Tehran transfers $700 million a year to Hezbollah that “fuels” endless aggression by Iran and its proxies in the region, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday night at a ceremony at Jerusalem’s Ammunition Hill marking 52 years since the reunification of the city during the Six Day War.
Netanyahu said this money is transferred to Hezbollah in various “deceitful ways.”
For instance, he said, the Iranian Foreign Ministry transfers more than $100m. “under diplomatic cover, ostensibly innocently, to Lebanon and then from there to Hezbollah.”
Netanyahu said these “huge sums” are then used to destabilize the region. “This is known to our neighbors. All the Arab countries know about this, and this is one of the things that brings them closer to us.”
Netanyahu said that while Israel does not underestimate Iran’s threats, “we also do not shy away from them, because whoever tries to hurt us will be harmed even worse.”
Netanyahu said Israel has proven this many times in the past, including Saturday when it responded to two missiles fired toward Israel from Syria by hitting Syrian targets in and around Damascus.
Referring to the Six Day War during which Israel gained control of Jerusalem, he said: “We proved this during those six wonderful days that brought us back to ancient parts of our homeland.”
At the weekly cabinet meeting earlier in the day, Netanyahu said the Six Day War “changed Israel’s fate, removed the stranglehold it was in, and turned us into a powerful force in the region.”
“It brought one more thing,” Netanyahu said. “The unification of the capital of Israel.”
Netanyahu said the city has changed dramatically since 1967.
“We are building it, strengthening it, worrying about its future and developing it into a prosperous city that will not only be a focal point for spirituality and the renewal of Jewish heritage, but also a city that is being renewed with global technology,” he said.
The prime minister said contemporary Jerusalem is the “right mix” of heritage and science. “That is our strength,” he said. “We built the State of Israel on that. It is the guiding principle of Zionism.”
President Reuven Rivlin used the ceremony at Ammunition Hill to thank US President Donald Trump for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocating the embassy there last year.
“This is the time to thank President Trump and the American people for their steadfast friendship and for his groundbreaking decision,” he said.
“The recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has penetrated into people’s hearts. Other embassies came to Jerusalem and without a doubt there will be others that will move to the capital,” he said.
At the same time, the president added, “We also have a task. We also must recognize Jerusalem as our united capital, east and west.”
Rivlin’s words came as thousands of youth, mostly from the religious-Zionist community, were making their way to the Western Wall in the traditional Jerusalem Day march through the Old City.
Hours earlier, riots broke out on the Temple Mount when police allowed a group of 120 Jews to enter the site as part of Jerusalem Day celebrations. This was the first time in three decades that police allowed Jews onto the Temple Mount during the last 10 days of Ramadan.
Rioters threw stones and chairs after it was announced that Jews would be allowed to enter the site. The commander of the Jerusalem district, Maj.-Gen. Doron Yedid, ordered the police to enter the Temple Mount and disperse the rioters.
The Palestinian Authority and Jordan swiftly condemned the “Israeli raids” on al-Aqsa Mosque.
PA governor of Jerusalem, Adnan Gheith, accused Jewish “settlers” and policemen of “rioting” inside the compound in a “blatant violation of the sanctity of the holy month of Ramadan.”
He said the Muslim worshipers who were at the compound came there to “affirm the Islamic identity” of the site and express their rejection of Israeli schemes to “Judaize” it and change its feature.”
“The settlers are trying by all means to enter al-Aqsa Mosque to impose a fait accompli and divide it in time and space [between Muslims and Jews],” Gheith added. He also accused Netanyahu of working toward instigating tensions in Jerusalem “to cover up his financial corruption.”
The Wakf Islamic religious trust in Jerusalem and other Islamic institutions accused police of protecting and encouraging Jewish “extremists” and “settlers.” They also accused the police of using “repressive measures” to disperse Muslim worshipers protesting Jewish visits to the Temple Mount.
The Wakf said “such arbitrary measures cannot be accepted on the pretext of Jewish holidays.” It said the Muslims consider the Jewish visits a “systematic escalation aimed at destabilizing the historical, legal and religious status in al-Aqsa Mosque. The occupation government bears full responsibility for its arrogance and intimidation by allowing extremists whose hearts are filled with hatred to invade al-Aqsa Mosque.”Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.
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