After signing, US President Donald Trump holds up the proclamation that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and will move its embassy there, during an address from the White House in Washington, US, December 6, 2017..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
President Donald Trump announced on December 6 that the US officially recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and instructed the State Department to prepare to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. “Jerusalem is the capital the Jewish people established in ancient times,” he declared, as Vice President Mike Pence looked on. While Israel welcomed the move, most of the international community – including Arab states and the Palestinians – opposed it. Clashes erupted in Jerusalem and the West Bank, while protests were held across the Arab world.
Security guard Asher Elmaliach, 46, was stabbed in the chest outside the Jerusalem Central Bus Station by a 24-year-old Palestinian terrorist on December 10, police said. He was listed in serious condition at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center. The assailant was stopped as he tried to run away by an alert taxi driver and arrested by police.
Israel Air Force jets struck Hamas targets in Gaza early on December 9, following rocket attacks on southern Israel apparently launched by a jihadist group to protest the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Reports from Gaza said four Palestinians were killed in strikes on a Hamas arms facility and military compound. Several rockets were fired at Israel the night before, with one landing on a kindergarten, another causing damage to cars and homes in Sderot, and one intercepted by an Iron Dome battery. There were no casualties.
Sgt. Ron Yitzhak Kukia, 19, of Tel Aviv was stabbed to death by an Arab terrorist at a bus stop in the southern city of Arad on November 30, the IDF said. Within 24 hours, security forces arrested two brothers from a nearby Beduin community for allegedly carrying out the attack. Kukia, who served in the Nachal Brigade, was buried at Tel Aviv’s Kiryat Shaul Cemetery.
NETANYAHU ON IRAN
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told The Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference on December 6 that Israel would not allow Iran to become a nuclear power, establish a base in Syria and spread terrorism around the Middle East. “We have to stop Iran now,” he said. “We will not let them establish themselves in Syria. We say what we mean, and we mean what we say.”
IRANIAN BASE HIT
Israel launched five air-to-surface missiles aimed at an Iranian military base near the Lebanese town of El Kiswa, southwest of Damascus, early on December 2, Arab media reported. Two days later, Israel targeted a military scientific research center on the outskirts of the capital and Syrian air-defense systems intercepted three of the five Israeli missiles, the Syrian news agency reported. There was no official confirmation from Jerusalem.
President Vladimir Putin on December 12 made a surprise announcement during a visit to a Russian air base in Latakia that he had ordered Russian forces in Syria to start withdrawing from the country. Speaking after talks with President Bashar Assad, Putin said that after a two-year military campaign, Moscow and Damascus had achieved their mission of destroying ISIS.
“I congratulate you!” Putin told Russian servicemen at the base.