Israel review of past 14 days: Greenblatt resigns

US special envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt is to step down in the next few weeks, the White House announced on September 5.

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September 12, 2019 10:00
3 minute read.
Israel review of past 14 days: Greenblatt resigns

US special envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt (pictured here at The Jerusalem Post Annual Conference in New York in April) is to step down in the next few weeks. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)



GREENBLATT RESIGNS US special envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt (pictured here at The Jerusalem Post Annual Conference in New York in April) is to step down in the next few weeks, the White House announced on September 5. It added that Avi Berkowitz, who serves as deputy assistant to the president, and Brian Hook, special representative for Iran, “will take on an increased role on the team” after Greenblatt’s departure. “I am incredibly grateful to have been part of a team that drafted a vision for peace,” said Greenblatt, the architect of the Trump administration’s Deal of the Century. “This vision has the potential to vastly improve the lives of millions of Israelis, Palestinians and others in the region.”

HEZBOLLAH TENSION Hezbollah fired Kornet anti-tank missiles at an IDF base and military vehicles along the northern border on September 1, apparently in response to Israeli air attacks against the Iranian-sponsored Lebanese terrorist group a week before. It caused no casualties. The IDF, which staged an evacuation of wounded troops to give Hezbollah a false sense of victory, responded by firing artillery shells and launching an air strike in southern Lebanon. Hezbollah had threatened retaliation for an aerial attack on a cell that killed two of its members in Syria planning a drone attack on Israel, and another south of Beirut that according to the Times of London, targeted its precision-missile project.

STABBING ATTACK Yosef Peretz, 60, and his 17-year-old son from Ofakim were stabbed by a 15-year-old Palestinian boy during a visit to the dentist in the Palestinian village of Azun on September 7.  The father was injured in the arm, while the son sustained “moderate” wounds in the back. “The attacker asked, ‘Are you Jews or Arabs?’ We answered ‘Jews.’ And I looked at his hand and saw the pocket knife,” Peretz told Channel 12 at the Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba, where he and his son were treated.

JERUSALEM RECOGNITION
Honduras and the Pacific Island republic of Nauru recently recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernandez opened a trade office in Jerusalem on September 1, while Nauru’s UN mission informed Israel of its decision in an official letter. “Today is a historic day for Honduras and Israel,” Hernandez said after inaugurating the Honduran Trade and Cooperation office, calling it “a first step” in moving its embassy to the Israeli capital. The decisions by Honduras and Nauru were welcomed by the US, which was the first to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2018.

FIGHTING HATE New York’s City Hall announced on September 3 that Deborah Lauter would head its new Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes. The announcement came in the wake of a spate of antisemitic attacks in New York, and a New York Police Department report showing a 64% rise in hate crimes in the first months of 2019 over the same period last year, with attacks on Jews almost doubling from 58 to 110. After leadership roles in Atlanta and San Francisco, Lauter served for a decade as the Anti-Defamation League’s national civil rights director, leading a campaign for the successful passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

WORLD CHAMP Israel’s Sagi Muki, 27, won the gold medal in the under-81 kg at the Judo World Championships in Tokyo on August 28. An emotional Muki sang Hatikvah, Israel’s national anthem, after defeating Belgium’s Matthias Casse in the final and becoming the first male Israeli judoka to become a world champion. On his way to the final, he beat Egyptian opponent Mohamed Abdelaal, who refused to shake his hand at the end of their match. An Iranian judoka, Saeid Mollaei, defected to Germany after he had been forced to lose his semi-final bout to avoid facing Muki in the final. “I’m pleased I was able to show the beautiful fa ce of Israel,” said Muki, who grew up in Netanya. In 2013, Israel’s Yarden Jarbi won the World Judo Championship in Rio de Janeiro in the women’s under-63 kg.


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