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US Secretary of State: Withdrawal from Syria ‘in No Way Changes’ Work with Israel

January 1, 2019 Peace and Conflict

PM Netanyahu and US Secy. of State Mike Pompeo. Photo courtesy of Avi Ohayon (Israeli GPO)

While the United States is poised to withdraw 2,000 troops from Syria, that does not signal a shift in the Americans’ support for the defense of Israel or the US determination to oppose Iranian aggression in the Middle East. That was the message from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday.

“The decision the President made on Syria in no way changes anything that this administration is working on alongside Israel,” said Pompeo in comments published by the State Department. “The counter-ISIS campaign continues, our efforts to counter Iranian aggression continue, and our commitment to Middle East stability and the protection of Israel continues in the same way it did before that decision was made.”

Pompeo, meeting with Netanyahu in Brazil around the inauguration of the new president in that country, also went out of his way to commend Israel’s military operation to destroy the Hezbollah terror tunnels that were discovered stretching from Lebanon to Israel. Both Hezbollah and Syria are proxies of Iran and are part of Iran’s plans to attack Israel indirectly. … Continue Reading

Israel Says US Troop Removal from Syria Won’t Change Policy against Iran

December 25, 2018 Peace and Conflict

PM Netanyahu & the Security Cabinet in the north. Photo courtesy of Haim Zach (Israeli GPO).

The removal of 2,000 United States soldiers from Syria may withdraw a key Israeli ally from the territory of their northern neighbor, but it won’t impact the Jewish State’s determination to prevent Iran from using Syria as a base to attack Israel. In fact, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Sunday that Israel might even increase its anti-Iran efforts.

“The decision to withdraw 2,000 US troops from Syria will not change our consistent policy: We will continue to act against Iran’s attempts to entrench itself militarily in Syria, and to the extent necessary, we will even expand our actions there,” said Netanyahu in comments released by his office.

However, he indicated that while the Americans and Israel may take different practical approaches to Syria—the US withdrawing and Israel escalating—the two nations will still work together. “I would like to reassure those who are concerned. Our cooperation with the US will continue in full and finds expression in many areas: Operations, intelligence and many other security spheres,” said Netanyahu. … Continue Reading

Israel Warns Hezbollah, ‘Sees Lebanese Government as Responsible for Everything’

December 17, 2018 Peace and Conflict

President Rivlin with GOC IDF Northern Command at northern border. Photo Courtesy of Mark Neiman (Israel GPO)

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin had a stern warning to not just the Hezbollah terrorist group, but to the Lebanese government that tolerates them, against the backdrop of Hezbollah’s terror tunnels into Israel. “Hezbollah’s offensive tunnels into Israeli territory are a clear violation of Israeli sovereignty. Hezbollah, which pretends to be the ‘shield of Lebanon’ will, in the end, lead to its destruction,” said Rivlin in comments to soldiers in the north on Sunday and published in an Israeli press release.

“We see the Lebanese government as responsible for everything that happens in the country and we warn Hezbollah not to subordinate Lebanon to Iran’s agenda, or to use Lebanon as a base for attacking Israel.”

While the president of Israel is more of a ceremonial position with little legal power in the country, the role nonetheless acts as an important voice on behalf of the country. Rivlin, in addition to his current place as president, previously served as the speaker of the Israeli Knesset, or parliament. … Continue Reading

Israel Issues ‘Clear Message’ to Hamas after Terror with Justice, Building Homes

December 16, 2018 Peace and Conflict

PM Netanyahu. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)

When terrorists claim Israeli lives, the Jewish State often responds in two ways: administering justice to the terrorists and building new Israeli homes. After one of the most brutal weeks in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) in months, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said they had taken down three of the responsible terrorists and were “taking decisive action to find him and we will also deal with him to the fullest extent of the law.”

In comments released by his office, Netanyahu further said he had ordered that the process of demolishing the terrorists’ homes be accelerated and had also revoked work permits for their clans. The moves not only administer justice for the crimes, but are also intended to deter future attacks. “I sent a clear message to Hamas: We will not accept a situation in which there is a ceasefire in Gaza and terrorism in Judea and Samaria,” said Netanyahu. “We will exact a heavy price for this.”

As for a productive response to the violence, Netanyahu highlighted that he had given the go-ahead for thousands of homes to be legalized, two new industrial zones be set up, and for 82 new residential units be approved in Judea and Samaria. … Continue Reading

Israel Warns of ‘Much Stronger Response’ if Hezbollah Tries to Stop Tunnel Destruction

December 12, 2018 Peace and Conflict

PM Netanyahu at IDF Northern Command HQ. Photo courtesy of Kobi Gideon (Israeli GPO).

Israel is in the midst of taking out multiple tunnels built by Hezbollah that stretch from Lebanon to Israel in an effort to prevent the terror group’s next big attack against Israel. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t prepared to battle Hezbollah now if necessary. “The most important thing is the readiness here—both in spirit and in materiel—for a much stronger response if Hezbollah makes a major mistake and decides to attack us or oppose our action [of destroying the tunnels],” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday. “Hezbollah will be dealt unimaginable blows.”

Netanyahu, who was meeting with troops stationed in Israel’s north, was quoted by his office as saying that they had just uncovered a third Hezbollah tunnel and are actually ahead of schedule as they are “systematically dismantling the tunnels weapon.”

Said the Israeli leader, “Hezbollah thought that it could dig unhindered. We knew, we planned, and it did not leak. We maintained secrecy; we planned carefully. We are carrying out exactly what we planned but we are ready for the unexpected. There is great firepower here. We are ready for it and are prepared for it from all sides.” … Continue Reading

US Sec of State Pompeo: Iran Tested Nuclear-Capable Missiles that Can Reach Europe

December 2, 2018 Peace and Conflict

PM Netanyahu & US Secy. of State Pompeo. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of: Haim Zach / Israeli GPO

Iran is working on missiles that are “capable of delivering nuclear weapons” and can reach parts of Europe and the entire Middle East, United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Saturday. Pompeo, in a statement released by the State Department, said the Iranian regime had “just test-fired a medium range ballistic missile that is capable of carrying multiple warheads.” Israel, Saudi Arabia and other Middle East nations are among the enemies of Iran within the missile’s range, and Pompeo said “parts of Europe” were within scope of the latest missile test. He said the activity opposes the authority of the powerful United Nations Security Council.

“This test violates UN Security Council resolution 2231 that bans Iran from undertaking ‘any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology,’” said Pompeo.

In response, the Iranians alleged again that their missiles are defensive in nature, although it’s unclear why they would need to deter Europe given that continent’s determination to maintain the controversial nuclear deal with Iran against the wishes of the US. Senior spokesman of the Iranian Armed Forces, Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi, per a report from Iran’s PressTV, called missile tests “in line” with Iran’s policy of deterrence and said they would “continue to both test and develop missiles.” … Continue Reading

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