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 …

Iran Ends All Restrictions under Nuclear Deal; Israel Backs US over Killing of General

Iran on Sunday decided to withdraw from all remaining “key” restrictions under the Iran nuclear deal in what was described as the fifth and final such step, just days after Iran’s top spymaster general was killed in an American attack. Meanwhile, Israel reiterated their support for United States President Donald …

Israel Calls for More Iran Sanctions as Protests Rock Tehran over Downed Airliner

The Iran crisis took another twist over the weekend, as protests erupted in the Iranian capital of Tehran and elsewhere against the regime after it was confirmed Iran accidentally shot down a civilian airliner in Iran, killing all 176 passengers on board. Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed solidarity …

Recent Articles:

DNA Evidence Argues Ancient Biblical Villain Philistines Have European Ancestors

July 7, 2019 Special Feature

Excavation of the Philistine Cemetery at Ashkelon. Photographer Melissa Aja.
Photo Courtesy of Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon.

The Roman name for the region including Israel—which evolved into “Palestine”—may have been derived from the name of the Philistine people who once lived on the coast, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. Yet ironically, it turns out at least some of the Philistine’s ancestors are not only not from Israeli territory—they aren’t even from the Middle East. A new study examining the genetic material in bone samples dating to more than 3,000-years-ago found that a “substantial proportion of their ancestry was derived from a European population,” according to a press release on the Leon Levy Expedition Ashkelon project.

“For the first time, thanks to state-of-the-art DNA testing on ancient bones, we are able to demonstrate that the Philistines were immigrants to the region of Philistia in the 12th century BC,” said Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon director Daniel M. Master in the press release, which was published by Lydia Weitzman Communications. “For thirty years, we excavated at Ashkelon, uncovering Canaanites, early Philistines and later Philistines, and now we can begin to understand the story that these bones tell.”

The research, jointly done with Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and published in “Science Advances”, aligns with ancient texts that labeled the Philistines as immigrants, including the Bible. The press release referenced Amos 9:7 as saying the Philistines emigrated from a land known as Caphtor. In Deuteronomy, a people from Caphtor are described as conquering territory later used by the Philistines along the Israeli coastline, including Gaza. … Continue Reading

UK Says Iran ‘Has Broken the Terms’ of Nuclear Deal

July 7, 2019 News

The UK believes Iran has violated their nuclear deal. UK, Israeli flags. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

As Iran announced on Sunday that they had exceeded the level of nuclear fuel enrichment quality beyond the limits set under the 2015 nuclear deal with the major world powers, the United Kingdom officially declared that the Islamic Republic had violated the accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). “Iran has broken the terms of the JCPOA, following its announcement that it will start uranium enrichment above the 3.67% limit agreed in the nuclear deal,” said a UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman in comments posted to the office’s website. “While the UK remains fully committed to the deal, Iran must immediately stop and reverse all activities inconsistent with its obligations.”

Higher levels of enrichment for uranium are needed for certain types of nuclear power, higher-still for medical research, and 90% levels are needed for nuclear weapons. Iran’s recent withdrawal from restrictions under the JCPOA is ostensibly a reaction to Europe insufficiently providing Iran economic benefits under the JCPOA, following the renewal of American sanctions after the United States exited the deal in 2018.

The UK statement stopped short of calling for their own renewed sanctions on Iran—the agreed-upon consequence for violating the JCPOA—but did say they were coordinating with other members of the JCPOA “regarding the next steps under the terms of the deal.” In view of Iran’s actions and the lack of action so far in response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday had a simple question for the world powers— known as the P5+1—who negotiated the deal with Iran: “Where are you?” … Continue Reading

Iran Violates Nuclear Deal’s Fuel Stockpile Limit

July 1, 2019 Peace and Conflict

Illustrative photo of Netanyahu discussing Iran’s “secret nuclear files”. Photo courtesy of: Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)

The Iranians on Monday announced publicly that they had exceeded the 300kg limit on enriched uranium imposed under the 2015 nuclear deal with the major world powers. While Iran claimed the move was their own response to Europe failing to hold up their end of the deal in economic benefits for Iran, Israel argued that the step explicitly violated the nuclear accord and called for Europe to resume sanctions as the deal’s prescribed penalty.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif officially confirmed his country had gone past the limit on nuclear fuel enriched to civilian-use-levels, according a report by the Fars News Agency, and he said the next step was to increase the enrichment level of uranium in the country. At low levels, enriched uranium is used for nuclear power plants and medical research, while very high levels are needed for nuclear weapons. Each step can build on each other, which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu highlighted in his call to Europe to sanction Iran in response.

