Palestinians, many affiliated with internationally-recognized terror groups, continued on Friday and Saturday to riot along the security fence separating Israel from the Gaza Strip. Some also launched incendiary balloons towards southern Israeli civilian centers.
Palestinians from so-called “night confusion brigades” have been rioting along the frontier every night for the past week as both Hamas, the US-designated terror group which rules Gaza, and Islamic Jihad having threatened further violence.
The riots began ostensibly to mark the 52nd anniversary of an attack on Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem by a Christian from Australia who was later found by an Israeli court to be insane. Hamas’ true purpose is evidently to prove it has not softened its stance on eradicating the Jewish state; this, even after having reached a deal with Jerusalem to receive tens of millions of dollars in assistance from Qatar.
President Isaac Herzog revealed that he traveled last week to Jordan to meet with King Abdullah II. A statement released by Herzog’s office told of “immense respect for King Abdullah, a great leader, and a highly significant regional actor.”
The development is being taken as the latest in a series of moves indicating improved relations between the countries.
“There is a sense in the region of a desire to make progress, a desire to speak,” Herzog added.
Noting that a year had passed since the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain normalized relations with Israel under the auspices of the Abraham Accords — with Sudan and Morocco having thereafter followed suit — Herzog said: “These accords created an important regional infrastructure. They are highly important agreements, which are transforming our region and the dialogue within it.”
Herzog’s visit comes on the backdrop of another secret meeting between an Israeli leader and the Jordanian monarch. In July, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett sat down with the king at the crown palace in Amman.
A group of Democratic lawmakers visiting Israel as part of a US Congressional delegation to the Middle East have told Prime Minister Naftali Bennett of their support for US President Joe Biden’s plan to reopen the American consulate in Jerusalem. The mission’s closure by the Trump administration, which officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, was viewed by some as a de facto demotion of ties with the Mahmoud Abbas-led Palestinian Authority.
“In our meetings today in Israel with Prime Minister Bennett and other officials, we stressed the importance we place on reopening our consulate in Jerusalem to better serve Palestinians,” tweeted Sen. Chris Murphy.
Members of the delegation also met with PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, who according to the official PA news agency Wafa called on the US “to expedite the implementation of its promises, especially the reopening of the US Consulate in east Jerusalem, in addition to removing the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority from the lists of terrorism in the US.”
In May, after meeting with PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced plans for the consulate to be reopened.
The position puts the US at odds with Israel, with Bennett on Friday having told a group of US Jewish leaders that Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel and no other entity.
A ceremony will be held in Washington, D.C. on September 14 to mark the first anniversary of the signing of the Abraham Accords, according to Israeli media reports.
While brokered by former US president Donald Trump, the Biden Administration has also expressed support for the normalization agreements signed between Israel and four Arab nations. Subsequent reports have indicated that Washington is interested in continuing the initiative and encouraging more Arab and Muslim states to sign deals with Israel.
Officials from the Biden Administration are expected to participate in the ceremony, along with Jared Kishner and Avi Berkowitz – who are widely credited as being among the deal’s driving forces. A number of ambassadors from the relevant states are set to attend.
With no sign that the coronavirus outbreak is abating, Israel’s national pandemic coordinator Dr. Salman Zarka on Saturday voiced his belief that the country should begin preparing for a rollout of a fourth dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
Israel, widely considered a world leader in the vaccination campaign against the virus, has inoculated over 80 percent of its population with first and second doses. Although over 2.5 million Israelis have received all three doses available, it is nevertheless struggling to suppress a wave of infections being driven by the delta variant.
“This is our life from now on, in waves,” Zarka said.