How Gantz Could Build A Government, Without A Majority

Israel’s second round of elections have been a complex but ultimately straightforward math problem: the ruling Likud party plus their allies equals less than a majority. The opposition Blue and White party plus their allies equals less than a majority. Neither side is willing to make the compromises needed to …

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 …

Hamas Shatters Quiet with Rocket Attack, Israel Responds

When one terror group went quiet last week, another one joined the fray as Hamas took up the rocket fire from Islamic Jihad on Friday. The IDF Twitter feed reported that two rockets were fired at the Israeli city of Beersheba at 2 AM on Friday morning, but thankfully both …

US Revises View on Israeli Settlements: Not Inherently Illegal

The Trump Administration announced a change in the American perspective on the legality of Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria on Monday, reversing the position of the Obama Administration that had called the civilian communities illegal. “The establishment of Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank is not per se …

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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 –

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

Germany Decries ‘Painful’ anti-Israel Bias at United Nations

May 12, 2019 News

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

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Saturday marked the 70th anniversary of the admittance of Israel to the United Nations by offering his nation’s ongoing support for the Jewish state and by criticizing the UN for continuing to act in a biased manner against Israel. “Germany stands, also in the UN, shoulder to shoulder with Israel, whose security and right to exist must never be called into question by anyone anywhere,” said Maas in a press release from the Federal Foreign Office.

“Nevertheless, Israel is still being denounced, treated in a biased manner and marginalized inappropriately in UN bodies to this day. This state of affairs is painful and unsatisfactory, and especially since the UN is at the heart of the multilateral, rules-based order and vital to international security and peace.”

The European nation currently holds a special place of honor at the UN as a member of the highly powerful Security Council, a role they intend to wield with Israel’s interests in mind. “We will continue, including as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, to support Israel’s legitimate interests, to help strengthen its representation in the UN and to do our utmost to oppose any attempt to isolate or delegitimize Israel,” said Maas. … Continue Reading

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