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European Nation Wants Recognition of Palestinian State without Peace Deal

December 9, 2019 Peace and Conflict

Will Europe recognize a Palestinian state? Illustrative photo of Palestinian event. By Joshua Spurlock

The Foreign Minister of Luxembourg has recently called for the rest of Europe to discuss unilaterally recognizing a Palestinian state outside of a Middle East peace accord, although the new foreign policy chief of the European Union on Monday called the topic a “very much dividing” issue for the EU. Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn sent a letter to the EU’s new top foreign policy official, Josep Borrell, in which he says it’s time to discuss the matter and claims such a move would not be a “blank check” to the Palestinians, according to The Times of Israel, citing a Channel 13 report. The report said the issue is expected to be brought up during the next meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council in January.

However, despite Luxembourg being inclined in that direction, Borrell noted it’s not a position Europe even talks about very often—much less agrees upon. “Among European Member States, the recognition of the Palestinian state or the situation in Middle East is something, which is very much dividing,” said Borrell to reporters in comments posted to the EU External Affairs website. “Maybe because of that [it] is not an issue which is often taken into consideration on the agenda of the Council.”

Borrell noted that recognizing a Palestinian state is not something the EU does as an entity, rather it would be up to individual member states to determine their own approach. He confirmed that Middle East peace would be on the Foreign Affairs Council’s agenda next month. … Continue Reading

Netanyahu Threatens to ‘Defeat’ Gaza Terrorists ‘Once and for All’

December 8, 2019 Peace and Conflict

PM Netanyahu with Israeli soldiers. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of Kobi Gideon (Israeli GPO).

More Gaza rockets were fired at Israel over the weekend, leading Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to issue a hypothetical but emphatic ultimatum. “We are dealing with the threat from Gaza, and if necessary we will carry out a major operation to defeat this terrorism once and for all,” said Netanyahu on Sunday in comments released by his office.

“They received a sample several weeks ago [in the last round of fighting]. I do not suggest that they wait for the next portion. It will come if they continue.”

The comments from Netanyahu come as Israel and Gaza have reportedly been discussing a long-term ceasefire with Egyptian mediation. The Jerusalem Post reported Egypt believes real progress to such a ceasefire has been made, while Hamas issued a statement demanding Israel take steps to improve the situation in Gaza, including lifting the Israeli blockade on the territory. Netanyahu has his own demands.

“There will be no arrangement if the firing does not stop for good,” said the Israeli leader. “If it does not stop for good, in the end there will be a decisive operation.” … Continue Reading

Israel Holding Hamas Responsible as Gaza Attacks Continue

December 1, 2019 Peace and Conflict

Gaza rockets resumed. Spent Palestinian rocket. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

Following more rocket attacks from Gaza against Israel, the IDF hit back at Hamas in a counterstrike last Friday. Based on comments from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday, expect that Israeli response to Gaza violence to continue as needed. “We are acting against Islamic Jihad, as it is our right to act against all terrorist elements; however, we have not absolved Hamas of responsibility for any offensive action against us originating from the Gaza Strip,” said Netanyahu in comments published by his office.

“This was and remains our policy. To this end, over the weekend the IDF acted in response to terrorist actions originating in Gaza. Thus it has been and thus we will continue—Hamas is responsible.”

On Friday, the IDF Twitter feed reported more Gaza rocket fire against Israel, noting there had been multiple attacks last week alone. The Twitter feed later also reported Israel’s response. “We just targeted a Hamas military post in the northern Gaza Strip in response to the rocket fired from Gaza at Israeli civilians earlier tonight,” tweeted the IDF. Earlier last week, the Twitter feed said Israel hit multiple Hamas targets in response to Gaza rockets. … Continue Reading

Rockets, Riots Mark Palestinian ‘Day of Rage’

November 26, 2019 Peace and Conflict

More rocket attacks on Israel. Spent Palestinian rocket. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

A pair of rockets fired from Gaza punctuated a violent day in Israel on Tuesday, after Palestinians in Judea and Samaria rioted in protest of the United States’ decision to call Israeli settlements not inherently illegal. Israel laid the blame of the rockets on Hamas, with the IDF official Twitter feed reporting that one of the rockets fired Tuesday evening was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. No injuries were reported in the attack.

Afterwards, Israel hit back. “In response to the rockets fired from Gaza at Israeli civilians earlier tonight, our fighter jets just struck a number of Hamas terror targets in #Gaza,” tweeted the IDF. “Hamas will bear the consequences for actions against Israeli civilians.”

The attack follows a major flare up between Israel and Gaza earlier this month, in which Israel assassinated a senior terrorist commander for the Islamic Jihad group in Operation Black Belt and the Gaza terrorists responding by launching hundreds of rockets at Israeli civilians. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made it clear on Tuesday that renewed Gaza violence was not acceptable. … Continue Reading

Israel Shoots Down Gaza Drone, Working On ‘Tools to Counter’ UAV Threat

November 24, 2019 Peace and Conflict

PM Netanyahu holds security discussion. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (Israeli GPO).

The week after the latest major flare-up in the Israel-Gaza conflict, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) from Gaza attempted to infiltrate Israeli air space on Saturday, but was shot down by the IDF. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it “an attempted infiltration by a UAV from the Gaza Strip into the State of Israel.”

Noting the drone was “UAV was successfully intercepted,” Netanyahu went on to say the Israelis are already planning for future threats.

“I would like to inform you that the Security Cabinet has held several discussions on the UAV threat. This is a new, developing and significant threat,” said Netanyahu in comments released by his office. “We are developing technological and other tools to defeat and counter this threat.”

The Times of Israel reported that no explosives were found on the drone, the remains of which were captured by Israel. Citing a Channel 12 report an IDF spokesperson did not immediately verify, The Times of Israel said the UAV had crossed into Israeli territory. … Continue Reading

Hamas Shatters Quiet with Rocket Attack, Israel Responds

November 17, 2019 Peace and Conflict

Gaza rockets resumed. Spent Palestinian rocket. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

When one terror group went quiet last week, another one joined the fray as Hamas took up the rocket fire from Islamic Jihad on Friday. The IDF Twitter feed reported that two rockets were fired at the Israeli city of Beersheba at 2 AM on Friday morning, but thankfully both were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. Israel blamed Hamas for the attack and quickly responded.

“I instructed the IDF to immediately attack Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday in comments released by his office. “Again, whoever hurts us, we will hurt them. We are prepared for any scenario and the security forces know exactly which plans they must implement to defend the State of Israel in any arena. We will do everything to ensure the security of Israel.”

The Hamas rocket attack came one day after Islamic Jihad violated their ceasefire with Israel, leading to an Israeli counterattack, Haaretz reported. That capped a furious round of fighting in which Israel assassinated Islamic Jihad senior commander Abu al-Ata and the Palestinian terror group retaliated by launching around 450 rockets at Israel. … Continue Reading

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