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 …

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Netanyahu Lauds UAE Foreign Minister Retweet of Article Calling for Israeli-Arab ‘Alliance’

December 22, 2019 Peace and Conflict

Could more Israel-Arab peace be on the horizon? Illustrative photo of Israeli PM Netanyahu and Egyptian FM Shoukry. Photo courtesy of by Haim Zach / GPO

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday celebrated another step towards Israel-Arab peace: the retweet of an article calling for an alliance of Israelis and Arabs by the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Abdullah bin Zayed, the UAE’s top diplomat, reposted without commentary an article in The Spectator entitled “Islam’s reformation: an Arab-Israeli alliance is taking shape in the Middle East.”

In the opinion piece, Ed Husain describes the warming of relations between Israel and Arab states, as well as Islam and Judaism, in the face of the threat from Iran and other concerns. Husain concludes by saying Arabs and Jews “have a shared interest in building a lasting alliance.”

Netanyahu was clearly encouraged by the public retweet of the article by such an important Arab official. In comments to the Israeli cabinet, Netanyahu called it “an additional public expression of the warming in relations between Israel and Arab countries.” … Continue Reading

Israel Decries International Court Plan to Investigate Alleged ‘War Crimes’ as Antisemitic

December 22, 2019 News

PM Netanyahu & US Secy. of State Pompeo both oppose the ICC’s investigation of Israel. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of: Haim Zach / Israeli GPO

Israel and the United States strongly denounced the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) decision on Friday to investigate alleged war crimes committed by Israel in relation to the conflict with the Palestinians, with the Jewish State’s leader decrying the denial of Jewish rights to live in Judea and Samaria as “antisemitic.”

“They say the Jews do not have a right to settle in the Jewish homeland. They say the Jews do not have a right to live in the land of the Jews, in the Land of Israel,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in comments published by his office on Sunday. “Well, we say, shame on you. The light of truth lights here and we will overcome you, just as we overcame other antisemites in history. Pure antisemitism, that’s what the ICC has done, and we will not bow our heads.”

The United States also challenged the ICC’s move. “We firmly oppose this and any other action that seeks to target Israel unfairly,” said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement published by the State Department. “…The United States remains deeply, firmly, and consistently committed to achieving a comprehensive and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The only realistic path forward to end this conflict is through direct negotiations.” … Continue Reading

Israel, US Talk Better Cooperation to Counter Iran as Rouhani Boasts of Advanced Centrifuges

December 18, 2019 Iran Nuclear Program, News

Israel and the US are sticking together to push back against Iran. PM Netanyahu and US President Trump. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of Avi Ohayon (GPO)

Iranian President Hasan Rouhani announced on Wednesday that Iran is testing their next round of advanced centrifuges—the IR-9, which are used for the enrichment of nuclear fuel—and the same day Israel and the United States discussed enhanced cooperation to push back against Iran. Rouhani, according to the Iranian Presidency’s website, was quoted as telling Iranians living in Malaysia, “Today, our new IR6 centrifuges are working and the newer IR9’s are being tested”.

In the Russian news agency Sputnik’s report on Rouhani’s comments, it was noted that the IR-9 is 50-times faster than the original IR-1 centrifuges according to the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi. The announcement comes as Iran has repeatedly stepped away from commitments under the tottering Iran nuclear deal with the world powers, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Iran’s withdrawal from restrictions under the JCPOA are intended to pressure Europe into making economic concessions for Iran.

Meanwhile, the same day Rouhani made his announcement, the national security advisors for Israel and the US met to discuss their joint work against Iran. … Continue Reading

Brazilian Lawmaker and President’s Son Reaffirms Plan to Move Embassy to Jerusalem

December 15, 2019 News

PM & Mrs. Netanyahu and Eduardo Bolsonaro. Photo courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (Israeli GPO).

Brazil opened a trade office in Jerusalem on Sunday, and if that move wasn’t enough to re-confirm Brazilian plans to move their Embassy to the Holy City, the son of Brazil’s president explicitly reaffirmed those plans at the office’s opening ceremony. “I was with President Jair Bolsonaro before I came here. He told me that for sure [Brazil will keep] the commitment. He’s going to move the embassy to Jerusalem. He’s going to do that,” Eduardo Bolsonaro, himself a Brazilian legislator and Brazilian International Affairs and National Defense Committee Chairman, was quoted by an Israeli press release as saying.

“We want to do a movement to Jerusalem, not only for Brazil, but to be an example to the rest of Latin America.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quoted by the same press release as calling the opening of the Brazilian trade office in Jerusalem “part of something that we have agreed upon in the tightening of relations between Israel and Brazil. And here it’s happening today as part of President Bolsonaro’s commitment to open an embassy in Jerusalem next year.” … Continue Reading

Iran Backtracks after General Reportedly Threatens Israel with Attack from Lebanon

December 15, 2019 Peace and Conflict

Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon are a threat in Lebanon and to Israel. Sign showing the distance between Jerusalem and Lebanese capital city. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

Lebanon has long been known as a proxy for Iran, but an Iranian general not only threatened to wipe out Tel Aviv if Israel threatened Iran, but said Iran could do it all from Lebanon. The Mizan website quoted Brigadier General Morteza Qorbani last Tuesday as saying, ” If the Zionist regime [Israel] makes the smallest mistake toward Iran, we will reduce Tel Aviv to ashes from Lebanon,” according to a report by Asharq al-Awsat. Furthermore, the Arab news service said that Qorbani went on to say that Iran wouldn’t need to launch any missiles at all from their own country to accomplish that feat.

Yet just one day later, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) came out and claimed the quote was misinterpreted and that the Iranian general was simply trying to say that Iran had various capabilities to counterattack against Israel, according to the Mehr News Agency. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed the denial as irrelevant in making a counter threat of his own.

“In recent days we have heard a senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander again threaten that Iran will destroy Tel Aviv from Lebanon. He thus reveals a simple truth: Hezbollah is simply Iran’s arm in Lebanon against Israel,” said Netanyahu on Sunday in comments released by his office. … Continue Reading

European Nation Wants Recognition of Palestinian State without Peace Deal

December 9, 2019 Peace and Conflict

Will Europe recognize a Palestinian state? Illustrative photo of Palestinian event. By Joshua Spurlock

The Foreign Minister of Luxembourg has recently called for the rest of Europe to discuss unilaterally recognizing a Palestinian state outside of a Middle East peace accord, although the new foreign policy chief of the European Union on Monday called the topic a “very much dividing” issue for the EU. Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn sent a letter to the EU’s new top foreign policy official, Josep Borrell, in which he says it’s time to discuss the matter and claims such a move would not be a “blank check” to the Palestinians, according to The Times of Israel, citing a Channel 13 report. The report said the issue is expected to be brought up during the next meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council in January.

However, despite Luxembourg being inclined in that direction, Borrell noted it’s not a position Europe even talks about very often—much less agrees upon. “Among European Member States, the recognition of the Palestinian state or the situation in Middle East is something, which is very much dividing,” said Borrell to reporters in comments posted to the EU External Affairs website. “Maybe because of that [it] is not an issue which is often taken into consideration on the agenda of the Council.”

Borrell noted that recognizing a Palestinian state is not something the EU does as an entity, rather it would be up to individual member states to determine their own approach. He confirmed that Middle East peace would be on the Foreign Affairs Council’s agenda next month. … Continue Reading

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