9 Adar 5778
24 February 2018
“Picture” of the Day:
Opening of the American Embassy in Jerusalem
Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu:
“This is a big day for the people of Israel.
The decision of President Trump to move the Embassy to Jerusalem on Israel Independence Day this year after his historical announcement in December to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
This decision is going to turn this 70th Independence Day into a much larger celebration.
Thank you President Trump for your leadership and friendship.”
The News on the Israel Street
Palestinian terror in the last 24 hours . . .
As every Friday, Palestinians emerged from their mosques, incited to violence by their imams, and attacked Israelis wherever they could find them.
There were full-scale riots on Al-Shuhada Street in Hevron, in Ramallah, at Beita outside of Shechem, in Mazra’a northeast of Ramallah, at the Huwara Checkpoint, at the Yitzhar Junction, in the Bab al-Zawiya area of Hevron, and at Havat Yehuda.
The bizarre happenings on the Temple Mount . . .
In case you haven’t read or heard about this already, two U.S. Congressmen were detained on the Temple Mount yesterday when they picked up a small branch from an olive tree off the ground.
Scott Tipton (Republican-Colorado) and David McKinley (Republican-West Virginia) had ascended the Temple Mount as part of a tourist group organized by the American evangelical group “Proclaiming Justice to the Nations” (PJTN) which was accompanied by Israel police and a Islamic Wakf “guard.”
When one of them picked up the branch, the Wakf guard claimed that they had hit the olive tree. They were immediately removed from the Mount by the Wakf guard and the Israel police without even being told why they were being kicked off the Mount.
Subsequently, they were detained by the police and questioned about the olive branch.
Can you believe this?
When they were finally released, the two congressmen went straight to PM Netanyahu’s office and asked him why Israel does not exercise full sovereignty over the Mount.
It has not been reported what Netanyahu’s answer was.
As for the idiotic Islamic Wakf-colluding Israel police, they blamed the Congressmen for the “incident” this morning because they said the Congressmen did not present themselves to the police as “Congressmen” (the police thought they were merely “tourists”) and because they did not follow the rules of the Mount.
They issued this absurd statement:
“We would like to emphasize that the Israel Police operates in a complex of checks while maintaining the law and rules of the place customary in this holy place and will not allow anyone to violate the law in any way.”
Violate the law? What law? There is no law governing picking up an olive branch off the ground on the Mount.
The most relevant comment of the day came from Im Tirtzu Director of Policy, Alon Schwartzer: “The situation on the Temple Mount has reached a new low . . . a shameful reality that long ago crossed the point of absurdity and we can not continue it.”
This photoshopped picture with the two Congressmen has been making the internet rounds today:
Wow!! The American Embassy Moves To Jerusalem On May 14th!
First, we were told by President Trump that the American Embassy would move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but that it would not happen soon.
Then, we were told by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that the Embassy would not move until 2020 or 2021.
This was followed by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence declaring that the Embassy would be moved by the end of 2019.
Then we had PM Netanyahu being chided by President Trump for saying that the Embassy would probably be moved by the end of this year.
Yesterday came the blockbuster announcement from the White House that the Embassy will be moved on May 14–less than three months from now. And that May 14th had been chosen “as a gift” to the Israeli people on the 70th Independence Day of modern Israel.
Your humble servant is forced to ask “What changed President Trump’s mind?”
Was it the endless attacks from the Palestinians since his Jerusalem announcement? Was it the elevation of Vice President Pence’s opinion and the diminution of Secretary of State Tillerson’s? Was it the fact that American billionaire and Trump friend Sheldon Adelson has offered to pay for the move?
Or was it something else less favorable?
Could it be that this decision is a “sweetener” designed to counteract whatever bad news is coming Israel’s way when the Trump Peace Plan is announced in the coming weeks?
Whatever the reason, your humble servant is ecstatic as are most Israelis.
On the other hand the Palestinian response was a curious one this morning. Seemingly resigned to the fact that the Embassy is moving, their complaint today is about the timing.
Palestinian Chief “Negotiator” Saeb Erekat opined: “The fact that the American administration chose Nakba Day to transfer the embassy to Jerusalem is a provocation to the feelings of Arabs and Muslims, and we condemn it most acutely: The American administration can not play any role as a sponsor of the peace process.”
We close today with the details of the move as related by Israel news last night:
“1. The Embassy will temporarily operate from the consular facility in the Arnona neighborhood, where the department currently handles the issuance of visas and passports.
2. Within the framework of the first stage of the transfer of the embassy, the office of the ambassador will be transferred to the consular facility in the Arnona neighborhood. The ambassador will move to Jerusalem with a small staff. The consular facility will be renamed the US Embassy in Jerusalem, which will be a temporary embassy, where the final location of the embassy in Jerusalem has yet to be determined.
3. The consular department will continue to work on the site and provide visa and passport services to Israelis and Palestinians alike.
4. The location of the ambassador’s residence will remain at this stage in Herzliya. Ambassador David Friedman will continue to work simultaneously from his office in Tel Aviv and from his office in Jerusalem. The US Embassy in Tel Aviv will become the ‘wing’ of the US Embassy in Jerusalem.”