Iran Regime Claims Unrest Defeated, But Unjustified Imprisonment May Continue Protests

The most powerful security force in Iran and a close ally of the regime has claimed that the Iranian uprising has been crushed, but media reports and Twitter are implying that hasn’t happened yet. A reason for the latest outcry in Iran is due to the hundreds of people imprisoned …

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 …

US to UN: Drone Incursion to Israel ‘Wake-up Call’ that Iran Plans to Stay in Syria

The Iranian drone that violated Israeli airspace last week was more than just an escalation—it’s a sign that peace in Syria is a ways away according to the United States and regional conflict may be here to stay. Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, warned the powerful …

Investigation: Turkey Turns ‘Blind Eye’—Sometimes Encourages—Hamas Illicit Activity

A Turkish citizen arrested in Israel for working with Hamas has helped unleash an investigation that led to accusations on Monday that Turkey has been ignoring—and at times enabling—Hamas fundraising and militaristic activity and has even indirectly allowed the terror group opportunity to research weapons for fighting Israel. The delve …

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Secretary of State Says US-Europe Talks on Fixing Iran Nuke Deal ‘Underway’

January 28, 2018 Iran Nuclear Program, News

Will Europe join the US on Iran? German, EU flags in Square of the Republic in Berlin. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

United States President Donald Trump issued an ultimatum to Europe earlier this month—fix problems with the Iran nuclear deal or the United States will pull out of the accord this spring. On Saturday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed that talks have started and they are seeking to determine exactly what needs to be addressed to bolster efforts to counter Iran’s nefarious actions and nuclear ambitions.

Tillerson, in a press briefing published by the State Department, said they have agreed to work with Europe to “identify what areas we believe have to be addressed and a mechanism by which we can address those.” He said that working groups have been meeting in an effort to reach agreement on principles, “what is the scope of what we will attempt to address, and also how might we engage the Iranians on discussions to address these issues.”

Said Tillerson, “The work is underway. If it was easy, it would have already been done. We recognize the challenges, but we think we have to do everything we can to address those.” … Continue Reading

‘Deeply Angered’ US Middle East Peace Envoy: ‘Gaza Deserves Better’ than Hamas

January 28, 2018 Peace and Conflict

Hamas has fired thousands of rockets at Israel over the years, among other acts of terror. Illustrative photo of spent Rockets fired from Gaza. By Joshua Spurlock.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a visit inside a terror tunnel built by Hamas is worth thousands more—and United States Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt certainly didn’t soften his words after his own tunnel visit. “I am deeply angered by Hamas’ continued terror activity, including the digging of tunnels that facilitate terrorist activities,” said Greenblatt in an official statement on Sunday. “Such activities show Hamas’ continued exploitation of the people of Gaza and Hamas’ threats to stability and security in the region.”

On Twitter, Greenblatt was equally forceful, condemning the terrorist actions of Hamas and their impact not only on Israel, but Gazans as well. Tweeted Greenblatt, “Hamas wastes resources on tunnels & rockets to attack Israel, instead of helping the people of Gaza by getting the lights on, the water flowing & the economy growing. Hamas spews hateful rhetoric & foments a vicious cycle of violence. Gaza deserves better!”

In the official statement, which was posted to the website of the US Consulate General in Jerusalem, Greenblatt said he took a tour of the area surrounding Gaza and received a security briefing. Afterwards, he encouraged every nation and international donors who want to help Gazans to take the tour as well to “understand this difficult, tragic and complex situation.” … Continue Reading

Israel Opposes Polish Draft Law: ‘Holocaust Cannot Be Denied’

January 27, 2018 News

Sculpture at Yad Vashem depicting Polish-Jewish doctor and author Janusz Korczak, and children from his orphanage, who all perished in the Holocaust. By Joshua Spurlock.

A draft law approved by the lower Polish parliament that would make it a crime to say Poles participated in the crimes of the Holocaust caused outrage in Israeli, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying that he is “strongly opposed” to the legislation. According to a report by The Guardian, the bill still must be approved by the Polish senate and President Andrzej Duda before it becomes law. In its current version, it would make phrases such as “Polish death camps” punishable by Poland—which was occupied by the Nazis during the Holocaust—was only on the right side in World War II.

