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The Daily TIP: Israel Informs UN That Hezbollah Still Has "Underground Infrastructure" in Lebanon

Posted by Tip Staff - January 30, 2019

Israel Informs UN That Hezbollah Still Has "Underground Infrastructure" in Lebanon
Two PLO Factions Say They Will Not Join New Palestinian Government
Foreign Secretary Hunt Hails "Very Strong Relationship" between Britain and Israel
Hebrew University Students Win Int'l Debating Competition

Israel Informs UN That Hezbollah Still Has "Underground Infrastructure" in Lebanon

Israel informed the United Nations of the existence of additional “underground infrastructure” belonging to the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah along the Israeli-Lebanese border, The Times of Israel reported on Monday.

The newly discovered infrastructure included tunnels heading towards Israel that were not destroyed in the IDF’s recent Operation Northern Shield, in which the IDF neutralized six cross-border attack tunnels.

The additional tunnels, the Times reported, are all located in Lebanese territory. An Israeli official said they are known to Israeli intelligence and are within Israel’s operational reach.

An earlier statement by the IDF confirmed the assessment. “The IDF is monitoring and is in possession of a number of sites where Hezbollah is digging underground infrastructure that has yet to cross into Israeli territory,” the army said on January 13.

The report comes after Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah dismissed Israel’s success in locating and destroying the attack tunnels that Hezbollah had built.

“The uncovering of the tunnels does not affect by 10 percent our plans to take over the Galilee,” Nasrallah said in his first comments on the issue since Israel announced the operation in December.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to Nasrallah’s threats on Sunday with his own warning that Hezbollah “has good reasons not to want to feel our lethal might.”

Netanyahu observed that Nasrallah’s “people invested a great deal of effort into digging them [the tunnels], and within three weeks we completely deprived him of his weaponry.” Israel’s former IDF chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot backed up Netanyahu's statement, saying Nasrallah's claims were "baseless.”

Two PLO Factions Say They Will Not Join New Palestinian Government

The makeup of any future Palestinian government remains uncertain, as two factions of the PLO said they would not be part of a governing coalition that "solidifies divisions" among the Palestinians, The Jerusalem Post reported Wednesday.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah that was submitted earlier this week and is seeking to form a new government made up of representatives from factions of the PLO and independent political figures.

However, spokesmen for both the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) said that the two factions would not participate in any government formed unilaterally by Abbas. Both the PFLP and DFLP reject the Oslo Accords, the basis for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Palestinian political analysts characterize the resignation of Hamdallah and Abbas's quest to form a new government as part of a ploy for Fatah to have a greater role in the PA. Even though Fatah is the largest political party, many in the faction do not believe that they have been well-represented in the Hamdallah government.

“Fatah wants to be in control of the government,” one Ramallah-based analyst told the Post. “Many Fatah leaders feel that the Hamdallah government has marginalized them.”

By pushing for a new government, those in Fatah may be looking to sideline Hamdallah. The prime minister, who will remain in power until a new government is in place, is affiliated with Fatah but holds no official position with the group. Leaving his role as prime minister could hurt Hamdallah's standing as a possible successor to the 83-year-old Abbas.

Foreign Secretary Hunt Hails "Very Strong Relationship" between Britain and Israel

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has issued an apparent apology for Britain’s 1939 policy to cap immigration into Palestine, calling it a “black moment” in history, in what is believed to be the first such remarks by a British foreign secretary.

Hunt made the comment in an address to the Conservative Friends of Israel's annual parliamentary reception on Tuesday, The Jewish Chronicle reported.

The secretary hailed the “on the whole very strong relationship” between Britain and Israel that started with the Balfour Declaration of 1917, adding that the two nation’s shared history has been one of "strong, deep-rooted friendship based on a huge historic admiration for what the State of Israel has achieved against all the odds."

The secretary expressed regret, however, for the 1939 White Paper, which limited the number of Jewish immigrants to Palestine to 75,000 for five years during the Nazi Holocaust. “There have been some black moments when we have done the wrong thing,” Hunt admitted.

He went on to say that Britain’s “support for Israel’s right to self-defence is absolutely unconditional,” and observed that “the democracy of which Israel is a shining beacon, and which Britain always stood for, these democratic values cannot be taken for granted in the modern world."

Hunt said that, despite of many enemies that are committed to its "total destruction and elimination," Israel has "absolutely thrived as a modern high-tech country with a huge amount of prosperity."

British International Development Secretary Liam Fox, alongside Israel’s Minister of the Economy Eli Cohen, announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week that the principles of a post-Brexit trade deal with the Jewish State were in place. "Because of our great friendship, trade is mushrooming between our two countries,” Hunt observed.

Hebrew University Students Win Int'l Debating Competition

A duo of debaters from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem won the 2019 World University Debating Championship in the English Second-Language category. The contest, hosted by the University of Cape Town Debating Union, wrapped up on January 4.

Hebrew University students Roy Schulman (a master’s degree candidate from Yehud) and Elaye Karstadt (a PhD student from Jerusalem) advanced to the finals after the full team competed against thousands of students from 20 countries. They then defeated pairs from Russia, Malaysia and Japan to take the ESL title.

In addition, Amichai Even-Chen and Ido Kotler from Tel Aviv University made it to the final rounds of the general Open competition for native English-speakers. Among their opponents were students from Oxford and Harvard.

“For a long time, I wasn’t considered good at debate,” posted Karstadt on Facebook, noting that it took three years to get his first speaking break and a bit longer until he was sent by the HUJ Debate Society as a speaker to a major international competition.

“Getting better is hard to do alone; I owe much of it to the boom of amazing ESL speakers over the last few years, who consistently raised the bar on debating as a whole with a combination of smarts, strategy, and amazing speeches. … And I am very fortunate to have met the many great people of the Israeli (and European) debate circuit who kept challenging me at competitions, and to all the speakers I faced who, afterwards, were very active in showing respect and helping me feel that they enjoyed facing me and wanted to continue doing so.”

(via Israel21c)

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