From The Alpha and the Omega - Chapter Eight
by Jim A. Cornwell, Copyright © 1995, all rights reserved
"THE DEAL OF THE CENTURY 2021"

    This file is attached to http://www.mazzaroth.com/ChapterEight/2014-2017.htm from "Astronomical Events To Appear Between 2014 Through 2017 A.D." - Chapter Eight by Jim A. Cornwell, Copyright @ 1995, all rights reserved.

THE DEAL OF THE CENTURY 2021



[THE FOLLOWING WILL BE NEWS ARTICLES THAT ARE ASSOCIATED WITH THE ABOVE INFORMATION.]

1/5/2021 From Embargo To Embrace, Saudi Arabia Pushes Gulf Detente by Aziz El Yaakoubi
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman welcomes Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani upon his arrival
to attend the Gulf Cooperation Council's (GCC) 41st Summit in Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia January 5, 2021. Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy
of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY
    AL-ULA, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) – Embracing Qatar’s ruler, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince pushed a deal to end a bitter row with Doha at a Gulf Arab summit on Tuesday to try to shore up an anti-Iran front, although a final declaration contained only a general pledge of solidarity.
    The kingdom’s foreign minister said Riyadh and its Arab allies agreed to restore ties with Doha to end a boycott imposed in mid-2017 and strengthen a Gulf Arab alliance against Tehran.
    While the communique contained no detailed confirmation of a deal, the apparent breakthrough signalled hope for mending a rift between major U.S. allies two weeks before President-elect Joe Biden takes office and at a time of regional tensions with Iran.
    “There is political will and good faith” to guarantee implementation of the deal, Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud told a news conference, saying the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt had all agreed to restore ties with Doha.
    The apparent deal followed mediation efforts by the United States and Kuwait, and a U.S. official said on Monday Qatar would suspend legal cases related to the boycott under the emerging deal.
    Ahead of the gathering in the historic city of al-Ula, which was also attended by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, Kuwait anounced that Saudi Arabia would reopen its airspace and borders to Qatar.    The other three nations have yet to announce similar moves.
    Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, hugged at the airport tarmac before heading to the summit venue in a mirrored building reflecting the desert landscape.
    Saudi de facto ruler Prince Mohammed, who chaired the short event instead of his father King Salman, said the al-Ula agreement “confirms Gulf, Arab and Islamic unity and stability.”
    He also called for serious action by the global community to address a threat he said was posed by Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes and its “subversive and destructive plans.”
    Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic, trade and travel ties with Qatar over allegations Doha supports terrorism, a charge it denies.
WORKING THE PHONES
    U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has been pushing for a resolution to the dispute that Washington sees as hindering efforts to contain Iran.
    Kushner, tasked by Trump, his father-in-law, to work on ending the rift, was making phone calls on the emerging deal until the early hours of Monday, a U.S. official had said
.
    Diplomats and analysts said Riyadh was also pushing reluctant allies to show Biden that the kingdom is open to dialogue.    Biden has said he will take a harder line with the kingdom over issues including its human rights record and the Yemen war.
    “This (deal) is seemingly influenced by a desire to pre-empt pressure from an incoming Biden administration, more than a genuine commitment to conflict resolution,” said Emadeddin Badi, nonresident senior fellow at Atlantic Council.
    “The détente within the GCC is very unlikely to significantly affect geopolitical dynamics beyond the Gulf.”
    All the states are U.S. allies.    Qatar hosts the region’s largest U.S. military base, Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, and Saudi Arabia and the UAE host U.S. troops.
    Qatar says the boycott aims to curb its sovereignty.
    The other countries had set Doha 13 demands, including closing Al Jazeera TV, shuttering a Turkish base, cutting links to the Muslim Brotherhood and downgrading ties with Iran.
(Additional reporting by Raya Jalabi in Dubai Writing by Ghaida Ghantous, Editing by Tom Hogue, John Stonestreet, Nick Macfie and Timothy Heritage)

1/5/2021 Breakthrough Reached In Gulf Dispute With Qatar -Senior Trump Official by Steve Holland and Aziz El Yaakoubi
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman welcomes Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani upon his arrival to attend the Gulf
Cooperation Council's (GCC) 41st Summit in Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia January 5, 2021. Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court
    WASHINGTON/RIYADH (Reuters) -A breakthrough has been reached in Qatar’s three-year-old dispute with Saudi Arabia and three other Arab countries and an agreement aimed at ending their rift is to be signed in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, a senior Trump administration official said.
    The development is the latest in a series of Middle East deals sought by Washington – the others involving Israel and Arab states – aimed at building a united front against Iran.
    As part of the deal, Saudi Arabia will reopen its airspace and land and sea border to Qatar as of Monday, Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Ahmad Nasser al-Sabah said on Kuwait TV ahead of a Gulf Arab summit in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.
    Saudi state agency SPA quoted Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as saying the annual gathering of Gulf leaders would unite Gulf ranks “in the face of challenges facing the region.”
    Qatar’s ruler, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, will attend, the royal court said.    The U.S. official said the Saudi crown prince and Qatari emir would sign the deal.
    Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have imposed a diplomatic, trade and travel embargo on Qatar since mid-2017 accusing it of supporting terrorism.    Qatar denies it and says the embargo aims to undermine its sovereignty.
    While Saudi Arabia made clear it intended to lift the blockade, the other three countries did not do so immediately, but the Trump official said “it’s our expectation” they would also join in lifting the blockade.    Under the emerging agreement, Qatar will suspend lawsuits related to the blockade, the official said.
    All of the countries involved in the deals are U.S. allies.    Qatar hosts the region’s largest U.S. military base, Bahrain is home to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, and Saudi Arabia and the UAE host U.S. troops.
    White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, assigned to work on the dispute by U.S. President Donald Trump, helped negotiate the deal and was working the phones on it until the wee hours of Monday morning, the official said.
    When in December Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said a resolution to the dispute seemed within reach, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in a Twitter post said he hoped Gulf reconciliation “contributes to stability and political and economic development for all peoples of our region.”
    UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said in a Twitter post that Tuesday’s summit would restore Gulf unity and that “more work lies ahead and we are moving in the right direction.” [C6N2J405Y]
    On Monday, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it welcomed the move by Saudi Arabia and called it an important step towards resolving the dispute.
    “Our hope is that this dispute reaches a comprehensive and lasting resolution based on mutual respect for the countries’ sovereignty and that other sanctions against the people of Qatar are lifted as soon as possible,” it said, adding that Turkey supported all efforts to bring stability to the Gulf region.
    Kushner, Middle East envoy Avi Berkowitz and Brian Hook, a special State Department adviser, were flying to the Saudi Arabian city of al-Ula to attend the ceremony, the U.S. official said.
    If the deal holds, the Gulf dispute will be added to a string of diplomatic achievements of the Kushner team, a list that includes normalization deals last year between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.
    Kushner, who is also Trump’s son-in-law, has been working on more normalization deals between Israel and Arab countries but may run out of time with President-elect Joe Biden due to take over the presidency on Jan. 20.
    “It’s just a massive breakthrough,” the U.S. official said.    “The blockade will be lifted.    It will allow for travel amongst the countries as well as goods.    It will lead to more stability in the region.”
    Diplomats in the region have said that Saudi Arabia was keen by pushing a deal to resolve the dispute to demonstrate to Biden that they are peacemakers and open to dialogue.
    The United States has about 10,000 troops in Qatar, which is home to Al Udeid Air Base.    There are thousands more troops in the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
(Reporting by Steve Holland; additional reporting by Ghaida Ghantous in Dubai, Nayera Abdallah in Cairo, Idrees Ali in Washington and Ali Kucukgocmen in Ankara; Editing by Howard Goller)

1/5/2021 Saudi Arabia And Allies To Restore Full Ties With Qatar, Says Foreign Minister
Arabic leaders, pose for a group photo during the Gulf Cooperation Council's (GCC) 41st Summit in Al-Ula,
Saudi Arabia January 5, 2021. Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS
    AL-ULA, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia and its three Arab allies agreed to restore full ties with Doha at a summit in the kingdom on Tuesday, the Saudi foreign minister said.
    Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud told a news conference after the gathering of Gulf Arab states, also attended by Egypt, that there was political will and good faith to guarantee implementation of the agreement to restore diplomatic and other ties, including resumption of flights.
(Reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Alison Williams)

1/8/2021 Erdogan Says Gulf Rapprochement ‘Very Beneficial’ For Region
FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of his ruling AK Party during a meeting at
the parliament in Ankara, Turkey, December 23, 2020. Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS
    NKARA (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Friday hailed a breakthrough between Guld Arab states and Qatar earlier this week, saying the move to restore ties and lift restrictions was “very beneficial” for the region.
    Turkey has a military base in Qatar has and supported its ally since Saudi Arabia and three other Arab states cut ties with Doha in mid-2017.    On Tuesday Riyadh said those ties would be restored.
    “Lifting this embargo is very appropriate, especially for the Gulf.    It has been very beneficial,” Erdogan told reporters.    “We hope that our position in the Gulf cooperation will be re-established. This will make the Gulf cooperation stronger.”
(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu and Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Dominic Evans)

1/11/2021 U.S. Diplomats Say Morocco Will Ensure Peace In West Sahara by OAN Newsroom
Moroccan and U.S flag emblems are seen outside the provisional consulate of the U.S
in Dakhla, Morocco-administered Western Sahara, Jan. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Noureddine Abakchou)
    The Trump administration has advanced diplomatic recognition of Western Sahara as part of the Kingdom of Morocco.    On Sunday, assistant Secretary of State David Schenker and Ambassador to Morocco David Fischer met with top Moroccan officials to reaffirm mutual ties.
    Morocco recently agreed to normalize ties with Israel as part of President Trump’s peace deal.    Officials said good relations between Israel and Arab nations is the only way to ensure peace in the region.
    “We sought a peaceful resolution for this frozen conflict and, again last month, President Trump acknowledged the inevitable and stated the obvious: the Sahara is Moroccan,” stated Ambassador Fischer.    “And Morocco has the only just and lasting solution to resolve the fate of this territory.”
    Morocco has occupied parts of Western Sahara since the end of Spanish rule in 1975 and some local tribes are still demanding full independence for the contested territory.
[AS YOU CAN SEE THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION HAS DONE WHAT GOD GAVE HIM TO DO AND THE PROPHECY WILL OCCUR AND THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION WILL DO EVERYTHING THEY CAN TO SCREW IT UP.].

1/14/2021 Israeli airstrikes hammer east Syria by Zeina Karam, ASSOCIATED PRESS
    BEIRUT – Israeli warplanes carried out intense airstrikes in eastern Syria early Wednesday, apparently targeting positions and arms depots of Iranbacked forces as the region is on high alert.    At least 57 fighters were killed, and dozens were wounded, according to a Syrian opposition war monitoring group.
    A senior U.S. intelligence official with knowledge of the attack told the Associated Press that the airstrikes were carried out with intelligence provided by the United States – a rare incidence of publicized cooperation between the two countries over choosing targets in Syria.    The official said that the strikes targeted a series of warehouses in Syria that were being used in a pipeline to store and stage Iranian weapons.
    The U.S. official, who requested anonymity to speak about the matter, said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed Tuesday’s airstrike with Yossi Cohen, chief of Israel’s spy agency Mossad, at a public meeting in a Washington restaurant Monday.
    The warehouses also served as a pipeline for components that support Iran’s nuclear program, the official said.    There was no immediate comment from Iran.     A Syrian opposition war-monitoring group reported at least 18 strikes in Deir el-Zour and along the Iraq border.

1/13/2021 Dubai Partner ‘Very Happy’ With Trump Org Despite Capitol Chaos by Alexander Cornwell
FILE PHOTO: Hussain Sajwani, founder and chairman of Dubai's DAMAC Properties poses for the camera
during an interview with Reuters at his office in Dubai, August 30, 2017. REUTERS/Saeed Azhar
    DUBAI (Reuters) – Donald Trump’s business partner in Dubai on Wednesday said he was interested in expanding their commercial relationship despite the storming of the U.S. Capitol last week.
    Trump has faced stinging criticism after encouraging supporters on Jan. 6 to march on the Capitol as Congress met to certify his defeat to Democrat Joe Biden.    That led to a violent invasion during which five people died.
    “Our relationship with the Trump Organisation, and especially with (Trump’s son and Trump Organisation executive) Eric Trump and his team, is fabulous and we have no intention to cancel or to change that relation,” DAMAC Properties Chairman Hussain Sajwani told Reuters.
    Dubai developer DAMAC owns the Middle East’s only Trump-branded golf course, the Trump International Golf Club Dubai, which opened in 2017 and is operated by the Trump Organisation.
    Sajwani said he was “very, very happy” with the Trump relationship and would love to work together on any golf course projects around the world.
    Social media companies suspended Trump’s online accounts in the wake of the Capitol assault, while a Trump-owned golf club in the United States has been stripped of hosting a major tournament.    Deutsche Bank, Trump’s biggest lender, will not do business with him in future, the New York Times reported.
    “We always stay away from politics and we don’t get involved in politics and we have no view on any political issues.    We are a very much commercial organisation and his organisation has served us well,” Sajwani said.
(Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Giles Elgood)

1/13/2021 Kuwait’s Cabinet Submits Resignation In Standoff With Parliament
Kuwait's Prime Minister Sabah al-Khalid al-Sabah meets with the emir, Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmed al-Sabah to present the resignation
of his cabinet, in Kuwait City, Kuwait January 13, 2021. Kuwait News Agency/Al-Diwan Al-Amiri/Handout via REUTERS
    DUBAI (Reuters) – Kuwait’s Prime Minister Sabah al-Khalid al-Sabah presented the resignation of his cabinet to the country’s ruler on Wednesday, days before the premier was due to be questioned in parliament over his choice of ministers and other issues.
    The standoff between the government and parliament less than a month after the cabinet was appointed poses the first big challenge to Emir Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmed al-Sabah, who assumed power in September.
    It complicates government efforts to tackle the OPEC state’s deepest economic crisis in decades, caused by low oil prices and the coronavirus crisis.
    The impasse, the latest in a series of standoffs between government and parliament over several decades, is “another punctuation mark in a numbing narrative,” Hasnain Malik, head of equity research at Tellimer, said in a strategy note.
    He said the government would have to dip into sovereign cash reserves to partly finance a yawning deficit in the absence of a debt law that has long-faced legislative gridlock.
    Ministers had submitted their resignations on Tuesday to Sheikh Sabah, a move the government said was related to “developments in the relationship” between the assembly and the government.
    It was not immediately clear if the emir, who has the final say in matters of state, would accept the cabinet’s resignation.
    The motion to question Sheikh Sabah, who has been prime minister since late 2019, was submitted by three lawmakers on Jan. 5 in the first regular session of the new assembly, in which the opposition made gains in last year’s election.
    More than 30 other MPs in the assembly, which has 50 elected members, supported the request to question him.    The motion seen by Reuters referred to a cabinet that did not reflect the poll result and to government “interference” in electing the speaker and members of parliamentary committees.
    In addition to its elected members, cabinet ministers also sit in parliament.
    Kuwait has the most open political system among Gulf Arab states.    Parliament has the power to pass legislation and question ministers, although senior government posts are occupied by members of Kuwait’s ruling family.
    Frequent rows and deadlocks between cabinet and parliament have led to successive government reshuffles and dissolutions of parliament, hampering investment and economic and fiscal reform.
(Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli; Additional reporting by Davide Barbuscia Writing by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Alison Williams, Edmund Blair, William Maclean)

1/15/2021 Trump Receives Morocco’s Highest Award For Middle East Work: Official
FILE PHOTO: Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat (front R), who led the Israeli delegation, and U.S. White House
Senior Adviser Jared Kushner are seen during a visit to Rabat, Morocco, December 22, 2020. REUTERS/Shereen Talaat/File Photo
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday received Morocco’s highest award for his work in advancing a normalization deal between Israel and Morocco, a senior administration official told Reuters.
    In a private Oval Office ceremony, Princess Lalla Joumala Alaoui, who is Morocco’s ambassador to the United States, gave Trump the Order of Muhammad, an award given only to heads of state. It was a gift from Morocco’s King Mohammed VI.
    White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and Middle East envoy Avi Berkowitz received other awards for their work on the Israel-Morocco deal, which was reached in December.
    The United States in the last five months helped broker deals between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.    The agreements are aimed at normalizing relations and opening economic ties.
    Trump, who leaves office on Wednesday, has drawn some criticism over the Morocco agreement because to seal the deal, he agreed that the United States would recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.
    Western Sahara has been the site of a decades-old territorial dispute between Morocco and the Algeria-backed Polisario Front, a breakaway movement that seeks to establish an independent state in the territory.
    The Kushner team had been working on reaching more agreements between Israel and the Arab world.    But time has run out and no more are expected before Trump’s departure.
    Media were not allowed to witness the award ceremony. Trump has been limiting his public appearances since losing the election on Nov. 3.
(Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)
[HOPEFULLY THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION WILL NOT SCREW THIS UP SINCE THEY DO NOT HAVE A HISTORY OF SOLVING MIDEAST POLICIES AND HAVE A RECORD FOR MAKNG IT WORSE.].

1/15/2021 Palestinians Announce First Elections In 15 Years, On Eve Of Biden Era by Ali Sawafta and Nidal al-Mughrabi
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas hands the election decree to Chairman of the Palestinian Central Election Committee Hana Naser
in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank January 15, 2021. Palestinian President Office (PPO)/Handout via REUTERS
    RAMALLAH, West Bank/GAZA (Reuters) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced parliamentary and presidential elections on Friday, the first in 15 years, in an effort to heal long-standing internal divisions.
    The move is widely seen as a response to criticism of the democratic legitimacy of Palestinian political institutions, including Abbas’s presidency.
    It also comes days before the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, with whom the Palestinians want to reset relations after they reached a low under President Donald Trump.
    According to a decree issued by Abbas’s office, the Palestinian Authority, which has limited self-rule in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, will hold legislative elections on May 22 and a presidential vote on July 31.
    “The President instructed the election committee and all state apparatuses to launch a democratic election process in all cities of the homeland,” the decree said, referring to the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.
    The Palestinians’ last parliamentary ballot in 2006 resulted in a surprise win by Hamas, widening an internal political rift that led to the group’s military seizure of the Gaza Strip in 2007.
    Palestinian factions have renewed reconciliation efforts after Israel reached diplomatic agreements last year with four Arab countries, accords that dismayed Palestinians and prompted their leaders to try to present a united front.    There was no immediate comment from Hamas on Abbas’s announcement.
(This story corrects date of presidential vote to July 31, not June 31)
(Reporting by Ali Sawafta in Ramallah; Writing by Rami Ayyub and Stephen Farrell, Editing by Toby Chopra and William Maclean)

1/21/2021 Bahraini Minister Criticises Qatar Despite Accord To End Rift
FILE PHOTO: Bahrain's Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani looks on as he delivers joint statements with U.S. Secretary of State
Mike Pompeo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their meeting in Jerusalem November 18, 2020. Menahem Kahana/Pool via REUTERS
    DUBAI (Reuters) – Qatar has not taken any initiative to solve the problems with Bahrain, despite an agreement to end a rift of more than three years, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani said on Thursday.
    Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt agreed earlier this month at a summit to restore diplomatic, trade and travel ties severed in 2017 over accusations that Qatar supported terrorism, a charge it denies.
    The emerging deal followed mediation efforts by the administration of former U.S. President Donald Trump and Kuwait.
    “Qatar didn’t show after the summit in al-Ula (Saudi Arabia) any initiative to solve pending problems with Bahrain,” said Zayani, according to a post by his ministry on Twitter.    He did not elaborate on the issues that need to be solved.
    His criticism contrasted with an upbeat assessment of the relationship with Qatar by Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan, who told the Dubai-based al-Arabiya TV channel on Thursday the kingdom’s embassy in Doha should reopen “in days.”
(Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli; Editing by Gareth Jones)

1/21/2021 Saudi Minister Optimistic U.S. Ties Will Be ‘Excellent’ Under Biden: Al-Arabiya
FLE PHOTO: Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud attends a news conference following talks with
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, Russia January 14, 2021. Russian Foreign Ministry/Handout via REUTERS
    DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister has voiced optimism that relations between Riyadh and Washington will be “excellent” under new U.S. President Joe Biden, Al-Arabiya TV channel cited him as saying on Thursday.
    Appointments made by Biden show “understanding of the common issues” by the new U.S. administration, Prince Faisal bin Farhan added, according to Twitter posts by the Saudi-owned, Dubai-based TV channel.
    “The Biden administration will find that our targets regarding Yemen are the same,” Al-Arabiya quoted him as saying.
    A Saudi-led military coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015, backing government forces fighting the Iran-aligned Houthi group after it seized the capital Sanaa.
    Biden pledged during his election campaign to reassess ties with Saudi Arabia, demanding more accountability over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 and calling for an end to U.S. support for the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen.
    Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab monarchies have long been allies of the United States, sharing the objective of protecting oil supplies from the Gulf region and containing Iran.
(Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli; Editing by Mark Heinrich)
Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud in 2020
    Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah bin Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud - born 11/1/1974 in Frankfurt am Main, is a Saudi Arabian diplomat and politician and a member of the house of Saud.    Prince Faisal is the current foreign minister of Saudi Arabia appointed by King Salman with a royal decree on 10/23/2019.    Prince Faisal was born in Frankfurt, Germany and spent a part of his childhood and youth in Germany, which is why, according to German news media, he speaks fluent German.        On 10/19/2020, Prince Faisal said the peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates could be seen as positive, but Saudi Arabia would not normalize relations until peace is signed with the Palestinians, hopefully within the framework of the Arab Peace Initiative.
[I THINK HE WILL BE A BIG PLAYER IN THE PROPHECY TO OCCUR IN THE NEAR FUTURE].

1/21/2021 Egypt And Qatar Agree To Resume Diplomatic Ties, Cairo Says
FILE PHOTO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi speaks during a joint news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee palace, France December 7, 2020.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is paying a state visit to France for talks on fighting terrorism, the conflict in Libya and other regional issues. Michel Euler/Pool via REUTERS
    CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt and Qatar have agreed to resume diplomatic relations, the Egyptian foreign ministry said on Wednesday, making Cairo the first country to officially do so under an Arab deal to end a long-running dispute with Doha.
    Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt agreed earlier this month to restore diplomatic, trade and travel ties severed in 2017 over allegations Qatar supported terrorism, a charge that Doha denies.
    “The Arab Republic of Egypt and the State of Qatar exchanged, today, January 20, 2021, two official memoranda, in virtue of which the two countries agreed to resume diplomatic relations,” a Foreign Ministry statement said.
    On Saturday, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said the kingdom expects to reopen its embassy in Qatar within days, and full diplomatic relations between the two would resume.
    The UAE, which followed Riyadh in reopening all entry points to Qatar, has said restoring diplomatic ties will take time.    Bahrain has reopened its air space to Qatar, as has Egypt.
    The U.S.-backed accord to end the row was one of a series of Middle East deals by former President Donald Trump’s administration aimed at building a united front against Iran.
    When the boycott was announced, Egypt and its allies called on Qatar to cut ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, among other demands. Doha said the embargo aimed to curtail its sovereignty.
    The Islamist group was outlawed in Egypt after then-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi led the overthrow of the Brotherhood’s Mohamed Mursi from the presidency in 2013, before being elected president himself the following year.
    Much of the Muslim Brotherhood’s senior leadership was jailed in Egypt but other members took refuge abroad in Qatar or its regional ally Turkey.
    Egypt and the UAE have also found themselves at odds with Turkey and Qatar in Libya, where they have backed opposing factions in a civil conflict.
    Two Egyptian intelligence sources told Reuters on Wednesday that a Qatari foreign ministry official pledged in a meeting with Egyptian and Emirati security officials on Saturday that Qatar would not interfere in Egypt’s internal affairs.
    He also pledged a change of orientation for Qatar’s Al Jazeera television channel, which is state-funded, and state-owned media outlets towards Cairo, the sources said.
    A Qatari official on Thursday told Reuters that no such meeting had taken place and that diplomatic relations were restored “via written correspondence referencing the Al Ula Agreement” reached at the summit in Saudi Arabia.
    Qatar’s foreign minister had said in televised remarks after the Arab deal was announced that Al Jazeera is an independent media institution.
    The Egyptian intelligence sources also said the officials agreed on economic cooperation and a series of meetings on outstanding issues such as Libya and the Muslim Brotherhood.
    The officials agreed to restore diplomatic relations between Egypt and Qatar “under probation,” as one source put it.
(Reporting by Mahmoud Mourad and Ahmed Mohamed Hassan; Additional reporting by Ghaida Ghantous in Dubai; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Giles Elgood)

1/21/2021 Analysis: What Will Survive Of U.S.-Middle East Policy Under Biden? by Maayan Lubell and Rami Ayyub
FILE PHOTO: Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump, Bahrain's Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani and United Arab Emirates (UAE) Foreign Minister
Abdullah bin Zayed wave from the White House balcony after a signing ceremony for the Abraham Accords, normalizing relations between Israel and some of its Middle East neighbors,
in a strategic realignment of Middle Eastern countries against Iran, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., September 15, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner/File Photo
    TRUMP HEIGHTS, Occupied Golan Heights (Reuters) – Trump Heights, Trump Square, Trump train terminal: Israel isn’t shy about honouring Donald Trump, who is widely admired among Israelis for his staunch support of their country.
    But in the Palestinian territories, no U.S. president was openly reviled as much as Trump, or depicted in such unflattering terms in portraits and effigies across the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank.
    In four years, Trump overturned decades of U.S. policy in the Middle East.    Joe Biden will want to undo many of those changes during his presidency, but his freedom for manoeuvre will be limited.
    At his Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Biden’s choice for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, signalled that countering Iran would be central to Biden’s Middle East agenda.
    But Blinken said the United States was “a long way” from rejoining the 2015 pact with Iran – restraining Tehran’s nuclear programme – which the United States quit under Trump.
    Biden and his team have said they will restore ties with the Palestinians that were cut by Trump, resume aid and reject unilateral actions, such as construction of Israeli settlements on occupied territory.
    But Blinken said the U.S. embassy in Israel would remain in Jerusalem, which Trump recognised as Israel’s capital.
    Four Trump-brokered diplomatic deals between Israel and Arab states are also likely to remain – they have bipartisan support in Washington and brought a strategic realignment of Middle East countries against Iran.
    So too is Trump’s acceptance of Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria in a 1967 war and annexed in a move not recognised internationally.
    Biden’s challenge will be how to walk back not just Trump-era policy – and the polarisation triggered by the man who said he had “done a lot for Israel” – without being accused of retreating altogether from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    “He will try to project an image of fairness and balance,” Michele Dunne, Director of the Middle East Program at the U.S. based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told Reuters.
    “There is no question that Biden’s policies towards the Middle East will be quite different from those of Trump; the question is how different they will be from those of (former President Barack) Obama… I doubt that Biden sees the conflict as ripe for U.S. diplomacy right now.”
TRUMP AND NETANYAHU
    Trump was broadly in lockstep on Middle East policy with his closest ally in the region, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
    As well as recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, Trump backed Israeli settlements in the West Bank, territory that the Palestinians seek for a state.
    Israel’s investment in its West Bank settlements between 2017-2019 increased by almost half against the last three years in office of Obama, according to official Israeli data provided to the U.S. State Department and seen by Reuters.
    One day before Biden’s inauguration, Israel issued tenders for more than 2,500 settlement homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, on top of hundreds more announced by Netanyahu last week.
    Relations with the Palestinians reached a new low after Trump cut off $360 million annual funding to UNRWA, the United Nations agency dealing with Palestinian refugees, reduced other aid to the Palestinians and shuttered the Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington D.C.
    Blinken returned to long-standing, pre-Trump, diplomatic norms at his senate hearing.
    “The only way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish, democratic state and to give the Palestinians a state to which they are entitled is through the so-called two-state solution,” Blinken said.
    But he added: “Realistically it’s hard to see near-term prospects for moving forward on that.”
    In Gaza, UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini was optimistic of change, and that things might ease up for the Palestinian refugees that his agency cares for.
    “We indeed have informal contact with the incoming new administration.    We heard all the messages we are receiving that there are intentions to resume the partnership,” he told Reuters.
THE TRUMP BRAND
    For many Israelis, the Trump brand has not been tarnished by the Capitol Hill riot on Jan. 6.
    In Trump Heights, a tiny Golan Heights settlement, work is underway to house 20 new families who will move in by the summer.    A giant black and gold sign at the gate has been restored after vandals stole the ‘T’.
    “We are keeping the name Trump Heights, we are proud of the name.    President Trump deserves gratitude for all the good deeds he did for us,” Golan Regional Council Head Haim Rokach told Reuters.
    An Israeli cabinet minister this week reaffirmed his support for Trump’s name to adorn a future train terminus near Jerusalem’s Western Wall, and at Trump Square roundabout in Petah Tikva he remains popular.    “We will miss him,” said Alon Sender.    “He was good for Israel.”
    But on the other side of the Israeli military barrier 10km east of Petah Tikva, many Palestinians are glad to see the back of Trump.
    “For sure, Trump’s policy is unfair,” said Sumoud Salah, a teenage refugee in Jericho.
    “I hope that his (Biden) era will be different than Trump’s, which was unfair for everyone, not only for the Palestinians.”
Full coverage for Eikon readers of the U.S. presidential transition https://emea1.apps.cp.thomsonreuters.com/cms/?navid=20856
    For multimedia coverage please open in a separate browser https://www.reuters.com/world/us
(Additional reporting by Rami Amichay, Adel Abu Nimeh, Nidal al-Mughrabi, Dan Williams and Ali Sawafta, Writing by Maayan Lubell and Stephen Farrell, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

[MY COMMENTS:
    I WILL KEEP AN EYE ON THIS ISSUE AS TRUMP HAS DONE HIS BIDDING FOR THE LAST 4 YEARS TO BRING PROPHECY TO LIGHT BECAUSE ANY GOD OF ABRAHAM, ISAAC AND JACOB FEARING PERSON WILL KNOW THAT WE ARE IN THE END TIMES.
    AND I BET VERY SOON WE WILL SEE THAT THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION IN THE NEAR FUTURE WILL BE CLAIMING IN SOME WAY THAT THEY MADE THE ABRAHAM ACCORD BETTER THAN TRUMP DID OR WORSE ALSO.
    BUT IF YOU READ THE BIBLE THE TRUE STORY TELLS US WHO WILL DO WHAT AS IT HAS BEEN FULLFILLED ALREADY SINCE 1948 ISRAEL BECAME A NATION AND CONTINUES EVEN TODAY AND WE WILL SOON SEE MORE OF THOSE PLAYERS TO FUFILL PROPHECY AS WE COME TO THE END OF 2022.
    MY SIX TWELVE YEAR PERIODS OF 72 YEARS (THE SIX SEALS BEING OPENED) OR 1 DEGREE OF THE 25,920 ORBIT OF OUR SOLAR SYSTEM AROUND OUR GALAXY AND EACH 72 YEARS IS ONE OF GOD'S HEBREW NAMES FROM 1950 TO 2022 IS NOW UNFOLDING.
    AND IN 2023 A NEW ONE WILL EMERGE FOR THE NEXT 72 YEARS WHICH IS THE REASON I WAS GIVEN THAT VISION BACK IN 1990 WHEN I WROTE MY BOOK AND WHY I WROTE IT THAT WAY IN MY BOOK "THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA" WHICH I RELEASED TO THE WORLD IN 1995.
    AND IT HAS OCCURRED AS I WROTE IT AS YOU CAN SEE EVEN NOW SO I COMMEND YOU TO PRAISE GOD WHO IS IN CONTROL AND WILL BRING HOPE TO CHRISTIANS WHO BELIEVE AND TAKE CARE OF ISRAEL ALSO
.].

1/25/2021 U.S. Will Work With Israel To Build On Regional Normalization Agreements: Biden National Security Adviser
FILE PHOTO: An Israeli flag and an American flag fly at Abu Dhabi International Airport before the arrival
of Israeli and U.S. officials, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates August 31, 2020. REUTERS/Christoper Pike
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Biden administration will work closely with Israel on regional security issues and to build on the country’s regional normalization agreements, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told his Israeli counterpart, according to a statement on Sunday.
    “They discussed opportunities to enhance the partnership over the coming months, including by building on the success of Israel’s normalization arrangements with UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco,” according to a statement on Sullivan’s call on Saturday with Israel’s Meir Ben Shabbat.
    Sullivan also extended an invitation to begin a strategic dialogue in the near term, the statement said.
(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)
[ISRAEL BE AWARE OF A WOLF IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING IN THE NEAR FUTURE AS PROPHESIED IN DANIEL 9:27.].

1/25/2021 UAE Cabinet Approves Setting Up Embassy In Tel Aviv
An Israeli flag, attached to a rock known as "Andromeda's Rock," flutters in the Mediterranean Sea as a Tel Aviv's skyline of
high-rise buildings is seen in the background, in Jaffa, Israel June 16, 2019. Picture taken June 16, 2019. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
    DUBAI/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The United Arab Emirates cabinet on Sunday approved the establishment of an embassy in Tel Aviv in Israel, state media said, and Israel announced its embassy had opened in Abu Dhabi.
    The UAE and Israel agreed to normalise relations in August, a deal forged largely over shared fears of Iran.
    Since then Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco have all agreed to establish ties with Israel in deals brokered in 2020 by the administration of former U.S. President Donald Trump.
    No further details were given about the UAE embassy to Israel.
    Israel’s government regards Jerusalem as its capital, although that is not recognised by most of the international community.    Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.    Most countries have their embassies in Tel Aviv.
    A statement from the Israeli foreign ministry said Israel’s embassy in Abu Dhabi officially opened on Sunday with the arrival of the country’s envoy there, albeit in a temporary location until permanent premises are found.
(Reporting by Lisa Barrington and Maayan Lubell; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky, Nick Macfie and David Evans)

1/28/2021 Israel Plays Down Possible Biden Administration Review Of Arms For UAE
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issues a statement at the Israeli Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, Israel
with the Alternate PM and Defence Minister Benny Gantz July 27 2020. Tal Shahar/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli leaders played down on Thursday a possible Biden administration review of U.S. arms sales to the United Arab Emirates that girded the Gulf power’s rapprochement with Israel.
    Washington said on Wednesday it had temporarily paused some pending arms sales to U.S. allies.    The Trump administration, having brokered formal Israel-UAE ties in September, approved a first sale of F-35 warplanes and other weaponry for Abu Dhabi.
    Reviews of this sort are typical after a U.S. presidential handover.    The UAE said it had anticipated the move and would work closely with the Biden administration.
    Israel is the only country in the region to have the F-35. After initially voicing misgivings at its sale to the UAE, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Benny Gantz relented amid Trump administration assurances that Israeli military superiority would be preserved.
    Asked by reporters if the review might set back Israel’s efforts to build up relations with the UAE and other Arab countries, Netanyahu said: “I don’t think so.    I think we have passed the point of no-return.”
    “Everyone understands that there are huge advantages here.    It’s peace in exchange for peace … I think it’ll move ahead.”
    Gantz described the review as “routine
    Interviewed by Ynet TV, Gantz said he would speak to his U.S. counterpart, Lloyd Austin, on Thursday but did not elaborate.
(Writing by Dan Williams, Editing by William Maclean)

2/1/2021 Israel And Kosovo Establish Diplomatic Relations In Virtual Ceremony by Rami Ayyub
Israel's Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi signs the agreement establishing diplomatic relations between Israel and Kosovo during a virtual ceremony
with Kosovo's Foreign Minister Meliza Haradinaj Stublla, in the Israeli foreign ministry in Jerusalem February 1, 2021. REUTERS/ Amir Cohen
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel and Kosovo established diplomatic relations on Monday, via online links due to the coronavirus crisis, under a U.S.-brokered deal that includes a pledge by the Muslim-majority country to open an embassy in Jerusalem.
    Israel sees its new ties with the tiny Balkan country as part of its broader normalisation with Arab and Muslim countries under agreements sponsored by former U.S. President Donald Trump.
    Trump announced the two countries’ ties in September as a side deal to an economic agreement between Kosovo and Serbia.    As part of the deal, Serbia, which has ties with Israel, also agreed to open an embassy in Jerusalem.
    During a signing ceremony held via Zoom video conference, Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said the new ties were “historic” and “reflect a change in the region, and in the Arab (and) Muslim world’s relationship with Israel
    Ashkenazi said he had received an official request from Kosovo to establish a Jerusalem embassy, which Israeli officials hope will open by end-March.
    Only two countries – the United States and Guatemala – have embassies in Jerusalem. Others, including Malawi and Honduras, have pledged to make the move.
    The status of Jerusalem is one of the thorniest obstacles to forging a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, who with broad international backing want East Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, as their capital.
    The ceremony included the unveiling of a commemorative plaque that will be placed at the entrance to Kosovo’s embassy in Jerusalem upon opening, Israel’s foreign ministry said.
    Kosovo Foreign Minister Meliza Haradinaj-Stublla said Kosovo and Israel share a “historic bond” and had both “witnessed a long and challenging path to existing as a people and becoming states.”
    Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, almost a decade after a guerrilla uprising by its ethnic Albanian majority.
    Haradinaj-Stublla said she had spoken in recent days with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who she said voiced President Joe Biden’s support for Kosovo’s new relations with Israel and economic agreement with Serbia.
(Editing by Giles Elgood)

2/1/2021 Israel, Kosovo Establish Mutual Diplomatic Ties by OAN Newsroom
A government official took a selfie during a signing ceremony held digitally in the capital Pristina, Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)
    Israel established formal diplomatic relations with Kosovo in yet another foreign policy success for President Trump.
    On Monday, Israel and Kosovo signed agreements of mutual recognition following a series of peace deals mediated by the Trump administration.
    Last year, President Trump landed a peace agreement between Kosovo and Serbia, ending a 20 year conflict started by the Clinton administration.
    The latest deal between the Islamic region of Kosovo and Israel is also expected to advance peace in the Middle East.
    “Israel wants a stable Balkans.    The agreement signed in Washington on a joint economic progress between our two friends, Serbia and Kosovo, encourages us,” Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi stated.    “Israel considers Serbia as a close and significant partner in the Balkans.”
A Kosovo police officer stood guard during a virtual signing ceremony, in the capital Pristina, Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)
    Kosovo will open an embassy in Jerusalem, cementing the Holy City’s role as the capital of Israel.    The Jewish state is now getting new trade and investment opportunities in the Balkan region.

2/2/2021 Israel Sees 6-Month Iran Nuclear Breakout, Longer Than Blinken Projection
Newly confirmed U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken concludes his first press briefing at the
State Department in Washington, U.S., January 27, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/Pool
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s energy minister said on Tuesday it would take Iran around six months to produce enough fissile material for a single nuclear weapon, a timeline almost twice as long as that anticipated by a senior member of the Biden administration.
    Israel is wary of the Biden administration’s intent to reenter the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal and has long opposed the agreement.    Washington argues that the previous Trump administration’s withdrawal from the deal backfired by prompting Iran to abandon caps on nuclear activities.
    Speaking last month a day before he took office as U.S. secretary of state, Antony Blinken said that the so-called “breakout time” – in which Iran might ramp up enrichment of uranium to bomb-fuel purity – “has gone from beyond a year (under the deal) to about three or four months.”    He said he based his comments on information in public reporting.
    But Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, in a radio interview, said the Trump administration “seriously damaged Iran’s nuclear project and entire force build-up.”
    “In terms of enrichment, they (Iranians) are in a situation of breaking out in around half a year if they do everything required,” he told public broadcaster Kan.    “As for nuclear weaponry, the range is around one or two years.”
    Iran, which denies seeking nuclear weaponry, has recently accelerated its breaches of the deal, which it started violating in 2019 response to the U.S. withdrawal and reimposition of sanctions against it.
    The last quarterly estimates by the U.N. nuclear watchdog in November show that Iran’s stock of enriched uranium had risen to 2.4 tonnes, more than 10 times the amount allowed under the deal but still a fraction of the more than eight tonnes it had before.
    Since then Iran has started enriching uranium to higher purity, returning to the 20% it achieved before the deal from a previous maximum of 4.5%.    The deal sets a limit of 3.67%, far below the 90% that is weapons grade.
(Writing by Dan Williams and Francois Murphy, Editing by William Maclean)

2/4/2021 Biden Reduces Support For S. Arabia In Another Boon To Iran by OAN Newsroom
Saudi army artillery fire shells towards Yemen from a post close to the Saudi-Yemeni border, in
southwestern Saudi Arabia, on April 13, 2015 . (Photo: FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images)
    Joe Biden reduced support for key U.S. ally Saudi Arabia by citing concerns over its proxy war with Iran in Yemen.
    In what appears to be another win for the Iranian regime, Biden’s National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Thursday that the U.S. will no longer provide material support to the Saudi operations in Yemen. He cited concerns of civilian casualties in Yemen that resulted from Saudi bombings of Houthi militants, which was backed by Iran.
    According to reports, analysts said a reduction of U.S. aid for the Saudis may give Iran an upper hand in that ongoing conflict.    Sullivan also failed to address Iranian threats against U.S. regional allies.
    “So it does not extend to actions against AQAP, which are actions that we undertake in service of protecting the homeland and protecting American interests in the region and our allies and partners,” Sullivan said.    “It extends to the types of offensive operations that have perpetuated a civil war in Yemen that has led to a humanitarian crisis.”
WILMINGTON, DE – NOVEMBER 24: National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan speaks. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
    Officials also cast doubt on arms-sales to the UAE and Saudi Arabia that had been approved by President Trump to counter the Iranian threat.    Iran is now expected to ramp-up terror-activities across the Middle East.

2/5/2021 Senate Votes To Keep U.S. Embassy In Jerusalem Permanently by OAN Newsroom
A sign on a bridge leading to the US Embassy compound ahead the official opening in Jerusalem, Sunday, May 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
    The Senate overwhelmingly passed an amendment to keep the U.S. Embassy to Israel in Jerusalem permanently.    The measure was passed with near unanimous support late Thursday with 97 senators voting in favor.
    While President Trump was first to implement the decades old proposition to relocate the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, congressional approval shields the measure from reversal by future administrations.
    While Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) voted against the move, GOP lawmakers argued this law should not be controversial.
    “It’s been our position in the United States for 25 years, Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and we should have our embassy in Jerusalem,” stated Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.).    “This is not controversial; in 1995 the same amendment was 93 to 5, in 2017 it was 90 to 0.”
    Hagerty added, the measure contributes to the recognition of Jerusalem as the “eternal and indivisible” capital of Israel, which is paving the way for peace across the region.
[AS TO THE ABOVE ARTICLE THE ONE THING THAT GOD DID DO IS HAD DONALD TRUMP DO WHAT HIS PROPHECY SAYS IN REVELATION 12:1-14 IS THAT A GREAT EAGLE WITH TWO WINGS HELPED THE WOMAN WITH 12 STARS TO BE SAFE FROM THE FOLLOWING:
    Basically great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: being with child and a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.    And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent until now as what you read below
.].

[WELL NOW THAT THEY THINK TRUMP IS GONE AND BEIJING BIDEN IS IN CONTROL OF THE U.S. THE I.C.C. WHICH IS AN EXTENSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS WHICH IS THE GLOBALIST SOCIALIST ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT CAN NOW INTERVENE TO PUSH THEIR CONCEPT OF THE ABRAHAM ACCORD SO I CAN SEE THIS AS THE INTERVENTION OF THE NEAR FUTURE AS TO THE PROPHECY OF THE BIBLE.].
2/5/2021 International Criminal Court Says It Has Jurisdiction In Palestinian Territories by Toby Sterling and Stephanie van den Berg
FILE PHOTO: Public Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda attends the trial for Malian Islamist militant Al-Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag
Mohamed Ag Mahmoud at the ICC (International Criminal Court) in the Hague, the Netherlands July 8,2019. REUTERS/Eva Plevier/Pool
    THE HAGUE (Reuters) – Judges at the International Criminal Court on Friday found the court has jurisdiction over war crimes committed in the Palestinian territories, paving the way for a possible criminal investigation, despite Israeli objections.
    The decision prompted swift reactions from both Israel, which is not a member of the court and rejects its jurisdiction, and the Palestinian Authority, which welcomed the ruling.
    ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said her office was studying the decision and would decide what to do next “guided strictly by its independent and impartial mandate” to prosecute grave war crimes and atrocities when countries are unable or unwilling to do so themselves.
    The ICC judges said their decision was based on the fact that Palestine has been granted membership to the tribunal’s founding treaty, and had referred the situation to the court.    The judges said the jurisdiction decision does not imply any attempt to determine Palestinian statehood, which is uncertain, or national borders.
    “The Court’s territorial jurisdiction in the Situation in Palestine … extends to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, namely Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem,” they said.
    Bensouda had found in December 2019 that “war crimes have been or are being committed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.”
    She named both the Israeli Defense Forces and armed Palestinian groups such as Hamas as possible perpetrators.
    She said then that she saw no reason not to open an investigation, but asked judges to first rule on whether the situation fell under the court’s jurisdiction.
    In a reaction, Human Rights Watch called the decision “pivotal” and said it “finally offers victims of serious crimes some real hope for justice after a half century of impunity,” said Balkees Jarrah, associate international justice director.
    “It’s high time that Israeli and Palestinian perpetrators of the gravest abuses – whether war crimes committed during hostilities or the expansion of unlawful settlements – face justice.”
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacted, saying “the court is ignoring the real war crimes and instead is pursuing Israel, a country with a strong democratic regime, that sanctifies the rule of law, and is not a member of the tribunal.”
    He added Israel would “protect all of our citizens and soldiers” from prosecution.
    “The court in its decision impairs the right of democratic countries to defend themselves,” Netanyahu said.
    The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it was a “historic day for the principle of accountability.”
    Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas official, described the decision as “an important development that contributes in protecting the Palestinian people.”
    “We urge the international court to launch an investigation into Israeli war crimes against the Palestinian people,” said Abu Zuhri, who is currently outside Gaza.
    The United States has “serious concerns” about the ICC’s effort to assert jurisdiction over Israeli personnel in the Palestinian territories, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said.    He added the U.S. government shares “the goals of the ICC in promoting accountability for the worst crimes known to humanity.”
    The Trump administration had vehemently opposed the ICC.
    Jamil Dakwar, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Human Rights Program, said U.S. President Joe Biden should do nothing to undermine the ICC’s independence.
    “It’s important to remember that the ICC investigation would also target Palestinian perpetrators of war crimes in the context of hostilities between Israel and Palestinian armed groups, especially in the Gaza Strip,” Dakwar said on Twitter.
(Reporting by Toby Sterling, Anthony Deutsch, Stephanie van den Berg, Ari Rabinovitch, Stephen Farrell, Nidal al-Mughrabi, Arshad Mohammed, Humeyra Pamuk and Simon Lewis; Editing by Aurora Ellis and Daniel Wallis)

2/8/2021 Israeli Lawmakers Call ICC ‘Anti-Semitic’, A ‘Sham’ After Ruling Regarding War Crimes Investigation by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this Tuesday Aug. 28, 2018 file photo, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands.
The ICC says its jurisdiction extends to territories occupied by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war, appearing to clear the way
for its chief prosecutor to open a war crimes probe into Israeli military actions. (Bas Czerwinski/Pool file via AP, File)
    Israeli officials are planning on putting pressure on the International Criminal Court (ICC) over a recent ruling handed down in the Hague. Over the weekend, a number of political leaders condemned the court with some referring to it as a “sham.”     Their comments followed a ruling Friday, where the International Court claimed they have jurisdiction over Israel-held territories and can thus launch an investigation into allegations of war crimes against Palestinians.
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decried the ruling and called it an attack on his residents.
    “When the ICC investigates Israel for fake war crimes, this is pure anti-Semitism,” he stated.    “The court established to prevent atrocities like the Nazi Holocaust against the Jewish people is now targeting the one state of the Jewish people.”
    Despite the ruling, the ICC has yet to state whether they will launch an investigation.
FILE – In this July 16, 2014 file photo, Palestinian relatives of four boys from the same extended
Bakr family, grieve during their funeral in Gaza City. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra, File)

2/8/2021 Netanyahu Pleads Not Guilty To Corruption As Trial Resumes by Jeffrey Heller
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks on as he arrives to a hearing in his corruption
trial at Jerusalem's District Court February 8, 2021. Reuben Castro/Pool via REUTERS
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pleaded not guilty on Monday to corruption charges at the resumption of his trial, six weeks before voters again head to the polls to pass judgment on his leadership.
    “I confirm the written answer submitted in my name,” Netanyahu said, standing before the three-judge panel in the heavily guarded Jerusalem District Court.
    He was referring to a document his lawyers gave the court last month in which they argued that Netanyahu, 71, was not guilty of charges of bribery, breach of trust and fraud.
    Wearing a coronavirus mask, Netanyahu, the first serving Israeli leader to be charged with a crime, seemed intent on projecting an air of business as usual, thanking the court and leaving without explanation some 20 minutes into the session.
    Netanyahu was indicted in 2019 in long-running cases involving gifts from millionaire friends and for allegedly seeking regulatory favours for media tycoons in return for favourable coverage.
    On entering the courtroom, Netanyahu sat in a corner with his lawyers, his back to cameras.    The session itself was not broadcast but reporters could monitor a closed-circuit feed elsewhere in the building.
    His quick departure from the court building seemed aimed at showing the public that he would not allow the trial to interfere with government business as Israel begins to emerge from a month-long coronavirus lockdown.
    At the session, Netanyahu sat, arms crossed, and coughed occasionally into his mask, before taking it off to sip water.
    Last May, at the opening of his trial, Netanyahu put on a display of defiance that opponents condemned as a challenge to the rule of law.
    Before that session got under way, Netanyahu delivered a speech from a podium in the corridor, condemning his prosecution as a left-wing witch hunt aimed at ousting a right-wing prime minister as a phalanx of cabinet officials stood at his side.
    This time, he issued a public appeal to supporters to stay away, citing high contagion numbers in the coronavirus pandemic.
    They largely heeded his call, while dozens of opponents, some holding signs reading “crime minister,” demanded his resignation at a protest they held near the court building.
    Israel will hold its fourth parliamentary election in two years on March 23, with Netanyahu’s handling of the health crisis and his alleged corruption the main issues stoking weekly protests against him.
    Opinion polls show the race too close to call, as right-wing rivals and centre-left opponents muster against Israel’s longest-serving leader.    Netanyahu has been prime minister continuously since 2009 after a first term from 1996 to 1999.
(Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Nick Macfie)

2/8/2021 Hamas And Fatah Hold Egyptian-Brokered Reconciliation Talks In Cairo by Nidal al-Mughrabi and Ali Sawafta
FILE PHOTO: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas hands the election decree to Chairman of the Palestinian Central Election Committee
Hana Naser in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank January 15, 2021. Palestinian President Office (PPO)/Handout via REUTERS
    GAZA/RAMALLAH (Reuters) – Leaders of rival Palestinian factions began Egyptian-brokered reconciliation talks in Cairo on Monday to try to heal long-standing internal divisions, ahead of planned Palestinian elections later this year.
    Egypt has tried in vain for 14 years to reconcile Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s nationalist Fatah faction and its bitter rival Hamas, the armed Islamist movement that opposes any negotiations with Israel.
    No Palestinian elections have been held in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem for 15 years.
    As well as Hamas and Fatah there are thought to be around a dozen other factions represented in the Cairo talks.    Among those invited was Islamic Jihad, a militant group which boycotted the 1996 and 2006 elections and which, Palestinian sources said, is now considering whether to take part this year.
    But such is the mistrust between the rivals that issues on the agenda include electoral basics such as how ballot stations will be guarded and how courts will adjudicate election disputes.
    There is widespread scepticism that the elections will even happen.
    Many Palestinians believe they are primarily an attempt by Abbas to show his democratic credentials to the new administration of President Joe Biden, with whom Abbas wants to reset relations after they reached a new low under President Donald Trump.
    “There are equal chances for success and failure,” said Hani Al-Masri, a political analyst in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, who is taking part in the talks as an independent.
    Abbas’s western-backed Palestinian Authority (PA), which has limited self-rule in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, plans to hold parliamentary elections on May 22 and a presidential vote on July 31.
    There are 2.8 million eligible voters in Gaza and the West Bank, and more than 80 percent of them have so far been registered with the Central Election Commission.    Palestinian voting age is 18 years old.
    The last ballot in 2006 ended in a surprise win by Hamas in its first parliamentary elections.    That set up a power struggle between Hamas, with its power base in Gaza, and Fatah in the West Bank.
(Writing by Nidal Almughrabi, Editing by William Maclean)

2/9/2021 Egypt Opens Rafah Crossing With Gaza Until Further Notice: Sources
A Palestinian man waits to leave Rafah border crossing after it was opened by Egyptian authorities,
in the southern Gaza Strip February 9, 2021. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
    CAIRO/GAZA (Reuters) – Egypt on Tuesday opened its Rafah border crossing with the Gaza strip until further notice, Egyptian and Palestinian sources said, a move described as an incentive for reconciliation between the main Palestinian factions, meeting in Cairo.
    Leaders of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction, which controls the West Bank, and of Hamas, the armed Islamist movement that opposes any negotiations with Israel, began Egyptian-brokered talks on Monday to address long-standing divisions ahead of elections planned for later this year.
    The 365-sq km (141-sq mile) Gaza strip, controlled by Hamas, is home to around 2 million Palestinians.    An Israeli-led blockade has put restrictions on the movement of people and goods for years.
    Egypt had been opening the Rafah crossing for only a few days at a time to allow stranded travellers to pass.
    The crossing was opened early on Tuesday and a bus carrying Palestinians arrived in Egypt, two Egyptian sources at the crossing said.
    Rafah will remain open “until further notice,” one source at the checkpoint and an Egyptian security source said.
    The Palestinian embassy in Cairo said Egypt had decided to open the crossing as a result of “intensive and bilateral talks between the Palestinian and Egyptian leaderships to facilitate the passage of Palestinians to and from the Gaza Strip
    Palestinian sources attending the Cairo talks said they had been told by Egyptian intelligence officials that the move was designed to create a better atmosphere at the negotiations.
    Egypt has tried in vain for 14 years to reconcile the two factions, and the talks are unlikely to bridge the ideological divide between Abbas’s Fatah, whose strategy is to seeks peace with Israel, and Hamas, which refuses to recognise Israel and advocates armed resistance.
    It would, however, be a significant achievement if the factions could agree to hold an election in both Gaza and the West Bank, with the aim of installing a single elected government for both.
    The current round of talks is due to end on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Ahmed Mohamed Hassan in Cairo and Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza; writing by Mahmoud Mourad; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

2/10/2021 Palestinians Open Election Registration Offices In West Bank And Gaza
Palestinian women register their names for parliamentary and presidential elections,
in a school in Gaza City February 10, 2021. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
    GAZA (Reuters) – Palestinians opened election registration offices in Gaza and the West Bank on Wednesday, one day after rival factions agreed steps to ensure that the first elections in 15 years go ahead.
    The two dominant factions – Fatah and Hamas – convened in Cairo this week with 12 other groups for Egyptian-brokered talks on how to prepare for parliamentary elections on May 22 and a presidential vote on July 31.
    There are still many obstacles, amid widespread scepticism about the feasibility of holding elections in three different areas: the parts of the occupied West Bank where the Palestinian Authority exercises limited self-rule, Hamas-controlled Gaza, and East Jerusalem, which is under Israeli control.
    But speaking in Cairo on Wednesday, Jibril Rajoub, the head of Fatah’s delegation to the talks, insisted that the elections would go ahead, even if it meant going against the will of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and “the will of all the enemies of the Palestinian people.”
    There are 2.8 million eligible voters in Gaza and the West Bank, and 85% of them have so far been registered.    The voting age is 18.    Israel allowed Palestinian elections in East Jerusalem last time.
(Reporting by Nidal Almughrabi in Gaza and Sherif Fahmy and Mohamed Zaki in Cairo; Editing by Giles Elgood)

2/13/2021 White House Press Secy Psaki Dodges Questions On U.S. Relations With Israel by OAN Newsroom
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
    White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki denied criticism that claimed the Biden administration intentionally neglected Israel.    In a press briefing Friday, Psaki blamed the administration’s brief time in office for the lack of communication between Joe Biden and his Israeli counterpart.
    She also would not confirm if Biden plans to reach out to Israel in the near future.    Psaki then attempted to assure reporters the lack of communication with Israel’s prime minister was not intentional.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks on during a joint press conference. (Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)
    “It is not an intentional diss,” Psaki claimed.    “Prime Minister Netanyahu is someone the president has known for some time.    Obviously, we have a long and important relationship with Israel.    And the president has known him and has been working on a range of issues that there’s mutual commitment to for some time.”
    Meanwhile, an Israeli official took to Twitter earlier this week to urge Biden to contact the “closest ally of the U.S.”    He noted Biden called several other ally nations since his time in office, adding now might be the time to communicate with Israel’s prime minister.
[WELL BIDEN HAS CONTACTED EVERY NATION EVEN THE ONES WHO ARE THE WORST OF THE WORST AND HAS NOT BOTHERED WITH ISRAEL BECAUSE THEY DO NOT KNOW HOW TO DEAL WITH THE DEAL OF THE CENTURY THAT TRUMP BROUGHT ABOUT WITH ISRAEL WHO IS NOW GETTING MANY ARAB NATIONS WANT INTO THE ABRAHAM ACCORD WHICH I GUESS THE GLOBALIST SOCIALIST ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT COULD NOT DO IT MAINLY BECAUSE THEY DO NOT WANT IT TO SUCCEED UNLESS IT IS THE WAY THEY WANT IT TO BE SO EXPECT IN THE FUTURE THIS WILL BE THE EVENTS TO WATCH FOR SO BE AWARE NETANYAHU FOR WOLVES IN SHEEP CLOTHING BUT CONTINUE TO ENSURE THE ARAB NATIONS TO CONTINUE THE UNITY.].

2/15/2021 Netanyahu Acknowledges Differences With Biden, But Confident He’ll Call
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a joint statements with Cypriot President
Nicos Anastasiades (not pictured) in Jerusalem February 14, 2021. Marc Israel Sellem/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday acknowledged differences with U.S. President Joe Biden over Iranian and Palestinian issues, but said they enjoy a “very strong” working relationship.
    The White House on Friday denied that Biden was snubbing Netanyahu by failing to include him so far in an early round of phone calls to foreign leaders since taking office on Jan. 20.
    Netanyahu dismissed any notion that Biden was intentionally excluding him, telling Israel’s Channel 12 television channel: “He’ll call … We have had very strong friendly relations for nearly 40 years, dating from the time I came to Washington as an Israeli diplomatic representative and he was a young senator from Delaware.”
    There has been speculation that the Democratic president could be signalling displeasure over Netanyahu’s close ties with former President Donald Trump, who called the right-wing leader two days after his inauguration in 2017.
    “We also have many things we agree on and the alliance is very strong,” Netanyahu said.    “But there are also differences, on the issue of Iran and on the Palestinian issue as well.”
    Netanyahu may find the alliance tested if Washington restores U.S. participation in the Iran nuclear deal, from which Trump withdrew, and opposes Israeli settlement building on occupied land where Palestinians seek statehood.
    On Friday, the White House said Biden and Netanyahu would speak soon, but gave no date.
(Writing by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Dan Grebler)
[THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION IS DELAYING BECAUSE THEY ARE HAVING TROUBLE OF HOW TO DEAL WITH THE DEAL OF CENTURY THAT DONALD TRUMP IMPLEMENTED AND CAN NOT FIGURE OUT A WAY TO GET AROUND IT AND ARE PROBALLY WAITING FOR THEIR GLOBALIST SOCIALIST ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT COME OUT WITH A SOLUTION TO CHANGE IT SOMEHOW TO BE THEIR IDEA OF THESE CHANGES SO BE AWARE NETANYHU BECAUSE THEY WILL BE SENDING AN INDIVIDUAL TO DEAL WITH IT.].

