Opinion—Syria May Be the Melting Pot of Trouble, But Focus Is Key

Syria is so bad the bad guys are fighting worse guys and now not everyone on the “good side” is happy even when the good guys have success against the bad guys. It’s a hodge-podge of turmoil and terror, impacting virtually the entire region. It’s not just that three or …

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 …

Worth Their Salt—Israelis Find Rocket Chemical in Palestinian Condiments

Too much salt—that was the tip off to the Israelis that something more than the food seasoning was about to be smuggled into the Gaza Strip. So the Israeli Security Agency (ISA) along with custom inspectors investigated the purportedly 40 tons of salt set to enter Gaza and found inside …

Palestinian Flag Not Welcome at Eurovision Song Contest

Sweden may have recognized a Palestinian state that the United Nations has not, but the policy governing the international song competition Eurovision hasn’t either—despite being hosted in Sweden’s capital city. According to an initial posting of their draft flag policy reported by The Jerusalem Post, the Palestinian and ISIS flags …

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Worth Their Salt—Israelis Find Rocket Chemical in Palestinian Condiments

May 3, 2016 Peace and Conflict
Salty rockets? Rocket chemical—Ammonium Chloride—hidden in Gaza salt shipment could have built hundreds of rockets. Photo courtesy of the Israel Tax Authority.

Salty rockets? Rocket chemical—Ammonium Chloride—hidden in Gaza salt shipment could have built hundreds of rockets. Photo courtesy of the Israel Tax Authority.

Too much salt—that was the tip off to the Israelis that something more than the food seasoning was about to be smuggled into the Gaza Strip. So the Israeli Security Agency (ISA) along with custom inspectors investigated the purportedly 40 tons of salt set to enter Gaza and found inside sacks containing four tons worth of a chemical used to produce long-range rockets.

According to the press release from the Israel Tax Authority reporting the incident, the amount of the chemical “would have enabled the manufacture of hundreds” of long-range rockets.” Thankfully the Israelis didn’t let it get that far. “The ISA became suspicious that, given the large quantity of salt that had been ordered for the Gaza Strip, salt shipments were being used to smuggle in chemicals for use in manufacturing facilities in the Strip, especially the manufacture of rockets,” said the release. … Continue Reading

US Still in Wait-and-See Mode on French Plan for Israel-Palestinian Conflict

May 1, 2016 Peace and Conflict
Will the US join the French and tell Israel how to settle with the Palestinians? US President Obama (left) and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu (right). Israel talking to world about Iran. Illustrative. (Photo Courtesy of Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Will the US join the French and tell Israel how to settle with the Palestinians? US President Obama (left) and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu (right). Israel talking to world about Iran. Illustrative. (Photo Courtesy of Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The United States has long been one of the foremost powers on pushing for a solution to the Palestinian-Israel conflict. But with France trying to force the sides into an internationally-accepted framework—a plan that Israel rejects on principal—the US is still not sure what they think of the idea put forth by Paris. Step one in the plan is a “peace conference” on May 30 inviting major world powers to discuss the conflict, but without Israel or the Palestinians in attendance, according to a report by Al-Monitor. Despite the plans, officially the Americans still haven’t announced who would even be going to the meeting, much less the plan.

“We’re reviewing the French proposal,” said US spokesman John Kirby on Friday in comments released by the State Department. “We’re certainly interested in talking to all our partners about ways in which we can try to get to a two-state solution. But I know of no judgment rendered about this so-called French proposal.” Kirby would not comment on Secretary of State John Kerry’s plans for May 30. Unofficially, the Americans seem to be leading from behind on this one. … Continue Reading

Palestinian Flag Not Welcome at Eurovision Song Contest

May 1, 2016 News
Despite what they may want you to believe the Palestinian flag and isn't welcome everywhere. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

Despite what they may want you to believe the Palestinian flag and isn’t welcome everywhere. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

Sweden may have recognized a Palestinian state that the United Nations has not, but the policy governing the international song competition Eurovision hasn’t either—despite being hosted in Sweden’s capital city. According to an initial posting of their draft flag policy reported by The Jerusalem Post, the Palestinian and ISIS flags are among the ones not permitted to be brought to the contest by spectators to avoid political controversy at the event. Israel and the United States have long argued the Palestinians shouldn’t be recognized as a state at this time, and some in Europe apparently agree—even if a bit awkwardly.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which owns Eurovision, tried to dance around the position with a statement on their Facebook page apologizing for the posting of “a non-exhaustive list of examples” of flags prohibited by the venue. They said they requested that the official policy, which doesn’t have specific examples, be published instead. The EBU apologized for the situation, but as of Sunday the position to prohibit the Palestinian flag had not been rescinded. Not surprisingly, the Palestinians weren’t happy. … Continue Reading

Palestinian Youth Support Knife Terror Attack against Israel

April 26, 2016 Peace and Conflict
Is there hope for peace if  Palestinians back violence? Illustrative banner of terrorists and Dome of the Rock. By Joshua Spurlock

Is there hope for peace if Palestinians back violence? Illustrative banner of terrorists and Dome of the Rock. By Joshua Spurlock

Almost 6 out of 10 Palestinian youth support ongoing knife attacks on Israelis according to a new poll, while two-thirds doubt that negotiations and diplomacy can solve the Israel-Palestinian conflict. The poll, done by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Centre and posted to their website, found that Palestinians aged 15-29-years-old in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) were more moderate than their counterparts in Gaza but still held some extreme views.

For example, support for knife attacks was overwhelming in Gaza, with 78.6% of Palestinian youth there backing the attacks, as opposed to 46.4% support in the West Bank. But that wasn’t true in every case—slightly more West Bank youth backed lone wolf attacks (12.8%) as the “best way for young Palestinians to instigate positive political change.” In Gaza, 10.7% backed the isolated terrorism. … Continue Reading

Top Iranian Defense Official Visits Moscow to Talk Jet, Tank Purchase

April 26, 2016 News
Are the Russians going to sell tanks to Iran? Russian President Vladimir Putin. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of the office of the President of Russia.

Are the Russians going to sell tanks to Iran? Russian President Vladimir Putin. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of the office of the President of Russia.

Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan left for Russia on Tuesday with plans to do more than just attend an international security conference—he’s also looking to buy Russian fighter jets and tanks. The Fars News Agency reported that Dehqan is expected to discuss purchasing Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets and T-90 tanks, but the sale of the big guns could be a target for a United Nations veto.

Back in February, when a massive Russian sale of weapons to Iran was reported, Fox News noted that a United Nations resolution prohibits the sales of tanks, jets and more to Iran without the approval of the UN Security Council. An expert on the matter tweeted at the time that the United States—as a veto-wielding member of the powerful UN Security Council—could prevent such a deal for the foreseeable future. … Continue Reading

Unofficial Boycott of Israel May Have Cost Lives in Paris Terror Attacks

April 25, 2016 Peace and Conflict
France is looking farther away from Israel than ever before. French, Israeli flags. Illustrative.

France is looking farther away from Israel than ever before. French, Israeli flags. Illustrative.

France is working to get the Israelis and Palestinians to cooperate and compromise, but France looks to have had their own cooperation issues with Israel. A Fox News report said that more than a year ago France’s main intelligence agency reportedly turned down the offer of advanced Israeli counterterrorism software—simply because it was Israeli.

Roughly one year later, 130 people were killed in the Paris terror attacks last November, and an Israeli source told Fox News he believes the Israeli software could have prevented the attacks from even happening in the first place. The source, familiar with the technology, told Fox News that there was “higher-level instruction not to buy Israeli technology,” despite the fact that French officials liked the software. … Continue Reading

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