On Tuesday, Israeli security forces killed a Palestinian freedom fighter and another fighter in a gunbattle in the occupied West Bank. Israeli forces surrounded the house of Ibrahim al-Nabulsi, a senior commander of the Fatah’s Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades group, long on Israel’s wanted list. The shoot-out, in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, was the deadliest incident in the West Bank since Israel and the Islamic Jihad ended fighting in Gaza.
After Riyadh announced last month that it would open its airspace to all airlines, Cathay Pacific and Air Seychelles flew Saudi Arabia for Israel flights for the first time. Opening Saudi airspace to flights to and from Israel was a focus of US President Joe Biden's tour of the countries, which do not have formal ties, last month. Riyadh agreed in principle. Air Seychelles said it “became the first airline to receive permission from the Saudi Arabian authorities to overfly their territory”, with Wednesday evening's Tel Aviv to Mahe flight.
On June 19, PPP Senator Saleem Mandviwalla walked back his statement calling on Pakistan to focus on its "interests" with respect to Israel. Mandviwalla said that he never supported the recognition of, or trade with, the Jewish state, insisting that his words were being "distorted". "We should not stop dialogue and trade with any country. People criticize Israel [but] we have to look after our own interests," was his previous statement.
It was reported that some 1,200 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank region of Masafer Yatta faced the risk of forced eviction. As per reports, it likely would make way for an army firing zone after a decades-long legal battle that ended last month in Israel's highest court. The ruling opened the way for one of the largest displacements since Israel captured the area in the 1967 Middle East war.
On Thursday, Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian during a raid in the occupied West Bank, the third Palestinian killed in the occupied territory in 24 hours, the health ministry said. The violence erupted in the Dheisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem, a ministry statement said. The Israeli security forces have stepped up their operations in the West Bank in recent months to arrest suspects after a spate of deadly attacks inside Israel.
Davos: Israel President Isaac Herzog stated that he had had an "amazing experience" while meeting a commission of Pakistani expatriates living in the United States. The Israeli president was speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) about the Abraham Accords. Herzog told the WEF president that he met two delegations — Moroccans and Pakistan-Americans. "One was a delegation of young opinion-makers from Morocco who have aligned on Facebook with an Israeli NGO. They both came and sat with us for an hour and it was just amazing to listen to the experience of breaking barriers and moving forward and intertwining with each other," he added.
Jerusalem: On April 22, at least 57 Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli police within the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem. The violence persisted again during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan at the site also revered by Jews. The surge of violence has raised fears of a relapse into a broader conflict like last year's war between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas Islamists ruling the Gaza Strip. Hamas fighters "have their fingers on the rifle triggers, and we will defend Al-Aqsa mosque with all our might", Hamas official Mushir al-Masri stated.
Cairo: The United Arab Emirates summoned the Israeli ambassador to protest against clashes at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque, the Gulf state's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday. Reem bint Ebrahim Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation, emphasized the need "to immediately stop these events (and) provide full protection for worshippers", the ministry said in a statement. She also called for "respect for the right of Palestinians to practice their religious rites, and halt any practices that violate the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Jerusalem: On April 17, Israeli riot police faced off with fireworks-hurling Palestinians in the alleyways of Jerusalem's Old City. The violence occurred after a visit by Jews to a disputed holy site during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Violence at the Al Aqsa mosque compound, which erupted on Friday, has raised fears about a slide back into deeper conflict as Ramadan coincides with the Jewish festival of Passover. Christians also marked Easter in Jerusalem on Sunday.
On March 13, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) took responsibility for ballistic missile attacks in Iraq’s northern Kurdish regional capital of Erbil. According to Iran’s state media, the elite forces in a statement said that it targeted the Israeli “strategic centre” in the country. “Any repetition of attacks by Israel will be met with a harsh, decisive, and destructive response,” the statement said.
Ankara: On March 9, President Isaac Herzog visited Turkey on the first such trip by an Israeli leader since 2008. The regional rivals pursue to overcome years of animosity. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said that they would review all aspects of Turkey-Israel ties in their talks. "We shall try to restart our relations and build them in a measured and cautious manner," said Herzog. One specific area of interest for Turkey and Israel is natural gas.
Jerusalem: On Feb 20, Israel announced that it would begin allowing entry to all tourists, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated against COVID-19, from March 1. A statement from the prime minister's office said, "Entry into Israel will still require two PCR tests, one before flying in and one upon landing in Israel". "We are seeing a consistent decline in morbidity numbers, so this is the time to gradually open up what we were the first in the world to close," Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said.
Manama: It emerged on Thursday that Israel and Bahrain signed a security cooperation agreement during a visit by the Israeli defense minister to the kingdom. "The MOU (memorandum of understanding) framework will support any future cooperation in the areas of intelligence, mil-to-mil (military to military), industrial collaboration, and more," the Israeli Defence Ministry said in a statement. Bahrain, along with the United Arab Emirates, normalized relations with Israel in 2020 under the U.S.-brokered Abraham Accords, partly out of shared concerns about Iran.
Jerusalem: On Feb 2, Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz began a visit to Bahrain on Wednesday amidst increased tensions in the Gulf. The tensions increased after missile attacks on the United Arab Emirates by Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi movement. "Gantz would sign a security cooperation agreement with Bahrain, which along with the neighboring UAE normalised relations with Israel in 2020," Israel's Defence Ministry announced.
