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Netanyahu Implicitly Rebukes France for Iran Talks During Tense Days

September 1, 2019 News

The French and Israel aren’t on the same page when it comes to Iran talks, Israeli flags. Illustrative.

French President Emmanuel Macron called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday and the Israeli premier took the opportunity to tell the French leader his view on France’s efforts to engage Iran in new negotiations over their nuclear program and regional tensions: Now is not the time.

A press release from Netanyahu’s office said he told Macron that “the present—when Iran is stepping up its aggression in the region—is precisely the wrong time to talk with Iran.”

The Netanyahu-Macron phone call came after the French met with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and speculated about future talks including the United States. Macron, in a press conference with US President Donald Trump published to the White House website, said last week that French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had met with Zarif and that “a roadmap has sort of been set, but nothing is absolutely set in stone. And we will have to move ahead together to find an outcome.” … Continue Reading

Iran Shoots Down Talks with US after Trump Signals Openness to Diplomacy

August 27, 2019 News

Will Iranian President Rouhani moderate Iran, or is he just for show? Illustrative. FEMA/Marty Bahamonde.

One day after United States President Donald Trump openly discussed possible negotiations with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the Iranians firmly dismissed unconditional talks between the sides. Rouhani, in comments published by the Fars News Agency, said they were “ready for talks” but told the Americans that they had to remove sanctions as the “first step.” Said Rouhani, “The door cannot be unlocked without this step.”

Rouhani made it clear they were not interested in just a photo op with Trump, while Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif went a step further in a separate Fars report, saying that no meeting between Trump and Rouhani “could be imagined.”

Iran’s tough stance comes after Trump on Monday made his most conciliatory comments toward Iran since taking office. The US President told reporters it was realistic to envision talks with Rouhani within weeks. “I don’t know the gentleman. I think I know him a little bit just by watching over the last number of years what’s happened. I’ll tell you one thing: He’s a great negotiator. But he—I think he’s going to want to meet,” said Trump in comments published on the White House website. … Continue Reading

Trump Says May ‘Put Out Pieces’ of Peace Plan before Israeli Elections

August 19, 2019 News, Peace Process

US President Donald Trump may publish peace plan details soon. Illustrative photo, edited for size. Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead.

The long-awaited “Deal of the Century” peace proposal from the Trump Administration may soon be unveiled—at least parts of it, anyway. United States President Donald Trump on Sunday clarified that he intends to wait on presenting his full Middle East peace plan until after the upcoming Israeli elections, but some details may get shared ahead of the September 17 vote.

“I probably will wait, but we may put out pieces of it,” said Trump of his peace plan in comments to reporters posted to the White House website. “We have some very talented people—as you know, our great ambassador [David Friedman] and others. We have some very talented people. But that’s probably the toughest deal of all— peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians—because they’ve been decades of hate. And it’s tough to make a deal when there’s that much hate.”

The supposedly moderate government heading the Palestinian Authority (PA) has so far turned that hatred towards the Americans by repeatedly disparaging and rejecting the US plan even before seeing what’s in it. However, Trump doesn’t believe his administration’s policies towards the Palestinians—such as withholding funding—are the problem. Rather, he thinks they can be part of the solution. … Continue Reading

Trump Calls Lawmaker’s Canceled Israel Trip to Visit Grandmother ‘A Complete Setup’

August 18, 2019 News, Peace Process

On second thought, Rep. Rashida Tlaib decided not to visit her grandmother in Israel. But why did she change her mind? Rep. Tlaib. Image from tlaib.house.gov.

After Israel granted United States Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib permission to visit her 90-year-old grandmother, the US lawmaker rescinded the request due to Israel conditioning the visit that she not use it to promote anti-Israel bocyotts. In response, US President Donald Trump accused Tlaib on Twitter of using her elderly family member in an anti-Israel ruse.

“Rep. Tlaib wrote a letter to Israeli officials desperately wanting to visit her grandmother. Permission was quickly granted, whereupon Tlaib obnoxiously turned the approval down, a complete setup,” tweeted Trump on Friday. Previously, the American leader had speculated on the situation, noting on Twitter that “Israel was very respectful & nice to Rep. Rashida Tlaib, allowing her permission to visit her ‘grandmother.’ As soon as she was granted permission, she grandstanded & loudly proclaimed she would not visit Israel. Could this possibly have been a setup? Israel acted appropriately!”

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clarified the decision to deny Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan Omar was based strictly on their promotion of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, not their political party. “We respect all members of Congress. Our directive is to facilitate, on a regular and automatic basis, the entry of all members of Congress, Democratic and Republican,” said Netanyahu in comments released by his office. “…There is only one exception and it is the BDS law that obligates us to evaluate the entry of people who support BDS.” … Continue Reading

Israel Honors Security Agency that Helped Nab Teen Killers, Stop Hundreds of Attacks

August 12, 2019 News

President Rivlin and Prime Minister Netanyahu at ceremony for ISA outstanding employees, Photo courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (Israeli GPO)

The Israel Security Agency (ISA) recently made the news for their role in apprehending two suspects believed to have murdered 18-year-old Dvir Sorek in a stabbing terror attack. But behind the scenes, they’ve been responsible for preventing hundreds of other terror attacks from even taking place. “You caught Dvir’s murderer within 48 hours,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday at an award ceremony for ISA employees. “…You work night and day for the well-being of our citizens. In the past year, you thwarted over 600 terrorist attacks. This was a counter-terrorist action of immense scope. We are doing everything to cut off terrorism at its outset.”

Netanyahu, whose comments were published by his office, thanked the ISA for their role in catching Sorek and noted he had “great confidence” Israel was going to catch the teen killers. “This is what you have done in recent years; all murderers, without exception, have been apprehended,” said Netanyahu to the ISA award winners. “In every case in which vicious murderers have cut down innocent Israeli lives, it has not taken much time for us to find them.” … Continue Reading

Pompeo Slams Iranian Leader as ‘Sick’ for ‘Call for Violence’ against Israel

August 11, 2019 News

PM Netanyahu & US Secy. of State Pompeo. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of: Haim Zach / Israeli GPO

Iranian threats against Israel are a disturbing trend, but the timing of the latest rant from Iran’s leader drew stern condemnation from United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. In a message delivered by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and posted to his website on August 10, the Iranian dictator called Israel’s government “child killers” and praised Palestinians for being “on the battlefields more enthusiastic, and braver than yesterday. But the ultimate outcome requires assistance from all Muslims.”

While Khemenei’s words were in honor of the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, it’s timing also aligned with the saddest day of the Jewish calendar marking the destruction of both temples and other tragedies. That caught Pompeo’s attention.

As part of a series of Twitter posts, Pompeo said, “It’s sick that on the eve of #TishaBAv—a solemn day for the Jewish people—@khamenei_ir calls for violence against the Jewish state.”

Pompeo followed up in another Tweet to say, “@khamenei_ir doesn’t see ‘progress’ as prosperity for the Palestinian people, but Palestinian terrorists switching from rocks to rockets to kill more Jews. The Iranian people don’t want this; they deserve leadership behaviors that reflect their greatness.” … Continue Reading

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