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Israel Hits Hamas Targets Following Rocket Attack, Massive Violent Border Riot

January 13, 2019 Peace and Conflict

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

The weekend turned violent along the south of Israel again, the same week that Egypt reasserted restrictions on the flow of people and goods in and out of the Gaza Strip thanks to Palestinian political strife. The IDF reported on Twitter last Friday that 13,000 Gazans rioted on the border with Israel “throwing grenades and explosives. There were 3 incidents of Gazans breaking through the border fence into Israel. Our soldiers stopped them before they could reach the homes of Israeli families who live minutes away.”

In response, Israeli aircraft struck at military posts belonging to the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group, according to a follow-up Tweet. Said the Twitter post, “The IDF holds Hamas responsible for all violence that emanates from the Gaza Strip.”

Just one day later, a rocket was fired from Gaza at Israel. The IDF Twitter feed said that Israeli fighter jets targeted two Hamas “underground structures,” noting that “We will continue operating to defend Israeli civilians.” … Continue Reading

Netanyahu Tells US National Security Advisor ‘Important’ All Nations Recognize Israel Owns Golan

January 6, 2019 Peace and Conflict

Meeting of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with US National Security Advisor John Bolton in Jerusalem. Illustrative. Photo: Amos Ben Gershom GPO

Israel is facing down threats from Iran and their allies to the north, which offers an opportunity to emphasize something that has been true for decades: The Israeli-controlled Golan Heights region is key to Israeli security. On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made just that point in comments with United States National Security Advisor John Bolton. He also made the logical next step by stating that the international community should accept Israel’s control of the strategic mountain region, which was taken in the 1967 defensive war from Syria.

“The Golan Heights is tremendously important for our security. I think that when you’re there you will be able to understand perfectly why we will never leave the Golan Heights and why it’s important that all countries recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” said Netanyahu to Bolton in comments released by his office.

The Israeli premier said he has already discussed this matter with US President Donald Trump, who last year recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in a separate move. … Continue Reading

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

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