Daily TIP

The Daily TIP: TIP Spokesman: Palestinian Refusal to Negotiate with Israel Prompted Closing of PLO Mission

Posted by Tip Staff - October 11, 2018

TIP Spokesman: Palestinian Refusal to Negotiate with Israel Prompted Closing of PLO Mission
Israel Destroys 15th Hamas Terror Tunnel over Past Year
Ambassadors from Israel, UAE Sit Together at Pro-Israel Group's Dinner in D.C.
BBC Philharmonic Names Israeli, Omer Meir Wellber, to be Its New Chief Conductor

TIP Spokesman: Palestinian Refusal to Negotiate with Israel Prompted Closing of PLO Mission

The Trump administration in September ordered the closure of the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington, D.C., citing the refusal of Palestinian leaders to enter into peace talks with Israel. In an interview with J.J. Green of Target USA: the National Security Podcast, Kenneth Bricker, a spokesman for The Israel Project, said on Wednesday that the Palestinian leadership provoked the action.

Bricker explained to the host that the closure of the Palestinian mission “is part of a series of measures” taken by the Trump administration “to push back against” the Palestinian leadership’s boycott of peace negotiations with the United States, Israel and Arab allies.

Bricker also reminded the audience that the PLO office in the U.S. was only accredited in the first place as part of the 1992 Oslo process based on the Palestinian leadership’s commitment to participate in peace negotiations. “That status,” he said, “the Palestinians have walked away from.”

Even more so, the PA has “rejected out of hand,” a peace plan currently being drawn up by the Trump administration’s Middle East team, backed by Israel and moderate Arab states. “They have not even considered it,” Bricker observed. “Under those circumstances it doesn’t make sense to confer a diplomatic status on the Palestinians.”

Bricker concluded saying what needs to happen is for all parties to return to direct negotiations. “There is nothing to discuss unless all three parties are willing to engage – two of them are, one is not.” He added, “The Palestinians have been absent from that [negotiating] table for four years. We would really love for them to come back into the room and help hash out these very difficult issues.”

Israel Destroys 15th Hamas Terror Tunnel over Past Year

The IDF announced that it destroyed the fifteenth Hamas-built terror tunnel over the past year, The Jerusalem Post reported Thursday.

The tunnel, which extended 200 meters (200 yards) into Israel, was located by using advanced tunnel detection techniques. According to IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis, the just-destroyed tunnel had "different construction methods to what we've seen," but he did not elaborate on what material was used in the construction of the tunnel.

The IDF believes that Hamas employed a different method of construction in building the detected tunnel to avoid Israel's advanced tunnel detection technology.

The tunnel was assessed to have been in an advanced state of construction, and was reported to have been outfitted with electricity and a phone system.

According to the Post, the tunnel was meant to be used for attacks inside Israel and had been under surveillance before it was destroyed.

“Hamas continues to invest considerable resources in building infrastructures aimed at harming Israeli citizens," the IDF said in a released statement. "This economic investment, which comes at the expense of the welfare of the residents of the Gaza Strip, proves the exploitation of the population for terrorist purposes."

Last month, the World Bank warned that the economy of the Gaza Strip, which is controlled politically and militarily by Hamas, is in "free fall." Following the announced destruction of the tunnel, the IDF issued a statement, "We estimate $3 million worth of cement, electrical equipment, and hours of labor were invested in this tunnel instead of investing in healthcare, education, or food for the people of Gaza."

Ambassadors from Israel, UAE Sit Together at Pro-Israel Group's Dinner in D.C.

In a sign of warming ties between Israel and Arab states, the ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States shared a table with his Israeli counterpart at a public pro-Israel event in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday evening. The two officials sat next to each other at the annual dinner of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs in Washington, The Times of Israel reported.

Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, was spotted with Emirates envoy Yousef al-Otaiba. The pair were seen talking closely as they listened to a speech by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The Times reported that the fact the envoys sat together publicly at an event covered by dozens of journalists, shows that the two countries are increasingly prepared to acknowledge the growing relationship between them.

Earlier this year, the envoy was dining in Washington with Bahrain’s ambassador, Sheikh Abdullah bin Rashed bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, as well as Brian Hook from the U.S. State Department and a group of journalists.

Al-Otaiba reportedly heard that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara were having dinner in the same restaurant and invited them over to his table. According to reports, there were smiles and a few jokes, when the Netanyahus talked to the group. They also discussed Iran and other issues and, when they left, shook hands with the two Gulf ambassadors.

Dan Shapiro, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel, said of Netanyahu’s meeting that it was “important in beginning a process of preparing Arab publics to share the Arab leadership’s view that Israel is a strategic partner.”

Netanyahu, in his address to the UN General Assembly in September, praised the “intimacy and friendship that I have not seen in my lifetime” with Arab States.

BBC Philharmonic Names Israeli, Omer Meir Wellber, to be Its New Chief Conductor

The British Broadcasting Corporation announced that Israeli conductor-composer Omer Meir Wellber, 36, has been appointed as the BBC Philharmonic’s new chief conductor. He is to take up the post in September 2019 and his initial contract is for four years.

“I first worked with the BBC Philharmonic in March and knew straight away that they were a very special group of people and exceptional musicians,” said Wellber, who is succeeding Spanish maestro Juanjo Mena in this role.

“Having seen Omer conducting a number of orchestras over the last year I have been fortunate to have experienced his brilliance firsthand in a wide range of repertoire,” said BBC Philharmonic General Manager Simon Webb.

“His immediate connection with the BBC Philharmonic was evident in his first concert and we are now delighted to have secured one of the most sought after young conductors of his generation.”

Born in Beersheva, Wellber is making his conducting debut in five performances of the opera “Carmen” at the Metropolitan Opera in New York during October and November. His operatic career has taken him to the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia as music director from 2010 to 2014, to the Bayerische Staatsoper Munich and the Glyndebourne Festival.

A regular guest conductor at the Bavarian State Opera Munich, La Fenice in Venice and the Israeli Opera, Wellber balances frequent international appearances with a commitment to performing classical music and promoting music integration projects in Israel. He also is a Good Will Ambassador for Save a Child’s Heart, a nonprofit medical charity based at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon providing free cardiac surgeries to children from developing nations.

(via Israel21c)

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