It emerged on Sunday that Israeli President Isaac Herzog arrived in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This is his first such visit to strengthen Gulf ties at a time of aggravated regional tensions. The world powers have been trying to revive a nuclear deal with Iran. “I will be meeting the leadership of the United Arab Emirates, at the personal invitation of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed [al-Nahyan], the crown prince,” Herzog told.
Sheikh Jarrah: It was reported that Israeli forces had destroyed the home of a Palestinian family in Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem. The move came after the family tried to stave off the demolition by threatening to blow up the house. Large numbers of Israeli police and special forces raided the Salhiyeh home and cordoned off the surrounding area. The family told that dozens of heavily armed forces broke into their home while they slept and assaulted family members, arresting six of them including the head of the household, Mahmoud Salhiyeh.
Jerusalem: On Monday, Israel said that it would approve the entry of foreigners with known COVID-19 immunity from countries with medium risk by next week. The announcement partially reversed a ban inflicted in late November to cope with the fast-spreading Omicron variant. The Health Ministry told that, as of Jan 9, foreign travelers from 199 "orange" countries would be admitted if they could prove they were vaccinated or had recovered from COVID-19. Orange-listed countries are Australia, Italy, and Ireland.
Jerusalem: On Jan 2, it was reported that Israel could reach herd immunity amidst spurting Omicron infections. Israel's top health official informed that the country had approved the use of Merck & Co's (MRK.N) molnupiravir anti-viral pill for COVID-19 patients. "The (infection) numbers will have to be very high in order to reach herd immunity," Nachman Ash, director-general of the Health Ministry, told 103 FM Radio. "This is possible but we don't want to reach it by means of infections, we want it to happen as a result of many people vaccinating."
Jerusalem: On Dec 29, Israel's Oramed Pharmaceuticals announced that its Oravax Medical unit had signed a deal with Vietnam's Tan Thanh Holdings for the pre-order of 10 million doses of its oral COVID-19. The said COVID-19 vaccine is in clinical trials. Nadav Kidron, chief executive of Oramed, said its oral COVID vaccine was undergoing Phase I clinical trials, and results should be available in early 2022.
Tel Aviv: It emerged on Sunday that Israel had revealed a plan to use up more than $300 million to double the Jewish settler population in the Golan Heights. The announcement came after 40 years after it usurped the region seized from Syria. “Our goal is to double the population in the Golan,” the right-wing Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said as he introduced his one billion shekel ($317 million) initiative to enhance various facilities.
Saudi Arabia has stated that it is willing to normalise relations with Israel based on the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002. Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, the kingdom's permanent representative to the United Nations, said in an interview with the Riyadh-based Arab News daily that Riyadh is committed to the Arab Initiative for Peace, which calls for an end to Israel's occupation of all Arab territories occupied in 1967 and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital in exchange for normalising relations with Israel.
Washington: It emerged that the U.S. and Israeli defense chiefs are anticipated to discuss possible military exercises. Both countries said that they should prepare for a worst-case scenario to annihilate Iran's nuclear facilities. On the other hand, Iran refutes seeking nuclear weapons, explaining that it wants to proficient nuclear technology for peaceful intentions.
It emerged on Friday that Apple Inc iPhones of at least nine US State Department employees were hacked by an unknown attacker using complex spyware developed by the Israel-based NSO Group, according to four people familiar with the matter. Sources reported that the hacked phone was in use by US officials either based in Uganda or focused on matters concerning the East African state.
Vienna: On Wednesday, Iran accused Israel of "trumpeting lies to poison" the Vienna talks on resuscitating Tehran's 2015 nuclear agreement with major powers. The statement came as a result of derogatory remarks made by Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid after meeting French President Emmanuel Macron, on Tuesday. He said that Iran was making an effort to buy time to boost its nuclear program and major powers needed to have a different approach.
On Sunday, An Israeli rights group laid bare that in 183 incidents of Jewish settler violence against Palestinians, Israeli forces dare not intervene to protect Palestinians and at times vigorously helped them attack innocent Palestinians. The B'tselem rights group also reported that it ascertained a total of 451 settler attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank since early 2020. “Settler attacks against Palestinians are a strategy employed by the Israeli apartheid regime, which seeks to advance and complete its misappropriation of more and more Palestinian land,” said the document.
On Friday, it emerged that Israel has effectively outlawed six prominent Palestinian human rights groups by proclaiming them to be terrorist organizations. It is one of the significant steps in escalating its decades-long crackdown on political activism in the usurped areas.
It emerged on Thursday that Israel is deeming to construct a new onshore pipeline to Egypt for increasing natural gas supply to its neighbor in the time of scarcity in global supplies. The Israeli energy ministry announced that the pipeline would cost around $200 million and could be functional within 24 months.
Nike, the American sportswear company, said on Saturday that it will stop selling in Israel beginning next year. According to The Independent, the company wrote a letter to Israeli store owners stating that "continuation of the business relationship between you and the company no longer match the company's policy and goals." The revised decision will take effect on May 31, 2022, according to their statement.
As the world fair is about to start this Friday, Israel is prepping to take part. “This is the first time the expo is in the Middle East, and the first time Israel is participating in an event of such an enormous scale and significance [in an Arab country]”, said the Israeli spokesperson Menachem Gantz.