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Palestinian Riots, Rockets and Calls for Intifada in Response to US Jerusalem Move

December 10, 2017 Peace and Conflict

Explosives can kill. Spent Palestinian rocket. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

Following the historic decision by United States President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the Palestinians launched multiple terror attacks against Israel and called for more. An Israeli security guard was stabbed in the chest and an Israeli kindergarten was damaged by a Palestinian rocket over the weekend, and yet the response could have been—and still could be—much worse.

In response to the American announcement, the Hamas terrorist organization issued a statement on Saturday posted to their website calling for the continuation of a “holy intifada”—a term that means uprising and has referred to some of the worst Palestinian terror campaigns in Israeli history. If that message wasn’t clear enough, Hamas effectively called for violence against Israelis—including civilians—in urging Palestinians to “engage with the Israeli occupation soldiers and settlers everywhere.”

So far, that call has been met, albeit in limited fashion. Multiple rockets have been launched at Israel from Gaza since Thursday, with the Israeli Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld posting to Twitter photos of damage caused to a kindergarten in southern Israel when a rocket landed in the area. The IDF Spokesperson tweeted that the attack was “yet another attempt to harm innocent Israeli civilians.” No injuries were reported by either spokesman. … Continue Reading

Report: Israel Strikes Iranian Base in Syria

December 3, 2017 Peace and Conflict

Did Israel bomb an Iranian base in Syria? Illustrative image of F-35. Image courtesy of the Department of Defense website. The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

A Syrian state news group is reporting that Israeli ground-to-ground missiles were launched Saturday night at a military base in Syria in the countryside around the capital of Damascus. The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) report claimed that Syrian missile defenses shot down two of the missiles, but that the military base suffered “material damage” in the Israeli attack.

The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz cited news outlets supportive of the Syrian regime in reporting that Israel targeted an Iranian military base near al-Kiswa, which appears to be the same location of an Iranian base under construction named in a BBC report last month. The Ha’aretz report cited Syrian state TV in saying the Israeli strike was launched by Israeli fighter jets.

The day after the alleged Israeli missile strike, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated in a video to an American policy conference on Sunday his warning that Israel would not allow Iranian bases in nextdoor Syria. “We will not allow a regime hell-bent on the annihilation of the Jewish state to acquire nuclear weapons,” said Netanyahu. “We will not allow that regime to entrench itself militarily in Syria, as is seeks to do, for the express purpose of eradicating our state.” … Continue Reading

Hamas Infiltrator into Israel Caught, Confesses Hamas Tunnel Secrets

November 26, 2017 Peace and Conflict

Arrested Gaza infiltrator Ahmed Magdi Muhamad Abid. Photo courtesy of the ISA

Hamas has tried many times to sneak terrorists into Israel, so it’s a victory when Israel catches them. So imagine the impact when the arrested perpetrator also unveils Hamas secrets on their tunnel system in the interrogation. That’s what happened a couple months ago in newly declassified information from Israel.

Ahmed Magdi Muhamad Abid of Gaza was caught in September crossing the border into Israeli-controlled territory, and it’s a good thing he was snagged. A press release from the Israel Security Agency (ISA) said that Abid had been recruited by Hamas in 2013 and has been trained in sniping and anti-tank weapons.

Another one of Abid’s activities is digging tunnels for Hamas, which uses the underground structures for both defensive purposes in Gaza, as well as offensive terror tunnels dug into Israel. That made him a treasure trove of information on Hamas activities. … Continue Reading

Israel to Approach Trump Peace Plan ‘according to Security, National Interests’

November 19, 2017 Peace and Conflict

Will Trump achieve Middle East peace? U.S. President Donald Trump (left) meets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right). Illustrative. Photo courtesy of Kobi Gideon (GPO)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu officially addressed the reports surrounding a potential Israel-Palestinian peace plan by the Trump Administration on Sunday, although he refused to get pulled into the “speculation” on what the plan would propose. “We heard plenty of speculations over the weekend; I am not planning to address them,” said Netanyahu on the Trump plan in comments released by his office. “I would like to say however, that my attitude towards this plan will be determined according to security and national interests of the State of Israel, and these were made clear to our American friends.”

The Israeli leader’s comments come as Israeli media reported that the Trump plan would be detailed with specific ideas on a two-state solution. Haaretz cited a report by Israel Television News saying the plan would involve a Palestinian state with land swaps with Israel, although the 1967 armistice lines may not be the baseline standard used. Jerusalem’s status and any potential evacuation of Israeli settlements would be deferred, per the report. Haaretz, however, said that the White House denied the report, saying the stated specifics are nothing more than “guessing” and citing pre-existing ideas. … Continue Reading

Russia Says Iran Legitimately in Syria, But Israel Won’t Allow Iranian Base There

November 15, 2017 Peace and Conflict

Is Russia going to endorse an Iranian base in Syria?Russian President Vladimir Putin. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of the office of the President of Russia.

The United States and Israel have a goal of seeing Iranian units leaving Syria, but Russia—the other major world power involved in the Syrian war along with the US—says they did not agree to that plan. The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters on Tuesday that the Syrian ceasefire deal with the US does not involve “goals on Syria”. And when discussing the American objective of seeing Iranian soldiers and terror proxy Hezbollah leave Syria, Lavrov deflected and instead called the US opposition allies in the conflict the “biggest threat.”

Lavrov, according to SANA, said the Russian and Iranian presence in Syria is “legitimate” and at the invitation of the Syrian regime, whereas the US coalition is “illegitimate.” But while Russia is demurring on the departure of Iranians from Syria at best, the Israelis have made it clear they will not allow Iran to have a base in their next-door neighbor to the north—even if they have to stop the Iranians by themselves. … Continue Reading

Israel, Gaza Terror Group Trade Threats after Tunnel Attack

November 12, 2017 Peace and Conflict

Is war brewing with Gaza? Israeli tank. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

Israel has already recently thwarted attempted terrorism by Gaza militants by blowing up a terror tunnel that reached into Israeli territory, and they are making it clear they won’t tolerate an escalation in the situation. To the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group—which has a presence in Gaza and leadership based in Syria—the Israeli message was clear: Further aggression could be met with assassination of the terror group’s leaders in Damascus.

The leader of Israel’s liaison group with the Palestinians, Maj. Gen. Yoav Moedechai, posted a video to the organization’s Twitter page this weekend to issue an Israeli warning in Arabic. “We advise the Islamic Jihad leadership in Damascus to exercise caution and take control over the situation,” said Mordechai, the head of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), in comments also translated into English captions.”

“To the leadership of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Damascus—Ramadan Shalah and Ziad Nakhaleh—we say: Take matters quickly into your own hands, because you are the ones who will be held accountable.” In response, Islamic Jihad issued some threats of their own. … Continue Reading

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