“The law is baseless; I strongly oppose it,” said Netanyahu on Saturday in comments released by his office. “One cannot change history and the Holocaust cannot be denied.” The Israeli leader’s stern comments were made on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The Guardian reported that the Polish law passed the lower legislative branch the day before.

Netanyahu’s office announced on Sunday that he and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki spoke by phone that evening and “the two agreed that teams from the two countries would open an immediate dialogue in order to try to reach understandings regarding the legislation.”

In his comments on the new law, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin noted that there were Polish heroes in World War II that saved Jews, but that the villains must be acknowledged and condemned as well. … Continue Reading

VP Pence Tells Israeli Parliament: Jerusalem US Embassy to Open Before 2020

January 22, 2018 Peace and Conflict

PM Netanyahu & VPOTUS Pence at the PM’s Residence. Photo credit: Avi Ohayon (GPO)

In a stirring speech to the Israeli parliament that touched repeatedly on Biblical themes, United States Vice President Mike Pence listed the patriarch Abraham and King David as evidence of the deep connection between Israel and Jerusalem. Given that level of support, it’s not surprising that he offered one of the clearest timelines yet on when the United States will move its Israeli embassy to the capital of Israel.

“Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. And, as such, President [Donald] Trump has directed the State Department to immediately begin preparations to move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” said Pence to applause according to a copy of his speech on the White House website. “In the weeks ahead, our administration will advance its plan to open the United States Embassy in Jerusalem, and that United States Embassy will open before the end of next year.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later thanked Pence and President Trump again for recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and Israel President Reuven Rivlin strongly called upon other nations to drop their “hypocrisy” and recognize Israel’s capital city as well. … Continue Reading

‘Moderate’ Leading Palestinian Political Faction Praised Hamas Terrorist

January 21, 2018 News

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

Fatah—the political faction of Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas and supposedly the moderate group as opposed to the Hamas terrorist organization—recently found time on Twitter to praise a Hamas terrorist who murdered an Israeli rabbi father of six earlier this month.

Israeli Prime Minister’s Office Arabic Spokesman Ofir Gendelman posted to Twitter last Thursday an image of a Twitter tribute to the terrorist with the following caption: “PA President Abbas’s own Fatah organization praises the Hamas terrorist who murdered Rabbi Raziel Shevach, a father of 6, in a drive by shooting last week, and was killed tonight in a firefight w/ Israeli special forces. The PA glorifies these murderers & pays them millions.”

Palestinian celebration of terrorists has long been a concern, especially their support for so-called martyrs—a term that is often used to refer to terrorists killed by Israel. Payment by the Palestinian government to the families of such dead terrorists—and other families of terrorists in held in Israeli prison—has been a serious concern of the United States, who have repeatedly called for a halt to the payments. Abbas, meanwhile, publicly refused to stop those salaries in a speech last week. … Continue Reading

Germany Pushing for New Iran Sanctions to Keep Trump from Nixing Nuke Deal

Germany is trying to lead Europe on Iran. German, EU flags in Square of the Republic in Berlin. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

United States President Donald Trump was clear earlier this month when he said that Europe needed to increase restrictions on the Iranian nuclear and missile programs or else the US would terminate their role in the Iran nuclear deal. And it appears Germany was listening, because Der Spiegel reported on Saturday that Berlin is promoting new sanctions on Iran’s missile program and destabilizing activities in the Middle East, according to diplomats. The report said Germany, the UK, and France would intend the new sanctions—which would be outside the context of the nuclear deal with Iran—to acknowledge Trump’s concerns about Iran and to convince Trump to keep America in the nuclear accord.

The German Foreign Office had already tweeted that they “take note” of Trump’s statement on the Iran nuclear deal and that they would “talk to our European partners about next steps. We remain committed to the continued full implementation of the agreement.”

The Germans aren’t the only ones lobbying Europe to take the step. After Trump’s ultimatum, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron on the topic. Netanyahu encouraged Macron that “Trump’s statement should be taken seriously and that those who wish to keep the deal should fix it,” according to a summary of that talk posted to Prime Minister’s Office spokesman Ofir Gendelman’s Twitter feed. Netanyahu also intended to discuss Iran with US Vice President Mike Pence during the American’s visit to Israel this week. … Continue Reading

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