Who Really ‘Won’ and ‘Lost’ the Israeli Election

The ballots have been cast and there is no clear winner in the Israeli elections. Neither major party—Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud or the Blue and White party led by former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz—has a clear majority in the 120-member Knesset (Israeli Parliament). The final makeup of the next …

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 …

Israel Condemns Turkish Offensive in Syria, US Imposes Sanctions

As Turkey invades neighboring Syria to battle alleged terrorists among the Kurdish minority there, Israel has warned of the potential for “ethnic cleansing” and the United States on Monday issued sanctions against the Turks. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also offered humanitarian support to the Kurdish people. “Israel strongly condemns …

Israeli, German Leadership Agree More Needed to Battle Anti-Semitism

Following the horrific shooting attack at a synagogue in Halle, Germany on Yom Kippur, Israeli leadership spoke with their Germany counterparts on Thursday to discuss doing more to address anti-Semitism. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and “expressed his appreciation for her vigorous …

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Conflicting Polls Paint Palestinians as Either Open to US Peace Plan, or Open to Intifada

August 4, 2019 Peace and Conflict

Are the Palestinians open to Trump’s peace plan or rejecting it sight-unseen? Depends on who you ask. Illustrative photo of Palestinian event. By Joshua Spurlock

A pair of recent polls of Palestinians offer contradictory views on peace, especially the not-yet-unveiled United States peace plan from the Trump Administration. One poll shows uncertainty and a wait-and-see approach, while another poll shows strong opposition to the plan and even support for a return to a violent uprising, or intifada.

The Palestine Center for Public Opinion poll, conducted June 27-July 19, took the more positive view. The poll, according to an article on The Washington Institute for Near East Peace website, showed the majority of Palestinians polled preferred that either the Palestinian Authority (PA) should wait to take a position on the US peace plan until they’ve actually seen it or that the PA should “not reject the plan, so Israel won’t be able to take advantage” of that rejection. Roughly 25% support each of those positions, versus roughly one-third who call for the PA to reject the plan already, sight-unseen.

However, while this poll seemed to present a moderated view on US President Donald Trump’s peace vision for the Middle East, another Palestinian poll conducted June 27-30 by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) found the opposite view. 75% of those polled called for the PA to reject the plan—more than double those holding that view in the other poll. Just 15% said the plan should be accepted with reservations and only 4% called for accepting it without reservations. … Continue Reading

Extended Range: Israel Reportedly Strikes Iranian Targets in Iraq

July 30, 2019 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.

In a demonstration of Israel’s military reach, the Jewish state reportedly recently struck Iranian targets just 80 kilometers from the Iranian border in the neighboring country of Iraq. Asharq Al-Awsat published details on the strikes, citing western diplomatic sources who said Israeli aircraft hit a base on Sunday housing Iranian advisors and a missile shipment. Furthermore, that’s not the first time Israel has allegedly bombed Iranian targets in Iraq: The report said that on July 19, an Israeli F-35 jet struck an Iranian rocket depot.

Just 10 days before that reported attack, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu specifically listed the F-35 as a weapon capable of reaching Iran. “Here behind me is the ‘Adir’, the F-35. Recently, Iran has been threatening the destruction of Israel. It would do well to remember that these planes can reach anywhere in the Middle East, including Iran and certainly Syria,” said Netanyahu in comments released by his office on July 9.

If true, the attacks in Iraq represent an escalation in Israel’s covert war against Iran, following years of bombing Iranian targets and allies in Syria. Israel has repeatedly said Iran should not be allowed to build a base of operations in Syria, which borders Israel. However, the strikes on Iraq go a country further out and come as tensions between Iran and the West have skyrocketed. … Continue Reading

Netanyahu Warns EU about Iran, Says ‘We Defend Europe’

July 29, 2019 News

PM Netanyahu and Croatian Pres. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic. Photo courtesy of Haim Zach (Israeli GPO)

The threat of Iran’s missile program extends past the Middle East and into Europe, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was clear about the range of Iran’s malevolence in comments with the visiting leader of next European Union Presidency on Monday. “Israel is in the forefront of the battle against radical Islam. If Israel wasn’t here in the Middle East, then I think the Middle East would fall to radical Islam,” said Netanyahu to Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović in comments published by Israel.

“The fact that we are here, the fact that we protect ourselves, is obviously very important for us, but in defending ourselves, we’re defending the entire Middle East. And by defending the Middle East, we defend Europe.”

