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Israel Evacuates Hundreds of Syrian Search and Rescue Volunteers and Families from Syria

July 22, 2018 News

Israeli flags. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

The Israelis have provided tons of humanitarian aid to Syrians civilian refugees near their border and transferred wounded Syrians to receive medical attention in Israel. On Sunday, the Israelis announced they had also helped rescue and evacuate hundreds of Syrians—volunteers with the Syria Civil Defense search and rescue group known as The White Helmets and their families. The IDF Spokesperson’s Twitter feed noted that the civilian group “faced an immediate threat to their lives in Syria,” and had “passed through Israel and are now out of harm’s way.”

The White Helmets, according to their website, are a civilian volunteer organization that specifically declares their impartiality in that country’s civil war. According to their Twitter feed, they have saved over 100,000 lives. Despite their neutrality and their positive work, a number of their members were at risk and they needed to escape the country.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that United States President Donald Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and others asked Israel to get involved. “These are people who have saved lives and whose lives were in danger. Therefore, I approved their passage through Israel to additional countries, as an important humanitarian gesture,” said Netanyahu in comments released by his office, who noted that Israel has military as well as humanitarian concerns in Syria. … Continue Reading

Israel Applauds after Putin Endorses Renewed Syria-Israel Ceasefire

July 16, 2018 News

PM Netanyahu & Russian Pres. Putin working together on Syria. Illustrative photo, courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (Israel GPO)

The superpower with the most influence in Syria right now is Russia, a key ally to the Syrian Bashar al-Assad regime, so the Israelis were heartened when Moscow stated publicly on Monday that they want a return to the ceasefire terms between Israel and Syria that ended their last full-scale war in 1974. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said that “after the terrorists are routed in southwest Syria” the situation in the Israel-Syria border region known as the Golan Heights region “should be brought into full conformity with the 1974 agreement on the disengagement of Israeli and Syrian forces.”

Putin, speaking during a press conference with US President Donald Trump published to the Kremlin website, said that situation “will make it possible to bring tranquility to the Golan Heights and restore the ceasefire between the Syrian Arab Republic and the State of Israel… I would like to emphasize that Russia has a stake in this course of events and will adhere to exactly this position.”

That was good news for Israel, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office released a statement saying he “very much appreciates the security coordination between Israel and Russia and the clear position expressed by President Putin regarding the need to uphold the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement between Israel and Syria.” … Continue Reading

Israel Named 8th Most Powerful Nation in International Survey

July 9, 2018 News

Israeli flags. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

They may be small, but thousands of people around the world apparently believe the State of Israel has a lot of power. The Jewish state been named the 8th most powerful nation in the world—and the most powerful nation in the Middle East—by US News and World Report as part of their 2018 “Best Countries” rankings. The United States and Russia were the top two, ahead of China and several European nations. Israel followed right after Japan, placing ahead of Saudi Arabia.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu contrasted his nation’s size with those superpowers ranked right before them. “Even though we are barely one percent of some of these countries, and have a smaller population than all of them, we are there thanks to the citizens of Israel, thanks to the statesmanship,” said Netanyahu on Monday in comments from his office.

The rankings by US News and World Report—done in conjunction with Y&R’s BAV Group and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania—included a global survey of more than 21,000 people according to the news group’s website. The “Power” category considered attributes such as alliances, military strength and political influence. Israel’s top scoring “Power” category was its military. … Continue Reading

US Goal: Get Countries Buying Iranian Oil ‘Down to Zero as Soon as Possible’

July 2, 2018 News

Iranian oil is about to be sanctioned by the US again. Oil Tanker. Illustrative. Photo Courtesy of U.S. Navy. Photo by Mass Communication 2nd Class Nathan Schaeffer

The United States withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal earlier this year means the re-imposition of American sanctions on the Islamic Republic, which will resume in part on August 6. In November, the most critical sanctions—on Iran’s energy and oil industry and banking—will re-launch. While the US is the only one of the world powers to step out of the Iran nuclear deal, so far they aren’t the only ones backing away from the Iranian economy.

50 international firms, including those in the energy and financial industries, have announced plans to exit the Iranian market, a US State Department official told reporters on Monday. And the Americans want everyone to join them. “With respect to the energy sanctions, our goal is to increase pressure on the Iranian regime by reducing to zero its revenue from crude oil sales,” Brian Hook, US State Department director of policy planning, said in comments published by the Department.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week was already praising the impact of the US decision to leave the Iran nuclear deal and restart sanctions. … Continue Reading

Despite High Tensions with Syria, Israel Providing Tons of Aid to Syrian Civilians

July 1, 2018 News

Israel is being a “good neighbor” to Syria, despite the conflict. Israeli signpost showing distance between Israel, Syria in Golan Heights. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

Last week, Israel’s military provided hundreds of tents and tons of food and clothing to displaced Syrian refugees living in camps inside Syrian territory. Just days later, Israel’s military increased their number of troops along the Syrian border, as tensions between Israel, the Syrian regime and its ally Iran stay high. That’s not a contradiction, but a reality for Israel: They are staring down at war with the Syrian regime, but not the Syrian people.

“The IDF has provided life-saving humanitarian aid to Syrian civilians through Operation ‘Good Neighbor’ for several years, as a good-will gesture, while maintaining a policy of non-intervention in the Syrian conflict,” said the IDF Spokesperson on Friday in a series of Twitter posts about the latest aid provided.

The Twitter posts continued by stating, “The IDF is closely monitoring the events transpiring in southern Syrian and is prepared for a wide variety of scenarios, including additional humanitarian aid distribution to Syrians fleeing hostilities.” … Continue Reading

Netanyahu, US Envoys Discuss Aid for Gaza ‘without Strengthening Hamas’

June 24, 2018 News

PM Netanyahu & Amb. Dermer meet with senior American officials. Photo courtesy of Haim Zach (GPO)

The world has repeatedly expressed concern about the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, but Israel has repeatedly pointed out the real problem: the Hamas terrorist group, which uses aid and resources entering Gaza for building up military facilities and weapons to attack Israel. So in talks between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and United States envoys last Friday, solving the conundrum of helping Gazans and not Hamas was part of a discussion on the overall situation in Gaza, which lately has teetered towards war with Israel. Netanyahu left the talks feeling supported by their ally the United States.

“I must say that there was absolute support for our positions and our actions to ensure the security of the State of Israel and its citizens in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip, which was expressed publicly by the American administration’s envoys,” Netanyahu relayed on Sunday to his cabinet in comments published by his office. “The issue also came up of how it might be possible to resolve the humanitarian problem in Gaza without strengthening Hamas. These matters are clear–first of all how to ensure security and how to prevent a broader flare-up, if it is at all possible.” … Continue Reading

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