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Is the window closing for Israel to apply sovereignty over Judea and Samaria?



Is the window closing for Israel to apply sovereignty over Judea and Samaria?

Several months ago, Israel agreed to temporarily suspend applying sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria, and the Jordan Valley, under the Trump administration’s “Peace to Prosperity” Middle East plan in exchange for normalization deals with the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Now, a new campaign has been launched by Israel’s Sovereignty Movement to encourage the application of Israeli law over those areas by the government, starting with the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea area, before Donald Trump’s presidency comes to an end.

To kick off the campaign, on the first night of Hanukkah the movement teamed up with the Jordan Valley Regional Council, along with several other organizations, to host a virtual event titled “Lighting Sovereignty over the Jordan Valley.” More than 30 Israeli ministers and Knesset members also participated.

According to Nadia Matar, co-founder of Israel’s Sovereignty Movement, “especially during Hanukkah, in the spirit of the Maccabees, Israel should say that this is our land and apply sovereignty over all of it.”

Matar, who founded the organization along with Yehudit Katzover, told JNS “that while there are those who encourage the shelving of sovereignty as a result of COVID-19 or the upcoming Biden administration, we believe exactly the opposite: Now is the time to raise the flag of sovereignty more than ever.”

Matar stated that the “overwhelming majority of the Israeli public believes that sovereignty should be applied over the Jordan Valley, and now that the left is once again raising the issue of the ‘two-state solution,’ the focus should be on the application of sovereignty.”

According to poll statistics released at the event, more than 56 percent of the general Israeli public favors applying Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and Northern Dead Sea region, while 80 percent of Israelis who consider themselves “right-wing” voters believe that Israel should make the move.

Additionally, as much as 48 percent of Israelis believe those moves should be taken right away since the window on the Trump administration closes next month—specifically, on Jan. 20 when Joe Biden is to be inaugurated as the next president.

‘The only way to ensure security’

Addressing the event, coalition chair Miki Zohar of the Likud Party said, “I think that Israel should work towards applying sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and also take the opportunity to advance the application of sovereignty over many communities in Judea and Samaria, if not all of them. It’s an opportunity that might not present itself again.”

Also read: France, others withdraw from Iran business forum over execution

Zohar said he is currently working with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on this issue during the final days of the Trump administration.

He added that he doesn’t believe that Israel needs to coordinate such moves with the Palestinian Authority. Zohar also expressed his opposition to a Palestinian state, saying such an entity will only lead to further terrorism in the region, while at the same time urged Palestinians to distance themselves from terror in order to peacefully co-exist with Israelis.

Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen, a senior research fellow at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, expressed his support for sovereignty, stressing the security importance for Israel having a permanent civilian and military presence in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley.

Hacohen said it is impossible to protect Israel’s tiny, crowded coastal plain, where the majority of Israelis live from Hadera in the north to Gadera in the south, which at points is only between 15 and 20 kilometers (nine to 12 miles) wide, without having an Israeli presence in the mountains up above.

Also read:  France, others withdraw from Iran business forum over execution

He added that “the Jordan Valley is Israel’s natural buffer protecting [Israel] from everything to the east: Jordan, Iraq, Iran. And if we weren’t sitting in the Jordan Valley or in Judea and Samaria, Iranian proxies would be on the high grounds in mortar range of Tel Aviv. The only way to ensure the existence of Tel Aviv’s security is to be there.”

Hacohen said that when Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005, the area became a strategic Hamas threat against Israel, and “it would be much, much worse if we left this area.”

He called on 2 to 3 million Israelis to consider leaving the congested coastal plane to settle in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley, saying that a civilian presence with Israeli military protection there is key to protecting the rest of the country.

Kenneth Abramowitz, the founder of, another sponsor, echoed comments by Hacohen, saying “it’s very important for Israel and the Israel Defense Forces to maintain control because if the IDF is not there, and the citizens aren’t there, the bad guys will be.”

The event, which concluded with a musical Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony, was also sponsored by the Zionist Organization of America; Regavim; the Israel Forever Foundation; and Americans for a Safe Israel.






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U.S. strikes 2 targets in Syria in response to ‘continued attacks’



The U.S. military struck two facilities in eastern Syria used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iran-affiliated groups in response to “continued attacks” against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria, the Pentagon said on Sunday.

The strikes were conducted against a training facility in Abu Kamal and a safe house in Mayadin in the eastern governorate of Deir Ezzor, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a brief statement.

The U.S. struck similar targets in eastern Syria in October and earlier in November.

