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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

Netanyahu Says Deterrence Strengthened: Terrorists Know We Will Put Attackers ‘in the Crosshairs’

November 13, 2019 Peace and Conflict

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

Just days after assassinating senior Islamic Jihad commander Abu al-Ata, and despite hundreds of rockets being fired by Islamic Jihad at Israel since then, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that Israel’s action “changes the equation” vis-à-vis terrorists. “The arch-terrorists know that we can put them in the crosshairs and we will put in the crosshairs anyone who tries to attack us,” Netanyahu was quoted by his office as saying on Wednesday. “Moreover, we are not bent on escalation but we will carry out all the necessary actions that we have agreed on in order to continue defending the State of Israel and its citizens.”

Netanyahu, speaking after a meeting with the security cabinet, said the strike that killed Ata was done with “surgical precision.”

“This denies them the feeling that they can act against us, against our civilians, while hiding behind their civilians. This changes the equation because they can all be in the crosshairs,” said Netanyahu. “This is a very major change and it greatly strengthens Israel’s deterrence and its capabilities against the terrorists.”

The confidence comes as Islamic Jihad has retaliated against the killing of the terrorist Ata by launching more than 360 rockets at Israel communities from Tuesday morning until Wednesday evening, with more coming, according to the IDF Twitter feed. And it’s Israeli civilians being targeted again and again. … Continue Reading

US Issues Warning as Iran Promotes Potential End of Arms Embargo

November 11, 2019 Peace and Conflict

Iranian President Rouhani hails coming end to Iran arms embargo. Illustrative. FEMA/Marty Bahamonde.

While the international community has been concerned about Iran’s “breakout” time in which they could rush to build nuclear weapons, a different clock is ticking down to less than a year: the lifting of the United Nations arms embargo on Iran next October. The restriction against Iran selling or buying weapons is currently scheduled to be relaxed in 11 months as part of the Iran nuclear deal—also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Monday in a speech pointed to that benefit as a key reason for staying in the JCPOA.

“If we stay in the JCPOA according to [UN] Resolution 2231, Iran’s arms embargo will be lifted next year and we can easily buy or export our required weapons, which is one of the major effects of the nuclear deal,” Rouhani said, according to the Iranian Presidency’s website. He later called it a “major political, security and defense goal.”

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Twitter also highlighted this countdown on Monday, but pointed out that the UN Security Council can still stop the embargo from being removed. … Continue Reading

Iran Announces Restart of Activities at Underground Nuclear Fuel Plant

November 5, 2019 Peace and Conflict

Radiation Warning Symbol. Public Domain.

An underground nuclear fuel facility—that one expert said has no apparent “significance” for civilian use—is set to resume nuclear activities as the Iranians continue to undo restrictions on their nuclear program imposed by the 2015 nuclear deal. On Tuesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that starting on Wednesday Iran would inject uranium gas into the centrifuges at the Fordow installation, according to the Fars News Agency, as the Islamic Republic continues to try and pressure Europe to make economic concessions to offset sanctions imposed by the United States

This is the fourth time this year that Iran has made a move that runs counter to the requirements under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The same day as Rouhani’s latest announcement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made it clear again his country’s stance on Iran developing nuclear weapons.

“Given Iran’s efforts to expand its nuclear weapons program, expand its enrichment of uranium for making atomic bombs, I repeat here once again: We will never let Iran develop nuclear weapons,” said Netanyahu on Tuesday in comments released by his office. “This is not only for our security and our future; it’s for the future of the Middle East and the world.” … Continue Reading

Gaza Rocket Strikes Israeli Home, IDF Hits Hamas Targets in Response

November 3, 2019 Peace and Conflict

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

Just one day after a rocket fired from Gaza shattered an almost month-long calm, a terrorist rocket hit an Israeli home in the southern city of Sderot—just one of a ten rocket barrage last Friday. In response, Israeli fighter jets bombed multiple Hamas sites, including naval compounds and weapon manufacturing and storage sites, according to the IDF Twitter Feed.

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reminded that his country views Hamas as the party in charge of Gaza and all that happens there. “It must be understood that as far as we’re concerned, Hamas is responsible for every attack originating from the territory of the Gaza Strip. We’ll continue to take action on all fronts for the security of the State of Israel, both openly & covertly, on land, sea, and in the air,” said Netanyahu in comments posted to the official Prime Minister Twitter feed.

Israeli Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said on Twitter that the rocket that hit the Sderot house caused no injuries. He separately tweeted a photo of a car that had been damaged in the rocket attacks as well. The IDF Twitter feed, after stating that Israel had hit a number of Hamas sites in response, noted, “Terror targets civilians. We target terror.”

… Continue Reading

Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty Reaches 25th Anniversary, Offering Hope and Caution

October 27, 2019 Peace and Conflict

Israeli flags. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

The peace treaty between Israel and Jordan achieved its 25th birthday on Saturday, and the comments—or lack thereof—marking the anniversary offer both hope for peace in the region and lessons of caution. The treaty, signed between the neighbors in 1994, is “historic” according to a Twitter post by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “This peace has since enhanced security & prosperity for our peoples,” tweeted the Ministry.

On the other side, a former Jordanian Ambassador to the Palestinian Authority stood up for the treaty against detractors in his own country. The Jerusalem Post cited an opinion article in the Jordanian government-run al-Rai newspaper in which Amb. Ziad Khazer al-Majali recalled the treaty was termed a “gift” by then-Jordanian King Hussein, a signatory of the accord. Al-Majali also criticized those in the Jordanian government that oppose the deal and urged that hate not be allowed to “poison the atmosphere of moderation and love of peace that we enjoy.”

Despite those positive sentiments, it stood out who didn’t say anything at all about the accord on the anniversary—the leaders of Israel and Jordan. … Continue Reading

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