Israel

Israel, Iran move closer to open war after exchanging missile barrages

Massively retaliating for what it said was an Iranian military strike across the Golan Heights, Israeli forces unleashed a heavy bombardment against Iranian military positions across Syria on Thursday, in a significant escalation that has brought the two long-hostile Middle East heavyweights to the brink of open war. The U.S. and a number of European powers quickly endorsed what they said was Israel’s right to self-defense, while the Russian government and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged both sides to pull back. But Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu and his aides vowed to strike back hard at what they say are increasing encroachments by Iran and its proxies across the border in Syria. Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman told reporters here that the Israeli missile and airstrikes had hit “nearly all” of Iran’s significant infrastructure sites in Syria. Iran and Tehran-allied militias have been active in Syria supporting the government of ally President Bashar Assad in the country’s seven-year civil war. The heavy Israeli strikes were in response to approximately 20 missiles fired from inside Syria at Israeli targets in the Golan Heights. “If it rains on us it will be a flood on them,” Mr. Lieberman said. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel’s military action was intended to send a “clear message” to Tehran to back down, and hinted there may be more to come. Israel is in “a continuous campaign,” the conservative prime minister said, adding, “Whoever attacks us, we will attack them sevenfold, and whoever prepares to attack us, we will act against them first.” Already reeling from President Trump’s decision Tuesday to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear accord, Iranian leaders maintained a studied silence in the official media, seen by many as a sign Tehran realizes it is not ready for a direct, open conflict with the powerful Israeli military. A Foreign Ministry spokesman condemned what he called a “violation of Syria’s sovereignty,” without mentioning whether any Iranian forces had been hit in the attacks. The Syrian military acknowledged that the strikes destroyed a radar station and an ammunition warehouse, and damaged a number of air defense units. It said three people were killed and two were wounded, according to The Associated Press. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which closely monitors the civil war through sources inside Syria, said 23 fighters, including five Syrian soldiers, were killed..

Israel ready to bomb Iran if necessary: Report

Israeli defense officials have told their American and Russian counterparts that if Iranian-backed forces attack Israel from inside Syria, Jerusalem will not hold back from retaliating with direct strikes against Tehran or other targets in Iran. The officials delivered the message ahead of a national security statement expected Monday from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in response to Iranian threats to hit Israel after recent strikes on Tehran-backed assets in Syria, according to a report by Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper. The developments come amid growing concern in Washington that Israel and Iran are on the verge of a clash that could spill dangerously beyond Syria, where there were reports Monday that missile strikes had killed more than two-dozen mostly Iranian forces supporting the Syrian government of Bashar Assad. While no outside power claimed responsibility for the strikes, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said they were likely carried out by Israel. “Given the nature of the target, it is likely to have been an Israeli strike,” Rami Abdel Rahman, who heads the Britain-based monitoring organization, told Agence France-Presse. But the news agency reported that Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz told a radio broadcast Monday that he was “not aware” of the missile strikes. However, Mr. Katz also asserted that “all the violence and instability in Syria is the result of Iran’s attempts to establish a military presence there. Israel will not allow the opening of a northern front in Syria.” Mr. Netanyahu, meanwhile, is expected to make a statement after an emergency security cabinet meeting in Israel on Monday. Haaretz cited unnamed officials as saying Israel, which enjoys robust support from Washington, is prepared to attack Iran broadly, both on Iranian soil, but also in Syria. The main target, the paper reported, would be bases where Iranian forces have been located since the Syrian civil war began — bases that serve as conduits to transfer weapons and gear up for further Iranian establishment in Syria. Israel has been sporadically bombing Hezbollah positions in Syria for the past three years. But the tensions between Jerusalem and Tehran reached new heights in February after what Israeli officials claimed was an Iranian armed stealth drone was intercepted and downed over Israel. An Israeli F-16 fighter jet was in turn shot down by anti-aircraft fire from inside Syria during an apparent retaliatory airstrike claimed by Iranian sources. Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement — Tehran’s most potent military proxy in the region — are seen to be emboldened by their success in working with Russian forces during recent years to uphold the Assad government in Syria while Washington has backed opposition forces against it. At the same time, Israel is seen to be growing more and more wary of being attacked by missiles not just from Hezbollah forces in southern Lebanon but also from inside Syria.

