Israeli President, IDF Chief Hold Passover Meal with 400 Lone Soldiers

It’s always challenging to celebrate holidays without any family, and when one is serving in the military as well, that can make it even more so. In response to that, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and leader of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi on Friday celebrated the …

Israel—An Ancient King of Making Glass

Centuries before the Land of Israel was a hub for the high-tech industry, the region was among the world leaders in another profession involving science, skill, and specialized knowledge: glass making. The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced in a press release on Monday that they have discovered 1,600-year-old kilns used …

Syria Claims Israel Struck ‘Military Position’; Israel Vows to ‘Continue to Act’

The official Syrian news agency on Saturday reported that Israeli forces attacked a “military position” in the western area of the country, leading to the destruction of buildings and wounding multiple “fighters”. One day later, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not officially claim credit for the attack, but he …

New Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Leader Said Wiping Israel Off the Political Map Is Their Strategy

Wiping Israel off the map, forcing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to flee via the sea, threatening Europe with missile capabilities if efforts are made to disarm the Iranian missile program—these are just some of the sentiments expressed in the last year by the new leader of the Iranian Revolutionary …

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‘Moderate’ Palestinian Leaders Oppose UN Resolution Condemning Hamas Terror

December 2, 2018 Special Feature

UN headquarters in New York. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

The world is generally united against terrorism, but for some reason the supposedly moderate Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership is opposed to the United Nations condemning Hamas terrorism against Israel. The WAFA Palestinian news agency quoted a spokesman of the Fatah political faction that heads the PA as saying they “totally reject American-Israeli efforts to brand Hamas with terrorism at the UN.” Spokesman Usama Qawasmi further accused Israel—who has had to defend themselves against Hamas rockets and other violence aimed at their civilians—of sponsoring terrorism and committed to oppose “all hostile efforts to condemn” Hamas at the UN.

A resolution condemning Hamas terrorism, seeking to be the first of its kind passed by the UN, is backed by the United States and the European Union and references Hamas rockets and arson balloons . The resolution further calls for the Palestinian factions to reunite under the PA’s leadership. The US Mission to the UN said in a statement last Friday that the Palestinian representative at the UN requested a delay of a vote on the resolution from last week to next Thursday. In response, the US was clear on the importance of the vote.

“The issue before the United Nations on Thursday is not whether it supports one form or another of a Middle East peace plan. The issue is as plain as the resolution’s text,” said the US statement. “Each country will be asked to vote for or against the activities of Hamas, along with other militant groups like Palestinian Islamic Jihad. If the UN cannot bring itself to adopt this resolution, then it has no business being involved in peace discussions.” … 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

UK Trade Minister in Israel: Free Trade Is ‘Win-Win’

November 28, 2018 News

PM Netanyahu & UK Int’l Trade Secy. Fox. Photo courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)

With the United Kingdom well on its way to exiting the European Union next year, they are looking for trading partners in a push for free trade—and that includes Israel. That was a key agenda point for British Secretary of State for International Trade Dr. Liam Fox as he met on Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

“I’ve been a longstanding supporter of the bilateral relationship and this is an ongoing commitment,” Fox was quoted by an Israeli press release as telling Netanyahu. “…As Britain leaves the EU we want to deepen our strategic relationships with those countries who share our values, who share our concepts of wealth creation, spreading prosperity and security and democracy and rule of law. So I think we have a reasonable agenda to work on.”

The press release noted that Netanyahu welcomed steps by Israel and the UK to advance bilateral trade “on the same terms and in any situation.” Said the Israeli leader, “We want to make sure that we continue to expand our mutual trade under all conditions. I leave those conditions to you. But I think that there is a clear trajectory of increase in balanced trade between the two of us.” … Continue Reading

Israel Welcomes President of Majority Muslim Nation of Chad for ‘Historic’ Visit

November 25, 2018 News

PM Netanyahu & Chad Pres. Deby. Photo courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (Israeli GPO).

On Sunday, Israel welcomed the first ever visit from the President of Chad—a country whose population is majority Muslim—and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes this “historic” visit is part of Israel’s improving global relations. “We discussed in my office the great changes that are taking place in the Arab world in its relations with Israel,” said Netanyahu in a press conference with President Idriss Déby, with the Israeli premier highlighting his recent visit to Oman and promising “more such visits in Arab countries very soon.”

Continued Netanyahu to Déby, “As a leader of an African country, an important African country, a majority of whose population is Muslim, you are coming to Israel to renew our friendship and our relationship. I think it is a testament of what is going to happen with other such countries in Africa as well, and I believe that you are paving the way for many others.”

