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Terror Foiled: Israel Arrests Teen’s Killers, Stops Gaza Attacks

August 11, 2019 Peace and Conflict

Israeli soldiers were busy over the weekend. Israeli Soldiers. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

It was an intense start to the weekend in Israel, as security forces apprehended the terrorists believed to be behind the terror stabbing of 18-year-old Dvir Sorek and shut down an attempted attack at the Gaza border—twice—in just two days. On Saturday, a group of four terrorists from Gaza sought to cross the border with Israel carrying AK-47 rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and grenades, according to posts on the IDF Twitter page. The IDF tweeted that “once one of the terrorists crossed into Israel, our troops opened fire. The terrorists were neutralized.” The tweet also noted that one grenade was thrown by the terrorists.

A follow-up tweet showed a range of weapons, noting that “these are the weapons possessed by the terrorists who attempted to infiltrate into Israel from Gaza last night. Their (unfulfilled) objective: murdering Israelis.” A separate tweet saluted the female border-monitoring soldier, given the alias “Sargent Y”, noting she “spotted 4 armed terrorists on their way to carry out a brutal terror attack in Israel. Because of her they were stopped. And innocent lives were saved.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in comments released by his office on Saturday night, commended “the IDF unit that acted quickly and efficiently on the border with Gaza and prevented a terrorist infiltration of our territory.”

He continued, “Hamas is responsible for all aggression emanating from the whole of Gaza. Israel will continue to act to thwart infiltrations of its territory and attacks on our citizens.” … Continue Reading

Netanyahu: ‘We Will Settle Accounts’ with Terrorists Who Murdered Teen

August 8, 2019 Peace and Conflict

PM Netanyahu at scene of Gush Etzion terrorist attack. Photo Courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (Israeli GPO)

As Israel continues to mourn the murder of 18-year-old Dvir Sorek, they are also making it very clear that the terrorists behind the deadly stabbing will face justice—including their leaders. “I have no doubt, also on the basis of what I have heard, that we will also apprehend those who carried out this awful murder,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday. “We will settle accounts with them and with those who dispatched them.”

Netanyahu, speaking from the scene of the crime in comments published by his office, said he had been given security briefings and said “progress” was being made in the pursuit of the killers. He noted that the security forces in recent years “have found all the murderers.”

Said Netanyahu, “Our answer to these murderers is two-fold: First of all, they come to destroy and we build. Secondly, our arm will reach them and we will settle accounts with them. The investigation is making progress and it is ongoing.” … Continue Reading

Conflicting Polls Paint Palestinians as Either Open to US Peace Plan, or Open to Intifada

August 4, 2019 Peace and Conflict

Are the Palestinians open to Trump’s peace plan or rejecting it sight-unseen? Depends on who you ask. Illustrative photo of Palestinian event. By Joshua Spurlock

A pair of recent polls of Palestinians offer contradictory views on peace, especially the not-yet-unveiled United States peace plan from the Trump Administration. One poll shows uncertainty and a wait-and-see approach, while another poll shows strong opposition to the plan and even support for a return to a violent uprising, or intifada.

The Palestine Center for Public Opinion poll, conducted June 27-July 19, took the more positive view. The poll, according to an article on The Washington Institute for Near East Peace website, showed the majority of Palestinians polled preferred that either the Palestinian Authority (PA) should wait to take a position on the US peace plan until they’ve actually seen it or that the PA should “not reject the plan, so Israel won’t be able to take advantage” of that rejection. Roughly 25% support each of those positions, versus roughly one-third who call for the PA to reject the plan already, sight-unseen.