This story is developing…

Nikki Haley Threatens to Yank Funding from U.N. over Jerusalem Resolution: ‘This Vote Will Be Remembered’

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley tore into the U.N. General Assembly Thursday, threatening to pull U.S. funding from the international body in response to a resolution condemning President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. “The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation,” Haley said in remarks to the assembly in New York. “We will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world’s largest contribution to the United Nations and we will remember it when so many countries come calling on us, as they so often do, to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit,” she warned. The resolution, which passed 128-9, expressed “deep regret” at the call made by President Trump, and calls on “all States to refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the Holy City of Jerusalem.” It was sponsored by Turkey and Yemen and comes after the U.S. vetoed a similar resolution at the Security Council. The U.S. does not hold veto power at the General Assembly. Haley’s remarks were her toughest to date in her career as ambassador, where she has consistently grilled various U.N. officials over the body’s anti-Israel and anti-American bias. She has repeatedly noted the enormous U.S. contributions to the U.N. and has demanded better value for money from the bloated bureaucracy. While Haley has repeatedly pointed to bias at the U.N., the latest resolution from the GA is different in that it directly singles out the U.S. for a decision in line with long-standing U.S. policy, and it seeks to shame the U.S. Haley has frequently contrasted the treatment of the U.S. and Israel with countries that have appalling human rights records like Cuba, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia – all three of which remain on the Human Rights Council. The Trump administration has shown a willingness to back up its tough talk with action. In October, the U.S. withdrew from UNESCO, the U.N.’s cultural body, over that organization’s long-standing anti-Israel bias. Haley’s remarks emphasized democratic accountability and took a possible swipe at countries that oppose the U.S., countries which are frequently lacking in such accountability. She warned: ” America will put our embassy in Jerusalem, that is what the American p[eople want us to do, and it is the right thing to do. No vote at the United Nations will make any difference on that, but this vote will make a difference on how Americans look at the U.N. and on how we look at countries who disrespect us in the U.N. and this vote will be remembered.” Haley’s remarks come a day after President Trump also warned about pulling money from “nations that take our money and vote against us.” “They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars then vote against us, well we’re watching those votes,” he said. “Let them vote against us; we’ll save a lot. We don’t care.”

YES!!!  It’s about time we started to push back against the bloated U.N.!!  For decades they have taken BILLIONS and BILLIONS of our hard-earned tax dollars, and all the while pushing agendas NOT in our country’s national security, or economic, interests.  Yet, we continue to just take it and look the other way.  Ask yourself…  When was the last time the UN did ANYTHING that was in the national security interests of the U.S.?  How about NEVER!  Yet, not only are we the largest contributor to the UN in terms of money.  But, we also provide the overwhelming number of military personnel to support UN efforts worldwide.  It’s high time we kicked the UN out of NYC and sent them to Geneva or some other western European location.  And, while we SHOULD maintain a voting/diplomatic presence at the UN (as well as veto authority on the Security Council), we should seriously reduce our monetary contributions as well as troop contributions until the UN starts supporting an agenda more in line with our national security and economic agendas.  MAJOR kudos to Ambassador Nikki Haley for slapping these self-righteous, entitlement-minded, hypocritical, America-hating countries right across the face.  And, it would also appear that Pres. Trump has her back.  Outstanding!!!    🙂

U.S. vetoes U.N. resolution rescinding Trump’s declaration Jerusalem is Israel’s capital