Pro-Iranian militias have intensified their attacks on U.S. military bases in Syria and Iraq in recent weeks as a response to the Israeli military campaign in Gaza.

The security situation in the entire region has been particularly tense since Oct. 7, when Hamas militants staged deadly attacks in southern Israel.

Israel is responding with an overwhelming air and ground offensive in Gaza.

As a deterrent, the U.S. has moved more weapons systems, warships and air squadrons to the Eastern Mediterranean, and is deploying several hundred troops to the Middle East to support US units there.

U.S. President Joe Biden had ordered Sunday’s action to make it clear that the U.S. was defending itself, its personnel, and its interests, Austin stressed.

The U.S. is prepared to take further necessary measures to protect its own people and interests.

  • dpa
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Russia writes off $23bn debt for Africa – Putin



Russia sends almost 12m tons of grain to Africa says Putin

…Pledges additional $90 million***

Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, says the Russian Government has written off $23 billion debt burden of African countries.

Putin spoke at the plenary session of the ongoing second Russia–Africa Summit 2023 held from July 27 to July 28.

He said Moscow would allocate an additional $90 million for these purposes.

Putin said Russia was advocating the expansion of representation of African countries in the UN Security Council and other UN structures.

“Russia and Africa strive to develop cooperation in all areas and strengthen ‘honest, open, constructive’ partnership.

“Russia will also assist in opening new African embassies and consulates in Russia,” he said.

According to him, the reopening of embassies in Burkina Faso and Equatorial Guinea is going as planned.

He said sovereignty was “not a one-time achieved state,” and it must be constantly protected.

Putin also offered assistance to Africa in countering threats such as terrorism, piracy, and transnational crimes adding that it would continue to train personnel from African countries.

He assured that Russian businesses have a lot to offer partners from Africa.

Putin said transition to national currencies and the establishment of transport and logistics chains would contribute to the increase in mutual trade turnover.

“Russia is ready to provide trade preferences to Africa, support the creation of modern production sectors, agricultural sector, and provide assistance through relevant international structures and agencies.

“Russia will always be a responsible international supplier of agricultural products,” he said.

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U.S. Coastguard Finds ‘debris field’ Near Missing Vessel



A “debris field” has been discovered within the search area for the missing Titan submersible, the U.S. Coastguard (USCG) said on Thursday.

The agency said a remotely-operated vehicle made the discovery near the wreckage of the Titanic on Thursday.

The hunt for the missing deep-sea vessel is still an “active search and rescue” mission after it lost communication on Sunday.

The vessel was about 700 kilometres south of St John’s, Newfoundland, during a voyage to the Titanic shipwreck off the coast of Canada.

Coastguard officials said they were “evaluating the information” following Thursday’s debris discovery.

A press conference will be held at the Coastguard base in Boston to “discuss the findings” at 8pm (1900 GMT).

Rear Admiral John Mauger, the first Coastguard district commander, and Captain Jamie Frederick, first Coastguard district response coordinator, will lead the press conference.

Founding member of the Board of Trustees of The Explorers Club, Hamish Harding, was on board the undersea craft, alongside UK-based businessman Shahzada Dawood, his son Suleman Dawood, and OceanGate’s chief executive and founder Stockton Rush, as well as French submersible pilot Paul-Henri Nargeolet.

The USCG said the ROV that made the discovery was from the Canadian Horizon Arctic ship – with the debris being found on the sea floor near the Titanic wreckage.

Assistance from the Royal Air Force (RAF) is due to arrive in St John’s on Thursday after it confirmed a request was received overnight for help with the movement of additional commercial equipment.

Two RAF planes, a C-17 Globemaster and A400 Atlas, departed RAF Lossiemouth in north-east Scotland on Thursday.

A British submariner and equipment from a UK firm have been sent to help the search at the request of the U.S. Coastguard, Downing Street said.

Royal Navy submariner Lieutenant Commander Richard Kantharia, who was on exchange with the U.S. Navy, has been seconded to the search and rescue team.

OceanGate Expeditions estimated the oxygen supply on the 6.7 metre-long vessel would last 96 hours, giving rescuers a deadline of around midday on Thursday.

Experts said the chances of finding the sub and rescuing those inside were diminishing.

Former Royal Navy submarine captain Ryan Ramsey told the PA news agency: “The outlook is bleak, that’s the only word for it as this tragic event unfolds and almost the closing stages of where this changes from rescue to a salvage mission.”

The Titan is believed to be about 900 miles east and 400 miles south of Newfoundland.

It is not known how deep the vessel is, with the seabed being around 3,800 metres from the surface. 

– dpa

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