However, while this poll seemed to present a moderated view on US President Donald Trump’s peace vision for the Middle East, another Palestinian poll conducted June 27-30 by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) found the opposite view. 75% of those polled called for the PA to reject the plan—more than double those holding that view in the other poll. Just 15% said the plan should be accepted with reservations and only 4% called for accepting it without reservations. … Continue Reading

Extended Range: Israel Reportedly Strikes Iranian Targets in Iraq

July 30, 2019 Peace and Conflict

Israeli aircraft fight back against terror from above. Illustrative image of F-35. Image courtesy of the US Department of Defense website. The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

In a demonstration of Israel’s military reach, the Jewish state reportedly recently struck Iranian targets just 80 kilometers from the Iranian border in the neighboring country of Iraq. Asharq Al-Awsat published details on the strikes, citing western diplomatic sources who said Israeli aircraft hit a base on Sunday housing Iranian advisors and a missile shipment. Furthermore, that’s not the first time Israel has allegedly bombed Iranian targets in Iraq: The report said that on July 19, an Israeli F-35 jet struck an Iranian rocket depot.

Just 10 days before that reported attack, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu specifically listed the F-35 as a weapon capable of reaching Iran. “Here behind me is the ‘Adir’, the F-35. Recently, Iran has been threatening the destruction of Israel. It would do well to remember that these planes can reach anywhere in the Middle East, including Iran and certainly Syria,” said Netanyahu in comments released by his office on July 9.

If true, the attacks in Iraq represent an escalation in Israel’s covert war against Iran, following years of bombing Iranian targets and allies in Syria. Israel has repeatedly said Iran should not be allowed to build a base of operations in Syria, which borders Israel. However, the strikes on Iraq go a country further out and come as tensions between Iran and the West have skyrocketed. … Continue Reading

Missile Defense ‘Leap’: US and Israel Intercept Test Targets in Space

July 28, 2019 Peace and Conflict

Arrow 3 test. Photo courtesy of the US Department of Defense Missile Defense Agency. www.mda.mil.

The multi-layer missile defense program jointly developed by Israel and the United States is meant to combat missiles at many levels—short range, long range, and now after the latest test, even missiles in space. Certain types of long-range missiles travel through space to reach their target, but the latest test of the Arrow 3 defense system showed even that can be defeated. The Arrow 3 system successfully hit three long-range ballistic missiles in space in a recent secret test carried out in Alaska.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wasn’t coy about the enemy that this defense is most needed against. “Today Israel has the ability to act against ballistic missiles that could be launched against us from Iran or anywhere else. This is a great achievement for the security of Israel,” said the Israeli leader in comments on Sunday released by his office. “All of our enemies should know that we will overcome them in both defense and offense.”

Netanyahu was also emphatic about what the test achieved. “They were successful beyond any imagination. The Arrow 3—with complete success—intercepted ballistic missiles beyond the atmosphere at unprecedented altitudes and speeds. The execution was perfect—all precise hits… I would like to make it clear here that metal hit metal; it was not just a proximity detonation. The missile hit the missile all three times. This is a great achievement.” … Continue Reading

Mideast Tensions Soar as US Downs Iranian Drone, Iran Seizes Tankers

July 21, 2019 Peace and Conflict

Iran is attacking oil shipping. Oil Tanker. Illustrative. Photo Courtesy of U.S. Navy. Photo by Mass Communication 2nd Class Nathan Schaeffer

Tensions between Iran and the international community escalated last week as an Iranian drone was shot down after threatening an American warship and multiple civilian foreign ships were seized by Iran, including one belonging to the United Kingdom. The drone incident occurred on Thursday, with United States President Donald Trump announcing that a US Navy amphibious assault ship took “defensive action” against an incoming Iranian drone that ignored calls and was “threatening the safety of the ship and the ship’s crew.”

Said Trump on Thursday in comments posted to the White House website, “This is the latest of many provocative and hostile actions by Iran against vessels operating in international waters. The United States reserves the right to defend our personnel, our facilities, and interests, and calls upon all nations to condemn Iran’s attempts to disrupt freedom of navigation and global commerce.”

That same day, a foreign ship was captured by Iran, which claimed that the vessel was smuggling fuel, according to a report by the Fars News Agency. One day later, two different British were seized, but Iran claimed to have released the second. The British were outraged over the seizing of ships, and just one day earlier Israel pointed to Iranian “aggression” as why the world should take action. … Continue Reading

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