The United States stood against the 14 other U.N. Security Council member nations on Monday by vetoing a resolution that called on the Trump administration to rescind its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In a show of the widespread international frustration toward the administration’s recent moves on Israel, even U.S. allies Britain and France supported Monday’s resolution, which expressed “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem.” While the resolution, drafted by Egypt, did not mention the United States or Mr. Trump by name, it was clear to all involved at U.N. headquarters in New York that the administration was the focus of Monday’s developments. The resolution specifically sought to assert that “any decisions and actions which purport to have altered the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect,” according to Reuters. In moving to veto, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley called the resolution “an insult” that won’t be forgotten, according The Associated Press. That the United States vetoed was not a surprise, said analysts, some of whom noted America’s long history of blocking Security Council resolutions on Israel — or condemning U.S. policy toward Israel — regardless of whether a Republican or Democrat occupies the White House. Former President Barack Obama made international headlines by breaking with the tradition during his final weeks in office last January, when he authorized an “abstain” vote rather than veto a Security Council resolution at the time condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank. President Trump shifted U.S. policy early this month when announced that Washington will now recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and authorized the American embassy in Israel to be moved there from its current location in Tel Aviv — a move administration officials say will occur in the coming years. Mr. Trump’s announcements broke with decades of international consensus that Jerusalem’s final status should be decided in direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. The development has since triggered street protests and widespread condemnation across the Middle East. Last week saw representatives from 57 Muslim-majority nations gather in Turkey to criticize the Trump administration’s policy shift and demand that Jerusalem’s east be recognized as the capital of a “State of Palestine.” Ms. Haley, meanwhile, said the United States has a right to decide wherever it wants to put the American embassy in Israel and was, as a result, forced to veto Monday’s Security Council resolution.

Gotta love Nikki Haley!!  She just cuts through the anti-Israel bs, self-righteous hypocrisy, and political correctness oozing over at the U.N.  It’s WAY past time that we gave the finger to the U.N. and Nikki has just done that.  Excellent!!

Opinion: Trump Puts Fact Ahead of Fiction in Israel

The most exhausting thing about the Middle East — except for the bloodshed, poverty, tyranny, etc. — is that it refuses to conform to how it’s described in the West. It’s like journalists, diplomats, and politicians want to announce a football game, but the players keep insisting on playing rugby. The field looks similar. The scoring isn’t all that different. It’s just a different game. But don’t tell the gang in the booth. They get furious when you point out that the facts don’t line up with the commentary. Consider President Trump’s momentous (though for now mostly symbolic) announcement that the United States will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Before you can debate whether this was a good move, you must acknowledge one glaring fact that the chatterers want to ignore or downplay: It’s true. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. The Knesset, Israel’s parliament, convenes there. Israelis call it their capital for the same reason they claim two plus two equals four. It’s just true. What makes the decision controversial is that everyone had agreed to pretend it wasn’t the capital in order to protect “the peace process.” That’s another term that doesn’t quite correspond with reality. There is no peace process. Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president finishing the twelfth year of his four-year term, has refused to meet with the Israelis to discuss anything since early in the Obama administration. Part of the blame for that, of course, belongs with Obama, who built an entire foreign policy around what he wanted to be true rather than what was actually going on. Obama sought to distance the U.S. from Israel on the assumption that Israel was the unreasonably stubborn party in the “peace process.” That’s why, on the way out the door, the Obama administration broke with precedent and opted not to veto a U.N. Security Council resolution declaring East Jerusalem “occupied territory.” This implied that, as a matter of international law, the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem itself really belong to the Palestinians — which is an insane fantasy. But denying reality is how this game has long been played. In his speech after Trump’s announcement, Abbas talked at great length about Jerusalem’s history as a Muslim and Christian city. He made no mention of the fact that it’s also a famously Jewish city, having been established as the capital of ancient Israel 1,000 years before Jesus was born. Trump called his decision “a recognition of reality.” People invested in irreality insist the move will worsen “the Middle East conflict.” Here, too, we have mislabeling. Whole books are dedicated to the Middle East conflict, as if the Israel–Palestinian issue were the only conflict in the region. Tell that to the hundreds of thousands of dead Syrians or the millions displaced by the civil war there. Tell it to those dying in Yemen, site of a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia. It’s been this way for decades. The Palestinians and their Arab patrons insisted to gullible Westerners that the Israel–Palestinian conflict was the source of all the region’s problems. Was the Iran–Iraq War, which cost more than a million lives, a fight over Palestinian statehood? What about the Lebanese Civil War? Turkey’s campaign against the Kurds? The only people who bought the idea that the Middle East conflict began and ended with Israel were those guys in the control booth describing the wrong game — i.e., Western experts and activists deeply invested in the “peace process.” In a sense, that’s understandable. If you’ve dedicated your entire professional life to a moveable feast that covers your airfare and lodging in Paris or Geneva while you discuss grave matters, it’s probably hard not to cling to fictions. But those fictions are losing their hold, ironically thanks in large part to the Obama administration. By working on fantasy rather than facts, Obama threw the balance of power in the region heavily in Iran’s favor, lifting sanctions and giving Iran hundreds of billions of dollars. He thought the Iranians would join the community of nations or some such twaddle. Instead, they pocketed the money and are now on a surer path to a nuclear bomb. As a result of this new reality, the old fictions are a luxury that Iran’s regional adversaries can no longer afford. That’s why Saudi Arabia, a longtime Palestinian patron, has been moving steadily closer to Israel: because Israel is a more valuable friend in the new Middle East conflict than the Palestinians are — or Obama was.