2/15/2021 Biden Plans To ‘Recalibrate’ Saudi Relations, Will Call Netanyahu Soon – White House
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden salutes as he boards Air Force One en route to the White House
after a trip to Camp David, in Hagerstown, Maryland, U.S., February 15, 2021. REUTERS/Erin Scott
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden plans to recalibrate U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia and will communicate through Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz rather than Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Tuesday.
    Psaki told reporters Biden plans a call soon with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.    Some critics have accused Biden of snubbing Netanyahu for having not yet spoken to the leader of the top U.S. ally in the Middle East nearly a month after taking office.
    Her comments on Saudi Arabia represented an abrupt change in policy from Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, whose son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner was close to the Saudi crown prince.
    “We’ve made clear from the beginning that we are going to recalibrate our relationship with Saudi Arabia,” Psaki said.
    As for questions about whether Biden would speak to the crown prince, Psaki said Biden is returning to “counterpart to counterpart” engagement.
    “The president’s counterpart is King Salman and I expect at an appropriate time he will have a conversation with him. I don’t have a prediction on the timeline for that,” she said.
    Psaki said Saudi Arabia has critical self-defense needs and the United States will work with the Saudis on this “even as we make clear areas where we have disagreements and where we have concerns.    And that certainly is a shift from the prior administration.”
    Trump was a close ally of Netanyahu and moved U.S. relations to a strong pro-Israel position with little to no contact with the Palestinians.
    Psaki said Biden’s first call with a leader in the region will be with Netanyahu and it will be soon.
    “Israel is of course an ally. Israel is a country where we have an important strategic security relationship, and our team is fully engaged, not at the head of state level quite yet but very soon,” she said.
(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt, Steve Holland and Alexandra Alper; Editing by Chris Reese and Dan Grebler)

2/16/2021 Ashrawi Will Not Run In Palestinian Elections, To Mentor New Generation by Zainah El-Haroun
Palestinian politician Hanan Ashrawi is seen in her office during an interview with Reuters, in Ramallah in the
Israeli-occupied West Bank February 3, 2021. Picture taken February 3, 2021. REUTERS/Raneen Sawafta
    RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) – Hanan Ashrawi, the most famous woman in Palestinian politics, will not be running in the first elections for 15 years, opting instead to mentor a new generation of political leaders.
    Over three decades in public office, the veteran negotiator and women’s rights advocate was one of the highest-profile Palestinian officials, especially to international audiences.
    In December she resigned from her senior post in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), citing a need for reform and criticising what she called a lack of opportunities for women and young people.
    Now that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has announced parliamentary and presidential elections for later this year, 74-year-old Ashrawi says she will not change her mind.
    “I want to set an example that people can leave office,” she told Reuters.
    “I have been supporting and mentoring many young men and women in different capacities… it’s important that I do that in a variety of ways, and I am,” she said between back-to-back meetings with diplomats at MIFTAH, her civil society organization to promote global dialogue and democracy.
    Ashrawi, who was elected to the Palestinian parliament in 2006, declined to say who she was mentoring.
VETERAN NEGOTIATOR
    Born in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Ashrawi was an English professor when she became a familiar face on television during the first Palestinian uprising of the late 1980s, advocating her people’s quest for statehood.
    She was catapulted onto the international arena when Yasser Arafat chose her as the spokeswoman for the Palestinian delegation to the first public face-to-face talks between Palestinians, Israelis and Arab nations brokered by the United States and Russia at the Madrid Conference in 1991.
    Ashrawi said she did not find “locking horns” with Israelis especially difficult, but that it took a while to “gain the respect, albeit the grudging respect, of the men with whom you work.”
    She recalled her early days of activism, saying she was beaten by Israeli soldiers at protests where she feared for her life, years before coming face-to-face with Israeli officials at the negotiating table.
    Ashrawi has been veiled in her criticism of the Palestinian leadership but indicated that even as a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee, she felt marginalised.
    When she quit, Palestinian political analyst Nour Odeh was among those who praised Ashrawi for her contribution, calling her an “inspirational, powerful and grand woman.”    Others have been more critical, suggesting Ashrawi could have done more at an earlier stage to help women rise through the political hierarchy.
    Ashrawi said her generation faced “real difficulty” opening up a male-dominated world.    “The battle is not to gain the individual respect, but to open up the vista for other women.    That’s where the real test is,” she said.
    “The worst thing for me is to be in a position where you feel you’re not making a difference, where you are not in a position where you can really affect change,” said Ashrawi.
    “Whatever you do, you have to make a difference.”
(Editing by Janet Lawrence)

2/16/2021 Israel Moves To Buy F-35 Jets, KC-46 Refueling Planes, Munitions: Official by Dan Williams
FILE PHOTO: Boeing's KC-46 aerial refueling tanker conducts receiver compatibility tests with a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III from
Joint Base Lewis-McChord, in Seattle, Washington, U.S., July 12, 2016. Christopher Okula/ U.S. Air Force/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo/File Photo
    JERUSALEM/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An Israeli ministerial committee approved the purchase of new jets, aircraft and munitions from U.S. companies, an Israeli official said on Tuesday, in a deal that would be worth billions of dollars.
    “A ministerial procurement committee has approved the purchase of a new F-35 squadron, four new refueling planes, and a large quantity of munitions,” the official said on condition of anonymity to discuss matters still under negotiation.
    It would be the first Foreign Military Sale to Israel announced under the new administration of President Joe Biden.    Since sales take months to process, the genesis of the deals likely dates back to the Trump Administration.
    Israel has been considering the purchase of KC-46 refueling planes made by Boeing Co for some time and has also been eyeing an additional squadron of 24 or 25 F-35s, which are made by Lockheed Martin.
    The Biden Administration temporarily paused some pending arms sales to U.S. allies like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in order to review them.
    Although the Israelis have approved the purchase, the U.S. Congress requires notification of major weapons sales before a contract can be signed.
(Reporting by Dan Williams in Jerusalem and Mike Stone in Washington, D.C.; Editing by Dan Grebler)

2/16/2021 Psaki: Biden Will Call Israel’s Netanyahu ‘Soon,’ U.S. Will Recalibrate Ties With Saudi Arabia by OAN Newsroom
Joe Biden walked on the South Lawn of the White House to board Marine One after speaking with
reporters, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
    The Biden administration seems to be distancing itself from foreign allies.    Speaking during Tuesday’s press conference, White House press secretary Jen Psaki dodged questions on when Joe Biden will reach out to his counterparts in Israel and Saudi Arabia.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki spoke during a press briefing at the White House,
Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
    This came amid accusations Biden is “snubbing” allies that once had friendly ties with the U.S. under the Trump administration.
    Although there is no set date on a call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Psaki assured the U.S. is still in communication with Israel.
    “Israel, of course, an ally.    Israel is a country where we have an important strategic security relationship and our team is fully engaged, not at the at the head of state level quite yet, but very soon,” Psaki stated.    “But our team is fully engaged, having constant conversations at many levels with the Israelis.”
    In the meantime, Psaki said the White House is looking to recalibrate” relations with Saudi Arabia, adding it will be a shift from President Trump’s approach.
[SORRY ISRAEL AND SAUDI ARABIA SINCE BIDEN HAD TO GO AROUND THE WORLD TO GO WHERE THE MONEY IS AND TO COVER UP SOME OF THE COUNTRIES THAT HUNTER WAS DOING HIS ILLEGAL BUSINESSES WITH SO WHATEVER HE IS GOING TO COME TO YOU ABOUT DO NOT LET HIM SCREW UP THE ABRAHAM ACCORD AS YOU CAN SEE ABOVE THEY WANT TO RECALIBRATE YOUR RELATIONS TO SAUDI ARABIA WHICH TO ME THEY WANT TO KEEP THEM FROM TOTALLY AGREE WHAT TRUMPS PLAN AND TO FOLLOW THE GLOBALIST SOCIALIST ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT'S POINT OF VIEW AND IN THE NEAR FUTURE YOU WILL KNOW WHO THE HE IS IN DANIEL 9:27 IN ONE FUTURE WEEK AND AS I STATE THE NEXT (3 1/2 or 72 YEARS X 52 WEEKS IS 3,744 DAYS) AND IN ONE OF THOSE WEEKS IT HAPPENS.].

2/17/2021 Biden Admin. Believed To Be Snubbing Middle Eastern Allies by OAN Newsroom
Joe Biden walked on the South Lawn of the White House to board Marine One after speaking with
reporters, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
    The Biden administration seems to be distancing itself from foreign allies. During a press briefing Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki dodged reporters who questioned when Joe Biden would reach out to leaders in Israel and Saudi Arabia.
    This comes amid accusations Biden is “snubbing” countries that had friendly ties with the U.S. during the Trump administration.    Although there is no set date on a call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Psaki assured the public the U.S. is still in communication with Israel.
    “Israel, of course, an ally. Israel is a country where we have an important strategic security relationship and our team is fully engaged, not at the at the head of state level quite yet, but very soon,” she stated.    “But our team is fully engaged, having constant conversations at many levels with the Israelis.”
    In the meantime, Psaki said the White House is looking to “re-calibrate” relations with Saudi Arabia.    Instead of speaking to the Crown Prince, however, the press secretary noted Biden plans to return to what she called “counterpart to counterpart engagement.”
    “The president’s counterpart is King Salman and I expect at an appropriate time he will have a conversation with him,” she stated.    “I don’t have a prediction on the timeline for that.”
    Psaki added, Saudi Arabia has critical self-defense needs and the U.S. will continue to work with the Saudis on this, even as it makes clear areas where they have disagreements and where they have concerns.

2/18/2021 Jerusalem’s Old City Turns White After Rare Snowfall by Stephen Farrell
People play with snow and take selfies during a snowy morning in Jerusalem, February 18, 2021. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Jerusalem woke up to the rare experience of seeing its holy sites covered in snow on Thursday, with the Dome of the Rock and the Western Wall under a layer of white after an overnight snowstorm.
    Before dawn children were up hurling snowballs at each other outside the Old City gates, as the faithful trudged to sites holy to Judaism, Islam and Christianity.
    The snowstorm began on Wednesday evening, leading the authorities to shut down public transportation and block the main road to Jerusalem.
    But as it eased overnight the municipality said it would resume services, and people even drove to see the spectacle.
    “We came in from Tel Aviv to play in the snow,” said Ben Miller.    “It’s a rare occasion that we get snow in Jerusalem. The last time, I think, was 2013.”
(Reporting by Stephen Farrell; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

2/18/2021 Egypt’s Sisi Offers Support To Libya’s New PM
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi speaks during his meeting with Libyan Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibeh
at the Presidential Palace in Cairo, Egypt February 18, 2021. The Egyptian Presidency/Handout via REUTERS
    CAIRO (Reuters) – Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met incoming Libyan prime minister Abdulhamid Dbeibeh in Cairo on Thursday and offered his country’s support in achieving stability in its troubled neighbour,? ?the presidency said in a statement.?
    Egypt has welcomed the announcement of a new interim government – the latest U.N.-brokered effort to unite rival camps in east and west Libya – and is planning to reopen its embassy in the capital Tripoli.
    It had been one of the most prominent backers of eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar, seeing him as the best option for securing its border with Libya.    Haftar’s campaign to take control of Tripoli, in the west, crumbled in June.
    Sisi affirmed “Egypt’s full readiness to provide all its expertise and experience … in a way that contributes to putting Libya on the right track and preparing the country to move towards horizons of construction, development and stability,” the statement said.
    Egyptian intelligence sources and Western diplomats say Egypt’s attempts to work with Tripoli represents a recalibration of policy after the failure of Haftar’s campaign.
    After the meeting, Dbeibeh tweeted: “We look forward to a strategic relationship between the two brotherly countries.”
    Egypt closed its Tripoli embassy in 2014, the year when many foreign missions shut during an intensifying conflict that saw rival parallel governments set up in the chaos that followed the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi after four decades.
    Turkey, a regional rival of Egypt and military backer of west Libyan factions, reopened its embassy in the Libyan capital in 2017.    Dbeibeh also visited Turkey last week.
(Reporting by Mohamed Wali; Additional reporting by Tripoli bureau; Writing by Mahmoud Mourad; Editing by Alison Williams)

2/18/2021 Joe Biden Finally Calls Israeli PM Netanyahu, Both Agree To Further Peace Agreements With Arab Nations by OAN Newsroom
Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with labor leaders about the American Rescue Plan, the administration’s coronavirus response bill,
in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, on February 17, 2021. (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
    Joe Biden finally called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nearly a month after he took office.    According to reports, Biden made the call late Wednesday.
    The call lasted nearly an hour and the conversation was described as “warm and friendly.”    Biden reportedly said the U.S. will continue to support the normalization of relations between Israel and other Arab nations.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu attends a ceremony marking the 4,000,000th person to be vaccinated at Leumit Health Care
Services vaccination facility in Jerusalem on February 16, 2021. (Photo by ALEX KOLOMIENSKY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
    Both leaders said they will continue working together to strengthen the alliance between Israel and the U.S.
    “Only yesterday in my conversation with my friend Joe Biden,” Netanyahu said.    “We talked for a long time about many issues.”
    Biden also congratulated Netanyahu on his leadership through the pandemic.    The Prime Minister shot down rumors that Biden was seeking to distance himself from Israel and added he believes they will advance more peace agreements.
[NETANYAHU BEWARE OF WOLVES IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING WHAT IS SAID IS NOT ALWAYS WHAT THEY DO WHICH US IN AMERICA HAS ALREADY SEEN THEM DO THAT AND IN TIME THEY WILL TRY TO REVERSE OR CHANGE THE ABRAHAM ACCORD IN SOME WAY TO TAKE THE INFLUENCE OF TRUMP OUT OF IT AND THAT SHOULD ALERT YOU WHO YOU ARE REALLY DEALING WITH WHICH IS NO LONGER THE GREAT EAGLE WITH TWO WINGS PROTECTING YOU ANYMORE AND ALSO THE FAKE NEWS IN THE UNITED STATES IS NOT PROVIDING THE TRUTH AND IT IS THE REST OF US WHO ARE AWARE OF THE TRUTH WHO ARE WARNING YOU.].

2/19/2021 Biden Admin. Seeks To Rejoin 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal by OAN Newsroom
Joe Biden walked on the South Lawn of the White House after stepping off Marine One, Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
    The Biden administration announced its plans to open dialogue with Iran regarding America’s return to the 2015 nuclear deal.    On Friday, Joe Biden announced the U.S. is looking forward to coming to a diplomatic agreement in order to revive the deal.
    President Donald Trump famously withdrew from the deal in 2018, saying it failed to stop the development of ballistic missiles and handed Iran billions of dollars, used to fund terrorism across the Middle East.
    However, Biden signaled a willingness to engage with world leaders and Tehran in a bid to return the U.S. to the negotiation table.
    “We said we’re prepared to reengage in negotiations with the P5+1 on Iran’s nuclear program,” Biden stated.    “We must also address Iran’s destabilizing activities across the Middle East, and we’re going to work in close cooperation with our European and other partners as we proceed.”
    Biden’s statement came after Secretary of State Antony Blinken, along with his German, French and British counterparts said on Thursday that the U.S. would be “prepared to engage in discussions.”
WILMINGTON, DE – NOVEMBER 24: Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke on November 24, 2020
in Wilmington, Delaware. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
    The administration has already softened its stance on Iran in comparison with the last administration. Reports have said Biden formally rescinded the effort by President Trump to reimpose UN sanctions on Iran. It further pulled back the restrictions on domestic travel for Iranian officials working at the UN.
    On Thursday, State Department spokesman Ned Price said the U.S. was prepared to attend a meeting of the countries that signed the deal to discuss a diplomatic way forward on Iran’s nuclear program. He noted, while Tehran has already gone beyond what the deal allows in terms of limits on its nuclear program, the steps are “reversible.”
    “If Iran resumes its full compliance with the deal, we will do the same. Importantly, as you have also heard us say, that the deal for us, it is a floor. It’s not a ceiling,” Price said.    “We want to go beyond the 2015 deal, lengthen and strengthen it and build on it with follow-on arrangements to address other areas of concern when it comes to our relationship with Iran.”
    Unfortunately, Iran has indicated it will only backtrack on its progress if the U.S. “unconditionally lifts all sanctions,” a point made by the Iranian foreign minister.
    Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made similar comments during a statement on Wednesday.
    “We have heard many nice words and promises, which in practice have been broken and opposite actions have been taken,” Khamenei stated.    “    Words and promises are no good.    This time we want only action from the other side and we will also act.”
    Iran’s state media have already called the effort a “defeat for America.”
    One State Department official warned if the Biden team continues to roll back restrictions with only the hope of starting talks, Iran is “going to eat our lunch” in the negotiations.
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who recently praised a phone call he received from Biden, reiterated his government’s longtime stance against the deal hasn’t changed.    He noted Israel believes that going back to the old agreement will “pave Iran’s path to a nuclear arsenal.”
[WELL BIDEN YOU WOKE ISRAEL AND THE ARAB NATIONS UP TO YOUR LIES AND THEY WILL HOPEFULLY STRENGTHEN THEIR FORCES TO PROTECT THEMSELVES FROM IRAN AND YOU HAVE OPENED THE GATE FOR THE KING OF THE EAST TO TRY TO INFILTRATE THE WEST AGAIN.].

2/22/2021 U.S.’S Blinken Stresses Two-State Solution To Palestinian Conflict In Call With Israeli Minister
FILE PHOTO: An Israeli army post is seen next to a concrete wall inside the Israeli farming community of Netiv Haasara,
just outside Gaza Strip by the Israeli side of the Israel-Gaza border February 6, 2021 REUTERS/Amir Cohen
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told his Israeli counterpart on Monday that a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was best for the future of Israel, the U.S. State Department said.
    Blinken, in a call with Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, “emphasized the Biden administration’s belief that the two-state solution is the best way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state, living in peace alongside a viable and democratic Palestinian state,” the State Department said.
(Reporting by Tim Ahmann; Writing by Mohammad Zargham; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

2/23/2021 UAE Weapons Maker EDGE Wants In On F-35 Supply Chain by Alexander Cornwell
FILE PHOTO: Faisal Al Bannai, EDGE chief Executive is seen during an interview with Reuters in the International
Defence Exhibition, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates February 22, 2021. REUTERS/Khushnum Bhandari/File Photo
    ABU DHABI (Reuters) – United Arab Emirates’ state-owned weapons maker EDGE expects to be involved in the supply chain of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 war plane if the sale of U.S. planes to the Gulf Arab state goes ahead, its chief executive said on Tuesday.
    U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration is re-examining the sale of 50 F-35 stealth jets, 18 armed drones and other military equipment approved by former     President Donald Trump during his last days in office.
    “Any platform that is coming to the country, we are now getting heavily involved in this supply chain in whatever component that makes sense for the client and for us,” EDGE CEO Faisal al-Bannai said at Abu Dhabi’s Idex defence exhibition.
    EDGE, a $5 billion state defence conglomerate, could integrate subsystems, products and weapons, perform maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) work and also develop weapons such as missiles for the jet, he said.
    EDGE and Lockheed later announced in a statement they had reached a preliminary agreement to jointly “explore industrial participation opportunities across the UAE’s aerospace and defence industry.”
    The statement did not mention the F-35 or any other system.
    The Gulf state, one of Washington’s closest Middle Eastern allies, was promised a chance to buy the war planes when it established formal ties with Israel last year.
    EDGE was in “advanced discussion” with several Israeli defence companies about jointly funding and developing missiles and unmanned platforms, Bannai said without identifying the firms.
    “Quite soon there will be announcements,” he said.
    It is not clear when Washington will complete its review, though even if approved the first F-35 is not expected to be delivered for several years.
    “Every country has their own process.    I think they will go through their process and come to what is a right decision for them,” Bannai said of the U.S. review.
    The UAE’s Ambassador to Washington Yousef al-Otaiba has said he is confident the sale would go through.
    The jets are a major component of a $23 billion sale of high-tech armaments from General Atomics, Lockheed Martin Corp and Raytheon Technologies Corp to the UAE.
    The F-35, the world’s most advanced war plane, would give the UAE a “huge deterrence capability” against regional foe Iran, an Arab diplomat in the Gulf told Reuters.
    “The F-35 gives a lot of control over the Gulf skies.    It’s a big thing.    It’s a game changer for the UAE,” the diplomat said.
    EDGE, tasked with supplying advanced weapons to the UAE armed forces, is focused on developing drones, unmanned vehicles, smart weapons and electronic warfare equipment rather than conventional weaponry.
    “We are a small country in size and population … we are extremely focused on deploying more smarter technology that can apply a ‘force multiplier’ to our army,” Bannai said.
    EDGE is developing a directed energy system, to be unveiled next year, that can be used against aerial and land threats.
    EDGE announced on Tuesday it would supply Rheinmetall’s Oerlikon Skynex air defence system with a short-range interceptor missile system known as SkyKnight.
(Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Susan Fenton)

2/23/2021 Israel To Debate Iran With Biden ‘Below Radar’ For Now, Radio Says
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu look at each other as
they deliver joint statements during their meeting in Jerusalem March 9, 2016. REUTERS/Debbie Hill/Pool/File Photo
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel will address disputes with the United States over Iran “below the radar” for now, a top Israeli broadcaster said on Tuesday, citing sources involved in a strategising session convened by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
    The Netanyahu government has decided to avoid public spats with U.S. President Joe Biden over his desire to return to a 2015 Iran nuclear deal, but that approach could change depending on the actions of the Biden administration, Army Radio added.
    Netanyahu’s office declined comment.
    The conservative premier is seeking a fifth term in a March 23 election.    Unlike previous campaigns, he has not played up foreign policy – reflecting perhaps a change of fortune since Biden, a Democrat, succeeded Republican president Donald Trump, a vocal ally of Netanyahu.
    On Monday, Netanyahu held a first meeting about Iran with Defence Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, his centrist political rivals, in what officials said was an effort to present a united Israeli front.
    Under the 2015 deal with world powers, Iran agreed to limit its enrichment potential – a possible pathway to atomic bombs – in exchange for a lifting of most sanctions.    Netanyahu upset then-U.S. President Barack Obama, whom Biden served as vice president, by addressing Congress as part of vigorous advocacy against the deal.
    Trump quit the deal in 2018, deeming it one-sided in Iran’s favour.    Iran began breaching the deal the 2019 and has recently stepped up violations.
    The Biden administration announced on Thursday that it was ready to talk to Tehran about a mutual return to compliance with the agreement.    A person familiar with the matter said Israel was informed in advance.
    Israel said in a statement on Friday it was “in close contact” with Washington on the issue and asserted that a return to the 2015 deal would “pave Iran’s path to a nuclear arsenal
    Israel is reputed to have the Middle East’s only atomic arsenal but neither confirms nor denies this under a “strategic ambiguity” policy to deter Arab and Iranian adversaries.
    Tehran, which denies seeking the bomb, has so far been cool to the the Biden administration’s overture.
(Writing by Dan Williams, Editing by William Maclean)

2/23/2021 Israel Sharing Some COVID Vaccines With Palestinians, Honduras, Czech Republic by Dan Williams
FILE PHOTO: Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein attend the arrival of a plane with a shipment of Pfizer-BioNTech
coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines, at Ben Gurion airport, near the city of Lod, Israel, January 10, 2021. Motti Millrod/Pool via REUTERS
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel said on Tuesday it was giving small amounts of surplus COVID-19 vaccines to Palestinian-run territories as well as to several countries.
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not name which countries in a statement announcing the move.
    But the government of Guatemala – which opened its Israel embassy in Jerusalem last year – said it was expecting to receive 5,000 doses from Israel on Thursday.
    The government of Honduras – which said last year it intended to move its Israel embassy to Jerusalem – said it was expecting 5,000 doses from Israel. The country has yet to receive any doses.
    The Czech Republic said it had received a small Israeli shipment.    The country in December said it would add a diplomatic presence to its Jerusalem office, a move short of opening a full embassy in the city.
    Israel has been importing Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna Inc vaccines.    It has administered at least one Pfizer dose to almost 50% of its 9 million population in one of the world’s swiftest campaigns. (Graphic: https://tmsnrt.rs/34pvUyi)
    This month the Palestinians received an initial shipment of Moderna doses from Israel, helping kick off a limited vaccination programme in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza.
    While Israel has been vaccinating Palestinians in East Jerusalem, it had come under foreign criticism for not extending its campaign to the other Palestinian areas.
    The vaccines due for Honduras will be administered to health workers at risk of exposure, and a Honduran Air Force plane is in Israel to transport them, government spokesman Carlos Madero said.
    The Central American country last year followed the United States in signalling its intention to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a diplomatic gain for Israel.
    Israel regards all of Jerusalem as its capital, although that is not recognised by most countries.    Palestinians seek East Jerusalem, which Israel captured along with the West Bank and Gaza in the 1967 Middle East War, as the capital of a future independent state.
    The Czech Republic has received several thousand Moderna doses from Israel, Czech Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek told reporters on Tuesday.
    The donation comes after the European Union country’s president and premier sent letters to Israel requesting vaccine help.
    Some of Netanyahu’s competitors in a March 23 election criticized the donations, saying the premier did not consult with the public or even his own cabinet before making them.
    Netanyahu “thinks he is running a kingdom and not a state.    Such a move requires discussion and approval,” Benny Gantz, Netanyahu’s centrist coalition partner and now election competitor, wrote on Twitter.
    In an interview with Israel’s Army Radio, Finance Minister Israel Katz, a member of Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party, said he was unaware of the donations. (Reporting by Dan Williams; Additional reporting by Robert Muller in Prague, Gustavo Palencia in Tegucigalpa and Sofia Menchu in Guatemala City; Writing by Rami Ayyub and Dan Williams; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Lisa Shumaker)

2/23/2021 Egypt And Qatar Hold First Meeting Since Accord Ending Gulf Row
FILE PHOTO: Qatari foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, is pictured at the
presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon February 9, 2021. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir
    DUBAI (Reuters) – Delegations from Qatar and Egypt met in Kuwait on Tuesday for the first time since an agreement last month to end a rift, both countries’ foreign ministries said, in a further push to bury a Gulf Arab diplomatic feud with repercussions around the Middle East.
    Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt agreed in January at a summit in Saudi’s al-Ula to restore diplomatic, trade and travel ties with Doha, which had been severed in 2017 over accusations that Qatar supported terrorism, a charge it denies.
    Qatar on Monday similarly met a delegation from the United Arab Emirates in Kuwait for their first bilateral talks.
    “The two sides welcomed measures each has taken since signing the al-Ula statement, as a step on the path of building confidence between the two fraternal countries,” the statement said.
    Since the agreement, air and travel links have resumed between Qatar and the four states.    Each state is to arrange bilateral talks with Qatar to resolve individual issues.
    Bahrain’s foreign ministry said last month it had written to Qatar inviting Doha to send a delegation to Bahrain to start bilateral talks to implement the al-Ula agreement.    Qatar has not yet responded, Bahrain’s foreign minister has said.
    Washington has strong ties with all the states involved, including Qatar which hosts the largest U.S. military base in the region, and has seen the rift as a threat to efforts to contain Iran.    It has pushed for a united Gulf front.
    The row also rattled Arab power politics in the region, where Gulf states have used their financial and political clout to influence events in Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
(Writing by Lisa Barrington, Editing by William Maclean and Jonathan Oatis)
2/25/2021 Israel’s Netanyahu Sets April Target For Reopening Economy
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks next to the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis
(unseen) after their meeting in the PM's office in Jerusalem February 8, 2021. Menahem Kahana/Pool via REUTERS
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel aims to reopen its economy by April 5 after having vaccinated all its eligible population and is in talks with vaccine makers Pfizer and Moderna to open facilities in the country, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday.
    Israel has been importing Pfizer-BioNTech PFE.N, BNTX.O and Moderna Inc MRNA.O vaccines.    It has administered at least one Pfizer dose to almost 50% of its 9 million population so far in one of the world’s swiftest campaigns. (Graphic: https://tmsnrt.rs/34pvUyi)
    On Sunday, Israel reopened many businesses, including street shops and malls though with some leisure facilities being open only to people immunised by vaccine or by having recovered from COVID-19.    Many school children have returned to class but middle-school pupils are still home-learning, while restaurants are allowed to provide take-out and deliveries only.
    Speaking to reporters in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu said all eligible Israelis, 16 years of age and up, were expected to have been inoculated by the end of March, allowing a full reopening of the economy by April 5.
    Seeking re-election in a March 23 ballot, Netanyahu also said he was in talks with the heads of Pfizer and Moderna.    “We are going to establish two factories here that will make Israel part of the global vaccine supply chain,” he said.
    Netanyahu said one would manufacture vials for Moderna and the other would be a research and development centre for Pfizer.    There was no immediate comment from either company.
    On Tuesday Israel said it was giving small amounts of surplus COVID-19 vaccines to Palestinian-run territories as well as to several countries.
    This month the Palestinians received an initial shipment of Moderna doses from Israel, helping to kick off a limited vaccination programme in Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank.    While Israel has been vaccinating Palestinians in East Jerusalem, it had come under foreign criticism for not extending its campaign to the other Palestinian areas.
(This story corrects to remove ‘5’ from 5th paragraph to show Netanyahu said by April, not April 5.)
(Reporting by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

2/26/2021 Exclusive: Biden Team Considering A Halt To ‘Offensive’ Arms Sales For Saudis by Patricia Zengerle and Mike Stone
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks as he commemorates the 50 millionth coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination with a number
of vaccine recipients in the South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 25, 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden’s administration is considering the cancellation of arms deals with Saudi Arabia that pose human rights concerns while limiting future military sales to “defensive” weapons, as it reassesses it relationship with the kingdom.
    Four sources familiar with the administration’s thinking said that after pausing half a billion dollars in arms deals with Saudi Arabia out of concern over casualties in Yemen earlier this year, officials are assessing the equipment and training included in recent sales to determine what can be considered defensive.    Those deals would be allowed.
    A State Department spokesperson said, “Our focus is on ending the conflict in Yemen even as we ensure Saudi Arabia has everything it needs to defend its territory and its people,” adding Biden has pledged to end U.S. military support for the military campaign against the Houthis.
    The Biden administration is recalibrating its relationship with Saudi Arabia, a country with which it has severe human rights concerns but which is also one of Washington’s closest U.S. allies in countering the threat posed by Iran.
    “They’re trying to figure out where do you draw the lines between offensive weapons and defensive stuff,” said one congressional aide familiar with the issue, describing the process.    The Biden administration is expected as soon as Friday to release a sensitive U.S. intelligence report on the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S. resident who wrote for The Washington Post.
    The report finds that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the country’s de factor ruler, approved the killing, U.S. officials said.
    Sales of products deemed defensive – like Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile defense systems made by Lockheed Martin or Patriot missile defense systems made by Lockheed and Raytheon – would still be allowed under such the new policy.    But it would end big-ticket deals — for products such as precision-guided munitions (PGM) and small-diameter bombs — like those brokered under former President Donald Trump in the face of strong objections from members of Congress.    After he lost the Nov. 3 presidential election, Trump’s State Department kept approving weapons sales that could be considered offensive.
    It cleared the sale of Boeing Co GBU-39 small diameter bombs worth some $290 million to Saudi Arabia.    The Trump administration also gave its blessing to the sale to Riyadh of 7500 Raytheon PGMs for nearly $480 million.
EMIRATES AFFECTED
    The weapons review also affects $23 billion of deals with the United Arab Emirates, another country that has been an important U.S. partner.
    On Jan. 20, the day that Trump left office and Biden became president, the UAE signed agreements with the outgoing administration to buy up to 50 F-35 jets, 18 armed drones and other defense equipment in a deal worth $23 billion.
    That sale, which the Trump administration justified as allowing the UAE to deter Iranian “threats,” is also among those being reviewed by the Biden administration.
    Congress had voted to block the UAE deal out of concern that it was being rushed through without sufficient assurances that the equipment would not fall into the wrong hands, but the Republican-controlled Senate did not override his veto.
    U.S. lawmakers said they would be more comfortable with limits on offensive weapons, with many vehemently opposed to the continued massive sales of munitions that they said have contributed to the humanitarian disaster in Yemen.br>     “We should continue to sell military equipment to our partners in the Gulf, but we should make sure that these really are truly defensive arms,” Democratic Senator     Chris Murphy said in a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations this week.
    Murphy, who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Middle East subcommittee, said sales of items like armed Reaper drones to the UAE could fuel a regional arms race.
    While Trump saw weapons sales as a way to create American jobs, Biden appears to revert to a stance that weighs human rights abuses more seriously than under the Trump presidency, a defense industry executive said.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle and Mike Stone; Editing by Chris Sanders and Alistair Bell)

3/2/2021 Israeli PM, First UAE Ambassador Meet For First Time, Discuss Projects by OAN Newsroom
TOPSHOT – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended a cabinet meeting of the new government at Chagall State Hall
in the Knesset (Israeli parliament) in Jerusalem on May 24, 2020. (Photo by ABIR SULTAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the United Arab Emirates’ first ambassador to Israel met for the first time.    Netanyahu and Mohamed Al Khaja met in Jerusalem on Tuesday, one day after the envoy arrived in the country to begin his new role.
    Their meeting came after Israel and the UAE agreed to normalize relations under agreements brokered by the Trump administration.    The pair reportedly had a warm meeting, with the two discussing a range of bilateral and regional projects.     “We are making history, and making history requires wisdom, courage and confidence,” Al Khaja stated.
    Netanyahu added, “and I would say competence too. Competence is also important, but we have all that in abundance so you’re going to have your hands full and we’re going to make sure you do.”
    Since August, the U.S. has helped restore diplomatic ties between Israel, the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.

3/2/2021 Israel Moving To Protect Hundreds Of Personnel Against ICC Probe by Dan Williams
Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz speaks to military personnel during a tour of the
Gaza border area, in southern Israel March 2, 2021. REUTERS/Dan Williams
    KEREM SHALOM, Israel (Reuters) – Israel estimates that hundreds of its citizens might be subject to war crimes probes by the International Criminal Court, whose jurisdiction it rejects, and is working on how to protect them, the Defence Minister said on Tuesday.
    Including himself among Israelis who could be threatened with arrest, Benny Gantz told Reuters: “I was never afraid to go across enemy lines, I will continue to stand wherever I have to.”
    The Hague-based tribunal ruled last month that it has jurisdiction over the occupied West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.    The ruling could lead to criminal investigations of Israel and of Palestinian militant groups including Hamas.
    Israel is not a member of the court and rejects its jurisdiction, a position backed by its close ally the United States.    Palestinians have welcomed the ruling as a chance for justice for victims of Israeli attacks.
    In an interview on Israel’s fortified border with Gaza, Gantz, who also holds Israel’s justice portfolio, called the ruling a “negative development” and added: “We have our own teams working in different (places) to try (and) influence (the ICC).”
    Gantz was the military’s chief of staff during a 2014 war between Israel and militants in Hamas-controlled Gaza.    The ICC has pointed to that conflict as a potential issue to be probed.
    Asked by Reuters how many Israelis, including himself, might expect to be subject to arrest should the probe lead to criminal investigations, Gantz said: “I guess several hundred, but we will take care of everybody.”
    Gantz called that “an estimate,” declining to say if Israel had drawn up a list of officials.    Israel will provide legal assistance to any implicated Israelis and will give them legal warnings regarding travel if necessary, Gantz said.
    Asked if he himself might change his travel plans in light of the ICC probe, Gantz said: “So far, no.”
(Writing by Rami Ayyub; editing by Jeffrey Heller and Philippa Fletcher)

3/2/2021 Israeli Defence Chief Sees ‘Special Security Arrangement’ With Gulf States by Dan Williams
Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz wears a face mask as he looks out from the window of a helicopter
during a tour of the Gaza border area, southern Israel March 2, 2021. REUTERS/Dan Williams
    KEREM SHALOM, Israel (Reuters) – Israel’s defence minister said on Tuesday it intends to develop a “special security arrangement” with new Gulf Arab allies, who share common concerns about Iran.
    The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain established formal relations with Israel last year.
    As part of their U.S.-backed rapprochement, Israel and the UAE have proposed defence and military cooperation.    The UAE’s first ambassador to Israel met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday, a day after taking up his post.
    On a visit to an Israel-Gaza border crossing, Defence Minister Benny Gantz played down a report by public radio Kan that Israel was considering a defence agreement with Gulf Arab countries, but said security ties would be pursued.
    “I don’t think it’s going to be a defence pact but we are going to develop defence relations with every country that we have relations with,” Gantz told Reuters.
    “We have this process of setting up (a) special security arrangement, and within this arrangement we can continue and develop our relations,” he said.    Gantz declined to go into details on what such an arrangement would entail.
    He signalled that Israel had no opposition to the sale, approved during former U.S. President Donald Trump’s last days in office, of 50 Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth jets to the UAE.    The deal is now under review by U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration.
    Asked about the Israeli government’s view of the sale, Gantz said Israel’s “qualitative military edge” must be preserved by the United States, adding that the advanced warplane was already in the country’s arsenal.
    In Jerusalem, Netanyahu met UAE ambassador Mohamed Al Khaja at the prime minister’s office and said in welcoming remarks: “We’re changing the Middle East.    We’re changing the world.”
    An Israeli statement said the two discussed prospects for developing regional and bilateral projects in a broad range of fields.    Israel opened an embassy in Abu Dhabi in January.
    Palestinians have been critical of the rapprochement, worried that their own unmet goal of statehood in Israeli-occupied territory might be sidelined.
(Writing by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Mark Heinrich)

3/4/2021 Netanyahu Calls ICC War-Crimes Decision ‘Outrageous’, Vows To Fight It Everywhere
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a visit to Leumit Health Care Services vaccination facility in
Jerusalem where he meets the 4,000,000 person who had been vaccinated in Israel, February 16, 2021. Alex Kolomoisky/Pool via REUTERS
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned as “outrageous” on Thursday a decision by the International Criminal Court prosecutor to formally investigate alleged war crimes in the Palestinian territories.
    “I am going to fight this in every place,” he told Fox News.
(Reporting by Lisa Lambert)

3/10/2021 Netanyahu To Visit UAE Thursday, May Meet Saudi Crown Prince: Israel’s Kan
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu adjusts his mask during a news conference after his meeting with the Israeli citizen
no. 5,000,000 to get the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine, in Tel Aviv, Israel, March 8, 2021. Miriam Alster/Pool via REUTERS
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will visit the United Arab Emirates on Thursday and may meet the Saudi crown prince there in an opportunity to showcase new Gulf ties before a closely contested election in Israel, its public broadcaster Kan said.
    The report was not immediately confirmed by Netanyahu’s office or by the UAE.    Kan said he would hold talks with Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan and that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman might join them.
    Israel established formal relations with the UAE and Bahrain last September – only its third and fourth normalisation deals with Arab states in over 70 years – as part of a U.S.-brokered agreement. The three countries share common concerns about Iran.
    Saudi Arabia, a Gulf powerhouse and Islam’s birthplace, encouraged the rapprochement but has stopped short of recognising Israel itself.
    It was not immediately clear if Netanyahu, on what Israeli media said would be a one-day visit, would also go to Bahrain, as he had planned to do during a previously scheduled one-day trip to the Gulf in February which he postponed due to the coronavirus crisis.
    Netanyahu, largely running in politically polarised Israel’s fourth election in two years on his role in its rapid COVID-19 vaccination programme, has also made his drive to forge new relations in the Gulf region a centrepiece of his campaign.
    Israeli tourists and business executives flocked to the UAE before a national lockdown in Israel largely closed its main international airport, in Tel Aviv, in late January.    Restrictions were eased on Sunday.
    In an interview with Israeli Army Radio on Tuesday, Netanyahu called on voters to re-elect him on March 23 so that he could achieve “more peace agreements” in the area, while ensuring that Iran “doesn’t arm itself with nuclear weapons.”
    Iran denies its nuclear programme is aimed at developing atomic weaponry.
(Reporting by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Rami Ayyub, Mark Heinrich and Nick Macfie)

3/10/2021 U.S. And Israel To Hold Consultative Group Meeting Thursday: White House
FILE PHOTO: White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan delivers remarks during a press briefing
inside the White House in Washington, U.S., February 4, 2021. REUTERS/Tom Brenner
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. and Israel will hold its first virtual strategic consultative group meeting on March 11, the White House announced on Wednesday.     The meeting will be led by White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Israeli National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat, and will focus on regional issues, the statement added.
(Reporting by Pete Schroeder)

3/11/2021 Israel Aerospace, UAE Weapons Maker Team Up On Anti-Drone Tech
FILE PHOTO: The logo of state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the country's biggest defence contractor, is seen at their offices next
to Ben Gurion International airport, near Or Yehuda, Israel February 27, 2017. Picture taken February 27, 2017. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) said on Thursday it would jointly develop an advanced drone defence system with the United Arab Emirates’ state-owned weapons maker EDGE.
    Israel and the UAE formalised relations last year, brought closer by commercial interests and concern over Iran.
    State-owned IAI, a major Israeli defence firm, said in a statement that the companies will develop a Counter-Unmanned Aircraft System “tailored to the UAE market, with wider ranging benefits for the MENA region and beyond.”
    Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement, which recently stepped up cross-border missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia, has in the past threatened to launch strikes on the UAE.
    The UAE had been Riyadh’s main partner in the Saudi-led military coalition that intervened in Yemen in March 2015 against the group, but a senior Emirati official said in February that it had ended its military involvement in Yemen last October.
    The war has been in a military stalemate for years and in 2019 the UAE scaled down its presence in Yemen following attacks that year on tankers in Gulf waters, including off its shores.
    The UAE already has an advanced anti-missile interception system, the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defences (THAAD).
    EDGE, tasked with supplying advanced weapons to the UAE armed forces, is focused on developing drones, unmanned vehicles, smart weapons and electronic warfare equipment rather than conventional weaponry.
(Writing by Dan Williams and Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Alexander Smith and Jan Harvey)

3/11/2021 Israel Says Netanyahu’s First UAE Visit Postponed, Stirs Rights Spat With Jordan by Dan Williams and Suleiman Al-Khalidi
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the media after his meeting with the Israeli citizen no. 5,000,000 to get
the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine, in Tel Aviv, Israel, March 8, 2021. Miriam Alster/Pool via REUTERS
    JERUSALEM/AMMAN (Reuters) – An announcement by Israel that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had postponed a first visit to the United Arab Emirates on Thursday due to a lag in Jordanian overflight rights drew a rare rebuke from Amman over a contested Jerusalem holy site.
    An Abu Dhabi appearance would have allowed Netanyahu to put his imprimatur on Israel-UAE ties that were formalised last year – a foreign policy flourish as he seeks re-election on March 23.
    The UAE had not formally confirmed the planned visit, which leaked to Israeli media on Wednesday.    According to a statement issued by Netanyahu’s office, he and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan agreed to reschedule.
    A hold-up in overflight permission from Amman for Netanyahu’s plane “apparently” stemmed from the cancellation of a visit by Jordanian Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah to Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa mosque compound on Wednesday over a dispute regarding security arrangements at the site, the statement said.
    Permission eventually came through but too late for Netanyahu’s itinerary, which included meeting his visiting Hungarian and Czech counterparts later on Thursday, it said.
    Jordanian officials were not immediately available for comment on the overflight issue.    But Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi confirmed the crown prince’s cancelled al Aqsa visit – which would have been the first there by Jordan’s future king.
    State TV quoted Safadi as saying Israeli authorities had tried to change a programme agreed with Amman in a manner that it deemed harmful to Palestinian and Muslim rights of worship.
    “The crown prince did not want to allow Israel to impose restrictions on Muslims,” Safadi was quoted as saying.
    Jordan’s ruling Hashemite dynasty is the custodian of the Al Aqsa compound, an icon of the Palestinian statehood struggle and the third holiest site in Islam.    Israel, which made peace with Jordan in 1994, maintains security control around the site, which Jews revere as the vestige of their two ancient temples.
    Jordan says Israel has no sovereign rights over the compound and has long chafed at organised visits there by religious Jews.
    Netanyahu had been due to visit the UAE and Bahrain – which also has newly established ties with Israel – last month but postponed that trip citing COVID-19 travel restrictions.
(Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Mark Heinrich)

3/12/2021 U.S., Israel Meet To Discuss Iran Nuclear Deal by OAN Newsroom
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, second from right, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, attend a virtual meeting with President Joe Biden, right,
and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Monday, March 1, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    The U.S. and Israel held their first strategic consultative group meeting regarding Iran.    The meeting Thursday came after Biden and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken received back lash from Israeli officials for their push to rejoin the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal.
    The meeting was led by National Security adviser Jake Sullivan for the first round of discussions amid Biden’s hopes of reviving the 2015 nuclear deal without alienating Israel.
    “We feel the best path forward is a diplomatic path and that’s why we are working with our European partners to see what is possible along that front,” stated White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.    “We also believe that it’s an opportunity to expand on the JCPOA and work to address additional concerns we have in the region.”
    However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the deal is dangerous and he does not agree with the Biden administration’s goal of negotiating with Iran.    President Trump pulled the out of the deal after Obama went against Israel and joined the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action back in 2015.
    “From the Israeli point of view, it’s very clear it’s a very bad agreement, which allowed the Iranians to go on with their enrichment system,” stated Yaakov Amidror of the Jewish Institute for National Security of America.    “Now they have much better synthesis than they had before the agreement.”
    Blinken has remained vague in comments regarding the Biden administration’s plan of action with Iran, but pledged to formally consult with Congress prior to lifting sanctions on Iran.    Meanwhile, Psaki said the White House will consistently brief Israel on the nations plans to move forward with Iran if negotiations with the regime move forward.

3/15/2021 Kosovo opens embassy to Israel in Jerusalem
    PRISTINA, Kosovo – Kosovo’s Foreign Ministry said Sunday it has opened its embassy to Israel in the disputed city of Jerusalem.    A statement said the move was made after the establishment of diplomatic ties with Israel on Feb. 1 and a Kosovo-Serbia summit held at the White House in September.    Palestinians claim east Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war and later annexed, as the capital of a future state.
    Kosovo becomes the first European country and Muslim-majority one to establish its embassy in Jerusalem.

3/19/2021 Palestinian Killed By Israeli Troops During Clashes: Witness
FILE PHOTO: A man holds a Palestinian flag stained with blood of a mortally wounded Palestinian during a protest against
Israeli settlements, in Beit Dajan in the Israeli-occupied West Bank March 19, 2021. REUTERS/Raneen Sawafta
    BEIT DAJAN, West Bank (Reuters) – Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian on Friday as demonstrators protesting against Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank hurled rocks at soldiers, a Reuters witness said.
    The man was shot in the head during a protest near the villlage of Beit Dajan, near Nablus, and was taken to a hospital where he later died, the Palestinian health ministry said.
    The Israeli military said it was examining the incident.
    A Reuters photographer said a group of Palestinians threw stones at two Israeli soldiers posted at the protest, and the soldiers then opened fire.
    The Israeli military said that “dozens of Palestinian rioters hurled rocks” at its troops, who “responded with riot dispersal means and by firing into the air.”
    “We are aware of reports regarding a Palestinian casualty.    The cause of the injury is still unknown.    The incident is being examined,” it said.
    Palestinians want to establish a state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, territories Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.
    The protest in Beit Dajan, near the city of Nablus, was a weekly demonstration against Israel’s West Bank settlements.
    The Palestinians, who have limited self-rule in the West Bank, say Israel’s settlements there will deny them a viable state.    Most countries view the settlements as illegal under international law.
    Israel disputes this, citing security needs as well as biblical and historical ties to the land. Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed in 2014.
(Reporting by Raneen Sawafta in Beit Dajan, Additional reporting by Ali Sawafta in Ramallah, Writing by Rami Ayyub, Editing by Timothy Heritage and Angus MacSwan)

3/24/2021 Netanyahu’s Future Uncertain Amid Israeli Election Stalemate by Ari Rabinovitch and Rami Ayyub
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a speech to supporters following the announcement of exit polls
in Israel's general election at his Likud party headquarters in Jerusalem March 24, 2021. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s prospects for another term looked uncertain on Wednesday after partial results from a national election projected no clear path to victory.
Not even his stewardship of Israel’s world-beating COVID-19 vaccination rollout – a central pillar of his campaign – proved enough for Netanyahu to break through the political deadlock that has seen four elections in two years.
    With about 88% of votes counted it appeared that Netanyahu, 71, would have to cobble together a coalition from a combination of right-wing allies, ultra-Orthodox parties, ultra-nationalists, Arabs and defectors to secure another term.
    Should a hard-right government emerge, it would likely be at loggerheads with the Democratic administration of U.S. President Joe Biden over issues such as Palestinian statehood and U.S. engagement with Israel’s arch-enemy Iran over its nuclear programme.
    Some centre-left parties made a better showing than expected after highlighting longstanding corruption allegations against Netanyahu – which he denies – and accusing him of mishandling the early months of the pandemic.
    But like Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc it fell short of a governing majority in the 120-member parliament.    And it has a less clear route to forming a coalition, having to unite parties from different wings of the political spectrum.
    Immediately after polls closed on Tuesday, Netanyahu claimed victory and said he hoped to form a “stable right-wing government.”    But as first results trickled in and seemed to shift against him, he did not repeat the claim in his televised post-election speech.
    One potential kingmaker is Naftali Bennett, 48, a former defence minister who favours annexing parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
    Bennett’s hawkish Yamina party is projected to win seven seats.    He remained non-committal after the vote, saying only he would do “what is good for Israel.”
    Yohanan Plesner, head of the Israel Democracy Institute, predicted political paralysis and said a fifth national election was possible.
    “It seems quite clear that Israelis are split right down the middle with respect to the main question that divides Israeli politics, which is pro and against Mr Netanyahu,” he said.
    “The period of uncertainty, deadlock and paralysis is expected to accompany us for the foreseeable future.”
    Visting Tubas in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on Wednesday, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said the outcome “does not really give any hope for peace” and that the Israeli political system had shifted to the right.
    “What is needed really from the future prime minister of Israel is somebody who is ready to stand up and say that he is ready to end occupation,” Shtayyeh told Reuters.    “We have to break this status quo.”
    Netanyahu has sealed historic deals with several Arab nations to normalise ties, but Israel and the Palestinians have not held direct negotiations since 2014, when peace talks broke down.    Each side accuses the other of intransigence over core issues such as Jerusalem and Jewish settlements.
HORSE-TRADING
    Tuesday’s vote followed three inconclusive elections in which neither Netanyahu nor his centre-left opponents won a stable majority in the 120-seat parliament.
    Netanyahu’s Likud is now projected to emerge as the largest party with 30 seats, down from 36.    The opposition centrist party Yesh Atid, headed by Yair Lapid, is set to be second with 18 seats.
    Lapid, 57, had hoped there would be enough parties in the anti-Netanyahu bloc to oust the veteran premier, in power since 2009.
    It usually falls to the biggest party to try to form a government, and that could take weeks of back-room dealings.
    Netanyahu may have to woo Jewish religious allies as well as far-rightists and possibly even the the United Arab List (UAL), an Islamist party forecast to win five seats.
    UAL leader Mansour Abbas, 46, has advocated working with Netanyahu to address the needs of Israel’s 21% Arab minority – a position rejected by most Arabs.
    “We are not in anyone’s pocket.    We are prepared to engage with both sides (Netanyahu and Lapid),” Abbas told Tel Aviv radio station 103 FM.    Israeli media reported that he had agreed to meet Lapid later this week.
    Israel’s shekel was flat against the dollar and stocks slipped on Wednesday.
(Additional reporting by Stephen Farrell, Ari Rabinovitch, Ali Sawafta and Dan Williams; Editing by Gareth Jones)

3/24/2021 No Clear Winner In Israeli Election, But Netanyahu Could Have Edge: TV Exit Polls by Jeffrey Heller and Stephen Farrell
The results of the exit polls in Israel's general election are shown on a screens at Yair Lapid's
Yesh Atid party headquarters in Tel Aviv, Israel March 23, 2021. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to secure a solid parliamentary majority in Israel’s election on Tuesday but a potential deal with a rival rightist could make him the eventual winner, TV exit polls showed.
    Not even a campaign in which Netanyahu showcased Israel’s world-beating COVID-19 vaccination rollout could break through two years of political deadlock underscored by four elections.
    Israel’s centre-left made a better showing than expected, according to the exit polls, after highlighting longstanding corruption allegations against Netanyahu and accusing him of mishandling the pandemic.
    But like Netanyahu’s traditional bloc of right-wing and Jewish religious parties, it also came up short of a governing majority in the 120-member parliament.
    The stalemate could herald lengthy coalition-building talks or even a fifth election.
    On social media, Netanyahu, 71, claimed “a huge victory” for the right-wing and his Likud party.    But the TV projections did not bear that out.
    The political survival of Israel’s longest-serving leader appeared to rest with 48-year-old Naftali Bennett, a defence minister in a previous Netanyahu government and leader of the nationalist Yamina party.
    A former Netanyahu aide who has long sought to replace him at the helm, Bennett remained noncommittal about his intentions immediately after polling stations closed.
    “I will do only what is good for the state of Israel,” Bennett was quoted as saying by a spokesman.
    Bennett, a high-tech millionaire, has said he would not serve under the centre-left group’s most likely leader, 57-year-old Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid party.    He also gave no firm public promise during the campaign to join up with Netanyahu, for what exit polls indicated would be only a slim majority.
    After the exit polls were broadcast, Bennett said he received a telephone call from Netanyahu and told him, “we will await the final results” before deciding on his next political steps.
    Netanyahu also phoned conservative political allies and urged them to join a “strong, stable right-wing government,” a spokesman said.
    Netanyahu had campaigned on his leadership credentials based on a programme that has enabled nearly 50% of Israelis to receive two vaccine shots already.
    But charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, which Netanyahu has denied in his ongoing trial, as well as economic strife Israelis suffered during three nationwide coronavirus lockdowns have weighed on his popularity.
DIVISIONS
    Yohanan Plesner, president of the Israel Democracy Institute, a non-partisan think tank, said the exit polls showed the country remained divided and that a fifth national ballot remained a real option.
    “At the same time, if Bennett joins his coalition, Netanyahu is closer than ever to a narrow government including the most extreme elements of Israeli society,” Plesner said.
    According to the exit polls, Lapid’s Yesh Atid took second place with 16-18 parliamentary seats to 31-32 for top finisher Likud.
    The dominant political figure of his generation, Netanyahu has been in power continuously since 2009.    But the Israeli electorate is deeply polarised, with supporters hailing him as “King Bibi” and opponents holding up placards calling him “Crime Minister.”
    Israel’s swift vaccine drive allowed it to reopen much of its economy before the election, and Netanyahu had promised voters and businesses more cash stipends and millions more doses of vaccine.
(Additional reporting by Stephen Farrell, Dan Williams and Maayan Lubell; Editing by Howard Goller)

3/26/2021 Explainer: How Israel Voted And Who Matters Now by Rami Ayyub and Maayan Lubell
FILE PHOTO: An Arab-Israeli man casts his ballot as he votes in Israel's
general election, in Kafr Manda, northern Israel March 23, 2021. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s fourth election in two years has produced yet another stalemate, with neither Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor those seeking to topple him reaching a majority in parliament.
    A final vote tally gives neither the government nor the opposition a clear path to victory, setting up weeks of coalition negotiations and possibly a fifth election.
KINGS AND KINGMAKERS
    NETANYAHU ‘S Likud party lost six seats in the election – falling to 30 in Israel’s 120-seat Knesset.
    This makes him more reliant on right-wing rivals who will demand concessions during coalition horse-trading.
    He campaigned on a world-beating COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
    But such is the polarisation in Israeli politics that even this could not break the stalemate.    Netanyahu’s supporters love ‘King Bibi’.    Critics highlight corruption charges that led to the tag ‘Crime Minister.’    Netanyahu has pleaded not guilty to charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.
    YAIR LAPID, 57, and his centre-left party Yesh Atid – “There is a Future” – came second, with 17 seats.
    The former finance minister and TV host campaigned to “bring sanity” back to Israel, a not-so-subtle dig at Netanyahu.
    But he must unite disparate parties from across the political spectrum.
    NAFTALI BENNETT, 49, who heads the ultra-hawkish Yamina – “Rightward” – party won seven seats.
    The former Netanyahu aide, defence minister and high-tech millionaire is vying to take over from his former boss as leader of the Israeli right.
    Bennett has positioned himself as a king-maker, refusing to commit to Netanyahu or against him.
    BEZALEL SMOTRICH, 41, heads the far-right Religious Zionism party, which won six seats.
    It includes Itamar Ben-Gvir, a former activist with the now-outlawed Kach movement, which advocated that Israel expel Arabs.    It also includes a member of the Noam movement, which opposes LGBT rights and recognition of non-Orthodox Judaism in Israel.
    The party includes hardline settlers, and rejects any territorial concessions to the Palestinians, further jeopardising the already slim chances of progress on a two-state solution if Netanyahu needs them for support.
    MANSOUR ABBAS, 46, an Islamist member of Israel’s 21.5% Arab minority whose United Arab List won four seats.
    Mansour shook the Arab political establishment by leaving a unity coalition and saying he was open to working with Netanyahu.
    But no Arab party has ever joined a ruling Israeli coalition.    The far-right Smotrich has said he will not sit alongside Abbas.
    GIDEON SAAR, 54, a former cabinet minister who quit Likud to set up the New Hope party, was hoping to establish himself as an alternative to Netanyahu but landed only six seats.
    Like Likud, his party opposes Palestinian statehood.
    In his hunt for more parliamentary seats, Netanyahu will likely urge New Hope defectors to come back ‘home’ to Likud.
HOW DID NETANYAHU’S OTHER ALLIES DO?
    Shas, mostly representing ultra-Orthodox Jews of Middle Eastern origin, won nine seats.
    United Torah Judaism, mostly representing ultra-Orthodox Jews of European origin, won seven seats.
AND NETANYAHU’S OPPONENTS?
    Defence Minister Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party did better than expected, picking up eight seats after he lost many supporters by entering a unity government with Netanyahu.
    Israel’s left-wing Labor party also beat expectations, winning seven seats.
    Meretz, another left-wing party, won six seats.
    The far-right party Yisrael Beitenu – “Israel is our Home” whose leader Avigdor Lieberman is often at odds with Netanyahu’s religious partners, won seven seats.
    The Joint List coalition of mostly Arab lawmakers won six seats, losing ground after the Islamist faction split away.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
    Official results will be presented on Wednesday to Israel’s president, who will task a leader to try to form a government.
    That nominee has up to 42 days to put a coalition together.    If he or she fails, the president asks others to try.
    If nobody succeeds, Israel goes to a fifth election.
(Reporting by Maayan Lubell, Stephen Farrell and Rami Ayyub; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

4/2/2021 Biden Admin. Lifts Trump-Era Sanctions On ICC Officials by OAN Newsroom
US President Joe Biden, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, holds his first cabinet meeting
in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on April 1, 2021. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)
    On Friday, Joe Biden announced the decision to lift sanctions on officials from the International Court of Justice.    The move removed sanctions on ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and took a top deputy’s name off the Specially Designated Nationals list.
Gambian war crimes lawyer Fatou Bensouda takes the oath during a swearing-in ceremony as the International Criminal Court’s
new chief prosecutor in The Hague, on June 15, 2012. (Photo by BAS CZERWINSKI/ANP/AFP via Getty Images)
    Visa restrictions on certain ICC personnel were also rescinded.    The sanctions were put in place by the Trump administration over the ICC’s probe into U.S. Armed Forces in Afghanistan as well as Israeli troops in the Palestinian Authority.
    Critics have said the sanctions were justified as the U.S. has never ratified the treaty creating the court, which therefore has no jurisdiction to investigate U.S. nationals.
[THIS IS THE COURT THAT TRUMP STOPPED SO NOW THIS ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT AGENCY WHO WILL TRY TO INTERFERE IN THE DEAL OF CENTURY TO CHANGE THE ISRAELI AND PALESTINIAN ISSUE AND ALL SHOULD BE AWARE OF ITS INFLUENCE IN THE COMING OF THE DANIEL 9:27 AND SATAN IS LAUGHING AS HE HAS A U.S. PRESIDENT IMPLEMENTING HIS DEMANDS WHO IS HELL BENT TO CHANGE EVERYTHING WITHOUT FORESIGHT OF HIS ACTIONS AND HIS COHORTS.].

4/6/2021 Sceptical President Invites Netanyahu To Form Next Israeli Government by Jeffrey Heller
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he delivers a speech to supporters following the announcement of
exit polls in Israel's general election at his Likud party headquarters in Jerusalem March 24, 2021. REUTERS/Ammar Awad/File Photo
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) -A sceptical president invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday to form a new government, after another inconclusive election deepened political stalemate in Israel.
    The country’s longest-serving leader, in power without interruption since 2009, now faces the tough challenge of enlisting enough allies for a governing coalition.
    Under law, Netanyahu will have 28 days to do so, with the possibility of a two-week extension before President Reuven Rivlin picks another candidate or asks parliament to choose one. Continued deadlock could ultimately result in a new election.
    Announcing on television his choice of Netanyahu, Rivlin cast doubt on his prospects for success and on whether any other prospective candidate could complete the task.
    “To my great regret, I have the impression that none of the candidates, at this stage, has a real chance of putting together a government, one that would win a confidence vote in parliament,” Rivlin said.
    He noted that he was legally bound to make the nomination nonetheless.
    Netanyahu struck an upbeat note, however, telling his conservative Likud faction: “The task is not easy but not impossible.    The goal is within reach.    I reckon we can do it.”
    Israel’s election on March 23, its fourth in two years, ended with neither a Netanyahu-led rightist and religious bloc nor a prospective alliance of his opponents capturing a parliamentary majority.
    In consultations Rivlin held with political parties on Monday on granting the coalition-building mandate, Netanyahu received more endorsements than his challengers.
    In his televised remarks, Rivlin said that under Israeli law, Netanyahu, as the incumbent, was not disqualified from being assigned the task despite his indictment on corruption charges.
    Rivlin made the announcement as Netanyahu’s trial entered its second day in a Jerusalem courthouse.
    Charged with bribery, breach of trust and fraud, Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing, accusing the prosecution of an attempted coup” aimed at ousting a “strong, right-wing prime minister.”
    “The president fulfilled his duty and he had no choice, but granting Netanyahu the mandate is a shameful stain on Israel,” Netanyahu’s strongest rival, centrist politician Yair Lapid, said.
    Netanyahu, backed by 52 of parliament’s 120 members, has tried to break the stalemate by urging two right-wing rivals – former defence chief Naftali Bennett and veteran politician Gideon Saar – to join him.
    Bennett, addressing his Yamina faction, wished Netanyahu success in his task, but the possible kingpin politician remained non-committal on whether he would enter into such an alliance.
    “We will come, with goodwill, to any coalition talks in order to establish a stable, right-wing government,” Bennett said.    “I pledge that whatever government is created, regardless of who puts it together, we will make sure that it represents all Israeli citizens.”
    Saar, leader of the New Horizon faction, has publicly ruled out serving under Netanyahu, saying a change in national leadership was imperative.
    Lapid, who heads the Yesh Atid party, said on Monday he had proposed a coalition deal to Bennett.    Under the arrangement, Bennett would serve first as prime minister and then Lapid would take over.
    Bennett, who has seven seats in parliament to Lapid’s 17, said such a government must reflect the right-wing sentiment of most Israeli voters rather than just be a patchwork alliance of parties from the right, centre and left.
(Editing by Mike Collett-White)
[ALL I CAN SAY IS THAT THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, ISAAC AND JACOB WILL DECIDE TO INFLUENCE THIS FOR THE FUTURE OF ISRAEL IN THE COMING END TIMES OF THE REVELATION PROPHESY AND THEIR CONNECTION TO THE OLD TESTAMENT PROPHECIES.].

