Who Really ‘Won’ and ‘Lost’ the Israeli Election

The ballots have been cast and there is no clear winner in the Israeli elections. Neither major party—Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud or the Blue and White party led by former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz—has a clear majority in the 120-member Knesset (Israeli Parliament). The final makeup of the next …

Arab Village Electrician Uncovers Ancient Artifacts, Helps Israel Preserve Them

Arabs can face opposition from their own people for helping Israel, but one Arab villager recently chose to do the right thing in spite of critique and in the process helped Israel preserve history. The resident of the village of Araba in northern Israel, Ahmed Nassar Yassin, is an electrician …

Israel Condemns Turkish Offensive in Syria, US Imposes Sanctions

As Turkey invades neighboring Syria to battle alleged terrorists among the Kurdish minority there, Israel has warned of the potential for “ethnic cleansing” and the United States on Monday issued sanctions against the Turks. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also offered humanitarian support to the Kurdish people. “Israel strongly condemns …

Israeli, German Leadership Agree More Needed to Battle Anti-Semitism

Following the horrific shooting attack at a synagogue in Halle, Germany on Yom Kippur, Israeli leadership spoke with their Germany counterparts on Thursday to discuss doing more to address anti-Semitism. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and “expressed his appreciation for her vigorous …

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US Increases Troop Deployment to Middle East in Response to ‘Campaign’ by Iran

May 26, 2019 Peace and Conflict

US fighter jets are among the troops being sent to the Middle East. Illustrative. Photo Courtesy of U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Michael Holzworth.

The United States is adding to an already-increased deployment in the Middle East— due to an ongoing threat assessment of a “campaign” by Iran—sending a dozen fighter jets as part of a 1,500 troop force. The US Defense establishment on Friday described the troops as defensive in nature and include extending the deployment of a Patriot missile defense battery already sent to the region, making the number of new troops less than 1,000, according to a press briefing posted to the US Defense Department website.

The American military posturing comes amidst multiple attacks against US interests and allies in the region that the US has attributed to Iran or its proxies. “I wouldn’t just call them threat streams, I’d call them a campaign designed by the Iranians against US interests, US forces and our partners in the region,” Vice Admiral Mike Gilday said during the press briefing, stating these threats range from the Strait of Hormuz that’s critical to the ocean transport of oil to Yemen and Iraq.

“…The reason I described it as a campaign is because you’re seeing activity across multiple domains—across the sea, from the air and on the land—by either Iranian forces or proxies. And so it’s more complicated than just a single threat stream. And they’ve acted on it.” … Continue Reading

Palestinian Government Senior Official Arrested for Shooting Attacks

May 20, 2019 News

A Palestinian government official was arrested for shooting attacks on busses. M-16 used in the attacks. Photo courtesy of the ISA.

A senior official in the Palestinian Authority Prisoners Ministry was arrested by Israel earlier this year along with a partner for “a series of shooting attacks,” and he even used a vehicle given to him by the Palestinian government to carry out the terrorism, according to the Israel Security Agency (ISA). An ISA press release on Monday said the official, Zakariya Zbeidi, worked with an Arab partner who not only holds an Israeli ID card, but was an Israeli attorney and member of the Bar Association. The partner, Tarek Barghut, also worked with the PA Prisoners Ministry as an attorney.

“That a senior Palestinian Authority Prisoners Ministry official and an Israeli attorney who worked for the Prisoners Ministry carried out severe terrorist attacks while using an official PA vehicle is very grave,” a senior ISA official was quoted in the press release as saying.

The ISA press release said the two were arrested in February following the foiling of another attack. … Continue Reading

UK Foreign Secretary and US ‘Share the Same Assessment’ of Increased Iran Threat

May 19, 2019 Peace and Conflict

British Flag. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

The United States has been warning that the threat of Iranian violence against their interests is higher than normal, and the United Kingdom agrees. UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on Twitter on Thursday said that he and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had discussed Iran recently and “we share the same assessment of the heightened threat posed by Iran. As always we work closely with the US.”

