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Palestinians Take US to Int’l Court over Jerusalem Embassy

September 30, 2018 News

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

The Palestinians’ political battle with the United States has officially gone past rhetoric to legal action: Last week, the Palestinians brought charges to the International Criminal Court of Justice (ICC) that the US Embassy in Jerusalem is a violation of the Vienna Convention, the primary treaty between world nations. A press release from the ICC on their website summarizing the Palestinian claim argued that the Vienna Convention only allows for a diplomatic mission to be “established on the territory of the receiving State” and is therefore “a breach” of the treaty due to Jerusalem’s “special status.”

The Palestinians ask that the Court order the US to move the embassy from Israel’s capital city, despite the fact that neither Israel nor the US have accepted the Court’s jurisdiction.  Not mentioned in the Palestinian claim is that multiple diplomatic missions are located in territory claimed by the Palestinians, despite that territory still being under dispute and no official state of Palestine being established by international law. US President Donald Trump has repeatedly argued that the embassy in Jerusalem recognizes the “obvious” reality that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. … Continue Reading

Russia Delivering Advanced Air Defense System to Syria within 2 Weeks

September 24, 2018 News

Will Russia stop Israel from attacking Syria? PM Netanyahu & Russian Pres. Putin. Illustrative photo, courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (Israel GPO)

Russia will deliver the advanced S-300 air defense system to Syria within two weeks and will also take efforts to jam radar of aircraft attacking Syria—an oblique warning to Israel—Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced on Monday. Shoigu said the stepped-up defense of Syria is Moscow’s response to the incident in which a Russian plane was accidentally downed by Syrian forces during an Israeli strike in Syrian territory, according to a report by Sputnik International.

Israel, which has denied they are to blame in the Russian plane incident, warned the same day as Shoigu’s announcement that delivering advanced weapons into the region would only make things worse. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu personally spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone to deliver the message.

According to a summary of the call published by Netanyahu’s office, the Israeli leader “expressed his confidence in the credibility of the IDF investigation and its conclusions, and reiterated that the Syrian military, which brought down the plane, and Iran, whose aggression is undermining stability, are responsible for the unfortunate incident.” … Continue Reading

Israel Uncovers Hamas Terrorist Lead Temple Mount Attack Last Summer

September 20, 2018 News

The Temple Mount is a Palestinian tool for inciting violence. Illustrative Palestinian banner of gunmen and Dome of the Rock. By Joshua Spurlock

A Hamas operative led the attack that launched fireworks at Israeli security forces guarding the Temple Mount in Jerusalem last summer, injuring four officers in a violent event that resulted in the holy site being closed for hours. A press release from the Israeli Security Agency (ISA) said that the terror cell’s leader was Hamas militant Abu Tzabih, who also ordered the fireworks be launched at Israelis and coordinated the purchase of the fireworks that were smuggled into the holy compound for the attack.

Tzabih also instructed the cell to recruit more members for what eventually became a 10-terrorist team that included 8 residents of eastern Jerusalem. Tzabih is not new to violence against Israelis—he had previously been arrested for involvement in another terror group and is the son of Mutzbah Abu Tzabih, who murdered two Israelis in an October 2016 shooting attack.

The Temple Mount is a particularly sensitive area as a holy site for Jews and Muslims, although Muslims are the only sect allowed to pray at the location. The site has been a flashpoint for additional violence either due to events on the Temple Mount—such as the Palestinian’s 2017 shooting attack—or when used in incitement from Palestinian leaders. … Continue Reading

After Missile Attack on Iranian Weapons in Syria, Netanyahu Promotes Preemptive Strikes

September 16, 2018 News

The Israel-Iran conflict continues. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds up piece of Iranian UAV in February. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of Amos Ben Gershom GPO

Israel reportedly bombed an Iranian airplane delivering weapons to Syria at the Damascus International Airport on Saturday, as well as weapons storage rooms at the airport, in the latest round in of conflict between Israel and Iran. The Times of Israel—citing Hadashot TV news, Syrian media and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in their report—said the arms cache near the airport had been intended for either Iranians or Hezbollah.

Just hours after the strike, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vaguely reiterated that Israel is “constantly working to prevent our enemies from arming themselves with advanced weaponry.” Said Netanyahu in comments released by his office on Sunday, “Our red lines are as sharp as ever and our determination to enforce them is stronger than ever.”

The warning from Israel’s leader followed expressions of his support for preemptive strikes in an effort to protect Israel from a more grievous war. One of the worst conflicts in Israel’s history was the Yom Kippur War in 1973, and with the Jewish anniversary of that fight coming up, Netanyahu said the failure to strike first was a critical error that would not be repeated. … Continue Reading

US Ambassador to Israel at 9-11 Memorial Confirms to Everyone US and Israel ‘Stand Together’

September 9, 2018 News

The JNF-KKL September 11 memorial in Israel. Photo Courtesy of the JNF-KKL.

The only memorial outside the United States that names all of the victims of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks is in Israel. In view of that, it’s not surprising that US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman highlighted the special bond between the countries at the recent annual ceremony marking 17 years since the attacks.

“In this beautiful plaza, at this inspiring location, we remind the families of those lost and we confirm to people everywhere, that we stand together—Americans and Israelis—and that together we continue to heal and to build, in a spirit of solidarity and commitment to the future,” said Friedman in comments published in a Jewish National Fund (JNF) press release. The memorial was held on September 6 due to 9/11 falling on the Biblical holiday of Rosh Hashanah (also known as the Jewish New Year) this year.

Friedman is a strong proponent of US-Israel ties and at a recent toast for Rosh Hashanah reiterated that sentiment. “This year, let us dedicate ourselves to building upon our great accomplishments, to making the US-Israel relationship even stronger, and to bringing peace, prosperity and security to the region,” said Friedman in a Twitter post recapping the Rosh Hashanah event. … Continue Reading

US Envoy Tells Palestinian Authority to Step Up or Else ‘Others Will Fill that Void’

August 30, 2018 News

The Palestinian leadership is failing, according to the US. PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Illustrative. Photo Courtesy of UN Photo/Marco Castro

The top American diplomat for the Israel-Palestinian peace process rebuked the ruling Palestinian Authority (PA) on Wednesday and issued an indirect warning if they don’t do what’s necessary for their people. In response, the PA again rejected the United States’ peace efforts.

After praising efforts by Egypt to bring about an agreement for calm in Gaza and allow the PA to return to full authority in Gaza, US Envoy Jason Greenblatt pointed to the PA as hurting rather than helping. “The Palestinian Authority cannot criticize from the sidelines,” said Greenblatt in comments posted to the US State Department website. “The Palestinian Authority should be part of the solution for the Palestinians of Gaza and Palestinians as a whole. If not, others will fill that void.”

The PA was forced out of Gaza in 2007 by Hamas in a violent coup. Since then, the sides have repeatedly announced goals to reconcile, only for the plans to collapse each time. The PA reestablishing control of Gaza is considered to be an essential step before an Israel-Palestinian peace solution can be implemented if Gaza is to be included as planned. Without specifying the steps the PA need to take, Greenblatt, who is the White House Special Representative for International Negotiations, laid at least some of the blame for the region’s conflict at the feet of the PA. … Continue Reading

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