4/8/2021 Palestinian Refugees Welcome U.S. Decision To Restart Aid by Stephen Farrell
FILE PHOTO: A worker pushes a cart as people wait to receive food supplies at an aid distribution center run by
United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), at Beach refugee camp in Gaza City April 7, 2021. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Palestinian refugees on Thursday welcomed the U.S. announcement that it will renew humanitarian aid, marking a break with the Trump era.
    President Joe Biden’s administration said on Wednesday that it will provide $235 million to the Palestinians and restart funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which assists 5.7 million registered Palestinian refugees.
    It was the clearest sign yet of Biden’s apparent intent to repair ties with the Palestinians, who boycotted the Trump White House for most of his tenure, accusing him of pro-Israel bias.
    “We are happy,” said Ahmed Odeh in Bethlehem’s Deheisheh refugee camp in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.    “The former American administration tried to stop these funds to the Palestinian people.”
    “Any funding for the refugee camps and the refugees is out of good will and is good for us … people are not working or making money, especially during the pandemic,” said Subhi Allian, 71, outside an UNRWA clinic in Far’a refugee camp near Tubas.
    Most UNRWA-registered refugees are descendants of 700,000 Palestinians who were driven out of their homes or fled fighting in the 1948 war that led to Israel’s creation.
    Many want the right to return to their families’ former lands in pre-1948 Palestine, lands which now lie in Israel.    Israel rejects any such right as a demographic threat to its Jewish majority.
    In a Twitter video late on Wednesday, Gilad Erdan, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States and the United Nations, voiced “disappointment and objection” about the renewal of funding to the refugee agency without reforming it.
    UNRWA schools regularly use materials that incite against Israel and the twisted definition used by the agency to determine who is a refugee only perpetuates the conflict,” he said.    “It should not exist in its current form.”
    The Biden plan will provide $150 million to UNRWA and agency officials hope it will lead to more donations from the United States and others.
    However, UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini told Reuters that the agency would “still struggle” amid reduced donations from elsewhere and cuts to their overseas development budgets by Australia and Britain.
    Two priorities were COVID-19 and Lebanon, where last week he found residents of the country’s largest Palestinian refugee camp to be more desperate than he had ever known them.
    “When I was in Ein al-Hilweh people were saying … that either ‘we die from COVID or we die from hunger’ or the last choice would be to try to cross the sea to go to Cyprus,” he told Reuters.
    “Basically, they say the situation today is between three different types of death for the people.    That’s how desperate and stressful the situation is.”
(Reporting by Stephen Farrell; Additional reporting by Mohammed Abu Ganeyeh in Bethlehem and Raneen Sawafta in Tubas; Editing by Giles Elgood)
[HERE WE GO AGAIN AS THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION OR GLOBALIST SOCIALIST ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT ENTITIES WHO ARE REVERSING TRUMPS POLICY WHO STOPPED IT BECAUSE IT WAS NOT BEING USED TO HELP PALESTINIANS IT WAS THE PLO WHO WAS GETTING THE MONEY TO PROMOTE PALESTINIANS TO BE USED TO FIGHT AGAINST ISRAEL AND YOU WILL SEE THAT INCREASE VERY SOON AS THE ANTICHRIST AND ANTI-ISRAEL FACTIONS ARE NOW GAINING CONTROL OF THE ENTIRE WORLD AND EXPANDING FAST TO IMPLEMENT THEIR AGENDA.].

4/11/2021 Report: Israeli Security Forces Suspected Of Causing Blackout Of Iran’s Main Nuclear Enrichment Facility by OAN Newsroom
This satellite photo from Planet Labs Inc. shows Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. (Planet Labs Inc. via AP)
    Israeli security forces are setting their sites on Iran as they look to halt their nuclear capabilities.
    Commemorating Israel’s independence day on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu highlighted the fight against Iran’s nuclearization.    This came after reports suggested Israeli hackers caused a blackout on Iran’s main nuclear enrichment facility.
    Iranian officials called the blackout an act of “nuclear terror.”
    However, Netanyahu called Israel’s nuclear disarmament efforts a matter of national security and regional stability.
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL – NOVEMBER 21: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pictured on November 21, 2012
in Jerusalem, Israel. (Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)
    “The fight against Iran’s nuclearization and its proxies is a massive task.    The situation that exists today doesn’t mean it will be the same situation tomorrow,” Netanyahu stated.    “It is very difficult to explain what we have done here, in this transition from nothingness to being the world power, yes, world power which we’ve built here.”
    In the meantime, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin reaffirmed America’s commitment to helping Israel achieve its security goals.
WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 16: U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin testified before the Senate Armed Services
Committee on Capitol Hill September 16, 2015 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
    Additionally, American diplomats are expected to hash out details of a nuclear deal with Iranian officials later this week.

4/12/2021 Pentagon chief: ‘Ironclad’ US commitment to Israel- Pentagon chief: ‘Ironclad’ US commitment to Israel by Robert Burns ASSOCIATED PRESS
    TEL AVIV, Israel – U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Sunday declared an 'enduring and ironclad' American commitment to Israel, reinforcing support at a tense time in Israeli politics and amid questions about the Biden administration’s efforts to revive nuclear negotiations with Israel’s archenemy, Iran.
    Austin’s first talks in Israel since he became Pentagon chief in January come as the United States seeks to leverage Middle East diplomatic progress made by the Trump administration, which brokered a deal normalizing relations between Israel and several Arab states.
    After meeting with Defense Minister Benny Gantz in Tel Aviv, Austin said he had reaffirmed 'our commitment to Israel is enduring and ironclad.'    Austin made no mention of Iran. Gantz, in his own remarks while standing beside Austin, said his country views the United States as a 'full partner' against threats, 'not the least, Iran.'    Neither official took questions from reporters.
    'The Tehran of today presents a strategic threat to international security, the entire Middle East and to the state of Israel,' Gantz said in his prepared statement.    'We will work closely with our American allies to ensure that any new agreement with Iran will security the vital interests of the world and of the United States, prevent a dangerous arms race in our region and protect the state of Israel.'
    Yoel Guzansky, a senior fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, a Tel Aviv think tank, said Austin’s visit is important in part because it is the first by a member of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet.
    'They want to show that they did come here with clean hands and they want to listen,' Guzansky said.    'They want to listen to Israel’s worries and perhaps other partners’ worries about the negotiation about Iran.'
    Austin is steeped in the finer points of Middle East defense and security issues.    He served four years as head of U.S. Central Command, capping a 41-year Army career that included commanding U.S. forces in Iraq.
    Flying overnight from Washington, Austin arrived in Tel Aviv in the tense aftermath of the country’s fourth inconclusive election in the past two years.    Israeli President Reuven Rivlin last week gave embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the difficult task of trying to form a new government.
    The key backdrop to Austin’s visit is the Israeli government’s concern about the Biden administration’s attempt to work out an arrangement to reenter the Iran nuclear deal, which in Israel’s view is fatally flawed.    Netanyahu has for years described Iran as an existential threat to his nation due to Iran’s alleged pursuit of a nuclear weapon and its support for militant groups like Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
    Netanyahu, leading a state with its own secret nuclear weapons program, has accused Iran of seeking nuclear weapons to use with its ballistic missiles.
    By coincidence or not, Austin’s arrived as Iran reported that its underground Natanz nuclear facility lost power Sunday just hours after starting up new advanced centrifuges capable of enriching uranium faster.    If Israel caused the blackout, it would further heightens tensions between the two nations, already engaged in a shadow conflict across the wider Middle East.
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, center-left, speaks with Franciscan monks outside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, traditionally
believed to be the burial site of Jesus Christ, Sunday in Jerusalem’s Old City. Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images

4/19/2021 Israel’s Netanyahu Loses Vote On Key Parliamentary Committee
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a ceremony for fallen soldiers of Israel's wars at the
Yad Lebanim House on the eve of Memorial Day, in Jerusalem, April 13, 2021. Debbie Hill/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lost an important vote on Monday over who gets to join a powerful committee in parliament, dealing him a setback as he tries to form a new government following an inconclusive election.
    Netanyahu has about two more weeks to try bring together a ruling coalition. Defeat in the vote indicated the veteran leader still has some way to go to secure a majority in the 120-seat Knesset.
    The vote was to decide who will join the Arrangements Committee, which, in the absence of a new government, controls the legislative agenda.
    After a motion floated by Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud was rejected in a close vote, his centrist rival, Yair Lapid, managed to pass his own proposal giving stronger representation to the anti-Netanyahu bloc.
    One small Islamist party that has expressed openness to working with Netanyahu, making it a potential kingmaker, voted with Lapid.
    President Reuven Rivlin on April 6 asked Netanyahu to form a government, and gave him 28 days to do so.    If unsuccessful, Netanyahu can ask Rivlin for a two-week extension, before the president taps another candidate or asks parliament to nominate one.
(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

4/22/2021 Syrian Missile Explodes In Area Near Israeli Nuclear Reactor, Israel Retaliates by Dan Williams and Jeffrey Heller
Israeli soldiers survey the area after a Syrian missile exploded in southern Israel, the Israeli
military said, in Ashalim, southern Israel April 22, 2021. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) -A Syrian missile exploded in southern Israel on Thursday, the Israeli military said, in an incident that triggered warning sirens near the secretive Dimona nuclear reactor and an Israeli strike in Syria.
    An Israeli military spokesman identified the projectile as an SA-5 surface-to-air missile fired by Syrian forces against Israeli aircraft.    He said it overflew its target to reach the Dimona area, 200 km (125 miles) south of the Syrian border.
    The missile did not hit the reactor, exploding some 30 km (19 miles) away, the spokesman added.
    The sirens that sounded overnight in the Dimona area followed weeks of heightened tension between Israel and Iran, a close ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, amid renewed global negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear programme.
    For weeks, Israeli media have said air defences around the Dimona reactor and the Red Sea port of Eilat were being strengthened in anticipation of a possible long-range missile or drone attack by Iranian-backed forces.
    In public remarks on Thursday’s incident, Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said the anti-aircraft missile was fired from Syria during an Israeli strike there against “assets that could be used for a potential attack against Israel.”
    Gantz said Israel’s anti-missile systems had attempted to intercept the SA-5 but were unsuccessful.
    “In most cases, we achieve other results.    This is a slightly more complex case.    We will investigate it and move on,” he said.    Israeli security sources said the missile exploded in mid-air.
    In response, Israel launched further overnight attacks inside Syria, the military spokesman said, targeting several missile batteries, including the one that fired the SA-5.
    Syria’s state news agency said the country’s air defence system intercepted Israeli rockets over the suburbs of Damascus “and downed most of them.”    Four soldiers were injured and there was some material damage, it said.
    A Syrian military defector said the Israeli strikes targeted locations near the town of Dumair, some 40 km (25 miles) northeast of the capital, where Iranian-backed militias have a presence.    It is an area hit repeatedly in past Israeli attacks.
    Addressing the likelihood of a Syrian anti-aircraft missile overshooting its target and flying a long distance into Israel, Uzi Rubin, an Israeli missile expert, said the scenario was “consistent with the characteristics” of an SA-5.
    “The trajectory of a stray anti-aircraft missile on an unintended descent is very tricky to track,” he told Reuters.
    “Israel’s air defence systems are in theory capable of carrying out such an interception with proper preparation, but it would be at the edge of the capability envelope.”
(Reporting by Dan Williams and Jeffrey Heller; Additional reporting by Maha El Dahan, Suleiman Al-Khalidi and Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and John Stonestreet)

4/28/2021 GOP Lawmakers Request IG Probe Into Kerry-Iran Ties by OAN Newsroom
Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
    A group of House Republicans demanded a federal investigation into Climate Envoy John Kerry over his ties to Iran.    On Wednesday, Reps. Andy Barr (R-Ky.), Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) and Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) sent a letter to acting State Department Inspector General Diana Shaw.
    The representatives requested a probe into reports that said Kerry was giving out Israeli military secrets to Iran and taking other actions to undermine President Trump.
    Letter to acting State Department Inspector General Diana Shaw
Letter to acting State Department Inspector General Diana Shaw     In the letter, the lawmakers ask what role Kerry had in creating the Iran Nuclear Deal under President Obama.
    The lawmakers also want the Inspector General to determine if Kerry’s actions resulted in Iranian attacks on Israel and if he caused any deaths among U.S. allies.

5/5/2021 Israel’s President Picks Netanyahu Opponent Lapid To Form Government
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he delivers a speech to supporters following the announcement
of exit polls in Israel's general election at his Likud party headquarters in Jerusalem March 24, 2021. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Israel’s president on Wednesday chose Yair Lapid, a centrist politician and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s strongest rival, to try to form a new government, but his path to success was still uncertain.
    Israel’s longest serving leader, Netanyahu, 71, has been fighting to hold onto office through four inconclusive elections since 2019.
    President Reuven Rivlin, in a televised address announcing his choice of Lapid, said the former finance minister had the pledged support of 56 of parliament’s 120 members, still short of a majority.
    “It … became clear that Yair Lapid has the possibility to form a government that will win parliament’s approval, but there are many difficulties,” Rivlin said.
    The most recent vote on March 23, held while Netanyahu is also on trial for corruption charges he denies, yielded no majority for the prime minister or for a loose alliance of rivals from across the political spectrum aiming to topple him.
    A 28-day mandate to put together a coalition ran out at midnight after Netanyahu failed to agree terms with potential right-wing partners, opening the way for Rivlin to assign the task to another member of parliament.
    Lapid also has 28 days to try to form a coalition.
(Reporting by Jeffrey HellerEditing by Rami Ayyub)

5/5/2021 Kushner Launches Group To Promote Arab States’ New Ties With Israel by Steve Holland
FILE PHOTO: White House Senior Advisor and son in law to U.S. President Donald Trump Jared Kushner walks
towards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, U.S., December 23, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Jared Kushner is forming a group to promote relations between four Arab states and Israel, normalized under agreements he helped broker as a top adviser to his father-in-law former President Donald Trump, the group said on Wednesday.
    Kushner is founding the Abraham Accords Institute for Peace,” to work on deepening agreements Israel reached last year with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.
    Kushner, who is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump, is writing a book about his experience in helping broker the deals.    He will be joined in the new group by former U.S. envoy Avi Berkowitz and ambassadors to the United States from Bahrain, the UAE and Israel.
    Israeli-American businessman Haim Saban, a contributor to Democratic causes, was also listed as part of the effort in a statement by the group, which described itself as non-partisan.    The founders “intend to add additional Democrats to the group as well as international advisers from the region,” it said.
    The Arab countries’ agreements with Israel were opposed by the Palestinians, who say they violate pledges from Arabs not to make peace until Israel withdraws from occupied lands.
    President Joe Biden, a Democrat who defeated the Republican Trump in an election in November, has said he aims to strengthen and expand the agreements, a position he repeated on Tuesday in a phone call with the UAE’s powerful crown prince of Abu Dhabi.
(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Peter Graff)

5/7/2021 Israeli Police, Palestinians Clash At Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa, Scores Injured by Rami Ayyub, Ammar Awad and Stephen Farrell
An Israeli policeman scuffles with a Palestinian in front of the Dome of the Rock during clashes at a compound known to Muslims
as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, amid tension over the possible eviction of several Palestinian families from homes
on land claimed by Jewish settlers in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, in Jerusalem's Old City, May 7, 2021. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Israeli police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades towards rock-hurling Palestinian youth at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday amid growing anger over the potential eviction of Palestinians from homes on land claimed by Jewish settlers.
    At least 178 Palestinians and six officers were injured in the night-time clashes at Islam’s third-holiest site and around East Jerusalem, Palestinian medics and Israeli police said, as thousands of Palestinians faced off with several hundred Israeli police in riot gear.
    Tension has mounted in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, with nightly clashes in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah – a neighbourhood where numerous Palestinian families face eviction in a long-running legal case.
    Calls for calm and restraint poured in on Friday from the United States and the United Nations, with others including the European Union and Jordan voicing alarm at the possible evictions.
    Tens of thousands of Palestinians packed into the hilltop compound surrounding the mosque earlier on Friday for prayers.    Many stayed on to protest against the evictions in the city at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    But following the evening meal that breaks the Ramadan fast, clashes broke out at Al-Aqsa with smaller scuffles near Sheikh Jarrah, which sits near the walled Old City’s famous Damascus Gate.
    Police used water cannon mounted on armoured vehicles to disperse several hundred protesters gathered near the homes of families facing potential eviction.
    “If we don’t stand with this group of people here, (evictions) will (come) to my house, her house, his house and to every Palestinian who lives here,” said protester Bashar Mahmoud, 23, from the nearby Palestinian neighbourhood of Issawiya.
‘CALM DOWN AND BE QUIET’
    An Aqsa official appealed for calm on the compound through the mosque’s loudspeakers.    “Police must immediately stop firing stun grenades at worshippers, and the youth must calm down and be quiet!
    Israel’s Supreme Court will hold a hearing on the Sheikh Jarrah evictions on Monday, the same day that Israel marks Jerusalem Day – its annual celebration of its capture of East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East war.
    The Palestine Red Crescent ambulance service said 88 of the Palestinians injured were taken to hospital after being hit with rubber-coated metal bullets.
    One of the injured lost an eye, two suffered serious head wounds and two had their jaws fractured, the Red Crescent said. The rest of the injuries were minor, it added.
    A police spokeswoman said Palestinians had thrown rocks, fireworks and other objects towards officers, with some of the six injured requiring medical treatment.
    “We will respond with a heavy hand to any violent disturbance, rioting or harm to our officers, and will work to find those responsible and bring them to justice,” the spokeswoman said.
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he “held (Israel) responsible for the dangerous developments and sinful attacks taking place in the holy city” and called on the U.N. Security Council to hold an urgent session on the issue.
    Violence has also increased in the occupied West Bank, where two Palestinian gunmen were killed and a third critically injured on Friday after they opened fire at an Israeli base, police said.    After that incident, Israel’s military said it would send additional combat troops to the West Bank.
‘PLAYING WITH FIRE’
    Sheikh Jarrah’s residents are overwhelmingly Palestinian, but the neighbourhood also contains a site revered by religious Jews as the tomb of an ancient high priest, Simon the Just.
    The spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said the evictions, “if ordered and implemented, would violate Israel’s obligations under international law” on East Jerusalem territory it captured and occupied, along with the West Bank, from neighbouring Jordan in 1967.
    “We call on Israel to immediately halt all forced evictions, including those in Sheikh Jarrah, and to cease any activity that would further contribute to a coercive environment and lead to a risk of forcible transfer,” spokesman Rupert Colville said on Friday.
    Washington was “deeply concerned about the heightened tensions in Jerusalem,” said U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jalina Porter.
    “As we head into a sensitive period in the days ahead, it will be critical for all sides to ensure calm and act responsibly to deescalate tensions and avoid violent confrontation,” Porter said.
    The European Union, Jordan and the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council have expressed alarm at the potential evictions.
    Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said Jordan had given the Palestinian Authority documents that he said showed the Sheikh Jarrah Palestinians were the “legitimate owners” of their homes.
    Israel’s “provocative steps in occupied Jerusalem and violation of Palestinian rights, including the rights of the people of Sheikh Jarrah in their homes, is playing with fire,” Safadi said in a foreign ministry statement on Twitter.
    Israel’s foreign ministry said on Friday that Palestinians were “presenting a real-estate dispute between private parties as a nationalist cause, in order to incite violence in Jerusalem.”    Palestinians rejected the allegation.
(Additional reporting by Ali Sawafta in Ramallah, Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva, Alaa Swilam in Cairo and Simon Lewis in Washington; Writing by Rami Ayyub; Editing by Philippa Fletcher, Edmund Blair, William Maclean and Daniel Wallis)

5/10/2021 Jerusalem Violence Leads To Hamas Rockets On Israel, Nine Dead In Gaza by Jeffrey Heller and Nidal al-Mughrabi
Streaks of light are seen as Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched from
the Gaza Strip towards Israel, as seen from Ashkelon, Israel May 10, 2021. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
    JERUSALEM/GAZA (Reuters) - Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired rockets toward the Jerusalem area and southern Israel on Monday, carrying out a threat to punish Israel for violent confrontations with Palestinians in Jerusalem.
    The Gaza health ministry said nine Palestinians, including three children, were killed “in a series of strikes in northern Gaza.”    It did not explicitly blame Israel for the deaths, in an area that has been a staging ground for militants’ cross-border rocket attacks.
    Rocket sirens sounded in Jerusalem, in nearby towns and in communities near Gaza minutes after the expiry of an ultimatum from the enclave’s ruling Hamas Islamist group demanding Israel stand down forces in the al Aqsa mosque compound and another flashpoint in the holy city.
    As Israel celebrated “Jerusalem Day” earlier on Monday, marking its capture of eastern sections of the holy city in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, violence erupted at the mosque, Islam’s third most sacred site.
    The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said more than 300 Palestinians were injured in clashes with police who fired rubber bullets, stun grenades and tear gas in the compound, which is also revered by Jews at the site of biblical temples.
    The skirmishes, in which police said 21 officers were also hurt, at al Aqsa had died down by the 6 p.m. (1500 GMT) deadline Hamas had set.
    Rockets fired from Gaza last hit the Jerusalem area during a 2014 war between Israel and Palestinian militants in the territory.     “The terrorist organisations crossed a red line on Jerusalem Day and attacked us, on the outskirts of Jerusalem,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a speech.
    “Israel will respond very forcefully. We will not tolerate attacks on our territory, our capital, our citizens and our soldiers.    Whoever strikes us will pay a heavy price,” he said.
    International efforts to stem the violence appeared to have already begun.    A Palestinian official told Reuters that Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations, which have mediated truces between Israel and Hamas in the past, were in contact with the group’s leader Ismail Haniyeh.
    Israeli Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus said that on Monday, at least six of the 45 rockets fired from Gaza were launched towards Jerusalem’s outskirts, where a house was hit. No casualties were reported.
    “We have started to attack Hamas military targets,” Conricus said in a briefing to foreign reporters, putting no timeframe on any Israeli offensive.    “Hamas will pay a heavy price.”
    He said Israel had carried out an air strike in northern Gaza against Hamas militants and was looking into reports that children were killed.
    “We had multiple events of rockets fired by Gaza terrorists falling short.    This might be the same,” Conricus said.
    Along the fortified Gaza-Israeli border, a Palestinian anti-tank missile fired from the tiny coastal territory struck a civilian vehicle, injuring one Israeli, he said.
    Hamas and the smaller Islamic Jihad militant group claimed responsibility for the rocket attacks.
    “This is a message the enemy should understand well,” said Abu Ubaida, a spokesman for Hamas’s armed wing.
VIOLENCE AROUND AL AQSA MOSQUE
    The hostilities caught Netanyahu at an awkward time, as opponents negotiate the formation of a governing coalition to unseat him after an inconclusive March 23 election.
    For Hamas, some commentators said, its challenge to Israel was a sign to Palestinians, whose own elections have been postponed by President Mahmoud Abbas, that it was now calling the shots in holding Israel accountable for events in Jerusalem.
    Recent clashes in Jerusalem have raised international concern about wider conflict, and the White House called on Israel to ensure calm during “Jerusalem Day.” [L8N2MX0K2]
    The Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in East Jerusalem has also been a focal point of Palestinian protests during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
    Several Palestinian families face eviction, under Israeli court order, from homes claimed by Jewish settlers in a long-running legal case.
    In an effort to defuse tensions, police changed the route of a traditional Jerusalem Day march, in which thousands of Israeli flag-waving Jewish youth walk through the Old City.    They entered through Jaffa Gate, bypassing the Damascus Gate outside the Muslim quarter, which has been a flashpoint in recent weeks.
    Police rushed the marchers to cover at Jaffa Gate after the sirens went off.
    Israel views all of Jerusalem as its capital, including the eastern part that it annexed after the 1967 war in a move that has not won international recognition.    Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a state they seek in Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
(Additional reporting by Stephen Farrell and Ali Sawafta; Editing by Ari Rabinovitch, Mark Heinrich, William Maclean)

5/10/2021 Israeli Military Suspends Drill To Focus On Possible Escalation In Violence
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi speaks at the Israeli Air Force pilots' graduation
ceremony at Hatzerim air base in southern Israel June 27, 2019. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The Israeli military said on Monday it was suspending for a day a major drill in order to focus efforts on preparing for a possible escalation of violence as tensions simmer with Palestinians in Jerusalem.
    Israel’s armed forces began on Sunday their biggest exercise in 30 years, codenamed “Chariots of Fire.”
    But following a situational assessment, Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Aviv Kohavi decided to suspend the exercise for the coming day and has instructed forces “to focus all efforts on preparations and readiness for escalation scenarios”, a military statement said.
    In Gaza, a spokesman for the Hamas militant group, said the leadership of a joint command of armed movements in the Palestinian enclave had given Israel “an ultimatum until 6 p.m. (1500 GMT)” to withdraw its security forces from Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound and the city’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood.
    Hundreds of Palestinians clashed with Israeli police at al-Aqsa earlier in the day, and several Palestinian families face eviction from homes in Sheikh Jarrah claimed by Jewish settlers in a long-running legal case that has fueled tensions in Jerusalem.
    The Hamas spokesman did not say what action the armed groups would take if Israel did not meet the demand.
    Israel has also been beefing up forces in the occupied West Bank and around the Gaza Strip, where militants have fired several rockets at southern Israel since Sunday, to preempt any spread of unrest from East Jerusalem.
(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Jeffrey Heller)

5/10/2021 Qatar’s Emir Visits Saudi Arabia, Emir’s Office Says In Statement
FILE PHOTO: Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani attends the Gulf Cooperation Council's (GCC) 41st Summit
in Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia January 5, 2021. Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS
    CAIRO – (Reuters) – Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, is visiting Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah on Monday evening and will meet the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, the emir’s office said in a statement.
    The two Gulf leaders will discuss bilateral ties and regional and international matters of common interest, it said.
(Reporting by Alaa Swilam; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

5/10/2021 Jordanians Protest Against Israel Over Al Aqsa Violence
Jordanians demonstrate to express solidarity with the Palestinian people, near the Israeli embassy in Amman, Jordan
May 10, 2021. The sign on the back reads: "Expel the ambassador, close the embassy". REUTERS/Muath Freij
    AMMAN (Reuters) – Several thousand Jordanians protested near Israel’s embassy in Amman on Monday, calling on their government to scrap its peace deal with Israel in the face of serious Israeli-Palestinian clashes around Jerusalem’s al Aqsa mosque.
    Riot police blocked roads leading to the fortified embassy complex to keep back demonstrators who gathered around the Kaloti mosque in the capital near the Israeli mission.
    “No Jewish embassy on Arab land!” protesters chanted.    Others clapped when they heard that the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas which rules the Gaza Strip had fired rockets toward the Jerusalem area and southern Israel on Monday. [L1N2MX0BO]
    “Revenge…revenge…Oh, Hamas, bomb Tel Aviv!” they chanted.
    Jordan which established diplomatic relations with Israel in 1994, summoned the Israeli charge d’affaires in Amman on Sunday to voice the kingdom’s condemnation over what it said were Israeli “attacks on worshippers” around the al Aqsa compound, which is in the walled Old City of Jerusalem.
    King Abdullah, whose Hashemite family has custodianship of Muslim and Christian holy sites in East Jerusalem, said Israel should respect worshippers and international law safeguarding Arab rights. [L1N2MW060]
    Al Aqsa, Islam’s third holiest site, has been a focal point of violence in Jerusalem throughout the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.    Tensions have been especially high due to the planned evictions of several Palestinian families from a neighbourhood in East Jerusalem to make way for Jewish settlers.
    Most of Jordan’s 10 million citizens are of Palestinian origin. They or their parents were expelled or fled to Jordan in the fighting that accompanied the creation of Israel in 1948.
    They have close family ties with their kin on the other side of the Jordan River in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, both captured by Israel in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
(Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

5/10/2021 East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah Becomes Emblem Of Palestinian Struggle by Rami Ayyub, Zainah El-Haroun and Stephen Farrell
FILE PHOTO: People hold Hamas flags as Palestinians gather after performing the last Friday of Ramadan to protest over the possible eviction of several
Palestinian families from homes on land claimed by Jewish settlers in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, in Jerusalem's Old City, May 7, 2021. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A putrid stench hangs over Sheikh Jarrah, a tiny neighbourhood of East Jerusalem where protesters are trying to prevent Israel evicting eight Palestinian families and letting Jews move in.
    Over the past week, Israeli police have repeatedly fired a foul-smelling liquid known as skunk water that lingers through the night to try to disperse the demonstrators.
    The standoff has seen violent clashes around the walled Old City and on Monday led to rocket fire by Gaza militants, drawing Israeli airstrikes on Gaza that health officials there said killed nine Palestinians.
    It has also made Sheikh Jarrah an emblem of what Palestinians see as an Israeli campaign to force them out of East Jerusalem.
    A tree-lined area of sandstone homes, foreign consulates and luxury hotels, Sheikh Jarrah lies about 500 metres (550 yards) from the Old City’s Damascus Gate.
    It is named after a personal physician to Saladin, the Muslim conqueror who seized Jerusalem from the Crusaders in 1187.
    Israel seized the Old City, and the rest of East Jerusalem and the adjacent West Bank, in a 1967 war.    It sees all Jerusalem as its capital, including Sheikh Jarrah, which contains a site revered by religious Jews as the tomb of an ancient high priest.
    Palestinians live in most of Sheikh Jarrah’s homes, but Israeli settlers have moved in to some of its properties, saying they were owned by Jews before the 1948 Israeli-Arab war that followed the end of the British Mandate for Palestine.
    Nabil al-Kurd, 77, is among the Palestinians facing eviction from the neighbourhood’s Othman Ibn Affan street after a long legal battle.
    “Israel will not be satisfied until it kicks me out of the house I’ve lived in almost my entire life,” he said.
    Half of his house taken over by Israeli settlers after a legal battle in 2009.    A wall now divides him and his family from the settlers, and his hopes of staying are pinned on Israel’s Supreme Court.
    Israel’s government has played down any state involvement, portraying it as a real estate dispute between private parties.
SETTLERS OUT!
    On Monday, Arab Israeli lawmakers were among protesters, some of them chanting “Settlers out!,” who faced off with several ultra-nationalist Israeli politicians along Othman Ibn Affan street.    Police kept them apart.
    The Palestinians have lived in Sheikh Jarrah since they were re-housed there in the 1950s by Jordan after fleeing or being forced to abandon their homes in West Jerusalem and Haifa during the fighting around Israel’s creation in 1948.
    The settlers who filed the lawsuit over Othman Ibn Affan street said they bought the land from two Jewish associations that purchased it at the end of the 19th century.
    A lower Israeli court found in favour of the settlers under an Israeli law that allows Jews to reclaim ownership of property lost in 1948.    No such law entitles Palestinians to do the same in West Jerusalem or other parts of Israel.
    “Our families came here as refugees.    It’s happening all over again,” said Sheikh Jarrah resident Khaled Hamad, 30.
    At a settlers’ house across the street, an Israeli said the Supreme Court had rewarded Palestinians by delaying a hearing on the case as tensions rose.
    “If anything they should have moved the ruling up,” said the settler, who gave his name only as Yaakov.
    The United States is among critics of the evictions, raising the prospect of them becoming a diplomatic liability for Israel.
    Anti-eviction protests have been held in Palestinian cities across the West Bank and by Arab Israelis in Haifa and Nazareth.
    Arab lawmaker Ahmad Tibi showed his support by coming to Othman Ibn Affan street. Support has poured out on social media.
    Salem Barahmeh, a member of the Palestinian youth movement Generation for Democratic Renewal, said Sheikh Jarrah was “mobilising young Palestinians in Palestine and all over the world.”
(Editing by Timothy Heritage)

5/12/2021 Israel, Hamas trade deadly fire by Fares Akram and Josef Federman, ASSOCIATED PRESS
    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – A confrontation between Israel and Hamas sparked by weeks of tensions in contested Jerusalem escalated Tuesday as Israel unleashed new airstrikes on Gaza while militants barraged Israel with hundreds of rockets.    The exchange killed a number of militants and civilians in Gaza and at least three people in Israel.
    The barrage of rockets from the Gaza Strip and airstrikes into the territory continued almost nonstop throughout the day, in what appeared to be some of the most intense fighting between Israel and Hamas since their 2014 war.    The fire was so relentless that Israel’s Iron Dome rocket-defense system seemed to be overwhelmed.    Columns of smoke rose from many places in Gaza.
    By late Tuesday, the violence extended to Tel Aviv, which came under fire from a barrage of rockets launched from the Gaza Strip.    A 50-year-old woman was killed.    The outgoing volleys set off air raid sirens across the city, and the main international airport closed temporarily.
    Hamas said it launched a total of 130 rockets, its most intense strike so far, in response to Israel’s destruction of a high-rise building in Gaza earlier in the evening.    The sound of the outgoing rockets could be heard in Gaza.    As the rockets rose into the skies, mosques across Gaza blared with chants of “God is great,” “victory to Islam” and “resistance.”
    One rocket struck a bus in the central city of Holon, just south of Tel Aviv.    Medics said three people, including a 5year-old girl, were wounded and the bus went up in flames.
    Since sundown Monday, 28 Palestinians – including 10 children and a woman – were killed in Gaza, most by airstrikes, health officials there said. The Israeli military said at least 16 of the dead were militants.
    Two women were killed by rockets fired from Gaza that hit their homes in the southern city of Ashkelon – the first Israeli deaths in the current violence.    At least 10 other Israelis have been wounded since Monday evening.
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that the fighting would continue for some time.    In a nationally televised speech late Tuesday, he said Hamas and     Islamic Jihad “have paid, and will pay, a heavy price.”
    “This campaign will take time, with determination, unity and strength,” he said.
    Even before the two Israeli deaths, the Israeli military said it was sending troop reinforcements to the Gaza border, and the defense minister ordered the mobilization of 5,000 reserve soldiers.
    Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, a military spokesman, told reporters that the objective was to send a “clear message” to Hamas.
    Diplomats sought to intervene. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres demanded a halt to the “spiraling” violence, a U.N. spokesman said. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to the Israeli foreign minister to condemn the Hamas attacks and “reiterate the important message of de-escalation,” the State Department said.
    The barrage of rockets and airstrikes was preceded by hours of clashes Monday between Palestinians and Israeli security forces, including dramatic confrontations at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, a sacred site to both Jews and Muslims.
Smoke rises after Israeli airstrikes Tuesday in Gaza City. HATEM MOUSSA/AP
[NOW YOU CAN SEE THE BIGWIGS CONDEMNING ISRAEL FOR DEFENDING THEMSELVES FROM THE REVIVED IRAN AND ITS BUDDIES FEEL THEY CAN INSTIGATE ACTIONS AGAINST ISRAEL SINCE JOE BIDEN HAS LET LOOSE THE WOLVES OF IRAN TO DO THEIR BIDDING AS THE GLOBALIST SOCIALIST ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT IS AT HAND TO DEAL WITH IT BECAUSE ISRAEL WILL DEFEND THEMSELVES FROM THEM AND AS YOU WILL SEE IN THE NEXT GROUP OF ARTICLES THAT JOE BIDEN'S POLICIES AND STATEMENTS ARE EMBOLDING THE HATRED AGAINST ISRAEL BY A GLOBALIST SOCIALIST ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT AND IF THIS CONTINUES I SUSPECT THAT AMERICA WILL BE THEIR NEXT ENEMY TO ATTACK.].

5/11/2021 Dozens Dead As Israel And Hamas Escalate Aerial Bombardments by Nidal al-Mughrabi and Jeffrey Heller
The brother of Palestinian man Ahmed Al-Shenbari, who was killed amid a flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence, reacts as mourners
carry his body during his funeral in the northern Gaza Strip May 11, 2021. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
    GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Hostilities between Israel and Hamas escalated on Tuesday, raising the death toll in two days to 30 Palestinians and three Israelis, with Israel carrying out multiple air strikes in Gaza and the Islamist militant group firing rockets at Tel Aviv.
    A 13-story residential Gaza block collapsed after one of several dozen air strikes.    Late into the night, Gazans reported their homes shaking and the sky lighting up with near-constant Israeli strikes.
    Israelis ran for shelters in communities more than 70 km (45 miles) up the coast amid sounds of explosions as Israeli interceptor missiles streaked into the sky.    Israel said hundreds of rockets had been fired by Palestinian militant groups.
    For Israel, the militants’ targeting of Tel Aviv, its commercial capital, posed a new challenge in the confrontation with the Islamist Hamas group, regarded as a terrorist organisation by Israel and the United States.
    The violence followed weeks of tension in Jerusalem during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, with clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian protesters in and around Al-Aqsa Mosque, on the compound revered by Jews as Temple Mount and by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.
    These escalated in recent days ahead of a – now postponed – court hearing in a case that could end with Palestinian families evicted from East Jerusalem homes claimed by Jewish settlers.
    There appeared no imminent end to the violence. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that militants would pay a “very heavy” price for the rockets, which reached the outskirts of Jerusalem on Monday during a holiday in Israel commemorating its capture of East Jerusalem in a 1967 war.
    “We are at the height of a weighty campaign,” Netanyahu said in televised remarks alongside his defence minister and military chief.
    “Hamas and Islamic Jihad paid … and will pay a very heavy price for their belligerence … their blood is forfeit.”
    Hamas – seeking the opportunity to marginalise Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and to present itself as the guardians of Palestinians in Jerusalem – said it was up to Israel to make the first move.
    The militant group’s leader, Ismail Haniyeh, said in a televised speech that Israel had “ignited fire in Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa and the flames extended to Gaza, therefore, it is responsible for the consequences.”
    Haniyeh said that Qatar, Egypt and the United Nations had been in contact urging calm but that Hamas’s message to Israel was: “If they want to escalate, the resistance is ready, if they want to stop, the resistance is ready.”
    The White House said on Tuesday that Israel has a legitimate right to defend itself from rocket attacks but applied pressure on Israel over the treatment of Palestinians, saying Jerusalem “must be a place of co-existence."
    White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki opened her daily news briefing with a statement about the situation, saying that President Joe Biden’s primary focus was on de-escalation.
    The United States was delaying U.N. Security Council efforts to issue a public statement on escalating tensions because it could be harmful to behind-the-scenes efforts to end the violence, according to diplomats and a source familiar with the U.S. strategy.
    Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source said Washington is “actively engaged in diplomacy behind the scenes with all parties to achieve a ceasefire” and was concerned that a council statement might be counterproductive at the moment.
    Israel said it had sent 80 jets to bomb Gaza, and dispatched infantry and armour to reinforce the tanks already gathered on the border, evoking memories of the last Israeli ground incursion into Gaza to stop rocket attacks, in 2014.
    More than 2,100 Gazans were killed in the seven-week war that followed, according to the Gaza health ministry, along with 73 Israelis, and thousands of homes in Gaza were razed.
PLUMES OF BLACK SMOKE
    Video footage on Tuesday showed three plumes of thick, black smoke rising from the Gaza block as it toppled over.    Electricity in the surrounding area went out.
    Residents of the block and the surrounding area had been warned to evacuate the area around an hour before the air strike, according to witnesses, and there were no reports of casualties two hours after it collapsed.
    People in other blocks reported that they received warnings from Israel to evacuate ahead of a possible attack.
    In Tel Aviv, air raid sirens and explosions were heard around the city.    Pedestrians ran for shelter, and diners streamed out of restaurants while others flattened themselves on pavements as the sirens sounded.
    The Israel Airports Authority said it had halted take-offs at Tel Aviv airport “to allow defence of the nation’s skies,” but later resumed them.
    Video broadcast on Israeli Channel 12 television showed interceptor missiles rising above the runways.
    The International Committee of the Red Cross urged all sides to step back, and reminded them of the requirement in international law to try to avoid civilian casualties.
    “The recent rockets in Israel and air strikes in Gaza represent a dangerous escalation of the tensions and violence witnessed over the past days in Jerusalem, including its Old City,” Fabrizio Carboni, ICRC regional director for the Middle East, said in a statement.
    Israel’s Magen David Adom ambulance service said a 50-year-old woman was killed when a rocket hit a building in the Tel Aviv suburb of Rishon Lezion, and that two women had been killed in rocket strikes on the southern city of Ashkelon.
    But the Israeli military said many of the rockets fired from Gaza had fallen short and wounded Palestinians, and that Israel’s Iron Dome air defences had intercepted the bulk of those that made it across the border.
    Violence has also ticked up in the occupied West Bank.
    Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian and injured another on Tuesday after they shot towards Israeli troops near the Palestinian city of Nablus, Israeli and Palestinian officials said.
(Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi, Dan Williams and Ari Rabinovitch; Additional reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva, Nandita Bose and Steve Holland in Washington and Michelle Nichols in New York, and Stephen Farrell and Rami Ayyub in Jerusalem; Writing by Kevin Liffey; Editing by Giles Elgood and Howard Goller)

5/11/2021 Gaza Residential Tower Collapses In Israeli Airstrike, Witnesses Say
Smoke rises from a building after it was destroyed by Israeli air strikes amid a flare-up
of Israeli-Palestinian violence, in Gaza May 11, 2021. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
    GAZA (Reuters) – A 13-storey residential tower in the Gaza Strip was hit by an Israeli air strike on Tuesday night and soon after collapsed, witnesses said, amid a surge in fighting between Israel and Gaza militants.
    The tower houses an office that is used by the political leadership of Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas.
    Residents of the tower and people living nearby had been warned to evacuate the area around an hour before the air strike, according to witnesses.    It was not immediately clear if the building had been fully evacuated, or if there were casualties.
(Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

5/11/2021 Red Cross Urges All Sides In Gaza Conflict To Step Back
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators attend a protest following a flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian
violence, in London, Britain May 11, 2021. REUTERS/Toby Melville
    GENEVA (Reuters) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) called on all sides in the conflict between Israel and Hamas-run Gaza on Tuesday to de-escalate the violence that has killed at least 30 people and reminded them of the rules of war.
    Israel intensified its air strikes on Gaza as rocket barrages hit Israeli towns for a second day in a deepening conflict in which at least 28 people in the Palestinian enclave and two in Israel have been killed.
    “The recent rockets in Israel and air strikes in Gaza represent a dangerous escalation of the tensions and violence witnessed over the past days in Jerusalem, including its Old City,” Fabrizio Carboni, ICRC regional director for the Middle East, said in a statement.
    “The International Committee of the Red Cross is issuing an urgent call for restraint and de-escalation,” he said.
    International humanitarian law prohibits direct and indiscriminate attacks against civilians, any attack must be proportionate, and all necessary precautions must be taken to avoid civilian casualties, Carboni said.
    Hostilities in densely populated areas are bound to result in an “unbearably high human cost” if principles are not upheld, he said in the statement issued minutes before a 13-storey residential tower in Gaza was hit by an Israeli air strike and soon after collapsed, witnesses said.    It was not immediately clear if the building had been fully evacuated or if there were casualties.
    Carboni called for “rapid, safe and unimpeded movement for ambulances” and for staff and volunteers of both the Palestine Red Crescent Society and the Magen David Adom Society in Israel.
    The Geneva-based ICRC is the guardian of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, which set down international humanitarian law on the protection of civilians and other vulnerable groups such as former combatants.
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Giles Elgood)

5/11/2021 Arab League, Turkey Condemn Israeli Actions In Jerusalem, Gaza
A Palestinian man gestures as he inspects a damaged building following an Israeli air strike,
amid a flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence, in Gaza City May 11, 2021. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
    CAIRO (Reuters) -The Arab League on Tuesday condemned deadly Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip and called on the international community to move urgently to stop escalating violence that it blamed on Israeli actions against Palestinians in Jerusalem.
    The violence began with confrontations between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces at al Aqsa Mosque, a compound known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in the heart of Jerusalem’s walled Old City.
    Israel carried out air strikes on Gaza, killing at least 28 people, after Palestinian militant groups based there unleashed barrages of rockets, some close to Jerusalem.    Two people have been killed in Israel from rocket fire.
    In a statement before the Arab League’s meeting, its chairman Ahmed Aboul Gheit said: “Israeli violations in Jerusalem, and the government’s tolerance of Jewish extremists hostile to Palestinians and Arabs, is what led to the ignition of the situation in this dangerous way.”
    The holy city has been tense during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, with sporadic unrest and the possibility of evictions of Palestinians from homes in East Jerusalem claimed by Jewish settlers in a court case adding fuel to the friction.
    In a statement concluding their meeting, Arab League foreign ministers said they held Israel “fully responsible for whatever follows due to its crimes, which constitute glaring violations of U.N. decrees, international law and human rights law.”
    It called on international organizations including the U.N. Security Council to “immediately stop the Israeli aggression and provide the necessary protection for the Palestinian people and uphold their right to worship freely and safely
    The United Nations is working urgently to defuse tensions between Israel and the Palestinians, a U.N. spokesman said.    U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, he said, was saddened by the increasing numbers of casualties on both sides.
    In light of events in Jerusalem, Egypt declared its “total rejection and condemnation of these oppressive Israeli practices,” Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told the League.
    The head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which held an emergency meeting in Jeddah, “praised the steadfastness of the Palestinian people stationed in the occupied city of Jerusalem and their response to the Israeli attacks on the holy sites,” Saudi state agency SPA reported.
    Turkey also condemned the Israeli air strikes.
    “The Israeli government must finally understand that it will not be able to suppress the Palestinian people’s legitimate rights and demands by using indiscriminate and disproportionate power,” a Turkish foreign ministry statement said.
    The Gaza health ministry said at least 28 Palestinians, including 10 children, had been killed.    Israel disputed that account, saying it had killed at least 20 Hamas fighters and that a third of the hundreds of rockets launched by militants had fallen short, causing Palestinian civilian casualties.
(Reporting by Nadeen Ebrahim, Mohamed Zaki, Aziz El Yaakoubi and Daren Butler; Writing by Nadine Awadalla and Aidan Lewis; editing by Mark Heinrich)

5/11/2021 Netanyahu Says Gaza Militants Will Pay ‘Very Heavy Price’ Over Rocket Fire
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a special cabinet meeting on the
occasion of Jerusalem Day, in Jerusalem, May 9, 2021. Amit Shabi/Pool via REUTERS
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that militants in the Gaza Strip will “pay a very heavy price,” after a day of Gaza rocket fire and Israeli air strikes on the Palestinian coastal enclave.
    “We are at the height of a weighty campaign,” Netanyahu said in televised remarks alongside his defence minister and military chief.    “Hamas and Islamic Jihad paid … and will pay a very heavy price for their belligerence … their blood is forfeit.”
(Reporting by Dan Williams; Writing by Rami Ayyub; Editing by Leslie Adler)

5/11/2021 White House Condemns Attacks On Israel, Calls For Co-Existence In Jerusalem by Nandita Bose and Steve Holland
Streaks of light are seen as Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched
from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, as seen from Ashkelon, Israel May 11, 2021. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House said on Tuesday that Israel has a legitimate right to defend itself from Hamas rocket attacks but applied pressure on Israel over the treatment of Palestinians, saying Jerusalem “must be a place of co-existence.”
    Violence erupted last Friday at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque amid growing anger over the potential eviction of Palestinians from homes on land claimed by Jewish settlers.    The clashes escalated on Monday.
    White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki opened her daily news briefing with a statement about the situation, saying that President Joe Biden had just received an update from his national security team and that his primary focus was on de-escalation.
    She said the United States condemned rocket attacks by Hamas and other groups, including attacks on Jerusalem, and that Biden’s support for “Israel’s security, for its legitimate right to defend itself and its people, is fundamental and will never waver.”
    “Jerusalem, a city of such importance to people of faith around the world, must be a place of co-existence,” Psaki said.
    U.S. officials in recent weeks have spoken candidly with Israeli officials about how evictions of Palestinian families and demolition of their homes “work against our common interests in achieving a solution to the conflict,” Psaki said.
    Biden has sought to rebalance U.S. policy toward Israel and the Palestinians after his predecessor, Donald Trump, sided with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on all fronts.
    A senior administration official said Biden and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas recently completed an exchange of letters that began when Abbas sent Biden a letter congratulating him on winning the 2020 election.    Biden sent a response recently.
    “We won’t share details of the letter.    This is part of this administration’s ongoing outreach with the Palestinian leadership on a range of issues of mutual interest, including ongoing efforts to de-escalate violence and restore calm,” the official said.
    Psaki said the United States wants a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a goal that Trump did not aggressively pursue, saying it was the only way to ensure a “just and lasting peace” between them.
    “We believe Palestinians and Israelis deserve equal measures of freedom, security, dignity and prosperity,” she said.
    Trump said in a statement that Biden’s “lack of support for Israel is leading to new attacks on our allies."
    “America must always stand with Israel and make clear that the Palestinians must end the violence, terror, and rocket attacks, and make clear that the U.S. will always strongly support Israel’s right to defend itself,” the statement added.
(Reporting by Nandita Bose and Steve Holland; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Peter Cooney)

5/11/2021 U.S. Puts Brake On U.N. Statement Over Middle East Tensions by Michelle Nichols
FILE PHOTO: The United Nations logo is seen on a window in an empty hallway at United Nations headquarters during the 75th annual U.N. General Assembly high-level debate,
which is being held mostly virtually due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in New York, U.S., September 21, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Segar
    NEW YORK (Reuters) -The United States is delaying United Nations Security Council efforts to issue a public statement on escalating tensions between Israel and the Palestinians because it could be harmful to behind-the-scenes efforts to end the violence, according to diplomats and a source familiar with the U.S. strategy.
    Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source said Washington is “actively engaged in diplomacy behind the scenes with all parties to achieve a ceasefire” and was concerned that a council statement might be counterproductive at the moment.
    The Security Council is instead going to meet privately on Wednesday to discuss the latest violence, diplomats said.
    The Security Council first discussed on Monday clashes in East Jerusalem around al-Aqsa mosque.    The holy city has been tense during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, with the threat of a court ruling evicting Palestinians from homes claimed by Jewish settlers adding to the friction.
    Before a further upsurge of violence, the 15-member Security Council began discussions on a draft statement that would express concern about the clashes and the potential evictions, call on Israel to cease Jewish settlement activities, demolitions and evictions, and urge general restraint.
    Such statements have to be agreed by consensus.    But diplomats said the United States, a close ally of Israel, told council counterparts that the body should not issue a statement at the moment.
    The U.S. mission to the United Nations said: “The United States is engaging constructively to ensure any action by the Security Council is helpful in de-escalating tensions.”
    State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters that Washington wanted to see steps to help de-escalate the violence, whether the steps came from Israel, the Palestinian Authority or the Security Council.     “The United Nations is working with all relevant parties to de-escalate the situation urgently,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Tuesday.    He said Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is saddened by “the increasingly large numbers of casualties, including children.”
    “Israeli security forces must exercise maximum restraint and calibrate their use of force.    The indiscriminate launching of rockets and mortars towards Israeli population centers is unacceptable,” Dujarric told reporters.
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Additional reporting by Simon Lewis; Editing by Howard Goller)
[THIS IS THE CONCEPT OF THE RISE OF THE ENTITY WHO WILL BE THE ONE TO IMPLEMENT THE ABRAHAM ACCORD AND TRUMP PEACE PLAN WHICH IRAN IS CAUSING THAT WITH ITS INFLUENCE AGAIN WITH INCITING THE HEZBOLLAH IN LEBANON TO IGNITE PALESTINIAN ROCKETS INTO ISRAEL.]

5/12/2021 White House Press Secretary: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Must Be Solved By Local Leaders by OAN Newsroom
White House press secretary Jen Psaki introduces Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and Homeland Security Secretary
Alejandro Mayorkas during a press briefing at the White House, Tuesday, May 11, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    The White House issued a meager call for peace in an attempt to resolve one of the most contentious conflicts in the Middle East.    After days of rising tension, rocket attacks and riots, officials within the Biden administration spoke out Tuesday.    Calls for an end to the violence in and around Israel began with White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
    “The president’s support for Israel’s security, for its legitimate right to defend itself and its people, is fundamental and will never waver,” she stated.    “We condemn ongoing rocket attacks by Hamas and other terrorist groups, including against Jerusalem.”
    However, Psaki’s defense of Israel, one of the country’s strongest allies in the region, did waver when she attempted to twist the narrative and make Israel out to be the villain.
    “And U.S. officials in recent weeks have spoken candidly with Israeli officials about how evictions of Palestinian families who have lived for years, sometimes decades in their homes and of demolitions of these homes work against our common interests in achieving a solution to the conflict,” continued the press secretary.
People inspect the rubble of a damaged building which was hit by an Israeli
airstrike, in Gaza City, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
    Psaki’s blamed victims for their own misfortunes aside.    She went on to say that for all intents and purposes, both groups were on their own to resolve a surge of violence that has left dozens wounded.
    "It is up to the officials, residents and leaders to restore the city to a place of calm,” she asserted.    “The president and his team will continue to pursue the conditions for diplomacy, dialog and de-escalation, and protection of civilians even as we work together with our friends to deter acts of violence and terrorism.”
    Her tone was echoed by State Department spokesperson Ned Price.    He argued that a recognized and developed nation of Israel and a group of terrorists in Hamas are on equal moral ground with regards to their use of lethal force.
    “We are deeply concerned about the escalation between Israel and those launching rockets from Gaza, and we call for restraint and for calm,” he stated.     “Israel has the right to defend itself and to respond to rocket attacks.    The Palestinian people also have the right to safety and security, just as Israelis do.”
    On the State Department’s bilateral relations fact sheet, it read: “Israel is a great partner to the United States and Israel has no greater friend than the United States.”    In reality, however, when that same friend is in desperate need of support, the Biden administration doesn’t appear to lend any tangible aid at all.
[WELL IT IS OBVIOUS THAT THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION IS THE ANTI-CHRISTIAN PARTY BECAUSE THEY ARE BLAMING THE EVENT ON ISRAEL WHO WILL BE BACKED BY THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, ISAAC AND JACOB WHO WILL NOT LET JERUSALEM BE HARMED UNTIL HE DESTROYS THOSE WHO ATTACK IT IN ARMAGEDDON.].

5/13/2021 Republican Jewish Coalition Slams Biden, Urges Support For Israel by OAN Newsroom
Pro-Israel demonstrators gather outside the Federal Building during a rally in support of Israel in Los Angeles,
Wednesday, May 12, 2021. Israel is pressing ahead with a fierce military offensive in the Gaza Strip. The Islamic militant group Hamas
showed no signs of backing down and fired hundreds of rockets at Israeli cities. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
    The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) issued a strong condemnation of Joe Biden’s response to the latest terror attacks by Hamas against Israel.    In a statement Wednesday, the RJC said the responsibility for the latest violence in the Middle East lies with Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah.
    The group added, Biden has weakened America’s support for peace by its appeasement of Iran and the Palestinian authority.    The RJC also praised President Trump’s Abraham Accords, saying it laid foundation for a lasting peace but Biden is now undoing it.    It also endorsed congressman Carlos Gimenez over his recent support for Israel.
(Official RJC statement)
    The RJC also condemned the members of the Democrat Squad, while asserting congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez(D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) are inciting violence with baseless accusations against Israel.
    Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee (RNC) reaffirmed its strong support for Israel amid ongoing attacks by Iranian-backed terror group Hamas.    In a statement Wednesday, RNC chair Ronna McDaniel said Israel has every right to defend itself from Islamic terror and the U.S. must fully support its key ally.
    McDaniel criticized Biden over his weak response to the attacks by Hamas against Israeli civilians, noting it’s not helpful to peace in the region.    She then stressed that President Trump laid the foundation for peace with Abraham Accords.    The RNC chair added, the security of Israel is vital to national security of the U.S.

5/14/2021 Israel Kills A Top Hamas Military Official by OAN Newsroom
Mourners carry the body of Bassem Issa, front, top Hamas’ commander in Gaza City and other bodies, during a funeral
of thirteen Hamas militants outside the mosque in Gaza City, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
    A member of Hamas’ military council, Bassem Issa, was eliminated by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in an airstrike.    The operation was carried out on Wednesday with both Hamas and IDF confirming the death shortly after.    This is the first time Hamas has openly confirmed the death of a senior military officer.
    The IDF said similar airstrikes have led to the deaths of other high ranking Hamas militants, including the commander of their Anti-Tank Missile Unit and their Military Intelligence Security Department.
    Israeli ground forces are moving into the Gaza Strip as Israel and Hamas continue to exchange rocket fire as well as heavy artillery fire.    The IDF confirmed Thursday, there are currently ground troops moving into Gaza from the northern border.
    Some 3,000 to 4,000 troops were reportedly amassed at the border with Gaza in recent days.    However, some reports noted this is not a full-on ground offensive and the IDF is still firing heavy artillery across the border.

5/15/2021 Palestinians flee heavy Israeli attacks in Gaza - Death toll rises; planes inflict heavy damage by Fares Akram and Joseph Krauss, ASSOCIATED PRESS
    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Thousands of Palestinians grabbed children and belongings and fled their homes Friday as Israel barraged the northern Gaza Strip with tank fire and airstrikes, killing a family of six in its house and heavily damaging other neighborhoods in what it said was an operation to clear militant tunnels.     As international efforts at a ceasefire stepped up, Israel appeared to be looking to inflict intensified damage on the Islamic militant group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip and has fired hundreds of rockets into Israel.
    The Gaza violence increasingly spilled over into turmoil elsewhere.
    Across the West Bank, Palestinians held their most widespread protests since 2017, with hundreds in at least nine towns burning tires and throwing stones at Israeli troops.    The number of Palestinians killed by Israel in the occupied West Bank has risen to 11, Palestinian health officials said.
    Within Israel, communal violence erupted for a fourth night.    Jewish and Arab mobs clashed in the flashpoint town of Lod, even after additional security forces were deployed.
    In Gaza, the toll from the fighting rose to at least 126 killed, including 31 children and 20 women, with 900 wounded, according to the Health Ministry.    The Hamas and Islamic Jihad militant groups have confirmed 20 deaths in their ranks, though Israel says that number is much higher.    Seven people have been killed in Israel, including a 6-year-old boy and a soldier.
    Israel called up 9,000 reservists Thursday to join its troops massed at the Gaza border, and an army spokesman spoke of a possible ground assault into the densely populated territory, though he gave no timetable.    A day later, there was no sign of an incursion.
    But before dawn Friday, tanks deployed on the border and warplanes carried out an intense barrage on the northern end of the Gaza Strip.
    Rafat Tanani, his pregnant wife and four children, aged 7 and under, were killed after an Israeli warplane reduced their four-story apartment building to rubble in the neighboring town of Beit Lahia, residents said. Four strikes hit the building at 11 p.m., just before the family went to sleep, Rafat’s brother Fadi said.    The building’s owner and his wife also were killed.
    “It was a massacre,” said Sadallah Tanani, another relative.    “My feelings are indescribable.”
    Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesman, said the operation involved tank fire and airstrikes aimed at destroying a tunnel network beneath Gaza City that the military refers to as “the Metro,” used by militants to evade surveillance and airstrikes.
    “As always, the aim is to strike military targets and to minimize collateral damage and civilian casualties,” he said.    “Unlike our very elaborate efforts to clear civilian areas before we strike high-rise or large buildings inside Gaza, that wasn’t feasible this time.”
    When the sun rose, residents streamed out of the area in pickup trucks, on donkeys and on foot, taking pillows, blankets, pots and pans and bread.    “We were terrified for our children, who were screaming and shaking,” said Hedaia Maarouf, who fled with her extended family of 19 people.
Palestinians who fled their homes on the outskirts of Gaza City take shelter
at a school after heavy overnight Israeli missile strikes. KHALIL HAMRA/AP

5/16/2021 ISRAEL WILL DEFEND ITSELF AGAINST ANYONE WHO ATTACKS ISRAEL
AS YOU CAN SEE ABOVE RIGHT THE ROCKETS FROM GAZA BY HAMAS PROVIDED BY IRAN HEADING TOWARD ISRAEL
AND ON THE LEFT THE IRON DOME ROCKETS FROM ISRAEL PREPARING TO TAKE THEM OUT

5/16/2021 Israeli strike destroys Gaza media building - Rocket response includes attacks on politicians by Fares Akram and Lee Keath, ASSOCIATED PRESS
    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Israel slammed the Gaza Strip with airstrikes on Saturday, in a dramatic escalation that included bombing the home of a senior Hamas leader, killing a family of 10 in a refugee camp – most of them children – and pulverizing a high-rise that housed The Associated Press and other media.
    The Hamas militant group continued a stream of rocket volleys into Israel, and one man was killed when a rocket hit his home in a suburb of Tel Aviv.
    With a U.S. envoy on the ground, calls increased for a cease-fire after five days of mayhem that have left at least 145 Palestinians dead in Gaza – including 41 children and 23 women – and eight dead on the Israeli side, all but one of them civilians, including a 6-year-old child.
    U.S. President Joe Biden, who has called for a de-escalation but has backed Israel’s campaign, spoke separately by phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
    Still, Israel stepped up its assault, vowing to shatter the capabilities of Gaza’s Hamas rulers.    The week of deadly violence, set off by a Hamas rocket Monday, came after weeks of mounting tensions and heavy-handed Israeli measures in contested Jerusalem.
    On Saturday, Israel bombed the home of Khalil al-Hayeh, a senior figure in Hamas’ political branch, saying the building served as part of the group’s “terrorist infrastructure.”    There was no immediate report on al-Hayeh’s fate or on any casualties.
    The bombing of al-Hayeh’s home showed Israel was expanding its campaign beyond just the group’s military commanders.    Israel says it has killed dozens in Hamas’ military branch, including senior commanders and fighters in the field, though Hamas and the smaller group Islamic Jihad have only acknowledged 20 dead members.
    Since the conflict began, Israel has leveled a number of Gaza City’s tallest office and residential buildings, alleging they house elements of the Hamas military infrastructure.    On Saturday, it turned to the 12-story al-Jalaa Building, where the offices of the AP, the TV network Al-Jazeera and other media outlets are located, along with several floors of apartments.
    “The campaign will continue as long as it is required,” Netanyahu said in a televised speech Saturday evening.    He alleged that Hamas military intelligence was operating inside the building.    The military has accused the militant group of using journalists as human shields, but provided no evidence to back up the claims.
    In the afternoon, the military called the building’s owner and warned a strike would come within an hour.    The occupants evacuated safely.
    “The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened today,” AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt said.
We are shocked and horrified that the Israeli military would target and destroy the building housing AP’s bureau and other news organizations in Gaza.”
    Mostefa Souag, acting directorgeneral of Al-Jazeera Media Network, called the strike a “war crime” aiming to “silence the media and to hide the untold carnage and suffering of the people of Gaza.”
A building housing various international media, including The Associated Press, collapses
after an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on Saturday. AP

5/16/2021 Pro-Gaza marches rise in Europe by Elaine Ganley and Boubkar Benzabat, ASSOCIATED PRESS
    PARIS – French riot police fired tear gas and used water cannons Saturday as protesters supporting Palestinians in the Gaza Strip defied a ban on marching in the French capital.
    Thousands of people marched peacefully in cities in France and elsewhere in Europe – including in London, Rome, Brussels and Madrid – to highlight the plight of the Palestinians.
    In Paris, protesters scattered and played cat-and-mouse with security forces in the city’s northern neighborhoods after their starting point for a planned march was blocked.
    Paris Police Chief Didier Lallement had ordered 4,200 security forces into the streets and closed shops around the kick-off point for the march after an administrative court confirmed the ban because of fears of violence.    Authorities noted that a banned July 2014 pro-Palestinian protest in Paris against an Israeli offensive in Gaza degenerated into violence to justify the order against Saturday’s march.
    Protesters shifted from neighborhood to neighborhood in Paris as police closed in on them, sometimes with tear gas and water cannons, and police said 44 people were arrested.    In a lengthy standoff, protesters pelted a line of security forces with projectiles before police pushed them to the edge of northern Paris.     “We don’t want scenes of violence. We don’t want a conflict imported to French soil,” government spokesman Gabriel Attal said.

