US Closes Palestinian Office in Washington for Rejecting Peace Plan ‘They Haven’t Yet Seen’

The Americans increased the pressure on the Palestinians for obstructing peace again on Monday, as the United States government closed the office of the General Delegation of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Washington, D.C. The PLO is the official representative of the Palestinian government to the world and in …

Israel—An Ancient King of Making Glass

Centuries before the Land of Israel was a hub for the high-tech industry, the region was among the world leaders in another profession involving science, skill, and specialized knowledge: glass making. The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced in a press release on Monday that they have discovered 1,600-year-old kilns used …

US Says Hamas Must Change, While Israel Notes 1000s of Animals Killed by Gaza Arson

The main United States negotiator for Middle East peace called for Hamas to change it’s ways and recognize Israel in an Op-Ed on Friday, and one day later, another attack by Gaza terrorists had Israel noting that arson and explosive attacks had killed thousands of animals in addition to property …

US, Israel Working Together to Pressure Iran; American Sanctions Target Iranian Use of Child Soldiers

The top United States financial official visited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday, and in a sign of the times, their first topic named by Netanyahu to the press was not economics; it was Iran. “This is what is going to occupy a great deal of our discussions today—how …

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US, Israel Working Together to Pressure Iran; American Sanctions Target Iranian Use of Child Soldiers

October 21, 2018 News

PM Netanyahu & US Secy. of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin. Photo Courtesy of Kobi Gideon (GPO).

The top United States financial official visited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday, and in a sign of the times, their first topic named by Netanyahu to the press was not economics; it was Iran. “This is what is going to occupy a great deal of our discussions today—how to stop Iran’s dual aggression: Its quest for a nuclear arsenal and its quest for a conventional arsenal and its plans of conquest in the Middle East,” said Netanyahu in comments released by his office during a meeting with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

As head of the US Treasury, Mnuchin is key to enforcing US sanctions on Iran, which are ramping up even more in November when oil restrictions go back into effect. And those aren’t the only increase in sanctions. Additional moves were announced last week by the US after they discovered who is paying for an Iranian militia to use child soldiers.

The major US sanctions on oil follow the decision by US President Donald Trump to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Netanyahu noted that the sanctions relief and economic benefits from the JCPOA—totaling hundreds of billions of dollars—only fueled Iran’s aggression in the region to “unbelievable heights.” … Continue Reading

US Says Hamas Must Change, While Israel Notes 1000s of Animals Killed by Gaza Arson

October 21, 2018 Peace and Conflict

Hamas has been harming Israelis for a long time. Illustrative results of Gaza rocket attack. Photo Courtesy of IDF Spokesperson.

The main United States negotiator for Middle East peace called for Hamas to change it’s ways and recognize Israel in an Op-Ed on Friday, and one day later, another attack by Gaza terrorists had Israel noting that arson and explosive attacks had killed thousands of animals in addition to property damage. Jason Greenblatt, an assistant to US President Donald Trump and US Special Representative for International Negotiations, wrote in The Jerusalem Post last week an entire piece talking about the crisis in Gaza and what Hamas must do to improve the lives of their citizens. The op-ed was a response to an interview done by Hamas political leader Yahya Sinwar calling for the betterment of the lives of Gazans and noting that war is not the ultimate answer.

Aside from the obvious of renouncing terrorism, Greenblatt called for Hamas to recognize Israel, allow the Palestinian Authority to return to Gaza in a true political reconciliation, and accept the agreements the Palestinians have previously signed with Israel. The US envoy also hinted at human rights improvements to change the corruption and suppression Hamas employs in Gaza today.

Greenblatt noted that the outcome in Gaza is up to Hamas, and one day after the American’s editorial, a fuller picture of Hamas’ violence against Israel was tweeted out by the IDF following yet another attack. … Continue Reading

Australian PM Morrison Considering Moving Embassy to Jerusalem

October 15, 2018 News

PM Netanyahu addresses ceremony marking opening of US Embassy in Jerusalem. Illustrative.
Photo courtesy of Kobi Gideon / GPO

Another nation a world away from Israel is contemplating moving their embassy to Jerusalem. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday was quoted by The Guardian as saying that he and his government are “open-minded” to the move and referenced the idea as a “sensible suggestion.” The same day Morrison made the comments, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with his Aussie counterpart about the idea of transferring of their embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to the Jewish capital.

