US Reimposes Sanctions on Iran; Israel Tells Europe ‘Time Has Come to Stop Talking’

United States President Donald Trump announced the first stage of renewed American sanctions on Iran on Monday, ahead of the official reimposition of sanctions at midnight on Tuesday. The anticipated move follows Trump’s decision in May to pull the US out of the Iran nuclear deal—also known as the Joint …

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 …

Israel Lightens Restrictions on Gaza to Emphasize ‘Calm Is Better than Violence’

With multiple days of general quiet on the Gaza border, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced on Facebook on Wednesday the re-opening of the Israel-Gaza border crossing back to its normal function “as a clear message for Gaza population: calm is better than violence.” Lieberman’s statement, posted in Arabic and …

Netanyahu Calls for More Funds for Israel’s Defense Per ‘2030’ Security Review

Israel’s defense budget will need to grow over the next decade to address the wide range of threats facing the nation—including funding missile defense—as part of their “2030 security concept” announced by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday. The security review considers the upcoming expected threats and as a …

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Russia Leader Warns Netanyahu after Alleged Strike; Israelis Confirm Syria Used Chemical Weapons

April 11, 2018 News

Russia isn’t happy with Israel’s bombing of Syria. Russian President Vladimir Putin. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of the office of the President of Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin effectively warned Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu not to attack Syria again on Wednesday, just days after Israel reportedly bombed an airbase in Syria. The airstrike—which Iran’s Fars News Agency claimed killed multiple Iranian military advisers—followed reports of chemical weapons being used by the Syrian regime against its own people. On Tuesday, Russia—a key Syrian ally and militarily backing the regime in that country’s civil war—vetoed a United Nations resolution to investigate the incident.

Putin found time the next day to speak with Israel’s Prime Minister. A brief but unusually detailed press release posted to the Russian Presidency’s website claimed that Israel struck the Syrian airbase, while saying the leaders discussed Syria. The press summary said Putin, in speaking with Netanyahu, “emphasized the importance of respecting Syria’s sovereignty and called for refraining from any steps that could further destabilize the situation in the country and threaten its security.”

Netanyahu’s office released an even briefer statement on the call, saying that Netanyahu “reiterated that Israel will not allow Iran to establish a military presence in Syria.” … Continue Reading

Israel: Gaza ‘Photojournalist’ Slain in Riot Was Hamas Terrorist

April 11, 2018 Peace and Conflict

Gaza protests a cover for terrorism. Illustrative photo of Palestinian event. By Joshua Spurlock

The alleged photojournalist who was killed in the Gaza border protests last week was in fact a Hamas terrorist, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Tuesday, the same day an explosive device went off near the Israel-Gaza security fence highlighted the threat posed by the Hamas-led Gaza riots. Prime Minister’s Office spokesman Ofir Gendelman cited Lieberman in a Twitter post saying that the photojournalist, Yasser Murjata, was “a terrorist with a prior association” with the Hamas military wing.

Tweeted Gendelman, “He held the rank of captain & was paid regularly by Hamas since 2011. He used to fly drones to collect intel on IDF forces at the front.” Murjata was killed last Friday, and The Jerusalem Post—citing Israeli defense officials comments in a report from the Israeli Walla! news group—said a number of senior Hamas officials attended his funeral. The unnamed Israeli officials said he was still active in Hamas and beneficial to them.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, an explosive devise planted near the security fence “under the guise of the riots” was set off against an IDF engineering vehicle, tweeted the IDF Spokesperson. The tweet added that there were no reported injuries in the blast. … Continue Reading

UN Security Council to Talk Syrian Chemical Weapons Attack; Chief Israeli Rabbi Accuses Regime of ‘Genocide’

April 8, 2018 Peace and Conflict

More chemical weapons attacks in Syria? Illustrative photo of soldier training. Photo courtesy of Mr James Brabenec (IMCOM)

Reports of the latest chemical weapons attack on a Syrian hospital—suspected to have been carried out by the Assad regime against their own people—has led the United Nations most powerful council to schedule an emergency session, while one of the top leaders of Judaism in Israel on Sunday termed the conflict in Syria a “genocide.” As the UN Security Council prepares to discuss the latest Syrian chemical attack, United States Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has called for a new investigation.

“The Security Council has to come together and demand immediate access for first responders, support an independent investigation into what happened, and hold accountable those responsible for this atrocious act,” said Haley in a press release from her office. She wasn’t the only one to call for action.

Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef said in a press release, “I have said in the past and I will say it again: What is happening in Syria is genocide of women and children in its cruelest form, using weapons of mass destruction. We have a moral obligation not to keep quiet and to try and stop this massacre.” … Continue Reading

Israel Nabs Palestinian Terrorist Fisherman Plotting to Attack Navy

April 4, 2018 Peace and Conflict

Illustrative naval ship off the coast of Israel. By Joshua Spurlock

Palestinian terrorists once again were seeking to exploit their own civilians to attack Israel, which arrested ten of them who were part of a plot to launch a rocket attack and kidnapping against the Israeli Navy. The plan, according to an Israeli press release on the arrests, was to lure a Navy vessel with one Palestinian boat and then have a second boat fire a Cornet ship-to-ship rocket at the Israeli vessel, intending to kill and wound crew members. A third boat would then swoop in and kidnap Israeli sailors to use in prisoner exchanges.

The plotters were caught last month aboard a fishing boat that had gone outside the fishing zone and was suspected of gathering intelligence on the Navy, notes the press release, which was jointly published on Wednesday by the IDF and Israel Security Agency (ISA). One of the Palestinians is a fisherman and a member of the Islamic Jihad terrorist faction. He had been directed to plan an attack from superiors, turning his otherwise innocent-looking fishing expedition into information-gathering for terrorism and it wasn’t the first time he’d scoped out naval vessels.

The press release said the incident “once again proves that the terrorist organizations are trying to exploit the civilian easements that Israel has repeatedly tried to enact vis-à-vis fishing in order to advance terrorist attacks that also harm the civilian population in the Gaza Strip.” … Continue Reading

Israel Stifles Border Attack, Kills Terrorists in Massive Gaza Riots

April 1, 2018 Peace and Conflict

Illustrative Palestinian banner of gunmen and Dome of the Rock. By Joshua Spurlock

Tens of thousands of Gazans rioted on the Israeli border last Friday, wielding Molotov cocktails, burning tires and attempting terrorism against Israel’s Gaza border security system. During the rioting, the IDF killed at least 10 known terrorists with a history of involvement in attacks, the IDF Spokesperson tweeted, later following up with photos of all ten terrorists.

During the riots, which Hamas dubbed the “Great Return March” and claimed would be peaceful, a terror cell opened fire on Israeli forces, the IDF Spokesperson Twitter feed reported. A follow-up Tweet said that in response, the IDF—“according to the rules of engagement”—fired at the terrorists and then further struck three Hamas terror sites.

The IDF Spokesperson tweeted that “this severe shooting attack is further proof that the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip use these violent riots to camouflage terror.” A separate tweet highlighted that Israeli tanks prevented an infiltration attempt by terrorists trying to break across the border. Tweeted the IDF Spokesperson, “The Hamas terror organization is responsible for violent riots and everything taking place under its jurisdiction. The IDF will not allow the security fence to be turned into an area of terror.”

IDF Spokesperson Maj. Keren Hajioff detailed the Gaza riots in a summary video posted to the IDF Spokesperson’s Twitter feed. She noted that more than 30,000 Palestinians participated in the riots that included molotovs, burning tires and efforts to “harm or destroy Israel’s security infrastructure.” … Continue Reading

Israel Reportedly Flew over Iran Nuclear Sites; IRGC Again Calls Jewish State ‘Cancer’

April 1, 2018 News

Israeli jets reportedly flew over Iran. 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.

Israeli stealth fighter jets reportedly flew over Iran in the last month, including locations thought to be part of Iran’s nuclear program, avoiding detection by Russian radar in Syria in their path from the Jewish State to the Islamic Republic. The Jerusalem Post last week cited the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida as the source of the claims, which also alleged that the Israeli F-35 jets can fly to and from Iran twice without refueling—addressing a critical component to any potential Israeli missions in Iranian airspace.

However, a source in the Russian Ministry of Defense refuted the report that the Israeli jets could have evaded Russian air defense systems. In comments to the Russian news outlet Sputnik and published in the outlet’s English website, the defense source called that idea “total stupidity.”

If the Israeli flyover claims are true, they would come just months ahead of a deadline imposed by the United States on the Europeans to upgrade the Iranian nuclear deal or the Americans will pull out of the accord. If the US were to exit the deal and reinstate sanctions on Iran, the Iranians may choose to cancel the deal as well and push forward on their nuclear weapons program. Meanwhile, Iran is already back to its old rhetoric of predicting the destruction of Israel. … Continue Reading

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