Israel witnessed its first snowstorm of the year this week. There is snow in the mountain areas, including Jerusalem, and rain in other parts of the country. Snow is more common than one might think in Israel. However, Israelis only see snow once or twice in a winter season.
Jonathan Pollard arrived in Israel after having been released from parole restrictions in the United States. Pollard was convicted of spying for Israel when he was working as an intelligence analyst in 1984. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. Israel considered the sentence severe because his espionage was for them, an ally of the United States.
Official media reported that a camp for Syrian refugees in northern Lebanon was set on fire on Saturday night, after a quarrel between members of the camp and a local Lebanese family. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees confirmed that a large fire broke out in a camp in the Minya region in the north of the country.
The United Nations’ Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) in The Hague has sentenced one of the main defendants in the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri to life in prison. The accused, who is a member of Hezbollah in Lebanon, was involved in plotting to assassinate Rafik Hariri in 2005.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) informed its members in a confidential report on Friday (December 4th) that Iran intends to install more than 500 new centrifuges at the Nazanar nuclear facility in southern Iran. Reuters reports that it has seen the confidential report of the agency.
The US Treasury Department has added one of the most powerful Lebanese politicians and supporters of Hezbollah to the sanctions list on Friday Nov. 6th. Lebanese Foreign Minister Gibran Basil has close ties to Iranian-backed extremist Shiites.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned the Hezbollah terrorist group against attacking Israeli army positions. This is while on a visit to northern Israel, where the IDF Lethal Arrow drill is taking place. The annual exercise simulates attacks on terror groups that continue to threaten the nation.
In separate meetings with his Azeri and Armenian counterparts, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for an end to the war in Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan has stated that it is ready to resume political talks after the occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh by Armenia.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun nominated Saad Hariri, leader of the Future Movement and former Prime Minister, as his preferred candidate for the premiership again on Thursday. The appointment was made in consultation with members of parliament and with the consent of the majority.
Four people died on Friday in Beirut following an explosion in a fuel warehouse in a densely populated neighborhood, an incident that caused anxiety, fear, and panic as it is in a great way a reminiscence of the August 4th massive explosion that literally shook the country and the world at large in the port of Beirut.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz has warned the international community against trusting Iran too much and helping it to overcome sanctions. Speaking during the United Nations annual meeting on Wednesday, he underlined that Tehran was dangerous and was only keen on projecting its power in the Middle East.
Following an agreement with UAE, a peace treaty with another Arab country Bahrain is a new step in a cherished dream of Israel and America to win recognition of the Jewish State of Israel without having to complete negotiations for the two state solution which has been most difficult considering the objection of the Palestinians to any type of compromise.
French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Beirut on his second visit since the horrific port explosion, hours after Prime Minister-Designate Mustafa Adib was assigned to form a new government and on the eve of Lebanon’s revival of its first centenary. President Emmanuel Macron landed Monday at Beirut airport.
Crisis-ridden Lebanon has a new Prime minister. It is Mustapha Adib, who previously served as Lebanon’s ambassador to Germany. He was appointed to the position on Monday after he received the endorsement of most parliamentary blocs. His appointment was announced by the Lebanese presidency.
With dazzling flames, Israel is battling Hamas’ incendiary balloons and rockets shot at them from Gaza. Israeli civilians living along the border have been constantly terrorized by deliberate wildfires caused by incendiary balloons shot at them from Gaza. The attacks began several days before Israel’s peace with the UAE was announced.
The inflation rate in the Middle East is now estimated to be 8.8% in 2020. With Egypt, possibly the fastest growing Arab country, growing at only 2%, most oil producing countries in the region are seeing economic contractions. The combination of Covid-19 hitting the local population and the oil decline has severely affected this region.
Arab oil exporters are forecasting oil supply cuts of about 50% in 2020 and 2021, levels that have been approved by OPEC agreements. The combination of significant cuts in production, $42 a barrel for oil, and Covid affecting local marketplaces, will have a significantly negative impact on regional economies.
The United States has welcomed the conviction of a Hezbollah member by an international tribunal for the murder of Rafic Hariri. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed satisfaction with the sentencing of Salim Ayyash in absentia, and said that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization serving the sectarian goals of Iran.
Lebanese Health Minister Hamad Hassan called for the necessity to impose general lockdown measures for a period of two weeks after a sharp increase in cases of COVID-19 disease, at a time when the country is suffering from the devastating effects of the explosion of Beirut Port.
After 15 years, the attention of the Lebanese, and the world’s attention, is on the city of The Hague, as the Special Tribunal for Lebanon is scheduled to issue its verdict in the case of the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, in which four people affiliated with Hezbollah are being tried.
An American official called for a transparent and credible investigation into the explosion that occurred in the Beirut port, saying that Lebanon can never go back to an era when “anything happened” in its ports and at its borders. However, he did not speak explicitly about an international investigation.
In the first session after the explosion of the port city of Beirut, the Lebanese parliament approved the declaration of a state of emergency on Thursday. It is a move that raises the fear of human rights organizations due to the restrictions it contains on freedom of assembly.
Beirut is reeling from the horrendous, tragic explosion that occurred on August 4th. Thereafter, the Prime Minister resigned amid an investigation of the blast and failure to act previously. Furthermore, civil unrest and anger followed the explosion. There are over 1,000 injured in clashes with the police and the army.
