US Closes Palestinian Office in Washington for Rejecting Peace Plan ‘They Haven’t Yet Seen’

The Americans increased the pressure on the Palestinians for obstructing peace again on Monday, as the United States government closed the office of the General Delegation of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Washington, D.C. The PLO is the official representative of the Palestinian government to the world and in …

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 Says Hamas Must Change, While Israel Notes 1000s of Animals Killed by Gaza Arson

The main United States negotiator for Middle East peace called for Hamas to change it’s ways and recognize Israel in an Op-Ed on Friday, and one day later, another attack by Gaza terrorists had Israel noting that arson and explosive attacks had killed thousands of animals in addition to property …

US, Israel Working Together to Pressure Iran; American Sanctions Target Iranian Use of Child Soldiers

The top United States financial official visited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday, and in a sign of the times, their first topic named by Netanyahu to the press was not economics; it was Iran. “This is what is going to occupy a great deal of our discussions today—how …

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US Ambassador to Israel at 9-11 Memorial Confirms to Everyone US and Israel ‘Stand Together’

September 9, 2018 News

The JNF-KKL September 11 memorial in Israel. Photo Courtesy of the JNF-KKL.

The only memorial outside the United States that names all of the victims of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks is in Israel. In view of that, it’s not surprising that US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman highlighted the special bond between the countries at the recent annual ceremony marking 17 years since the attacks.

“In this beautiful plaza, at this inspiring location, we remind the families of those lost and we confirm to people everywhere, that we stand together—Americans and Israelis—and that together we continue to heal and to build, in a spirit of solidarity and commitment to the future,” said Friedman in comments published in a Jewish National Fund (JNF) press release. The memorial was held on September 6 due to 9/11 falling on the Biblical holiday of Rosh Hashanah (also known as the Jewish New Year) this year.

Friedman is a strong proponent of US-Israel ties and at a recent toast for Rosh Hashanah reiterated that sentiment. “This year, let us dedicate ourselves to building upon our great accomplishments, to making the US-Israel relationship even stronger, and to bringing peace, prosperity and security to the region,” said Friedman in a Twitter post recapping the Rosh Hashanah event. … Continue Reading

US Accuses Syrian Regime and Allies—Russia and Iran—of Refining ‘Playbook of Death’

September 9, 2018 Peace and Conflict

U.S. Ambassador the U.N. Nikki Haley. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Mission to the UN

The United States last week at the United Nations warned another regime-led offensive in Syria—this time against the province of Idlib—would “create generations of Syrians who will never forget” the brutality of the Syrian regime, and it’s not just the Syrians who are to blame. Russia and Iran also were slammed by US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley for being President Bashar al-Assad’s “enablers” in the atrocities in Syria.

Last Friday, Haley accused Assad and his allies of a “playbook” that involves surrounding a civilian area, making the “preposterous claim” that everyone there is a “terrorist” and then launching attacks “until the people no longer have food, clean water, or shelter.” Next on the attack list is Idlib, which Haley noted has 3 million people at risk in it, which she said are “99 percent innocent civilians.”

“It’s a playbook of death. The Assad regime has spent the last seven years refining it with Russia and Iran’s help,” said Haley in comments to the UN Security Council that were posted to the US Mission to the UN’s website. She further warned that it’s not just the Syrian people who would take note of the viciousness of the Assad regime, Russia and Iran. The Americans would too., while separately Israel has also expressed concern over Iran’s military presence in Syria. … Continue Reading

IDF Says Bombed 200 Iranian Targets in Syria, Warns Hezbollah Next War ‘Will Be the Last’

September 5, 2018 Peace and Conflict

Israeli aircraft fight back against terror from above. Illustrative image of F-35. Image courtesy of the US Department of Defense website. The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

When Israel said it intended to prevent Iran from establishing a base in Syria, they meant it—striking more than 200 Iranian targets in Syria since 2017. The Times of Israel, citing senior IDF officials in a press briefing on Tuesday, reported that Israel hit the hundreds of targets—which included advanced weaponry and military bases—with 800 bombs and missiles.

One day earlier, Israeli military leveled an existential threat against Iran’s proxy terror group in Lebanon, Hezbollah. The head of the IDF Northern Command, Major General Yoel Strick, was quoted by the IDF Spokesperson Twitter feed in a series of tweets as saying of Hezbollah at the Channel 2 News conference, “We‘re aware of their financial situation and abilities. If they knew what we knew about them, they wouldn’t speak so confidently.”

