Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Israel

Newsline: Fatal embassy shooting casts long shadow over Israel-Jordan ties

The relationship — typically low-key, but strategically important — has been “hit hard” on all levels by the July 23 shooting, next to the Israeli Embassy complex in Jordan in which the Israeli guard also killed his middle-aged Jordanian landlord. Israel’s Foreign Ministry, which says the guard acted in self-defense after the teen attacked him with a screw driver, declined comment on potential damage to the relationship. A multi-million-dollar energy deal remains on track, with natural gas to start flowing from Israel to Jordan by early 2020. But other endeavors have suffered. The third phase of a program to employ Jordanians in Israeli hotels — which would have raised the number of workers from 1,000 to 1,500 — is on hold, said Shabtai Shay, head of hotel association in Israel’s Red Sea resort of Eilat. A conference on water and energy cooperation, scheduled for October in Jordan with the participation of Cabinet ministers from both countries, has been put off. A sustained breakdown in communications on sharing water and energy sources, a national security interest for both countries, could have “terrible implications.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been assigned much of the blame for the diplomatic crisis, because of his handling of the shooting aftermath.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/fatal-embassy-shooting-casts-long-shadow-over-israel-jordan-ties/

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Newsline: Denmark deploys troops to Israeli embassy

The Danish military deployed troops in Copenhagen on Friday to guard the city’s synagogue and the Israeli embassy, hours ahead of the Yom Kippur Jewish holiday. The deployment was the first by troops in the Danish capital since WWII. The synagogue and the Israeli embassy have been under police protection since two deadly attacks in 2015.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/in-first-denmark-deploys-troops-to-guard-synagogue-israeli-embassy/

Newsline: Former US ambassador to Israel said set to testify in Netanyahu graft case

Former US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro will reportedly give testimony to Israeli police in the coming weeks as part of an ongoing investigation into suspicions Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received bribes from an Israeli-born Hollywood mogul in exchange for advancing his interests. Netanyahu is said to have asked Shapiro and then-US secretary of state John Kerry in 2014 to intervene and arrange a long-term US visa for Israeli film producer Arnon Milchan, who allegedly provided Netanyahu and his wife with expensive gifts including cigars and champagne valued at hundreds of thousands of shekels. Former US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro will reportedly give testimony to Israeli police in the coming weeks as part of an ongoing investigation into suspicions Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received bribes from an Israeli-born Hollywood mogul in exchange for advancing his interests. Netanyahu is said to have asked Shapiro and then-US secretary of state John Kerry in 2014 to intervene and arrange a long-term US visa for Israeli film producer Arnon Milchan, who allegedly provided Netanyahu and his wife with expensive gifts including cigars and champagne valued at hundreds of thousands of shekels. In February, it was reported that Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit had rejected a police request to question Kerry and Shapiro, saying that there was “no real need at the current time.” But Channel 10 news reported Sunday that police have now received permission to question Shapiro, who finished his term as ambassador in January but continues to live in Israel, and will do so following the current period of Jewish festivals, which end in mid-October. Shapiro declined to comment on the report or whether he had been involved in any visa request involving Milchan.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/former-us-ambassador-dan-shapiro-said-set-to-testify-in-netanyahu-graft-case/

Newsline: Israel’s NY consulate briefly closed for 2nd time in 4 days over threat

The Israeli consulate in New York City was briefly closed with employees barred from leaving the premises, after an envelope with white powder was sent to the building along with a direct threat on the life of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a senior official told the Times of Israel. The substance was eventually determined to be harmless. It was the second such threat sent to the building in four days. The incident happened shortly after Netanyahu concluded a meeting with US President Donald Trump in New York and returned to his hotel room. The workers were waiting for the arrival of an NYPD sapper to check the envelope. Consul-General Dani Dayan was not in the building at the time.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/israels-ny-consulate-locked-down-for-2nd-time-in-4-days-over-threat/

Newsline: Jordan king said to urge Israel to wrap up embassy shooting probe

King Abdullah II of Jordan met with representatives of American Jewish organizations in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, reportedly chiding Israel over the pace of an investigation into a deadly shooting at the embassy in Amman in July. Abdullah, who was accompanied by his wife Queen Raina, talked about efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts, stressing the important role US President Donald Trump and the US Jewish community play in the process, the royal court said in a statement. According to the Israeli Walla news website, Abdullah also told the participants, who were not identified in the report, that Israel must conclude an investigation into the deadly shooting of one of its citizens by an Israeli embassy guard in Amman. The guard, Ziv Moyal, was stabbed by a Jordanian on July 23, whereupon he shot and killed the attacker along with a bystander, sparking a diplomatic crisis between Jerusalem and Amman. The entire embassy staff returned to Israel a day later, ater intensive diplomatic efforts to gain the guard’s release. Israel has launched a police probe into the deadly shooting but has yet to publicize its results. A source who was present at the meeting quoted Abdullah as saying he was pressing Israel to end the procedure soon — whether it finds Moyal guilty or innocent.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/jordan-king-said-to-urge-israel-to-wrap-up-embassy-shooting-probe/

Newsline: Israeli embassy reopens in Cairo

Israel has returned its diplomatic staff to Egypt some eight months after its embassy’s closure. Whilst the Israeli Foreign Ministry refused to comment on the issue, airport officials anonymously informed reporters that Israeli Ambassador David Govrin flew back to Cairo last night with eight staff members. A large security motorcade escorted the diplomats to their offices in Giza. Zionist Union MK Ksenia Svetlova, a member of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee who has been urging the return of the diplomats to Cairo, welcomed the move and expressed hope that the return of the embassy staff would “open a window for the expansion of the relations between the two countries in other fields, such as commerce and academia, which in recent years have almost completely disappeared.”

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170830-israeli-embassy-reopens-in-cairo/

Newsline: Russian Foreign Ministry summons Israeli ambassador

Israeli Ambassador to Moscow Gary Koren has been summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry to clarify his country’s position on Russia’s participation in the project to build a museum on the grounds of the Sobibor Nazi death camp in eastern Poland, the embassy’s spokesman Alex Gandler told TASS. According to Gandler, the ambassador confirmed that “the Israeli Foreign Ministry supports Russia’s participation in the international management committee for the reconstruction of the Sobibor death camp museum.” Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday that the ambassadors of Israel and a number of European countries had been summoned to the ministry “for a serious conversation” in light of the international committee’s decision not to include Russia in the Sobibor museum project. Russia was invited to take part in the project to renovate the Sobibor museum and memorial in 2013. The project had been initiated by Poland, Israel, Holland and Slovakia, whose representatives comprise the organizing committee. Russia accepted the invitation and expressed readiness to make a significant financial contribution, but the further consultations with Poland concerning Russia’s participation produced no results. In July, news came that a decision had been made to carry on with the project without Russia involved.

http://tass.com/politics/960854