Netanyahu noted in his comments, which were published by his office, that the first-ever visit by a Chad President comes after a “very long hiatus” in relations between the two countries. Chad is a very important country… And I’m delighted that we are resuming our friendship,” said Netanyahu. “We never fully stopped our contacts as we spoke now but we are now expanding them at a very rapid rate.” … Continue Reading

Israel Says Take Threat ‘Seriously’ after ‘Moderate’ Iranian President Calls Israel ‘Cancerous Tumor’

November 25, 2018 Peace and Conflict

Iranian President Rouhani is an Iranian “moderate”? Illustrative. FEMA/Marty Bahamonde.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, considered by some in the West as a “moderate,” told the Islamic Unity Conference on Saturday what he really thinks of Israel. “One of the most important effects of World War II was the formation of a cancerous tumor in the region,” said Rouhani in an English translation of his comments posted to his office’s website. The Arabic version of the website—per a Google translation into English—clarified that Rouhani was describing Israel.

Rouhani said Israel was “deployed” into the Middle East as an entity that “completely obeys the West in regional matters.” He continued, “They formed the fake Israeli regime and killed and displaced the historical nation of Palestine.”

Following the surprising public comments, Israel warned the words are more than just empty threats. “History has taught us that anti-Semitic threats from fanatical leaders, and exporters of terror who have hegemonic aspirations, must be taken seriously,” said Israeli Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy Minister Gilad Erdan in Germany on Sunday. Erdan, whose comments to the pro-Israel Deutscher Israelkongress conference were published in a press release, encouraged Germany to “take a more aggressive stance against the Iranian regime.” He noted that Iran threatens Europe as well.

… Continue Reading

US at UN Security Council Slams Iranian Terrorism in Europe, Israel

November 19, 2018 Peace and Conflict

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

Another Middle East briefing was delivered to the powerful United Nations Security Council focusing on the Israel-Palestinian conflict, but United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said it was “very incomplete” because it left out a key threat not just to the region, but the world: Iran. “While this Council remains focused on the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, it ignores other very serious conflicts in the Middle East,” said Haley on Monday.

“One has in recent months come to the doorstep of Europe and the United States. That is the continued evidence of increased international terrorist activity by the Iranian regime… Iranian malign behavior does not just target one country, it targets us all.”

Haley, whose comments were published by the US Mission to the UN website, proceeded to list not one but two foiled Iranian terror attacks in Europe in recent months that targeted political opponents. She also noted that Iran backed an attack against a US consulate in Iraq and has supported violence against Israel, a fact among many that recasts Israel’s war with terrorists in Gaza as not just another dispute.

“You also cannot escape the fact that the group responsible for the rocket attacks [against Israeli civilians]— Palestinian Islamic Jihad—is an Iranian supported group. The PIJ is yet another terrorist proxy that Iran calls on to stoke violence and instability in the region,” said Haley.

The US representative argued that these acts of malignant behavior are not isolated incidents for the Iranian regime.

“These attempts to murder their political opponents on foreign soil reflect the true nature of the Iranian regime. These attacks are precisely the sort of behavior that led the United States to re-impose sanctions against Iran,” said Haley. “…Our European allies are increasingly finding proof of that in their own front yards. We must unite in our efforts to stop this behavior before it reaches more innocent people across the world.”

The report that preceded Haley’s remarks wasn’t even complete in its discussion of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, according to the American diplomat. Haley clarified that while the comments from UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov did mention the violence in Gaza, his call for “both sides” to show restraint “misses the mark.”

Haley contrasted the Israeli barrage on military targets in Gaza with the more than 400 rockets and mortars that were “fired indiscriminately from Gaza into Israel.” “Even if you accept Hamas’ excuse that it launched its missiles in response to an Israeli covert operation, you cannot escape the fact that the Gaza militants targeted civilians in response. Their actions were not actions of a nation exercising self-defense, but of a terrorist group seizing a pretext to kill civilians,” said Haley. “…Fact: There is only one side that attacks indiscriminately. One side that targets civilians. One side that terrorizes to achieve its objectives.”

Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, praised Haley on Twitter for her words. “Thank you to Ambassador @nikkihaley for, once again, revealing the #truth that there is no such thing as ‘two sides to the conflict,’ there is Hamas that fires missiles at civilian populations, and there is #Israel that protects its citizens. Thank you for standing by Israel!” he tweeted.

Haley, who is leaving her post at the end of the year, concluded her comments on Monday with a call for compromise from both sides. However, she noted that “compromise can only begin with a clear, honest, and complete appraisal of the facts on the ground.”

Without that, she said the monthly discussion at the UN Security Council is “doomed to fail in its objective of helping to achieve peace.”

(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, November 19, 2019)

 

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