He continued, “Their terrorist organization will feel our strength. I hope there‘ll be no war, but if there is, it‘ll be the last northern war.” … Continue Reading

Abbas Meets Egyptian Delegation to Discuss Palestinian Reconciliation with Hamas

September 2, 2018 Peace and Conflict

Can the Palestinians reunite with Egypt’s help? Illustrative photo of Palestinian event. By Joshua Spurlock

The Egyptians are working to fix the ongoing rift between the Hamas terrorist group that controls Gaza and the Palestinian Authority—led by President Mahmoud Abbas and controlling territory in Judea and Samaria (also known as the West Bank)—and to that end Abbas met with their delegation to talk on Saturday. The Palestinian governments in Gaza and the West Bank have been controlled by rival factions since 2007, when Hamas threw the PA out of Gaza in a violent coup. Since then, multiple attempts to reconcile the sides—considered by some to be a key step before the Palestinians can sign a lasting peace deal with Israel but what also could reintegrate a recognized terrorist group into the official Palestinian government—have faltered.

The latest effort by Egypt included a visit by members of the Egyptian General Intelligence with Abbas in his de facto capital of Ramallah, according to the WAFA Palestinian News Agency. The meeting and PA leader Abbas’ direct involvement comes just days after United States Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt slammed the PA for their lack of involvement in finding a solution for Gaza. The White House Special Representative for International Negotiations, in a State Department press release last week, told the PA to get involved in fixing Gaza or “others will fill that void.” Greenblatt also said the Donald Trump Administration “strongly supports” Egyptian efforts ‎to “help facilitate an agreement to restore calm in Gaza and bring about the conditions for the Palestinian Authority to fully assume its responsibilities in Gaza.” … Continue Reading

Israel Agrees as US Halts Funding for ‘Irredeemably Flawed’ Palestinian Refugee UN Group

September 2, 2018 Special Feature

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in Yad Binyamin. Photo credit: Avi Ohayon (GPO)

Citing a failed model of operations and the failure of other nations to do their financial part, the United States on Friday announced they were cutting off all funding of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). US spokesperson Heather Nauert said UNRWA’s considering future generations of Palestinians eligible “refugees” from the 1948 and 1967 wars, instead of just the people who actually fled those wars more than half a century ago, played a role in the US decision to start looking for other ways to financially aid the Palestinians besides UNRWA.

“Beyond the budget gap itself and failure to mobilize adequate and appropriate burden sharing, the fundamental business model and fiscal practices that have marked UNRWA for years—tied to UNRWA’s endlessly and exponentially expanding community of entitled beneficiaries—is simply unsustainable and has been in crisis mode for many years,” said Nauert in a press release from the State Department.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heartily agreed with the US decision, contrasting Israel’s handling of Jewish refugees who were absorbed into their country with the UNRWA situation. “They created a unique institution, 70 years ago, not to absorb the refugees but to perpetuate them,” said Netanyahu on Sunday in comments released by his office. “Therefore the US has done a very important thing by halting the financing for the refugee perpetuation agency known as UNRWA. It is finally beginning to resolve the problem. The funds must be taken and used to genuinely help rehabilitate the refugees, the true number of which is much smaller than the number reported by UNRWA.” … Continue Reading

US Envoy Tells Palestinian Authority to Step Up or Else ‘Others Will Fill that Void’

August 30, 2018 News

The Palestinian leadership is failing, according to the US. PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Illustrative. Photo Courtesy of UN Photo/Marco Castro

The top American diplomat for the Israel-Palestinian peace process rebuked the ruling Palestinian Authority (PA) on Wednesday and issued an indirect warning if they don’t do what’s necessary for their people. In response, the PA again rejected the United States’ peace efforts.

After praising efforts by Egypt to bring about an agreement for calm in Gaza and allow the PA to return to full authority in Gaza, US Envoy Jason Greenblatt pointed to the PA as hurting rather than helping. “The Palestinian Authority cannot criticize from the sidelines,” said Greenblatt in comments posted to the US State Department website. “The Palestinian Authority should be part of the solution for the Palestinians of Gaza and Palestinians as a whole. If not, others will fill that void.”

The PA was forced out of Gaza in 2007 by Hamas in a violent coup. Since then, the sides have repeatedly announced goals to reconcile, only for the plans to collapse each time. The PA reestablishing control of Gaza is considered to be an essential step before an Israel-Palestinian peace solution can be implemented if Gaza is to be included as planned. Without specifying the steps the PA need to take, Greenblatt, who is the White House Special Representative for International Negotiations, laid at least some of the blame for the region’s conflict at the feet of the PA. … Continue Reading

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