The Israeli public is losing its trust in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israel government. They feel that Netanyahu is abusing the privileges of his position as Prime Minister. The attempt to make a unified government between Benny Gantz and Netanyahu seems to be a failure.
Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab announced that he, as well as the entire government, has resigned. The Prime Minister made the announcement in a speech in a brief, televised speech broadcast live to the nation. Diab said in the speech that they, like the people, want to find those responsible for the Beirut Blast.
The President of France, Emmanuel Macron, wants an independent investigation to establish the root cause of last Tuesday’s “Beirut Blast.” However, the Lebanese President, Michel Aoun, and the head of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, are opposed to it. Instead, they argue that it is an internal affair, and foreign powers should keep off.
Lebanese Information Minister Manal Abdussamed resigned after the explosion in Beirut Port. The minister said, “I apologize to the Lebanese.” She added, “we did not live up to your expectations.” Elsewhere, world leaders held a summit Sunday to raise aid to Lebanon.
A new wave of protests has broken out in Lebanon in response to a massive explosion that destroyed part of the port and downtown Beirut on Tuesday evening. On Saturday, a group of angry protesters, apparently led by a number of former army officers, stormed the Lebanese Foreign Ministry building.
Pope Francis today sent the first aid of €250,000 to Lebanon “to meet the needs of the Lebanese Church in these times of difficulty and suffering.” The donation “is intended as a sign of His Holiness’s attention and closeness to the affected population and of his fatherly closeness to people in serious difficulty.”
Tuesday’s Beirut blast has so far claimed at least 154 lives. The information was relayed on Friday by the Lebanese Health Minister, Hamad Hassan. The minister added that 120 of the wounded are in a critical condition. The previous last balance sheet by the Ministry of Health had reported 149 deaths.
French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Beirut today and announced his intention to “organize international aid” to Lebanon following the devastating explosions in the port of the Lebanese capital. He also called upon the country’s leaders to implement reforms without delay.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her condolences to the victims of the Beirut explosion, pledging to provide aid to Lebanon. At the same time, a German relief team is heading to Beirut, and German organizations are collecting donations for the victims of the explosion.
Pope Francis has today asked the international community to step in and help Lebanon overcome the serious crisis caused by Tuesday’s explosions. The same plea for help was made by the Lebanese government, and several countries have already responded to the calls for help.
In an open letter to the European Union, 236 lawmakers from Europe and the United States called on the EU Friday to impose a full ban on the Lebanese militant group and political party, Hezbollah, throughout its territory. The lawmakers said in their letter that banning Hezbollah’s military arm was not enough.
The Lebanese Ministry of Health announced that there were 166 new cases of COVID-19, a single-day high after the outbreak in February. According to National News Agency (NNA) statistics, so far, a total of 2,334 cases have been diagnosed and 36 died.
U.S. media have reported that the Islamic Republic of Iran has been ordered to pay fines and compensation to the wounded and first-degree families of the victims of the 1996 terrorist attack on the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. The attack killed 20 and wounded 498 others.
In its annual report, released on Wednesday, the US State Department described the Islamic Republic of Iran as the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world. According to the report, “traces of Iran’s support for terrorism can be traced from Gaza to Pakistan.”
Israel is celebrating Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks, this weekend, which comes seven weeks after Passover. The Feast of Weeks is also called the Day of the First Fruits, and also commemorate the giving of the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. The holiday is for one day in Israel and two days in countries throughout the world.
Today, the Lebanese government approved an economic reform plan aimed at lifting the country from a crisis that is considered the greatest threat to its stability since the civil war, between 1975 and1990. The Lebanese presidency office posted a brief tweet to that effect.
The German government announced Thursday that all activities of the Lebanese group Hezbollah will be banned, after designating the militant and political group a terrorist organization. The European Union considers Hezbollah’s militant wing, but not its political wing, a terrorist organization.
There is no sign of calm in Lebanon. Despite traffic bans in the country since March over the spread of coronavirus, Lebanese people have taken to the streets to protest corruption and the economic crisis. AFP has published a report from Beirut announcing the second day of widespread protests in Tripoli.
The Israeli intelligence agency, the Mossad, has flown a sizeable consignment of coronavirus equipment into the country. It includes Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) kits, which will boost testing capacity. Israeli healthcare facilities will now be able to carry out over 1,000 coronavirus tests daily.
In February, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered Israel Institute of Biological Research to join fight against the coronavirus pandemic. They are making “significant progress,” and are now commencing animal trials, using rodents. The laboratory is located in Nes Ziona, in central Israel, and hopefully positive results will come from these tests.
The Ministry of Health of the Sultanate of Oman confirmed on Saturday that no cases of coronavirus have been registered in the country. In a statement issued by the Omani News Agency, it stated that within the framework of the procedures adopted to fight the infection, Oman would carry out domestic or institutional quarantine of travelers from those countries affected for a period of 14 days.
The United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Jan Kubis, announced that he had seen Prime Minister-designate Hassan Diab‘s seriousness in working on implementing reforms and fighting corruption. After a meeting yesterday, the United Nations stressed that Lebanon’s first step to take reforms, break past corruption practices, and adopt transparency and trust.