The concerns expressed UK’s top diplomat were similar to those delivered by his counterpart in Germany, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, during a speech on Thursday published by the German Federal Foreign Office. “What happened in the past few days—the acts of sabotage against ships and pipelines—are signs that these dangers are concrete and real,” said Maas. Last week, an oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia was attacked by rebels supported by Iran and two Saudi oil tankers were believed to have been sabotaged by Iran, according a report in U.S. News & World Report. … Continue Reading

German Parliament Calls Anti-Israel Boycott Movement ‘Anti-Semitic’

May 19, 2019 News

Germany stands with Israel. German, EU flags in Square of the Republic in Berlin. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

The German Bundestag (parliament) condemned the anti-Israel “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” (BDS) movement in a non-binding resolution on Friday and called the “pattern of argument and methods” of the BDS movement “anti-Semitic”, according to a report by The New York Times. The article said the resolution—backed by multiple German political parties, including the ruling Christian Democratic Union party, compared the boycott of Israeli goods to Nazi boycotts against Jews.

A press release posted to the German parliament website further argued that organizations questioning Israel’s right to exist or projects backing the BDS movement should not be financially supported, according to a translation from German by Google Translate.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the German decision “important” in comments posted to Twitter by spokesman Ofir Gendelman. “I congratulate the German Bundestag on the important decision branding the boycott movement (BDS) as an anti-semitic movement and announcing that it is forbidden to fund it,” said a post to Gendelman’s Twitter feed. A follow-up tweet expressed the hope from Netanyahu that “this decision will bring about concrete steps and I call upon other countries to adopt similar legislation.” … Continue Reading

Israeli President Pushes EU-Style Economic Peace for Middle East

May 15, 2019 Peace and Conflict

President Rivlin at at Europe Day Reception. Photo courtesy of Mark Neiman, Israeli GPO – gpoeng.gov.il)

A peace treaty won’t be enough to bring peace between Israel and the Palestinians, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin told European Union ambassador to Israel Emanuele Giaufret—but the best peace plan might just be something with which the EU is very familiar. “I believe that we in the Middle East need to learn from the experience of the European Union which succeeded because it was established on the basis of economic cooperation and mutual obligation,” Rivlin was quoted as saying on Wednesday in an Israeli press release.

“By creating a shared economy and bringing people together through trade, the EU created a solid basis for durable peace. We all dream of peace between Israel and the Palestinians and between all the peoples of the Middle East. If we want to realize this dream, we should take a similar approach.”

Speaking with Giaufret and other European ambassadors, Rivlin made it clear that the recent conflict with terrorists in Gaza shows that peace is not a simple matter and it can’t just be on paper. “In the Middle East, like in Europe, there are no short cuts,” said Rivlin. … Continue Reading

Iran Says US Won’t Start War Because of Counterattacks on Israel

May 12, 2019 Peace and Conflict

Could the US end up battling Iran at sea? US Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jordan Crouch/Released.

Tensions between the United States and Iran are high—with the Americans sending an aircraft carrier strike group and a Patriot anti-missile battery to the region due to the Iranian threat—but it’s Israel who would be attacked in a US-Iran confrontation according to a key Iranian legislator. Iranian Parliament’s Vice-Speaker Ali Motahhari was quoted by the Fars News Agency as saying that the US is “not ready for a war, specially when Israel is within our range.”

Iran has long verbally assailed Israel and has even written that Israel “should be wiped off the earth” on a missile during a test in 2016, as reported by Fars at the time. With the US being a key ally of Israel, a US-Iran war could be used as an excuse by Iran to attack Israel in response given that the US homeland is believed to be well out of Iran’s missile range.

The latest tensions between the US and Iran come as Tehran has started to withdraw from the global nuclear deal in response to a failure of Europe to mitigate US sanctions on Iran. The US Defense Department on Friday announced on their website that the Patriot battery and a marine transport ship would be joining an aircraft carrier strike group and a bomber task force in the Middle East region “in response to indications of heightened Iranian readiness to conduct offensive operations against US forces and our interests.” … Continue Reading

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