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Netanyahu, Putin Talk of Friendly Ties ahead of Syrian Discussion

February 27, 2019 Peace and Conflict

PM Netanyahu and Russian President Putin at the Kremlin. Photo courtesy of Haim Zach / Israeli GPO

As the Israeli and Russian leaders found one commonality after another between their countries in their meeting on Wednesday, it certainly didn’t look like Israel and Russia had tense relations just months ago. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu highlighted that he and Russian President Vladimir Putin had met 11 times in the last three-and-a-half-years, even as this was just the second face-to-face meeting—and the first in Moscow—since Russia accused Israel of negligence that led to a Russian plane being shot down last September by Syrian air defenses, according to a report at the time by Sputnik International.

While Israel denied the claims, Russia moved forward anyway with arming the Syrians with an advanced air defense system in response to the event, per a twitter post last week from ImageSat International. Yet just five months after the incident, and there was Putin accepting an invitation to visit Israel for the dedication ceremony for a memorial in Jerusalem to those who fell during the siege of Leningrad during World War II.

The warm signals sent by Putin are key, as Netanyahu’s primary goal during the visit was battling Iran in Syria—a sensitive topic given that Russia is a major player in Syria, has ties to Iran and backs their joint ally in the Assad regime. … Continue Reading

Israel Rebuts Iranian Claims of ‘90%’ Success in Syria as Tehran Warns of Upgrade in Deterrence

February 24, 2019 Peace and Conflict

PM Netanyahu with Russia President Putin. Photo Courtesy of Israeli GPO.

A senior official in Iran warned that the approach in 2019 to Israeli attacks on the “Axis of Resistance”—presumably Iran, Syria and terror groups such as Hezbollah—would be “significantly different from the combat methods in the past.” Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani made the comments in an interview with the Tasnim News Agency published on Saturday, where he also claimed that the Axis achieved “more than 90 percent” of their goals in Syria, a claim that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied a day alter.

“This is incorrect,” said Netanyahu of the Iranian assertion, according to comments published by his office on Sunday. “It is correct that they are trying and it is correct that we are blocking them. Last month another Iranian official said that they are only ‘advising’ Syria. The world hears very many Iranian lies.

“I have a clear message to the Iranian regime that wants to destroy Israel: Israel will continue to act as necessary in order to block Iranian military entrenchment in Syria.” … Continue Reading

Netanyahu Tells Arabs that Iran Is Main Threat, To Talk with Putin to ‘Ensure Freedom of Action’ against Iran

February 17, 2019 Peace and Conflict

PM Netanyahu meets with VPOTUS Pence. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (Israeli GPO)

It’s a busy season of diplomacy for Israel against Iran, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Poland last week for a conference with Arab and Western nations discussing the threat from Tehran, and this week he will be in Poland’s neighbor Russia to discuss how to keep combatting that threat. Netanyahu, in comments on Sunday released by his office, said he would be in Moscow on Thursday to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and converse on “the continued strengthening of the coordination mechanism in order to prevent friction between the IDF and the Russian military” in Syria.

Israel has repeatedly bombed targets in Syria in an effort to keep Iran and it’s terror ally Hezbollah from expanding their threat against Israel in the north. Russia is also militarily involved in Russia acting on behalf of the Syrian regime in the civil war there, making coordination key to avoid direct conflict between Israeli and Russian forces.

Said Netanyahu, “These talks are very important and are part of our continuing effort to ensure freedom of action for the State of Israel against Iran and its proxies, which declare their intention of using Syria as a front in their war to destroy Israel.” … Continue Reading

Netanyahu Looks Forward to Trump Peace Plan while US Sec-State Says ‘Can’t Get Peace Without Confronting Iran’

February 14, 2019 Peace and Conflict

PM Netanyahu at Warsaw conference. From left to right: Prime Minister Netanyahu, Yemen FM Khaled al-Yamani, US Sec-State Mike Pompeo, Polish FM Jacek Czaputowicz, WEF President Borge Brende and US senior adviser Jared Kushner. Photo courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (Israeli GPO)

The United States and Israel seem to be speaking each other’s language in a lot of ways when it comes to peace in the Middle East. On Thursday, while at the US sponsored Warsaw Conference on Peace and Security in the Middle East, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed enthusiasm for the anticipated “Deal of the Century” peace plan by the Trump Administration during a meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence.

Just hours earlier, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took a line from Netanyahu’s talking points when he said during a meeting with Netanyahu that “you can’t achieve peace and stability in the Middle East without confronting Iran.

“It’s just not possible,” continued Pompeo in comments released by the State Department. “They’re a malign influence in Lebanon, in Yemen, in Syria, in Iraq, the three H’s: the Houthis, Hamas, and Hezbollah. These are real threats; there are others as well. But you can’t get peace in the Middle East without pushing back against Iran.”

During the conversation between Netanyahu and Pence, the Israeli leader fielded a question from reporters asking if he supported Trump’s peace plan for the Israelis and the Palestinians. Responded Netanyahu, “I look forward to receiving the plan, and we’ll look at it once it’s presented.” … Continue Reading

Terrorist Behind ‘Shocking’ Brutal Murder of Israeli Teen Arrested

February 10, 2019 Peace and Conflict

Terror knife attacks are a threat too. Illustrative photo of commando knives apprehended amid shipment of plumbing materials destined for Gaza. Photo courtesy of Israel Ministry of Defense Crossing Authority

A murder of an Israeli teenage woman, described by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as being done with “shocking brutality”, was solved within hours as the Palestinian behind the attack was arrested by Israeli security forces last week. Netanyahu confirmed on Sunday that the investigation determined the incident was an act of terrorism, according to spokesperson Ofir Gendelman’s Twitter feed. That tweet said Netanyahu personally relayed the conclusions on the murder’s motive to the family of Ori Ansbacher, the 19-year-old who was killed last Thursday in a forest in Jerusalem.

Netanyahu, in separate comments released by his office on Saturday, applauded the quick action of the security forces. “I commend the [Israeli Security Agency] and Israel Police special anti-terror unit for apprehending—within a few hours—the abhorrent murderer of the late Ori Ansbacher. The long arm of Israel will reach whoever hurts us and we will settle accounts with them,” he said, while also expressing condolences and support to Ori’s family “during their terrible grief.”

The Times of Israel reported the Palestinian suspect, Arafat Irfayia of Hebron, was captured on Friday and has previously been imprisoned for security reasons. He had carried a knife with him before launching the attack and was able to reenact the murder, which took place in the Ein Yael forest on the edge of Jerusalem. … Continue Reading

Israel Talks with Austria about European Efforts to Dodge Iran Sanctions

February 6, 2019 Peace and Conflict

PM Netanyahu and Austrian Pres. Alexander Van der Bellen. Photo courtesy of Kobi Gideon (Israeli GPO)

After pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal last year, the United States implemented renewed sanctions on Iran in an effort to change their malignant behavior ranging from missile tests to terrorism. While European nations have reportedly been looking at ways to evade the sanctions to try and keep Iran in the endangered nuclear arrangement, one central European country hasn’t been so eager to buck the American pressure on Iran and Israel wants to keep it that way.

Austria refused to host discussions on the economic creativity seeking to get around Iran sanctions—known as a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV)—and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commended their European ally for taking that position in comments with visiting Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen on Tuesday. Netanyahu’s comments with the Austrian official come a week after Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl discussed European-Iranian trade with an Iranian diplomat in Vienna, according to the Mehr News Agency.

Netanyahu told Van der Bellen, in comments released by the Israeli’s office, that this “is an area that I’d like to discuss further with you, something that we have obviously very strong opinions about.” … Continue Reading

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