5/14/2021 Israel-Palestinian Violence Divides Democrats by OAN Newsroom
A Muslim worshipper takes part in Friday prayers at the Dome of the Rock Mosque in the Al-Aqsa Mosque
compound in the Old City of Jerusalem, Friday, May 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)
    On Thursday, death tolls showed more than 100 people have died in Gaza and seven in Israel due to the exchange of rockets that have been fired at Israeli military targets and civilians by Hamas out of Gaza.    The continued conflict between Israel and Hamas has been testing Joe Biden and further exposing the Democrats’ divide on Israel.
    Statements released from Democrat lawmakers reinforced the idea that the party continues to have multiple leaders that defend Israel including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez.
    A statement tweeted by Menendez wrote, “the barrage of rocket attacks from Hamas are terrorism and no country should have to tolerate this kind of threat against its population.”
    House Democrats took to the Chamber on Thursday to voice their support for Israel as clashes erupted for a fourth night.    Some Democrat lawmakers also cited Israel’s efforts to minimize civilian deaths and the U.S. alliance with the country as reasons for their support.
    Republican lawmakers have criticized Rep. Ilhan Omar’s recent anti-Israel comments. She has since used this criticism in ads to fundraise for her campaign.
    Democrat mayoral hopeful Andrew Yang tweeted, “the people of New York City will continue to stand with our brothers and sisters in Israel who face down terrorism and persevere,” but he later went back on his support after he received major criticism from progressive Democrats.
    The division comes as a record from the Jewish Voting Library which showed roughly 75 percent of Jewish people voted for Biden.    However, Democrats’ anti-Israel rhetoric could result in a loss of support from members of the Jewish community within the U.S.

5/16/2021 U.S. Withdraws 120 Troops From Israel by OAN Newsroom
US soldiers disembark the Boeing 747-400 “Atlas Air” upon their arrival at Sarajevo International Airport
on May 15, 2021. (Photo by ELVIS BARUKCIC / AFP) (Photo by ELVIS BARUKCIC/AFP via Getty Images)
    The U.S. has decided to withdraw 120 troops from Israel amid the increase of violence throughout the region involving an abundance of rocket exchanges.
    The Pentagon announced the news on Thursday, citing recent missile strikes and lack of commercial flights as catalysts for the decision.    Pentagon officials have said the move was ordered out of extreme caution.
    U.S. military troops were in Israel for an upcoming military exercise, but have since been flown into Germany to await their impending journey home.    The withdrawal comes days after Israel announced they had deployed ground forces near the Gaza Strip to quell the violence between Israel and Palestine.
    A warning has been issued to Americans which suggests they reconsider travel to Israel during this time.    The State Department has raised its travel advisory from a Level 2 to a Level 3.
[TRUMP WOULD HAVE SENT OUR TROOPS TO HELP ISRAEL TO STOP THE IRANIAN PUSHED HAMAS ATTACK WHO ARE USING THE PALESTINIANS AS THEIR PUPPETS WHO OUR TRYING TO STOP THE ABRAHAM ACCORD UNION OR BETTER YET TO BRING THE FUTURE PROPHECY OF DANIEL 9:27 CLOSER TO OUR TIMES.].

5/17/2021 Prime Minister Netanyahu: Israel Is Targeting A Terrorist Organization by OAN Newsroom
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Israeli border police on Thursday, May 13, 2021 in Lod, near Tel Aviv
after a wave of violence in the city the night before. Jewish and Arab mobs battled in the central city of Lod, the epicenter
of the troubles, despite a state of emergency and nighttime curfew. (AP Photo/Yuval Chen, Yediot Ahronot, Pool)
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he hopes the violence in Israel comes to an end, but doesn’t see it happening any time soon.    In an interview Sunday, he pointed out Israel was hit by unprovoked attacks by Hamas on Jerusalem Day with thousands of rockets fired on the country’s cities.
    Netanyahu noted, any country has a “natural right of self-defense.”    The prime minister added, if Hamas thinks it can just fire rockets then sit back and enjoy immunity then they are sorely mistaken.
    “We are targeting a terrorist organization that is targeting our civilians and hiding behind their civilians, using them as human shields,” he stated.    “We’re doing everything we can to hit the terrorists themselves, their rockets, their rocket caches and their arms, but we’re not going to just let them get away with it.”
    Netanyahu added, if 2900 rockets were fired on Washington or New York, critics would probably better understand his position.    He said Israel will continue to respond forcefully to attacks from Hamas for as long as it takes to restore security for his people.
    The prime minister confirmed Saturday that Israel has eliminated dozens of terrorists and seriously degraded the infrastructure of Hamas, including missile launchers and a vast subterranean tunnel network.    Netanyahu said Hamas is committing a double war crime with its indiscriminate attacks on Israel.
    “As always, Israel is doing everything possible to protect our civilians and keep Palestinian civilians out of harm’s way,” he stated.
    The Israeli military said more than 2,000 rockets have been fired by terrorist in Gaza this past week, around half of which were intercepted by Israel’s Iron-Dome Defense System.

5/17/2021 Israel Intensifies Airstrikes, Calculated Response Targets Hamas Infrastructure And Jihad Commanders by OAN Newsroom
An Israeli air strike hits a building in Gaza City, Monday, May 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
    Israel has intensified its response to attacks from Islamic militant groups, unleashing a series of aerial assaults on Gaza City.    Israeli military officials said they have specifically targeted the homes of nine Hamas commanders who reportedly have gone underground.    This includes Yahiyeh Sinwar who is the terrorist organization’s top leader in Gaza.
    Hamas has been unrelenting, launching more than 300 rockets since Saturday from civilian areas in Gaza toward densely populated regions in Israel.    An Islamic militant rocket blasted a synagogue in southern Israel just hours before Sunday evening services for the Jewish holiday of Shavuot.
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel will continue to respond forcefully to attacks from Hamas for as long as it takes to restore security for his people.    He also confirmed Israel has eliminated dozens of terrorists and seriously degraded the infrastructure of Hamas, including missile launchers and a vast subterranean network known as the “terror tunnel.”
    Netanyahu also pointed out that Hamas is committing a double war crime with its indiscriminate attacks on Israel.
    “They’re targeting our civilians and hiding behind Palestinian civilians, effectively using them as human shields,” stated the prime minister.    “As always, Israel is doing everything possible to protect our civilians and keep Palestinian civilians out of harm’s way.”
    Hamas terrorist in Gaza have fired more than 3,000 rockets into Israel, in turn, killing at least eight people this past week.    The conflict erupted last Monday when Hamas fired rockets at Jerusalem after Israeli police clashed with Palestinian protesters trying to prevent the eviction of eight Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in east Jerusalem.

5/18/2021 Biden Administration Approved $735 Million Arms Sale To Israel – Sources by Patricia Zengerle
Israeli soldiers stand by an artillery unit as it fires near the border between Israel
and the Gaza strip, on the Israeli side May 17, 2021. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden’s administration approved the potential sale of $735 million in precision-guided weapons to Israel, and congressional sources said on Monday that U.S. lawmakers were not expected to object to the deal despite violence between Israel and Palestinian militants.
    Three congressional aides said Congress was officially notified of the intended commercial sale on May 5, as part of the regular review process before major foreign weapons sales agreements can go ahead.
    The sale was first reported by the Washington Post.
    Congress was informed of the planned sale in April, as part of the normal informal review process before of the formal notification on May 5. Under U.S. law, the formal notification opens up a 15-day window for Congress to object to the sale, which is not expected despite the ongoing violence.
    The sale of Joint Direct Attack Munitions, or JDAMs, made by Boeing Co, was considered routine at the time, before the start last week of the fiercest hostilities in the region in years.
    There were no objections at the time by the Democratic and Republican leaders of the congressional foreign affairs committees that review such sales, aides said.
    Asked for comment, a State Department spokesperson noted that the department is restricted under federal law and regulations from publicly commenting on or confirming details of licensing activity related to direct commercial sales like the JDAMs agreement.
    “We remain deeply concerned about the current violence and are working towards achieving a sustainable calm,” the spokesperson said.
    Strong support for Israel is a core value for both Democratic and Republican members of the U.S. Congress, despite calls from a few of the most progressive Democrats to take a tougher stance against the government of Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu.
    U.S. law allows Congress to object to weapons sales, but it is unlikely to do so in this case.    Because Israel is among a handful of countries whose military deals are approved under an expedited process, the typical window for objecting will close before lawmakers can pass a resolution of disapproval, even if they were inclined to.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; editing by Grant McCool)

5/18/2021 Turkey’s Erdogan Condemns Western Powers For Inaction Against Israel
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan gives a statement after a cabinet meeting in Ankara, Turkey, May 17, 2021.
Murat Cetinmuhurdar/PPO/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES
    ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan criticised Western powers for their lack of response to the violence between Israel and Palestinians, singling out Austria and the United States, which he said was “writing history with bloody hands.”
    Erdogan, a vocal defender of the Palestinians, has contacted world leaders in the past week, calling for solid action against Israel as the fiercest regional hostilities in years show no sign of abating.
    Speaking after a cabinet meeting, Erdogan criticised U.S. President Joe Biden’s approval of weapons sales to Israel.
    “i>You are writing history with your bloody hands in this incident that is a serious disproportionate attack on Gaza, which is leading to the martyrdom of hundreds of thousands of people,” he said.
    “You forced me to say this.”
    Biden’s administration approved on Monday the potential sale of $735 million in precision-guided weapons to Israel, according to congressional sources.
    Erdogan later turned to Europe, condemning Austria for flying an Israeli flag over the federal chancellery in Vienna on Friday.
    “The state of Austria is trying to make Muslims pay the price for the Jews it subjected to genocide,” Erdogan said.
    Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who is firmly pro-Israel, had called the move a mark of solidarity amid the clashes.
    Israel pummeled Gaza with air strikes on Monday and Palestinian militants launched rockets at Israeli cities despite a flurry of U.S. and regional diplomacy that has so far failed to halt more than a week of deadly fighting.
(Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Jonathan Spicer and Alistair Bell)

5/18/2021 France’s Macron Says To Work With Jordan, Egypt Leaders On Israel-Gaza Ceasefire
French President Emmanuel Macron attends a joint news conference with Sudan's Sovereign Council Chief General
Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok (not seen) during the International Conference
in support of Sudan at the Temporary Grand Palais in Paris, France, May 17, 2021. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier/Pool
    PARIS (Reuters) -France’s president said on Monday he would work with Egypt’s president and Jordan’s king on a concrete proposal for a ceasefire and a possible path to discussions between Israel and the Palestinians.
    “For me there needs to be a process for a ceasefire as quickly as possible and construction of a possible path to discussions between the different protagonists,” Macron said at a news conference in Paris.
    “In the coming days we have decided to have a discussion with President (Abdel Fattah) al-Sisi and the King of Jordan to be able together to see how we make a concrete proposal,” he said without elaborating.
    Macron also said he would bring up the bombing by Israeli warplanes of a building that housed media outlets in Gaza when he speaks to Israel’s prime minister in the next day or two.
(Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Chris Reese and Alex Richardson)

5/18/2021 How East Jerusalem Flashpoint Sheikh Jarrah Got Its Own Hashtag by Suheir Sheikh and Zainah El-Haroun
FILE PHOTO: A Palestinian resident reacts during scuffles with Israeli police amid ongoing tension ahead of an upcoming court hearing in
an Israeli-Palestinian land-ownership dispute in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem May 4, 2021. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli police in riot gear pushed a Palestinian protester to the ground in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, a moment captured on the smartphones of people looking on.
    “See what they’re doing!    They’re beating up women!” Aya Khalaf, a Palestinian social media influencer, screamed in the background as she caught the May 9 incident on a live stream to her 187,000 Instagram followers.
    The scene is one of several shared on social media from the near-nightly confrontations between Israeli police and protesters against the expulsion of eight Palestinian families from the neighbourhood, which is claimed by Jewish settlers.
    The hashtag “#SaveSheikhJarrah” has gained momentum overseas, with British singer Dua Lipa and Academy Award-winning actress Viola Davis among those expressing solidarity.
    In October last year, an Israeli court ruled in favour of settlers who say the Palestinian families are living on land that used to belong to Jews.
    Palestinians are appealing the decision at Israel’s Supreme Court.
    But a court hearing was delayed earlier this month amid rising tensions at Sheikh Jarrah – which lies just a few minutes’ walk from the Old City’s Damascus Gate, another recent flashpoint.
    Anger over the proposed evictions was a key factor behind tensions in Jerusalem over the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which last week escalated far beyond the holy city into the worst hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians for years.
    Portraying itself as the defender of Palestinians in Jerusalem, the militant Islamist group Hamas launched a rocket assault on Israel, which hit back with multiple air and artillery strikes on Gaza.
    A week later, nearly 200 people have been killed in Gaza, including 58 children, Gaza’s health ministry said, and 10 people have been killed in Israel, two of them children, according to authorities.
    On Sunday in Sheikh Jarrah, Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian driver who had crashed his car into a police roadblock, injuring six officers.
AREA COVETED BY BOTH SIDES
    A tree-lined area of sandstone homes, Sheikh Jarrah is named after a personal physician to Saladin, the Muslim conqueror who seized Jerusalem from the Crusaders in 1187.
    It also houses a site revered by religious Jews as the tomb of an ancient high priest.
    The settlers who filed the lawsuit say they bought the land from two Jewish associations that purchased it at the end of the 19th century.    Palestinians, who question the legitimacy of the settlers’ documents, have lived there since the 1950s.
    Standing outside a settler house that sits beside Palestinian neighbours, Yaakov, a religious Jew who gave only his first name, said: “This is traditionally a Jewish neighbourhood … the Jordanians and the UN settled Arab refugees in these houses, so if there are any settlers here it’s the Arabs who are living here.”
    Pessimistic about the chances of winning their eviction case in Israeli courts, Palestinian residents have turned to social media.
    “I now have around a quarter of a million followers,” said Mohammed El-Kurd, 23.    “I believe that these people are an electronic army.”
    In one scene that went viral, his twin sister, Muna, was filmed shouting “You are stealing my house!” at an Israeli.    “If I don’t steal it, someone else is going to steal it,” he shouted back.
    Instagram and Twitter were criticised by some social media users earlier this month after they noticed that posts documenting events in East Jerusalem were being deleted.    The social media platforms issued an apology, blaming technical errors.
    Israel captured East Jerusalem in a 1967 war, later annexing it in a move not recognised by most of the international community who regard settlements there as illegal.
    Israel regards all of Jerusalem as its capital, citing historical and religious ties to the land.    Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.
(Reporting by Suheir Sheikh, writing by Zainah El-Haroun; Editing by Mike Collett-White)

5/18/2021 Jordan’s King Says ‘Provocative’ Israeli Actions Led To Escalation - Royal Court
FILE PHOTO: Jordan's King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein reacts while meeting with European Commission President
Ursula von der Leyen (not pictured) in Brussels, Belgium May 5, 2021. REUTERS/Yves Herman/Pool/File Photo
    CAIRO (Reuters) – Jordan’s king, in a call with the United Nations’ secretary-general, said the “recurrent provocative Israeli actions against Palestinians have led to the ongoing escalation, pushing the region towards more tension,” the royal court wrote on Twitter on Monday.
    King Abdullah said the “international community must shoulder its responsibility, move actively to stop Israeli violations in Jerusalem, aggression on Gaza,” adding that, “he has always warned against altering the historical and legal status quo in Jerusalem,” according to the royal court.
(Reporting by Omar Fahmy; Writing by Nayera Abdallah; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

5/18/2021 Israel-Gaza Conflict Rages On Despite U.S., Regional Diplomacy by Nidal al-Mughrabi and Rami Ayyub
Smoke and flames rise above a building during Israeli air strikes, amid a flare-up of
Israeli-Palestinian fighting, in Gaza City May 17, 2021. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
GAZA/TEL AVIV (Reuters) -Israel pummeled Gaza with air strikes on Monday and Palestinian militants launched rockets at Israeli cities despite a flurry of U.S. and regional diplomacy that has so far failed to halt more than a week of deadly fighting.
    Israel’s missile attacks on the densely populated Palestinian enclave killed a top Islamic Jihad commander and left a crater in a seven-storey office building that Israel’s military said was used by Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas.
    “The directive is to continue to strike at terror targets,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after a meeting with military chiefs.    “We will continue to act as necessary to restore peace and security to all residents of Israel.”
    The armed wing of Hamas promised more rockets in return: “The criminal Zionist enemy intensified its bombing of homes and residential apartments in the recent hours, and therefore, we warn the enemy that if it did not stop that immediately, we would resume rocketing Tel Aviv,” said spokesman Abu Ubaida.
    U.S. President Joe Biden, in a call with Netanyahu later on Monday, expressed his support for a ceasefire in the fighting, the White House said in a statement.
    “The President expressed his support for a ceasefire and discussed U.S. engagement with Egypt and other partners towards that end,” it said.
    Rocket barrages, some of them launched in response to the killing of Islamic Jihad’s Hussam Abu Harbeed, sent Israelis dashing for bomb shelters. A synagogue was hit in Ashkelon and an apartment building in Ashdod.
    Gaza health officials put the Palestinian death toll since hostilities flared up last week at least 212, including 61 children and 36 women.    Ten people have been killed in Israel, including two children.
    The Israeli military said militants had fired about 3,350 rockets from Gaza, and that Israeli air and artillery strikes had killed least 130 Palestinian combatants.
    With the fiercest regional hostilities in years showing no sign of abating, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged all sides to protect civilians.
    Israel had the right to defend itself, Blinken said. He also said he had not seen any evidence provided by Israel on suggestions that Hamas was operating out of a building housing media outlets – including the U.S.-based Associated Press – which was destroyed in an Israeli missile strike at the weekend.
    Late on Monday Hamas denied that it had offices in the building, known as al-Jala: “These are false allegations and an attempt to justify the crime of targeting a civilian tower,” said Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum in a statement.
    Blinken and other U.S. officials put in calls to Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates on Monday, and a U.S. envoy to the region met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
    Egypt and U.N. mediators also stepped up diplomatic efforts, while the U.N. General Assembly will meet to discuss the violence on Thursday.     Despite the flurry of U.S. mediation, the U.S. administration approved the potential sale of $735 million in precision-guided weapons to Israel, and Congressional sources said on Monday that U.S. lawmakers were not expected to object to the deal. ISLAMIC JIHAD
    As Islamic Jihad mourned Harbeed’s death, Israel’s military said he had been “behind several anti-tank missile terror attacks against Israeli civilians.”    An Israeli general said the country could carry on the fight “forever.”
    At least seven Palestinians were killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza on Monday by evening.    Two died in the missile attack on the office building, which Israel’s military said was used by Hamas internal security.
    “My children couldn’t sleep all night even after the wave of intensive bombing stopped,” said Umm Naeem, 50, a mother of five, as she shopped for bread in Gaza City.
    Earlier on Monday, Israel bombed what its military called 15 km (nine miles) of underground tunnels used by Hamas.    Nine residences belonging to high-ranking Hamas commanders in Gaza were also hit, it said.
    “We have to continue the war until there is long-term ceasefire – (one) that is not temporary,” Osher Bugam, a resident of the Israel coastal city of Ashkelon, said after a rocket fired from Gaza hit the synagogue there.
    Medics said seven people were injured in the rocket strike that hit the apartment building in Ashdod.
COMMUNAL VIOLENCE
    Hamas began its rocket assault last Monday after weeks of tensions over a court case to evict several Palestinian families in East Jerusalem, and in retaliation for Israeli police clashes with Palestinians near the city’s al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
    Palestinians have also become frustrated by setbacks to their aspirations for an independent state and an end to Israeli occupation in recent years.
    World concern deepened after an Israeli air strike in Gaza that destroyed several homes on Sunday and which Palestinian health officials said killed 42 people, including 10 children, and persistent rocket attacks on Israeli towns.
    The hostilities between Israel and Hamas-controlled Gaza have been accompanied by an uptick of violence in the West Bank, where the Palestinians have limited self-rule.    Alarmingly for Israelis, there have also been riots involving both Arab and Jewish mobs within Israel itself, and clashes in towns populated both by Jews and members of Israel’s 21% Arab minority.
    Police said an Israeli man died in hospital on Monday after being attacked by Arab rioters last week.     Israel’s president has warned that tension between Jewish and Arab Israelis could devolve into “civil war.”
    General strikes are planned for Tuesday in Arab towns within Israel and Palestinian towns in the West Bank, with posts on social media urging solidarity “from the sea to the river.”
    While the devastation in Gaza was likely to make it harder for Israel to expand its ties with Arab countries, Gulf states that opened ties with Israel last year are showing no public sign of second thoughts.
(Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi, Rami Ayyub and Jeffrey Heller; Additional reporting by Dan Williams in Jerusalem, Michelle Nichols in New York, Suleiman Al-Khalidi in Amman, Trevor Hunnicutt in Washington; Editing by Timothy Heritage/Angus MacSwan, Peter Graff/ Hugh Lawson)

5/18/2021 Under Pressure, Biden Works For Ceasefire In Israel-Gaza Violence by Steve Holland and Patricia Zengerle
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the April jobs report from the East Room
of the White House in Washington, U.S., May 7, 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden and aides worked behind the scenes on Monday pressing for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas amid what one source said was frustration over Israel’s bombing of a Gaza building that housed some news organizations.
    Biden is facing growing pressure from lawmakers in his own Democratic Party to play a more vocal role, but U.S. officials say he and his team have opted for a quieter effort, talking with Israeli officials and U.S. allies in the Arab world.
    “Our calculation at this point is that having those conversations behind the scenes … is the most constructive approach we can take,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.
    Biden spoke by phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, their third conversation since the violence erupted.
    The White House said Biden “encouraged Israel to make every effort to ensure the protection of innocent civilians” and that the two leaders “discussed progress in Israel’s military operations against Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza.”
    “The president expressed his support for a ceasefire and discussed U.S. engagement with Egypt and other partners towards that end,” a White House statement said.
    Supporters of the Biden administration demanded quicker action.
    “We’re really frustrated that the administration is not moving with more urgency,” said Logan Bayroff, spokesman for J Street, a liberal pro-Israel lobbying group.
    Twenty-eight senators – more than half of the Democratic caucus – issued a statement on Sunday calling for an immediate ceasefire “to prevent any further loss of civilian life and to prevent further escalation of conflict.”
    Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Monday he also wanted to see a ceasefire reached quickly.
    The Biden administration has increasingly relied on Egypt because of its influence with Hamas, whose rocket barrages into Israeli cities have prompted a fierce response from Israel and led to the biggest outbreak in hostilities since 2014.
    The administration would like to get on a glide path to de-escalation in coming days, leading to what a source familiar with the situation called a humanitarian pause in the violence to let relief assistance be delivered to Gaza and build a sustainable calm.
    The United States was believed to be preparing significant initiatives on Gaza humanitarian reconstruction, the source said.
‘IMPERATIVE TO RESTORE CALM’
    Biden has strongly defended Israel’s right to defend itself because of the repeated rocket barrages from Hamas, which the United States views as a terrorist organization.
    But the administration did not support Israel’s destruction of a Gaza high-rise that housed the Associated Press and Al Jazeera offices.
    The Biden administration viewed the strike on the building as a major strategic mistake, particularly because it turned some public opinion against Israel in the United States, the source said.
    The Gaza building attack has prompted some Democratic lawmakers to call foul.
    “The increasing loss of civilian lives of Palestinians and Israelis is unconscionable and unacceptable,” said Democratic Representative Joaquin Castro.    “I’m particularly disturbed by the disproportionate bombing of the Gaza Strip, including the deaths of at least 92 women and children and the targeting of the Associated Press building.”
    Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted that he had spoken to United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan about the urgent need to halt the violence in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza.
    “The loss of life from this crisis is deeply saddening, and it is imperative to restore calm and end this conflict,” he said.
    The Biden administration has privately blamed the administration of Republican former President Donald Trump for breaking off communications with the Palestinian Authority in its zeal for a pro-Israel policy, believing that has contributed to instability.
    While Trump helped negotiate four normalization deals between Israel and Arab countries, he cut assistance to the Palestinians.
(Reporting by Steve Holland and Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Mary Milliken and Peter Cooney)

5/18/2021 Terror Group Hamas Calling For Mass Protests Against Israel by OAN Newsroom
A Muslim worshipper wears a Hamas flag during a protest against Israeli airstrikes
on the Gaza Strip. Friday, May 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)
    A series of mass protests are being orchestrated by Palestinian terrorist group Hamas and are expected to lead to even more violence across the region.    Calls to action have been flooding social media outlets. Protesters are calling on all Arab Israelis and Palestinians to take part in a strike against Israel.    This movement is being backed by both the terrorist organization Hamas as well as the Fatah.
    The strike looks to unite Palestinians on the West Bank in Gaza and those living within Israeli territory to march in protest of Israel’s air campaign in the region.    Israel has been actively working to eliminate the threat of Hamas in Gaza. As for the terrorist group, they have been continuously firing missiles into Israel, in turn, killing at least 10 Israelis thus far.
A Palestinian man inspects the damage of a house destroyed by an early morning
Israeli airstrike, in Gaza City, Tuesday, May 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
    Israel’s airstrikes have targeted subterranean tunnels used by Hamas and their assets all throughout Gaza.    The terror group has been hiding within civilian populations.
    Hamas and Palestinian authorities are now looking to focus the Palestinian anguish towards Israeli forces through these marches.    Demonstrations have seemingly already begun starting with a smaller, yet similar, event that resulted in clashes with authorities just this past weekend.
    According to the New York Times, one of the organizers said the marches will begin at 2 p.m. local time in Gaza and the West Bank.    Areas with large Arab populations, such as Nazareth, were also listed.
    Likewise, the Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network is also calling on protestors from around the world to take part in the strike, which means movements in major western cities will likely take place.    Demonstrations on the ground in Israel are expected to be met with a major Israeli police and military presence.
    However, mass demonstrations of this nature have been seen before and the conflict occurring over the last few weeks indicates unrest and increased tensions.

5/18/2021 Israeli Navy Thwarts Hamas Attack On Military Vessel by OAN Newsroom
File – Israeli soldiers take their positions on board the Israeli Navy Ship. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
    Israel’s Navy said it thwarted an attack by a militant wing of Hamas who attempted to use a remote-controlled submarine to disable an Israeli vessel.
    Al-Qassam Brigades, a Palestinian terror splinter cell, made claims on social media Monday that they had unleashed a “batch” of rockets at an Israeli battleship off the coast of Gaza.    However, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) diminished those claims.    Officials said Hamas militants were killed and their submarine was destroyed in the attack.
    The IDF also noted, Hamas modifies hobbyist RC submarines to carry explosive payloads up to 60 pounds.    Damage from an explosion of that size is minimal against an Israel battleship, but it gives Hamas a much needed “victory photo.”     Meanwhile, progressive U.S. lawmakers are taking aim at Israel over the ongoing conflict with Hamas militants in Gaza.
    In a tweet Sunday, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (D) said the U.S. must take a hard look at the $4 billion in military aide it provides every year to Israel.    He also suggested the Jewish State may be committing human rights violations in it’s handling of the situation.
    This comes as the group of liberal lawmakers known as “the Squad” has been pro-Palestine as well as establishment Democrats claiming to back Israel.    New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) recently went as far as calling the country an “apartheid state.”

5/18/2021 Egypt To Allocate $500 Million For Gaza Rebuilding Effort
Smoke and flames are seen following an Israeli air strike on a building, amid a flare-up
of Israeli-Palestinian fighting, in Gaza City May 18, 2021. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
    CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt will allocate $500 million for rebuilding efforts in the Gaza strip following Israeli air strikes, the Egyptian presidency said on Tuesday.
    Israel bombarded Gaza with air strikes and Palestinian militants resumed cross-border rocket fire on Tuesday after a brief overnight lull.
    Nearly 450 buildings in the Gaza strip have been destroyed or badly damaged, including six hospitals and nine primary care health centres, the United Nations humanitarian agency said.    Some 47,000 out of 52,000 displaced persons had fled to U.N. schools.
    Egyptian companies will participate in rebuilding operations, according to the statement that followed a meeting between President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, French President Emmanuel Macron and Jordan’s King Abdullah in Paris.
    Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh thanked Sisi for his contribution and Egypt’s mediation efforts, which reflected the country’s “national commitment to the Palestinian cause.”
    Egyptian officials have worked to restore ties with Hamas, strained following the 2013 ouster of former President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood, which share’s Hamas’s Islamist ideology.
    Haniyeh has since 2017 visited Cairo as Egyptian mediators brokered talks between Hamas and its rival Fatah.
(Reporting by Mohamed Waly and Nidal al-Mughrabi; Writing by Nadine Awadalla; Editing by Alison Williams and Giles Elgood)

5/19/2021 Netanyahu, Gaza Militants Vow To Fight On As Biden Urges ‘De-Escalation’ by Nidal al-Mughrabi, Rami Ayyub and Andrea Shalal
Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system fires to intercept a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip
towards Israel, as seen from Ashkelon, southern Israel May 19, 2021. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
    GAZA/TEL AVIV/ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (Reuters) -Israel and Gaza militants vowed to keep fighting after U.S. President Joe Biden urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to seek a “de-escalation” on Wednesday on the path to a ceasefire in the 10-day conflict.
    An Egyptian security source said the two sides had agreed in principle to a ceasefire after help from mediators, although details were still being negotiated in secret amid public denials of a deal to prevent it from collapsing.
    Palestinian health officials said that since fighting began on May 10, 228 people had been killed in aerial bombardments that have worsened an already dire humanitarian situation in Gaza.
    Israeli authorities put the death toll at 12 in Israel, where repeated rocket attacks have caused panic and sent people rushing into shelters.
    Regional and U.S.-led diplomatic efforts to secure a ceasefire have intensified but so far failed.    Cross-border fire continued unabated after Biden’s latest call for calm, and Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas and other militants vowed defiance.
    Netanyahu has repeatedly hailed what he has described as support from the United States, Israel’s main ally, for a right to self-defence in battling attacks from Gaza, home to two million Palestinians.
    But Biden put the Israeli leader on notice in a telephone call that it was time to lower the intensity of the conflict.
    “The two leaders had a detailed discussion on the state of events in Gaza, Israel’s progress in degrading the capabilities of Hamas and other terrorist elements, and ongoing diplomatic efforts by regional governments and the United States,” White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.
    “The president conveyed to the prime minister that he expected a significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire.”
‘QUIET AND SECURITY’
    In a statement released soon after her comments, Netanyahu said: “I am determined to continue this operation until its objective is achieved – to restore quiet and security to you, the citizens of Israel.”
    Netanyahu had earlier told a meeting with foreign envoys to Israel that “it is not possible to set a timeframe” for the operations, Israeli media reported.
    In response to Biden’s de-escalation call, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassam said those who sought to restore calm must “compel Israel to end its aggression in Jerusalem and its bombardment of Gaza.”
    Once that happened, Qassam said, “there can be room to talk about arrangements to restore calm.”
    The leader of Islamic Jihad, another Gaza militant group, said political talks “remain at a standstill.”
    “The only path towards freedom (is) to protect Jerusalem and people,” said Islamic Jihad chief Ziad Al-Nakhala.
    With Gaza rocket fire continuing into Wednesday night, a 72-year-old man was moderately injured when a rocket struck his house in the southern Israeli city of Sderot, medics said.
    In Gaza, the sounds of explosions roared at nightfall with heavy bombardments reported in the enclave’s centre and south.
    Hamas began firing rockets on May 10 in retaliation for what it said were Israeli rights abuses against Palestinians in Jerusalem during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
    The rocket attacks followed Israeli security police clashes with worshippers at al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and a court case by Israeli settlers to evict Palestinians from a neighbourhood in Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem.
    In a 25-minute attack overnight into Wednesday, Israel bombarded targets including what its military said were tunnels in southern Gaza used by Hamas.
    Some 50 rockets were fired from the enclave, the Israeli military said, with sirens sounding in the coastal city of Ashdod, south of Tel Aviv, and other areas.
    Around 4,000 rockets have been fired from Gaza since May 10, most of which have been intercepted by missile defences, the Israeli military said. Some 600 fell in Gaza, it said.
CRATERS AND RUBBLE
    Nearly 450 buildings in densely populated Gaza have been destroyed or badly damaged, including six hospitals and nine primary-care health centres, and more than 52,000 Palestinians have been displaced, the U.N. humanitarian agency said.
    “Whoever wants to learn about the humanity of the (Israelis) should come to the Gaza Strip and look at the houses that got destroyed on top of those who lived in them,” said university lecturer Ahmed al-Astal, standing by the rubble of his house in Khan Younis in southern Gaza.
    The hostilities are the most serious between Hamas and Israel in years, and, in a departure from previous Gaza conflicts, have helped fuel street violence in Israeli cities between Jews and Arabs.
    The conflict has also spilled over to the Israel-Lebanon frontier and stoked violence in the occupied West Bank.
    Four rockets were launched towards Israel from Lebanon on Wednesday, the third such incident since the Gaza conflict began, the military said.    There was no claim of responsibility.
    In the West Bank, Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian woman who the military said had fired a rifle at troops and civilians.    At least 21 Palestinians have been killed in clashes with Israeli troops or other incidents in the West Bank since May 10, Palestinian officials said.
    Gaza medical officials say the Palestinian death toll includes 65 children, and that more than 1,600 people have been wounded since the fighting began.    Israeli authorities say the death toll in Israel includes two children.
(Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi and Jeffrey Heller; Additional reporting by Aidan Lewis in Cairo and Ari Rabinovitch in Jerusalem; Editing by Peter Cooney, Michael Perry, Timothy Heritage, William Maclean, Gareth Jones and Giles Elgood)

5/19/2021 U.S. House Democrats Offer Resolution Blocking $735 Million Israel Weapons Sale
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden is greeted by U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib at
Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, Detroit, Michigan, U.S., May 18, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday introduced a resolution seeking to block a $735 million sale of precision-guided weapons to Israel, a symbolic response to conflict between Israel and Gaza’s ruling Hamas group.
    Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Mark Pocan and Rashida Tlaib were lead sponsors of the measure, which has at least six other co-sponsors including some of the most left-leaning Democrats in the House.
    They have been among lawmakers calling for a more concerted U.S. effort to stop the violence, including Israeli airstrikes that have killed dozens of civilians, most of them Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip.
    Democratic President Joe Biden’s administration approved the potential sale of $735 million in weapons to Israel earlier this year, and sent it to Congress for formal review on May 5, giving lawmakers 15 days to object under laws governing foreign weapons sales.
    “At a time when so many, including President Biden, support a ceasefire, we should not be sending ‘direct attack’ weaponry to Prime Minister Netanyahu to prolong this violence,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a statement.
    The resolution is unlikely to progress further in the House, where the office of Speaker Nancy Pelosi controls which legislation comes up for a vote.    The chamber’s leaders have expressed support for the sale, with No. 2 Democrat Steny Hoyer telling reporters yesterday he backed it.
    The sale of Joint Direct Attack Munitions, or JDAMs, made by Boeing Co, was considered routine at the time, before the start earlier this month of the fiercest hostilities in the region in years.
    Both Republicans and Democrats in Congress generally express strong support for Israel.    The country has been the largest recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War Two, with Washington currently providing Israel some $3.8 billion a year in military aid.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

5/19/2021 Silos And Saturation Salvoes: Gaza Rockets Bedevil Israel by Dan Williams and Nidal al-Mughrabi
FILE PHOTO: People look at a damaged car at a site where a rocket fired from Gaza landed, as
Israeli-Palestinian cross-border violence continues, in Ashkelon, southern Israel, May 16, 2021. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
    JERUSALEM/GAZA (Reuters) – Named after slain Islamist commanders and fashioned mostly from makeshift materials in clandestine Gaza workshops, the rockets of Hamas and Islamic Jihad have long bedevilled a technologically superior Israeli military.The current cross-border fighting has seen a new tactic by the Gazan militant groups: mass-launches aimed at exploiting the statistical failure rate of Israel’s air defences and increasing the chance of causing casualties in its cities.
    The rocket fire has set off a near-incessant wail of sirens in Israeli communities near the Gaza border and prompted tens of thousands of residents to seek shelter.    Twelve people have been killed in Israel since the hostilities erupted on May 10.
    Israel has been heavily shelling densely populated Gaza, where officials say 219 Palestinians have been killed, many of them civilians. Israel says at least 160 guerrillas have been killed, among them rocket operators and manufacturers.
    According to Israeli officials, a Gaza arsenal of around 29,000 rockets or mortars before the violence began has now been halved.    Hamas and Islamic Jihad have not confirmed that.
    The factions’ promotional videos have shown rockets being pre-loaded into small silos for remote-launches – a means of keeping their operators protected from Israeli counter-strikes.
    Counter-strikes may also be delayed or called off against manned crews operating within residential areas, Israel says.
    The firing of as many as 140 rockets within a few minutes at Tel Aviv and elsewhere has “challenged our exceptional systems,” Ofir Akunis, an Israeli cabinet minister and ex-spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told Army Radio on Wednesday.
    He was referring to the Iron Dome rocket interceptor, which, according to Israeli figures corroborated by U.S. military observers, has a 90% chance of shooting down rockets that radars show to be on trajectories that threaten populated areas.
    In quieter times, Iron Dome is programmed to fire two Tamir interceptor missiles at an incoming rocket, increasing the chance of interception to around 99%.    But an Israeli air force general said the Iron Domes were now mostly being limited to one Tamir per interception, meaning 10% of rockets may get through.
FACTORY-GRADE MISSILES
    “You don’t intercept 140 rockets with 280 (Tamirs).    It’s just too much,” the general told reporters at air force headquarters in Tel Aviv on Saturday.    He added that Israel was husbanding the missiles – valued at $50,000 each – but saw no supply problems.
    It has been 20 years since Gaza militants first fired rockets into Israel.    Those projectiles, named after the Syrian preacher Izz al-Din al-Qassam who fought against the British in colonial-era Palestine in the 1930s, were short-range and had warheads weighting a few kilograms.
    Hamas and Islamic Jihad proceeded to boost their arsenals with factory-grade missiles smuggled in through the Egyptian Sinai.    Cairo’s crackdowns have largely choked off that conduit.
    Now, Israeli and Palestinian sources say, the guerrillas use Iranian funding and instructions to produce rockets within Gaza that have ranges of 200 km (125 miles) or more, some with warheads carrying hundreds of kilograms of TNT and shrapnel.
    Iran does not publicly disclose details of its support to Palestinian and Lebanese armed groups opposed to Israel.    But the head of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards said in a televised speech on Wednesday that Iran supports Palestinians’ fight against Israel.    “The Palestinians have emerged as a missile equipped nation,” said Hossein Salami.
    In 2020 Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the power balance in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict had been transformed with Iranian planning and “divine guidance and assistance” after Iran had taken note of Palestinian lack of access to weapons.
    The arsenal often appears rudimentary.    One Hamas video shows rockets being made from disused water pipes.    A rocket that hit Beersheba, 50 km (30 miles) from Gaza, tumbled on a road after failing to explode, CCTV footage showed.
    Citing the same tracking data it used for Iron Dome interceptions, the Israeli military says that between 20% and one-third of the Palestinians’ rockets have fallen short within Gaza in the latest fighting, causing at least 17 civilian fatalities.
(Writing by Dan Williams, Additional reporting by Parisa HAfezi in Dubai, Editing by William Maclean)

5/19/2021 Facebook Running Special Center To Respond To Content On Israeli-Gaza Conflict by Elizabeth Culliford
FILE PHOTO: Streaks of lights are seen from Ashkelon as rockets are launched from the
Gaza Strip towards Israel, May 15, 2021. REUTERS/Amir Cohen/File Photo
    (Reuters) – Facebook Inc set up a 24-7 “special operations center” last week to respond to content posted on its platform about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and address any moderation mistakes amid violence in the region, the company said on Wednesday.
    Misinformation, hate speech and calls for violence about the conflict have circulated on social media platforms amid the deadly fighting.
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to continue fighting against Gaza militants after U.S. President Joe Biden urged him to seek a “de-escalation” on Wednesday in the 10-day conflict on the path to a ceasefire.
    “This operations center allows us to closely monitor the situation so we can remove content that violates our community standards faster, while also addressing possible errors in enforcement,” Monika Bickert, Facebook’s vice president of content policy, told reporters on a conference call.
    Facebook has previously set up similar operations centers to focus on situations like global elections.
    Facebook spokesman Andy Stone told Reuters that Facebook’s head of global affairs, Nick Clegg, and other executives had on Tuesday talked to Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh.    Facebook executives previously met with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz via Zoom, Politico reported last week.
    A Reuters fact-checking team has debunked images shared on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that falsely claim https://www.reuters.com/article/factcheck-gaza-child/fact-check-photo-shows-a-palestinian-child-mopping-up-cow-blood-in-his-parents-slaughterhouse-it-is-unrelated-to-the-current-violence-in-gaza-and-israel-idUSL2N2N627T to be related to the conflict.
    The New York Times reported on Wednesday that there has also been a surge of new groups formed on WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned encrypted messaging service, by Jewish extremists for the purpose of committing violence against Palestinians.
    “As a private messaging service, we do not have access to the contents of people’s personal chats though when information is reported to us, we take action to ban accounts we believe may be involved in causing imminent harm,” a WhatsApp spokesman said.    “We also quickly respond to valid legal requests from law enforcement for the limited information available to us.”
    Social media platforms have also come under fire over allegations of censorship amid the conflict.    Last week, BuzzFeed News reported that Facebook-owned Instagram had mistakenly removed content about the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
    The Thomson Reuters Foundation also reported that Instagram and Twitter Inc had blamed glitches https://reut.rs/3ouaf0t for the deletion of posts mentioning the possible eviction of Palestinians from East Jerusalem.
    On Facebook’s call with reporters on Wednesday, Bickert said the Facebook operations center was staffed by experts across the company, including native Arabic and Hebrew speakers.    Facebook, which is based in California, has been criticized in the past for lacking local language expertise and resources amid violent situations in other countries.
    Bickert also said Facebook had activated a feature for its third-party fact-checking partners – of which Reuters is one – to use keyword detection for grouping related content around the conflict.    She said it had been used in the past, for content about COVID-19, elections and U.S. and Australian wildfires.
(Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford in New York; Editing by Kenneth Li and Matthew Lewis)

5/20/2021 Prime Minister Netanyahu: Israel Determined To Continue Operations Against Hamas by OAN Newsroom
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks on during a briefing to ambassadors to Israel at the Hakirya
military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, Wednesday, May 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner, Pool)
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signaled he has no plans of easing up on his response to Hamas attacks.    While speaking Wednesday, he said he appreciates America’s support, but is determined to continue Israel’s operation against the terrorist organization.
    This comes after Netanyahu spoke with Joe Biden Wednesday morning in an attempt to de-escalate the ongoing conflict.    However, the White House hasn’t indicated what a “significant de-escalation” would entail.
    “I am holding assessments of the situation and we are making decisions, we will continue the military operation as needed in order to restore calm to the Israeli citizens,” stated the Prime Minister.    “One other thing: I’m sure that all of our enemies around us see the price we are exacting for the aggression against us and I am certain that they will have absorbed that lesson.”
    Netanyahu said, for now, Israel is pursuing “forceful deterrence” against Hamas, but didn’t rule out further escalation if Hamas continues their offensive.

5/20/2021 Renewed Violence Over Gaza Despite Ceasefire Moves Gaining Speed by Nidal al-Mughrabi and Jeffrey Heller
A police vehicle is deployed as Palestinian demonstrators attend an anti-Israel protest,
in Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank May 20, 2021. REUTERS/Mussa Qawasma
    GAZA (Reuters) – Diplomatic moves towards a ceasefire in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict gathered pace on Thursday after U.S. President Joe Biden called for a de-escalation, but Israel threatened to step up strikes on Gaza as Hamas rocket fire resumed after a pause.br>     After a senior Hamas official predicted a truce within days, an Egyptian security source – whose country has been mediating between the sides – said they had agreed in principle to a mutual halt in hostilities but details needed to be worked out.
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scheduled a 7 pm (1600 GMT) meeting of his security cabinet to discuss options.
    Rocket attacks on Israel stopped for eight hours on Thursday – the 11th day of hostilities – before resuming against communities near the Gaza border and the city of Beersheba.
    Israel continued air strikes in Hamas-run Gaza, saying it wanted to destroy the Islamist militant group’s capabilities and deter it from future confrontation after the current conflict.
    “We’re fully prepared to expand the campaign to whatever degree necessary.    We’re turning the clock back on Hamas and it won’t be able to recover,” Defence Minister Benny Gantz said.
    Since the fighting began on May 10, health officials in Gaza say 232 Palestinians, including 65 children and 39 women, have been killed and more than 1,900 wounded in aerial bombardments.    Israel says it has killed at least 160 combatants in Gaza.
    Authorities put the death toll in Israel at 12, with hundreds of people treated for injuries in rocket attacks that have caused panic and sent people rushing into shelters.
    Biden on Wednesday urged Netanyahu to seek “de-escalation” and a Hamas political official, Moussa Abu Marzouk, said he believed a ceasefire would be reached “within a day or two.”
    But asked on Israel’s Kan public radio if a truce would begin on Friday, Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen said: “No.”
    Qatar-based Al Jazeera television reported that U.N. Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland was meeting Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh in Qatar.    A diplomatic source said Wennesland was in the Gulf nation as part of intensified U.N. efforts to restore calm in Gaza and Israel.
    Israel carried out over a dozen air strikes on Gaza after midnight, targeting what it said was a weapons storage unit in the home of a Hamas official, and military infrastructure in the homes of other commanders from the group.
    Hamas-run radio said a woman was killed and four children wounded in one attack on Khan Younis in southern Gaza.    Witnesses said several main roads were also damaged in the air strikes.
    In the Gaza City suburb of Sabra, Amira Esleem, 14, and three family members were wounded in one Israeli attack, which she said caused parts of their house to collapse.
    “We were sitting on the sofa when a missile landed. There was heavy smoke and we couldn’t see anything,” she said from her hospital bed.
    Nearly 450 buildings in Gaza have been destroyed or badly damaged, including six hospitals and nine health centres, the United Nations humanitarian agency has said.    More than 52,000 people have fled their homes in Gaza, which is blockaded by Israel and Egypt.
    Israelis living in areas frequently targeted by rocket fire began their workday on Thursday without the usual sound of warning sirens.    But after an eight-hour break, the sirens blared again in southern Israel.
    Israel said some 4,000 rockets have been launched at it from Gaza, some falling short and others shot down by its Iron Dome air defences.
    Civilians on both sides are exhausted by fear and grief, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.    “People in Gaza and Israel urgently need respite from non-stop hostilities,” said Fabrizio Carboni, regional director for the Middle East.
DIPLOMACY
    Washington and several Middle East governments have sought an end to the violence through diplomacy.    The U.N. General Assembly was due to meet on the conflict on Thursday, but it was not expected to take action.
    The U.S. mission said it would not support a French call for a resolution in the 15-member U.N. Security Council, saying it believed such actions would undermine efforts to de-escalate violence.
    Any ceasefire is unlikely to address the fundamental issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    An international peace process aimed at creating a Palestinian state free of Israeli occupation and guaranteeing Israel’s security has been frozen since 2014.
    Hamas, regarded by the West as a terrorist organisation, has not been part of the mainstream Palestine Liberation Organization’s engagement with Israel, which led to interim peace deals in the 1990s and the establishment of limited Palestinian self-rule in the occupied West Bank.
    The U.N. Human Rights Council said it will hold a special session on May 27 to address “the grave human rights situation” in the Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem.
    Hamas began firing rockets on May 10 in retaliation for what it called Israeli rights abuses against Palestinians in Jerusalem during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
    The rocket attacks followed Israeli police clashes with worshippers at al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and efforts by Israeli settlers to evict Palestinians from a neighbourhood in Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem.
    The hostilities are the most serious between Hamas and Israel in years and have helped fuel street violence in Israeli cities between Jews and Arabs.
    The conflict has also stoked violence in the West Bank, where Palestinian officials said at least 21 Palestinians have been killed in clashes with Israeli troops or other incidents since May 10.
(Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza, Rami Ayyub in Tel Aviv and Andrea Shalal aboard Air Force One; Additional reporting by Jeffrey Heller and Ari Rabinovitch in Jerusalem and Aidan Lewis in Cairo; Editing by Angus MacSwan, Philippa Fletcher and Giles Elgood)

5/20/2021 Germany Wants Sustainable Truce Between Israel-Hamas: Merkel
FILE PHOTO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, Germany May 8, 2021. John MacDougall/Pool via REUTERS
BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday defended Israel’s right to defend itself against rocket fire from the Gaza Strip ruled by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas and said Germany was working to secure a sustainable ceasefire.
    “We stand for Israel’s right to self-defence and that’s why it is right that Israel is taking massive action,” Merkel said in an interview with the WDR public broadcaster.    “But on the other hand we want to contribute to diplomatic attempts to secure a long-term and sustainable situation in the region.”
    Merkel said that Germany had a “zero tolerance” policy against anti-Semitism after several attacks on synagogues that coincided with the fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants.    She added that any ceasefire would have to include indirect talks with Hamas, which rules the coastal strip.
(Reporting by Joseph Nasr and Paul Carrel; Editing by Alison Williams)

5/20/2021 Timeline – Hamas And Israel: A History Of Confrontation
A view shows the site of Israeli air strikes, amid Israeli-Palestinian fighting, in Gaza, May 20, 2021. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
    (Reuters) – Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas are waging their most intense conflict in years.
    Here is a timeline of the some of the most important events in many years of confrontation.
1987 – Hamas is created at the start of the first Palestinian Intifada, or uprising, against Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.    Two years later, Hamas carries out its first attacks on Israeli military targets, including the kidnap and murder of two Israeli soldiers.
1993 – After years of violence, the first Oslo Accord, aimed at establishing peace between Israel and the Palestinians, is signed.    Hamas opposes the peace process, and seeks to derail it with bus bombings and gun attacks in Israel.
2000 – Israel and the Palestinians fail to reach a final agreement in the peace process at a summit in the United States in July 2000. Two months later,     Palestinian protests over a visit by Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in East Jerusalem – known to Jews as Temple Mount, because it was the site of ancient Jewish temples, and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary – develop into a Second Intifada.
2001-02 – Hamas carries out a series of suicide bombings in Israel, including killing 21 Israelis outside a Tel Aviv disco in June 2001, and 30 Jewish celebrants at a Passover seder dinner in Netanya in March 2022.    Four months later, Hamas’s military commander Salah Shehadeh is killed in an Israeli air strike, and Israel starts a siege of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s compound in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
March-April 2004 – Israeli air strikes kill Hamas co-founder and spiritual leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, and co-founder and political leader Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi, in Gaza within a month of each other.    The Hamas leadership goes into hiding and the identity of Rantissi’s successor is kept secret.
Aug. 15, 2005 – Israeli forces start a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, captured from Egypt in the 1967 Middle East war, abandoning settlements and leaving the densely populated enclave under the control of the Palestinian Authority.
Jan. 25, 2006 – Hamas wins a majority of seats in a Palestinian legislative election.    Israel and United States cut off aid to Palestinians because Hamas refuses to renounce violence and recognise Israel.
June 25, 2006 – Hamas militants capture Israeli conscript Gilad Shalit in a cross-border raid, prompting Israeli air strikes and incursions.    Shalit is finally freed over five years later in a prisoner exchange.
June 14, 2007 – Hamas takes over Gaza in a brief civil war, ousting Fatah forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is based in the West Bank.
Dec 27, 2008 – Israel launches a 22-day military offensive in Gaza after Palestinians fire rockets at the southern Israeli town of Sderot.    About 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis are reported killed before a ceasefire is agreed.
Nov 14, 2012 – Israel kills Hamas’s military chief of staff, Ahmad Jabari, and eight days of Palestinian militant rocket fire and Israeli air strikes follow.
July-August 2014 – The kidnap and killing of three Israeli teenagers by Hamas leads to a seven-week war in which more than 2,100 Palestinians are reported killed in Gaza and 73 Israelis are reported killed, 67 of them military.
March 2018 – Palestinian protests begin at Gaza’s border with Israel against its blockade of the enclave.    Israeli troops open fire to keep them back.    More than 170 Palestinians are reported killed in several months of protests, which also prompt fighting between Hamas and Israeli forces.
May 7, 2021 – After weeks of tension during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, Israeli police clash with Palestinian protesters near the Al-Aqsa Mosque over a legal case in which eight Palestinian families face losing their East Jerusalem homes to Jewish settlers.
May 10 – After a weekend of sporadic violence, hundreds of Palestinians are hurt in clashes with Israeli security forces at the Al-Aqsa compound, Islam’s third holiest site.    After demanding Israel withdraw its security forces from the compound, Hamas fires a barrage of rockets from Gaza into Israel.    Israel hits back with air strikes on Gaza.
May 11 – The death toll mounts as the aerial bombardments continue. A 13-story residential building in Gaza collapses after being hit during an Israeli air strike.    Palestinian militants launch rockets deep into Israel.
May 12 – The United States announces it will send an envoy to the region.    Israel’s military kills a senior Hamas commander in Gaza during more hostilities.
May 13 – Israeli air strikes and militant rocket fire continue, and violence worsens in mixed communities of Jews and Arabs in Israel.    Synagogues are attacked and clashes break out in some towns.
May 14 – Israel uses warplanes, tanks and artillery against a network of Palestinian militant tunnels under Gaza in an operation that is followed by more Palestinian rocket salvoes.
May 15 – An Israeli air strike destroys a 12-storey tower block that housed international news media organisations, while Palestinian militants fire rocket salvoes at Tel Aviv.
May 16 – Several homes are destroyed by an Israeli air strike on the densely-populated enclave that Palestinian officials said killed 42 people, including 10 children, as rocket attacks on Israeli town persist.
May 17 – Israeli missile attacks kill top Islamic Jihad commander Hussam Abu Harbeed and hit a seven-storey office building that the military said was used by Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas.    Rockets fired by the militants hit a synagogue in the Israeli town of Ashkelon and an apartment block in Ashdod.
May 18 – The United Nations humanitarian agency says nearly 450 buildings in the Gaza Strip have been destroyed or badly damaged, including six hospitals and nine primary-care health centres. Around 52,000 have fled their homes, with most sheltering in U.N.-run schools.
May 19 – Israel says around 4,000 rockets have been launched at it from Gaza, most intercepted by missile defences and some 600 falling within the enclave.    U.S. President Joe Biden urges both sides to de-escalate the violence.
May 20 – Both sides resume their attacks but ceasefire talks intensify.    Israeli authorities say 12 people have been killed so far in Israel and that it has killed around 160 militants.    Health officials in Gaza say 230 Palestinians have been killed, including 65 children and 39 women, and more than 1,700 wounded.
(Compiled by Timothy Heritage and Philippa Fletcher, Editing by Mark Heinrich and Angus MacSwan)

5/20/2021 ‘Mama, Baba, Boom!’: Toddlers And Families Learn To Live With Gaza Bombardment by Nidal al-Mughrabi
Smoke rises following an Israeli air strike, amid Israeli-Palestinian fighting, in Gaza, May 20, 2021. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
    GAZA (Reuters) – The Mashharawi family have already fled their home to a relative’s apartment in the Gaza Strip and are prepared for another dash at any time.
    For more than a week, since a conflict erupted with Israel, they have retreated each evening to the windowless corridor, with vital documents and other items packed and ready to grab.
    “Our life is full of fear. There is no safety at all,” said Mohammad al-Mashharawi, a father of triplets aged five and a one-year-old infant.
    Diplomacy towards a ceasefire between Israel’s military and Palestinian militants in Gaza has yet to deliver an end to the unrelenting exchange of fire, running through the day and night.
    Israeli air strikes and artillery fire as well as the militants’ rocket attacks often intensify after the sun sets.
    Over the border in Israel, sirens wail hours or even minutes apart in areas in range of the rocket salvoes, sending people dashing to shelters or “safe rooms.”    Where these are not available, some also use hallways and staircases https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/living-under-fire-israel-when-rocket-shelter-becomes-your-home-2021-05-18.
    In densely populated Gaza, there are fewer place to run.    Many of the 2 million people packed into this narrow strip of land are already refugees, whose families fled towns and cities now in Israel.
    Mashharawi and his family left their own home after a heavy bombardment.
    “I moved from my house to my uncle’s and I keep all my personal belongings ready so if there is a threat to our lives or around us, we can immediately move to another house,” said Mashharawi, 31, speaking in his uncle’s third-floor flat in a seven-storey block in Gaza City.
    They sleep on a mattress in the hall, which has no windows, to avoid the risk of flying glass from any blast.    Small bags next to the door contain their birth certificates and other key documents, jewellery, phones, laptops and some clothes.
NIGHTLY BARRAGE
    Gaza’s Housing Ministry says 16,800 housing units have been damaged, with 1,000 of them destroyed and 1,800 uninhabitable.
    Medics say 230 people have been killed, including 65 children, in Gaza during the conflict that began on May 10.    The U.N. humanitarian agency says six hospitals and nine primary care health centres have been hit.
    Israel puts its death toll at 12, including two children, in barrages that it says are among the most intense the country has ever faced. Residential blocks, synagogues and other buildings have been hit by the rockets.
    The Israeli military says it makes every effort to avoid civilian casualties in Gaza and that it gives prior warning to evacuate residential blocks if they are targeted for what Israel says is military activity going on inside.
    Hamas, an Islamist group which has ruled Gaza since 2007, says such accusations are a pretext for collective punishment.    It says it is struggling to secure Palestinian rights against Israeli oppression.    Israel, the United States and European Union say the group is a terrorist organisation.
    Warnings can give Palestinians a couple of hours https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/taking-call-gaza-before-israel-takes-out-building-2021-05-14 or so to leave before a strike.    Once emptied, subsequent blasts have turned several multi-storey residential buildings into piles of rubble.
    Rana Mashharawi says her one-year-old daughter had been learning words like “mama” and “baba,” but has now added the word of an explosion – “boom.”
    At night, when blasts seemed the most frightening, she said their new bedroom in the hall felt like the safest place.    “If something happens, God forbid, we take our belongings and leave,” she said.
(Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi; Additional reporting by Mohammad Shana; Writing by Edmund Blair)

5/21/2021 Israeli Media: Govt. Achieves Armistice With Hamas by OAN Newsroom
An Israeli soldier sits on top of a tank at a staging ground near the border with Gaza Strip, southern Israel,
Friday, May 21, 2021. A ceasefire took effect early Friday after 11 days of heavy fighting between Israel and Gaza’s militant
Hamas rulers that was ignited by protests and clashes in Jerusalem. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)
    The Israeli government agreed to halt its counter-terror operation in the Gaza Strip following days of rocket strikes from Hamas against Israel.
    According to the White House on Thursday, the Israeli cabinet negotiated a ceasefire with Hamas through Egyptian mediators with the sides “agreed in principle” to pause mutual hostilities after 11 straight days of fighting.
    “Prime Minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu informed me that Israel has agreed to mutual, unconditional ceasefire to begin in less than two hours,” announced Ezzat el-Reshiq, a member of the Hamas Political Bureau.    “The Egyptians have now informed us that Hamas and the other groups in Gaza have also agreed.”
    The ceasefire reportedly took effect in Israel at 2:00 a.m. local time.    Under the terms of the agreement, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it will resume the anti-terror operation if Hamas continues to fire rockets into Israel.
    In Gaza, however, a Hamas official warned the terrorist organization will keep its hands on the trigger while threatening to strike back and continue resistance efforts.    In the meantime, the U.S. will continue working with Israel and Hamas leaders in an effort to reestablish peace in the Middle East.

