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Palestinian Terrorists Wound Israeli Soldiers as Gaza Heats Up; Plot to Kill Defense Minister Thwarted

February 18, 2018 Peace and Conflict

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

An explosive device planted near the Gaza border by Palestinian terrorists wounded four Israeli soldiers on Saturday in one of the most serious escalations in that conflict since the last war in 2014, and one day later it was published that a separate Palestinian terror cell was plotting to use explosives to assassinate Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. The scheming terror cell was arrested—foiling thosee plans.

Meanwhile, in addition to the Gaza bombing attack on IDF soldiers, Harretz reported that a Gaza rocket hit the roof of an Israeli home on Saturday. The IDF Spokesperson Twitter page reported that Israel responded to Saturday’s Gaza attacks with a barrage of strikes on 18 Hamas targets. The conflict wasn’t over Saturday night—the IDF Spokesperson tweeted that sirens sounded in response to another Gaza rocket launched at Israel on Sunday.

IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said on Twitter that two of the four Israeli soldiers hurt in the Gaza attack were wounded severely. Separately, he tweeted that Hamas “regularly organizes riots and ‘demonstrations’ in Gaza and that the explosives were covertly placed near the Gaza security fence during a riot in Gaza. While Hamas hasn’t claimed direct credit, the Israelis repeatedly have said the ruling power in the Gaza Strip is ultimately responsible and the terror group certainly has set a vicious example in the past. “We hold #Hamas responsible for all aggression from Gaza,” he tweeted. … Continue Reading

US to UN: Drone Incursion to Israel ‘Wake-up Call’ that Iran Plans to Stay in Syria

February 14, 2018 Peace and Conflict

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

The Iranian drone that violated Israeli airspace last week was more than just an escalation—it’s a sign that peace in Syria is a ways away according to the United States and regional conflict may be here to stay. Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, warned the powerful UN Security Council on Wednesday that escalations such as this not only push back on peace but they herald a future in which Iran builds a permanent base in Syria.

“The drone flight is a wake-up call for all of us. Iran and Hezbollah are making plans to stay in Syria,” said Haley in comments posted to the US Mission to the UN website.

“When we look out across the Middle East, we know one thing for certain. When Iran and Hezbollah move in, instability always follows… We can’t offer support for peace on the one hand, and ignore the fact that the chief sponsor of terrorism in the Middle East and its terrorist militia are digging in.” … Continue Reading

Iranian Drone Shot Down after Invading Israel; F-16 Crashes in Counterstrike

February 11, 2018 Peace and Conflict

An air battle erupted over Israel on Saturday. Illustrative. Photo Courtesy of U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Michael Holzworth.

Iran invaded Israeli airspace on Saturday, setting off a miniature air-war involving three nations and ultimately resulting in an Israeli pilot and navigator being injured when their F-16 was shot down in the conflict. It all started when an Iranian drone aircraft flew into Israeli territory from Syria and was subsequently shot down by an Israeli helicopter early Saturday morning, according to a timeline of the day’s fighting posted to IDF Spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus’ Twitter page.

In response, Israeli jets hit Iranian targets inside Syria and during that counterstrike an Israeli F-16 was hit in a barrage of anti-aircraft fire. The pilot and navigator ejected from the plane into Israeli territory. By the time it was all over, Israeli jets had launched a “large scale attack” against Syrian air defenses and Iranian targets.

In a separate Twitter post, Conricus said that the Iranian drone—designed after an American drone captured by Iran in 2011—got three-to-four miles into Israeli territory and was observed for one-and-a-half minutes before being taken down. On Sunday, one day after the incident, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emphasized that the Israeli response was strong and will continue to be. … Continue Reading

Israel Reportedly Struck ISIS-aligned Terrorists in Sinai More than 100 Times to Help Egypt

February 4, 2018 Peace and Conflict

Israeli jets reportedly came to the rescue in Egypt. 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.

When ISIS-aligned terrorists were threatening to start their own mini-terror state inside Egyptian territory, it was Israel who played a critical role in beating them back and enabling the Egyptian military to recover—hitting those terrorists in more than 100 covert airstrikes approved by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, according to The New York Times. The foreign press report on Saturday noted that the main terror group in the Egyptian Sinai region that borders Israel—Ansar Beit al Maqdis—had made terrifying headlines in a span of just over two years, inspiring the secret Israel-Egypt cooperation that began in late 2015.

From summer 2013 until October 2015, the terror group killed hundreds of Egyptian security personnel, announced they were an extension of the Islamic State (ISIS or IS), temporarily took over a town in Sinai, and brought down a Russian passenger plane, killing hundreds.

In late 2015, Israel began the airstrikes. The New York Times report—which cited current and former officials from the United States and Britain because the Israelis and Egyptians refuse to comment on the sensitive operation—said Israel used unmarked helicopters, drones and jets to ultimately turn the tide in the fight. While Israel still hasn’t made the actions public, a day after the Times’ report, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu noted the important role Israel has played in fighting the Islamic State terror group. … Continue Reading

‘Deeply Angered’ US Middle East Peace Envoy: ‘Gaza Deserves Better’ than Hamas

January 28, 2018 Peace and Conflict

Hamas has fired thousands of rockets at Israel over the years, among other acts of terror. Illustrative photo of spent Rockets fired from Gaza. By Joshua Spurlock.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a visit inside a terror tunnel built by Hamas is worth thousands more—and United States Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt certainly didn’t soften his words after his own tunnel visit. “I am deeply angered by Hamas’ continued terror activity, including the digging of tunnels that facilitate terrorist activities,” said Greenblatt in an official statement on Sunday. “Such activities show Hamas’ continued exploitation of the people of Gaza and Hamas’ threats to stability and security in the region.”

On Twitter, Greenblatt was equally forceful, condemning the terrorist actions of Hamas and their impact not only on Israel, but Gazans as well. Tweeted Greenblatt, “Hamas wastes resources on tunnels & rockets to attack Israel, instead of helping the people of Gaza by getting the lights on, the water flowing & the economy growing. Hamas spews hateful rhetoric & foments a vicious cycle of violence. Gaza deserves better!”

In the official statement, which was posted to the website of the US Consulate General in Jerusalem, Greenblatt said he took a tour of the area surrounding Gaza and received a security briefing. Afterwards, he encouraged every nation and international donors who want to help Gazans to take the tour as well to “understand this difficult, tragic and complex situation.” … Continue Reading

VP Pence Tells Israeli Parliament: Jerusalem US Embassy to Open Before 2020

January 22, 2018 Peace and Conflict

PM Netanyahu & VPOTUS Pence at the PM’s Residence. Photo credit: Avi Ohayon (GPO)

In a stirring speech to the Israeli parliament that touched repeatedly on Biblical themes, United States Vice President Mike Pence listed the patriarch Abraham and King David as evidence of the deep connection between Israel and Jerusalem. Given that level of support, it’s not surprising that he offered one of the clearest timelines yet on when the United States will move its Israeli embassy to the capital of Israel.

“Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. And, as such, President [Donald] Trump has directed the State Department to immediately begin preparations to move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” said Pence to applause according to a copy of his speech on the White House website. “In the weeks ahead, our administration will advance its plan to open the United States Embassy in Jerusalem, and that United States Embassy will open before the end of next year.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later thanked Pence and President Trump again for recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and Israel President Reuven Rivlin strongly called upon other nations to drop their “hypocrisy” and recognize Israel’s capital city as well. … Continue Reading

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