US Reimposes Sanctions on Iran; Israel Tells Europe ‘Time Has Come to Stop Talking’

United States President Donald Trump announced the first stage of renewed American sanctions on Iran on Monday, ahead of the official reimposition of sanctions at midnight on Tuesday. The anticipated move follows Trump’s decision in May to pull the US out of the Iran nuclear deal—also known as the Joint …

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 …

Israel Lightens Restrictions on Gaza to Emphasize ‘Calm Is Better than Violence’

With multiple days of general quiet on the Gaza border, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced on Facebook on Wednesday the re-opening of the Israel-Gaza border crossing back to its normal function “as a clear message for Gaza population: calm is better than violence.” Lieberman’s statement, posted in Arabic and …

Netanyahu Calls for More Funds for Israel’s Defense Per ‘2030’ Security Review

Israel’s defense budget will need to grow over the next decade to address the wide range of threats facing the nation—including funding missile defense—as part of their “2030 security concept” announced by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday. The security review considers the upcoming expected threats and as a …

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Israel Applauds after Putin Endorses Renewed Syria-Israel Ceasefire

July 16, 2018 News

PM Netanyahu & Russian Pres. Putin working together on Syria. Illustrative photo, courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (Israel GPO)

The superpower with the most influence in Syria right now is Russia, a key ally to the Syrian Bashar al-Assad regime, so the Israelis were heartened when Moscow stated publicly on Monday that they want a return to the ceasefire terms between Israel and Syria that ended their last full-scale war in 1974. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said that “after the terrorists are routed in southwest Syria” the situation in the Israel-Syria border region known as the Golan Heights region “should be brought into full conformity with the 1974 agreement on the disengagement of Israeli and Syrian forces.”

Putin, speaking during a press conference with US President Donald Trump published to the Kremlin website, said that situation “will make it possible to bring tranquility to the Golan Heights and restore the ceasefire between the Syrian Arab Republic and the State of Israel… I would like to emphasize that Russia has a stake in this course of events and will adhere to exactly this position.”

That was good news for Israel, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office released a statement saying he “very much appreciates the security coordination between Israel and Russia and the clear position expressed by President Putin regarding the need to uphold the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement between Israel and Syria.” … Continue Reading

Netanyahu Directed IDF to ‘Defeat and Stop’ Gaza Fire Kites

July 16, 2018 Peace and Conflict

PM Netanyahu at kindergarten in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip.
Photo By: Haim Zach / GPO

In the midst of a tenuous ceasefire in which a Gaza projectile proved it’s not over, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “for the seventh time” that his country would not accept a ceasefire in which terrorists continue to launch incendiary kites and balloons in arson attacks on Israel. “It is worth their while to listen to me, especially on the other side, there is no such thing from our perspective of a ceasefire that makes an exception for incendiary kites and balloons,” said Netanyahu on Monday in comments released by his office. “…[This message] will, I hope, get through. But if it will not be understood from my words, it will be understood through the actions of the IDF.”

Those actions were on display on Monday, as Israeli aircraft struck a pair of Hamas posts in Gaza located near where flaming balloons had been launched, according to a series of Tweets from the IDF Spokesperson. Those last strikes were “in response to Hamas’ arson attacks against Israeli civilians and Israeli sovereignty,” said the Twitter posts. Based on Netanyahu’s words on Monday, don’t expect Israel to stop there if the terrorists keep launching the fire kites and balloons.

“Just as we are now completing the blocking of the tunnels and as we took action and succeeded in stopping the mass storming of the fences, I have directed the IDF to defeat and stop the terror of incendiary kites and balloons, and we are in the midst of the process,” said Netanyahu. … Continue Reading

Gaza Terrorists Fire More than 200 Rockets at Israel over Weekend; ‘IDF Dealt Hamas the Harshest Blow since’ 2014 War

July 15, 2018 Peace and Conflict

Hamas fired 200 rockets at Israel in one weekend. Illustrative results of Gaza attack. Photo Courtesy of IDF Spokesperson.

