New Revelations: How the Obama Administration Treated Israel - Ariel Kahana (Makor Rishon-Hebrew-20Jan2017)
On Sept. 30, 2016, as world leaders departed from Israel after
attending the funeral of former Israeli President Shimon Peres, Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office suddenly received a phone call from
Air Force One, which was carrying President Barack Obama and John Kerry
back to Washington.
Netanyahu's chief of staff, Yoav Horowitz, took the call. "Tell
your boss that if he also wants a funeral like Peres, he should begin to
move, to make progress," the American on the phone told him.
Horowitz immediately passed on the message to Netanyahu, who
replied, "Tell him that I will forgo the honor, because I have no
intention of participating in the funeral of the State of Israel."
In violation of all accepted practices, there were direct
conversations between then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and
officers of the IDF Civil Administration in the West Bank.
The American Secretary of State personally cross-examined IDF
officers and reprimanded them over the destruction of Palestinian
Islamic State Militants Blow Up Transmission Towers in Sinai (Ma'an News-PA)
Islamic State militants blew up two transmission towers in Sinai
in the Red Sea coastal area of Oyoun Moussa south of the Suez canal on
Saturday evening, Egyptian security sources said.
The militants had arrived from central Sinai and planted explosive
devices under the towers that supply electricity to Jordan.
Jordan Boosts Border Forces amid ISIS Threat from Iraq, Syria (AP-Military Times)
Brig. Gen. Sami Kafawin, who commands Jordan's border guard forces,
says the kingdom faces a growing threat as Islamic State extremists in
neighboring Iraq and Syria are being dislodged from their strongholds
by military offensives.
He said that nearly half of Jordan's military personnel and
resources have now been deployed along the Iraqi and Syrian borders to
safeguard against ISIS.
New Desalination Plant Opens in Gaza (AP)
Gaza's second and largest desalination plant opened Thursday that
will initially produce 6,000 cubic meters of water a day.
The EU invested $10.6 million in the plant with UNICEF. There are plans to double its capacity by 2019.
Hamas did not participate in the project, and it was not represented at the opening ceremony.
ISIS Destroys Part of Palmyra's Roman Theater in Syria (BBC News)
Militants from the Islamic State have destroyed part of the Roman Theater in the ancient city of Palmyra.
The jihadists recaptured the archaeological site in December.
ISIS destroyed other monuments after it first seized Palmyra in May 2015.
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- Trump, Netanyahu Discuss Iran and Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process - Rory Jones
President Donald Trump spoke Sunday by phone with Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu about ways to strengthen relations between their two
countries and "threats posed by Iran," according to the White House.
Trump invited Netanyahu to meet in Washington in February.
"The President affirmed his unprecedented commitment to Israel's
security and stressed that countering ISIL [ISIS] and other radical
Islamic terrorist groups will be a priority for his Administration," the
White House said. Trump also emphasized that peace could only be
negotiated directly between Israelis and Palestinians.
With regard to moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,
"We are at the very beginning stages of even discussing this subject,"
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said.
(Wall Street Journal)
- U.S. Airstrike Kills More than 100 Al-Qaeda Fighters in Syria - Michael R. Gordon and Eric Schmitt
A U.S. Air Force B-52 bomber carried out an airstrike against an
al-Qaeda training camp in Idlib, Syria, killing more than 100 fighters
on Thursday, the Pentagon said Friday.
The Syrian opposition group Jabhat Fateh al-Sham complained that
the camp for new recruits was one of theirs and that the practical
effect would be to eliminate fighters who are confronting Syrian leader
Bashar al-Assad. Formerly known as the Nusra Front, the group claims to
have broken with al-Qaeda, but American officials say they are still an
(New York Times)
- Russia Signs Deal for Syria Bases - Rod Nordland
Russia signed a long-term agreement on Friday to greatly enlarge its
military presence in Syria, more than doubling the space for warships in
Tartus and securing rights to the Khmeimim air base near Latakia that
may already be adding a second runway. Tass said the expansion at Tartus would provide simultaneous berthing for up to 11 warships, including nuclear-powered vessels. (New York Times)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Israel to Resume Construction in Jerusalem, Settlement Blocs
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the security cabinet on Sunday he
will soon announce expanded construction in the settlement blocs and
ease all building restrictions in east Jerusalem, Israel's Channel 2
reported. He told ministers that his "vision" is that all of the
settlements in the West Bank will ultimately come under Israeli
sovereignty in any accommodation.
The cabinet discussed the proposed extension of Israeli sovereignty
to Ma'ale Adumim, a city of 40,000 next to Jerusalem. According to the Walla
news website, Netanyahu told the ministers: "I support Israeli
sovereignty over Ma'ale Adumim. There is no question about Ma'ale
Adumim, and in any future accord it will be under Israeli sovereignty.
