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Israel Warns Hezbollah, ‘Sees Lebanese Government as Responsible for Everything’

December 17, 2018 Peace and Conflict

President Rivlin with GOC IDF Northern Command at northern border. Photo Courtesy of Mark Neiman (Israel GPO)

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin had a stern warning to not just the Hezbollah terrorist group, but to the Lebanese government that tolerates them, against the backdrop of Hezbollah’s terror tunnels into Israel. “Hezbollah’s offensive tunnels into Israeli territory are a clear violation of Israeli sovereignty. Hezbollah, which pretends to be the ‘shield of Lebanon’ will, in the end, lead to its destruction,” said Rivlin in comments to soldiers in the north on Sunday and published in an Israeli press release.

“We see the Lebanese government as responsible for everything that happens in the country and we warn Hezbollah not to subordinate Lebanon to Iran’s agenda, or to use Lebanon as a base for attacking Israel.”

While the president of Israel is more of a ceremonial position with little legal power in the country, the role nonetheless acts as an important voice on behalf of the country. Rivlin, in addition to his current place as president, previously served as the speaker of the Israeli Knesset, or parliament. … Continue Reading

Israel Issues ‘Clear Message’ to Hamas after Terror with Justice, Building Homes

December 16, 2018 Peace and Conflict

PM Netanyahu. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)

When terrorists claim Israeli lives, the Jewish State often responds in two ways: administering justice to the terrorists and building new Israeli homes. After one of the most brutal weeks in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) in months, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said they had taken down three of the responsible terrorists and were “taking decisive action to find him and we will also deal with him to the fullest extent of the law.”

In comments released by his office, Netanyahu further said he had ordered that the process of demolishing the terrorists’ homes be accelerated and had also revoked work permits for their clans. The moves not only administer justice for the crimes, but are also intended to deter future attacks. “I sent a clear message to Hamas: We will not accept a situation in which there is a ceasefire in Gaza and terrorism in Judea and Samaria,” said Netanyahu. “We will exact a heavy price for this.”

As for a productive response to the violence, Netanyahu highlighted that he had given the go-ahead for thousands of homes to be legalized, two new industrial zones be set up, and for 82 new residential units be approved in Judea and Samaria. … Continue Reading

Israel Warns of ‘Much Stronger Response’ if Hezbollah Tries to Stop Tunnel Destruction

December 12, 2018 Peace and Conflict

PM Netanyahu at IDF Northern Command HQ. Photo courtesy of Kobi Gideon (Israeli GPO).

Israel is in the midst of taking out multiple tunnels built by Hezbollah that stretch from Lebanon to Israel in an effort to prevent the terror group’s next big attack against Israel. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t prepared to battle Hezbollah now if necessary. “The most important thing is the readiness here—both in spirit and in materiel—for a much stronger response if Hezbollah makes a major mistake and decides to attack us or oppose our action [of destroying the tunnels],” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday. “Hezbollah will be dealt unimaginable blows.”

Netanyahu, who was meeting with troops stationed in Israel’s north, was quoted by his office as saying that they had just uncovered a third Hezbollah tunnel and are actually ahead of schedule as they are “systematically dismantling the tunnels weapon.”

Said the Israeli leader, “Hezbollah thought that it could dig unhindered. We knew, we planned, and it did not leak. We maintained secrecy; we planned carefully. We are carrying out exactly what we planned but we are ready for the unexpected. There is great firepower here. We are ready for it and are prepared for it from all sides.” … Continue Reading

US Sec of State Pompeo: Iran Tested Nuclear-Capable Missiles that Can Reach Europe

December 2, 2018 Peace and Conflict

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

Iran is working on missiles that are “capable of delivering nuclear weapons” and can reach parts of Europe and the entire Middle East, United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Saturday. Pompeo, in a statement released by the State Department, said the Iranian regime had “just test-fired a medium range ballistic missile that is capable of carrying multiple warheads.” Israel, Saudi Arabia and other Middle East nations are among the enemies of Iran within the missile’s range, and Pompeo said “parts of Europe” were within scope of the latest missile test. He said the activity opposes the authority of the powerful United Nations Security Council.

“This test violates UN Security Council resolution 2231 that bans Iran from undertaking ‘any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology,’” said Pompeo.