On Friday, during the weekly violent border riots, Gaza terrorists threw a grenade at an Israeli soldier, wounding him moderately, the IDF website reported. That would be a prelude to a sharp escalation in violence—including more than 200 rockets fired at Israel by Hamas per to the IDF Spokesperson Twitter page—that left Israel and Gaza on the brink of another war. The last conflict was clearly in mind, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that “the IDF dealt Hamas the harshest blow since Operation Protective Edge,” referring to the 2014 escalation.

Updating his cabinet on the weekend’s conflict, Netanyahu said in comments released by his office on Sunday, “We hit Hamas in a significant way and hard. Our policy is clear: Whoever hurts us, we will hit them with great strength. This is what we did yesterday… I hope that they got the message; if not, they will get it later.”

Prior to Netanyahu’s comments, a mediated ceasefire had already been reported, according to The Times of Israel. That seemed to pull the sides back from the brink of what could have been an all-out war. A Tweet from the IDF Spokesperson on Saturday had said that IDF commanders “assessed the readiness of IDF troops to undertake and enhance operational activity if deemed necessary.” … Continue Reading

Israel Named 8th Most Powerful Nation in International Survey

July 9, 2018 News

Israeli flags. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

They may be small, but thousands of people around the world apparently believe the State of Israel has a lot of power. The Jewish state been named the 8th most powerful nation in the world—and the most powerful nation in the Middle East—by US News and World Report as part of their 2018 “Best Countries” rankings. The United States and Russia were the top two, ahead of China and several European nations. Israel followed right after Japan, placing ahead of Saudi Arabia.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu contrasted his nation’s size with those superpowers ranked right before them. “Even though we are barely one percent of some of these countries, and have a smaller population than all of them, we are there thanks to the citizens of Israel, thanks to the statesmanship,” said Netanyahu on Monday in comments from his office.

The rankings by US News and World Report—done in conjunction with Y&R’s BAV Group and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania—included a global survey of more than 21,000 people according to the news group’s website. The “Power” category considered attributes such as alliances, military strength and political influence. Israel’s top scoring “Power” category was its military. … Continue Reading

Israel Responds to Months of Hamas Terror with Economic Sanctions

July 9, 2018 Peace and Conflict

Illustrative example of goods shipped to Gaza. Photo courtesy of the Israel Tax Authority.

When the United States, Europe, or the United Nations are troubled by a malicious nation’s actions, they often resort to economic sanctions. After months of Gaza fire kites, balloon bombs, infiltration attempts, border riots and attacks on the border crossing, Israel responded with sanctions of their own. On Monday, the IDF announced on their website that the Kerem Shalom border crossing—itself a target of Gaza attacks—would only allow humanitarian aid to enter the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made it clear the border restriction was a response to Hamas’ nefarious ways. “We will be heavy-handed with the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip—immediately. In a significant step, today we are closing the Kerem Shalom crossing,” said Netanyahu to the Israeli parliament (Knesset) in comments released by his office. He further noted that “there will be additional steps” in response to Hamas, but did not provide details. … Continue Reading

Russian Bear Extends Its Paws: Netanyahu Visiting Moscow after Russian-Coordinated Ceasefire Begins in Southern Syria

July 8, 2018 Peace and Conflict

PM Netanyahu & Russian Pres. Putin to meet again over Syria. Illustrative photo, courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (Israel GPO)

Two days after a ceasefire was reached between Syrian rebels in the south of the country and Russia on behalf of the Syrian regime, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu previewed an upcoming visit to Moscow this week in which he will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. A key topic in the discussion will of course be Syria.

“At the meeting I will reiterate the two basic principles of Israel’s policy: First, we will not tolerate the establishment of a military presence by Iran and its proxies anywhere in Syria—not close to the border [with Israel] and not far away from it,” said Netanyahu on Sunday in comments released by his office.

“Second, we will demand that Syria, and the Syrian military, strictly uphold the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement,” he said, referring to the Yom Kippur War ceasefire agreement that established a demilitarized buffer zone between the countries. That second point has been mentioned repeatedly lately, and the latest reference comes after Russia reached a deal with Syrian rebels that will see some of them be allowed to relocate from the Jordanian border region to an area near the border with Israel, according to Al Jazeera. It also comes as fighting near Israel’s border has resulted in more errant fire threatening Israel last week. … Continue Reading

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