5/21/2021 Israel And Hamas Both Claim Victory As Ceasefire Holds by Nidal al-Mughrabi, Jonathan Saul and Rami Ayyub
Palestinians hold flags as they stand at the compound that houses Al-Aqsa Mosque, known to Muslims as
Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City May 21, 2021. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
    GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Israel and Hamas both claimed victory on Friday after their forces ended 11 days of fighting, but humanitarian officials warned that the damage to Gaza would take years to rebuild.
    As Palestinians and Israelis began to assess the scale of the damage, one Gazan said his neighbourhood looked as if it had been hit by a tsunami.    “How can the world call itself civilised?” Abu Ali asked, standing next to the rubble of a 14-storey tower block.
    Palestinian officials put the reconstruction costs at tens of millions of dollars, while economists said the fighting could curb Israel’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Five more bodies were pulled from Gaza’s rubble, taking the death toll to 243, including 66 children, with more than 1,900 wounded.
    The Israeli military said an Israeli soldier had been killed as well as 12 civilians, and hundreds were treated for injuries after rocket salvoes caused panic and sent people as far away as Tel Aviv rushing into shelters.
    World Health Organization spokeswoman Margaret Harris said Gaza’s health facilities were in danger of being overwhelmed by the thousands of injuries.
    She called for immediate access into the Gaza Strip for health supplies and personnel.    “The real challenges are the closures,” she told a virtual U.N. briefing.
    Gaza has for years been subjected to an Israeli blockade that restricts the passage of people and goods, as well as restrictions by Egypt.
    Both countries cite concerns about weapons reaching Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza and led the rocket barrage.    Palestinians say the restrictions amount to collective punishment of Gaza’s 2 million population.
    Fabrizio Carboni, regional director of the International Committee of the Red Cross, echoed WHO’s call for urgent medical supplies, adding: “It will take years to rebuild – and even more to rebuild the fractured lives.”
    U.S. President Joe Biden said on Thursday that aid would be sent quickly to Gaza, but coordinated with the Palestinian Authority – Hamas’s Western-backed rival in the occupied West Bank – “in a manner that does not permit Hamas to simply restock its military arsenal.”
DUELLING LEADERS
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a televised address to Israelis, saying the operation had damaged Hamas’s ability to launch missiles at Israel.
    He said Israel had destroyed Hamas’s extensive tunnel network, its rocket factories, weapons laboratories and storage facilities, and killed more than 200 militants, including 25 senior figures.
    “Hamas can’t hide anymore.    That’s a great achievement for Israel,” he said.
    “We eliminated an important part of Hamas’s and Islamic Jihad’s command echelon.    And whoever was not killed knows today that our long arm can reach him anywhere, above ground or underground.”
    Israel said Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other militant groups fired around 4,350 rockets from Gaza during the conflict, of which around 640 fell short into the Gaza Strip.    The Israeli military said that 90% of those that crossed the border had been intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defence system.
    Iran, which does not recognise Israel but supports Hamas and says it has transformed the Palestinian fighters’ arsenal, said they had won a “historic victory” over Israel.    The Iranian Revolutionary Guards warned Israel to expect “deadly blows.”
    Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh cast the fighting as successful resistance to a militarily and economically stronger foe.
    “We will rebuild what the occupation (Israel) destroyed and restore our capabilities,” he said, “and we will not abandon our obligations and duties to the families of martyrs, the wounded and those whose homes were destroyed.”
    Haniyeh expressed gratitude to Egyptian, Qatari and U.N. mediators, and to Iran, “which has not given up on providing the resistance with money, weapons and technology.”
    Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged Muslim states in a statement to “support the Palestinian people, through military … or financial support … or in rebuilding Gaza’s infrastructure.”
    Ezzat el-Reshiq, a senior member of the Hamas political bureau, told Reuters in Doha the movement’s demands included protection for the Al-Aqsa mosque, and for Palestinians threatened with eviction from their homes in East Jerusalem.
RAMADAN CLASHES
    The Israel-Hamas hostilities were set off on May 10 in part by Israeli police raids on the Al-Aqsa compound and clashes with Palestinians during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
    Thousands gathered there again for this Friday’s prayers, with many demonstrating in support of Gaza.
    Israeli police fired stun grenades towards demonstrators, who threw rocks and petrol bombs at officers, and Palestinian medics said some 20 Palestinians were wounded.
    The confrontations died down within about an hour, with Israeli police pulling back to the compound’s gates.
    Civilians on both sides of the Gaza border were sceptical about the chances for peace.
    “What is truce?    What does it mean?” said Samira Abdallah Naseer, a mother of 11 children sitting near the wreckage of a building near Beit Hanoun in the north of the Gaza Strip.
    “We returned to our houses, and we found no place to sit, no water, no electricity, no mattresses, nothing,” she said.
    In a cafe in the Israeli port city of Ashdod, north of Gaza, student Dan Kiri, 25, said Israel should continue attacking Hamas until it collapsed.
    “It’s only a matter of time until the next operation in Gaza,” he said.
    The truce appeared to be part of a two-stage deal, with Cairo sending security delegations to Tel Aviv and the Palestinian territories to agree on measures to maintain stability.
    Egypt, which mediated the deal, discussed measures to avoid a resumption of the rocket attacks from Gaza and Israeli strikes on the enclave.
    A Western diplomat said Biden, who on Thursday made his first call as president to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, appeared to have played a key role.
    The biggest obstacle to securing a deal was concern from Israel and Hamas about the public reactions from their own side, and their opponents, if they accepted a ceasefire, two Egyptian security sources said.
    “In our negotiations with the two parties, we depended on the need for each of them to see the scale of the damage done to civilians, and we charged each party with its criminal and international liabilities towards civilians,” one of the sources said.
(Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi, Jonathan Saul and Rami Ayyub; Additional reporting by Michelle Nichols in New York, Stephen Farrell in Jerusalem, Emma Farge in Geneva and Ahmed Mohamed Hassan in Cairo; Writing by Philippa Fletcher; Editing by Giles Elgood and Kevin Liffey)

5/21/2021 Palestinians, Israeli Police Clash At Jerusalem’s Aqsa Hours After Gaza Truce
Palestinians react as Israeli security forces throw stun grenade during clashes at the compound that houses Al-Aqsa Mosque,
known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City May 21, 2021. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Israeli police fired stun grenades towards Palestinians who threw rocks and petrol bombs at officers outside Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday, hours after Israel and Hamas reached a ceasefire in Gaza.
    Police raids of the compound and clashes with Palestinians during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan helped touch off violence between Israel and Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas, who after 11 days of fighting agreed to a truce early Friday.
    At noon, thousands of Palestinians gathered in the tree-lined compound surrounding the mosque for Friday prayers.    Many stayed on to demonstrate in support of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, cheering and waving Palestinian flags.
    An Israeli police spokesman said that some of the Palestinians gathered threw stones and petrol bombs towards officers who had been stationed along the compound’s gates.    The officers responded by dispersing them, the spokesman said.
    A Reuters photographer said police fired stun grenades towards the Palestinians.    It was not immediately clear what set off the clashes.
    The confrontations died down within about an hour, with Israeli police retreating to their positions at the compound’s gates.    Medics said 20 Palestinians were wounded, with two transferred to hospital for treatment.
    The compound, which sits atop the Old City plateau known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif, or The Noble Sanctuary, and to Jews as Temple Mount, is the most sensitive site in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    Israel sees all of Jerusalem as its eternal and indivisible capital, while the Palestinians want the eastern section, including the walled Old City, as a capital of a future state. Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem is unrecognised internationally.
(Reporting by Jonathan Saul, Rami Ayyub and Ali Sawafta; editing by Philippa Fletcher and Giles Elgood)

5/21/2021 Iran Hails Palestinian ‘Victory’, Warns Of ‘Deadly Blows’ Against Israel
People gather during a demonstration to express solidarity with Palestinian people amid a flare-up of
Israeli-Palestinian violence, in Tehran, Iran May 19, 2021. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS
    DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran said on Friday that Palestinians had won a “historic victory” over Israel, which the Revolutionary Guards warned to expect “deadly blows” after the 11-day Gaza conflict showed the power of the Palestinian arsenal.
    Iran, which does not recognise Israel, supports and arms the Islamist militants of Hamas, who rule the Gaza Strip while President Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority controls Palestinian-populated areas of the occupied West Bank.
    Hamas and the Islamic Jihad group fired hundreds of rockets into Israel before Friday’s truce, killing a dozen civilians, although Israel said its “Iron Dome” defence system had shot the majority of them down.
    “Congratulations to our Palestinian sisters & brothers for the historic victory.    Your resistance forced the aggressor to retreat,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh tweeted.
    The Iranian Revolutionary Guards said in a statement: “The intifada (Palestinian uprising) has gone from using stones to powerful, precise missiles … and in the future the Zionists (Israel) can expect to endure deadly blows from within the occupied territories.”
    Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said a year ago that Tehran had transformed the military balance of power between Israel and the Palestinians.
    Iran on Friday displayed an Iranian-made combat drone that it said had a range of 2,000 km (1,250 miles), naming it “Gaza” in honour of the Palestinians’ struggle against Israel, state media reported.
(Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

5/21/2021 ‘Like A Tsunami’: Gazans Emerge To See The Damage After Fighting Ends by Nidal al-Mughrabi
A Palestinian woman puts her hand on her head after returning to her destroyed house following Israel-Hamas truce,
in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, May 21, 2021. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
    GAZA (Reuters) – After huddling at home during Israel’s 11-day bombardment of Gaza, the shock of seeing houses and other buildings destroyed after yet another conflict tempered Palestinian joy that this round of fighting was over.
    “It’s like a tsunami,” said Abu Ali, standing next to a heap of rubble that had been a 14-storey tower in Gaza City.
    “How can the world call itself civilised?    This is a war crime.    We are ruled by laws of the jungle,” he said on Friday, hours after a truce was declared.
    Commercial buildings, residential towers and private houses across the Palestinian enclave that is home to 2 million people were damaged or destroyed by the time Israel and Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas announced Friday’s ceasefire.
    Israel says air strikes hit legitimate military targets and says it did everything it could to avoid civilian casualties, including giving prior warnings when it was about to strike residential buildings that it said also had a military use.
    Gaza’s housing ministry said on Thursday, shortly before hostilities stopped, that 16,800 housing units were damaged, with 1,800 of those unfit for living and 1,000 destroyed.
    Palestinian medics said 243 people were killed in Gaza in air strikes that pounded the enclave day and night since May 10.
    Israel said 13 people were killed by barrages of rockets that slammed into homes, synagogues and other buildings.
    “We returned to our homes to find destruction,” said Samira Abdallah Naseer, whose two-storey house was hit by a blast.    “No place to sit, no water, no electricity, no mattresses, nothing.”
    Gaza now faces the task of rebuilding, after the fourth conflict with Israel since Hamas took control of the enclave in 2007, setting up a rival power centre to the Palestinian Authority in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
‘WHO IS GOING TO PAY?’
    “Now we are back to the dilemma of Gaza reconstruction.    Who will carry it out, Hamas or the Palestinian Authority? And who is going to pay?,” said Emad Jawdat, a 53-year-old businessman.
    “Some people have still not been compensated for their losses in 2014,” he said, referring to last war with Israel that lasted 50 days.
    Gaza’s challenge is compounded by an Israeli-led blockade, also supported by Egypt which shares a short border with the enclave.    Israel says it imposes a blockade to prevent weapons reaching militants. Palestinians call it collective punishment.
    Palestinians have already received some pledges of financial help for reconstruction.    Egypt, which mediated the truce, said it would allocate $500 million for rebuilding.
    U.S. President Joe Biden said his government — which like the European Union and Israel calls Hamas a terrorist group – would work with the United Nations and others to marshall aid.
    Hamas says it is struggling for Palestinian rights against Israeli oppression.
    Gaza officials said this war caused damage worth $40 million to industry, $22 million to the power sector and $27 million to agricultural facilities.
    In the northern Gaza Strip, thousands of Palestinians who lived close to the border and who had fled to U.N. schools further south for shelter made their way home – piling belongings into cars and onto donkey carts and tractors.
    Trudging home along streets littered with potholes and past heaps of broken masonry from damaged buildings, some voiced relief they had survived – and even a sense of victory after a conflict with one of the Middle East’s most powerful armies in which militant rockets hit Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities.
Salwa Al-Batrwai and her family were returning home “as victors”, the 60-year-old said.
    “I will kiss the ground, because I made it out (alive), with my children.    I can’t describe the feeling,” she said.
(Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi; Writing by Rami Ayyub; Editing by Edmund Blair)

5/24/2021 Egypt’s Sisi, Biden Discuss Gaza Cease-Fire, Reconstruction
FILE PHOTO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi attends the opening ceremony of floating bridges and tunnel
projects executed under the Suez Canal in Ismailia, Egypt May 5, 2019. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh/File Photo
    CAIRO (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden called Egypt’s President Abdelfattah al-Sisi on Monday and they discussed strengthening the Gaza ceasefire, urgent humanitarian aid to the strip and international efforts to rebuild it, the Egyptian presidency said.
    The two leaders also discussed ways to revive the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians after the latest wave of violence between the two sides, the presidency said in a statement.
    Egypt brokered the ceasefire, now in its fourth day after 11 days of hostilities.    Cairo will be a stop during the visit of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to the region later on Monday.
    “Biden made clear his country’s determination to work to restore calm and restore conditions as they were in the Palestinian territories, as well as coordinating efforts with all international partners to support the Palestinian Authority as well as reconstruction,” the statement said.
    It was Biden’s second call to Sisi within days to discuss the conflict.    But this time, the discussion was expanded to bilateral relations and some regional issues, including Libya and Iraq.
    Biden and Sisi exchanged views on the giant Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which Ethiopia is building on the Blue Nile and Egypt sees as an existential threat, the presidency said.    Sudan is concerned about the dam’s safety and about regulating water flows through its own dams and water stations.
    The statement said “it was agreed to strengthen diplomatic efforts during the coming period in order to reach an agreement that preserves water and developmental rights for all parties.”
    Sisi and Biden also discussed human rights in Egypt and their “commitment to engage in a transparent dialogue… in this regard,” the presidency said.
    Sisi, who ousted the Muslim Brotherhood from power in 2013, has overseen an extensive crackdown on political dissent that has steadily tightened in recent years.    He has said there are no political prisoners in Egypt and that stability and security are paramount.
(Reporting by Mohamed Wali and Nadine Awadalla; writing by Nayera Abdallah and Mahmoud Mourad; Editing by Leslie Adler and Dan Grebler)

5/24/2021 Two Israelis Stabbed, Palestinian Assailant Killed In Jerusalem – Medics
Israeli rescue personnel work at the scene of a stabbing incident in Jerusalem May 24, 2021. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) -A Palestinian stabbed and wounded two Israelis, one of them a soldier, and was then shot dead on Monday near a flashpoint area of East Jerusalem that has been the focus of Palestinian protests, emergency services said.
    Israel’s Magen David Adom ambulance service said two men in their 20s had been injured in the attack, one seriously and one lightly.
    Israel’s Zaka emergency service, which also sent a crew to the scene to handle the remains of any potential fatalities, confirmed the suspected assailant had been killed, after police said the attacker had been “neutralised.”
    The incident occurred near the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where the potential evictions of Palestinian families drew mass protests and helped spark 11 days of fighting between Israel and Gaza militants. [nL8N2MZ52V]
    The military said one of the wounded was a soldier.    Video posted on social media showed him, wearing an Israeli air force uniform, with a knife lodged in his back as he knelt on the ground and received treatment from medics.
    Tensions have been high in Sheikh Jarrah and at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City, where Israeli police raids in recent weeks helped to trigger a military confrontation between Israel and Hamas, Gaza’s Islamist rulers.
    An Egyptian-mediated ceasefire between Israel and Hamas held into a fourth day on Monday.    U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is due to visit the region this week for talks with Israeli, Palestinian, Egyptian and Jordanian leaders.
(Reporting by Rami Ayyub; Editing by Giles Elgood and Gareth Jones)

5/24/2021 U.S. Says Primary Focus On Lasting Gaza Ceasefire, Aid; Too Early For Peace Talks by Humeyra Pamuk and Arshad Mohammed
Palestinians sit near the ruins of a building destroyed in an Israeli air strike in the recent cross-border
violence between Palestinian militants and Israel, in Gaza May 21, 2021. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will focus primarily on ensuring that a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas holds during his visit to the region later on Monday, and work to get assistance delivered to the people of Gaza, a senior State Department official said.
    Washington has “every hope and expectation” that the ceasefire, brokered by Egypt and now in its fourth day after 11 days of hostilities, will hold, the U.S. official suggested in a call with reporters but said it was too early for wider peace talks.
    Blinken will travel to Jerusalem, Ramallah, Cairo and Amman through Thursday and meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and Jordan’s King Abdullah and other top officials.
    U.S. President Joe Biden, in announcing the visit, said he had asked the top U.S. diplomat to make the trip following diplomatic efforts that sought to pause the worst outbreak in fighting between Israel and Hamas in years.
    “Our primary focus is on maintaining the ceasefire, getting the assistance to the people who needed,” the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said, but repeatedly indicated that Washington believed it was premature to make an effort to kick start any longer-term peace talks.
    “The United States remains committed to the two-state solution…We are not wavering from that in any way.    It’s probably premature at this time to invite the parties to Washington or anywhere else,” the official said.
    Analysts say there is little chance of reviving Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and a key reason is the deep divisions within both societies.    On the Palestinian side these are between Hamas, which holds sway in Gaza, and the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank and within Israel, which has held four elections in the past two years without producing a clear winner.
    The divisions on the Palestinian side even complicate efforts to get aid delivered to the people of Gaza, the enclave blockaded by Israel since 2007 and ruled by militant group Hamas, designated a terrorist organization by the United States.    The U.S. official acknowledged the difficulty.
    “It presents significant challenges….We hope, eventually – to a reintegration to some extent of the Palestinian Authority in Gaza,” he said.    Palestinian officials put reconstruction costs at tens of millions of dollars in Gaza, where medical officials said 248 people were killed during the fighting.
    Beyond saying that he expected the United Nations to take the lead role on channeling assistance to Gaza, the senior U.S. official did not address in detail who would monitor the use of the aid on the ground to prevent civilian items such as pipes from being turned into rockets by Hamas or Islamic Jihad.
(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Alistair Bell)

5/24/2021 ‘Biden’s Middle East Approach May Empower Rivals,’ Says Former DNI Ratcliffe by OAN Newsroom
File – John Ratcliffe, Trump-era DNI, testifies before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on his report on
Russian election interference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    While the Biden administration’s Middle East strategy sounds good on paper, critics worry it won’t be able to follow through and could unintentionally empower U.S. adversaries.
    On Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed America’s relations with Israel and Iran while expressing a traditional approach to handling both countries.    He said the U.S. is committed to helping Israel defend itself amid recent conflicts with Hamas militants and will continue to push a more than $730 million arms deal through Congress.
    This comes even with staunch opposition from progressives, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.).
    “We are committed to giving Israel the means to defend itself, especially when it comes to these indiscriminate rocket attacks against civilians,” said Blinken.    “Any country would respond to that and we’re fully committed to Israel’s defense.”
    He also expressed doubt in Iran’s commitment to denuclearization. Blinken noted that while indirect bilateral talks to rejoin the failed Obama-era nuclear deal have been successful, Iranian diplomats have not signaled how willing they are to abide by a new set of rules.
    Diplomats from both sides have butted heads on who should compromise their position first.    Blinken stressed America is willing to accommodate Iran’s demands if they show the same enthusiasm for compromise.
    “If we succeed in that than we can use that as a foundation both to look at how we can make the deal itself potentially longer and stronger,” he stated.    “And also engage on the other issues; whether it’s Iran’s support for terrorism, it’s proliferation, it’s destabilizing support for different proxies throughout the Middle East.”
    However, former Trump-era Director of National Intelligence John Radcliffe believes Joe Biden’s approach to the Middle East only empowers Iran.    He highlighted the Biden administration’s failure to crackdown on the militant wing of Hamas after a ceasefire ended their 11 day violent spat with Israel.
    Radcliffe claimed Hamas militants are funded and trained by Iranian security forces, adding this is a common move for the rogue state. He went on to say Biden is deprioritizing America’s strong relationship with Israel.
    In the meantime, the Biden administration is expected to rollout humanitarian assistance to help both parties rebuild from the destruction.    Additionally, diplomats from America and Iran are expected to continue hashing out a nuclear deal in Vienna in the coming days.

5/25/2021 Blinken Pledges U.S. Support To Rebuild Gaza, Prevent Return To War by Jeffrey Heller
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken shake hands as they
hold a joint news conference in Jerusalem, May 25, 2021. Menahem Kahana/Pool via REUTERS
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) -U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken pledged on a Middle East mission on Tuesday that Washington would rally support to rebuild Gaza as part of efforts to bolster a ceasefire between its Hamas Islamist rulers and Israel.
    But Blinken made clear that the United States intended to ensure that Hamas, which it regards as a terrorist organisation, did not benefit from the humanitarian aid – a potentially difficult task in an enclave over which it has a strong grip.
    Blinken began his regional visit in Jerusalem, where he held talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.    The Israeli leader, speaking to reporters with the top U.S. diplomat at his side, threatened a “very powerful response” if Hamas renewed cross-border rocket strikes.
    The truce, brokered by Egypt and coordinated with the United States, began on Friday after 11 days of the worst fighting between Palestinian militants and Israel in years.    Now in its fifth day, it has been holding.
    “We know that to prevent a return to violence we have to use the space created to address a larger set of underlying issues and challenges,” Blinken said.
    “And that begins with tackling the grave humanitarian situation in Gaza and starting to rebuild.”
    The United States, he said, would work to rally international support around that effort and make its own “significant contributions,” to be announced later in the day.
    “We will work with our partners, closely with all to ensure that Hamas does not benefit from the reconstruction assistance,” Blinken said about the group.
    Blinken will be in the region through Thursday, and will also travel to Egypt and Jordan.    In tandem with his visit, Israeli authorities allowed fuel, medicine and food earmarked for Gaza’s private sector to enter the territory for the first time since the hostilities began on May 10.
    Blinken, who said he hoped to rebuild relationships with the Palestinian people and the Palestinian Authority, was due to meet Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank later in the day.
    Negotiations between Israel and the Authority collapsed in 2014, and U.S. President Joe Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump cut aid to the Palestinians while promoting a plan that would leave Israel in control of many of the settlements it has built in the West Bank.
TWO STATES
    But while Biden has said a two-state solution was the only answer to resolving the Israel-Palestinian conflict, U.S. officials have suggested it was too early for wider peace talks.
    Israel is in political flux after four inconclusive elections in two years, and the Palestinians are divided by enmity between Hamas and Abbas, who holds sway in the West Bank.
    Blinken said he and Netanyahu discussed “other steps” that need to be taken by leaders on both sides to set “a better course” for Israelis and Palestinians.
    “As President Biden said, we believe that Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live safely and securely, to enjoy equal measures of freedom, opportunity and democracy, to be treated with dignity,” Blinken said.
    At least 253 people were killed in Gaza and more than 1,900 wounded, Palestinian health authorities said, during the fighting that saw hundreds of Israeli air strikes.
    The Israeli military put the death toll in Israel at 13, with hundreds treated for injuries after rocket salvoes caused panic and sent people as far away as Tel Aviv rushing into shelters.
    Commercial buildings, residential towers and private houses across the Gaza Strip, where 2 million people live, were damaged or destroyed by the time the ceasefire was announced.
    In Gaza, Palestinian officials estimated reconstruction costs at tens of millions of dollars.    Israel has blockaded the territory since 2007, in what Palestinians condemn as collective punishment.    Egypt also maintains restrictions on its border with Gaza.    Both countries cite security concerns for the measures.
    Israel says air strikes hit legitimate military targets and that it did its utmost to avoid civilian casualties, including giving prior warnings when it was about to strike residential buildings that it said also had a military use.
    The hostilities were set off in part by Israeli police raids on the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem and clashes with Palestinians during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
    Violence between Arabs and Jews also erupted in some Israeli cities, and Blinken said he discussed the inter-communal unrest with Netanyahu.
    “Healing these wounds will take leadership at every level,” Blinken said, echoing Biden’s condemnation of what the secretary of state called “a shocking eruption of antisemitic attacks” in the United States itself.
(Additional reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Arshad Mohammed in Washington, Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza and Ali Sawafta in Ramallah and Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem; Editing by William Maclean)

5/25/2021 Blinken Says U.S. Consulting With Israel Over Iran Nuclear Talks
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken hold a
joint news conference in Jerusalem, May 25, 2021. Menahem Kahana/Pool via REUTERS
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken promised on Tuesday continued close consultation with Israel about any potential U.S. return to a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
    After talks with Blinken in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he hoped Washington would not sign back on to the deal, and that “whatever happens, Israel will always retain the right to defend itself” against any Iranian nuclear threat.
    Indirect talks between Washington and Tehran, which denies its nuclear programme is aimed at producing weapons, have been under way in Vienna.     Blinken, on a Middle East mission to try to shore up last week’s ceasefire between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers, said the United States would continue to strengthen its “long-standing partnership” with Israel.
    That, he told reporters, with Netanyahu at his side, “includes consulting closely with Israel as we did today on the ongoing negotiations in Vienna around a potential return to the Iran nuclear agreement.”
    To Israeli acclaim, U.S. President Joe Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, withdrew the United States from the 2015 nuclear deal, deeming it too advantageous for Tehran, and reimposed U.S. sanctions.
    The Biden administration has since sought to assuage Israel which sees a nuclear-armed Iran as an existential threat.
    On Sunday, Blinken said the United States has not seen yet whether Iran will move to comply with its nuclear commitments in order to have sanctions removed even as the talks have shown progress.
    Israeli teams have held discussions in Washington with U.S. counterparts over the potential revival of the deal.
    “I hope that the United States will not go back to the old JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) because we believe that deal paves the way for Iran to have an arsenal of nuclear weapons with international legitimacy,” Netanyahu said.
(This story refiles to correct spelling of Blinken’s first name in first paragraph)
(Reporting by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Jeffrey Heller, William Maclean)
[NETANYAHU BEWARE OF A WOLF IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING BECAUSE THE GLOBALIST SOCIALIST ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT IS IN PLAY NOW WITH ANTISEMITISM AND IT IS NOT THE GREAT EAGLE WITH TWO WINGS ANYMORE AND YOU WILL BEGIN SEEING THE SAME THING AS THE DEMOCRATS USED BLM AND ANTIFA WILL BEGIN IN YOUR COUNTRY.].

5/25/2021 Secy. Antony Blinken: U.S. Committed To Israel’s Security And Providing Humanitarian Assistance To Rebuild Gaza by OAN Newsroom
Secretary of State Antony Blinken waves as he departs, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md.
Blinken is en route to the Middle East. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool)
    U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken promised that the U.S. will help rebuild Gaza, following the recent ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.
    During his visit to Jerusalem on Tuesday, he spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.    Blinken delivered a statement confirming Washington’s efforts to ensure that Hamas will not benefit from the humanitarian aid for the Palestinian people.
    Had a very good meeting with Israeli Prime Minister @Netanyahu today.    I underscored America’s ironclad commitment to Israel’s security, and we discussed the importance of promoting peace, security, and dignity for all. https://t.co/z3qJbnwWSR pic.twitter.com/qog7mUKCrO
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) May 25, 2021
    The U.S. recently helped broker the truce between the terrorist group and Israel after 11 days of deadly fighting.    Blinken went on to discuss the main purposes of his Middle Eastern trip.
    “To demonstrate the commitment of the United States to Israel’s security to start to work toward greater stability and reduce tensions in the West Bank and Jerusalem,” he stated.    “…To support urgent humanitarian and reconstruction assistance for Gaza, to benefit the Palestinian people, and to continue to rebuild our relationship with the Palestinian people and the Palestinian Authority.”
    Netanyahu warned Hamas against breaking the ceasefire by assuring Israel would have a powerful response if the terrorists attacked.    He also urged the U.S. not to return to the Iran Nuclear Deal, which he suggests will allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons.
    Blinken is set to visit with Palestinian officials in the West Bank as well as with leaders of Egypt and Jordan.

5/26/2021 US, Egypt Working Closely To Reinforce Gaza Ceasefire, Blinken Says by Aidan Lewis and Nidal al-Mughrabi
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks as he greets staff members of the U.S. Embassy
to Egypt, in Cairo, Egypt May 26, 2021. Alex Brandon/Pool via REUTERS
    CAIRO (Reuters) -Egypt and the United States said they would work together to reinforce a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Cairo and Amman on Wednesday on a regional tour.
    Egypt has longstanding relations with both sides in the conflict and played a key role in brokering the ceasefire after 11 days of violence, in coordination with the United States.
    “We’ve had in Egypt a real and effective partner in dealing with the violence, bringing it to a close, relatively quickly,” Blinken said, following a meeting with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and intelligence head Abbas Kamel.
    The two countries were now “working closely together build something positive,” he said, adding that Egypt was vital to shared aspirations for Palestinians and Israelis to “live in safety and security to enjoy equal measures of freedom, opportunity and dignity.”
    Sisi told Blinken recent events reaffirmed the need for direct talks between the two sides with Washington’s involvement, according to an Egyptian presidency statement.    Sisi also discussed the issue in a video call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
    Blinken arrived in Egypt after stops in Jerusalem and Ramallah before flying on to Jordan, where he landed in the late afternoon.    On Tuesday, he pledged that the United States would provide new aid to help rebuild the Gaza Strip, including $5.5 million in disaster relief and nearly $33 million for the U.N. Palestinian aid agency there.
    He also said the United States intended to ensure that Hamas, which controls Gaza and is listed by Washington as a terrorist organisation, did not benefit from humanitarian aid.
    Yehya Al-Sinwar, the Hamas chief in Gaza, said the group welcomed Arab and international efforts to rebuild the enclave.
    “We will ease and facilitate the task for everyone and we will make sure that the process will be transparent and fair and we will make sure that no penny goes to Hamas or Qassam (the Hamas armed wing),” Sinwar told a news conference.
    “We have satisfactory sources of money for Hamas and Qassam.    A major part of it from Iran and part in donations from Arabs, Muslims and liberals of the world who are sympathetic to our people and their rights,” he added.
    Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh has been invited to visit Cairo for talks over rebuilding Gaza, Hamas sources said.
    Egypt, which shares a border with Gaza and has security contacts with Hamas, is likely to have a role in channeling aid, a senior U.S. State Department official said earlier.
    During the fighting, Egypt opened the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and its Sinai Peninsula in order to provide medical aid and evacuate the wounded.
    It also sent a security delegation to Israel and Gaza to reinforce the ceasefire after it came into effect on Friday.
(Reporting by Aidan Lewis and Mahmoud Mourad in Cairo; Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza Editing by Gareth Jones, Giles Elgood, William Maclean)

5/26/2021 Psaki Falsely Claims Closure Of U.S. Consulate Cut Off Palestinian Leaders by OAN Newsroom
White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Monday, May 24, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    At a briefing on Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki outlined Joe Biden’s plans to re-open the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem.    Psaki claimed the closure of the consulate in West Jerusalem back in 2019 cut off Palestinian leaders, but failed to mention the several factors at play.
    Critics argue the relationship with the Palestinian authority was altered due to their refusal to negotiate and failure to stop paying stipends to terrorists and their families.
    This comes after President Trump moved the U.S. embassy back to Jerusalem in 2018 and cut taxpayer funded aid to the region so that U.S. taxpayers would no longer be contributing to the funding of terror.
    Biden claims by reversing Trump’s policies, the U.S. will be able to revive dialogue with the Palestinians, but has yet to make any progress towards peace over the course of his time with the Obama administration nor his own.

5/27/2021 U.N. Launches Investigation Into Whether Israel, Hamas Committed Crimes by Stephanie Nebehay
FILE PHOTO: U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet attends a news conference at the European
headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, December 9, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
    GENEVA (Reuters) -The United Nations Human Rights Council agreed on Thursday to launch an international investigation into alleged crimes committed during the 11-day conflict between Israel and the Islamist group Hamas in Gaza.
    The independent investigation will have a broad mandate to look into all alleged violations, not just in Gaza and the occupied West Bank, but also in Israel during hostilities that were halted by a ceasefire on May 21.
    Michelle Bachelet, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, earlier told the council that deadly Israeli strikes on Gaza might constitute war crimes and that     Hamas had violated international humanitarian law by firing rockets into Israel.
    Israel rejected the resolution adopted by the Geneva forum and said it would not cooperate.
    “Today’s shameful decision is yet another example of the UN Human Rights Council’s blatant anti-Israel obsession,” Israeli Prime Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement accusing the forum of whitewashing “a genocidal terrorist organisation.”
    Israel’s foreign ministry said its forces acted “in accordance with international law, in defending our citizens from Hamas’ indiscriminate rocket fire.”
    A spokesman for Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, called the group’s actions “legitimate resistance” and called for “immediate steps to punish” Israel.
    Israel’s main ally, the United States, said it deeply regretted the decision in the forum, where it has observer status and no vote.
    “The action today instead threatens to imperil the progress that has been made,” said a statement released by the U.S. mission to the U.N. in Geneva.
    By a vote of 24 states in favour, and nine against, with 14 abstentions, the 47-member council adopted a resolution brought by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Palestinian delegation to the United Nations.
    European countries were split, with Austria, Britain and Germany voting against. France and the Netherlands abstained.
BACHELET ADDRESSES COUNCIL
    Bachelet told the council her office had verified the deaths of 270 Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, including 68 children, during this month’s violence.    Most were killed in Gaza.
    Hamas rockets killed 10 Israelis and residents, she said.    Israeli authorities put the number of those killed by Palestinian attacks in Israel at 13.
    “Regrettably, the self-professed global champions of human rights continue to shield the occupier from global accountability, and literally provide arms and ammunitions for its widely reported war crimes and crimes of apartheid against the Palestinian people,” said Pakistan’s ambassador to the OIC, Khalil Hashmi, who was speaking on behalf of the OIC.
    The conflict flared after Hamas demanded Israeli security forces leave the al-Aqsa mosque compound in East Jerusalem following confrontations there with Palestinians, and later launched rockets towards Israel.
    The compound sits atop the Old City plateau known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif, or The Noble Sanctuary, and to Jews as Temple Mount.    It is the most sensitive site in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    Bachelet said “indiscriminate” strikes from rockets launched by Hamas constituted “a clear violation of international humanitarian law.”
    She said Israel’s strikes in Gaza caused widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure and fatalities.
    “Despite Israel’s claims that many of these buildings were hosting armed groups or being used for military purposes, we have not seen evidence in this regard,” Bachelet said.
    “If found to be indiscriminate and disproportionate, such attacks might constitute war crimes,” she added.
(Reporting and writing by Stephanie Nebehay; additional reporting by Dan Williams and Jonathan Saul in Jerusalem and Nidal Al-Mughrabi in Ramallah; Editing by Peter Graff, Edmund Blair and Timothy Heritage)

5/27/2021 First Foreign Tourists In More Than A Year Land In Israel by Steven Scheer
Tourists wait next to a bus outside Ben Gurion International Airport after entering Israel by plane, as coronavirus
disease (COVID-19) restrictions ease, in Lod, near Tel Aviv, Israel, May 27, 2021. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The first group of foreign tourists in more than a year touched down in Israel on Thursday after the government began opening its borders following a steep drop in COVID-19 infections.
    Small groups of vaccinated foreign tourists – up to 30 people – have been allowed to enter as of last Sunday and the Tourism Ministry expects 20 such groups to come from countries, including the United States, Britain and Germany, under a pilot programme until June 15.
    The ministry then hopes to expand the number of groups and, in July, allow individual tourists.
    Shortly after 4 pm (1300 GMT), United Airlines flight 90 from Newark, New Jersey landed with 12 Christian pilgrims, men and women of varying ages, studying theology at the Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri.    They were welcomed by Tourism Minister Orit Farkash-Hakohen, who said: “You are the first of what I am sure will be many tourists returning to the Holy Land.”
    Led by Pastor Tom Zelt of the Prince of Peace Church, the group plans to visit Jerusalem, Nazareth, national parks and Christian sites, the Tourism Ministry said.
    “Israel is … healthy and vaccinated.    Everything is now safely open,” Farkash-Hakohen told the group.
    The country had closed its borders to foreigners at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020.    A rapid vaccine roll-out that has vaccinated most adults has brought the number of active COVID cases to just 428 nationwide.
    This has paved the way for Israel to allow vaccinated foreigners to enter the country and revive its tourism sector, although officials remain cautious over potential new variants.
    Tourists are required to show negative PCR tests before flying and to take another test at Ben Gurion Airport after landing in Tel Aviv.
    Groups will also need to take serological tests at their hotel to prove they have COVID-19 antibodies.    They will need to quarantine until results come back, usually in a few hours.
    Tourism in 2019 hit a record high of 4.55 million visitors, contributing 23 billion shekels ($7.1 billion) to Israel’s economy, mainly via small and mid-sized businesses.
(Reporting by Steven Scheer. Editing by Jane Merriman)

5/28/2021 Israeli Troops Kill Palestinian During West Bank Clash, Palestinians Say
A Palestinian demonstrator throws a tire onto a fire during a protest against Israeli settlements,
in the Israeli-occupied West Bank May 28, 2021. REUTERS/Raneen Sawafta
    NABLUS, West Bank (Reuters) – Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian during clashes in the occupied West Bank on Friday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.
    A few hundred Palestinians had gathered near Nablus in the northern West Bank to protest Israeli settlements.
    Some in the crowd, with their faces covered by masks, threw rocks at soldiers and burned tires, witnesses said.    Israeli soldiers opened fire, killing one man, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.
    A spokeswoman for the Israeli army said they were checking the report.
    Tensions remain high in the region despite a ceasefire reached last week between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas in Gaza that ended 11 days of fighting.
(Reporting by Ali Sawafta; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

6/1/2021 Delegation Of GOP Senators Touchdown In Israel To Show Commitment To Strengthening Diplomatic Ties by OAN Newsroom
U.S. Sen. Bill Hagerty gestures as he speaks during an interview with The Associated Press
in Jerusalem, Monday, May 31, 2021. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
    Republican lawmakers touched down in Israel to assess the damage from their recent conflict with Hamas.    On Monday, a delegation of three senators met with top Israeli officials.
    The senators, which included Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), touted the party’s unified support to help Israel rebuild its infrastructure and strategic position in the Middle East.
    “The eyes and ears of America is Israel,” stated Sen. Graham.    “You talked about the Five Eyes…they’re important allies, but nobody does more to protect America from radical Islam than our friends in Israel.”
    Sen. Cruz said he formed the group to see first-hand what the U.S. could do to help bolster Israel’s defense capabilities.    Additionally, he wants to see how the U.S. can coalesce the international community to rally behind our ally.
    “The enemies of Israel are the enemies of America and their enormous military benefits to the United States from our alliance, whether it is the Mossad sharing intelligence about Iran and the Ayatollah seeking to murder Americans and murder Israelis,” stated the Texas lawmaker.    “Or whether it is the incredible technological leaps and bounds that we get from missile defense that helps keep Americans safe.”
    This visit came more than a week after Israel and Hamas brokered a ceasefire to end 11 days of back and forth rocket attacks and on the ground assaults.    Democrat lawmakers and the Biden administration have given tepid responses to continuing support for Israel.
    Amid progressive calls, Joe Biden vowed to funnel money to Gaza aimed at helping rebuild the conflict torn region.    However, critics warned Hamas militants could get their hands on this money.
    “We’re very concerned about any monies that go to the Gaza Strip that are, quote, intended for infrastructure to be easily diverted by Hamas,” explained Sen. Hagerty.    “We need to avoid that at all cost…Iron Dome has done a fantastic job of protecting civilian life…I think our monies are far better spent supporting our ally and replenishing the Iron Dome.”
    Additionally, critics are pushing against the Biden administration’s efforts to reenter the Obama-era Iran Nuclear Deal as they believe it could damage U.S. relations with Israel.    They cited longstanding tensions between Iran and Israel since Israel came into the international arena in 1945.
    In the meantime, Sen. Hagerty is expected to meet with top Israeli diplomats in the coming days to discuss how to strengthen economic power in the region.    The former ambassador specifically wants to build off of the momentum of the Trump administration’s Abraham Accords, which laid a foundation of peaceful relations between Israel and several Gulf Arab States.

6/1/2021 Netanyahu Challenge To Legality Of Rival’s PM Bid Is Rebuffed by Dan Williams
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, delivers a political statement
in the Knesset ,the Israeli Parliament, in Jerusalem, Israel, 30 May 2021.
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) -A last-gasp legal challenge by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to thwart a bid by a rival rightist to head a new government was rejected on Tuesday as his opponents raced to seal a pact that would unseat him.
    Naftali Bennett, Netanyahu’s former defence minister, announced on Sunday he would join a proposed alliance with centrist opposition leader Yair Lapid, serving as its premier first under a rotation deal.
    They have until Wednesday midnight (2100 GMT) to present a final pact to Rivlin, who handed Lapid the task of forming a new government after Netanyahu failed to do so in the wake of a close election on March 23.
    Hoping to beat the deadline, Lapid, Bennett and other party leaders convened to clinch coalition agreements, sources briefed on the talks said.
    In a letter to the legal counsels of the presidency and parliament, Netanyahu’s conservative Likud said Lapid was not authorised to cede the premiership to Bennett.
    But President Reuven Rivlin’s office said in response that there was no legal merit to Likud’s claim because Lapid would be sworn in as “alternate prime minister,” second to serve as premier as part of the rotation.
    It accepted Likud’s argument that Lapid must provide the president with full details of the new government and not just announce that he has clinched a coalition deal.
    The Lapid-Bennett power-share may include other rightist politicians as well as liberal and centre-left parties.    Israeli media have speculated it could also court parliamentary backing from a party that draws votes from Israel’s Arab minority.
    That has prompted Netanyahu to accuse Bennett of imperiling Israel as it contends with internal Jewish-Arab strife over last month’s Gaza conflict, the moribund peace process with the Palestinians, and Iran.
DIVIDED COUNTRY
    Netanyahu, 71, is the dominant political figure of hisgeneration.    He was first elected prime minister in 1996 and he returned to power in 2009, holding the top office for more than a decade.    But he also faces a corruption trial for bribery, fraud and breach of trust – charges he denies.
    A photo-shopped picture of Bennett in an Arab headdress, circulated on social media, prompted comparisons with attempts to discredit former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, assassinated in 1995 by an ultranationalist opposed to his peacemaking.
    An Israeli security source said Bennett had received parliamentary bodyguards on the recommendation of the Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency due to the “atmosphere of incitement” against them.
    Lapid and Bennett have said they want to bring together Israelis from across the political divide and end hateful political discourse.
    “A country that is divided and violent won’t be able to deal with Iran or with the economy.    A leadership that incites us against one another harms our ability to deal with the challenges we face,” Lapid said.
(Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Maayan Lubell and Angus MacSwan)

6/2/2021 U.S. Senator Expects U.S. To Send More Funds For Israel’s ‘Iron Dome’
FILE PHOTO: Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) speaks during a U.S. Senate Budget Committee hearing regarding wages at
large corporations on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. February 25, 2021. Stefani Reynolds/Pool via REUTERS
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A senior U.S. senator said on Tuesday he expected Washington would quickly authorize as much as $1 billion for Israel to replenish its Iron Dome missile defense system after clashes in May with Hamas.
    “There will be a $1 billion request coming to the Pentagon this week from the (Israeli) defense minister to replenish the Iron Dome and a few other things, to upgrade the system,” Senator Lindsey Graham told reporters in Jerusalem.
    A senior Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, Graham met with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz during a trip to Israel.    The committee oversees spending including foreign military aid.
    Graham said Iron Dome had saved thousands of lives during last month’s rocket attacks, and predicted Israel’s request would find favor with both President Joe Biden and Congress, which is narrowly controlled by Biden’s Democrats.
    “There’s been a big dustup over the last engagement between Hamas and the State of Israel in the United States, but I’m here to tell you that there’s a wide and deep support for Israel among the Democratic Party,” Graham said.
    Biden has said he would replenish Iron Dome, which helped Israel fend off most of the more than 4300 rockets fired from Gaza during the conflict.
    Israel and Hamas began a ceasefire on May 21 after 11 days of the fiercest Israeli-Palestinian hostilities in years, with nearly 250 people dead, all but 13 of them Palestinians.
    Israel’s fierce response drew criticism from some Democrats, but Israel generally enjoys strong support in Washington from both parties.    Congress routinely approves large sums on military funding for a country seen as a solid U.S. partner in an unstable region.
    Israel’s Defense Ministry said Gantz would meet with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan on Thursday in Washington for a discussion on issues including Iran and military aid.
(Reporting by Jeffrey Heller in Jerusalem; Writing by Patricia Zengerle in Washington; Editing by Howard Goller)

6/2/2021 Prime Minister Netanyahu Warns Of Possible Friction With U.S. by OAN Newsroom
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a political statement at the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament,
in Jerusalem, on May 30, 2021. (Photo by YONATAN SINDEL / POOL / AFP) (Photo by YONATAN SINDEL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has forewarned tensions with the U.S. as Joe Biden continues to appease the Iranian regime.
    “If we have to choose…between friction with our great friend the United States and the elimination of the existential threat, the elimination of the existential threat is increasing,” he asserted.    “It all must be done, all, to ensure that under no circumstances will Iran arm itself with nuclear weapons.”
    On Tuesday, the Prime Minister appointed David Barnea as the new chief of the intelligence agency Mossad.    He also declared that Israel will take a tougher stance on Iran and any others who works with the Ayatollahs.
    Netanyahu went on to express his firm opposition against the Iran agreement that the Biden administration has been pushing for.
Kamala Harris and Joe Biden is photographed in Washington, DC. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
    “I hope that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have the strength of character to tell the angry anti-Israel left in their party to tell them no,” he declared.    “Tell them we’re going to maintain our historic alliance.”
    Netanyahu also expressed hope for the U.S. to honor its commitments of the mutual alliance to deter Iran’s ongoing aggression in the Middle East.

6/3/2021 Israel’s Opposition Declares New Government, Set To Unseat Netanyahu by Maayan Lubell
FILE PHOTO: Yair Lapid, head of the centrist Yesh Atid party, delivers a statement to the press before the
party faction meeting at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem May 31, 2021. Debbie Hill/Pool via REUTERS
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s opposition leader moved closer to unseating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he officially told the country’s president that he has reached agreements with political allies to form a new government.
    About 35 minutes before a Wednesday midnight deadline, the centrist Yair Lapid told President Reuven Rivlin in an email: “I am honored to inform you that I have succeeded in forming a government.”
    Rivlin, attending Israel’s soccer cup final at the time, congratulated Lapid by phone, according to his office.
    Lapid’s main partner is nationalist Naftali Bennett, who would serve as prime minister first under a rotation between the two men.    Lapid, 57, a former TV host and finance minister, would take over after about two years.
    Their coalition government would comprise a patchwork of small and medium parties from across the political spectrum, including for the first time in Israel’s history a party that represents Israel’s 21% Arab minority – the United Arab List.
    It would also include Bennett’s Yamina (Rightward), centre-left Blue and White, headed by Defence Minister Benny Gantz, the left-wing Meretz and Labour parties, former defence minister Avigdor Lieberman’s nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party and New Hope, a right-wing party headed by former education minister Gideon Saar, who broke away from Netanyahu’s Likud.
    But the fragile new government, which would command a razor-thin majority in parliament, was only expected to be sworn in about 10-12 days from now, leaving slight room for Netanyahu’s camp to try and abort it by turning lawmakers over to their side and vote against it.
    Israeli political analysts widely expected Netanyahu to try every possible political manoeuvre to make this happen, seizing upon Yamina members who are unhappy about joining forces with Arab and leftist lawmakers.
    “Calm down.    Netanyahu’s still prime minister for a few more days until the confidence vote and he’s going to fight every inch of the way to deny the new government its wafer-thin majority.    This is still very far from over,” Anshel Pfeffer, political analyst for the liberal Haaretz newspaper, wrote on Twitter.
    Netanyahu, who has yet to respond to Lapid’s announcement, controls 30 seats in the 120-member Knesset, almost twice as many as Lapid’s Yesh     Atid party, and he is allied with at least three other religious and nationalist parties.
‘GREAT HOPE’
    During a 12-year run in top office, Israel’s longest serving leader has been an often polarising figure at home and abroad.
    Netanyahu, 71, has sought to discredit the Bennett-Lapid alliance, saying it would endanger Israel’s security – an allusion to efforts to curb Iran’s nuclear programme and manage ever-fraught Palestinian ties.
    Lapid, a centrist, was given the task of forming a governing coalition after right-wing Netanyahu failed to do so in the wake of a March 23 election. He campaigned under a pledge to “return sanity” to Israel, focusing on Netanyahu’s corruption trial on charges which he denies.
    “This government will work for all Israel’s citizens, those who voted for it and those who did not.    It will respect its opponents and do all it can to unites and connect all parts of Israeli society,” Lapid said on Twitter.
    The new government, if it is sworn in, will face considerable diplomatic, security and economic challenges: Iran, the moribund peace process with the Palestinians, a war crimes probe by the International Criminal Court and economic recovery following the coronavirus pandemic.
    A source involved in the coalition talks said the proposed new government would try to retain consensus by avoiding hot-button ideological issues such as whether to annex or cede occupied West Bank territory that Palestinians want for a state.
    Bennett has said that both sides would have to compromise on such ideological issues in order to get the country back on track, with government debt at 72.4% in 2020, up from 60% in 2019 and the deficit jumping to 11.6% in 2020 from 3.7% in 2019.
    “This is a night of great hope,” Gantz, who will remain in office under the coalition agreements, said on Twitter as he set out on a trip to     Washington in the aftermath of 11 days of fierce fighting with militants in Gaza last month and as world powers press on in reviving a nuclear deal with Iran.
    An end to Netanyahu’s tenure may bring reprieve from unprecedented domestic political turmoil, Israel has held four elections in two years – but major shifts in Israel’s foreign policy appear less likely.
    After Lapid’s announcement, a few dozen activists from the protest movement against Netanyahu broke out in cheers.    “He’s finished, he’s finished, yalla Bibi, go,” they chanted outside a bar in Tel Aviv, referring to Netanyahu by his nickname.
    “We’re hopeful for this change for a better future for this wonderful state,” said 27-year-old student Eran Margalit.
(Additional reporting by Dan Williams and Stephen Farrell in Jerusalem and Rami Amichay in Tel Aviv; Writing by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Grant McCool)

6/3/2021 Netanyahu, Battling For Political Life, Attacks Deal To Unseat Him by Jeffrey Heller
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks on his mobile phone during a special session of the Knesset whereby Israeli lawmakers
elect a new president, at the plenum in the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem June 2, 2021. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday fought back against an agreement by his political opponents for a government of left-wing, centrist and right-wing parties aimed at unseating him.
    Netanyahu, facing the prospect of an end to his 12-year run as premier, said on Twitter “all legislators elected by votes from the right must oppose this dangerous left-wing government,” and he targeted historic Arab participation in the coalition.
    The right-wing leader mounted the social media attack the day after centrist politician Yair Lapid’s announcement, about 35 minutes before a Wednesday night deadline, that he had succeeded in forming a governing coalition.
    Under the deal, nationalist Naftali Bennett, 49, a former defence minister and a high-tech millionaire, would become prime minister and hand over the post to Lapid, 57, a former TV host and finance minister, in about two years.
    A parliamentary session, in which the government can be approved by a simple majority, could be up to 12 days away, far-right politician Avigdor Lieberman, a member of the new coalition, said.
    With parliament’s Speaker, a Netanyahu loyalist, widely expected to try to ward off any legislative attempts to hold the vote earlier, the prime minister could use the period to try to twist arms.
    The coalition agreement capped a March 23 election in which neither Netanyahu’s Likud party and its allies nor their opponents won a majority in the legislature.    It was Israel’s fourth national ballot in two years.
    The governing lineup comprises a patchwork of small and medium parties from across the political spectrum, including for the first time in Israel’s history one that represents its 21% Arab minority – the United Arab List (UAL).
    On Twitter, Netanyahu – who once drew accusations of racism by urging his supporters to get out and vote because “Arabs are flocking to the polls in droves” – highlighted the new alliance’s links with UAL leader Mansour Abbas.
    Netanyahu posted an old video clip of Bennett saying that Abbas “visited terrorist murderers in jail” after a 1992 attack in which Arab citizens of Israel killed three soldiers.
    Spokesmen for the United Arab List did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
DIVERSE LINEUP
    Members of the prospective government have little in common other than a desire to oust Netanyahu, who is also on trial on corruption charges.    He denies any wrongdoing.
    The roster includes Bennett’s Yamina (Rightward), centre-left Blue and White, headed by Defence Minister Benny Gantz, the left-wing Meretz and Labour parties, former defence minister Lieberman’s nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party and New Hope, a right-wing party headed by former education minister Gideon Saar, who broke away from Likud.
    Political analysts expect Netanyahu to try to pick off what one described as “low-hanging fruit,” seizing upon Yamina members who are unhappy about joining forces with Arab and leftist lawmakers.
    “We launched the move, but we haven’t completed it.    There will be 12 days that won’t be easy, and in the end, there will be a government,” Lieberman said on Channel 13 TV.
    Netanyahu controls 30 seats in the 120-member Knesset, almost twice as many as Lapid’s Yesh Atid party, and is allied with at least three other religious and nationalist parties.
    During his tenure as prime minister, Netanyahu has been a polarising figure at home and abroad.    His rivals have cited the criminal charges against him as a main reason why Israel needs a leadership change, arguing that he might use a new term to legislate immunity to shield himself.
    A source involved in the coalition talks said the proposed new government would try to retain consensus by avoiding hot-button ideological issues such as whether to annex or cede occupied West Bank territory that Palestinians want for a state. Bennett has in the past advocated annexations.
    “This government will focus mainly on economic issues,” Lieberman said.
    Perhaps the most immediate test for a new administration is passing the budget, an issue that has toppled coalitions in the past.
    Due to the prolonged political deadlock, Israel is still using a pro-rated version of a base 2019 budget that was approved in mid-2018. There may be some big budgetary shifts since the government is without ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties that seek state funding for religious institutions.
    The new government, if it is sworn in, will face other considerable challenges. As well as Iran and the moribund peace process with the Palestinians, it also faces a war crimes probe by the International Criminal Court and economic recovery following the coronavirus pandemic.
(Additional reporting by Maayan Lubell, Dan Williams, Stephen Farrell, Rami Ayyub and Ari Rabinovitch, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

6/5/2021 Biden Admin. Meets With Israeli Defense Officials by OAN Newsroom
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, right, hosts a bilateral meeting with Israeli Defense Minister
Benny Gantz, left, at the Pentagon in Washington, Thursday, June 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    This week, Joe Biden deployed Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan to keep the peace with Israel. Officials say the U.S. is standing tall in its support for Israel and its strategic position in the region.
    “We are committed to maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge.    Reassuring that Israel can defend herself against regional threats such as those posed by Iran, its proxies and terrorist groups,” said Austin.    He added that the Biden administration fully supports Israel’s right to defend itself against the rocket attacks that have been deployed indiscriminately by Hamas and other Gaza based militants against Israeli civilians.
    This comes as the Biden administration has continued to find its footing when dealing with relations associated with Israel, as shown during the Israel-Hamas conflict.
    During the 11 days of violent conflict, progressives called for Biden to shift focus away from the U.S.’s longstanding relationship with Israel and instead help Palestine re-rebuild its infrastructure.    Eventually, to appease demands from the far-left, the Biden administration made several concessions by committing to send humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip in Palestine.
    Critics argue by not cracking down on organizations like Hamas it is only empowering the terrorists and helping to boost the reputation of financial backers in Iran.    They say by adding these concessions with efforts to revive the controversial Obama-era nuclear deal, the power dynamic is likely to shift in the Middle East.
    Additionally, critics warn the move could strain America’s relationship with Israel, as could give rivals like Iran more power.    Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz argued it’s imperative for the international community to help them squash attacks from rivals who are hell-bent on the destruction of Israel.
    These very days, Iran continues to develop nuclear weapons and continues to arm militias throughout the Middle East.    Let me be clear, Iran is first and foremost a global and regional problem, and it is also an existential threat to Israel, as its own leaders openly declare,” stressed Gantz.
    However, GOP lawmakers including Tennessee Sen. Bill Hagerty (R), believe Biden will follow the calls of the American public to continue backing Israel.    Additionally, they hope the pro-Israel majority will drown out the anti-Israel stance of a minority of progressive Democrats.

6/8/2021 Israel Says Gaza Tower That Housed AP Doubled As Hamas Electronic Warfare Site
FILE PHOTO: Gaza tower housing AP, Al Jazeera collapses after missile strike in Gaza city, May 15, 2021. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s military said on Tuesday that a tower block in Gaza housing the U.S.-based Associated Press which was destroyed in an Israeli air strike was also used by the enclave’s Islamist rulers Hamas as an electronic warfare site.
    Israel’s destruction of the 12-storey tower, which also housed Qatar-based media group Al Jazeera, during last month’s fighting with Hamas and other militants drew international condemnation and calls by Israel’s main ally the United States to protect journalists.
    The al-Jalaa building in Gaza City had been evacuated after its owner received advanced warning of the May 15 strike.    But the AP says it has received no evidence of a Hamas presence that posed a threat, and has called for an independent investigation.
    AP executives met Israel’s ambassador to Washington and the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, on Monday to discuss the building’s destruction.
    “Israeli authorities maintain that the building housing our bureau was destroyed because of a Hamas presence that posed an urgent threat.    We have yet to receive evidence to support these claims,” the AP said in a statement.
    “AP continues to call for the full release of any evidence the Israelis have so that the facts are public.”
    In a statement, Erdan reiterated an Israeli claim that the building housed Hamas military intelligence, saying its personnel there were “developing an electronic jamming system to be used against the Iron Dome defense system.”
    Israel’s Iron Dome interceptors shot down most of the more than 4,300 rockets fire from Gaza during the 11-day conflict, during which Israeli air strikes and Gaza rocket fire left more than 250 Palestinians and 13 in Israel dead.
    The Israeli military said the purpose of the strike “was to curtail these enemy capabilities, including destroying special equipment, and preventing their use during the operation…The strike was designed to collapse the building in order to ensure the destruction of the special means.”
    Erdan said Israel did all it could to avoid civilian harm.
    “AP is one of the most important news agencies in the world and Israel doesn’t think that AP employees were aware it was being cynically used in this way by Hamas for a secret unit,” he said.
(Reporting by Rami Ayyub, Additional reporting by Matt Spetalnick in Washington, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

6/8/2021 Palestinian Officials Arrive In Egypt For Talks Ahead Of Planned Meeting
FILE PHOTO: Palestinian group Hamas' top leader, Ismail Haniyeh speaks during a protest to express solidarity with the
Palestinian people amid a flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence, in Doha, Qatar May 15, 2021. REUTERS/Hussein Sayed
    GAZA/CAIRO (Reuters) -Palestinian leaders, including Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh and a delegation from President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party, arrived in Cairo on Tuesday for separate talks with Egyptian officials that aim to reinforce a ceasefire with Israel.
    Haniyeh’s visit came in response to a special invitation from Cairo, in advance of a broader meeting of Palestinian factions that could begin as early as next week, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said.
    Jibril Rajoub, a senior figure from Abbas’s Fatah movement, which dominates the Palestinian Authority that exercises limited self-rule in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, was also expected to meet Egyptian officials, Palestinian and Egyptian sources said. Abbas has been invited to Egypt.
    The Palestinian and Egyptian sources did not say whether the delegations from the rival Palestinian groups would meet each other.
    Egypt has played a major role in the brokering of a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist group which rules Gaza, after 11 days of conflict erupted on May 10.
    More than 250 Palestinians were killed in hundreds of Israeli air strikes on Gaza during that conflict.    Rockets fired by Gaza militants killed 13 people in Israel.
    Haniyeh and Egyptian officials will discuss cementing the truce with Israel as well as reconstruction plans for Gaza, Qassem said. Egypt has said it will allocate $500 million for the reconstruction.
    Egypt has tried in the past to foster cooperation between Palestinian factions, which it sees as important for wider efforts to promote peace in the region.
    Hamas seized Gaza from the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority in 2007 and the two factions have been in a power struggle ever since.
    During a meeting of his cabinet in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said he hopes Cairo’s mediation will “close the page on (internal) division (and) help our people in Gaza … in a way that enhances our national unity.”
(Reporting by Nidal Al Mughrabi and Ahmed Mohamed Hassan, Additional reporting by Ali Sawafta in Ramallah, Writing by Nafisa EltahirEditing by Gareth Jones, Peter Graff and Angus MacSwan)

6/11/2021 New Israeli Government Seals Coalition Deals As Netanyahu Era Approaches Its End by Ari Rabinovitch
FILE PHOTO: Naftali Bennett, Israeli parliament member from the Yamina party, gives a statement at the
Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem, June 6, 2021. Menahem Kahana/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The new Israeli government set to end Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year tenure as prime minister signed its final coalition agreements on Friday, pointedly including term limits.
    The coalition of parties from far-right to left is expected to focus mostly on economic and social issues rather than risk exposing internal rifts by trying to address major diplomatic issues such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving leader, will be succeeded on Sunday by a coalition that includes for the first time a party from Israel’s Arab minority.
    Under a power-sharing agreement, Naftali Bennett, of the ultra-nationalist Yamina (Rightwards) party, will serve as prime minister for two years.
    Bennett on Friday said the coalition “brings to an end two and a half years of political crisis,” although it was unclear how long the coalition’s disparate elements would hold together.    He will then hand over to Yair Lapid of the centrist Yesh Atid (There is a Future) party.
    Among the agreements outlined by parties in what Lapid described as a “unity government” are:
* Limiting the prime minister’s term of office to two terms, or eight years.
* An infrastructure push to include new hospitals, a new university and a new airport.
* Passing a two-year budget to help stabilize the country’s finances – the prolonged political stalemate has left Israel still using a pro-rated version of a base 2019 budget that was ratified in mid-2018.
* Maintaining the “status-quo” on issues of religion and state, with Bennett’s Yamina party to have a veto.    Possible reforms include breaking up an ultra-Orthodox monopoly on overseeing which foods are kosher, and decentralizing authority over Jewish conversions.
* An “overall plan for transportation” in the Israeli- occupied West Bank.
* A general goal to “ensure Israel’s interests” in areas of the West Bank under full Israeli control.
* Allocating more than 53 billion shekels ($16 billion) to improve infrastructure and welfare in Arab towns, and curbing violent crime there.
* Decriminalizing marijuana and moving to regulate the market.
($1 = 3.2529 shekels)
(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Nick Macfie)
[IF YOU HAVE READ MY COMMENTS ON ISRAEL AND ITS FUTURE CHANGES WHICH WILL NOW SOON COME TO LIFE MANY PROPHECIES OF THE BIBLE AND WE ARE NEARING THE END OF THE 72 YEARS I PROMOTE OR 6 - 12 YEAR PERIODS FROM 1950 TO 2022.].

