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 …

Israel Holding Hamas Responsible as Gaza Attacks Continue

Following more rocket attacks from Gaza against Israel, the IDF hit back at Hamas in a counterstrike last Friday. Based on comments from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday, expect that Israeli response to Gaza violence to continue as needed. “We are acting against Islamic Jihad, as it is …

Iraqi Protestors Challenging Iranian Influence Have ‘Clearly Made Iran Nervous’

Protests are making an impact in Iraq, and it’s not just the leaders in Baghdad that are feeling the pressure. Leaders in Iraq’s next-door neighbor and general bad influence Iran are taking notice too, as Iraqi protestors have opposed Tehran’s entanglement in their country. “Iraqis increasingly view Iran as having …

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Israel Fights on Twitter—And Allegedly Attacks in Real Life—Hezbollah Precision Missile Program

August 29, 2019 Peace and Conflict

Iran is sharing missile tech with Hezbollah. Iran manufactured missile. Illustrative. Former US Amb. to UN Nikki Haley showing Iranian-made weapons used in Middle East conflict. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of UNITED STATES MISSION TO THE UNITED NATIONS.

The IDF unleashed a flurry of information on Twitter on Thursday exposing an Iranian plot to produce precision-guided missiles for the Hezbollah terror group in Lebanon, just days after Israel reportedly attacked technology for developing fuel for such missiles in Lebanon. The IDF Twitter page posted multiple videos, including one comparing the precision missiles to a “missile with @waze”, referencing the popular navigational phone app.

The video post said that terrorists could use the precision-guided technology to direct a missile to “an exact address.” The video continued by noting that the IDF “won’t let Hezbollah navigate their missiles to toward Israeli homes.”

The Israeli military reportedly did just that over the weekend, as The Times in London reported that a recent drone attack in the Lebanese capital of Beirut not only was carried out by Israel, but targeted machinery that is used for “high-grade propellant” for precision-guided missiles. Israel has not officially claimed responsibility for the incident. … Continue Reading

Iran Shoots Down Talks with US after Trump Signals Openness to Diplomacy

August 27, 2019 News

Will Iranian President Rouhani moderate Iran, or is he just for show? Illustrative. FEMA/Marty Bahamonde.

One day after United States President Donald Trump openly discussed possible negotiations with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the Iranians firmly dismissed unconditional talks between the sides. Rouhani, in comments published by the Fars News Agency, said they were “ready for talks” but told the Americans that they had to remove sanctions as the “first step.” Said Rouhani, “The door cannot be unlocked without this step.”

Rouhani made it clear they were not interested in just a photo op with Trump, while Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif went a step further in a separate Fars report, saying that no meeting between Trump and Rouhani “could be imagined.”

Iran’s tough stance comes after Trump on Monday made his most conciliatory comments toward Iran since taking office. The US President told reporters it was realistic to envision talks with Rouhani within weeks. “I don’t know the gentleman. I think I know him a little bit just by watching over the last number of years what’s happened. I’ll tell you one thing: He’s a great negotiator. But he—I think he’s going to want to meet,” said Trump in comments published on the White House website. … Continue Reading

Israel Strikes Syria to Foil Iranian ‘Killer Drone’ Attack and Hezbollah Vows Revenge

August 25, 2019 Peace and Conflict

This isn’t the first time Iranian drones and Israel have clashed. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds up piece of Iranian UAV in February. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of Amos Ben Gershom GPO

Israeli forces foiled an Iranian plot to attack Israel with “killer drones” by targeting forces affiliated with Iranian special ops inside Syria on Saturday, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made it clear on Saturday night that Iran “has no immunity anywhere.” On Sunday, the Hezbollah terror group warned of attacks of their own.

The IDF Twitter page said that Israel had “prevented a pending, large-scale attack of multiple killer drones on Israel by striking Iranian Quds Force operatives and Shiite Militia targets in Syria.” Netanyahu, in separate comments released by his office on Sunday, said the drones were “explosive-laden” and planned to “kill Israelis on the Golan Heights.”

Netanyahu called the Israeli action a “complicated operation” and a “daring decision” that “prevented serious attacks.” He warned not only Iran, but any country hosting Iranian forces, not to strike Israel. “I would like to emphasize: This was an initiative of Iran, under the command of Iran, at the behest of Iran.

