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Weekly Newsletter
October 2, 2020
In this issue:
  • Hezbollah hiding missiles in Beirut, Netanyahu tells UN
  • Israel and Lebanon to start talks over maritime border this month
  • Coronavirus Update:  a record breaking, 9,000 new cases on Wednesday in Israel

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Hezbollah hiding missiles in Beirut, PM Netanyahu tells UN
  • Pic: The location of a Hezbollah arms depot next to a gas station in the Janah neighborhood of Beirut, as stated by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a video address to the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 29, 2020.

  • PM Benjamin Netanyahu used his address the UN General Assembly  Tuesday to send a message to the Lebanese people, “Israel means you no harm, but Iran does. Iran and Hezbollah have deliberately put you and your families in grave danger”
  •  Netanyahu revealed that Hezbollah has built a secret weapons storage facility in the Beirut neighbourhood of Janah. Showing the coordinates on a map, Netanyahu said: “It’s right next to the international airport … adjacent, a metre away, from a gas company … and it’s embedded in civilian housing.” He added: “I say to the people of Janah, you’ve got to act now. You’ve got to protest this. Because if this thing explodes, it’s another tragedy. Iran and Hezbollah have deliberately put you and your families in grave danger. And what you should make clear is that what they have done is unacceptable. You should tell them, tear these depots down.”
  • He also appealed to “the international community must insist that Hezbollah stop using Lebanon and Lebanese civilians as human shields”.
  • Relating to Iran’s nuclear programme, Netanyahu said, “Iran will have enough enriched uranium in a few months for two nuclear bombs and Iran has been working on a new generation of centrifuges, it’s called the IR9, which will multiply Iran’s enrichment capability fifty-fold. There is no question that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons.” Netanyahu also criticised his European allies for acting against Iranian violations of the JCPOA nuclear accord, saying: “In the run-up to the nuclear deal, Israel was told — especially by our European friends — that any Iranian violation would be met with a quick and severe response. But in the face of Iran’s brazen violations, in the face of the irrefutable evidence of the nuclear archive, the Security Council has done, absolutely nothing. Rather than curb Iran’s aggression, the nuclear deal fed and funded it.”
  • Highlighting the regional consensus of Iran’s pursuit of nuclear material and technology, Netanyahu said, “Both Arabs and Israelis are together urging tough action on Iran. And when Arabs and Israelis agree, others should pay attention.”
  • Netanyahu also spoke of the historic peace agreements signed with the UAE and Bahrain, saying they “will bring our peoples the blessings of peace and the enormous benefits that come with more trade, more investment, more commerce, transportation, tourism, increased cooperation in so many other areas.” He also argued that the agreements “will make peace between Israelis and Palestinians more likely”.
  • Following Netanyahu’s speech to the UNGA, the IDF revealed additional Hezbollah sites in Beirut used to manufacture precision guided missiles (PGMs). According to the IDF spokesperson’s office, “An underground PGM manufacturing site located in the Laylaki neighbourhood. The site is located underneath a seven-story residential building, home to over 70 families.” The IDF added that “a medical centre and a church are located approximately 130 meters from the site”.
  • On Iran, Netanyahu called upon all members of the Security Council, to stand against Iran’s aggression. There is expected to be continued pressure ahead of 18 October when the UN embargo on conventional weapons sales to Iran is due to expire.
  • Relating to further normalisation agreements, Netanyahu told the UNGA: “I also have no doubt that more Arab and Muslim countries will be joining the circle of peace, soon, very soon.”

Click to watch PM Netanyahu address to the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 29, 2020.

Israel and Lebanon to start talks over maritime border this month

Lebanon has agreed to hold negotiations with Israel under a US and UN framework to end the long-running dispute over their maritime border with Israel. Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz will lead the Israeli delegation.

  • Yesterday Steinitz said that talks can progress quickly but will be dependent on the willingness of the Lebanese side, noting “this is a dispute of only six kilometres… the dispute is not over a large area”.
  • The talks will start around 12 October and will be held at the UNIFIL headquarters in the southern border town of Naqoura.
  • The reason for talks now, Steinitz says, is because “the Lebanese have realised that they are lagging behind. They are in a severe economic crisis, even before the explosion in the port of Beirut, and are unable to properly develop their potential gas fields because companies are reluctant to act in disputed areas. “
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hinted that negotiations over the maritime border could led to talks over the land border.

Coronavirus Update: a record breaking, 9,000 new cases on Wednesday in Israel

     The latest  Health Ministry announcement that 31 more people have died of coronavirus, with the total deaths now 1,622. Despite Israel being in partial lockdown for the last two weeks, yesterday around 7,600 new cases were diagnosed. The Health Ministry noted this is a slight drop after the day before which saw a record breaking, 9,000 new cases. The positivity rate still remains high at 12.3 per cent but is lower than any other day this week. The number of patients in serious condition stands at 821, including 193 people on ventilators. Since the outbreak of the pandemic in Israel, over 235,000 citizens have been infected, and nearly 180,000 of them have recovered so far.



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