In response, the Iranians alleged again that their missiles are defensive in nature, although it’s unclear why they would need to deter Europe given that continent’s determination to maintain the controversial nuclear deal with Iran against the wishes of the US. Senior spokesman of the Iranian Armed Forces, Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi, per a report from Iran’s PressTV, called missile tests “in line” with Iran’s policy of deterrence and said they would “continue to both test and develop missiles.” … Continue Reading

Israel Says Take Threat ‘Seriously’ after ‘Moderate’ Iranian President Calls Israel ‘Cancerous Tumor’

November 25, 2018 Peace and Conflict

Iranian President Rouhani is an Iranian “moderate”? Illustrative. FEMA/Marty Bahamonde.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, considered by some in the West as a “moderate,” told the Islamic Unity Conference on Saturday what he really thinks of Israel. “One of the most important effects of World War II was the formation of a cancerous tumor in the region,” said Rouhani in an English translation of his comments posted to his office’s website. The Arabic version of the website—per a Google translation into English—clarified that Rouhani was describing Israel.

Rouhani said Israel was “deployed” into the Middle East as an entity that “completely obeys the West in regional matters.” He continued, “They formed the fake Israeli regime and killed and displaced the historical nation of Palestine.”

Following the surprising public comments, Israel warned the words are more than just empty threats. “History has taught us that anti-Semitic threats from fanatical leaders, and exporters of terror who have hegemonic aspirations, must be taken seriously,” said Israeli Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy Minister Gilad Erdan in Germany on Sunday. Erdan, whose comments to the pro-Israel Deutscher Israelkongress conference were published in a press release, encouraged Germany to “take a more aggressive stance against the Iranian regime.” He noted that Iran threatens Europe as well.

… Continue Reading

US at UN Security Council Slams Iranian Terrorism in Europe, Israel

November 19, 2018 Peace and Conflict

U.S. Ambassador the U.N. Nikki Haley. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Mission to the UN

Another Middle East briefing was delivered to the powerful United Nations Security Council focusing on the Israel-Palestinian conflict, but United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said it was “very incomplete” because it left out a key threat not just to the region, but the world: Iran. “While this Council remains focused on the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, it ignores other very serious conflicts in the Middle East,” said Haley on Monday.

“One has in recent months come to the doorstep of Europe and the United States. That is the continued evidence of increased international terrorist activity by the Iranian regime… Iranian malign behavior does not just target one country, it targets us all.”

Haley, whose comments were published by the US Mission to the UN website, proceeded to list not one but two foiled Iranian terror attacks in Europe in recent months that targeted political opponents. She also noted that Iran backed an attack against a US consulate in Iraq and has supported violence against Israel, a fact among many that recasts Israel’s war with terrorists in Gaza as not just another dispute.

“You also cannot escape the fact that the group responsible for the rocket attacks [against Israeli civilians]— Palestinian Islamic Jihad—is an Iranian supported group. The PIJ is yet another terrorist proxy that Iran calls on to stoke violence and instability in the region,” said Haley.

The US representative argued that these acts of malignant behavior are not isolated incidents for the Iranian regime.

“These attempts to murder their political opponents on foreign soil reflect the true nature of the Iranian regime. These attacks are precisely the sort of behavior that led the United States to re-impose sanctions against Iran,” said Haley. “…Our European allies are increasingly finding proof of that in their own front yards. We must unite in our efforts to stop this behavior before it reaches more innocent people across the world.”

The report that preceded Haley’s remarks wasn’t even complete in its discussion of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, according to the American diplomat. Haley clarified that while the comments from UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov did mention the violence in Gaza, his call for “both sides” to show restraint “misses the mark.”

Haley contrasted the Israeli barrage on military targets in Gaza with the more than 400 rockets and mortars that were “fired indiscriminately from Gaza into Israel.” “Even if you accept Hamas’ excuse that it launched its missiles in response to an Israeli covert operation, you cannot escape the fact that the Gaza militants targeted civilians in response. Their actions were not actions of a nation exercising self-defense, but of a terrorist group seizing a pretext to kill civilians,” said Haley. “…Fact: There is only one side that attacks indiscriminately. One side that targets civilians. One side that terrorizes to achieve its objectives.”

Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, praised Haley on Twitter for her words. “Thank you to Ambassador @nikkihaley for, once again, revealing the #truth that there is no such thing as ‘two sides to the conflict,’ there is Hamas that fires missiles at civilian populations, and there is #Israel that protects its citizens. Thank you for standing by Israel!” he tweeted.

Haley, who is leaving her post at the end of the year, concluded her comments on Monday with a call for compromise from both sides. However, she noted that “compromise can only begin with a clear, honest, and complete appraisal of the facts on the ground.”

Without that, she said the monthly discussion at the UN Security Council is “doomed to fail in its objective of helping to achieve peace.”

(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, November 19, 2019)

 

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