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IDF Warily Watching Northern Border Amidst Instability

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Posted on: 
12 Feb 2020
IDF Warily Watching Northern Border Amidst Instability
Israeli troops were keeping a wary eye on the northern border Wednesday amidst political unrest in Lebanon and intensifying violence in Syria. Security forces have used tear gas and water cannon to drive back attempts by protesters to storm the parliament building in Beirut in recent days while smaller but occasionally violent protests have also been held in several other Lebanese cities. Meanwhile, Turkish forces deployed in Syria’s northwestern Idlib Province shot down a military helicopter flown by forces loyal to the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, marking a major escalation in hostilities between the two sides.

“Security forces were throwing tear gas and beating people up” said Aya Majzoub, Lebanon researcher at Human Rights Watch. “I’m here to say ‘no confidence’ in the government because the way it was formed shows that it cannot be trusted,” one protester told an AFP journalist.  “We are here to reject Diab’s government and to say that the Lebanese people have no confidence in it — even if lawmakers vote to support it,” said another.

International economists have warned that Lebanon is on the verge of a complete meltdown which could render it a de facto ungoverned space similar to Afghsnistan.

Meanwhile, the flare up in violence between Assad regime loyalists and Turkish troops is sure to complicate an already deeply fraught situation in Syria, as Russia, which has relationships it values with all sides in the fighting, struggles to balance its interests. Also concerning officials on all sides of the conflict as well as European governments is a fresh wave of refugees fleeing the fighting in Idlib.

“In just 10 weeks, since 1 December, some 690,000 people have been displaced from their homes in Idlib and surrounding areas,” a spokesman for the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said. “This is, from our initial analysis, the largest number of people displaced in a single period since the Syrian crisis began almost nine years ago.”

Tourism Numbers for January Offer Hope
Amidst fears of a global slowdown in tourism due to the coronavirus crisis in China, Israel’s tourism industry got some good news this week as numbers were published showing that there was an 8% increase in incoming visitors to the Jewish State in January 2020 over the same month in 2019. “Tourism records continue to shatter, and we end January 2020 with an 8% increase in incoming tourism on January 2019 and 20% more than in January 2018,” said Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said. “Incoming tourism contributes to the development of the periphery and the economy, and I am proud to lead this.”

Here is a video about Tourism options in Israel

BDS Movement Suffers Another Defeat
The movement to Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) Israel suffered another defeat this week as over 300 diamond dealers, purchasing agents and executives from around the world came to the Diamond Exchange in Ramat Gan to participate in International Diamond Week. “We are at the beginning of 2020, and we very much hope that this year will be a year of turnaround - a year of stabilization and recovery in the markets,” said Ramat Gan Diamond Exchange president Yoram Dvash. “In light of the reduction in raw material allowances by rough diamond producers, shortages have been created, and there is a large demand.”

Proposed US Budget Cuts Security Assistance to PA
An item in US President Donald Trump’s proposed federal budget for the 2021 fiscal year included the elimination of funding for the Palestinian Authority security forces. Israeli officials are expected to request that the funding be restored as it has long been considered in Israel’s interest.

Today's video offers an in-depth look at Israel's regional strategic situation


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