Netanyahu expressed his condolences about a recent attack in Afghanistan in which a Croatian soldier was killed, but also noted that exemplified the “dark” forces of radical Islam, including Iran. The Israeli leader highlighted Croatia’s next role heading the EU as “an opportunity to send this message to all the nations of Europe,” namely that “the twin challenges that I think makes Israel particularly significant for Europe is one, to seize a bright future, to fashion a bright future; and second, to resist a dark past.”

Continued the Israeli leader, “What happened in Kabul and what we’re all facing, and you’re facing too, is the attempt by radical Islam to bring back humanity to a very dark period. Some of them would like to take us to the beginning of the Middle Ages, and this is exemplified obviously by Daesh [ISIS], but in my opinion also by, first and foremost by Iran. That is a much more powerful and malevolent force.” … Continue Reading

Missile Defense ‘Leap’: US and Israel Intercept Test Targets in Space

July 28, 2019 Peace and Conflict

Arrow 3 test. Photo courtesy of the US Department of Defense Missile Defense Agency. www.mda.mil.

The multi-layer missile defense program jointly developed by Israel and the United States is meant to combat missiles at many levels—short range, long range, and now after the latest test, even missiles in space. Certain types of long-range missiles travel through space to reach their target, but the latest test of the Arrow 3 defense system showed even that can be defeated. The Arrow 3 system successfully hit three long-range ballistic missiles in space in a recent secret test carried out in Alaska.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wasn’t coy about the enemy that this defense is most needed against. “Today Israel has the ability to act against ballistic missiles that could be launched against us from Iran or anywhere else. This is a great achievement for the security of Israel,” said the Israeli leader in comments on Sunday released by his office. “All of our enemies should know that we will overcome them in both defense and offense.”

Netanyahu was also emphatic about what the test achieved. “They were successful beyond any imagination. The Arrow 3—with complete success—intercepted ballistic missiles beyond the atmosphere at unprecedented altitudes and speeds. The execution was perfect—all precise hits… I would like to make it clear here that metal hit metal; it was not just a proximity detonation. The missile hit the missile all three times. This is a great achievement.” … Continue Reading

Netanyahu Tells Top US Energy Official Response to Iran Should Be ‘Pressure, Pressure and More Pressure’

July 23, 2019 News

PM Netanyahu & US Energy Secy. Perry. Photo courtesy of Haim Zach / Israeli GPO

The United States is leading a “maximum pressure” campaign against the Iranians in an effort to curb their malignant behavior, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu couldn’t agree more. In fact, he told visiting US Energy Secretary Rick Perry on Tuesday that pressure is the first, second and third best option for responding to Iran. “If I had to say what are the three things that we have to do in the face of Iranian aggression, it is pressure, pressure and more pressure to force Iran to abandon its nuclear and regional ambitions,” said Netanyahu in comments released by his office. “I believe this is entirely within our realm. I think within not only the realm of possibility, but I think it’s happened.

“It’s very important that the nations of the world who profess their desire to stop Iranian aggression, stand with the United States and show common resolve.”

Netanyahu noted that the US sanctions on Iran “are working,” with Iranian funds for “aggression” throughout the region “drying up.” Said the Israeli leader, “Sanctions have begun to work, and it’s important that they continue to work. It’s important to keep up the pressure.”

Perry, in the region to enhance cooperation with Israel in energy, during his press conference with Netanyahu—which was published in a video to the Department of Energy’s Twitter feed—he highlighted the Jewish State’s discovery of natural gas and the potential for exporting it. However, even in that realm, Iran looms as a threat. … Continue Reading

Israeli Official Tells Top Legislator EU Parliament ‘Must Never Be Platform for Terrorists’

July 22, 2019 News

Barakat and wife Charlotte Kates at an event in Denmark with the PFLP’s flag in October 2018. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs

After hearing that two known members of a Palestinian terrorist organization and supporters of the boycott and sanctions movement against Israel spoke at the European Parliament, Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan wrote to the Parliament’s president to urge him to condemn the terrorists’ invite and ensure it never happens again. “Such unfortunate occurrences must not be allowed to repeat themselves,” wrote Erdan in his letter, which was published on Monday by Israel. “The European Parliament must never be a platform for terrorists.”

In a letter dated July 18, Erdan informed Parliament President David Sassoli that Khaled Barakat and Mohammed Khatib—who had recently spoken in a public event at the European Parliament at the invitation of Spanish Member of European Parliament Manu Pineda—were in fact known members of the “Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine” (PFLP), an EU-designated terror group.

Erdan said indications are that Pineda not only knew of the two speakers’ ties to terrorism, but also “in the past has expressed his support for EU-designated terrorist organizations such as the PFLP.” The Israeli official said, “This must raise questions about the appropriateness” of Pineda’s roles in certain European committees, including the Committee on Foreign Affairs. … Continue Reading

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