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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Inciting Palestinians Bring War Crimes Charges against Israel at Int’l Court

May 23, 2018 News

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

The Palestinians officially submitted a request to the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday alleging war crimes charges against Israel, even as their own people continue incitement and acts of terror against Israel. Ofir Gendelman, spokesperson for the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, noted this dichotomy in a series of Twitter posts responding to the ICC submission.

“It is absurd that the Palestinian actions vis-à-vis the Court come at a time when the Palestinians continue to incite to acts of terrorism, while exploiting women and children as human shields for violent attacks against the security of Israel’s citizens,” tweeted Gendelman. In a separate post he noted the Palestinians “continue to exploit the Court for political purposes, rather than work towards resuming the peace process with Israel.”

As an example of that ongoing incitement, Gendelman later posted an photo of Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas published by Abbas’ office showing him reading a newspaper with a vicious cartoon on the back depicting an Israeli soldier feeding poison to a Palestinian baby.

Commenting on the image, Gendelman tweeted, “Zoom in on the racist cartoon on the backpage of the PA’s OFFICIAL paper, reminiscent of Nazi cartoons. The ‘moderate’ leader made sure that anti-Semitism is alive & well in the PA.” … Continue Reading

‘So-Called’ UN Human Rights Council Votes to Investigate Israel Over Gaza Border Defense

May 20, 2018 News

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

The United States slammed the “so-called” United Nations Human Rights Council for voting on Friday to investigate Israel on their approach to the Gaza border riots, in which Palestinians mostly aligned with terrorists have been killed by Israel during efforts to breach Israel’s border with Gaza and conduct terrorism.

“At a time when Venezuela lurches toward dictatorship, Iran imprisons thousands of political opponents, and ethnic cleansing has taken place in Burma, the UN’s so-called Human Rights Council has decided to launch an investigation into a democratic country’s legitimate defense of its own border against terrorist attacks,” said US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley in comments released by her office. “It is another shameful day for human rights.”

An anti-Israel vote passed at the Council by a margin of 29 for, 14 abstaining, with just the US and Australia against, according to the Council’s Twitter feed. However, the list of those voting “for” included such notable human rights violators as Cuba, China, and Venezuela, as well as multiple Arab nations. Only Belgium and Spain were among the first-world Western nations who voted in favor. The voting list was highlighted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said his country “completely rejects” the resolution accepted by a “automatic anti-Israel majority.” … Continue Reading

Iran Threatens to Enrich Nuclear Fuel Higher than Ever If Demands Not Met

Radiation Warning Symbol. Public Domain.

With the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal, the Europeans are striving to keep the accord from collapsing. The Iranians, for now, are playing along—but on this condition: If they don’t receive the economic benefits promised them, they will not only exit the deal and go back to their old nuclear program, they’ll make it more advanced than ever. And they may just do it secretly, away from the eyes of international inspectors.

“If our interests are not materialized, we will withdraw from the nuclear deal and will enrich [nuclear fuel] to 20% degree or any level that we want out of their sight,” Government Spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobakh was quoted by the Fars News Agency as saying last week.

Previously, Iran claimed to enrich uranium to 20%—a medical-research-level grade much higher than needed for nuclear energy and well on the path to the 90% enrichment needed for nuclear weapons. So exceeding the 20% threshold would actually make Iran a greater threat than before. … Continue Reading

Hamas Claims 50 Slain in Riots Were Own Members, Shoots at Israeli Home

May 16, 2018 Peace and Conflict

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

50 of the 62 persons killed in Monday’s violent riots against Israel were members of the Hamas terrorist organization, and the person making that claim is a spokesman for… Hamas. In a televised interview, a senior official with the group that rules the Gaza Strip said that over 80 percent of those slain in the protest were its members. IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus posted a video clip of the claim to Twitter, noting, “Take his word for it. This was no peaceful protest.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu echoed that sentiment on Wednesday, reiterating that the rioters were not “some civilian demonstrations.” He said Israel had similar numbers to those put forth by Hamas on who was involved in the protest, while Prime Minister’s Office spokesman Ofir Gendelman tweeted that at least four others of the dead were members of other terror groups.

Said Netanyahu in comments released by his office, “This is a warlike move by the Hamas… That is why Israel will continue to defend itself for as long as necessary and will not allow those who call for its destruction to storm its borders and threaten our communities.” And the violence from Gaza returned on Wednesday, this time in the form of machine gun fire. … Continue Reading

US Officially Opens Israeli Embassy in Jerusalem on ‘Glorious’ Day

May 14, 2018 News

PM Netanyahu addresses ceremony marking opening of US Embassy in Jerusalem.
Photo courtesy of Kobi Gideon / GPO

History and promises kept were the themes of the day as the United States officially opened their embassy to Israel in Jerusalem. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was one of many who praised US President Donald Trump for keeping his promise to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital city and recognize Jerusalem’s true place in Israel’s history and present.

“What a glorious day,” said Netanyahu in comments marking the embassy opening published by his office. “Remember this moment. This is history. President Trump, by recognizing history, you have made history.”

And Jerusalem has a lengthy history. Netanyahu highlighted just some of the moments in the city’s past, including Abraham’s personal sacrifice, King David establishing it as Israel’s capital, and the two Temples. And Israel’s historic claim to the capital city leads to the present and future as well. Said Netanyahu, “We are in Jerusalem and we are here to stay.”

Jason Greenblatt, an assistant to President Trump and Special Representative for International Negotiations, was part of the US delegation for the opening festivities and highlighted that the decision by Trump was morally right. Tweeted Greenblatt, “Promise made. Promise kept. @POTUS had the moral clarity and strength to do what was right. From this day forward, the U.S. Embassy to the State of Israel is located in its capital, Jerusalem, Israel.” … Continue Reading

Jerusalem Prepares for ‘Historic’ Embassy Openings, Hosting 2019 Eurovision Song Contest

May 13, 2018 News

Embassies are moving to Jerusalem – and so is the Eurovision contest. Israeli flags. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

It’s a cascade of international honors on Israel’s capital city lately—just days before the United States, Guatemlala, and Paraguay start opening their embassies in Jerusalem, the Israelis learned that they will also host the prestigious 2019 Eurovision international song contest in Jerusalem. Israeli singer Netta Barzilai won the 2018 Eurovision on Saturday with her song “TOY”, and as Eurovision’s website notes, it is custom for the winning country to host the event the following year.

“These days Jerusalem is being blessed with many gifts. We received another one last night with Netta’s thrilling and suspenseful victory. The gift is that Eurovision will come to Jerusalem next year; we will be very proud to host it,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in comments released by his office on Sunday, which also happened to be the annual Jerusalem Day in Israel.

Of course, as Netanyahu later noted in separate comments to the American delegation present to open the US embassy, the Eurovision is next year. This year, Jerusalem is opening embassies—and more may be on the way. … Continue Reading

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