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 …

Netanyahu Says Deterrence Strengthened: Terrorists Know We Will Put Attackers ‘in the Crosshairs’

Just days after assassinating senior Islamic Jihad commander Abu al-Ata, and despite hundreds of rockets being fired by Islamic Jihad at Israel since then, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that Israel’s action “changes the equation” vis-à-vis terrorists. “The arch-terrorists know that we can put them in the crosshairs and …

Israel Supports Italian Holocaust Survivor Who Received Hundreds of Death Threats

Italian Life Senator Liliana Segre, a Holocaust survivor, recently succeeded in convincing the Italian parliament to better tackle anti-Semitism, including setting up a parliamentary commission on the issue. In response, Segre has received hundreds of anti-Semitic death threats and now requires ongoing police protection. On Sunday, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin …

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Netanyahu: ‘We Will Settle Accounts’ with Terrorists Who Murdered Teen

August 8, 2019 Peace and Conflict

PM Netanyahu at scene of Gush Etzion terrorist attack. Photo Courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (Israeli GPO)

As Israel continues to mourn the murder of 18-year-old Dvir Sorek, they are also making it very clear that the terrorists behind the deadly stabbing will face justice—including their leaders. “I have no doubt, also on the basis of what I have heard, that we will also apprehend those who carried out this awful murder,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday. “We will settle accounts with them and with those who dispatched them.”

Netanyahu, speaking from the scene of the crime in comments published by his office, said he had been given security briefings and said “progress” was being made in the pursuit of the killers. He noted that the security forces in recent years “have found all the murderers.”

Said Netanyahu, “Our answer to these murderers is two-fold: First of all, they come to destroy and we build. Secondly, our arm will reach them and we will settle accounts with them. The investigation is making progress and it is ongoing.” … Continue Reading

Iran Threatens to Further Escalate Nuclear Program Conflict with Third Step

August 4, 2019 Iran Nuclear Program, News

Iran is planning new antagonistic nuclear steps.
Illustrative official meeting. Photo Courtesy of UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Having already increased their nuclear fuel stockpile and the quality of their nuclear fuel enrichment beyond the limits imposed under the nuclear deal, Iran is now warning that their third step in withdrawing from commitments in the deal is coming up. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif was quoted by the Fars News Agency as telling the Iranian Parliament on Saturday they would “assuredly” take that next step if the world powers fail to boost economic benefits to Iran. What that third move would be was not made clear.

The Iranians in recent months began reneging on their commitments under the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), warning that they would continue to expand their nuclear program if the Europeans didn’t effectively mitigate United States’ sanctions on Iran. While the nuclear program remains solidly in the civilian range—Iran has announced 4.5% uranium enrichment quality has been achieved, whereas 90% is needed for nuclear weapons—there are threats of advancing that element further to medical research levels and even beyond.

The Fars News report noted that recently Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said there wouldn’t be “any problem” for Iran to advance to 20% enrichment quality—the level needed for medical research—and that there are “options even higher than that.” He did claim that they would act based on Iran’s needs and not just go for higher levels as a scare tactic. … Continue Reading

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

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