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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

Israel Targets Terror Kite Leader’s Vehicle in Response to Arson Attacks

June 17, 2018 Peace and Conflict

Israeli aircraft fight back against terror from above. 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.

The IDF is taking the fight to the terrorists who are aiming to unleash wildfires and explosives on Israeli territory using balloons and kites. Over the weekend, Israeli aircraft “targeted the vehicle of one of the leaders of the squads that launched arson and explosive balloons and kites from the northern Gaza Strip,” according to a Twitter post on Sunday morning from the IDF Spokesperson, representing an escalation in Israel’s response to the threat to their civilians.

“Recently, the IDF has warned numerous times against these launches. These are acts of terror that endanger Israeli residents living in southern Israel,” the IDF Spokesperson said as part of a series of Twitter posts. “The IDF is determined to continue to act with increasing intensity against these acts of terror. The Hamas terror organization is responsible for everything happening in and from the Gaza Strip, and it will bear the consequences.”

The kite and balloon-driven terrorism had continued over weekend, with Israeli Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld tweeting, “Policeman & firefighters responded to fires around Gaza Strip area after balloons & kites sent by terrorists landed in Israel’s open areas.” This followed a Rosenfeld post on Friday of a video showing Israeli bomb disposal units safely detonating an explosive device carried by balloon from Gaza on an Israeli highway. … Continue Reading

Israel Makes ‘Unprecedented Offer’ to Iranians, Agrees with Europe ‘Iran Needs to Leave Syria’

June 10, 2018 Peace and Conflict

Prime Minister Netanyahu makes “unprecedented offer” to Iran. Illustrative image of Netanyahu. Photo courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won part of the crucial fight with Iran in Syria last week by securing European support for an international agreement that, as he put it, “Iran needs to leave Syria, from all of Syria.” Meanwhile, the same day Netanyahu told his cabinet of the agreement on Iran in Syria, the Israeli leader also made an “unprecedented offer to Iran” by announcing a Farsi website that will literally give away plans to help Iranians solve their water crisis.

“The Iranian people are victims of a cruel and tyrannical regime that denies them vital water. Israel stands with the people of Iran. And that is why I want to help save countless Iranian lives,” said Netanyahu in a video published to Youtube. “…Israel has the knowhow to prevent environmental catastrophe in Iran.”

Just because Israel wants to help the Iranian people doesn’t mean they want to ignore malice from the Iranian regime. To that end, Netanyahu met last week with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May, focusing “first and foremost on Iran’s efforts to establish a military presence in Syria,” Netanyahu told his cabinet according to comments released by his office. Netanyahu said that the “goal of the trip” was “to a large extent, achieved.” … Continue Reading

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