Morrison told Netanyahu “that he is considering officially recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving the Australian Embassy to Jerusalem,” said a press release from Netanyahu’s office, adding, that the Israeli leader thanked him for the comments. The press release went on to say the two leaders also “discussed steps to continue strengthening bilateral relations.”

The United States officially made their embassy move to Jerusalem earlier this year, after announcing it in 2017. The decision was controversial, but the Americans were quickly joined by Guatemala and Paraguay. Others have discussed the idea. … Continue Reading

Step toward ‘Normal’? Key Israel-Syria Crossing for UN Peacekeepers to Re-open

October 14, 2018 News

Will peace return to the Israel-Syria border region?
Golan Heights UN Peacekeepers. Illustrative. Photo Courtesy of UN Photo/Wolfgang Grebien.

The Syrian civil war rages on and Israel continues to be concerned by Iran’s presence in their northern neighbor, but nonetheless this week a small step towards normal will be achieved when the Quneitra Crossing between Israel and Syria in the Golan Heights will be re-opened. While this doesn’t signal any type of normalization of relations between Israel and Syria­—rather it is a reminder of their unresolved war—it at least enhances the United Nations peacekeeping between the sides.

A press release last week from the United States Mission to the UN notes that re-opening the border crossing “is part of an ongoing effort” by UN peacekeepers in the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), whose mandate includes maintaining the Israel-Syria ceasefire.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley applauded the move, but noted that keeping the border peaceful is a broader effort than just enabling the peacekeepers to do their work. In her comments, which were included in the US Mission press release, she pointed to the importance of upholding 1974 ceasefire agreement that establishes a de-militarized zone between the sides. Israel has highlighted this requirement in the past as well in complaining about Syrian actions around the border, so the Quenitra Crossing re-opening would appear to signal quieter times—at least near the border. … Continue Reading

After Gaza Terrorists Bomb Border Fence in ‘Organized Attack’, Netanyahu Threatens ‘Very Powerful Blows’

October 14, 2018 Peace and Conflict

PM Netanyahu. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)

After the latest explosive attack by Gaza terrorists against Israel’s border fence and subsequent attempt to infiltrate Israeli territory, Israel has had enough of months of regular terror attacks from the Gaza Strip. “Hamas, apparently, has not internalized the message. If they do not stop the violent attacks against us, they will be stopped in a different way and it will be painful—very painful,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday in comments released by his office.

“We are very close to a different kind of activity, an activity that will include very powerful blows.”

Netanyahu’s comments follow similar warnings from Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who told Ynet that war was on the table in the fight against Hamas. Lieberman noted that Israel had tried every other option besides a full-on conflict with Gaza, but that they had reached the point where the next move was to “deliver the hardest blow imaginable on Hamas.” He said the Security Cabinet would determine if Israel would launch a new operation in Gaza. … Continue Reading

Marking Alliance with US, Israel Says We Want Iran to Get Out of Syria, Yemen

October 11, 2018 Peace and Conflict

PM Netanyahu aboard the USS Ross. Photo courtesy of Kobi Gideon (GPO)

On a day in which the Israelis welcomed a United States naval warship to dock at the Israeli port of Ashdod for the first time in 19 years, telling someone else to leave was a theme in the comments from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu marking the occasion. Saying there’s “nothing like the American-Israeli alliance,” Netanyahu said on Thursday, “We are committed to preventing Iran from expanding its empire. We want them to go back to Iran, get out of Syria, get out of Yemen, get out of Iraq and stop building war and misery, creating misery everywhere they go.”

Netanyahu said the US-Israel alliance is manifested “most especially in the sharing of military intelligence and in military cooperation against terror, against the aggressive force of Iran in this region.”

The US and Israel have both been vocal about Iran meddling in other nations’ affairs. The Israelis have taken action to prevent Iran from establishing a militaristic foothold in Syria, where the Iranians have backed the regime for years. As for Yemen, the US has highlighted the Iranian weapons that have been delivered to the Houthi rebels battling the Saudi-backed Yemeni regime and have even been turned on Saudi targets. … Continue Reading

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