“Today Iran announced that it has violated its explicit commitment and crossed the threshold of 300 kg. of enriched uranium. Iran is taking a significant step toward producing nuclear weapons,” said Netanyahu on Monday in comments released by his office. … Continue Reading

Netanyahu on ‘Wide-Ranging’ Military Op in Gaza: ‘We May Yet Have To’

June 30, 2019 News

Is another conflict in Gaza coming? Israeli tank. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

Israel and the Hamas terror group in Gaza may have reached a renewed ceasefire agreement, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that his country is still keeping its options on the table if Gaza terrorism resumes—and that includes a “wide-ranging military operation” in Gaza.

Addressing critics of his government’s approach to the Gaza conflict, Netanyahu said on Sunday, “I am not impressed by the propaganda of so-called experts. Many of them are offering us advice that they themselves would not implement if they were in power. Let us not be confused, they would be the first to criticize us after we set out on a wide-ranging military operation, which we may yet have to do. Therefore, I am guided solely by one thing—the security of the State of Israel.”

Israel has fought multiple wars with terrorists in the Gaza Strip in the last decade-plus, most recently in 2014. For now, Netanyahu sounded focused on less extensive responses. “Last week we imposed heavy sanctions on Hamas including halting fuels. If we need to, we will employ much harsher measures,” said the Israeli Premier in comments released by his office. “We are taking these actions in consultation with all security elements.”

The Prime Minister’s warnings come in the wake of a refreshed ceasefire agreement with Hamas that has been criticized by political opponents and some within the governing coalition, according to a report in The Jerusalem Post. Per the report, Israeli gestures included resuming fuel supplies to Gaza, while Hamas was to halt their arson terror and attacks near the border. … Continue Reading

Netanyahu Contrasts Arab States Openness to Peace with Palestinian Rejectionism

June 30, 2019 Peace and Conflict

The Palestinian Authority is rejecting US peace efforts. PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Illustrative. Photo Courtesy of UN Photo/Marco Castro

The Palestinian government’s highly negative response to the United States’ Middle East peace approach has left Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with just one conclusion. “One thing is clear from all this. The Palestinians are determined to continue the conflict at any price, including that of the well-being of the Palestinians themselves,” said Netanyahu on Sunday in comments released by his office. “This is not how those who want to advance peace should act. In contrast, we are continuing to advance ties with the Arab world, including today, and this serves everyone.”

Netanyahu highlighted as an example of the Palestinian Authority (PA) rejectionism their arrest of a Palestinian businessman who attended the recent US-led “Peace to Prosperity” conference that launched the economic side of the peace plan. Netanyahu said the PA later released the businessman “due to American pressure. His only crime was that he attended an economic conference designed to advance the Palestinian economy.”

Netanyahu contrasted that with the noteworthy words of Bahrain Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, who Netanyahu quoted as saying that “Israel is part of the heritage of this whole region. The Jewish People have a place amongst us. The Israeli public needs to trust that there are countries in the region that do want to have peace and do encourage the Palestinians to do it.” … Continue Reading

US Says Iran ‘Afraid of Success’ of Palestinian Prosperity Peace Plan

June 26, 2019 Special Feature

The US is promoting a new economic plan for the Palestinians. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

The United States on Wednesday wrapped up a two-day workshop in Bahrain aimed at drumming up economic support for the Palestinian people as part of the American “Peace to Prosperity” plan, but not every nation in the Middle East is eager to see that goal achieved. In particular, the US was pointing the finger at Iran, a major sponsor of Palestinian terror organizations that oppose peace with Israel.

“If there is one nation in the Middle East that does not want this effort to succeed, that is afraid of our success, it’s the Islamic Republic of Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism,” US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said in a video posted to the State Department Twitter page.

“They would much rather see the Palestinian people trapped in an endless cycle of poverty, because they prioritize ideology over the welfare of not only the Palestinian people, but the Iranian people. We are going to continue to support and stand with the Palestinian people while the Iranian regime conducts its campaign of lies and disinformation.” … Continue Reading

Know the News and how it impacts You

Stay informed! Enter your email address to receive notifications of new posts by email.

Follow The Mideast Update on Twitter

Like The Mideast Update on Facebook