccompanied by Israeli officials, to the East Jerusalem Hospital Network. He said,
“The fact that President Biden went to the East Jerusalem hospital without Israelis shows to me that he believes that East Jerusalem, some portion of it or all of it, belongs to the Palestinians. It's inconsistent with US law, with the Jerusalem Recognition Act. It's a violation of the law, at least in spirit.”
He went on, “It’s part of Israel and it’s a real shame that he went there without Israeli officials.”
A New Electoral Poll in Israel
With the elections coming up November 1st, a new poll conducted by Panels Politics for the Maariv weekend newspaper showed that if elections were held today, the Likud-led bloc would win just 59 Knesset seats. The poll also showed that the Meretz party would pass the electoral threshold, but that the Yamina party would not.
The poll gave the Likud party 35 Knesset seats, while Yesh Atid would receive 24 seats. In third place is the joint Blue and White and New Hope list, with 12 Knesset seats, followed by Religious Zionism with 10 seats. Sephardic-haredi Shas would receive eight seats. Three parties would win six Knesset seats each. Labor would win five Knesset seats, and two parties would win four Knesset seats each, the United Arab List (Ra’am), and Meretz.
Divided into blocs, the Likud-led bloc would win 59 Knesset seats, while the current coalition partners would win 54 seats. The Joint Arab List, which traditionally does not join any coalition, would hold the remainder of the seats.
Avigdor Liberman stresses that a government led by Netanyahu and Gantz in a rotation is out of the question for him
Finance Minister and Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman on Saturday night would not rule himself out as a possible candidate for Prime Minister, and said that he would refuse to be part of a government headed in a rotation agreement by Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz. He said, “If Netanyahu is in, I’m out. I am committed to doing everything so that a government is formed without Bibi, without [Aryeh] Deri and without [Moshe] Gafni.”
Powerful explosive device disarmed in southern Israel restaurant
The Israeli police located a powerful explosive device in the “Ratatouille” restaurant located in southern Israel. The device was located and disarmed on Thursday, leading to a covert investigation that was embargoed until Saturday night. The charge was disarmed before it had a chance to be activated, and according to the police, the background to the incident is the entanglement of the owner of the establishment with one of the largest criminal organizations in the south. The charge was attached to the entrance to the business and if it had exploded, it could have caused serious civilian casualties.
A police official said, “There is a real fear that if the restaurant operates as usual, the same criminal and people on his behalf will again try to harm the owners of the place – something that will result in harming innocent people.”
The police also reported that “after carrying out all the considerations and balances between maintaining public safety and preventing injury to human life, and the restaurant owner’s personal involvement in the conflict, it was decided to hold an administrative hearing for the man.”
During the hearing, the business was ordered to close pursuant to section 23 of the Business Licensing Law for 15 days, in order to maintain the safety of the public, and in order to prevent further incidents that could put the residents of the area in real danger. Police are currently conducting an investigation, but no suspects have been arrested as of yet.
Updates on the new settlements in Judea and Samaria
The Nahala Settlement Movement on Thursday vowed to launch further outpost-building initiatives after security forces evacuated the seven protest encampments they briefly set up on the hilltops Judea and Samaria one day earlier.
Veteran settler leader and Nahala co-chair Daniella Weiss told reporters during a Zoom conference, “We have only just begun.”
“Yesterday was the start of a new period,” she said after her initiative drew some 10,000 Israelis from across the country. Weiss claimed that this was just the opening salvo in a larger campaign to reclaim land in Judea and Samaria.
She told the Jerusalem Post: “Years from now, this campaign will be seen as the birth of what will be seven thriving Jewish communities.”
These pioneers, many of whom were older teenagers and young adults, set up three camps in the Samaria region and two in the Binyamin area. Another two protest points were erected near the Kiryat Arba settlement located between Gush Etzion and the South Hebron Hills.
This is a statement from the Nachala movement on Friday:
“Unfortunately, for the time being we have been removed from the settlement points, sometimes using increased and unnecessary violence by the security forces against young people and adults and confiscating equipment and destroying equipment arbitrarily and illegally. But, the joy is great and the public is just waiting to come back!”
Some news headlines from left-wing media networks
- “Settlers seeking to build a settlement outpost set up tents on Palestinian-owned land east of Hebron” (WAFA)
- “Israeli settlers break into Palestinian land west of Ramallah to set up colonial outpost” – (WAFA)
- “Settlers declare 6 new outposts, clash with authorities” – (Israel Hayom)
- “Thousands of Jewish activists flock to West Bank to build outposts” – (i24 News)
- “Thousands of settler activists create mayhem in West Bank campaign” – (Times of Israel)
- “Settlers Camp Out in Six Locations Across the West Bank, Planning to Establish New Outposts” – (Haaretz)
- “Police, army gear up for clashes as settler group to try set up 3 illegal outposts” – (The Times of Israel)
- “Settlers set up tents on Palestinian land east of Hebron, a prelude for takeover” – (WAFA)
- “Settlers gather in the north of West Bank in preparation to establish illegal outpost” – (WAFA)
- “Settlers attempt to establish illegal outposts on West Bank” – (YNet)
The political map in Israel is split on their support for the settlement movement
MK Yair Golan, from the Meretz party, said, “The messianic Right is conducting an election campaign based entirely on violence, racism and delinquency.”
Religious Zionist Party politicians, as well as some Likud politicians, identified heavily with the initiative.
Religious Zionist MKs Orit Struck, Itamar Ben-Gvir, Simha Rothman, Michal Waldiger and party head Bezalel Smotrich joined the activists in the field.
Struck accused security forces of using excessive force in evacuating the activists.
Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, who heads the Yamina Party, also spoke out against the security forces and in support of the activists. She tweeted:
"The police should save their energy for eradicating real crime in the country. [These are] wonderful youth who enlisted in the middle of summer vacation to build this country,” Shaked wrote, adding that the activists “are a real inspiration, and their dedication serves as a guarantee that Zionism will overcome any challenge or crisis, internal or external.”
She added that they should be “strengthened and embraced!”