Israel Strikes Weapons Storage Day after US Espouses Support of anti-Iran Action in Syria

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday last week provided American backing for Israel’s efforts to prevent Iran from setting up a new base of operations in Syria. One day later, Israeli warplanes struck weapons storage facilities belonging to Iran, including a target at an international airport 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 …

Netanyahu Tells Arabs that Iran Is Main Threat, To Talk with Putin to ‘Ensure Freedom of Action’ against Iran

It’s a busy season of diplomacy for Israel against Iran, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Poland last week for a conference with Arab and Western nations discussing the threat from Tehran, and this week he will be in Poland’s neighbor Russia to discuss how to keep combatting that …

Israeli Spacecraft Launching for the Moon This Week

Israel is set to become just the fourth country to land a spacecraft on the moon, as the satellite “Beresheet”—Hebrew for “Beginning”—is scheduled to launch atop a SpaceX rocket around the end of this week with its destination being the lunar surface. The spacecraft will carry a time capsule to …

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Australian PM Morrison Considering Moving Embassy to Jerusalem

October 15, 2018 News

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

Another nation a world away from Israel is contemplating moving their embassy to Jerusalem. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday was quoted by The Guardian as saying that he and his government are “open-minded” to the move and referenced the idea as a “sensible suggestion.” The same day Morrison made the comments, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with his Aussie counterpart about the idea of transferring of their embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to the Jewish capital.

Morrison told Netanyahu “that he is considering officially recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving the Australian Embassy to Jerusalem,” said a press release from Netanyahu’s office, adding, that the Israeli leader thanked him for the comments. The press release went on to say the two leaders also “discussed steps to continue strengthening bilateral relations.”

The United States officially made their embassy move to Jerusalem earlier this year, after announcing it in 2017. The decision was controversial, but the Americans were quickly joined by Guatemala and Paraguay. Others have discussed the idea. … Continue Reading

Step toward ‘Normal’? Key Israel-Syria Crossing for UN Peacekeepers to Re-open

October 14, 2018 News

Will peace return to the Israel-Syria border region?
Golan Heights UN Peacekeepers. Illustrative. Photo Courtesy of UN Photo/Wolfgang Grebien.

The Syrian civil war rages on and Israel continues to be concerned by Iran’s presence in their northern neighbor, but nonetheless this week a small step towards normal will be achieved when the Quneitra Crossing between Israel and Syria in the Golan Heights will be re-opened. While this doesn’t signal any type of normalization of relations between Israel and Syria­—rather it is a reminder of their unresolved war—it at least enhances the United Nations peacekeeping between the sides.

A press release last week from the United States Mission to the UN notes that re-opening the border crossing “is part of an ongoing effort” by UN peacekeepers in the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), whose mandate includes maintaining the Israel-Syria ceasefire.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley applauded the move, but noted that keeping the border peaceful is a broader effort than just enabling the peacekeepers to do their work. In her comments, which were included in the US Mission press release, she pointed to the importance of upholding 1974 ceasefire agreement that establishes a de-militarized zone between the sides. Israel has highlighted this requirement in the past as well in complaining about Syrian actions around the border, so the Quenitra Crossing re-opening would appear to signal quieter times—at least near the border. … Continue Reading

After Gaza Terrorists Bomb Border Fence in ‘Organized Attack’, Netanyahu Threatens ‘Very Powerful Blows’

October 14, 2018 Peace and Conflict

PM Netanyahu. Illustrative. Photo courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)

After the latest explosive attack by Gaza terrorists against Israel’s border fence and subsequent attempt to infiltrate Israeli territory, Israel has had enough of months of regular terror attacks from the Gaza Strip. “Hamas, apparently, has not internalized the message. If they do not stop the violent attacks against us, they will be stopped in a different way and it will be painful—very painful,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday in comments released by his office.

“We are very close to a different kind of activity, an activity that will include very powerful blows.”

