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Gaza Terrorists Fire More than 200 Rockets at Israel over Weekend; ‘IDF Dealt Hamas the Harshest Blow since’ 2014 War

July 15, 2018 Peace and Conflict

Hamas fired 200 rockets at Israel in one weekend. Illustrative results of Gaza attack. Photo Courtesy of IDF Spokesperson.

On Friday, during the weekly violent border riots, Gaza terrorists threw a grenade at an Israeli soldier, wounding him moderately, the IDF website reported. That would be a prelude to a sharp escalation in violence—including more than 200 rockets fired at Israel by Hamas per to the IDF Spokesperson Twitter page—that left Israel and Gaza on the brink of another war. The last conflict was clearly in mind, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that “the IDF dealt Hamas the harshest blow since Operation Protective Edge,” referring to the 2014 escalation.

Updating his cabinet on the weekend’s conflict, Netanyahu said in comments released by his office on Sunday, “We hit Hamas in a significant way and hard. Our policy is clear: Whoever hurts us, we will hit them with great strength. This is what we did yesterday… I hope that they got the message; if not, they will get it later.”

Prior to Netanyahu’s comments, a mediated ceasefire had already been reported, according to The Times of Israel. That seemed to pull the sides back from the brink of what could have been an all-out war. A Tweet from the IDF Spokesperson on Saturday had said that IDF commanders “assessed the readiness of IDF troops to undertake and enhance operational activity if deemed necessary.” … Continue Reading

Israel Responds to Months of Hamas Terror with Economic Sanctions

July 9, 2018 Peace and Conflict

Illustrative example of goods shipped to Gaza. Photo courtesy of the Israel Tax Authority.

When the United States, Europe, or the United Nations are troubled by a malicious nation’s actions, they often resort to economic sanctions. After months of Gaza fire kites, balloon bombs, infiltration attempts, border riots and attacks on the border crossing, Israel responded with sanctions of their own. On Monday, the IDF announced on their website that the Kerem Shalom border crossing—itself a target of Gaza attacks—would only allow humanitarian aid to enter the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made it clear the border restriction was a response to Hamas’ nefarious ways. “We will be heavy-handed with the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip—immediately. In a significant step, today we are closing the Kerem Shalom crossing,” said Netanyahu to the Israeli parliament (Knesset) in comments released by his office. He further noted that “there will be additional steps” in response to Hamas, but did not provide details. … Continue Reading

Russian Bear Extends Its Paws: Netanyahu Visiting Moscow after Russian-Coordinated Ceasefire Begins in Southern Syria

July 8, 2018 Peace and Conflict

PM Netanyahu & Russian Pres. Putin to meet again over Syria. Illustrative photo, courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (Israel GPO)

Two days after a ceasefire was reached between Syrian rebels in the south of the country and Russia on behalf of the Syrian regime, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu previewed an upcoming visit to Moscow this week in which he will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. A key topic in the discussion will of course be Syria.

“At the meeting I will reiterate the two basic principles of Israel’s policy: First, we will not tolerate the establishment of a military presence by Iran and its proxies anywhere in Syria—not close to the border [with Israel] and not far away from it,” said Netanyahu on Sunday in comments released by his office.

“Second, we will demand that Syria, and the Syrian military, strictly uphold the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement,” he said, referring to the Yom Kippur War ceasefire agreement that established a demilitarized buffer zone between the countries. That second point has been mentioned repeatedly lately, and the latest reference comes after Russia reached a deal with Syrian rebels that will see some of them be allowed to relocate from the Jordanian border region to an area near the border with Israel, according to Al Jazeera. It also comes as fighting near Israel’s border has resulted in more errant fire threatening Israel last week. … Continue Reading

IDF Bolsters Border with Syria after Netanyahu Says Israel Will Strike Enemies ‘at Close and Longer Ranges’

July 1, 2018 Peace and Conflict

Is war brewing with Iran in Syria? Israeli tank. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

The Israelis are fully committed to striking at Iranian targets in Syria to prevent an Iranian military stronghold in their northern neighbor as well as to defend the country from threats both near and far, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared repeatedly in the last week. Meanwhile, he is also highlighting the economic trouble hitting Iran as the US reinstates sanctions on the country and what that could mean for a possible public uprising against the leadership in Iran.

“At a time when the US is economically striking at the Iranian regime, we are working to prevent Iranian forces and those of its proxies from establishing a military presence anywhere in Syria, and we will continue to do so,” said Netanyahu in comments released by his office on Sunday. That’s a similar message to what he said last Thursday at an IDF pilot graduation in other comments released by his office, stating that Israel “will continue to take strong action against Iranian targets in the area. We will defend our borders… We will continue to operate at close and longer ranges, both openly and in secret, against those who seek our lives.”

It’s more than just words and it’s more than just air power that is part of defending the border with Syria. On Sunday, the IDF Spokesperson posted to Twitter that “following a situation assessment in the Northern Command, it was decided to reinforce the 210th Division in the Golan Heights with additional armor and artillery troops.” … Continue Reading

Trump on Peace Plan, End of Iran Deal: ‘A Lot of Progress Made in Middle East’

June 25, 2018 Peace and Conflict

U.S. President Donald Trump (left) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right). Illustrative. Photo courtesy of Kobi Gideon (GPO)

It’s been years since the Israelis and the Palestinians engaged in direct peace talks and Iran is outraged after the United States exited the nuclear deal, but US President Donald Trump believes things aren’t just doing ok in the Middle East. “We’re doing very well in the Middle East. We’re doing very well in the Middle East, yes,” said Trump on Monday in response to questions asking about chances of peace in the region.

A follow-up question asked President Trump when he wants to publish his much-anticipated Middle East peace plan, and the American leader said that “a lot of progress has been made in the Middle East. A lot. And it really started with the end of the horrible Iran deal. That deal was a disaster, and things are a lot different since we ended that. A lot different.”

The comments, published to the White House website, were made prior to meetings with Jordanian King Abdullah II. The regional leadership has been important to the peace plans being made by the Trump Administration, including a recent tour by American envoys of countries in the Middle East including Israel, Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. … Continue Reading

Another Drone Approaches Israel from Syria, Retreats after Israeli Missile Launch

June 24, 2018 Peace and Conflict

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds up piece of Iranian UAV in February. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of Amos Ben Gershom GPO

For the second time in a matter of months, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was spotted heading towards the Israeli border from inside Syria on Sunday, but this time the drone was targeted by Israeli defenses before it could enter Israeli airspace. A Patriot air defense missile was fired at the UAV and “as a result, the vehicle retreated from the border,” the IDF Spokesperson said on Twitter in a series of posts.

The IDF Spokesperson tweeted that “a hit was not identified,” but highlighted that the Israeli defenses recognized the drone “threat” prior to it reaching Israel. The IDF Spokesperson also emphasized that aerial invasions are unacceptable.

Said the Twitter post, “The IDF will not allow the State of Israel’s aerial sovereignty to be violated and will operate to prevent any attempts to harm its civilians.” … Continue Reading

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