But right now, at the request of the U.S. administration, we were asked
not to surprise them but to formulate a joint policy." (Times of Israel)
- Israeli Defense Minister Sees Regional Agreement as Key to Palestinian Issue
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman met with former CIA Director
David Petraeus in Jerusalem on Sunday. Lieberman called for an
anti-terrorism coalition that would include Israel and moderate Arab
states to fight against radical Islamic terrorism. He said the success
of such a coalition would serve as the basis for reaching a
comprehensive regional settlement between Israel and the Arab states,
including a solution to the Palestinian issue.
Lieberman stressed that there is no possibility of a bilateral agreement
between Israel and the Palestinians, noting that such an arrangement
has been attempted many times over the past 24 years. Resolving the
conflict, he said, will only come as part of a broader regional
- U.S. Ambassador-Nominee Friedman to Reside in Jerusalem - Itamar Eichner
The new U.S. Ambassador-nominee to Israel, David Friedman, has decided
not to live in the ambassador's residence in Herzliya, and declared his
intention to "work and live in Jerusalem," where he owns an apartment.
Israel has decided not to take an active role in the campaign to move
the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem since it is an internal,
American decision and Israel cannot be perceived as pressuring the
American government to make the move.
- Israel Eyes Iranian Presence in Syria - Sima Shine
In addition to Israel's reservations about the Iran nuclear deal,
a weighty and more urgent issue is Iran's desire to establish a massive
military presence, together with Hizbullah, in Syria. High-ranking
Iranian figures, including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, present this as
a top security interest, in part as a counter to Israel. Ali Akbar
Velayati, Khamenei's top foreign policy adviser, recently confirmed that
Iran and Hizbullah will not leave Syria. The chief of staff of Iran's
armed offices has said that Tehran may establish a naval base in Syria.
An Iranian presence in Syria, particularly in the south, near the Golan
Heights, has grave significance. It would create an additional front for
Israel against Iran and Hizbullah that could lead to a possible future
confrontation. An Israeli demand to include the removal of all foreign
forces in any future agreement regarding Syria is vital to Israel's
security, and should be made of both the Russians and the U.S.
The writer, a senior research fellow at Israel's Institute for
National Security Studies, was a deputy director general in the
Strategic Affairs Ministry and the head of the Mossad's research
- An American-Israeli Partnership to Prevent Iran from Obtaining Nuclear Weapons - Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin
It would be wrong to give up the Iran nuclear agreement's achievements,
particularly in the first years, before the main restrictions on the
nuclear program start becoming invalid. At the same time, it would be
wrong to allow the radical regime in Iran to reach advanced nuclear
capabilities which are made possible in the later years of the
With the arrival of the new U.S. administration, Israel has a
second chance to influence U.S. policy toward the Iranian nuclear
program: an opportunity for joint action against Iran and advancing a
parallel agreement, an Israeli-American one, aimed at changing the
strategic reality without violating the agreement.
First of all, the two countries must agree on a new public red line.
They should respond undauntedly to Iranian attempts to take advantage of
breaches in the agreement. Second, the two leaderships must agree on
the intelligence system to be operated to discover Iranian violations,
and on a basket of responses to any such violation. It is also necessary
that understandings with the U.S. will put Israel's military option
back on the table as a last resort in order to prevent a nuclear Iran.
Finally, Washington and Jerusalem must come up with a plan of
action against Iranian support for terror organizations in the region
and enforce UN Resolution 2231, which prohibits Iran from developing
ballistic missiles that can carry nuclear warheads. If deterrence and
diplomacy fail, the American-Israeli partnership will be the way to
prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. The writer, former
chief of Israeli military intelligence, is director of Tel Aviv
University's Institute for National Security Studies (INSS).
Netanyahu's Message to the Iranian People: "We Are Your Friend, Not Your Enemy" (Prime Minister's Office)
I've spoken a lot about the Iranian regime and not enough about the Iranian people, or, for that matter, to the Iranian people.
So I hope this message reaches every Iranian.
I know you'd prefer to live without fear. I know you'd want to
be able to speak freely, to love who you want without the fear of being
tortured or hung from a crane. I know you'd like to surf the Web freely
and not have to see videos like this one using a virtual private network
to circumvent censorship.
You have a proud history. You have a rich culture. Tragically, you are shackled by a theocratic tyranny.
In a free Iran you will once again be able to flourish without limit. But today, a cruel regime is trying to keep you down.
This ruthless regime continues to deny you your freedom. It
prevents thousands of candidates from competing in elections. It steals
money from your poor to fund a mass murderer like Assad.
By calling daily for Israel's destruction, the regime hopes to instill
hostility between us.
This is wrong. We are your friend, not your enemy. We've always distinguished between the Iranian people and the Iranian regime.
The regime is cruel - the people are not; the regime is aggressive - the people are warm.
two peoples can work together for a more peaceful and hopeful future
for both of us. We must defeat terror and tyranny and we must ensure
that freedom and friendship win the day.
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has recorded a conciliatory message to the
people of Iran. In a video uploaded to his Facebook page Saturday, he
addresses the people of Iran in English, with Farsi subtitles.