“…I would like to stress that we will not tolerate aggression against Israel from any country in the region. Any country that allows its territory to be used for aggression against Israel will face the consequences, and I repeat: The country will face the consequences.” … Continue Reading

Trump Says May ‘Put Out Pieces’ of Peace Plan before Israeli Elections

August 19, 2019 News, Peace Process

US President Donald Trump may publish peace plan details soon. Illustrative photo, edited for size. Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead.

The long-awaited “Deal of the Century” peace proposal from the Trump Administration may soon be unveiled—at least parts of it, anyway. United States President Donald Trump on Sunday clarified that he intends to wait on presenting his full Middle East peace plan until after the upcoming Israeli elections, but some details may get shared ahead of the September 17 vote.

“I probably will wait, but we may put out pieces of it,” said Trump of his peace plan in comments to reporters posted to the White House website. “We have some very talented people—as you know, our great ambassador [David Friedman] and others. We have some very talented people. But that’s probably the toughest deal of all— peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians—because they’ve been decades of hate. And it’s tough to make a deal when there’s that much hate.”

The supposedly moderate government heading the Palestinian Authority (PA) has so far turned that hatred towards the Americans by repeatedly disparaging and rejecting the US plan even before seeing what’s in it. However, Trump doesn’t believe his administration’s policies towards the Palestinians—such as withholding funding—are the problem. Rather, he thinks they can be part of the solution. … Continue Reading

Gaza Attacks Israel Again, Netanyahu Warns Elections Won’t Prevent ‘Wide-Ranging Campaign’

August 18, 2019 Peace and Conflict

Is another conflict in Gaza coming? Israeli tank. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

After rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza on back-to-back nights over the weekend and terrorists tried to infiltrate Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Sunday they would do what was necessary to defend Israel in spite of upcoming elections—even a “wide-ranging” military campaign in Gaza. “I have heard talk to the effect that I have refrained from embarking on a wide-ranging operation based on electoral considerations. This is incorrect,” said the Israeli leader in comments released by his office. “…If it proves necessary, we will embark on a wide-ranging campaign regardless of the elections. With or without the elections, we will do what is necessary for the security of Israel.”

Netanyahu’s comments included congratulations to the IDF for taking down five Gaza terrorists the IDF Twitter feed said were “attempting to infiltrate” Israel. The Tweet on Sunday said that the previous night, the IDF soldiers monitoring the security fence with Gaza spotted the terrorists armed with rifles. In roughly 30 seconds, “our troops had already arrived at the scene in order to stop the terrorists,” said the post. … Continue Reading

Trump Calls Lawmaker’s Canceled Israel Trip to Visit Grandmother ‘A Complete Setup’

August 18, 2019 News, Peace Process

On second thought, Rep. Rashida Tlaib decided not to visit her grandmother in Israel. But why did she change her mind? Rep. Tlaib. Image from tlaib.house.gov.

After Israel granted United States Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib permission to visit her 90-year-old grandmother, the US lawmaker rescinded the request due to Israel conditioning the visit that she not use it to promote anti-Israel bocyotts. In response, US President Donald Trump accused Tlaib on Twitter of using her elderly family member in an anti-Israel ruse.

“Rep. Tlaib wrote a letter to Israeli officials desperately wanting to visit her grandmother. Permission was quickly granted, whereupon Tlaib obnoxiously turned the approval down, a complete setup,” tweeted Trump on Friday. Previously, the American leader had speculated on the situation, noting on Twitter that “Israel was very respectful & nice to Rep. Rashida Tlaib, allowing her permission to visit her ‘grandmother.’ As soon as she was granted permission, she grandstanded & loudly proclaimed she would not visit Israel. Could this possibly have been a setup? Israel acted appropriately!”

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clarified the decision to deny Tlaib and Rep. Ilhan Omar was based strictly on their promotion of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, not their political party. “We respect all members of Congress. Our directive is to facilitate, on a regular and automatic basis, the entry of all members of Congress, Democratic and Republican,” said Netanyahu in comments released by his office. “…There is only one exception and it is the BDS law that obligates us to evaluate the entry of people who support BDS.” … Continue Reading

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