[MARK THIS DAY AND THE FOLLOWING ARTICLES AS A POINT IN TIME WHEN FUTURE PROPHECY WILL COME OUT TO INFLUENCE THE FUTURE OF ISRAEL.].
6/13/2021 Israeli Parliament Approves New Government, Removes Netanyahu As Prime Minister by OAN Newsroom
From the left, Avigdor Lieberman, Benny Gantz, Yair Lapid and Israel’s new prime minister Naftali Bennett
hold a first cabinet meeting in Jerusalem Sunday, June 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
    Israel’s parliament has voted to form a new government, bringing an end to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year tenure.    On Sunday, Netanyahu was removed from the leadership role by vote.    This, presenting an end to a political stalemate that has seen four elections in two years.
    As it stands, the prospective new government holds a one-seat majority in the parliament.    It was decided the leadership role would be shared between two separate party leaders.
    Each leader will hold a term of two years over the next four years.    Naftali Bennet, who heads the Yamina party, will take office until Sept. 2023.    Thereafter, he will hand over leadership responsibilities to Yair Lapid, leader of the centrist Yesh Atid.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a cabinet meeting of the new government at Chagall State Hall
in the Knesset (Israeli parliament) in Jerusalem on May 24, 2020. (ABIR SULTAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
    However, Israeli citizens have offered up mixed reactions ahead of the vote.    Erez Goldman, an Israeli in Jerusalem stated, “it’s a sad day today, it’s not a legitimate government.”
    He also said he found it sad that almost 86 of 120 seats in the parliament, the Knesset, belong to the right-wing.    “They sold their soul and ideology, and their beliefs to the extreme left-wing just for one purpose…hatred of Netanyahu,” commented Goldman.
    Despite his removal as prime minister, Netanyahu is expected to remain a prominent figure in politics as the new opposition leader.

6/13/2021 Netanyahu Out, Bennett In As Israel Marks End Of An Era by Jeffrey Heller and Maayan Lubell
Head of Oposition Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett gesture following the vote on
the new coalition at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem June 13, 2021. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Benjamin Netanyahu’s record 12-year run as Israel’s prime minister ended on Sunday with parliament approving a new “government of change” led by nationalist Naftali Bennett, an improbable scenario few Israelis could have imagined.
    But the razor-thin 60-59 vote of confidence in a coalition of left-wing, centrist, right-wing and Arab parties with little in common except for a desire to unseat Netanyahu, only underscored its likely fragility.
    Addressing parliament before Bennett was sworn in, a combative Netanyahu said: “If we are destined to go into the opposition, we will do so with our heads held high until we can topple it.”
    That will happen, 71-year-old Netanyahu added, “sooner than people think.”
    The new government, formed after an inconclusive March 23 election, largely plans to avoid sweeping moves on hot-button international issues such as policy toward the Palestinians, and to focus instead on domestic reforms.
    Palestinians were unmoved by the change of administration, predicting that Bennett, a former defence chief who advocates annexing parts of the occupied West Bank, would pursue the same right-wing agenda as Likud party leader Netanyahu.
    Israel’s longest-serving leader, Netanyahu was prime minister since 2009, after a first term from 1996 to 1999.
    But he was weakened by his repeated failure to clinch victory in four elections over the past two years, including a vote in March, and by an ongoing corruption trial, in which he has denied any wrongdoing.
    Under the coalition deal, Bennett, a 49-year-old Orthodox Jew and high-tech millionaire, will be replaced as prime minister by centrist Yair Lapid, 57, a popular former television host, in 2023.
    With his far-right Yamina party winning only six of parliament’s 120 seats in the last election, Bennett’s ascension to the premiership as the head of a kaleidoscope of parties was a political jaw-dropper.
    Interrupted by non-stop shouts of “liar” and “shame” from Netanyahu loyalists in parliament, Bennett thanked the former prime minister for his and achievement-filled service on behalf of the State of Israel.”
    But little love has been lost between the two men: Bennett once served as Netanyahu’s chief of staff and had a rocky relationship with him as defence minister.    In the run-up to the new government, Bennett spurned Netanyahu’s call to join with him, rather than with Lapid.
    On the international stage, with his polished English and booming baritone voice, Netanyahu had become the face of Israel.
    He resisted international calls for Palestinian statehood he described as a danger to Israel’s security, while forging formal relations with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan and decrying Iran’s nuclear programme.
BIDEN CONGRATULATES
    U.S. President Joe Biden congratulated Bennett, Lapid and the rest of the new cabinet and said he looked forward to working with Bennett to strengthen the “close and enduring” relationship between their two countries.
    “My administration is fully committed to working with the new Israeli government to advance security, stability, and peace for Israelis, Palestinians, and people throughout the broader region,” Biden said in a statement.
    Both abroad and at home, Netanyahu has been a polarising figure.    Often referred to by his nickname Bibi, Netanyahu is loved by his supporters and loathed by critics.
    His opponents have long reviled what they see as Netanyahu’s divisive rhetoric, underhand political tactics and subjection of state interests to his own political survival.    Some have dubbed him “Crime Minister” and have accused him of mishandling the coronavirus crisis and its economic fallout.
    Addressing parliament, Bennett echoed Netanyahu’s call for the United States not to return to the 2015 nuclear pact between Iran and world powers, a deal abrogated by Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump.
    “Renewal of the nuclear agreement with Iran is a mistake, an error that would again grant legitimisation to one of the darkest and violent regimes in the world,” Bennett said.    “Israel will not allow Iran to equip itself with nuclear weapons.”
    Thanking Biden for his “years of commitment to Israel’s security,” and for “standing by Israel” during fighting with Hamas militants in Gaza last month, Bennett said his government would pursue good relations with U.S. Democrats and Republicans.
    “The government will make an effort to deepen and enhance our relations with both parties – bipartisan,” Bennett said.
    Bennett has drawn anger from within the right-wing camp for breaking a campaign pledge by joining forces with Lapid – and an allegation from Netanyahu that he defrauded the electorate.    Bennett has said another election – a likely outcome if no government were formed – would have been a disaster for Israel.
    Both Bennett and Lapid have said they want to bridge political divides and unite Israelis under a government that will work hard for all its citizens.
    Their cabinet, which met for the first time late on Sunday, faces huge foreign, security and financial challenges: Iran, a fragile ceasefire with Palestinian militants in Gaza, a war crimes probe by the International Criminal Court, and economic recovery following the coronavirus pandemic.
    Bennett listed as priorities reforms in education, health, cutting red tape to grow businesses and lower housing costs.    Coalition leaders have said it would pass a two-year budget to help stabilise the country’s finances and maintain a “status quo” on issues of religion and state.
(Reporting by Maayan Lubell and Jeffrey HellerEditing by William Maclean, Jane Merriman, Frances Kerry and Andrew Heavens)

6/13/2021 Hope, Anger And Defiance Greet Birth Of Israel’s New Government by Stephen Farrell
Head of Oposition Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel Prime minister Naftali Bennett shake hands following the vote on
the new coalition at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem June 13, 2021. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Following are reactions to the new government in Israel, led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, FORMER ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER
    “We’ll be back, soon.”
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
    “On behalf of the American people, I congratulate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, and all the members of the new Israeli cabinet.    I look forward to working with Prime Minister Bennett to strengthen all aspects of the close and enduring relationship between our two nations.”
NABIL ABU RUDEINEH, SPOKESMAN FOR PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT MAHMOUD ABBAS
    “This is an internal Israeli affair.    Our position has always been clear, what we want is a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital.”
BENNY GANTZ, ISRAELI DEFENCE MINISTER
    “With all due respect, Israel is not a widower.    Israel’s security was never dependent on one man. And it will never be dependent on one man.”
CHUCK SCHUMER, U.S. SENATE MAJORITY LEADER
    So, there’s a new Administration in Israel.    And we are hopeful that we can now begin serious negotiations for a two-state solution.    I am urging the Biden Administration to do all it can to bring the parties together and help achieve a two-state solution where each side can live side by side in peace.”
FAWZI BARHOUM, HAMAS SPOKESMAN
    “Regardless of the shape of the government in Israel, it will not alter the way we look at the Zionist entity.    It is an occupation and a colonial entity, which we should resist by force to get our rights back.”
DAPHNA KILION, ISRAELI IN JERUSALEM
    “I think it’s very exciting for Israel to have a new beginning and I’m hopeful that the new government will take them in the right direction.”
EREZ GOLDMAN, ISRAELI IN JERUSALEM
    “It’s a sad day today, it’s not a legitimate government.    It’s pretty sad that almost 86 (out of 120 seats) in the parliament, the Knesset, belong to the right-wing and they sold their soul and ideology and their beliefs to the extreme left-wing just for one purpose – hatred of Netanyahu and to become a prime minister.”
(Reporting by Stephen Farrell, Editing by William Maclean)
[DO NOT WORRY NETANYAHU THE GOD OF ABRAHAAM, ISAAC AND JACOB IS IN CONTROL AND WILL SEND YOU TWO INDVIDUALS TO TAKE ON THESE PEOPLE AS PROPHESEID AND THEN LATE A SAVIOR AS THE PROPHETS HAVE STATED AND YOU WILL BE SURPRISED OF WHOM THAT WILL BE.].

6/13/2021 Biden Welcomes New Israeli Government, Reaffirms Security Support by Susan Heavey
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett chats with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, following the vote for the
new coalition at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem June 13, 2021. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden said the United States remained committed to Israel’s security and would work with its new government after Israel’s parliament ended Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year run as prime minister on Sunday.
    In a statement that made no mention of Netanyahu, Biden welcomed the new government coalition led by nationalist Naftali Bennett and sought to reaffirm U.S.-Israel ties.
    The White House said Biden spoke with Bennett on Sunday “to offer his warm congratulations.”
    Biden “expressed his firm intent to deepen cooperation between the United States and Israel on the many challenges and opportunities facing the region.    The leaders agreed that they and their teams would consult closely on all matters related to regional security, including Iran,” the White House said.
    “United States remains unwavering in its support for Israel’s security,” Biden said in an earlier statement.    “My administration is fully committed to working with the new Israeli government to advance security, stability, and peace for Israelis, Palestinians, and people throughout the broader region.”
    By contrast, Biden did not speak to Netanyahu for nearly a month after the U.S. president took office on Jan. 20.
    U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken also issued statements welcoming their counterparts in the new Israeli government.
    Bennett, a former defense minister and a high-tech millionaire, won by a thin 60-59 majority vote, and the coalition of left-wing, centrist, right-wing and Arab parties is likely to be fragile.
    Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving leader, vowed to return to power soon.
(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Additional reporting by Phil Stewart and David Shepardson; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Daniel Wallis)

6/13/2021 Jordan Ex-Royal Court Chief Faces Trial Over Alleged Monarchy Plot by Suleiman Al-Khalidi
FILE PHOTO: General view showing empty streets, during the nationwide curfew for two days, amid fears of a rising
number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in Amman, Jordan October 9, 2020. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed
    AMMAN (Reuters) -Jordan’s military court will start the trial next week of a former royal court chief and a minor royal on charges of agitating to destabilise the monarchy, state media said on Sunday.
    Prosecutors last week referred to court the case of Bassem Awadallah, an ex-royal court chief and finance minister who played a big role in the drive to liberalise Jordan’s economy, and Sherif Hassan Zaid, a distant relative of King Abdullah.
    They were arrested in early April when former heir to the throne Prince Hamza was placed under house arrest over allegations that he had liaised with foreign parties over a plot to destabilise Jordan, a close U.S. ally in the Middle East.
    State media said Awadallah and Zaid were formally charged with agitating to undermine the kingdom’s political system and acts that threaten public security and sowing sedition. The two charges carry up to 30 years in prison, judicial sources said.
    Proceedings against Prince Hamza, who along with Awadallah had been under investigation for some time, were later dropped after he pledged allegiance to King Abdullah.
    A charge list published in state media said Hamza, the half brother of King Abdallah who was stripped of his title nearly two decades ago, gave his blessing to Awadallah to lobby in Western capitals and Riyadh in his goal to accede to the throne.
    Awadallah is among the closest economic advisers to Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a matter that complicated the judicial investigations, according to officials familiar with the affair.
    Amman turned down Riyadh’s request to hand him over, they added, without elaborating.
    King Abdullah said after the affair came to light that sedition had been quashed, describing it as the most painful "because it came from both inside the royal family and outside it.”
    The intrigue exposed the first serious rift within Jordan’s ruling Hashemite family in many years and shook the image of the country as an island of stability in an unpredictable region.
(Reporting by Suleiman Al-KhalidiEditing by David Goodman, Gareth Jones and Frances Kerry)

6/13/2021 Explainer-Who’s Who In Israel’s New Patchwork Coalition Government by Ari Rabinovitch
Party leaders of the proposed new coalition government, including United Arab List party leader Mansour Abbas, Labour party leader Merav Michaeli,
Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, Yamina party leader Naftali Bennett, New Hope party leader Gideon Saar,
Yisrael Beitenu party leader Avigdor Lieberman and Meretz party leader Nitzan Horowitz pose for a picture at the Knesset, Israel's parliament,
before the start of a special session to approve and swear-in the coalition government, in Jerusalem June 13, 2021. Ariel Zandberg/Handout via REUTERS
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s new government, due to be sworn in on Sunday, consists of a hodgepodge of political parties that have little in common other than a desire to unseat veteran right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
    The coalition spans the far-left to the far-right and includes for the first time a small Islamist faction representing Israel’s Arab minority.
    It is expected to focus mostly on economic and social issues rather than risk exposing internal rifts by trying to address major diplomatic issues such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    Here are the people who will be leading the new government:
NAFTALI BENNETT – PRIME MINISTER
    Bennett leads the ultranationalist Yamina (Rightwards) party that champions Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank.    He made a fortune in Israeli high-tech before entering politics in 2013.    He served in previous Netanyahu-led governments, most recently as defence minister.
    Now Bennett says he is joining with opponents to save the country from a period of political turmoil that could otherwise see a fifth election in just over two years.    A plan he has floated to annex much of the West Bank seems unfeasible, given his new partners.    He opposes the creation of an independent Palestinian state.
    Under the coalition deal, Bennett will serve as prime minister for two years and until he is replaced by Yair Lapid.    He will be the country’s first leader to wear a kippah, a skullcap worn by Orthodox Jews.
YAIR LAPID – FOREIGN MINISTER
    Lapid heads the centrist Yesh Atid (There is a Future) party and was the architect behind the new government.    His party is the biggest in the coalition but he agreed to share power with Bennett to secure a parliamentary majority.
    He quit his job as a TV anchor in 2012 and formed his own party, running on the promise to ease financial pressures on the middle-class.    He also seeks to end many of the state-funded privileges enjoyed by ultra-Orthodox Jews, a long-running source of grievance to many secular Israelis.
    He initially served as finance minister before moving to the opposition, which he led until Sunday.     Lapid will serve as foreign minister for two years and then take over as prime minister until the end of the government.    If it lasts that long.
BENNY GANTZ – DEFENCE MINISTER
    Just two years ago Gantz, a former military chief heading the centrist Blue and White party, was the opposition’s best hope to unseat Netanyahu.
    But he agreed to join Netanyahu in a “unity” government, a decision that angered many of his supporters.
    He will be a part of the new coalition, remaining in the post of defence minister.
AVIGDOR LIEBERMAN – FINANCE MINISTER
    A far-right immigrant from Moldova who lives in an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank, Lieberman has been a political wildcard over the past decade.    He has joined Netanyahu governments, including as defence minister, but also quit.
    As finance minister he will have to rein in a budget deficit that ballooned during the coronavirus crisis.
    He has also said he will try to change the status-quo between the government and Israel’s politically powerful ultra-Orthodox minority, which is a mainstay of Netanyahu’s outgoing government.
    The ultra-Orthodox community has low participation rates in the workforce and relies heavily on government handouts while focusing on religious studies.    Lieberman has said he will work to integrate them more into the economy.
GIDEON SAAR – JUSTICE MINISTER
    Saar was Netanyahu’s main rival within Likud, but Netanyahu did his best to keep him out of the spotlight and away from the highest-level portfolios.    Frustrated, Saar launched a failed leadership bid then spun off his own party.     As head of the New Hope party, Saar will be bumped up to justice minister, where he will oversee the legal system and become a member of the security cabinet.
MANSOUR ABBAS
    Abbas’s small United Arab List will be the first party in an Israeli government to be drawn from Israel’s 21% Arab minority – Palestinian by culture and heritage, but Israeli by citizenship.
    He split with other Arab politicians who prefer to remain outside government and cast aside differences with Bennett and other right-wingers to tip the scales against Netanyahu.
    Abbas is expected to serve as a deputy minister in the prime minister’s office. He aims to negotiate a big increase in government spending in Arab towns and villages.     But his presence is a potentially destabilising factor. He has been criticised by Palestinians for agreeing to support an Israeli government while Israel continues to occupy the Palestinian territories.Addressing these tensions, Abbas told the Italian daily La Repubblica on Friday:     “There will be difficult decisions to be made, including security decisions.    We have to juggle our identity as Palestinian Arabs and citizens of the State of Israel, between civil and nationalistic aspects.”
(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch in Jerusalem. Additional reporting by Giulia Segreti in Rome. Editing by Stephen Farrell, Angus MacSwan and Jane Merriman.)

6/14/2021 New Israeli Government Faces Tension With Palestinians Over Jerusalem by Jeffrey Heller
Israel's President Reuven Rivlin sits next to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid as they pose
for a group photo with ministers of the new Israeli government, in Jerusalem June 14, 2021. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Veteran leader Benjamin Netanyahu handed over power in Israel on Monday to new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett but remained defiant as the patchwork government faced tensions with Palestinians over a planned Jewish nationalist march.
    Minutes after meeting Bennett, Netanyahu repeated a pledge to topple the new government approved on Sunday by a 60-59 vote in parliament.
    “It will happen sooner than you think,” Netanyahu, 71, who spent a record 12 straight years in office, said in public remarks to legislators of his right-wing Likud party.
    Formation of the alliance of right-wing, centrist, left-wing and Arab parties, with little in common other than a desire to unseat Netanyahu, capped coalition-building efforts after a March 23 election, Israel’s fourth poll in two years.
    Instead of the traditional toasts marking Bennett’s entry into the prime minister’s office, Netanyahu held a low-key meeting there with the former defence chief, who heads the nationalist Yamina party, to brief him on government business.
    “Sour, grumpy, not stately – Trump-like until the final moment,” Yossi Verter, a political affairs commentator, wrote in the left-leaning Haaretz newspaper.
    The government was already facing a sensitive decision over whether to approve a flag-waving procession planned for Tuesday by Jewish nationalists through the Muslim quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City.
DAY OF RAGE
    Palestinian factions have called for a “day of rage” against the event, with memories of clashes with Israeli police still fresh from last month in contested Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and in a neighbourhood of the city where Palestinian’s face eviction in a court dispute with Jewish settlers.
    “This is a provocation of our people and an aggression against our Jerusalem and our holy sites,” Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said.
    The Hamas Islamist movement that rules the Gaza Strip warned of the possibility of renewed hostilities if the march goes ahead, less than a month after a ceasefire ended 11 days of cross-border hostilities with Israeli forces.
    A route change or cancelling the procession could expose the Israeli government to accusations from its right-wing opponents of giving Hamas veto power over events in Jerusalem.
    Israeli police were due to present their route recommendations to government officials on Monday.
    Deputy internal security minister Yoav Segalovitz said past governments had stopped nationalists visiting Muslim sites in times of tension.
    “The main thing is to consider what’s the right thing to do at this time,” he told Israel’s Kan radio.
    Palestinians want East Jerusalem, which includes the Old City, to be the capital of a state they seek to establish in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.
    Israel, which annexed East Jerusalem in a move that has not won international recognition after capturing the area in a 1967 war, regards the entire city as its capital.
FOCUS ON ECONOMY
    With any discord among its members a potential threat to its stability, Israel’s new government had hoped to avoid hot-button issues such as policy towards the Palestinians and to focus on domestic reforms and the economy.
    “I think the milestone to look out for is the budget,” said Yohanan Plesner, president of the Israel Democracy Institute.    “If within 3-4 months this government will pass the 2021-22 budget then we can expect this government to serve for at least two or three years.    Otherwise, the instability will continue.”
    Palestinians held out scant hope of a breakthrough in a peace process leading to a state of their own.    Talks with Israel collapsed in 2014.
    “We don’t see the new government as less bad than the previous ones,” Shtayyeh told the Palestinian cabinet.
    Under the coalition deal, Bennett, a 49-year-old Orthodox Jew and tech millionaire who advocates annexing parts of the West Bank, will be replaced as prime minister in 2023 by centrist Yair Lapid, 57, a former television host.
    Lapid, widely regarded as the architect of the coalition that brought down Netanyahu, is now foreign minister.
(Additional reporting by Maayan Lubell, Ali Sawafta in Ramallah and Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

6/14/2021 Naftali Bennet Sworn In As Israel’s New Prime Minister by OAN Newsroom
Israel’s new prime minister Naftali Bennett raises his hand during a Knesset session in Jerusalem Sunday, June 13, 2021.
Israel’s parliament has voted in favor of a new coalition government, formally ending Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s
historic 12-year rule. Naftali Bennett, a former ally of Netanyahu became the new prime minister (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
    Israel has sworn in a new prime minister following the removal of Benjamin Netanyahu who was ousted following a 60 to 59 vote on Sunday.    Naftali Bennett was confirmed as the new leader, marking the first new prime minister in a record 12 years.
    “It’s pretty sad that almost 86 in the Parliament, the Knesset, belongs to the right-wing,” stated Erez Goldman, a resident of Jerusalem.    “And they sold their soul and ideology and their beliefs to the extreme left-wing just for one purpose: hatred to Netanyahu.”
    In his last speech as prime minister, Netanyahu denounced Joe Biden’s Iran policies and also called out Bennet by claiming he would be too weak to stand up to Washington.
    “Regrettably, he doesn’t posses the international standing, he doesn’t posses the credibility, he doesn’t have the capability, he doesn’t have the knowledge,” Netanyahu stated.    “And above all, he has not the government nor the word that allow him to truly object to the nuclear deal.”
    Netanyahu vowed to return to power while dismissing the new coalition as a “dangerous government.”    Bennett, a former defense minister and Betanyahu protégé, will be leading the most ideologically diverse government in Israeli history.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to right-wing opposition party members a day after a new government
was sworn in, at the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, in Jerusalem, Monday, June 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)
    Israeli citizens have long called for Netanyahu’s ousting amid an ongoing corruption trial in which he has denied any wrongdoing.    However, citizens offered mixed reactions as hundreds of Israelis gathered in several areas across the country.
    “I feel like I earned my country back again because for the last year, with lots of wonderful people, we’ve been in the streets demonstrating against a prime minister that there is a very serious indictment against him,” stated protester Sharon Hudeland.
    In the meantime, Netanyahu is expected to remain a prominent figure in politics heading the Likud Party as the new opposition leader.

6/14/2021 Israeli Nationalists March In East Jerusalem, Prompt Palestinian ‘Day Of Rage’ by Rami Ayyub
FILE PHOTO: Youths wave Israeli flags during a parade marking Jerusalem Day amid Israeli-Palestinian tension
as they march along the walls surrounding Jerusalem's Old City, May 10, 2021. REUTERS/Nir Elias/File Photo
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Far-right Israeli groups will march in and around East Jerusalem’s Old City on Tuesday in a flag-waving procession that risks igniting tensions with Palestinians in the contested city and rekindling violence between Israel and Gaza militants.
    Assailing the march as a “provocation,” Palestinian factions have called for a “Day of Rage” in Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas have warned of renewed hostilities if it goes ahead.
    “We warn of the dangerous repercussions that may result from the occupying power’s intention to allow extremist Israeli settlers to carry out the Flag March in occupied Jerusalem tomorrow,” Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said on Twitter.
    An original march was re-routed to avoid the Old City’s Muslim Quarter on May 10 when tensions in Jerusalem led Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas to fire rockets towards the holy city, helping set off 11 days of deadly fighting.
    Israeli rightists accused their government of caving into Hamas by changing its route.    They rescheduled the procession after a Gaza truce took hold.
    Tuesday’s march, due to begin at 6:30 p.m. (1530 GMT), poses an immediate challenge for new Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who took office on Sunday and brought veteran leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s record-long rule to an end.
    Bennett’s internal security minister approved the march on Monday.
    A route change or cancellation of the procession could expose Bennett’s patchwork coalition to accusations from Netanyahu, now in the opposition, and his right-wing allies of giving Hamas veto power over events in Jerusalem.
    “The time has come for Israel to threaten Hamas and not for Hamas to threaten Israel,” prominent far-right lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir said on Twitter.
    An official route for the march has yet to be announced.    Israeli media reported that police will allow participants to congregate outside the Old City’s Damascus Gate but will not let them cross through it to the Muslim Quarter, which has an overwhelmingly Palestinian population.
    Tensions are sure to be high whether or not the route is changed. Palestinian protests were planned for 6 p.m. (1500 GMT) across the Gaza Strip, and Hamas and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction have called on Palestinians to flock to the Old City to counter the march.
    The Israeli military has made preparations for a possible escalation in Gaza over the march, Israeli media reported, and the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem prohibited its employees and their families from entering the Old City on Tuesday.
    Palestinians want East Jerusalem, which includes the Old City, to be the capital of a state they seek to establish in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.
    Israel, which annexed East Jerusalem in a move that has not won international recognition after capturing the area in a 1967 war, regards the entire city as its capital.
(Reporting by Rami Ayyub; Editing by Howard Goller)

6/15/2021 Israeli Nationalists March In East Jerusalem Under Heavy Police Presence by Stephen Farrell and Rami Ayyub
A Palestinian demonstrator uses a sling to hurl stones at Israeli forces during a protest over a flag-waving
procession by far-right Israeli groups in and around East Jerusalem's Old City, near the Jewish settlement of Beit El
near Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank June 15, 2021. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Thousands of Israeli far-right nationalists marched in a flag-waving procession through East Jerusalem on Tuesday, an event that risked reigniting tensions with Palestinians and posed an early challenge to Israel’s new government.
    Last month, Israeli-Palestinian confrontations in contested Jerusalem helped trigger 11 days of cross-border fighting between Israel and Gaza’s ruling Hamas militant group.
    On Tuesday, Israeli police in riot gear and on horseback cordoned off areas leading to the walled Old City’s flashpoint Damascus Gate, clearing the area of Palestinians.
    Dancing and singing “the people of Israel live” the crowd of mostly religious Jews, carrying blue and white Israeli flags, then filled the plaza in front of the gate, usually a popular social gathering spot for Palestinians.
    “Take a good look at our flag. Live and suffer,” one marcher, a megaphone in one hand and a cigar in the other, shouted in Hebrew at Palestinian merchants on the other side of police barriers erected on an East Jerusalem street.
    Police were expected to prevent marchers from going through Damascus Gate, the main entry to the Muslim Quarter of the Old City, which is also home to shrines sacred to Judaism, Islam and Christianity.    They were to take a peripheral route instead, to Judaism’s sacred Western Wall.
    “Jerusalem is for all religions, but Jerusalem is in Israel.    And in Israel, we must be able to go wherever we want, with our flag,” said marcher Doron Avrahami, 50, channelling right-wing frustrations with police restrictions.
    Assailing the march as a “provocation,” Palestinians called for “Day of Rage” protests in Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank with memories still fresh of confrontations between Israeli police and Palestinians during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
    “We warn of the dangerous repercussions that may result from the occupying power’s intention to allow extremist Israeli settlers to carry out the     Flag March in occupied Jerusalem,” Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said.
    Before the marchers arrived at Damascus Gate, thousands of Palestinians congregated nearby and at least 17 were injured in clashes with Israeli police firing stun grenades, the Palestine Red Crescent ambulance service said.
INCENDIARY BALLOONS
    Several hours before the event was due to start, incendiary balloons launched from Gaza caused several fires in fields in Israeli communities near the border with the Palestinian enclave, witnesses and the Israeli fire brigade said.
    Such incidents had stopped with the ceasefire that ended last month’s Israel-Gaza fighting.
    Hamas warned of renewed hostilities over the march, testing the mettle of the new Israeli government of Naftali Bennett, which approved the procession though along an amended route that appeared designed to avoid friction with Palestinians.
    Bennett heads a far-right party, and diverting the procession could anger members of his religious base and expose him to accusations he was giving Hamas veto power over events in Jerusalem.
    Wedensday’s march was originally scheduled for May 10 as part of “Jerusalem Day” festivities that celebrate Israel’s capture of East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war.
    At the last minute, that march was diverted away from the Damascus Gate and the Muslim Quarter, but the move was not enough to dissuade Hamas from firing rockets towards Jerusalem.
    Sitting on a bench outside the police cordon, Khalil Mitwani, a 50-year-old Palestinian, said of the marchers: “They are making a big problem in Jerusalem.    All the people here want peace – why make problems here?
    Diplomats urged restraint by all sides.
    “Tensions (are) rising again in Jerusalem at a very fragile & sensitive security & political time, when UN & Egypt are actively engaged in solidifying the ceasefire,” U.N. Middle East envoy Tor Wennesland said on Twitter.
    He called on all parties to “act responsibly & avoid any provocations that could lead to another round of confrontation.”
    Israel, which occupied and later annexed East Jerusalem in a move that has not won international recognition, regards the entire city as its capital.    Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a future state that would include the West Bank and Gaza.
(Reporting by Rami Ayyub and Stephen Farrell, Additional reporting by Dan Williams in Jerusalem and Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza, Editing by Jeffrey Heller, Timothy Heritage and Mark Heinrich)

6/16/2021 Israel Strikes Hamas Sites Over Fire Balloons, Challenging Truce by Nidal al-Mughrabi and Rami Ayyub
A still image from a video shows buildings in Gaza as seen from a warplane before an
air strike June 16, 2021. Israeli Defence Force (IDF)/Handout via REUTERS
    GAZA/TEL AVIV (Reuters) -Israeli aircraft struck Hamas sites in Gaza on Wednesday after incendiary balloons were launched from the Palestinian enclave in the first such attacks since a fragile ceasefire ended 11 days of deadly fighting last month.
    The violence poses an early test for the government of new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, whose patchwork coalition came to power on Sunday on a pledge to focus on socioeconomic issues and avoid sensitive policy choices towards the Palestinians.
    An Egyptian-mediated truce that halted fighting between Israel and Gaza militants did not immediately appear to be threatened by the flare-up, with the overnight Israeli airstrikes giving way to calm by morning.
    There were no reports of casualties on either side.
    The overnight violence follows a march in East Jerusalem on Tuesday by Jewish nationalists that had drawn threats of action by Hamas, the ruling militant group in Gaza.
    Israel’s military said its aircraft attacked Hamas armed compounds in Gaza City and the southern town of Khan Younis and was “ready for all scenarios, including renewed fighting in the face of continued terrorist acts emanating from Gaza.”
    The military said the strikes came in response to the launching of balloons laden with incendiary material, which the Israeli fire brigade reported caused 20 blazes in open fields in communities near the Gaza border.
    A Hamas spokesman, confirming the Israeli attacks, said Palestinians would continue to pursue their “brave resistance and defend their rights and sacred sites” in Jerusalem.
    But analysts suggested Hamas refrained from firing rockets around the march and after the Israeli strikes to avoid an escalation in Gaza, which was devastated by May’s aerial bombardment.
    “It (the ceasefire) is very fragile. The current calm may give the Egyptians a chance to try and cement it,” said Talal Okal, an analyst in Gaza.
    Israel’s Army Radio reported that Israel had informed Egyptian mediators that direct Hamas involvement in the balloon launch would imperil long-term truce talks.    Israeli officials did not immediately confirm the report.
    Hours before the overnight strikes, thousands of flag-waving Israelis congregated around the Damascus Gate of Jerusalem’s Old City before heading to Judaism’s holy Western Wall, drawing Palestinian anger and condemnation.
(Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi; Additional reporting by Dan Williams; Editing by Jeffrey Heller, Raju Gopalakrishnan and Edmund Blair)

6/16/2021 Israeli Military Confirms Gaza Air Strikes
A field on fire is seen after Palestinians in Gaza sent incendiary balloons over the
border between Gaza and Israel, Near Nir Am June 15,2021. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The Israeli military said its aircraft attacked Hamas armed compounds in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday in response to the launching of incendiary ballons from the territory that caused fires in fields in southern Israel.
    In a statement, the military said that it was “ready for all scenarios, including renewed fighting in the face of continued terrorist acts emanating from Gaza.”
    The attacks, following an Israeli nationalist march in East Jerusalem that angered Palestinians, were the first launched by Israel and Gaza militants since an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire ended 11 days of cross-border fighting last month.
(Editing by Jeffrey Heller)

6/21/2021 Israeli Foreign Minister To Pay First Visit To UAE Next Week -Statement
Israeli alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid arrives to attend the first weekly cabinet
meeting of the new government in Jerusalem June 20, 2021. Emmanuel Dunand/Pool via REUTERS
    TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Israel’s top diplomat will travel to the United Arab Emirates next week in the first official visit by an Israeli minister to the Gulf state since the two countries established diplomatic relations last year.
    Yair Lapid, who was sworn in last week under a new government, will be hosted by UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan from June 29-30, the Israeli foreign ministry said in a statement.
    “Minister Lapid will inaugurate the Israeli Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Consulate General of Israel in Dubai.”
    The UAE, along with Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco, began normalising relations with Israel last year under accords brokered by then-U.S. President Donald Trump.
    The deals angered the Palestinians, who have long relied on Gulf and Arab support in their quest for statehood in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and in Gaza and East Jerusalem.
    Lapid’s visit will be his first abroad as foreign minister.    He and new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett forged a patchwork coalition that ended the record-long tenure of veteran prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who spearheaded Israel’s deals with the four Arab countries.
    Netanyahu had planned to visit the UAE ahead of a March 23 election but cancelled the trip amid a dispute with Jordan.
    In a side deal to opening relations with Israel, the UAE secured Washington’s approval to purchase U.S.-made F-35 fighter jets.    President Joe Biden has since proceeded with that deal following a review.
    Business relations between Israel and the UAE have flourished, and the two countries signed a major tax treaty on May 31.
    “Relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates are important, the fruits of which benefit not only the citizens of the two countries, but the entire Middle East,” the foreign ministry said in its statement.
(Reporting by Rami Ayyub; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

6/21/2021 Israel Allows Some Gaza Exports, One Month After Truce
A truck carrying clothes for export is seen at Kerem Shalom crossing in Rafah in the
southern Gaza Strip, June 21, 2021. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
    GAZA/TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Israel allowed a limited resumption of commercial exports from the Gaza Strip on Monday in what it called a “conditional” measure one month after a truce halted 11 days of fighting with the Palestinian enclave’s Hamas rulers.
    Gaza border officials said the easing of Israeli restrictions would last two to three days and would apply to agricultural goods and some textiles.
    Israel keeps tight controls Gaza crossings, with support from neighbouring Egypt, citing threats from Hamas.    The Israeli restrictions were intensified during the May fighting, effectively halting all exports.
    But with the Egyptian-mediated ceasefire largely holding, Israel said some exports would be allowed out through its territory as of Monday morning.
    “Following a security evaluation, a decision has been made for the first time since the end of (the fighting) to enable … (the) limited export of agricultural produce from the Gaza Strip,” COGAT, a branch of Israel’s Defence Ministry, said.
    COGAT said the measure was approved by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government and was “conditional upon the preservation of security stability.”
    Egypt stepped up its Israel-Hamas mediation last week after incendiary balloons launched from Gaza drew retaliatory Israeli air strikes on Hamas sites, challenging the fragile ceasefire.
    But with that flare-up having ebbed since early Friday, some workers in Gaza voiced hope that the easing of Israeli restrictions would last, and potentially be expanded.    Some 10,000 people in Gaza, home 2 million people, work in textiles.
    “This could be a start … today we exported clothing, and tomorrow, maybe something else,” said Gaza truck driver Ismail Abu Suleiman, 55, who transports export-bound goods to Israel’s Kerem Shalom border crossing.
    Gaza’s agriculture ministry said farmers had lost $16 million due to the restrictions on exports.
(Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza and Rami Ayyub in Tel Aviv, Editing by William Maclean)

6/24/2021 Autopsy Shows Head Blows In Death Of Abbas Critic, Palestinian Group Says by Ali Sawafta and Yosri Al Jamal
Demonstrators react to tear gas during clashes with Palestinian security forces at a protest following the
death of Nizar Banat, a Palestinian parliamentary candidate who criticised the Palestinian Authority and died after being
arrested by PA forces, in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, June 24, 2021. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman
    RAMALLAH/HEBRON, West Bank (Reuters) – A Palestinian activist who died in the custody of President Mahmoud Abbas’s security forces on Thursday took blows to the head, a Palestinian rights group said after conducting an autopsy, adding the wounds indicated “an unnatural death.”
    The family of Nizar Banat, a well-known critic of Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, said PA forces broke into his house in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron overnight and hit him repeatedly with a metal rod before arresting him.
    A PA spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment on the autopsy findings of the PA’s Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR).    The PA had earlier declined to comment on the circumstances of Banat’s death.
    Earlier, hundreds of angry Palestinians marched towards Abbas’s presidential compound in Ramallah to demand he resign over Banat’s death, which drew calls by the United Nations, the U.S. State Department and the European Union for a transparent investigation.
    Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, an Abbas appointee, ordered the formation of an investigation committee into Banat’s death that he said would include the PA’s ICHR.
    But in a sign of public distrust with the PA inquiry, ICHR said it would lead its own investigation.    ICHR conducted an autopsy with the family’s permission, and announced its initial findings on Thursday night.
    “The autopsy showed injuries represented by bruises and abrasians in many areas of the body, including the head, neck, shoulders, chest, back, and upper and lower extremities, with binding marks on the wrists and rib fractures,” the ICHR said.
    “The preliminary autopsy results also indicate … an unnatural death, but determining the principal cause of death, from a clinical point of view, requires waiting for laboratory results from tissue samples,” it added in a statement.
    Palestinians renewed protests in central Ramallah later on Thursday. Some clashed with security forces who threw tear gas and stun grenades to disperse them.
‘NO ANOMALY’
    Banat, 43, was a social activist who had accused Abbas’s PA of corruption, including over a short-lived COVID-19 vaccine exchange with Israel this month and Abbas’s postponement of a long-delayed election in May.    Banat had registered as a parliamentary candidate for that contest.
    Abbas regularly arrests his critics, human rights groups say, and has ruled the PA by decree for well over a decade.
    “The crushing death of activist Nizar al-Banat shortly after his arrest by the PA is no anomaly.    PA security forces have for years systematically arbitrarily arrested, mistreated & tortured critics and dissidents,” said Omar Shakir of Human Rights Watch.
    The PA rejects accusations it is corrupt and that it arrests people for their political views.    It also denies torture.
    Hebron Governor Bakri said in a statement that Banat’s arrest was on the orders of the PA attorney-general.
    Banat’s family told Reuters that PA security forces broke into their house in the middle of the night, pulled Banat from his bed and started to beat him.
    “They hit him on his head with iron bars, which they had used to open the windows,” Banat’s cousin, Hussein, 21, said.    “They beat him continuously for eight minutes.    If you came to arrest him, take him. Why the brutality?
‘SHOCKED’
    The U.S. State Department said Washington was deeply disturbed by Banat’s death and called on the Palestinian Authority to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation.
    “We have serious concerns about Palestinian Authority restrictions on the exercise of freedom of expression by Palestinians and harassment of civil society activists and organizations,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.
    The United Nations Middle East peace envoy, Tor Wennesland, said on Twitter he was alarmed and saddened by the death, and also called for a transparent investigation.
    The European Union delegation to the Palestinians said on Twitter it was shocked and saddened, adding a “full, independent and transparent investigation should be conducted immediately.”
    The PA exercises limited self-rule in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, home to 3.1 million Palestinians.
    On Monday, Banat, who had 100,000 Facebook followers, condemned PA officials as mercenaries over the COVID-19 vaccine exchange deal, which the PA swiftly cancelled.
    Banat planned to run for the Palestinian parliament on May 22. Abbas called off that election, citing Israeli controls over Palestinians in East Jerusalem.    Opponents say Abbas cancelled the vote to avoid losing to Islamists, something he denies.
(Reporting by Ali Sawafta in Ramallah, Yousri al Jamal in Hebron and Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza; Writing by Rami Ayyub; Editing by Peter Graff, William Maclean and Giles Elgood)

6/24/2021 Lasers And Flaming Torches Light Up Battle Over New Israeli Settlement by Ali Sawafta and Rami Ayyub
Palestinian demonstrators hold torches during a night protest against Israeli settlements
in Beita in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, June 22, 2021. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman
    BEITA, West Bank (Reuters) – In a fusion of the modern and the medieval, green laser beams and flaming torches light up the night sky in a remote part of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, as Palestinians wage a battle to stop a new Jewish settlement.
    The “Night Disruption” protests south of Nablus are aimed at halting the rapid growth of a settler outpost that began in early May and is now home to 53 Israeli families on what the Palestinians say is their land.
    Israeli troops have shot dead five Palestinians during stone-throwing protests since Givat Eviatar was set up, Palestinian officials said.    The Israeli military did not comment on fatalities, but said troops used live fire only as a last resort.
    The army has deployed soldiers during the night-time demonstrations, as well as at Friday protests in the nearby village of Beita which have lasted several months.
    During the night protests that began last week, burning tyres have engulfed settler homes in acrid smoke.
    “We come at night, we light up the mountain, to send them a message that they can’t have even an inch of this land,” said one masked Palestinian this week.    He lit fires while others flashed laser pointers to dazzle the settlers in their homes.
    The Israeli military said it faced “hundreds of Palestinians throwing stones, lighting fires, burning tires and throwing explosives” at its troops.
    “The large number of violent rioters endangers the lives of Israeli civilians and a military force has been deployed to provide protection,” it said in a statement.
    Protests against an Israeli settlement in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood were one factor behind 11 days of hostilities between Israel and Gaza militants in May in which over 250 Palestinians and 13 in Israel were killed.
SETTLER OUTPOST
    The settlers named the outpost after Eviatar Borovsky, an Israeli stabbed to death in 2013 by a Palestinian at a nearby road junction. The outpost has been built up and evacuated three times since then.
    But it was set up without government authorisation – which makes it illegal under Israeli law – and presents an early test for new Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
    Bennett was once a senior leader of the settler movement and heads a far-right religious party.
    But he sits precariously atop a new coalition that spans the political spectrum from far-right to far-left, making sensitive policy decisions on the Israeli-Palestinian difficult.
    The Israeli military issued an order to evacuate the outpost on June 6.     But that was under Bennett’s predecessor Benjamin Netanyahu, whom Bennett replaced on June 13.
    The evacuation order has since been postponed, the Israeli military said, and Bennett has not said if he plans to implement it.
    A spokesman for Bennett’s office declined comment, but the settlers are intent on staying on what they call “Eviatar’s Hill” and Palestinians call “Jabal Al-Sabih” or “The Morning Mountain,” because the sunlight strikes it early.
    “They won’t drive us away from here.    This is our homeland, this is our forefathers’ land.    We love the land, we want to be here, we know they come out of hate,” said Eli Shapira, a 30-year-old teacher and father of four.
    As construction proceeds, some settler families live in caravans.    Some roads are already paved, and others are lined with electricity cables.
EAST-WEST CORRIDOR
    More than 440,000 Israeli settlers live uneasily among some 3 million Palestinians in the West Bank, land that Israel captured and occupied in a 1967 war but which Palestinians say is the heartland of a future state.
    The Palestinians and most countries view Israel’s settlements as illegal under international law.    Israel disputes this, citing historical and biblical links to the land and its own security needs.
    Palestinian officials say the new outpost would help create an unbroken east-west line of Israeli settlements through the northern West Bank, cutting the territory in half and rendering Palestinian statehood unviable.
    The site lies 30 km inside the West Bank in fertile olive and grape-growing territory for Palestinians around Nablus.
    Nearby there are many hilltop Jewish settlements, whose residents want to extend their territory.
    “Israel is a strong country and not only will we not be weakened, not only will terrorism not scare us or make us flee from our homeland – we will build more and more,” said Yossi Dagan, head of the Shomron Regional Council representing settlements in the area.
    On Sunday Israel’s military rejected an appeal by the settlers against evacuation, saying the outpost “undermined security stability” in the area.
    The settlers have until Monday to appeal to the Supreme Court, a military spokesman said, although the decision over the evacuation ultimately rests with Bennett.
    Moussa Hamayel, Beita’s deputy mayor, said they had heard reports that the outpost might be dismantled.    But he was sceptical.
    “We don’t trust their promises, not until we see (the outpost) completely empty,” he said.
(Additional reporting by Rami Amichay; Writing by Rami Ayyub; Editing by Stephen Farrell and Mike Collett-White)

6/25/2021 Honduras Becomes 4th Country To Open Embassy In Jerusalem by OAN Newsroom
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, back ceright, and Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, speak as
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, front second right, and Honduran Foreign Minister Lisandro Rosales sign agreements between
their two countries at the prime minister’s office, in Jerusalem, Thursday, June 24, 2021. (Heidi Levine/Pool via AP).
    Honduras has officially inaugurated its embassy in Jerusalem. President Juan Orlando Hernandez signed agreements with Israel on Thursday as Honduras relocates their embassy.
    This came after Donald Trump, the 45th U.S. President, announced he would move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem in 2018 with Guatemala, Kosovo and Honduras soon to follow.
    “Mr. President, Honduras under your leadership stands consistently with Israel in the international institutions when it is not always popular and sometimes it comes with a cost,” stated Israeli Prime Minster Naftali Bennett.    “And this is evidence of the friendship and the willingness to take action, including paying a price, and I want to thank you and the public in Honduras for this support.”
    Most countries’ embassies remain in Tel Aviv due to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

6/25/2021 Palestinian Mourners Call For Change At Funeral Of Abbas Critic by Yosri Al Jamal
People attend the funeral of Palestinian critic Nizar Banat, who died after being arrested by Palestinians Authority's
security forces, in Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, June 25, 2021. REUTERS/Mussa Qawasma
    HEBRON, West Bank (Reuters) - Palestinian mourners called on Friday for a change of government as they marched through Hebron for the funeral of one of President Mahmoud Abbas’s most prominent critics, who died after being arrested by security forces.
    Thousands of people accompanied Nizar Banat’s coffin through the streets of the occupied West Bank city, many of them chanting “The people want the fall of the regime” and “Leave, leave Abbas
    Some waved Palestinian flags and others the flag of Hamas, Abbas’s Islamist rivals in Gaza.    Protesters also gathered in Ramallah and outside East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.
    Banat’s family said Palestinian Authority (PA) forces broke into his house in the city in the early hours of Thursday and hit him repeatedly with a metal rod before arresting him.
    He suffered blows to the head, the PA’s Independent Commission for Human Rights said after conducting an autopsy.
    Abbas’ Palestinian Authority said it would hold an inquiry, but has not commented on the accusations.    Its governor for Hebron, Jibrin Al-Bakri, said Banat died when his health “deteriorated” during his arrest.
    Abbas’ popularity has plummeted since the 85-year-old was elected president in 2005, with many Palestinians facing economic hardship and complaining of widespread corruption.    He has ruled the PA by decree for over a decade.
    Making its first statement since Banat’s death, the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which Abbas chairs, said the PA inquiry would be impartial and that it would announce its findings at the earliest opportunity.
    But the PLO called on Palestinians “and especially the family of the martyr, Nizar, to assume national responsibility … and not allow anyone to politicise this issue and divert it from its national, humanitarian and legal track.”
    Banat, 43, was a social activist who had accused Abbas’s PA of corruption, including over a short-lived COVID-19 vaccine exchange with Israel this month and Abbas’s postponement of a long-delayed election in May.
    Banat had registered as a parliamentary candidate for that contest.
    Human rights groups say Abbas regularly arrests critics.    A Human Rights Watch official said Banat’s arrest was “no anomaly.”    Abbas denies the accusations.
    The United States, the United Nations and the European Union called on the PA to conduct a “transparent” inquiry into Banat’s death.
    Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, urged Palestinians to rise up and “put a final end to the widespread violation by the (PA) against the freedoms and rights of our people
    Abbas and the PA, which exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank, reject accusations they are corrupt and that they arrest people for their political views.    They also deny torture.
(Additional reporting by Ali Sawafta in Ramallah and Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza, Writing by Rami Ayyub,Editing by Andrew Heavens and Timothy Heritage)

6/26/2021 Palestinian Authority Deploys Forces During Protest Against Critic’s Death
    RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) – The Palestinian Authority (PA) on Saturday deployed security forces to confront protesters who took to the streets of Ramallah in the West Bank after one of President Mahmoud Abbas’s biggest critics died in custody.
    Nizar Banat had been arrested by PA forces who broke into a relative’s house where he was staying in the early hours of Thursday and hit him repeatedly with a metal rod before arresting him, according to Banat’s family.
    Banat’s death has sparked three days of protests in the occupied West Bank and calls from the international community for an inquiry.
    On Saturday, Palestinian security officers were sent to the scene for the first time, Reuters video showed.
    The officers, some wearing riot gear, some in plain clothes, clashed with protesters, according to witnesses.    There were no official figures on how many people were arrested or injured.
    Witnesses said officers fired tear gas and used clubs to hit unarmed protesters and also journalists.
    The spokesman for the PA security services, Talal Dweikat, said the committee investigating Banat’s death had begun its work and urged people to wait for the results.    He did not comment on Saturday’s violence.
    Banat, 43, was a social activist who had accused Abbas’s PA of corruption, including over a short-lived COVID-19 vaccine exchange with Israel this month and Abbas’s postponement of a long-delayed election in May.
    Banat had registered as a parliamentary candidate for that contest.
    The crowd marched through streets waving Palestinian flags and pictures of Banat and calling for an end to Abbas’s 16-year rule.
    “We want a total political reform that will truly reflect the interests of the people,” said protester Esmat Mansour.
    Human rights groups say Abbas regularly arrests critics.    A Human Rights Watch official said Banat’s arrest was “no anomaly
    Abbas and the PA, which exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank, reject accusations they are corrupt and that they arrest people for their political views.
(Reporting by Ali Sawafta in Ramallah, additional reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza; Editing by Christina Fincher)

6/27/2021 Israeli Foreign Minister To Meet U.S., Bahrain Counterparts On Sunday
Israeli alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid arrives to attend the first weekly cabinet
meeting of the new government in Jerusalem June 20, 2021. Emmanuel Dunand/Pool via REUTERS
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid will meet his U.S. and Bahraini counterparts in Rome on Sunday, Lapid’s office said, the first face-to-face diplomatic contacts for a senior member of the new Israeli government that was sworn in two weeks ago.
    Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates normalised ties with Israel last year, a deal brokered by the previous U.S. administration.    Lapid is due to visit UAE on Tuesday and Wednesday.
    The Israeli statement did not provide details on the agenda of the separate talks Lapid planned to hold with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al-Zayani during his one-day visit to Italy.
(Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Catherine Evans)

6/27/2021 Antony Blinken Meets With Israeli Foreign Minister For Reset From Trump, Netanyahu Era by OAN Newsroom
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visits the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, also called
the Holocaust Memorial, on June 24, 2021 in Berlin, Germany. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
    U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (D) met with Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in Rome on Sunday.    Reports said the meeting took place to focus on moving past the Benjamin Netanyahu era.
    This comes as the Biden administration is reportedly preparing to bring back the Iran nuclear deal.    Although the new Israeli government has said it’s still opposed to the Iran deal, they say they want to be softer in opposition.
    Netanyahu formerly riled the Obama administration by coming and speaking to a joint session of Congress against the deal in 2015.    However, with Netanyahu out as prime minister after numerous deadlocked elections, the Biden administration said it’s hoping to start anew with Israel.
    “I look forward to working with you to widen the circle of peace in our region that is the best way to bring stability and prosperity to the Middle East,” said Lapid.
    “We will discuss a range of issues which concerns Israel, including strengthening our ability to defend ourselves, working to minimize conflict between us and the Palestinians while making life better for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”
    Both sides agreed to deepen U.S.-Israeli dialogue amid ongoing threats to destroy the Jewish State by Iranian-backed terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah.
[I THINK NETANYAHU SHOULD COME HERE AGAIN AND GIVE OBAMA AND BIDEN ANOTHER EARFUL.].

6/27/2021 Israel Tells U.S. It Has Serious Reservations About Iran Nuclear Deal by Humeyra Pamuk
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid
in Rome, Italy, June 27, 2021. Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS
    ROME (Reuters) -Israel has serious reservations about the Iran nuclear deal being put together in Vienna, new foreign minister Yair Lapid told his American counterpart, as he pledged to fix “the mistakes made” in U.S.-Israeli relations in recent years.
    In their first face-to-face meeting since Israel’s new government was sworn in two weeks ago, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Lapid had a very positive and warm discussion, according to U.S. officials.
    The main topics were the nuclear deal and Israel’s normalisation accords with Gulf Arab states, as well as humanitarian aid to Gaza and the status of East Jerusalem, a topic that helped fuel the latest wave of violence between the Israelis and Palestinians in May.
    “Israel has some serious reservations about the Iran nuclear deal that is being put together in Vienna.    We believe the way to discuss those disagreements is through direct and professional conversations, not in press conferences,” Lapid said in brief remarks ahead of the meeting in Rome.
    Iran and the United States have been holding indirect talks on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers that imposed restrictions on Tehran’s nuclear activities in exchange for lifting international sanctions.
    The United States, under former President Donald Trump, abandoned the deal and reimposed harsh U.S. sanctions, prompting Iran to respond by violating many of its restrictions.
    Blinken told Lapid that Washington would remain in close contact with Israel over the Iran negotiations, U.S. officials said.
    Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, a nationalist atop a cross-partisan coalition, has hewed to the opposition of his conservative predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, to the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, whose caps on projects with bomb-making potential Israel deemed too lax.
    Netanyahu’s particularly close ties with Trump followed an acrimonious relationship with his predecessor Barack Obama, which some critics said had alienated Democrats and compromised U.S. bipartisan support for Israel.
    Biden, since taking office on Jan. 20, has repeatedly expressed Washington’s support for Israel but has been more measured in his approach than Trump.
    Lapid acknowledged the need for repair.    “In the past few years, mistakes were made. Israel’s bipartisan standing was hurt. We will fix those mistakes together.”
    Blinken also reiterated to Lapid Washington’s concerns over Israeli attempts to evict several Palestinian families in East Jerusalem, and the status of the city’s al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, U.S. officials said.
    Blinken also conveyed to Lapid the necessity of getting humanitarian assistance into Gaza, where 250 Palestinians were killed and scores of buildings were destroyed last month by Israeli air strikes.
    Biden has worked to repair ties with the Palestinians and abandon what they said was the one-sided U.S. policy towards the conflict. His administration has pledged to resume hundreds of millions of dollars in economic and humanitarian assistance and work toward reopening the Palestinians’ diplomatic mission in Washington.
    Israel’s normalisation agreements with various Arab countries were also discussed.    In his opening remarks, Blinken said he hoped more participants would join.
    The UAE and Bahrain established ties with Israel last year in U.S.-brokered deals called the Abraham Accords, becoming the first Arab states in more than a quarter of a century to break what had been a long-standing taboo in the region.
    Lapid, who also met in Rome with Bahrain’s foreign minister, Abdullatif Al-Zayani, is due to visit the UAE on Tuesday and Wednesday.    Lapid described the accord as historic and said, “I hope it will be the first of many.”
(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk in Rome; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Lisa Shumaker)

6/27/2021 Biden, Israeli President Rivlin To Discuss Iran, Israel Defense Needs by Steve Holland
FILE PHOTO: Israeli President Reuven Rivlin speaks at the president's residence
in Jerusalem April 5, 2021. REUTERS/Amir Cohen/Pool/File Photo
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden will meet Israel’s outgoing president, Reuven Rivlin, at the White House on Monday for a broad discussion about U.S. efforts to re-enter the Iran nuclear deal and Israel’s formation of a new government.
    The meeting takes place just weeks after Naftali Bennett took over as Israel’s new prime minister, replacing Benjamin Netanyahu. U.S. officials are working on setting up a meeting between Biden and Bennett in coming weeks.
    Biden’s meeting with Rivlin comes amid concerns in Israel and Arab capitals about U.S. efforts to re-enter the Iran nuclear deal because of fears a resumption of the accord may eventually allow Tehran to acquire atomic weapons that would leave them vulnerable to Iranian intimidation or military threat.
    U.S. attempts to revive the Iran nuclear deal, after then-President Donald Trump abandoned it in 2018, have been slow to make progress with Tehran insisting the United States lift all economic sanctions.
    A source familiar with the Biden-Rivlin meeting said Biden is expected to tell Rivlin that the United States and Israel share the same objective, that Iran not be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon, and that Biden would stress U.S. support for Israel’s right to defend itself.
    The two leaders are also expected to discuss Israel’s 11-day war with Gaza.    The United States has pledged to resupply Israel’s Iron Dome defense system, which got heavy usage during the Gaza conflict.
    Rivlin is to leave office on July 7 after a seven-year term, with Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog taking over as Israeli president.
    Rivlin is on his final foreign trip as president.    He will meet officials at the United Nations in New York and congressional lawmakers in Washington.
(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

6/28/2021 Gaza Reconstruction Clouded By Dispute Over Israelis Held By Hamas by Nidal al-Mughrabi
Palestinians spend their time at a United Nations-run school in Beach refugee camp,
in Gaza City, June 24, 2021. Picture taken June 24, 2021. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
    GAZA (Reuters) – Reconstruction of Gaza after last month’s fighting between Israel and Hamas is being held up by a dispute over the fate of Israelis long held by the Islamist group and a lack of clarity over how to prevent it from accessing aid funds, officials say.
    The Gaza government says 2,200 homes were destroyed and 37,000 damaged by Israeli shelling during 11 days of cross-border exchanges.    Rebuilding those dwellings and wider Gaza infrastructure will cost some $500 million, the government says.
    Egypt and Qatar, which helped broker a May 21 truce, have pledged $500 million each for reconstruction in the Palestinian enclave, two-thirds of whose 2 million residents rely on aid.
    Israel says that can proceed only if it makes headway in efforts to recover two soldiers missing in action in a 2014 Gaza war as well as two civilians who slipped separately into the enclave.
    “It’s reconstruction in exchange for progress on the missing,” a senior Israeli official told Reuters, declining to specify what Israel – which has declared the two missing soldiers dead – would consider “progress.”
    Hamas, which has not detailed the four Israelis’ condition, says talks about them must be based on a swap for Palestinians imprisoned in Israel, not aid.    Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has long opposed releasing jailed Palestinian militants.
HAMAS ACCESS?
    With the ceasefire largely holding, Israel on Monday began allowing fuel into Gaza for the first time in weeks, after easing up import and export restrictions on the Strip last week.
    But the prospect for aid has been complicated up by Israel’s demand – supported by U.S. President Joe Biden – that the funds not be used to arm Hamas.    Israel says Hamas bears blame for investing money in its military build-up rather than Palestinian welfare.    Hamas denies this.
    The Biden administration also wants to involve internationally-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the Gaza reconstruction.    But Abbas has not wielded clout in Gaza since losing control of it to Hamas in a brief 2007 civil war.
    Hamas – deemed a terrorist group by the West – has pledged not to touch donor money.    One of its appointees, Deputy Minister of Public Works and Housing Naji Sarhan, said mediators were months away from coming up with a workable funding mechanism.
    Sarhan, who has taken part in Cairo-based talks, said rubble from the May fighting would be cleared by the end of July and that “within three months, I think, we will see the start of the reconstruction of Gaza, especially the buildings and the roads infrastructure.    This is what we are hearing.”
    Sam Rose, officer in charge of Gaza affairs for the U.N. aid agency for the Palestinians, UNRWA, told Reuters last week that the agency launched a $162 million campaign for early recovery plans, including humanitarian assistance to displaced families.
    Asked when rebuilding could begin, Rose said: “I can’t give you a time frame right now.    It depends upon facts beyond our control.”
    For people like Mohammad Ghabayen, who has been living in a U.N.-run school since his house was hit by an Israeli air strike in May, the uncertainty was agonising.
    “What is going to happen to us?    What is going to happen to my children?” he said.
(Editing by Peter Graff)

6/28/2021 Blinken Pressures Israel To Take Softer Stance On Palestinian Groups by OAN Newsroom
Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in Rome, Sunday, June 27, 2021.
Blinken is on a week long trip in Europe traveling to Germany, France and Italy. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)
    The new Israeli government and Joe Biden signaled that they are willing to give concessions to Hamas terrorists, in turn, downplaying President Trump’s accomplishments.
    On Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in Rome while looking to turn a new page at the pair’s first in-person meeting since Israel swore in its new government. In praising the alliance between the two countries, Lapid also noted disagreements amid ongoing negations regarding the Iran nuclear deal.
    “We will have disagreements, but they are not about the essence, they are all about how to get there,” he stated.    “We want the same things we sometimes disagree about how to achieve.    Israel has some serious reservations about the Iran nuclear deal that is being put together in Vienna.”
    Blinken downplayed President Trump’s Abraham Accords by telling his Israeli counterpart they do not apply to Palestinian groups and Israel should open separate talks with the Palestinian authority to discuss their disagreements directly.
    “I think we’ve also discovered or perhaps rediscovered that as important as they are, as vital as they are, they are not a substitute for engaging on the issues between Israelis and Palestinians that need to be resolved,” noted the U.S. Secretary of State.
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid meets with Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Rome, Sunday, June 27, 2021.
Blinken is on a week long trip in Europe traveling to Germany, France and Italy. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)
    Israeli diplomats said their new government may be willing to give some concessions to Arab radicals.
    “I look forward to working with you to widen the circle of peace in our region, that is the best way to bring stability and prosperity to the Middle East,” Lapid continued.    “We will discuss a range of issues which concerns Israel, including strengthening our ability to defend ourselves, working to minimize conflict between us and the Palestinians while making life better for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”
    The sides agreed to deepen U.S.-Israeli dialogue amid ongoing threats to destroy the Jewish State by Iranian-backed terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah.
[AS YOU CAN SEE ABOVE THE DEMOCRATS ARE TRYING TO DESTROY THE ABRAHAM ACCORD TO INFLUX THEIR ANTICHRISTIAN AND JUDAIAC VALUES ASSOCIATED WITH IT AND WITHOUT NETANYAHU IN CHARGE THEY MAY GET AWAY WITH IT UNLESS THE ISRAEL AND ARAB NATIONS STAND UP TO SAVE IT AND IN THAT CASE THAT MAY LEAD TO THE ENTITY SEEN IN DANIEL 9:27 IN THE NEAR FUTURE.].

