Israel Strikes Weapons Storage Day after US Espouses Support of anti-Iran Action in Syria

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday last week provided American backing for Israel’s efforts to prevent Iran from setting up a new base of operations in Syria. One day later, Israeli warplanes struck weapons storage facilities belonging to Iran, including a target at an international airport in …

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 …

Netanyahu Tells Arabs that Iran Is Main Threat, To Talk with Putin to ‘Ensure Freedom of Action’ against Iran

It’s a busy season of diplomacy for Israel against Iran, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Poland last week for a conference with Arab and Western nations discussing the threat from Tehran, and this week he will be in Poland’s neighbor Russia to discuss how to keep combatting that …

Israeli Spacecraft Launching for the Moon This Week

Israel is set to become just the fourth country to land a spacecraft on the moon, as the satellite “Beresheet”—Hebrew for “Beginning”—is scheduled to launch atop a SpaceX rocket around the end of this week with its destination being the lunar surface. The spacecraft will carry a time capsule to …

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IDF Says Bombed 200 Iranian Targets in Syria, Warns Hezbollah Next War ‘Will Be the Last’

September 5, 2018 Peace and Conflict

Israeli aircraft fight back against terror from above. Illustrative image of F-35. Image courtesy of the US Department of Defense website. The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

When Israel said it intended to prevent Iran from establishing a base in Syria, they meant it—striking more than 200 Iranian targets in Syria since 2017. The Times of Israel, citing senior IDF officials in a press briefing on Tuesday, reported that Israel hit the hundreds of targets—which included advanced weaponry and military bases—with 800 bombs and missiles.

One day earlier, Israeli military leveled an existential threat against Iran’s proxy terror group in Lebanon, Hezbollah. The head of the IDF Northern Command, Major General Yoel Strick, was quoted by the IDF Spokesperson Twitter feed in a series of tweets as saying of Hezbollah at the Channel 2 News conference, “We‘re aware of their financial situation and abilities. If they knew what we knew about them, they wouldn’t speak so confidently.”

He continued, “Their terrorist organization will feel our strength. I hope there‘ll be no war, but if there is, it‘ll be the last northern war.” … Continue Reading

Abbas Meets Egyptian Delegation to Discuss Palestinian Reconciliation with Hamas

September 2, 2018 Peace and Conflict

Can the Palestinians reunite with Egypt’s help? Illustrative photo of Palestinian event. By Joshua Spurlock

The Egyptians are working to fix the ongoing rift between the Hamas terrorist group that controls Gaza and the Palestinian Authority—led by President Mahmoud Abbas and controlling territory in Judea and Samaria (also known as the West Bank)—and to that end Abbas met with their delegation to talk on Saturday. The Palestinian governments in Gaza and the West Bank have been controlled by rival factions since 2007, when Hamas threw the PA out of Gaza in a violent coup. Since then, multiple attempts to reconcile the sides—considered by some to be a key step before the Palestinians can sign a lasting peace deal with Israel but what also could reintegrate a recognized terrorist group into the official Palestinian government—have faltered.

The latest effort by Egypt included a visit by members of the Egyptian General Intelligence with Abbas in his de facto capital of Ramallah, according to the WAFA Palestinian News Agency. The meeting and PA leader Abbas’ direct involvement comes just days after United States Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt slammed the PA for their lack of involvement in finding a solution for Gaza. The White House Special Representative for International Negotiations, in a State Department press release last week, told the PA to get involved in fixing Gaza or “others will fill that void.” Greenblatt also said the Donald Trump Administration “strongly supports” Egyptian efforts ‎to “help facilitate an agreement to restore calm in Gaza and bring about the conditions for the Palestinian Authority to fully assume its responsibilities in Gaza.” … Continue Reading

Israel Agrees as US Halts Funding for ‘Irredeemably Flawed’ Palestinian Refugee UN Group

September 2, 2018 Special Feature

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in Yad Binyamin. Photo credit: Avi Ohayon (GPO)

Citing a failed model of operations and the failure of other nations to do their financial part, the United States on Friday announced they were cutting off all funding of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). US spokesperson Heather Nauert said UNRWA’s considering future generations of Palestinians eligible “refugees” from the 1948 and 1967 wars, instead of just the people who actually fled those wars more than half a century ago, played a role in the US decision to start looking for other ways to financially aid the Palestinians besides UNRWA.