Netanyahu’s comments follow similar warnings from Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who told Ynet that war was on the table in the fight against Hamas. Lieberman noted that Israel had tried every other option besides a full-on conflict with Gaza, but that they had reached the point where the next move was to “deliver the hardest blow imaginable on Hamas.” He said the Security Cabinet would determine if Israel would launch a new operation in Gaza. … Continue Reading

Marking Alliance with US, Israel Says We Want Iran to Get Out of Syria, Yemen

October 11, 2018 Peace and Conflict

PM Netanyahu aboard the USS Ross. Photo courtesy of Kobi Gideon (GPO)

On a day in which the Israelis welcomed a United States naval warship to dock at the Israeli port of Ashdod for the first time in 19 years, telling someone else to leave was a theme in the comments from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu marking the occasion. Saying there’s “nothing like the American-Israeli alliance,” Netanyahu said on Thursday, “We are committed to preventing Iran from expanding its empire. We want them to go back to Iran, get out of Syria, get out of Yemen, get out of Iraq and stop building war and misery, creating misery everywhere they go.”

Netanyahu said the US-Israel alliance is manifested “most especially in the sharing of military intelligence and in military cooperation against terror, against the aggressive force of Iran in this region.”

The US and Israel have both been vocal about Iran meddling in other nations’ affairs. The Israelis have taken action to prevent Iran from establishing a militaristic foothold in Syria, where the Iranians have backed the regime for years. As for Yemen, the US has highlighted the Iranian weapons that have been delivered to the Houthi rebels battling the Saudi-backed Yemeni regime and have even been turned on Saudi targets. … Continue Reading

Israelis Allow Fuel into Gaza as Palestinian Authority Opposes Plan

October 10, 2018 News

Illustrative example of goods shipped to Gaza. Photo courtesy of the Israel Tax Authority.

Israel and an Arab state are coordinating to help Gaza, and the Palestinian Authority (PA) is not happy about it. Qatar has provided funding for multiple truckloads of fuel for the power plant in the Gaza Strip, and the first of the trucks entered the coastal enclave on Tuesday via Israel’s Kerem Shalom crossing, according to the Ma’an News Agency. The report by Ma’an, a Palestinian agency, said that because the Qatari support was not done in conjunction with the PA, the Palestinian governmental body led by PA President Mahmoud Abbas was opposed to the assistance. The Palestinian Authority is run by Fatah, the political rival of Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip.

The PA’s objecting to providing their own people in Gaza with assistance is not new. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had lamented it last week and his Arabic-language spokesman Ofir Gendelman leveled his own criticism of Abbas in an Arabic Twitter post on Tuesday, the same day the Qatari-funded fuel was delivered to Gaza.

“The end of hypocrisy and neglect: Palestinian President Abbas has instructed to send immediate humanitarian aid to the earthquake victims in indonesia, but it is forbidden to send even one bottle of water or one litre of fuel to the Gaza Strip to help the people of his people who suffer the oppression of Hamas terrorist and the stranglehold imposed on them himself!” said the post, which was translated by the Microsoft tool on Twitter. … Continue Reading

Israel Tells Germans They Will ‘Take Strong Action’ If Gaza Attacks

October 6, 2018 Peace and Conflict

PM Netanyahu and German FM Heiko Maas. Photo courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)

Against the backdrop of months of attacks of various types from Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week issued another round of warnings to the terrorists in the Gaza Strip—this time in comments with Germany’s Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas. A recap of the meeting issued by Netanyahu’s office said the Israeli leader “made it clear that Israel would take strong action against Gaza for every action against Israel and the residents of the south.”

Germany is one of the top six most powerful nations in the world in the diplomatic arena, and should Israel need to launch military strikes in Gaza, they may need political support on the global stage. The same day as Netanyahu’s warning, thousands of Gazans rioted against Israel and worse.

“A mob of approx 20K Gazans are burning tires, throwing bombs and grenades, and attempting to break through the border fence with Israel, which 10 armed terrorists did, until we stopped them. In response, an IDF aircraft carried out two strikes in Gaza,” the IDF Spokesperson posted to Twitter last Friday. … Continue Reading

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