6/29/2021 Israeli Foreign Minister In UAE On First Official Visit
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid meets with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken
(not pictured) in Rome, Italy, June 27, 2021. Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS
    DUBAI/JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Israel’s foreign minister landed in the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday in the first official visit by an Israeli minister to the Gulf state since the two countries established diplomatic relations last year.
    During the two-day visit, Yair Lapid is set to inaugurate Israel’s embassy in Abu Dhabi and its consulate in Dubai, as well as sign an agreement on economic cooperation, Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Lior Haiat said.
    Lapid posted on Twitter a picture of himself during take-off, calling the visit “historic.”
    The UAE, along with Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco, began normalising relations with Israel last year under the Abraham Accords brokered by then-U.S. President Donald Trump and which marked a strategic realignment of Middle East countries against Iran.
    Tuesday’s agreement will be the 12th between Israel and the UAE since then, Haiat said.
    Lapid is also set to visit the site of Expo 2020 Dubai, a world fair opening in October where Israel has built a pavilion.
    Lapid’s plane transited through Saudi airspace. Riyadh, although not having normalised relations with Israel, last year opened its skies to Israel-UAE flights.
    The UAE formally opened its embassy in Tel Aviv, temporarily located in the Tel Aviv stock exchange, to little fanfare this month.
    Israel’s Abu Dhabi embassy is also in a temporary location.
    “We are planning for it to be a big one, an important one,” Haiat said.    “For the time being we are talking about three diplomats.”
(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch and Dan Williams; Writing by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and John Stonestreet)

6/30/2021 Criticism Of Palestinian Security Forces Raises Pressure On Abbas by Rami Ayyub and Ali Sawafta
Palestinian police officers stand guard during a protest over the death of Nizar Banat, a critic of the Palestinian Authority,
in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, June 26, 2021. Picture taken June 26, 2021. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman
    RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) – Pressure is mounting on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas over his security forces’ handling of protesters demanding his resignation since one of his biggest critics died in custody.
    The U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem said on Tuesday it was “deeply disturbed” by reports that protesters had been intimidated and beaten by plain-clothes officers, and the United Nations condemned what it called “totally unacceptable” attacks.
    The security forces have denied deploying officers in civilian clothing against protesters.
    But the criticism of the Palestinian Authority (PA) by such important international backers extends the already long list of problems facing Abbas, 85, after 16 years in power.
    The family of Nizar Banat, a prominent critic of the PA who died in detention on June 24, said security forces broke into his house in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron and hit him repeatedly with a metal rod before arresting him.
    A Palestinian rights group said after conducting an autopsy that Banat had suffered blows to his head.
    The PA has declined direct comment on the circumstances of Banat’s death but, offering his condolences, Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said on     Tuesday the judiciary would “ensure application of the law against all those found guilty.”
    The death has led to days of protests in the West Bank and clashes between demonstrators and security forces.
    “We are deeply disturbed by reports that non-uniformed members of the Palestinian Authority Security Forces (PASF) harassed and used force against protesters and journalists over the weekend,” a spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy said.
    The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian territory said one of its rights monitors covering protests in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Sunday was among dozens of people who had been attacked in a “totally unacceptable way.”
    “The attack, by persons in civilian clothes, included punching, the use of pepper spray, and attempts to steal a phone being used to document events,” it said on Facebook.
    Talal Dweikat, spokesperson for the Palestinian security forces, said such reports were “not true.”
    “This is dishonourable talk.    There were no security personnel in civilian clothes.    Why would (they) wear civilian clothes?,” he told the Ramallah Mix broadcaster.
    His office declined requests by Reuters for comment.
    The PA says it has investigated Banat’s death, and Shtayyeh has urged Palestinians not to politicise the case.
PROBLEMS PILE UP FOR ABBAS
    Abbas’s popularity has plummeted since he was elected in 2005, according to opinion polls.    He has ruled by decree for over a decade and the PA faces widespread allegations of corruption, which it denies.
    Peace talks have been stalled since 2014, and Abbas has faced criticism for continuing to coordinate with Israel on security issues.    Opponents say this enables Israel’s occupation of West Bank territory that it captured in 1967.
    Anger deepened this year when Abbas cancelled planned elections.
    Criticism of the security forces’ methods has mounted since Banat’s death and Abbas’s Fatah party has accused Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas and other rival political factions of being behind them.
    Aseel AlBajeh, of the rights group Al-Haq, said she was confronted by men in civilian clothing who pushed her and took her phone when she was filming Sunday’s protest in Ramallah.
    “You feel completely unsafe because you don’t know if the person next to you, dressed in completely normal clothing, is going to beat you up or not,” AlBajeh, 26, said.
    “It is painful.    As Palestinians, we have two struggles: one against an occupying power in Israel, and the other against an authoritarian regime.”
    The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate said reporters had been “prevented from covering events and threatened by plain-clothes forces.”    It demanded the PA “prosecute those who assaulted journalists, and bring them to justice.”
(Editing by Stephen Farrell and Timothy Heritage)

6/30/2021 Israel Seeks To Extend New Gulf Ties To All Middle East, Says Lapid by Lisa Barrington
Israeli alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid speaks during a news
conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, June 30, 2021. REUTERS/Christopher Pike
    DUBAI (Reuters) - Israel’s new foreign minister said on Wednesday his landmark visit to the United Arab Emirates was just the start of a road to wider peace in the Middle East, reaching out to Arab states still wary of normalising ties.     Yair Lapid, the first Israeli cabinet minister to visit the Gulf state since the countries forged ties last year, also reiterated Israel’s concern about the Iran nuclear deal being negotiated in Vienna.
    The trip comes amid unease in Israel and Arab capitals about U.S. efforts to re-enter a 2015 nuclear pact between Iran and world powers, which then President Donald Trump quit in 2018 in a move backed by Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies.
    “This visit isn’t the end of the road to peace, it is just the beginning,” he told reporters.    “Our hand is outstretched … I hope this visit is the first of many and that together with our new friends we continue to make history in the entire region.”
    The UAE and Bahrain normalised ties with Israel under so-called “Abraham Accords” brokered by Trump’s administration, creating a new regional dynamic based on mutual concern over Iran and Islamist groups. Sudan and Morocco followed suit.
    Lapid declined to comment on whether Israel was coordinating with Gulf states over Iran, saying he did not want to “embarrass” his hosts by remarking on a neighbour while in the UAE, but noted his country was worried about the nuclear deal.
    Gulf states have called for a stronger deal of longer duration that also addresses Tehran’s missiles programme and support for regional proxies that Iran has denied giving.
    During his two-day visit, Lapid inaugurated Israel’s temporary embassy in Abu Dhabi and consulate in Dubai.
    Israel and the UAE said they had begun talks on a free trade agreement in a statement carried on state news agency WAM.    They have previously signed agreements on tourism, investment and cooperation in fields from energy to technology.
    Lapid told WAM Israel-UAE trade in the ten months since normalisation exceeded $675 million and he expected more deals.
    The UAE has said the accords, which challenged a decades-old allegiance to the Palestinian issue as a major driver of Arab policy, would ultimately benefit the Palestinians.
    Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas condemned Lapid’s visit, saying it happened while Israeli authorities destroyed a Palestinian-owned shop in East Jerusalem, which Israel captured in a 1967 war and that Palestinians seek for a future state.
    “Normalisation agreements will encourage the occupation (Israel) to escalate its aggression against our people,” Hamas said on Tuesday.    Israel said the shop had violated zoning laws.
    On Tuesday UAE foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed told Israel’s Walla news site: “I believe that sooner or later Israel should resolve the Palestinian problem.    This not only harms Israel’s image, but is also liable to raise doubts as to its future.    This is a big challenge for you.”
(Reporting by Lisa Barrington; additional reporting by Rami Ayyub in Tel Aviv, writing by Ghaida Ghantous, editing by William Maclean and Philippa Fletcher)

7/4/2021 Israel Responds To Hamas Attack With Airstrike by OAN Newsroom
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, in Jerusalem. (Menahem Kahana/Pool via AP, File)
    Israel has targeted a Hamas site in the Gaza Strip after the terrorist group launched incendiary balloons.    Prime Minister Naftali Bennett confirmed Saturday’s retaliatory attack during his weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday.
    Israel launched similar strikes on Friday after another incendiary attack that day.    Bennett said Israeli airstrikes targeted a weapons manufacturing site as well as a rocket launcher.    He warned any future “disturbances” from Hamas would be met with force.
    “Last night, the IDF attacked Gaza in response to incendiary balloons,” he explained.    “…Israel is interested in quiet and we have no interest in harming Gaza residents, but violence, balloons, marches and disturbances will be answered with harsh response.”
    The Prime Minister went on to say he has been working on getting humanitarian aid to the residents of Gaza.    However, Bennett added that aid won’t be suitcases full of money, referencing to the funds provided to Hamas by Qatar.     Meanwhile, the United Nations has been working with Egypt and Qatar to come to a cease-fire agreement.

7/6/2021 Israel’s New Government Fails To Renew Disputed Citizenship Law
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, sitting between Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Government Secretary
Shalom Shlomo, attends a weekly cabinet meeting at the prime minister's office in Jerusalem July 4, 2021. Abir Sultan/Pool via REUTERS
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Israel’s parliament failed on Tuesday to renew a disputed law that bars granting citizenship or residency to Palestinians from the occupied West Bank or Gaza who are married to Israeli citizens, dealing a setback to the new coalition government.
    An early-morning vote in the Knesset (parliament) tied at 59-59, short of a simple majority needed to extend the 2003 law, which expires at midnight.    Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called the vote “a premeditated, direct blow to national security.”
    The vote highlights challenges Bennett, an ultranationalist, has already begun to face managing his ideologically diverse coalition, which was sworn in last month and includes left-wing parties and an Arab Islamist faction.
    Two members of the United Arab List abstained from the vote. And, in a bid to embarrass Bennett, former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and members of his right-wing Likud party, who had supported the bill in the past, voted against it, joined by one lawmaker from Bennett’s own Yamina faction.
    Israel passed the law, a temporary ordinance, during the height of a Palestinian uprising.    Most proponents say it helps ensure Israel’s security, while others say it maintains Israel’s “Jewish character.”    It had been extended annually since 2003.
    However, critics say it discriminates against Israel’s 21% Arab minority – who are Palestinian by heritage, Israeli by citizenship – by barring them from extending citizenship and permanent residency rights to Palestinian spouses. Exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis.
    “I have been married for 26 years and have had to renew my temporary residency annually,” said Asmahan Jabali, a Palestinian married to a man from Taybeh, an Arab village in central Israel.
    Jabali, who has coordinated advocacy against the law, estimates that tens of thousands of families are in similar situations.     “This is a temporary victory, but it is only the beginning,” she said.
    Vowing to “fix” the situation, Bennett said on Tuesday that Netanyahu and others had chosen “petty politics over the good of the citizens of Israel, and they will owe a long reckoning to the citizens of Israel for their actions.”
    The Knesset could vote again at a future date on extending the citizenship law, though it is unclear when that might happen.
    Urging legislators to support the law on Monday, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said: “It is one of the tools designed to ensure a Jewish majority in the State of Israel."
    “Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people, and our goal is to have a Jewish majority,” he said on Twitter, adding that without the law “there would be an increase in Palestinian terrorism.”
    Lapid, a centrist, reached a power-sharing deal with Bennett in June to unseat longtime premier Netanyahu.    Their 61-member coalition in the 120-seat parliament pledged to focus on socioeconomic issues and avoid sensitive policy choices towards the Palestinians.
(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch, Rami Ayyub, Dan Williams and Ali Sawafta;Editing by William Maclean and Mark Heinrich)

7/7/2021 Israel Tears Down Bedouin Tents In Palestinian Village
A member of the Israeli forces sets up a checkpoint to prevent access to the area at the Bedouin village of Humsa, that
is torn down according to rights groups, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, July 7, 2021. REUTERS/Raneen Sawafta
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Israel demolished the tent dwellings of at least 63 Bedouin in a village in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, a Palestinian official said, in an area designated by the Israeli military as a firing zone.
    The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said around 35 children were among those at risk of “(forced) transfer” following the demolitions in the Jordan Valley village of Khirbet Humsah.
    Palestinians and rights groups accuse Israel of trying to forcibly clear out Khirbet Humsah’s Bedouin – who witnesses said remained at the site after the demolitions – to make room for Jewish settlement expansion.
    Muataz Bsharat, an official in the Palestinian Authority that administers limited self-rule in the West Bank, said it was the seventh time Israeli authorities had destroyed tent dwellings as well as animal shelters, latrines, solar panels and water containers in the village.
    “Now 63 Palestinians became homeless.    Eleven families had their homes demolished and confiscated,” he said, accusing Israel of “state-sponsored terrorism” against the residents.
    COGAT, a branch of Israel’s defence ministry, said Israel acted in accordance with a Supreme Court ruling in demolishing tents that again had been illegally erected by Palestinians who “invaded the firing range” in 2012.
    Israel has often cited a lack of building permits, which Palestinians and rights groups say are nearly impossible to obtain, in destroying Palestinian structures in the West Bank, an area it captured in a 1967 war.
    Israel has said the Bedouin in Khirbet Humsah had rejected offers to move them out of the firing zone to an alternative location.
    At the site, mechanical excavators tore into the tents and then lifted the remnants into dump trucks to be carted away as residents looked on.
    Israeli authorities have demolished at least 421 structures belonging to Palestinians in the first half of 2021, a 30% increase over the same period in 2020, the NRC said in a statement.
(Reporting by Ali Sawafta, Nidal al-Mughrabi and Dan WilliamsEditing by William Maclean)

7/7/2021 Former Labour Chief Herzog Sworn In As Israel’s President
Israeli President-elect Isaac Herzog gestures next to Chairman of the Knesset Mickey Levy during a
swearing-in ceremony at the Knesset, Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem July 7, 2021. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Former Labour party head Isaac Herzog was sworn in as Israel’s president on Wednesday and pledged to use the largely ceremonial role to try to heal deep divisions within Israeli society.
    In a pomp-filled ceremony in the Knesset (parliament), Herzog embraced outgoing president Reuven Rivlin before taking the oath of office to applause from lawmakers, beginning a seven-year term.
    “From here, I will go to Israel’s presidential residence and begin a journey between the rifts and chasms of Israeli society. A journey that aims to find the unifier within the differences, the unifier between the rifts, a journey designed to rediscover us,” Herzog, 60, said.
    First elected to parliament in 2003, Herzog led the left-wing Labour party and held several portfolios in coalition governments. His most recent public post was as head of the Jewish Agency for Israel, which encourages immigration.
    Defeated by former premier Benjamin Netanyahu in a 2015 election, Herzog was elected president by parliament in June just days before Netanyahu was toppled by a cross-partisan alliance led by new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
    The Bennett-led government’s swearing-in followed four elections in two years that exposed deep political, religious and ethnic divides in Israeli society.
    Fighting in May between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza also touched off rare mob violence among the Jewish majority and Arab minority within Israeli cities.
    “I embark on this path in order to meet the pain, to look at it directly, to lend an ear and a heart – to difficulties and fears, even at the most eruptive points,” Herzog said.
    A lawyer, Herzog is a son of the late Israeli president Chaim Herzog, who also served as his country’s ambassador to the United Nations.
    Concluding his speech, Herzog vowed to fight anti-Semitism, strive for peace between Israel and its neighbours and help in the “fight against Israel’s strategic threats, chiefly Iran’s nuclear programme”
(Reporting by Rami Ayyub and Maayan Lubell; Editing by Nick Macfie)

7/9/2021 Israel Doubles Water Supply To Jordan; Source Says PM Met King by Dan Williams
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett looks on as he speaks during his Yamina party faction meeting at the
Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem July 5, 2021. Picture taken July 5, 2021. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel will this year double its supply of water to Jordan and encourage Amman to export more to the Palestinians, Israeli officials said on Thursday after a source told Reuters the new Israeli prime minister had secretly met the Jordanian king.
    Jordan is a key security partner for Israel but relations have suffered in recent years over Israeli-Palestinian tensions.
    Yair Lapid, foreign minister in a cross-partisan coalition that ousted long-serving conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government a month ago, held a first meeting with Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi on Thursday.
    Separately, a source who declined to be identified by name or nationality said Netanyahu’s successor, Naftali Bennett, made an unannounced Amman visit last week to see King Abdullah.
    Israeli and Jordanian spokespeople had no immediate comment on what the source described as June 29 talks at Abdullah’s palace, meant to improve ties strained during Netanyahu’s term.
    A July 1 palace statement said Abdullah had embarked on a three-week visit to the United States that would include President Joe Biden’s first meeting with an Arab leader at the White House since taking office.
    Biden will host Abdullah there on July 19, the White House said on Wednesday, adding that those talks would be “an opportunity to … showcase Jordan’s leadership role in promoting peace and stability in the region.”
    Lapid said Israel would sell its neighbour 50 million cubic metres of water this year.
    An Israeli official said that would effectively double the supply for the year – from May 2021 to May 2022 – as around 50 million cubic metres was already being sold or given to Jordan.    A Jordanian official said Israel gives the kingdom 30 million cubic metres annually under their 1994 peace treaty.
    Lapid said the countries also agreed to explore increasing Jordan’s exports to the West Bank to $700 million a year, from $160 million now.
    “The Kingdom of Jordan is an important neighbour and partner,” Lapid said in a statement.    “We will broaden economic cooperation for the good of the two countries.”
    The United States welcomed the agreements.    “It is these kinds of tangible steps that increase prosperity for all and advance regional stability,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.
    Abdullah strongly opposed former U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan, which he saw as a national security threat that would also undermine his Hashemite family’s custodianship of holy sites in Jerusalem.
    Officials say the shift in U.S. policy under Biden towards a more traditional commitment to a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict has relieved pressure on Jordan, where a majority of the population of 10 million are Palestinians.
(Writing by Dan Williams and Suleiman al-Khalidi; Editing by Giles Elgood)

7/11/2021 Israel To Withhold $180 Million In Palestinian Funds Over Militant Stipends
FILE PHOTO: Palestinian Hamas supporters attend an anti-Israel rally in the northern Gaza Strip, May 30, 2021. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel will withhold $180 million in tax revenue it collect last year on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, or about 7% of the PA’s total tax revenue, to offset stipends paid to militants and their families, the Israeli cabinet said on Sunday.
    Under a 2018 law, Israel calculates each year how much it believes the Palestinian Authority has paid in stipends to militants, and deducts that amount from the taxes it has collected on the Palestinians’ behalf.
    Taxes collected by Israel form about half of the income of the Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
    Israel calls stipends for militants and their families a “pay for slay” policy that encourages violence.    Palestinians hail their jailed brethren as heroes in a struggle for an independent state and their families as deserving of support.
    Qadri Abu Baker, head of prisoners affairs in the Palestine Liberation Organization, called the Israeli measure a crime of “terror and piracy.”
($1 = 3.2776 shekels)
(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch and Ali Sawafta)

7/13/2021 Israel Wants Voucher System For Foreign Aid To Gaza – Minister by Dan Williams
FILE PHOTO: An aid convoy's trucks loaded with supplies send by Long Live Egypt Fund are seen at the Rafah border crossing between Egypt
and the Gaza Strip, in this handout picture obtained by Reuters on May 23, 2021. The Egyptian Presidency/Handout via REUTERS.
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel wants foreign aid to Gaza disbursed through a voucher system, as a safeguard against donations being diverted to bolster the Palestinian enclave’s Hamas rulers and their arsenal, a government minister said on Tuesday.
Humanitarian agencies put the latest reconstruction costs for the impoverished Gaza Strip at $500 million following 11 days of cross-border fighting in May.
    Qatar bankrolled more than $1 billion worth of construction and other projects in Gaza, some of it in cash, after a war in 2014. The payments were monitored and approved by Israel, and Doha pledged another $500 million in late May.
    New Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett wants a shift in policy, Internal Security Minister Omer Barlev said.
    “The Qatari money for Gaza will not go in as suitcases full of dollars which end up with Hamas, where Hamas in essence takes for itself and its officials a significant part of it,” he told Israel’s Army Radio.
    He said Bennett envisaged “a mechanism where what will go in, in essence, would be food vouchers, or vouchers for humanitarian aid, and not cash that can be taken and used for developing weaponry to be wielded against the State of Israel.”
    Hamas, which has previously denied using Gaza aid for its military, did not immediately comment.     Mohammed Al-Emadi, the Qatari aid envoy to Gaza, could not immediately be reached for comment.
    A Palestinian official told Reuters: “Nothing is final yet.”
    Barlev said the proposed aid mechanism should run mainly through the United Nations. He did not rule out continued donations from Qatar, and raised a possibility of European Union assistance.
    “Should the mechanism be like this, I have no doubt that Israel would help in the improvement of the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip,” he said.
    The EU, United States and some other countries have designated Hamas as a terrorist organization.
(Additional reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi; Writing by Dan Williams, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

7/14/2021 Turkey And Israel Want To Improve Ties After Presidents’ Call – Turkish Ruling Party
FILE PHOTO: A Turkish flag flutters atop the Turkish embassy as an Israeli flag is seen
nearby, in Tel Aviv, Israel June 26, 2016. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/File Photo
    ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey and Israel have agreed to work towards improving their strained relations after a rare phone call between their presidents, a spokesman for Turkey’s ruling AK Party said on Wednesday.
    The two countries expelled ambassadors in 2018 after a bitter falling-out.    Ankara has condemned Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and its treatment of Palestinians, while Israel has called on Turkey to drop support for the militant Palestinian group Hamas which rules Gaza.
    Both sides say the other must move first for any rapprochement.
    President Tayyip Erdogan called Israel’s new president, Isaac Herzog, on Monday to congratulate him on taking office.    Israel’s presidency is a largely ceremonial office.
    “A framework emerged after this call under which advances should be made on several issues where improvements can be made, and where steps towards solving problematic areas should be taken,” spokesman Omer Celik said after an AK Party meeting.
    Celik singled out the Palestinians as one of many issues Turkey wants to discuss with Israel, adding that areas such as tourism and trade should be a “win-win” for both nations.    Bilateral trade has remained strong amid the political disputes.
    During the call, which came a day after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visited Ankara, Erdogan told Herzog he valued maintaining dialogue and said Turkish-Israeli relations were key for regional stability.
    Erdogan also reiterated his support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, adding “positive steps” would also help Turkey’s ties with Israel, his office said.
    In May, Erdogan called Israel a “terror state” after Israeli police shot rubber bullets and stun grenades towards Palestinian youths at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.
    Israel accuses Turkey of aiding members of Hamas, which is considered a terrorist organisation by Israel and its Western allies.
    Turkey has also recently been trying to repair its frayed ties with Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
    Monday’s call came a month after Naftali Bennett became Israeli prime minister, replacing Benjamin Netanyahu, with whom Erdogan had frequently traded barbs.
(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu and Daren Butler; Editing by Gareth Jones)

7/14/2021 UAE Opens Embassy In Tel Aviv
UAE Ambassador to Israel, Mohamed Al Khaja, Israeli President Isaac Herzog, and other officials press a button to start the stock
exchange market during the opening ceremony of the Emirati embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel July 14, 2021. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
    TEL AVIV (Reuters) – The United Arab Emirates opened its embassy in Israel on Wednesday, with Israel’s president attending the inaugural ceremony.
    The embassy is situated in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange building and its opening followed the inauguration of Israel’s embassy in the UAE last month.
(Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Jeffrey Heller)

7/18/2021 Jewish Visits, Opposed By Palestinians, Spark Clashes At Jerusalem Holy Site
The Dome of the Rock is seen in the background as Israeli security forces guard after brief clashes erupted between
Israeli police and Palestinians at al-Aqsa Mosque over visits by Jews on the Tisha B'Av fast day to the compound known
to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City, July 18, 2021. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Brief clashes erupted on Sunday between Israeli police and Palestinians at Al Aqsa mosque over visits by Jews to the compound revered in Judaism as the site of two destroyed Biblical temples.
    No serious injuries were reported in what police described as stone throwing early in the day by several Palestinian youngsters who it said were then dispersed.
    Palestinian officials said police forcefully evacuated Muslim worshippers to clear the way for Jewish visitors and fired rubber-coated bullets during the confrontation in one of the most sensitive venues in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
    All was quiet by the time Muslim noon prayers were held, but the incident drew condemnation by the Palestinian Authority, which administers limited self-rule in the occupied West Bank.
    Israeli media reports put the number of Jewish visitors who walked through the Jerusalem plaza at around 1,300.
    They were mostly religious Jews, some with children in tow, who toured the site under heavy police guard on the Tisha B’Av fast day marking the razing of the temples.
    In a statement, the Palestinian Authority said it held “the Israeli occupation government fully responsible for the escalation resulting from the Israeli incursion in the Al Aqsa mosque complex in occupied Jerusalem.”
    The Authority called the Jewish visits provocative and a “serious threat" to “security and stability.”
    After the spate of violence, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett directed that Jewish visits there “continue, while maintaining order at the site,” an official statement said.
    Israeli police monitor and regulate Jewish visits to the flashpoint plaza, known in Judaism as Temple Mount.    Muslims refer to the compound, where Al Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, and the Dome of the Rock shrine are located, as the Noble Sanctuary.
    The area is in Jerusalem’s walled Old City and part of the territory Israel captured in a 1967 Middle East war.    Violence there led in part to an 11-day Israel-Gaza war in May.
(Writing by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

7/25/2021 Israeli Airlines Start Direct Flights To Morocco After Improved Ties by Steven Scheer
An Israel El Al airlines plane is seen after its landing following its inaugural flight between Tel Aviv
and Nice at Nice international airport, France, April 4, 2019. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard/File Photo
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Two Israeli carriers on Sunday launched nonstop commercial flights to Marrakesh from Tel Aviv following the upgrading of diplomatic relations last year between Morocco and Israel.
    Israel and Morocco agreed last December to upgrade diplomatic ties and relaunch direct flights – part of a deal brokered by the United States that also included Washington’s recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara.
    “This route will help promote tourism, trade and economic cooperation between the two countries,” said Israeli Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov.
    Israir flight 61 took off at 8:15 a.m. (0515 GMT) for the 5 1/2 hour flight, with stewards wearing traditional Moroccan garb and serving Moroccan food.
    El Al Israel Airlines flight 553 took off at 11:35 a.m. (0835 GMT).
    El Al, Israel’s flag carrier which was hit hard last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said it will operate up to five flights a week to Morocco on Boeing 737 planes.
    Smaller rival Israir said it would operate two flights a week on its route to Marrakesh.
    Israel’s Arkia and Royal Air Maroc are also expected to start flights in the next month.
    Morocco was home to one of the largest and most prosperous Jewish communities in North Africa and the Middle East for centuries until Israel’s founding in 1948.    An estimated quarter of a million left Morocco for Israel from 1948-1964.
    Today only about 3,000 Jews remain in Morocco, while hundreds of thousands of Israelis claim some Moroccan ancestry.
    Moroccan officials describe their deal with Israel, including the opening of liaison offices, as a restoration of mid-level ties that Rabat cooled in 2000 in solidarity with Palestinians.
    In March, Moroccan Tourism Minister Nadia Fettah Alaoui said she expected 200,000 Israeli visitors in the first year following the resumption of direct flights.    That compares with about 13 million yearly total foreign tourists before the pandemic.
    Tourism revenue in Morocco fell by 53.8% to 36.3 billion dirhams ($3.8 billion) in 2020.
(Reporting by Steven ScheerEditing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

8/1/2021 State Dept.: Iran Attacked Israeli-Managed Tanker Off Omani Coast by OAN Newsroom
State Department spokesman Ned Price speaks at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, Pool)
    Joe Biden’s State Department has accused Iran of the attack of an oil tanker after months of talks to restore the 2015 Nuclear Deal.    On Sunday, Biden’s diplomats reported Iran attacked the Israeli managed ship Mercer Street, which was traveling in international waters in the Arabian Sea.
    The department added it condemned the attacked and joined U.S. allies in opposition to Iran’s move.    Two crewmembers, a British and a Romanian crew member, died in the attack.
    The attack was undertaken by a so-called suicide drone.    Iranian officials have denied their involvement by claiming it was both a distraction and provocation.
    “We see these distractions every once in a while, especially when good things are happening in the region,” expressed Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh of the Foreign Ministry of Iran.    “…The regime occupying Jerusalem has brought with it insecurity, violence, terror and war wherever it has gone, and for this reason those responsible are those who have brought this regime to the region.”
    The State Department said the attack was unjustified and threatened commercial navigation in the crucial waterway.

8/1/2021 U.S., Britain Believe Iran Attacked Israeli-Managed Tanker Off Oman
Sailors assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 5 board an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter, attached to the
"Golden Falcons" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 12, are seen on the flight deck of aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76),
in response to a call for assistance from the Mercer Street, a Japanese-owned Liberian-flagged tanker managed by Israeli-owned
Zodiac Maritime, in the Arabian Sea July 30, 2021. Picture taken July 30, 2021. U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS
    LONDON/WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The United States and Britain said on Sunday they believed Iran carried out an attack on an Israeli-managed petroleum product tanker off the coast of Oman on Thursday that killed a Briton and a Romanian, both pledging to work with partners to respond.
    Iran earlier on Sunday denied it was involved in the incident, after it was blamed by Israel.
    “Upon review of the available information, we are confident that Iran conducted this attack, which killed two innocent people, using one-way explosive UAVs,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement, adding there was “no justification” for the attack.
    “We are working with our partners to consider our next steps and consulting with governments inside the region and beyond on an appropriate response, which will be forthcoming,” Blinken said.
    British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said earlier in the day that UK assessments had concluded that it was highly likely that Iran had used one or more drones to carry out the “unlawful and callous” attack.
    “We believe this attack was deliberate, targeted, and a clear violation of international law by Iran,” he said. The UK was working with international partners on a “concerted response,” he added.
    The incident involved the Mercer Street, a Liberian-flagged, Japanese-owned ship managed by Israeli-owned Zodiac Maritime.
    The U.S. Navy, which was escorting the tanker with the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, said on Saturday that early indications “clearly pointed” to a drone attack.
    Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett had accused Tehran of “trying to shirk responsibility” for the attack, and called its denial “cowardly.”
    Speaking during a weekly meeting of his cabinet on Sunday, Bennett said: “I declare unequivocally: Iran is the one that carried out the attack on the ship,” adding that intelligence supported his claim.
    “We, in any case, have our own way to relay the message to Iran,” Bennett said.    Israel’s foreign minister said earlier the incident deserved a harsh response.
    Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told a weekly news conference on Sunday that the “Zionist regime (Israel) has created insecurity, terror and violence…    These accusations about Iran’s involvement are condemned by Tehran.”
    “Such accusations are meant by Israel to divert attention from facts and are baseless,” Khatibzadeh said.
    There had been varying explanations for what happened to the tanker.    Zodiac Maritime described the incident as “suspected piracy,” and a source at the Oman Maritime Security Center said it was an accident that occurred outside Omani territorial waters.
    Iran and Israel have traded accusations of carrying out attacks on each other’s vessels in recent months.
    Tensions have risen in the Gulf region since the United States reimposed sanctions on Iran in 2018 after then-President Donald Trump withdrew Washington from Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with major powers.
(Reporting by Jeffrey Heller in Jerusalem, Paul Sandle in London, and Michael Martina in WashingtonWriting by Parisa HafeziEditing by Mark Heinrich, Frances Kerry and Andrea Ricci)

8/1/2021 Haniyeh Re-Elected As Chief Of Palestinian Islamist Group Hamas by Nidal al-Mughrabi
Palestinian group Hamas' top leader, Ismail Haniyeh talks after meeting with Lebanese
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri in Beirut, Lebanon June 28, 2021. REUTERS/Aziz Taher/Files
    GAZA (Reuters) - Ismail Haniyeh has been re-elected as leader of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, officials said on Sunday, cementing his control of the organization which rules the Gaza Strip and has fought multiple violent conflicts with Israel.
    Haniyeh, Hamas chief since 2017, has controlled the group’s political activities in Gaza, the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the diaspora largely from outside Gaza, splitting his time between Turkey and Qatar for the past two years.
    He directed Hamas in an 11-day conflict with Israel in May that left over 250 in Gaza and 13 in Israel dead.    An Egyptian-mediated ceasefire has mostly held since.
    “Brother Ismail Haniyeh was re-elected as the head of the movement’s political office for a second time,” one Palestinian official told Reuters following an internal election by party members. His term will last four years.
    Aged 58, Haniyeh was the right-hand man to Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in Gaza, before the wheelchair-bound cleric was assassinated in 2004.
    Haniyeh led Hamas’ entry into politics in 2006, when they were surprise victors in Palestinian parliamentary elections, defeating a divided Fatah party led by President Mahmoud Abbas.
    He became prime minister shortly after the January 2006 victory, but Hamas – which is deemed a terrorist organisation by the United States, Israel and the European Union – was shunned by the international community.
    Following a brief civil war, Hamas seized Gaza from the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority, which has limited self-rule in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, in 2007.    Israel has led a blockade of Gaza since then, citing threats from Hamas.
    Haniyeh’s victory caps internal elections that also saw the group’s Gaza chief, Yehya Al-Sinwar, win a second term in March.
    Further votes were delayed by May’s upsurge in violence.
(Reporting by Nidal al-MughrabiEditing by Rami Ayyub and Toby Chopra)

8/1/2021 Israeli Prime Minister Vows Retaliation For Iran’s Attack On Oil Tanker by OAN Newsroom
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks to the Israeli Parliament in Jerusalem. (Yonatan Sindel/Pool via AP)
    Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett condemned Iran’s Ayatollah regime over its latest attack on an oil tanker in international waters.    During a cabinet meeting on Sunday, Bennett said Iran would be held to account for carrying out a suicide drone attack on the tanker Mercer Street.
    The prime minister added Israeli intelligence obtained proof of Iran’s involvement with the attack.    However, Tehran insisted it had nothing to do with the incident, which killed both a British and Romanian sailor.    Tehran also called the attack a “provocation.”
    Bennett added Iran’s behavior posed danger to global maritime trade.
    “I just heard that Iran, in a cowardly manner, is trying to shirk its responsibility for the incident, they are denying it.    So I determine unequivocally: Iran is the one that carried out the attack on the ship,” he asserted.    “Iran’s bully manners are dangerous not only to Israel but also harm global interests, the Freedom of Navigation and international trade.”
    Bennett went on to stress Israel would deliver a response to Iran for its actions in its own way.

8/2/2021 Ruling On East Jerusalem Flashpoint Evictions Postponed by Stephen Farrell
Protesters take part in a demonstration to show their support for Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood facing
eviction during a court hearing, outside the Israeli Supreme Court, in Jerusalem August 2, 2021. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Palestinians facing eviction from Jerusalem’s flashpoint Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood will have to wait for a ruling that will determine their fate after a discussion in Israel’s Supreme Court on Monday ended without a final decision.
    Four Palestinian families petitioned the high court to hear their appeal and eventually allow them to remain in their homes in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood where Israeli settlers claim ownership of the land.
    The judges have been trying to find a compromise that would defuse tensions over the case that helped trigger an 11-day war between militants in Gaza and Israel.
    One proposal was for the Palestinian families to recognize the Israeli ownership while they stay put as protected tenants.
    The families’ lawyer, Sami Irshaid, said that proposal was unacceptable and that they were waiting for the Supreme Court to set a date to continue the hearings in the hope it leads to the reversal of a lower court ruling to evict.
    “We still hope that the court will approve our permission to appeal and accept the appeal and cancel the eviction orders against the four families that we argued on their behalf today in court,” Ersheid told reporters outside the court in Jerusalem.
    Israel captured East Jerusalem in a 1967 war and later annexed it in a move not recognised by the United Nations.
    Sheikh Jarrah’s residents are overwhelmingly Palestinian, but Israeli settlers have moved into the area, gravitating toward a site revered by religious Jews as the tomb of an ancient high priest, Simon the Just.
    Israeli settlers say they have 19th century land documents to back their case and were backed by a lower court in October last year.
    Palestinians question the legitimacy of the documents and appealed.    As a final Supreme Court decision loomed earlier this summer their campaign gained momentum, and international attention.
    That peaked amid heightened tensions over the Israel-Hamas war in May and Palestinian protests against Israeli police raids on Damascus Gate and Al-Aqsa mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam.
    The families last week said they received a new opinion from an Israeli legal expert supporting their position that they had full property rights to their homes because the Jordanian government granted them ownership when it was in control of East Jerusalem from 1949 to 1967.
    The case has assumed wider significance because Palestinians see Sheikh Jarrah as a symbol of dispossession and Israeli settlement expansion.
    Most countries regard Israeli settlements as illegal but Israel rejects this, citing historical and religious ties to the land on which they are built.
    The Israeli government framed Sheikh Jarrah as a property dispute, deploying riot police and water cannon to clear the area during protests.
(Reporting by Stephen Farrell and Ari Rabinvitch, Editing by William Maclean)

8/4/2021 Two Rockets From Lebanon Hit Israel, Drawing Israeli Retaliation by Jeffrey Heller
Smoke rises as seen from Marjayoun, near the border with Israel, Lebanon August 4, 2021. REUTERS/Karamallah Daher
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Two rockets launched from Lebanon on Wednesday struck Israel, which responded with artillery fire amid heightened regional tensions over an alleged Iranian attack on an oil tanker in the Gulf last week.
    Israel’s Magen David Adom national ambulance service said there were no casualties on the Israeli side of the hilly frontier, where the rockets ignited a brush fire.
    There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the rocket strike, launched from an area of south Lebanon under the sway of Iranian-backed Hezbollah guerrillas.
    In a statement, Israel’s military said three rockets were fired from Lebanon, with one falling short of the Israeli border and the others striking inside Israel. Witnesses in Lebanon also reported that several rockets were fired at Israel.
    “In response, (Israeli) artillery forces attacked Lebanese territory,” the military said.    Some two hours after the initial shelling, the military said its artillery had fired again at targets, which it did not identify, along the frontier.
    The Lebanese army said Israeli retaliatory attacks, which extended to several villages in south Lebanon, had led to a fire in the town of Rashaya al-Fokh.    It was investigating to find out who had fired the rockets from Lebanon.
    The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon said its Head of Mission and Force Commander, Major General Stefano Del Col, was in contact with both parties.
    “He urged them to cease fire and to exercise maximum restraint to avoid further escalation, especially on this solemn anniversary,” the statement said, referring to the Beirut port explosion on Aug. 4 last year.
    The border has been mostly quiet since Israel fought a 2006 war against Hezbollah, which has advanced rockets.
    But small Palestinian factions in Lebanon have fired sporadically on Israel in the past, and two rockets were launched at Israel on July 20, causing no damage or injuries.    Israel responded to that incident with artillery fire.
    The latest border incidents occurred after an attack last Thursday, which Israel blamed on Iran, on a tanker off the coast of Oman.    Two crew members, a Briton and a Romanian, were killed. Iran has denied any involvement.
    Briefing a meeting of ambassadors from U.N. Security Council countries to Israel on Wednesday, Defence Minister Benny Gantz said: “It is time for diplomatic, economic and even military deeds (against Iran) – otherwise the attacks will continue.”
    On Tuesday, Britain, Romania and Liberia told the United Nations Security Council it was “highly likely” that Iran used one or more drones to strike the vessel.
    The United States and Britain said on Sunday they would work with their allies to respond to the attack.    Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Tuesday that Israel was keeping open the option of acting alone against Iran if necessary.
(Additional reporting by Beirut bureau; Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Mark Heinrich, William Maclean)

8/5/2021 Israeli Aircraft Strike Rocket Launch Sites In Lebanon, Military Says by Rami Ayyub
A view shows the damage in the aftermath of Israeli air strikes as seen from Marjayoun,
near the border with Israel, Lebanon August 5, 2021. REUTERS/Karamallah Daher
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli jets struck what its military said were rocket launch sites in Lebanon early on Thursday in response to two rockets fired towards Israel from Lebanese territory, in an escalation of cross-border hostilities amid heightened friction with Iran.
    The rockets launched from Lebanon on Wednesday struck open areas in northern Israel, causing brush fires along the hilly frontier.    There was no claim of responsibility for the attack, which came from an area of south Lebanon under the sway of Iranian-backed Hezbollah guerrillas.
    Israel responded with several rounds of artillery fire on Wednesday before launching air strikes early on Thursday, the military said.
    “(Military) fighter jets struck the launch sites and infrastructure used for terror in Lebanon from which the rockets were launched,” the military said in a statement, adding that it also struck an area that had seen rocket launches in the past.
    While Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV has reported on the Israeli action, the group itself was yet to issue any statement.
    Shortly after the strikes, al-Manar TV said that Israeli warplanes had carried out two raids on the outskirts of the Lebanese town of Mahmudiya, about 12 km (7.5 miles) from the Israeli border.    There were no reports of casualties.
    Lebanese President Michel Aoun said Israel’s air strikes were the first targeting Lebanese villages since 2006 and showed an escalation in its “aggressive intent.”
    Aoun also said in a tweet the strikes were a direct threat to the security and stability of southern Lebanon and violated U.N. Security Council resolutions.
    Speaking to Israel’s YNet TV, Defence Minister Benny Gantz said: “This was an attack meant to send a message … Clearly we could do much more, and we hope we won’t arrive at that.”
    Gantz said he believed a Palestinian faction had launched the rockets.    Small Palestinian factions in Lebanon have fired sporadically on Israel in the past.
    The border has been mostly quiet since Israel fought a 2006 war against Hezbollah, which has advanced rockets.    Israeli aircraft struck Hezbollah posts in the border area last summer.    Israel says its aircraft last struck inside Lebanon in 2014, though al-Manar TV reported https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-mideast-crisis-lebanon-blast-idAFKBN0P109L20150621 one such strike in 2015.
    This week’s cross-border fire came after a suspected drone attack last Thursday on a tanker off the coast of Oman that Israel, the United States and Britain blamed on Iran.    Two crew members, a Briton and a Romanian, were killed. Iran has denied any involvement.
    The United States and Britain said on Sunday they would work with their allies to respond to the attack.    Israel says it is keeping the option open of acting alone if necessary.
(Additional reporting by Dan Williams and Ari Rabinovitch in Jerusalem, Alaa Swilam and Ahmed Tolba in Cairo and Suleiman al-Khalidi in Amman; Editing by Nick Macfie, Alexandra Hudson, Andrew Cawthorne)

8/8/2021 Hezbollah: We Responded To Airstrikes From Israel by OAN Newsroom
This picture taken on August 6, 2021 shows a view of Israeli bombardment near the southern Lebanese village
of Kfar Shouba following an exchange of rockets from the Lebanese side. (MAHMOUD ZAYYAT/AFP via Getty Images)
    Iran-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah vowed to respond to Israeli airstrikes on open land.    In comments made on Saturday, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said the group would continue to retaliate to future attacks.
    This comes after Hezbollah fired rockets at Israel on Friday, claiming it was in response to airstrikes fired upon them on Thursday.    “Our response yesterday is related to the direct Israeli airstrikes that targeted Lebanon for the first time since 15 years, and our response had specific execution and target,” said Nasrallah.
Israeli self-propelled howitzers fire towards Lebanon from a position near the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona
following rocket fire from the Lebanese side of the border, on August 6, 2021. (JALAA MAREY/AFP via Getty Images)
    The group and Israeli forces exchanged rocket attacks over three days beginning on Wednesday, in which no one claimed responsibility.    Nasrallah warned Hezbollah will escalate tensions should Israel continue launching airstrikes against it.    He added they always used to say they weren’t looking for war, but said they are ready for one.

8/9/2021 Israeli Prime Minister Calls On Lebanon To Take Responsibility For Rocket Fire Coming From Inside The Country by OAN Newsroom
Fields burn following a hit by a rocket fired from Lebanon into Israeli territory,
near the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
    Tensions in the Middle East have been on the rise as Hezbollah launched a fresh round of rockets at Israel from Lebanon.    Over the weekend, rocket fire between the terrorist group and Israel reached its worst point since 2006.
    Israel has not retaliated against Lebanon since then, but resumed on Thursday after an attack the day before. Hezbollah has taken responsibility for the original attack and escalation.
    However, the Israeli government is not only blaming the terrorist group for the attacks.    Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said he believed Lebanon should take responsibility as well.
    “The country of Lebanon and the army of Lebanon have to take responsibility on what happens in its backyard,” he stated. “Also here, it is less important to us if it’s a Palestinian organization that fired or independent rebels.    The State of Israel won’t accept shooting on its land.”
    Meanwhile, the United Nations says neither side should be firing as it hurts Lebanon.    Hezbollah blames Israel solely for retaliating against their air strikes instead of letting it go like they have on previous occasions.

8/11/2021 Israel’s Top Diplomat Makes First Visit To Morocco Since Upgrade In Ties by Rami Ayyub
FILE PHOTO: Israeli alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid speaks during a news
conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, June 30, 2021. REUTERS/Christopher Pike/File Photo
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid departed for Morocco on Wednesday in what will be the first visit by Israel’s top diplomat since the two countries upgraded ties last year.
    Israel and Morocco agreed in December to resume diplomatic relations and re-launch direct flights under a deal brokered by former U.S. President Donald Trump in which Washington also recognised Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara.
    Leading a ministerial delegation, Lapid will inaugurate Israel’s diplomatic mission in Rabat, visit Casablanca’s historic Temple Beth-El and hold talks with his Moroccan counterpart, Nasser Bourita, Lapid’s office said.
    “This historic visit is a continuation of the long-standing friendship and deep roots and traditions that the Jewish community in Morocco, and the large community of Israelis with origins in Morocco, have,” Lapid said ahead of the two-day visit.
    Morocco was one of four Arab countries – along with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan – to move towards normalising ties with Israel last year under U.S.-brokered deals.
    Those accords angered Palestinians who have long relied on Arab support in their quest for statehood in Israeli-occupied territory.
    U.S. President Joe Biden has said he wants to build on Israel’s new relations, which Lapid has prioritised since taking office in June as part of a cross-partisan coalition that replaced longtime Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
    Just five weeks ago, Lapid made a landmark first visit by an Israeli foreign minister to the UAE, where he touted Israel’s ties with the Gulf Arab state and highlighted concerns over their mutual foe Iran.
    Two Israeli carriers launched nonstop commercial flights to Marrakesh from Tel Aviv last month, but hopes for a broader tourism bonanza have been delayed by a spike of COVID-19 cases in both countries.
    Morocco was home to one of the largest Jewish communities in the region until Israel’s founding in 1948.    As Jews fled or were expelled from many Arab countries, an estimated quarter of a million left Morocco for Israel from 1948 to 1964.
    Today only about 3,000 Jews remain in Morocco, while hundreds of thousands of Israelis claim some Moroccan ancestry.
(Reporting by Rami Ayyub; Additional reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi in Rabat; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

8/12/2021 Israel, Morocco To Upgrade Relations, Open Embassies, Israeli FM Says by Ahmed Eljechtimi
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid inaugurates Israel's diplomatic mission, in the presence of Minister Delegate to the Moroccan
Foreign Ministry Mohcine Jazouli, in Rabat, Morocco August 12, 2021. Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Handout via REUTERS
    RABAT (Reuters) -Israel and Morocco plan to upgrade their restored diplomatic relations and open embassies within two months, Israel’s foreign minister said during a visit to the North African kingdom on Thursday.
    Morocco was one of four Arab countries – along with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan – to move towards normalising relations with Israel last year under U.S.-engineered accords.
    Those agreements also saw Washington recognise Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara, in a diplomatic boon for Rabat.
    “We are going to upgrade from liaison offices to embassies,” Yair Lapid told a news conference, saying he had agreed on the move, to be implemented in two months’ time, with his Moroccan counterpart, Nasser Bourita.
    Earlier on Thursday, Lapid inaugurated Israel’s liaison office in Rabat and visited a synagogue in Casablanca.
    Lapid’s visit was the first by an Israeli foreign minister to Morocco since 2003, after the two countries agreed in December to resume diplomatic relations.
    Morocco cooled mid-level relations with Israel in 2000 in solidarity with the Palestinians, who launched an uprising that year.
    The deals between Israel and the four Arab states angered Palestinians, who have long relied on Arab support in their quest for statehood in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza.    Until last year, only two Arab states – Egypt and Jordan – had forged full ties with Israel.
    Abdelaziz Aftati, a senior leader of the co-ruling Islamist PJD party in Morocco, condemned the move to open embassies, saying: “We will spare no effort to counter the Zionist project.”
    At the news conference, Lapid repeated his view that the time was not ripe for any major breakthrough in peace efforts with the Palestinians, which collapsed in 2014.
    He cited internal Palestinian divisions and the structure of the current Israeli government, an alliance of left-wing, Arab, centrist and right-wing parties in which consensus on peacemaking would be difficult.
(Writing and additional reporting by Jeffrey Heller in JerusalemEditing by Gareth Jones and Sonya Hepinstall)

8/16/2021 Israeli Forces Kill 4 Palestinians In West Bank Clash - Palestinian Official
People react at a morgue after Israeli forces killed four Palestinians during clashes, according to the
health ministry, in Jenin, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank August 16, 2021. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman
    RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) – Israeli forces on a raid in the occupied West Bank exchanged fire on Monday with Palestinian gunmen, Israeli police said, while a Palestinian local official said at least four Palestinians were killed.     The incident occurred in the city of Jenin, where, Israeli police said in a statement, special forces disguised as Palestinians came under heavy fire from “a large number” of attackers while on a mission to detain a militant.     “The undercover forces returned fire towards the terrorists and neutralised them,” the police said.
    On Voice of Palestine radio, Jenin’s governor said at least four Palestinians were killed.    Israeli police said there were no Israeli casualties.
    Israel captured the West Bank in a 1967 Middle East war, and Palestinians seek the territory as well as the Gaza Strip for a future state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
    The Palestinian Authority, set up under interim peace accords with Israel in the 1990s, exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank, but Israeli forces are dominant in the area, where they often carry out raids to detain suspected militants.
(Reporting by Ali Sawafta and Jeffrey Heller; Writing by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

8/18/2021 Biden And Israeli PM Set To Discuss Iran Strategy At Meeting Next Week by Trevor Hunnicutt and Maayan Lubell
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett makes a media statement for the COVID-19 pandemic status,
at the Prime minister's office in Jerusalem, August 18, 2021. Abir Sultan/Pool via REUTERS
    WASHINGTON/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Stalled nuclear talks with Iran will be at the top of the agenda when U.S. President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett meet next week.
    “The President and Prime Minister Bennett will discuss critical issues related to regional and global security, including Iran,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki in a statement announcing the leaders’ first in-person meeting at the White House on Aug. 26.
    Talks between Tehran and six world powers to revive the nuclear pact ditched three years ago by Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump have stalled https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/iran-accelerates-enrichment-uranium-near-weapons-grade-iaea-says-2021-08-17 since they began in April.
    The Israeli leader, a nationalist atop a cross-partisan coalition who took office in June, opposes the deal being revived.    It views a nuclear-armed Iran as an existential threat.
    Tehran denies seeking the bomb, though a U.N. atomic watchdog report on Tuesday seen by Reuters showed the country accelerating its enrichment of uranium to near weapons-grade.
    Regional tensions rose over a July 29 attack https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/ukmto-says-received-reports-vessel-attacked-off-oman-coast-2021-07-30 on an Israeli-managed tanker off the coast of Oman that Israel, the United States and Britain blamed on Tehran.    Iran denied any involvement in the suspected drone strike in which two crew members were killed.
    Conflict has also flared https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/rocket-sirens-sound-northern-israel-golan-heights-israeli-miltary-says-2021-08-06 between Israel and Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah movement.
    The White House meeting will come less than three weeks after U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns held talks https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/cia-director-burns-holds-talks-israel-with-focus-iran-2021-08-11 in Israel with Bennett on Iran.
    Bennett said at a news conference that the meeting “will focus on Iran” but the White House also touted “an opportunity for the two leaders to discuss efforts to advance peace, security, and prosperity for Israelis and Palestinians.”
    The Israeli leader said he planned to come to the meeting “very focused with a policy of partnership that aims to curb Iran’s destabilizing, negative regional activity, its human rights abuses, terrorism and preventing its nearing nuclear breakout.”
(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt in Washington and Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem; Editing by David Holmes and Marguerita Choy)
[BIDEN AND HIS PEOPLE ARE PRESENTLY STRIKING OUT ON THEIR POLICIES AND TO HAVE THEM WORK AROUND IRANIAN ISSUES COULD BECOME ANOTHER CRISIS OF THE CENTURY WAKE UP ISRAELI'S NEW GOVERNMENT AS PROPEHCY CLAIMS YOU HAVE AN ENTITY REFERED TO HE OF YOUR OWN TO STEP UP TO BE KNOWN SOON WHO WILL SEND YOU CLOSER TO THE DAY OF DANIEL 9:27.].

8/19/2021 Israel Approves Qatari Aid To Gaza After May Conflict, Defence Minister Says by Rami Ayyub
FILE PHOTO: Benny Gantz, leader of Blue and White party, speaks during an election
campaign rally in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv, Israel, February 25, 2020. REUTERS/Corinna Kern
    TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Israel said on Thursday it agreed with Qatar and the United Nations on a mechanism to transfer aid from the Gulf State to Gaza, boosting prospects for relief in the Palestinian enclave after it was devastated in an Israel-Hamas conflict.
    Aid disbursement after the May fighting has been held up in part by a dispute over Israelis long held by Hamas and debate over how to prevent the Islamist group from accessing such funds.
    Hamas – deemed a terrorist group by the West – has pledged not to touch the donor money, which has emerged as a key issue in Egypt-mediated talks following a May 21 truce that mostly halted cross-border hostilities.
    Announcing a deal on Thursday, Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said he had been in touch with Qatar “to establish a mechanism that ensures the money reaches those in need, while maintaining Israel’s security needs.”
    Under the new mechanism, aid from Qatar “will be transferred to hundreds of thousands of Gazan people by the U.N. directly to their bank accounts, with Israel overseeing the recipients,” Gantz said in a statement.
    Gantz added that Israel will continue its “pressure campaign for the return of the Israeli soldiers and citizens that are being held hostage by Hamas.”
    There was no immediate comment from Hamas, which has not detailed the conditions of the four Israelis: two soldiers missing in action in a 2014 Gaza war, and two civilians who slipped separately into the enclave.
    Qatar’s Gaza Strip Reconstruction Committee said it signed a memorandum of understanding with the U.N. to distribute $100 to each of about 100,000 families starting in September.
    Over 4,000 Gaza homes were destroyed or damaged during the May fighting, with losses estimated by the World Bank at up to $380 million.    Egypt and Qatar have each pledged $500 million for Gaza reconstruction.
    At least 250 Palestinians and 13 in Israel were killed in the May fighting, in which Gaza militants fired rockets towards Israeli cities and srael carried out air strikes across the coastal enclave.
(Reporting by Rami Ayyub; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

8/25/2021 Biden To Tell Israel PM He Shares Alarm Over Iran But Sticking To Nuclear Diplomacy by Matt Spetalnick and Jarrett Renshaw
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett gestures as he speaks during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State
Antony Blinken at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., U.S. August 25, 2021. Olivier Douliery/Pool via REUTERS
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden will tell Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the White House on Thursday that Washington shares Israel’s concern that Iran has accelerated its nuclear program but remains committed for now to diplomacy with Tehran.
    Briefing reporters on their first face-to-face talks, a senior U.S. official said: “Since the last administration left the Iran nuclear deal, Iran’s nuclear program has just dramatically broken out of the box, and it’s accelerating from week to week.”
    Iran has more advanced centrifuges and uranium stockpiles as well as technology so that nuclear “breakout” – the capability to produce a bomb – “is now down to just a few months,” the official said and added the two leaders would discuss “what to do about it.”
    The administration was increasingly alarmed by Iran’s nuclear activities, the official said, but signaled that Biden was sure to reject any entreaties from Bennett to halt efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear accord.
    “We, of course, committed to a diplomatic path,” the official said amid stalled negotiations with Iran, where a new hardline president has taken power.    “We think that is the best way to put a ceiling on the program and roll back the gains that Iran has made over recent years on the nuclear side.”
    “If that doesn’t work, there are other avenues to pursue,” the official added, without elaborating.
    Despite differences, U.S. and Israeli officials alike have expressed hope the White House meeting will set a positive tone between Biden, who took office in January, and Bennett, a far-right politician who ended Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year run as prime minister in June.
    This would stand in sharp contrast to years of tensions between Netanyahu, who was close to Republican President Donald Trump, and the last Democratic administration led by Barack Obama with Biden as vice president.
    The Biden administration puts much of the onus for tensions with Iran as well as its nuclear advances on Trump’s decision to scrap involvement in the nuclear deal negotiated under Obama.
    Bennett’s visit gives Washington an opportunity to demonstrate business as usual with its closest Middle East ally while it contends with the chaotic situation in Afghanistan, Biden’s biggest foreign policy crisis since taking office.
    Iran will top the agenda, with Bennett – who arrived in Washington on Tuesday – expected to push for a hardened U.S. approach to Israel’s regional arch-enemy.
    In a report seen last week by Reuters, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran had accelerated uranium enrichment to near weapons-grade.    Iran has consistently denied seeking a nuclear bomb.
PALESTINIANS AND NORMALIZATION DEALS ON AGENDA
    Bennett has been less openly combative but just as adamant as Netanyahu was in pledging not to allow Iran, which Israel views as an existential threat, to build a nuclear weapon.
    Israel is reported to have some 200 atomic warheads but it neither confirms nor denies having nuclear weapons under a strategy of “nuclear ambiguity” billed as warding off enemies while avoiding public provocations that can trigger arms races.
    Biden and Bennett will also discuss the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian dispute. The U.S. president has again made a two-state solution a     central part of Washington’s policy, but Bennett, a right-winger who heads an ideologically diverse coalition, opposes Palestinian statehood.
    The Biden administration sees little chance of a near-term resumption of peace talks, which collapsed in 2014, “but there are a number of steps that can be taken to kind of dampen the risks of further sparks of conflict,” the official said.
    The Biden administration has already emphasized it opposes further expansion of Jewish settlements on occupied land.
    Biden will also discuss with Bennett behind-the-scenes efforts to get more Arab countries to normalize relations with Israel, the official said.    This would follow in the footsteps of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco, which reached accords with Israel brokered by the Trump administration.
    “There’s an awful lot of work going on to expand those arrangements to other countries,” the official said.
(Reporting by Matt Spetalnick and Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Howard Goller)
[SO AFTER JOE BIDEN'S SCREW UP IN THE PULLOUT OF AFGHANISTAN I WONDER IF HE WOULD BECOME THE HE IN THE PEACE AGREEMENT BUT IT IS NOT LIKELY BECAUSE THAT ENTITY WOULD BE AN INDIVIDUAL WITH SOME WORLD PROMINENCE AND NOT A FUMBLING, CANT REMEMBER EVERYTHING PERSON TO PULL THAT OFF AND HIS ADMINISTRATION CONTROLLED BY THE GLOBALIST SOCIALIST ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT WHICH WOUD ATTEMPT IT THOUGH SO STAY TUNED.].

8/26/2021 Biden, Israeli PM Seek To Reset Relations, Narrow Differences On Iran by Matt Spetalnick
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the situation in Afghanistan, in the
Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., August 24, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Thursday will seek to reset the tone of U.S.-Israeli relations in their first White House meeting and find common ground on Iran despite differences on how to deal with its nuclear program.
    In talks overshadowed by the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, the two leaders will try to turn the page on years of tensions between Bennett’s predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, who was close to former President Donald Trump, and the last Democratic administration led by Barack Obama with Biden as his vice president.
    In what’s been planned as a low-key meeting, Bennett wants to move on from Netanyahu’s combative public style and instead manage disagreements constructively behind closed doors between Washington and its closest Middle East ally.
    The visit gives Biden an opportunity to demonstrate business as usual with a key partner while contending with the complex situation in Afghanistan.    Biden’s biggest foreign policy crisis since taking office has not only hurt his approval ratings at home but raised questions about his credibility among both friends and foes.
    Topping the agenda is Iran, one of the thorniest issues between the Biden administration and Israel.
    Bennett, a far-right politician who ended Netanyahu’s 12-year run as prime minister in June, is expected to press Biden to harden his approach to Iran and halt negotiations aimed at reviving the international nuclear deal that Trump abandoned.
    Biden will tell Bennett that he shares Israel’s concern that Iran has expanded its nuclear program but remains committed for now to diplomacy with Tehran, a senior administration official said. U.S.-Iran negotiations have stalled as Washington awaits the next move by Iran’s new hardline president.
    Briefing reporters ahead of the meeting, the official said: “Since the last administration left the Iran nuclear deal, Iran’s nuclear program has just dramatically broken out of the box.”
    The official said that if the diplomatic path with Iran fails, “there are other avenues to pursue,” but did not elaborate.
    Bennett has been less openly combative but just as adamant as Netanyahu was in pledging to do whatever is necessary to prevent Iran, which Israel views as an existential threat, from building a nuclear weapon.    Iran consistently denies it is seeking a bomb.
    The two leaders are expected to speak briefly to a small pool of reporters during their Oval Office meeting but there will not be a joint news conference, limiting the potential for public disagreement.
AT ODDS ON PALESTINIAN ISSUES
    On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Biden and Bennett are also divided. Biden has renewed backing for a two-state solution after Trump distanced himself from that long-standing tenet of U.S. policy.    Bennett opposes Palestinian statehood.
    The consensus among Biden’s aides is that now is not the time to push for a resumption of long-dormant peace talks or major Israeli concessions, which could destabilize Bennett’s ideologically diverse coalition.
    But Biden’s aides have not ruled out asking Bennett for modest gestures to help avoid a recurrence of the fierce Israel-Hamas fighting in the Gaza Strip that caught the new U.S. administration flat-footed earlier this year.
    Among the issues that could be raised in Thursday’s talks is the Biden administration’s goal of re-establishing a consulate in Jerusalem that served the Palestinians and which Trump closed. Biden’s aides have moved cautiously on the issue.
    The administration has also emphasized that it opposes further expansion of Jewish settlements on occupied land.    Bennett, 49, the son of American immigrants to Israel, has been a vocal proponent of settlement building.
    Biden’s advisers are also mindful that Israeli officials may be concerned about the apparent failure of U.S. intelligence to predict the swift fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban.
    Biden intends to reassure Bennett that the end of the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan does not reflect a “de-prioritizing” of the U.S. commitment to Israel and other Middle East allies, the senior U.S. official said.
    Biden will also discuss with Bennett behind-the-scenes efforts to get more Arab countries to normalize relations with Israel, the senior U.S. official said. This would follow in the footsteps of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco, which reached accords with Israel brokered by the Trump administration.
    On Wednesday, Bennett met U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. He was expected to discuss, among other issues, the replenishing of the Iron Dome missile defense system that Israel relies on to fend off rocket attacks from Gaza.
(Reporting By Matt Spetalnick; editing by Grant McCool)
[AFTER BIDEN'S POOR EXCUSE OF SCREWING UP THE AFGHANISTAN PULLOUT WITH THE GLOBALIST SOCIALIST ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT BEHIND HIM I WOULD ADVISE ISRAELI PM BENNETT TO BE WELL AWARE OF WHAT HE MIGHT DO WITH THE MIDDLE EAST ABRAHAM ACCORD AND FUTURE AND I AM MORE TO BELIEVE THAT WHAT HE DID WAS INTENDED TO BRING THE PROPHECIES CLOSER.].