“Beyond the budget gap itself and failure to mobilize adequate and appropriate burden sharing, the fundamental business model and fiscal practices that have marked UNRWA for years—tied to UNRWA’s endlessly and exponentially expanding community of entitled beneficiaries—is simply unsustainable and has been in crisis mode for many years,” said Nauert in a press release from the State Department.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heartily agreed with the US decision, contrasting Israel’s handling of Jewish refugees who were absorbed into their country with the UNRWA situation. “They created a unique institution, 70 years ago, not to absorb the refugees but to perpetuate them,” said Netanyahu on Sunday in comments released by his office. “Therefore the US has done a very important thing by halting the financing for the refugee perpetuation agency known as UNRWA. It is finally beginning to resolve the problem. The funds must be taken and used to genuinely help rehabilitate the refugees, the true number of which is much smaller than the number reported by UNRWA.” … Continue Reading

US Envoy Tells Palestinian Authority to Step Up or Else ‘Others Will Fill that Void’

August 30, 2018 News

The Palestinian leadership is failing, according to the US. PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Illustrative. Photo Courtesy of UN Photo/Marco Castro

The top American diplomat for the Israel-Palestinian peace process rebuked the ruling Palestinian Authority (PA) on Wednesday and issued an indirect warning if they don’t do what’s necessary for their people. In response, the PA again rejected the United States’ peace efforts.

After praising efforts by Egypt to bring about an agreement for calm in Gaza and allow the PA to return to full authority in Gaza, US Envoy Jason Greenblatt pointed to the PA as hurting rather than helping. “The Palestinian Authority cannot criticize from the sidelines,” said Greenblatt in comments posted to the US State Department website. “The Palestinian Authority should be part of the solution for the Palestinians of Gaza and Palestinians as a whole. If not, others will fill that void.”

The PA was forced out of Gaza in 2007 by Hamas in a violent coup. Since then, the sides have repeatedly announced goals to reconcile, only for the plans to collapse each time. The PA reestablishing control of Gaza is considered to be an essential step before an Israel-Palestinian peace solution can be implemented if Gaza is to be included as planned. Without specifying the steps the PA need to take, Greenblatt, who is the White House Special Representative for International Negotiations, laid at least some of the blame for the region’s conflict at the feet of the PA. … Continue Reading

Speaking at Nuclear Facility, Netanyahu Hints at Threat to Iran of Mutually-Assured Destruction

August 29, 2018 Peace and Conflict

Israel is working hard to counter Iran’s nuclear threat. Illustrative photo of Netanyahu discussing Iran’s “secret nuclear files”. Photo courtesy of: Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)

Israel’s highest leaders have never officially and publically admitted to having an arsenal of nuclear weapons, which are believed to be held as a deterrent and have never been used in combat. However, with the Iranian regime threatening to wipe out Israel while angling for nuclear weapons of their own, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a strong—if intentionally vague—defensive threat of his own.

Speaking at a ceremony renaming a nuclear research center in honor of former President Shimon Peres, Netanyahu warned Iran and noted, “Whoever threatens us with destruction puts himself in similar danger, and in any case will not achieve his goal.” That sounds similar to the “mutually-assured destruction” doctrine held by the Russians and the United States during the Cold War, in which both sides effectively had the capability of destroying the opposing side with nuclear weapons, thereby deterring both nations from deploying the nukes.

Netanyahu, in the comments on Wednesday released by his office, also made it clear that reports of Iran’s military cooperation agreement with Syria would not prevent Israel from acting to prevent Iran from entrenching itself militarily in Israel’s northern neighbor. … Continue Reading

Iran Ousts Economic Minister, Airlines Cancel Tehran Routes as US Sanctions Make Impact

August 26, 2018 Special Feature

Renewed US sanctions on Iran making an impact. President Donald J. Trump signs an Executive Order on Iran Sanctions. Illustrative. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

The United States’ plan to use economic sanctions to pressure the Iranian regime to change their ways is already bearing fruit—including a change in the regime. Economic Minister Massoud Karbasian was forced out of his position by a vote of no confidence by the Iranian parliament on Sunday, and the economic impact of the US sanctions played a role in that decision according to the Fars News Agency.

What’s more, two major airlines—British Airways and Air France, ended their activity in Iran last week, joining a prior decision by KLM. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in comments released by his office during a visit to Lithuania last Thursday, said in response to the airlines’ decision, “That’s good. More should follow, more will follow, because Iran should not be rewarded for its aggression in the region, for its attempts to spread terrorism far and wide in the Middle East, into Europe… and to many other places in the world.” … Continue Reading

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