Agreed!!  That spot-on op-ed was written by Jonah Goldberg, who was part of the “never Trumpers” crowd over at National Review.  So, that probably pained him to write that.  But, we give credit where credit is due.  Glad to see he did the same in this case.  Please consider this our “Read of the Day.”  If you read only one article here today, then read this!  Then, pass it along..   Excellent!!    🙂

Palestinian University’s Welcome Banner To New Students Features Terrorists As ‘Heroes’

A Palestinian university welcomed incoming students with a giant banner depicting Palestinian arch-terrorists as “heroes.” The banner was hung at a reception for new students at the Dura branch of Al Quds University and featured photos of the founders of a number of terror groups, including Hamas’s Ahmed Yassin, Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Fathi Shiqaqi, Abu Ali Mustafa of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Black September’s Salah Khalaf, monitoring group Palestinian Media Watch reported. The banner also featured images of former Palestinian Liberation Organization head Yasser Arafat and his deputy Abu Jihad, who as head of the organization’s military wing orchestrated terror attacks that claimed the life of at least 125 Israelis, the Palestinian Authority daily Al-Ayyam reported. Speakers at the reception included Fatah official Jamal Muhaisen, who has delegitimized Israel’s right to exist and supported the use of terror in order to defend sites that are holy to Islam. The Al Quds banner also featured the logo of the university’s branch of Fatah’s student movement with the slogan: “From the sea of blood of the Martyrs (Shahids) we will create a state,” as well as a PA map presenting all of sovereign Israel as “Palestine.” In 2013, Brandeis University suspended its partnership with Al-Quds University following a Nazi-style demonstration at its main campus, with activists marching in black military gear and trampling Israeli flags, carrying fake automatic weapons and raising the Heil Hitler salute.

Until the Palestinians are willing to stop this crap, the Israelis shouldn’t bother sitting down for “peace talks” or discussing the possibility of a “two state solution;” which all the Dems and establishment Republicans have been advocating for.  After all, you cannot make peace when one side doesn’t recognize your right to even exist.  Fatah, Hamas, and the Palestinian Authority (PA) are all just different names for Islamo-fascist terrorist wakos; pure evil.

VP Pence calls on U.N. Security Council to end bias against Israel

Vice President Mike Pence called on the United Nations to end its “forum for anti-Semitism” against Israel and to boot repressive countries off the U.N. Human Rights Council. In a meeting of the U.N. Security Council, Mr. Pence noted that former President John F. Kennedy had warned the world body 50 years ago not to become a “forum for invective.” “Yet today, its Human Rights Council has become exactly that — a forum for anti-Semitism and invective against Israel,” Mr. Pence said. “We call on the Security Council and this entire body to immediately reform the membership and practices of the Human Rights Council — and end the Human Rights Council’s blatant bias against our cherished ally, Israel.” Mr. Pence said the Human Rights Council, which includes countries such as Cuba and Venezuela, has approved more than 70 resolutions condemning Israel “while largely ignoring the world’s worst human rights abusers.” “Cuba sits on the Human Rights Council — an oppressive regime that has repressed its people and jailed political opponents for more than half a century,” Mr. Pence said. “Venezuela sits on the Human Rights Council, a dictatorship that undermines democracy at every turn, imprisons its political opponents.” He said the U.N. “must reform the Council’s membership and its operation.” On Tuesday, President Trump called the Human Rights Council “a massive source of embarrassment.” “The truth is, the Human Rights Council doesn’t deserve its name,” Mr. Pence said.

Exactly!!  And, well said Mr. Vice President!!  It’s refreshing to see the U.S. really stick it to the UN, and call it on it’s brazen antisemitism.  To read the rest of this article, click on the text above.