8/26/2021 Israeli Radio Says Bennett’s Meeting With Biden Delayed Over Afghan Situation
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State
Antony Blinken at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., U.S. August 25, 2021. Olivier Douliery/Pool via REUTERS
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House, Israel’s Army Radio reported. House on Thursday has been delayed due to the situation in Afghanistan (Writing by Dan Williams)

8/29/2021 Israel PM: Achieved All Goals And More At Biden Meeting by OAN Newsroom
WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 27: Joe Biden meets with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in the Oval Office
at the White House on August 27, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Sarahbeth Maney-Pool/Getty Images)
    Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett highlighted the success of his recent talks with Joe Biden in Washington. Talking to reporters at the Washington airport on Sunday, Bennett said he’s achieved and surpassed all goals that had been set for his meeting with Biden.
    The Prime Minister highlighted progress in U.S.-Israeli discussions of Iran’s nuclear program and U.S. visa waivers for Israeli citizens.    The two met at the White House on Friday after a short delay due to a deadly terror attack on U.S. troops in Kabul.
    Bennett also said Biden agreed to increase U.S. contributions to Israeli security.
    “Biden and I formed a direct and personal connection, a connection based on trust,” said Bennett.    “We achieved all the objectives for the trip and even beyond that.    We agreed with the Americans on a joint strategic effort to halt the Iranian nuclear race.    We have taken a significant step in equipping and building Israeli power.”
    The Prime Minister stressed Israel will continue anti-terror operations in the Gaza Strip despite a mild pushback by Biden’s State Department.

8/30/2021 Israel Says It Will Loan Palestinians Money After Highest-Level Talks In Years by Jeffrey Heller
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett chairs the weekly cabinet meeting
in Jerusalem July 19, 2021. Gil Cohen-Magen/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel will lend the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority more than $150 million after the sides held their highest-level meeting in years, Israeli officials said on Monday, while playing down prospects of any major diplomatic breakthrough.
    Defence Minister Benny Gantz, who has overall responsibility for the Israeli-occupied West Bank, travelled to the Palestinian self-rule area of the territory for previously undisclosed talks on Sunday with President Mahmoud Abbas.
    A source close to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the premier had approved the Gantz-Abbas meeting and deemed it a “routine” matter.    “There is no diplomatic process with the Palestinians, nor will there be one,” the source told Reuters.
    U.S.-sponsored talks on founding a Palestinian state stalled in 2014. The Gantz-Abbas meeting took place as Bennett, a nationalist who opposes Palestinian statehood, returned from his first talks with U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington.
    PA official Hussein Al Sheikh said the talks with Gantz included “all aspects” of Palestinian-Israeli relations.
    Abbas coordinates West Bank security with Israel.    Both sides are wary of Hamas Islamists who seized the Gaza Strip, another Palestinian territory, from Abbas in 2007.
    But Israel chafes at stipends the PA pays to militants jailed or killed in attacks on Israelis.    In a protest measure, the Bennett government last month withheld $180 million from 2020 tax revenues it collected on behalf of the PA.    A Gantz spokeswoman said that policy was unchanged.
    The 500 million shekel ($155 million) loan was meant to help “with vital PA functions” and would be repaid in 2022 out of future tax revenues collected by Israel, the spokeswoman said.
    A White House statement said Biden, during his talks with Bennett on Friday, reiterated his support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and “underscored the importance of steps to improve the lives of Palestinians.”
    Bennett did not mention Palestinians in public remarks at the White House that focused largely on arch-enemy Iran’s nuclear programme.
    Gantz, a centrist in Bennett’s coalition government, has called in the past for resumption of a peace process with the Palestinians, who aspire to a state of their own in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.    Israel captured those territories in the 1967 Middle East war.
    But any renewed movement on the issue could shake the foundations of Bennett’s government of left-wing, rightist, centrist and Arab parties that in June ended the conservative Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year run as prime minister.
    In a sign of friction within the coalition, Mossi Raz, a legislator from the left-wing Meretz party, said dismissal of prospects for renewed peace talks by the Bennett source was “outrageous
    “A peace process is an Israeli interest,” Raz wrote on Twitter
.
(Additional reporting by Dan Williams and Ali Sawafta; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Howard Goller)

9/1/2021 Israel Opposes Biden Plan To Reopen U.S. Palestinian Mission In Jerusalem by Dan Williams
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid speaks during a news conference as he meets with
Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita in Rabat, Morocco August 11, 2021. REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel said on Wednesday that a U.S. plan to reopen its consulate in Jerusalem that has traditionally been a base for diplomatic outreach to Palestinians is a “bad idea” and could destabilise Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s new government.
    The prior administration of President Donald Trump signalled support for Israel’s claim on Jerusalem as its capital by moving the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv. It later subsumed the consulate, in west Jerusalem, in that mission.
    It was among several moves that incensed the Palestinians, who want East Jerusalem as capital of a hoped-for, future state.
    President Joe Biden has pledged to restore ties with the Palestinians, back a two-state solution and move forward with reopening the consulate.    It has been closed since 2019, with Palestinian affairs handled by the embassy.
    “We think it’s a bad idea,” Foreign Minister Yair Lapid told a news conference when asked about the reopening.    “Jerusalem is the sovereign capital of Israel and Israel alone, and therefore we don’t think it’s a good idea."
    “We know that the (Biden) administration has a different way of looking at this, but since it is happening in Israel, we are sure they are listening to us very carefully.”
    Wasel Abu Youssef, a senior Palestine Liberation Organization official, told Reuters that the Israeli rejection of the consulate’s opening was expected, adding: “They are trying to maintain the status quo and block any political solution.”
    Asked about Lapid’s remarks, a U.S. Embassy spokesperson said: “As Secretary Blinken announced in May, the United States will be moving forward with the process to reopen our consulate in Jerusalem.    We do not have additional information to share at this time.”
    The spokesperson said the United States was not reversing its decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem nor its recognition of the city as Israel’s capital.
    Israel captured the city’s east, along with the occupied West Bank and Gaza, in the 1967 Middle East war.
    It deems all of Jerusalem as its undivided capital – a status not recognised internationally.    In recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017, Trump said he was not taking a position on “any final-status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem.”
    Bennett, a nationalist atop a cross-partisan coalition, opposes Palestinian statehood. Reopening the consulate could unsettle Bennett’s government, which ended long-term premier Benjamin Netanyahu’s tenure in June, Lapid said.
    “We have an interesting and yet delicate structure of our government and we think this might destabilise this government and I don’t think the American administration wants this to happen,” he said.
    Divisions among Palestinians also cast doubt about the prospects for diplomacy, Lapid said.    “I am a devoted believer in the two-state solution … but we’ll have to admit the fact this is not feasible in the current situation.”
(Writing by Rami Ayyub;Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Jonathan Oatis)
[IF I WAS ISRAEL I WOULD AVOID ANYTHING BIDEN IS PUSHING ON TO YOU AND ONLY LOOK AT WHAT HE DID TO AFGHANISTAN WHERE HE GAVE THE TALIBAND JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING THEY COULD WANT TO DESTROY THE U.S. AND HE WAS STUPID ENOUGH TO SAY THAT WAS A GOOD MISSION.].

9/2/2021 Israel Hesitant To Approve Reopening Of U.S. Consulate In Jerusalem, Citing Threat To Regional Stability by OAN Newsroom
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid meets with Secretary of State Antony Blinken
in Rome, Sunday, June 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)
    Israel has shown concern over possible U.S. plans to reopen its consulate in Jerusalem and warned it could destabilize their government should it proceed. During a news conference Wednesday, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid condemned the potential move.
    ”We think it’s a bad idea and we’ve told America that we think it’s a bad idea because for two reasons,” he stated.    One is, I mean the consulate was there for 130 years.    I know the history, but once it was closed reopening it will send the wrong message.    We feel that it will send the wrong message not only to the region, not only to the Palestinians, but also to other countries and we don’t want this to happen.”
    Back in May, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken had mentioned the U.S. plan to reopen the consulate in Jerusalem in hopes of normalizing U.S.-Palestinian ties.    However, the move would require Israeli approval.
    The announcement came after discussing the matter with now former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, though Netanyahu had reportedly said he preferred the consulate remained part of the U.S. Embassy.
    The conflict arises as Israelis and Palestinians both see Jerusalem as their capital.    The Trump administration had supported Israel’s claim to Jerusalem and had moved the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv while breaking from decades of U.S. policy.
    “I’ve judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America, and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians,” President Donald Trump stated at the time of the decision.
    The Biden administration has not yet set a date for the potential reopening of the consulate.

9/6/2021 Six Palestinian Militants Escape From High-Security Israeli Prison by Jeffrey Heller
FILE PHOTO: Palestinian commander of the militant Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades Zakaria Zubeid is carried on the
shoulders of supporters in Jenin, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank December 30, 2004. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Six Palestinian militants broke out of a maximum security Israeli prison on Monday in a Hollywood-style escape that left their jailors peering through a hole in the floor of a cell, and had Palestinians celebrating in the streets.
    Israeli security forces mounted a search in northern Israel after farmers tipped off police about suspicious figures seen in their fields in the early morning hours.    Police then alerted officials at Gilboa prison, who discovered that the men had gone.
    Hours after the escape, prison officials transferred some other inmates – Palestinians convicted or suspected of anti-Israeli activities including deadly attacks – to other jails, fearing similar tunnels had been dug.
    Five of the fugitives belong to the Islamic Jihad movement and one is a former commander of an armed group affiliated with the mainstream Fatah party, the Prisons Service said.
    Four were serving life sentences after their conviction on charges of planning or carrying out attacks that killed Israelis.    Another man was held under a special detention order, and the sixth fugitive was awaiting a verdict in his trial.
    Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office said he had spoken with Israel’s internal security minister and “emphasised that this is a grave incident that requires an across-the-board effort by the security forces” to find the escapees.
    A police spokesman said security forces believed the fugitives might try to reach the West Bank, where the Palestinian Authority exercises limited self-rule, or the Jordanian border some 14 km (9 miles) to the east.
    In Gaza, Islamic Jihad supporters handed out candy on the street to motorists and passersby in celebration.
    “Today, Islamic Jihad heroes achieved a new victory in the Gilboa prison. This victory smashed the image of the occupier,” said Islamic Jihad official Khamees El-Haitham in Gaza.
    A video released by the Israeli Prisons Service showed authorities inspecting the opening that the prisoners had dug adjacent to the cell’s toilet.
    On social media, Palestinians and Israelis alike swiftly posted photos of a similar scene from the 1994 prison escape movie The Shawshank Redemption.
    Arik Yaacov, the Prison Service’s northern commander, said that after escaping through the hole, the inmates used passages formed by the jail’s construction to make their getaway.
    The facility, about 4 km (2 miles) from the boundary with the occupied West Bank, is one of the highest-security jails in Israel.
    One of the escapees was identified by the Prisons Service as Zakaria Zubeidi, a former commander of Fatah’s Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in the West Bank city of Jenin who once received Israeli amnesty.    He was rearrested by Israel in 2019 after his alleged involvement in new shooting attacks.
    His trial is ongoing.
(Additional reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Hugh Lawson)
[IT LOOKS LIKE THE NEW ADMINISTRATION IN ISRAEL IS NOT ENSURING SAFETY OF ITS CITIZENS BY VETTING WHO IS WORKING OR IN CONTROL OF SOME FACTIONS OF THE ADMINISTRATION OR HAVE THE SAME PROBLEM AS THE USA HAS IN STATES CONTROLLED BY DEMOCRATS OR HAVE BEEN INFILTRATED BY ANTI-ISRAEL ENTITIES.].

9/8/2021 Palestinians Protest In Support Of Escaped Prisoners
Demonstrators take part in a protest in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails,
in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank September 8, 2021. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman
    RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) – A few hundred Palestinians held protests in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday in support of six militants who broke out of a maximum security Israeli jail this week in an escape that has boosted Palestinian spirits and alarmed Israelis.
    Israeli forces have mounted a search in an effort to capture the six Palestinian men who on Monday had escaped through a hole in the floor of a prison cell.    The inmates, five of whom are members of the Islamic Jihad militant group and one of the Fatah group, have either been convicted or are suspected of planning or carrying out deadly attacks against Israelis.
    Around 500 Palestinians gathered at nightfall in the cities of Ramallah, Bethlehem, Hebron and other West Bank locations, some chanting “freedom” and waving Palestinian flags.
    “We came out in solidarity with our prisoners in the occupier’s jails,” said Jihad Abu Adi, 25, as protesters nearby set tyres ablaze.    “It’s the least we could do for our heroic prisoners.”
    The Israeli Prison Service said that in at least two jails, a few Palestinian prisoners had set fire to their cells.
Details of Monday’s prison break investigation are under an Israeli court-issued gag order.
    Palestinians regard brethren jailed by Israel as heroes in a struggle for statehood.    Israel says Palestinians involved in violent anti-Israeli activities are terrorists and is concerned Monday’s escape could ignite clashes in the West Bank and Gaza.
    Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett held consultations with defence and security chiefs on Wednesday, his spokesman said in a statement.    “The events have the potential to impact numerous fronts,” the statement said. “Israel is prepared for any scenario.”
(Reporting by Zainah el-Haroun and Ali Sawafta; Writing by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

9/11/2021 Israel Catches Two More Escaped Palestinian Militants, Police Say by Rami Ayyub
Palestinian demonstrators clash with Israeli forces during a protest in solidarity with prisoners following the escape of six Palestinian
militants from an Israeli prison, in Beita, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, September 10, 2021. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman
    NAZARETH, Israel (Reuters) - Israeli forces on Saturday captured two more of the six Palestinian militants who made a dramatic escape from a maximum security Israeli jail this week, a police spokesperson said.
    The two men were found hiding in a truck parking lot in an Arab village in northern Israel, near the city of Nazareth, where two other escapees were captured hours earlier.
    Their Hollywood-style prison break on Monday, through a hole in their prison cell floor, delighted Palestinians and embarrassed Israel.
    Footage distributed by Israel Police showed officers leading the two men, blindfold and handcuffed, into a police vehicle as a manhunt for two more inmates that are still at large continued.
    The six men have either been convicted or are suspected of planning or carrying out deadly attacks against Israelis.    Israeli officials have pledged a thorough investigation into apparent security lapses that allowed their escape.
    One of the men captured on Saturday morning was Zakaria Zubeidi, a high-profile former commander of Fatah’s Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades armed group in the West Bank city of Jenin.
    Zubeidi, who once received Israeli amnesty, was rearrested by Israel in 2019 after his alleged involvement in further shootings.
    The other five prisoners are members of the Islamic Jihad militant group.
    Across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, Palestinians have protested in support of the men, seeing them as heroes in their struggle for statehood in territory Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.
    Israel says Palestinians involved in violent anti-Israeli activities are terrorists.
    Palestinian factions said there would be repercussions for the men’s capture.    Gaza militants fired a rocket towards Israel on Friday following the first two rearrests, drawing Israeli air strikes https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/rocket-sirens-blare-near-israels-border-with-gaza-2021-09-10 in the enclave.
    The captures could ignite further clashes.
(Reporting by Rami Ayyub in Nazareth; Additional reporting by Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and William Mallard)

9/12//2021 Israel Strikes Gaza In Retaliation For Rocket Fire, Military Says
Streaks of light are seen as Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts a rocket launched from
the Gaza Strip towards Israel, as seen from Ashkelon, Israel September 11, 2021. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel carried out air strikes in the Gaza Strip on Sunday in response to Palestinian rocket fire into its territory, the Israeli military said.
    Tension between Israel and the Palestinians has risen over the past week, after six Palestinian militants escaped from a maximum security Israeli jail on Monday.    Israeli forces have since captured four of the inmates.
    Drawing Israeli air strikes, Gaza militants fired a rocket into Israel on Friday when two of the prisoners were apprehended and then again on Saturday, after two more escaped inmates were caught.    The Israeli military said it struck targets belonging to Hamas, the Islamist armed group that rules Gaza.    There were no reports of casualties.
    A fragile truce between Israel and Hamas ended 11 days of fierce fighting in May in which at least 250 Palestinians and 13 in Israel were killed.
(Reporting by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

9/12/2021 Israeli Minister Says Iran Giving Militias Drone Training Near Isfahan
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz adjusts his mask during the weekly cabinet meeting
at the prime minister's office in Jerusalem August 1, 2021. Abir Sultan/Pool via REUTERS
    HERZLIYA, Israel (Reuters) - Israel’s defence minister accused Iran on Sunday of providing foreign militias with drone training at an airbase near the city of Isfahan, a month after Tehran came under global scrutiny over a suspected drone attack on an Israeli-managed tanker off Oman.
    Israel has combined military strikes with diplomatic pressure to beat back what it describes as an effort by its arch-foe, whose nuclear negotiations with the West are deadlocked, to beef up regional clout through allied guerrillas.
    In what his office described as a new disclosure, Defence Minister Benny Gantz said Iran was using Kashan airbase north of Isfahan to train “terror operatives from Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon in flying Iranian-made UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles)
    Iran was also trying to “transfer know-how that would allow the manufacturing of UAVs in the Gaza Strip,” on Israel’s southern border, Gantz told a conference at Reichman University near Tel Aviv.
    His office provided what it said were satellite images showing UAVs on the runways at Kashan. There was no immediate comment from Iran.
    A July 29 blast aboard the Mercer Street, a Liberian-flagged, Japanese-owned petroleum product tanker near the mouth of the Gulf, a key oil shipping route, killed two crew – a Briton and a Romanian.    The vessel is operated and managed by London-based Zodiac Maritime, owned by Israeli magnate Eyal Ofer’s Ofer Global group.
    The U.S. military said explosives experts from the Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier – which deployed to assist the Mercer Street – concluded the explosion was from a drone produced in Iran, which was accused by other world powers in the attack.
    Iran has denied involvement.
(Writing by Dan Williams;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

9/13/2021 Palestinian Stabs Two In Jerusalem Shop Before Being Shot, Israeli Police Say
A police officer stands behind a cordon tape near the scene of a suspected
stabbing in Jerusalem, September 13, 2021. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A Palestinian stabbed and wounded two people in a Jerusalem cosmetics shop on Monday before being shot and wounded by police, Israeli officials said, amid heightened tensions since a prison escape by Palestinian inmates a week ago.
    The incident came hours after a Palestinian used a screwdriver to try to stab an Israeli soldier in the occupied West Bank, the military said, adding that troops shot the man, who was taken to hospital for treatment.
    Tensions have been stirred by last Monday’s breakout by six Palestinian militants from the maximum-security Gilboa prison in northern Israel. Four of the men have since been recaptured.
    Palestinians view brethren held in Israeli prisons as heroes in a battle against occupation. Israel says Palestinians involved in violent anti-Israeli activities are terrorists.
    Israeli officials said a Palestinian entered the cosmetics store near Jerusalem’s central bus station and stabbed two people.    Israel’s Magen David Adom ambulance service said they suffered moderate wounds.
    A policewoman then shot the alleged attacker, witnesses and police said.    Israel’s Zaka emergency service said he was critically wounded and taken to hospital.
    “No doubt there is an escalation that we are facing and we are deployed in force in the field for any scenario,” Jerusalem District Police Commander Doron Turgeman told reporters at the scene.
(Reporting by Dedi Hayoun; Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Alex Richardson)

9/13/2021 Israeli Prime Minister Visits Egypt In First Official Trip For A Decade by Aidan Lewis
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett attends a cabinet meeting at the Ministry of
foreign affairs offices in Jerusalem, September 12, 2021. Abir Sultan/Pool via REUTERS
    CAIRO (Reuters) -Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Monday for talks on Israeli-Palestinian relations and bilateral ties in the first official trip by an Israeli head of government to Egypt for a decade.
    Bennett, the head of a far-right party who took office in June, was invited to visit by Sisi last month.    Since May, Egypt has played a prominent role brokering and trying to reinforce a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip after 11 days of conflict there between Israel and Palestinian faction Hamas, which controls the enclave.
    Bennett said the talks in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh covered diplomacy, security and the economy.    “We created a foundation for a deep connection going forward,” he said before flying home.
    In the discussions, Sisi cited Egypt’s efforts to maintain calm in the Palestinian territories and the importance of international support for rebuilding efforts there, according to an Egyptian presidency statement.
    An uptick in cross-border violence since late August has tested the fragile truce in Gaza. Over the past week, Palestinian militants have fired rockets into Israel for three nights in a row, drawing Israeli air strikes.
    Sisi also “affirmed Egypt’s support for all efforts to achieve comprehensive peace in the Middle East, according to the two-state solution,” the presidency statement said.
    Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians collapsed in 2014 and analysts say there is little prospect of reviving them.    Bennett, a nationalist atop a cross-partisan coalition, opposes Palestinian statehood.    His government has focused on policies to improve economic conditions in the Palestinian territories.
BORDER CROSSING
    Egypt was the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979 but relations have remained cool, restricted to security cooperation and limited economic links.
    Israel and Egypt hold Gaza under a blockade, citing threats from Hamas.
    Cairo’s brokering of the Gaza truce allowed it to reassert its diplomatic role https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/gaza-truce-shifts-focus-egypts-regional-role-2021-05-30 in the region in the wake of deals by four Arab states to normalise ties with Israel last year.
    Bennett’s trip appeared to give transport links between Egypt and Israel a boost.
    The Taba crossing between Israel and Sinai, an entry point for Israeli tourists, would become fully operational from Monday as restrictions put in place during the coronavirus pandemic were lifted, Israel’s transport ministry said.
    From October, Egyptair would begin operating several flights a week between Cairo and Tel Aviv, sources at the Egyptian national carrier said.
    Bennett and Sisi had also been expected to discuss regional issues, including Iran’s influence in the Middle East and the crisis in Lebanon, diplomats and security sources said.
    The last official visit by an Israeli prime minister to Egypt was when Benjamin Netanyahu met former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in January 2011 in Sharm el-Sheikh, just before the uprising that toppled Mubarak.
(Reporting by Mohamed Waly, Aidan Lewis, Abdelnasser Aboulfadl, Maayan Lubell, Dan Williams, Ari Rabinovitch and Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Toby Chopra, Alex Richardson, William Maclean)

9/14/2021 U.S. To Hold $130 Million Of Egypt’s Military Aid Over Human Rights - Sources by Humeyra Pamuk
FILE PHOTO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi speaks during a joint news conference with Greek Prime Minister
Kyriakos Mitsotakis at Maximos Mansion in Athens, Greece, November 11, 2020. REUTERS/Costas Baltas/File Photo
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The Biden administration will withhold $130 million worth of military aid to Egypt to pressure its Arab ally to improve its human rights record, two sources familiar with the matter, including a U.S. official, said.
    Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s move will be a break with his predecessors’ policy of overriding a congressional check on military aid to Egypt.    In the past, an exception was granted to free up $300 million in Foreign Military Financing for Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s government on the basis that it was in the interest of U.S. national security.
    A portion of the financing, $130 million, will be withheld on human rights concerns but will be available in future fiscal years if Egypt improves its record, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
    Human rights groups, which had called on the administration to withhold the entire amount, called the move “a betrayal” of U.S. commitments to put human rights front and center in its foreign policy, and specifically with Egypt.
    “If the administration’s dedication to human rights were sincere, this decision would have been simple: withhold the $300 million in military aid as conditioned by Congress to incentivize al-Sisi to change course,” said a joint statement from nearly two dozen rights groups, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.
    “Instead, the administration chose to ignore its commitment to human rights by evading the legislative conditions,” it added.
    Sisi, who ousted the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013, has overseen a crackdown on dissent that has tightened in recent years.    He denies there are political prisoners in Egypt and says stability and security are paramount.
    President Joe Biden has pledged to put human rights at the heart of his foreign policy and rights advocates have been pushing Washington to get tougher on Sisi, even though ties with Egypt have improved after Cairo’s mediation to help end hostilities in April between Israel and Hamas militants.
    Criticism from rights groups on Biden’s commitment to promote rights and freedoms worldwide is not limited to Egypt.
    They say while his increased emphasis on the issue is an improvement from the position of his predecessor Donald Trump – who praised authoritarian leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin – Biden has so far refrained from impactful action.
    Sources said a formal announcement on the Egypt decision could come later this week.
    A State Department spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.    Politico reported the move late on Monday.
(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Mike Stone in Washington; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Dan Grebler)
[WELL BIDEN HAS ALREADY SCREWED UP AFGHANISTAN GOD HELP US IF THEY START TO DO THE MIDDLE EAST.].

9/14/2021 Blinken To Host Event Marking Anniversary Of Israel-Arab Normalization Deals by Matt Spetalnick
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken testifies before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing examining the U.S.
withdrawal from Afghanistan, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 14, 2021. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will host a virtual meeting on Friday with his counterparts from Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco to mark the first anniversary of normalization agreements between the Arab countries and Israel, officials said.
    The event will be the Biden administration’s highest-profile display of support for the so-called Abraham Accords, which were widely seen as a diplomatic success for former President Donald Trump.
    President Joe Biden has backed the deals since taking office in January, and senior aides have said they were working to get additional Arab countries to normalize relations with Israel after decades of enmity.    But the administration until now had been cool to the idea of commemorating the anniversary of the accords.
    A State Department official and an Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed plans for the meeting, which was first reported by the Axios news website.
    The leaders of Israel, the UAE and Bahrain signed the Abraham Accords at the White House in September of last year.    Israel and Sudan announced in the following month that they would normalize relations, and Morocco established diplomatic ties with Israel in December, after Biden defeated Trump in the U.S. election.
    Palestinian officials said they felt betrayed by their Arab brethren for reaching deals with Israel without first demanding progress toward the creation of a Palestinian state. Until last year, only two Arab states – Egypt and Jordan – had forged full ties with Israel.
    The agreements have led to a slew of trade and investment deals.
    “The event will commemorate the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Abraham Accords and discuss ways to further deepen ties and build a more prosperous region,” the State Department official said.
    Avi Berkowitz, the former Middle East envoy who helped broker the accords together with Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, wrote on Twitter: “Thank you to the Biden administration and specifically @SecBlinken for supporting the Abraham Accords.”
(Reporting By Matt SpetalnickEditing by Sonya Hepinstall)
[AS WHAT WE HAVE SEEN THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION HAS DONE TO DISS TRUMP WITH THE SCREW UPS IN THE AFGHANISTAN WITHDRAW JUST TO GIVE THEM A 9-11 SHOW OF THEIR GREAT ACTION THEN NOW ITS REAL CONCERNING OF HOW MUCH THEY WILL GO TO DISS TRUMP FOR GETTING THE ABRAHAM ACCORD ACHIEVED THAT NO ONE BEFORE HIM COULD DO WHICH SHOULD BE CONCERNED IF THEY BLOW THAT UP COULD CAUSE WORLD WAR III OCCUR AND BRING ON THE PROPHECIES IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION AND IF THEY DID THEY WOULD DENY THEY DID IT BUT THIS TIME THEY WILL HAVE THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, ISAAC AND JACOB TO DEAL WITH THEN BUT MAYBE THAT IS WHAT THEY WANT TO DO WHO YOU MAY KNOW IS BEHIND THEM PUSHING THEIR CORRUPTION TO THIS WORLD.].

9/17/2021 Blinken: U.S. Will Help Foster Further Israeli Ties With Arab States by Matt Spetalnick and Humeyra Pamukbr>
FILE PHOTO: U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a news conference with Australian Minister
of Defense Peter Dutton, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin (not pictured)
at the State Department in Washington, U.S., September 16, 2021. Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken pledged on Friday to encourage more Arab countries to normalize relations with Israel as he hosted a virtual meeting with Israeli and Arab counterparts to mark the first anniversary of a set of landmark diplomatic agreements.
    The event – held with Blinken’s counterparts and senior officials from Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco – was the Biden administration’s highest-profile embrace of the so-called Abraham Accords, which were widely seen as a diplomatic success for Republican former President Donald Trump.
    Democratic President Joe Biden has backed the deals since taking office in January, and senior aides have said they want more Arab countries to normalize relations with Israel after decades of enmity.    But the administration until now had been cool to the idea of commemorating the anniversary of the U.S.-brokered accords.
    On Friday, however, Blinken hailed their diplomatic and economic benefits, saying: “This administration will continue to build on the successful efforts of the last administration to keep normalization marching forward.”
    He said the Biden administration would help foster Israel’s growing ties with the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco – as well as Sudan, which also reached a breakthrough with Israel last year – and would work to deepen Israel’s relationships with Egypt and Jordan, which have long-standing peace deals.
    Blinken said Washington would encourage more countries to follow suit.    “We want to widen the circle of peaceful diplomacy,” he said.
    Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid agreed, saying: “This Abraham Accords club is open to new members as well.”    He estimated that the normalization agreements had generated $650 million in direct trade.
    The leaders of Israel, the UAE and Bahrain signed the accords at the White House last September.    The following month, Israel and Sudan announced they would normalize relations, and Morocco established diplomatic ties with Israel in December, after Biden defeated Trump in the election.
    Palestinian officials said they felt betrayed by their Arab brethren for reaching deals with Israel without first demanding progress toward the creation of a Palestinian state.
    Some critics said Trump had promoted Arab rapprochement with Israel while ignoring Palestinian aspirations for statehood.
    But Blinken, who has sought to repair ties with the Palestinians that were badly damaged under Trump, said: “We all must build on these relationships and growing normalization to make tangible improvements in the lives of Palestinians, and to make progress toward the long-standing goal of advancing a negotiated peace between Israelis and Palestinians.”
    Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al-Zayani, in a recorded message, called for a push for “a just and comprehensive resolution” of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    U.S. officials have said the conditions are not right to press for a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, which collapsed in 2014. But they hope to see the foundations laid for future negotiations.
(Reporting by Matt Spetalnick, Humeyra Pamuk and Daphne Psaledakis; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis)

9/17/2021 World Leaders Commemorate Abraham Accords by OAN Newsroom
(L-R) Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Donald Trump, and UAE
Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan participate in the signing of the Abraham Accords where the countries of Bahrain and
the United Arab Emirates recognize Israel, at the White House in Washington, DC, September 15, 2020. (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
    World leaders celebrate the historic Abraham Accords, the agreements President Trump brokered last year to normalize relations between Israel and other Middle Eastern countries.    In a conference call on Friday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with leaders from Israel, Bahrain, the UAE and Morocco.
    Blinken kicked off the call by discussing the plans for the future of the region.
    “We will encourage more countries to follow the lead of the Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco. We want to widen the circle of peaceful diplomacy because it’s in the interests of countries across the region and around the world for Israel to be treated like any other country,” said Blinken.
    The former UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash also commented on the hope the Abraham Accords represent.
    “We are encouraged with the opportunities that are there.    And you know, a lot has happened in the past year, and I would say that a lot of positive things have happened,” said Gargash.    “And this is really a counternarrative for a region that needs a positive counternarrative.”
    Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid discussed what his nation is looking forward to working on now that there is more stability in the region.    Lapid said they’re going to dedicate the next couple of years to strategic projects off of infrastructure.
    However, despite their incalculable role in orchestrating the agreements, those present failed to recognize President Trump and former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s accomplishments.    Lapid did however have a message of encouragement for any other nations wishing to join the newfound progress towards peace, stating the Abraham Accords’ club is open for new members and that one of their goals is to “make sure other countries will follow suit in this new era of cooperation and friendship.”

9/21/2021 At U.N., Biden Promises ‘Relentless Diplomacy,’ Defense Of Democracy by Trevor Hunnicutt and Steve Holland
U.S. President Joe Biden meets with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the 76th Session
of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City, U.S., September 20, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
    UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden mapped out a new era of vigorous competition without a new Cold War despite China’s ascendance during his first United Nations address on Tuesday, promising military restraint and a robust fight against climate change.
    The United States will help resolve crises from Iran to the Korean Peninsula to Ethiopia, Biden told the annual U.N. General Assembly gathering.
    The world faces a “decisive decade,” Biden said, one in which leaders must work together to combat a raging coronavirus pandemic, global climate change and cyber threats.    He said the United States will double its financial commitment on climate aid and spend $10 billion to fight hunger.
    Biden did not ever say the words “China” or “Beijing” but sprinkled implicit references to America’s increasingly powerful authoritarian competitor throughout his speech, as the two nations butt heads in the Indo-Pacific and on trade and human rights issues.
    He said the United States will compete vigorously, both economically and to push democratic systems and rule of law.
    “We’ll stand up for our allies and our friends and oppose attempts by stronger countries to dominate weaker ones, whether through changes to territory by force, economic coercion, technical exploitation or disinformation.    But we’re not seeking – I’ll say it again – we are not seeking a new Cold War or a world divided into rigid blocs,” Biden said.
    Biden came to the United Nations facing criticism at home and abroad for a chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan that left some Americans and Afghan allies still in that country and struggling to get out.
‘A NEW ERA’
    His vow for allied unity is being tested by a three-way agreement among the United States, Australia and Britain that undermined a French submarine deal and left France feeling stabbed in the back.
    “We’ve ended 20 years of conflict in Afghanistan and as we close this era of relentless war, we’re opening a new era of relentless diplomacy,” Biden said.
    Biden vowed to defend vital U.S. national interests, but said that “the mission must be clear and achievable,” and the American military “must not be used as the answer to every problem we see around the world.”
    Biden, a Democrat, hoped to present a compelling case that the United States remains a reliable ally to its partners around the world after four years of “America First” policies pursued by his Republican predecessor Donald Trump.
    Overcoming global challenges “will hinge on our ability to recognize our common humanity,” Biden said.
    Biden added that he remains committed to peacefully resolving a dispute with Iran over its nuclear program.    He vowed to defend U.S. ally Israel but said a two-state solution with the Palestinians is still needed but a distant goal.
    He said the United States wants “sustained diplomacy” to resolve the crisis surrounding North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.    North Korea has rejected U.S. overtures to engage in talks.
    Discussing oppression of racial, ethnic and religious minorities, Biden singled out China’s Xinjiang region where rights groups estimate that one million Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities have been interned in camps.
    In response to Biden’s reference to Xinjiang, China’s mission to the United Nations, told Reuters: “It’s completely groundless.    We totally reject.    The U.S. should pay more attention to its own human rights problems.”
    U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who begins a second five-year term at the helm of the world body on Jan. 1, warned earlier of the dangers of the growing gap between China and the United States, the world’s largest economies.
    I fear our world is creeping towards two different sets of economic, trade, financial and technology rules, two divergent approaches in the development of artificial intelligence – and ultimately two different military and geopolitical strategies,” Guterres said.
    “This is a recipe for trouble.    It would be far less predictable than the Cold War,” Guterres said.
(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt and Michelle Nichols at the United Nations and Steve Holland in Washington; Editing by Heather Timmons, Will Dunham and Grant McCool)
[I WONDER IF ANY OF THE OTHER COUNTRIES ACTUALLY TAKE HIM SERIOUS SINCE HE HAS STRUCK OUT ON ANY ACTIONS/POLICIES HE HAS TRIED IN THE U.S.A. SINCE ELECTED HAS FAILED MISERABLY AND HE CONTINUES TO PURSUE MORE OF HIS MISERY ON THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA EVEN NOW AND THERE HAS NEVER BEEN ANY OF THEIR MISSIONS ARE CLEAR OR ACHIEVED AS EXPECTED EVEN NOW HE CUT ISRAEL'S PROTECTION FUNDING FROM MISSILE ATTACKS WHICH SHOWS HIS TRUE COLORS AS ANTI-ISRAEL IN HIS OBSESSION TO REVERSE ANY POLICY FROM DONALD TRUMP.].

9/22/2021 Bill To Provide $1 Billion For Israel Iron Dome System Introduced In U.S. Congress
FILE PHOTO: Streaks of light are seen as Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets
launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, as seen from Ashkelon, Israel, May 12. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The leader of the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee introduced legislation on Wednesday to provide $1 billion to Israel to replenish its “Iron Dome” missile-defense system, a day after the funding was removed from a broader spending bill.
    Some of the most liberal House Democrats had objected to the provision and said they would vote against the broad spending bill.    This threatened its passage because Republicans were lined up against the plan to fund the federal government through Dec. 3 and raise the nation’s borrowing limit.
    The removal led Republicans to label Democrats as anti-Israel, despite a long tradition in the U.S. Congress of strong support from both parties for the Jewish state, to which Washington sends billions of dollars in aid every year.
    The United States has already provided more than $1.6 billion for Israel to develop and build the Iron Dome system, according to a Congressional Research Service report last year.
    Some liberal Democrats have voiced concerns this year about U.S.-Israel policy, citing among other things the many Palestinian casualties as Israel responded to Hamas rocket attacks in May.    Israel said most of the 4,350 rockets fired from     Gaza during the conflict were blown out of the sky by Iron Dome interceptors.
    The bill introduced on Wednesday by Representative Rosa DeLauro provides $1 billion to replace missile interceptors used during that conflict.
    House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer had said on Tuesday evening he would bring the Iron Dome bill to the House floor later this week.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle in Washington; Editing by Matthew Lewis)
[EVERYONE VOTED FOR IT EXCEPT THE SQUAD SO THIS SHOWS THEY HAVE NO PULL ANYMORE SO THEY WILL PROBABLY CRY TO HAMAS AND HEZBOLLAH.].

[WELL AS YOU CAN SEE BELOW ABBAS IS GETTING DESPERATE TRYING TO KEEP THE OUTDATED TWO-STATE ISSUE AND TRYING TO DISS THE ONE STATE WHICH THE ABRAHAM ACCORD PUSHED BY TRUMP IS IN FAVOR BY MANY OF THE ARAB NATIONS TO BRING BACK ECONOMINCAL PROGRESS AND PEACE TO THE MIDDLE EAST BUT NOW THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION IS TRYING TO INTERFERE WITH THIS SINCE THEY ARE HELL-BENT TO STOP ANYTHING THAT TRUMP INFLUENCED AND AS YOU KNOW JOE BIDEN’S POLICIES LATELY HAVE BEEN A DOWNER OF EVERYTHING HE DOES AND THEY SPEND MOST OF THEIR TIME TRYING TO HIDE THEIR FAILURES AND IT COULD BE AN ISSUE TO INVOLVE HIM OR HIS MINIONS UNLESS HE ACTUALLY ACHIEVES THAT IT COULD LEAD INTO THE CONCEPT OF THE "HE" MENTIONED IN DANIEL 9:27.].
    Daniel 9:27 KJV "And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate."
9/24/2021 Abbas Tells U.N. Israeli Actions Could Lead To ‘One State’ by Ali Sawafta and Rami Ayyub
Mahmoud Abbas, President, State of Palestine delivers a speech remotely at the UN General Assembly 76th session General Debate in UN General Assembly Hall
at the United Nations Headquarters on Friday, September 24, 2021 in New York City. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI Pool via REUTERS
    RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel on Friday of destroying the two-state solution with actions he said could lead Palestinians to demand equal rights within one binational state comprising Israel, the occupied West Bank and Gaza.
    Addressing the U.N. General Assembly via video link from the West Bank, Abbas, 85, urged the international community to act to save the two-state formula that for decades has been the bedrock of diplomacy for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    Abbas said Israel was “destroying the prospect of a political settlement based on the two-state solution” through its settlements on West Bank land it captured in the 1967 Middle East war.
    Most countries view the settlements as illegal; a position Israel disputes.
    “If the Israeli occupation authorities continue to entrench the reality of one apartheid state as is happening today, our Palestinian people and the entire world will not tolerate such a situation,” Abbas said.    Israel rejects accusations of apartheid.     “Circumstances on the ground will inevitably impose equal and full political rights for all on the land of historical Palestine, within one state.    In all cases, Israel has to choose,” Abbas said from Ramallah, the seat of his Palestinian Authority, which has limited self-rule in the West Bank.
    There was no immediate Israeli comment on Abbas’ remarks.
    Critics say internal Palestinian divisions have also contributed to the deadlock in U.S.-sponsored peace talks, which collapsed in 2014.
    Under interim peace accords with Israel, Abbas’ PA was meant to exercise control in Gaza as well.    But his Islamist rivals Hamas seized the coastal enclave in 2007 and years of on-and-off talks have failed to break their impasse.
    Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, a far-rightist who sits atop a cross-partisan coalition, opposes Palestinian statehood.    His government has vowed to avoid sensitive choices towards the Palestinians and instead focus on economic issues.
    In his U.N. address, Abbas threatened to rescind the Palestinians’ recognition of Israel if it does not withdraw from the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem within a year.
    “If this is not achieved, why maintain recognition of Israel based on the 1967 borders? Why maintain this recognition?” Abbas said.
    While some Palestinians and Israelis support the idea of a single binational state, most have very different ideas of what that entity would look like and how it would be governed.
    Most analysts contend a single state would not be viable, for religious, political and demographic reasons.    Israeli governments have viewed a one-state concept as undermining the essence of an independent Jewish state.
    U.S. President Joe Biden reiterated his support for the two-state solution during his own U.N. address on Tuesday, saying it would ensure “Israel’s future as a Jewish, democratic state living in peace alongside a viable and democratic Palestinian state.”
(Reporting by Ali Sawafta and Rami Ayyub, Additional reporting by Zainah El-Haroun; Editing by Rami Ayyub and Nick Macfie)

9/24/2021 Palestinian Man Shot And Killed During West Bank Clashes With Israeli Troops: Ministry
Mourners carry the body of Palestinian Mohammed Khabisah, who was killed by Israeli forces during clashes, during
his funeral in Beita in the Israeli-occupied West Bank September 24, 2021. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman
    RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - Israeli troops firing rubber bullets shot and killed a Palestinian man and injured others on Friday during clashes at a protest against Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry and medics said.
    The Israeli military said hundreds of Palestinians had gathered in the area, south of the Palestinian city of Nablus, burning tyres and throwing rocks towards troops at the scene.
    “We are aware of reports that a Palestinian was killed.    The incident is under investigation,” the military said in a statement, without saying if its troops opened fire.
    At least eight Palestinians were shot by rubber bullets during Friday’s protest, Palestinian medics said. One of them was struck in the head, and died soon after being rushed to hospital, the Palestinian health ministry said.
    The West Bank is among territories Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war where Palestinians seek statehood.    Violence has simmered there since U.S.-sponsored talks between the Palestinians and Israel broke down in 2014.
    Palestinians have staged near-daily protests in the village of Beita, south of Nablus, to voice anger at a nearby Israeli settler outpost, often leading to violent clashes with Israeli troops.
    The settlers agreed https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/israeli-govt-settlers-reach-deal-over-west-bank-outpost-palestinians-angered-2021-06-30 to leave the outpost in July under an agreement with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, following weeks of demonstrations https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/lasers-flaming-torches-light-up-battle-over-new-israeli-settlement-2021-06-24 by Palestinians lighting fires that often engulfed the outpost in smoke.
    But many of the outpost’s buildings have remained, locked and under military guard.    Palestinians, who claim the land the outpost is on, have vowed to continue their demonstrations.
    Most countries deem the settlements illegal.    Israel disputes this, citing biblical and political connections to the land, as well as its security needs.
(Reporting by Ali Sawafta and Rami AyyubEditing by Andrew Heavens and Frances Kerry)

9/27/2021 At U.N., Israeli PM Bennett Says Iran Has Crossed All Nuclear ‘Red Lines’ by Michelle Nichols, Matt Spetalnick and Stephen Farrell
Israel’s prime minister Naftali Bennett addresses the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly,
at the U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 27, 2021. John Minchillo/Pool via REUTERS
    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Monday that Iran had crossed “all red lines” in its nuclear program and vowed that Israel would not allow Tehran to acquire a nuclear weapon.
    In his first speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Bennett said Iran sought to dominate the Middle East under a “nuclear umbrella” and urged a more concerted international effort to halt Iran’s nuclear activities.
    But he also hinted at the potential for Israel to act on its own against Iran, something it has repeatedly threatened in the past.
    “Iran’s nuclear program has hit a watershed moment, and so has our tolerance.    Words do not stop centrifuges from spinning,” Bennett said.    “Israel will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.”
    Bennett, a far-right politician who ended Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year run as prime minister in June, wants U.S. President Joe Biden to harden his stance against Iran, Israel’s regional arch-foe.    He opposes the new U.S. administration’s efforts to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that Biden’s White House predecessor, Donald Trump, abandoned in 2018.
    Indirect U.S.-Iran talks in Vienna have stalled as Washington awaits the next move by Iran’s new hardline president, Ebrahim Raisi.
    Bennett struck a less combative tone before the United Nations than Netanyahu, who often relied on props and visual aids to dramatize his accusations against Iran, an approach that critics derided as political stunts.
    But Bennett has been just as adamant as Netanyahu was in pledging to do whatever is necessary to prevent Iran, which Israel views as an existential threat, from building a nuclear weapon.    Iran consistently denies it is seeking a bomb.
    “Iran’s nuclear weapons program is at a critical point.    All red lines have been crossed, inspections ignored,” Bennett said.    “They’re getting away with it.”
    He called for international action.    “If we put our heads to it, if we’re serious about stopping it, if we use our resourcefulness, we can prevail," Bennett said.
    Bennett also took aim at Raisi, accusing him of serious human rights abuses against his own people over the years. Raisi is under targeted U.S. sanctions.
BENNETT SPEECH IGNORES ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT
    Bennett made not a single direct mention of the Palestinians in his remarks, except to accuse Iran of backing anti-Israel militant groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
    Bennett, who sits atop an ideologically diverse coalition, opposes Palestinian statehood.
    Biden, in his U.N. speech last week, declared renewed U.S. support for a two-state solution, after Trump distanced himself from that longstanding tenet of U.S. policy, but said Israel and the Palestinians were a long way from achieving it.
    Biden’s aides are mindful that U.S. pressure for a resumption of long-dormant peace talks or major Israeli concessions could destabilize the fragile Israeli coalition.
    Addressing the General Assembly via video link on Friday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of destroying the two-state solution with actions he said could lead Palestinians to demand equal rights within one binational state comprising Israel, the occupied West Bank and Gaza.
    Bennett focused instead on what he touted as the benefits of Israel’s landmark normalization agreements brokered by the Trump administration last year with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco.    “More is to come,” he said.
    Israel has trumpeted its new diplomatic relations, especially with Gulf neighbors, as having helped forge a regional bulwark against their shared foe, Iran.
    Palestinian officials said they felt betrayed by their Arab brethren for reaching deals with Israel without first demanding progress toward the creation of a Palestinian state.
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols at the UN, Matt Spetalnick in Washington and Stephen Farrell in London; additional reporting by Zainah El-Haroun and Ari Rabinovitch in Jerusalem; Editing by Alex Richardson and Grant McCool)

9/27/2021 Israel’s Bennett Meets UAE, Bahrain Ministers Ahead Of UN Address by Rami Ayyub
FILE PHOTO: Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks during the weekly cabinet meeting at the
Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, September 5, 2021. Sebastian Scheiner/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met senior ministers from the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in New York on Sunday, his office said, ahead of an address to the United Nations in which he is expected to urge action against Iran’s nuclear programme.
    Israel has trumpeted its new diplomatic relations with the UAE and Bahrain, brokered by Washington last year, as having helped create a regional bulwark against their shared foe, Iran.
    During his speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Monday Bennett is expected to call for action against Tehran’s atomic activities to ensure that it does not produce weapons.
    Tehran denies pursuing atomic weaponry. It has been negotiating with world powers to revive a 2015 deal that curbed its uranium enrichment in return for the lifting of economic sanctions.
    During his meeting with Bahraini Foreign Minster Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani and UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Khalifa Shaheen Almarar, Bennett said Israel hoped to strengthen relations with both countries.
    “We are stable and we believe in this relationship, and we want to expand it as much as possible,” Bennett’s said in a statement released by his office.
    To Israel’s delight, in 2018 then-U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and re-imposed sanctions, crippling Iran’s economy and prompting Iran to take steps to violate its nuclear limits.
    U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration started indirect talks with Tehran in Vienna on salvaging the agreement, but those stopped after hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi was elected Iran’s president in June.
    Iran’s foreign minister on Friday estimated talks would start again “very soon,” but gave no specific date.
(Writing by Rami Ayyub, Editing by William Maclean)

9/27/2021 U.S. Top Security Adviser, Yemen Envoy Head To Saudi, UAE
U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan gives a statement about the situation in Afghanistan during
a news briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., August 23, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis
    (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan will travel to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates along with the U.S. special envoy to Yemen, the White House National Security Council said on Monday.
    Brett McGurk, the NSC’s Middle East and North Africa Coordinator, will also join Sullivan and Tim Lenderking, the council spokeswoman Emily Horne said in a statement, adding that Sullivan will meet “with senior leaders on a range of regional and global challenges.”
    Sullivan will depart on Monday and hold discussions with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman about Yemen, according to the Associated Press, which first reported the trip.    He is also expected to meet deputy defence minister Khalid bin Salman, a brother to the crown prince, it said, cited unnamed sources.
    The United Nations has described the situation in war-torn Yemen as the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.    Seven years of fighting have also plunged the nation into an economic crisis, triggering food shortages.
    The United States and Saudi Arabia, which leads a military coalition fighting Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group in Yemen’s conflict, have pledged millions more dollars in additional aid, as have other countries. https://reut.rs/2WewHkn
    Biden has taken a tougher stance with Saudi Arabia than his predecessor Donald Trump, criticizing the kingdom over its human rights record while releasing a U.S. intelligence report earlier this year implicating the Saudi crown prince in the 2018 killing of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.    The prince denies any involvement.
    Earlier this month, the FBI released a newly declassified document about its investigation of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States and allegations of Saudi government support for the hijackers, following an executive order by Biden.    The Kingdom has long said it had no role in the attacks.
(Reporting by Susan Heavey in Washington and Kanishka Singh in BengaluruEditing by Raissa Kasolowsky, William Maclean, William Maclean)
[Just of a reminder: Jake Sullivan, is another top advisor in Clinton’s campaign, who played a role in forming the Trump-Russia collusion narrative so they sent him to try to make the Saudi's admit a crime when he cannot cop to his either and what is scarier is that he may try to screw up the Abraham Accord so Joe can take credit for it.].

9/27/2021 Israeli Prime Minister: Iran Advancing Nuclear Program, Funds Terror Groups by OAN Newsroom
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett addresses the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly,
on September 27, 2021, at UN headquarters in New York. (Photo by JOHN MINCHILLO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
    Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned Iranian-backed terror groups were ramping up pressure on the Jewish state.    In a statement before the U.N. General Assembly on Monday, Bennett said the Ayatollah Regime provided funding, weapons and training to Shi’a Militias that were seeking to destroy Israel.
    Bennett added Iran was advancing its nuclear program. He urged the U.S. and European nations not to restore a nuclear deal with Iran.
    “Iran is currently violating the IAEA’s safeguard agreements and it’s getting away with it.    They harass inspectors and sabotage their investigations and they’re getting away with it,” he asserted.    “They’re enriching uranium to the level of 60%, which is only one step short of weapons grade material, and they’re getting away with it.”
    PM Naftali Bennett today at #UNGA:
    Iran’s nuclear program has hit a watershed moment; and so has our tolerance.
    Words do not stop centrifuges from spinning.
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) September 27, 2021
    Bennett also criticized anti-Israeli sentiments among left-leaning public in the U.S. and Europe. He went on to say, “hating Israel does not make you woke.”

9/29/2021 Israeli Foreign Minister To Visit Bahrain On Thursday
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid speaks during a news conference as he meets with Moroccan
Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita in Rabat, Morocco August 11, 2021. REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal/File Photo
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s foreign minister will fly to Bahrain on Thursday, the highest-level official Israeli visit to the Gulf state since the countries established ties last year, the Foreign Ministry said.
    Foreign Minister Yair Lapid will inaugurate Israel’s embassy in Manama and sign bilateral deals during the visit, a ministry statement on Wednesday said.
    Bahrain and Gulf neighbour United Arab Emirates normalised relations with Israel in a U.S.-brokered deal known as the Abraham Accords that built on shared business interests and worries about Iran.
(Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Alison Williams)

9/30/2021 Israeli Forces Kill Palestinian Gunman, Woman Assailant – Israeli Police
Local women speak to Israeli Border policemen as they stand guard near the scene of
a suspected stabbing inside Jerusalem's Old City, September 30, 2021. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli forces killed a Palestinian gunman in the occupied West Bank on Thursday and a Palestinian woman who tried to stab officers in Jerusalem’s Old City, Israeli police said.
    The violence came amid tensions heightened by the deaths on Sunday of five Palestinians, at least four of them claimed as members by the Hamas militant group, in gun battles with Israeli forces carrying out arrest raids in the West Bank.
    Police said in a statement Israeli soldiers and paramilitary police on an operation near the West Bank city of Jenin shot and killed a Palestinian who fired at them.
    A Palestinian medical source confirmed the death of a 22-year-old man.    The Islamic Jihad militant group issued a statement saying he was one of its members and that he was killed in a shootout with Israeli forces carrying out a raid.
    In Jerusalem’s Old City, Israeli police officers shot dead a Palestinian woman who tried to stab them, police said, identifying her as a resident of the West Bank.
    Israel captured the West Bank and East Jerusalem, including its Old City, in the 1967 Middle East war.    Palestinians seek to establish a state in the West Bank and Gaza, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
(Reporting by Jeffrey Heller and Ali Sawafta; Writing by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Robert Birsel)

9/30/2021 Top Israeli Diplomat Visits Bahrain, U.S. Navy Base In Signal To Iran<
Flags of Israel and Bahrain are seen on a plane of Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid at
Bahrain International Airport in Muharraq, Bahrain, September 30, 2021. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed
    DUBAI (Reuters) -Bahrain hosted the Israeli foreign minister on Thursday for the highest-level visit since the countries established ties last year and which included a tour of a U.S. naval headquarters to signal common cause against Iran.
    Landing in Manama on a plane daubed with an olive branch painting, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid met King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and Crown Prince and Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
    “His Majesty’s leadership and inspiration have led to true cooperation and our meeting outlined the path forward for our relationship,” Lapid said on Twitter.
    Bahrain and Gulf neighbour United Arab Emirates normalised relations with Israel last year in a U.S.-brokered deal known as the Abraham Accords that built on common commercial interests and worries about Iran.    Sudan and Morocco followed suit.
    “Our opportunities are shared.    Our threats are also shared, and they aren’t far from here,” Lapid said in remarks to reporters, apparently alluding to Gulf power Iran.
    Touring the Bahrain headquarters of the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, which has faced off Iranian vessels amid tensions over Tehran’s regional aims, Lapid said: “Our three countries work together because we have similar interests in the region.”
    “When we speak about peace, we need to remember that peace must be protected from those who would harm it,” he added, according to his office.
    The Fleet said on Twitter that Lapid and his hosts discussed regional maritime security cooperation.
    The Sunni-ruled kingdom accuses Iran of stoking unrest in Bahrain, a charge that Tehran denies.
    The island state, which quashed an uprising led mostly by Shi’ite Muslim members of its population in 2011, saw some sporadic acts of protest after the Abraham Accords were signed.
    On Thursday, Bahraini activists circulated on social media images of what appeared to be small protests in Bahrain.    Reuters was unable to independently verify these.
    The accords have been denounced by Palestinians as abandoning a unified position under which Arab states would make peace only if Israel gave up occupied land.
    In Gaza, the Islamist Hamas group criticised Bahrain for hosting Lapid, who returns to Israel on Thursday evening.    Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said this represented “an encouragement” of what he described as Israeli “crimes against our people.”
    Lapid’s office said he and his Bahraini counterpart signed deals on cooperation in medicine, healthcare, sports, and on water and environmental conservation.    Lapid also inaugurated Israel’s embassy in Manama.
    Separately, the first Gulf Air commercial flight touched down in Tel Aviv, launching a twice-weekly direct connection.
(Reporting by Dan Williams, Jeffrey Heller, Nidal Al Mughrabi and Lisa Barrington; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise, William Maclean and Toby Chopra)

10/5/2021 Biden Aides To Tell Israelis U.S. Will Pursue ‘Other Avenues’ If Iran Diplomacy Fails by by Matt Spetalnick and Steve Holland
A staff member removes the Iranian flag from the stage after a group picture with foreign ministers and representatives
of United States, Iran, China, Russia, Britain, Germany, France and the European Union during the Iran nuclear talks at the
Vienna International Center in Vienna, Austria, July 14, 2015. Picture taken July 14, 2015. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo
SEARCH "POY DECADE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "REUTERS POY" FOR ALL BEST OF 2019 PACKAGES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY.
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Top U.S. officials will tell their Israeli counterparts on Tuesday that the Biden administration remains committed to diplomacy with Iran, but if necessary would be prepared to pursue “other avenues” to ensure Tehran does not acquire a nuclear weapon, a senior U.S. official said.
    A visit to Washington by Israel’s national security adviser, Eyal Hulata, will allow the two allies to share intelligence and develop a “baseline assessment” of how far Tehran’s nuclear program has advanced, the official said.
    Under a 2015 deal, Iran curbed its uranium enrichment program, a possible pathway to nuclear arms, in return for the lifting of economic sanctions.    Then-U.S. President Donald Trump quit the deal in 2018 and the Israeli government opposes U.S. efforts to revive it.
    In broad terms, U.S. experts believe the time it would take Iran to achieve nuclear “breakout” – enough enriched uranium to build a nuclear bomb – has “gone from about 12 months down to a period of about a few months” since Trump pulled out of the pact, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
    “Obviously that is quite alarming,” the official told reporters ahead of Hulata’s talks with U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan.
    Iran has consistently denied it is developing nuclear weapons.
    Echoing President Joe Biden’s comments https://www.reuters.com/world/biden-due-talk-iran-with-israels-bennett-after-afghan-bombing-delay-2021-08-27 in a White House meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in August, the official said: “We of course remain committed to a diplomatic path.”
    “But obviously if that doesn’t work there are other avenues to pursue, and we are fully committed to ensuring that Iran never develops a nuclear weapon.”
    Asked what actions were under consideration and whether that included military options, the official said “we’ll be prepared to take measures that are necessary” but did not elaborate.
    The official said that Iran was “sending indications to a number of parties that they are preparing to come back to Vienna,” where the United States and Iran held indirect talks earlier this year that stalled.
    But signaling that obstacles remain, Iran’s foreign minister said https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/iran-asked-us-unfreeze-10-bln-show-good-will-iran-official-says-2021-10-02 on Saturday that the United States must first release $10 billion of Tehran’s frozen funds as a sign of good will, something the Biden administration has shown no willingness to do.
    Bennett, a far-right politician who ended Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year run as prime minister in June, has made clear he wants Biden to harden his stance against Iran, Israel’s regional arch-foe.
    There is also disagreement over Biden’s opposition to further expansion of Jewish settlements on occupied land that the Palestinians want for a future state.
    Asked whether the issue would be part of Tuesday’s talks, the U.S. official said Israel was well aware of the administration’s view of the need to refrain from actions that could be seen as “provocative” and undermine efforts to achieve a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.
(Reporting By Matt Spetalnick and Steve Holland, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

10/5/2021 Biden Aide Tells Israeli Official Diplomacy Best Way To Keep Iran From Getting Nuclear Bomb
FILE PHOTO: Iranian flag flies in front of the UN office building, housing IAEA headquarters, amid the
coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Vienna, Austria, May 24, 2021. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told his Israeli counterpart Eyal Hulata on Tuesday that President Joe Biden’s administration believes diplomacy is the best way to make sure Iran never gets a nuclear weapon, the White House said.
    Sullivan also noted at the White House meeting that Biden “has made clear that if diplomacy fails, the United States is prepared to turn to other options,” the White House said.
(Reporting by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Leslie Adler)
[DO YOU JAKE SULLIVAN AND JOE BIDEN REALLY THINK THAT DIPLOMACY WITH IRAN WILL SATISFY THEIR DESIRE TO DESTROY ISRAEL: Since Iran has become more of an issue during 2019 and stated in Jeremiah 49:35-39 (NKJV) PROPHESY OF ELAM to let you know what the Bible says about them and their possible future, "will be, in the end of days, that I will return their captivity," a prophecy self-dated to the first year of Zedekiah (597 BC).].

10/6/2021 Israeli Rightist Seeks To Outlaw Opening Of U.S. Palestinian Mission In Jerusalem by Dan Williams
Former Jerusalem Mayor and Knesset member Nir Barkat smiles during an interview
with Reuters at his home in Jerusalem, October 6, 2021. REUTERS/Nir Elias
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – An Israeli right-wing opposition legislator is seeking to outlaw the planned reopening of a U.S. mission in Jerusalem that has traditionally been a base for diplomatic outreach to the Palestinians.
    Israel’s new cross-partisan government led by nationalist Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also opposes the reinauguration of the consulate, potentially buoying Likud lawmaker Nir Barkat’s effort to scupper the move, though it would strain relations with Washington.
    The consulate was subsumed into the U.S. Embassy that was moved to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv in 2018 by then-U.S. President Donald Trump, steps hailed by Israel and condemned by Palestinians.
    With an eye towards repairing U.S. relations with the Palestinians, and rebuilding mutual trust, President Joe Biden’s administration says it will reopen the consulate while leaving the embassy in place
.
    Barkat’s legislation, filed in parliament last month and with voting as yet unscheduled, would outlaw opening a foreign mission in Jerusalem without Israel’s consent.
    “I think that the current Israeli government is weak.    It depends on the left, it depends on radicals on our side,” he told Reuters.    “We must do everything we can to maintain the unity of the city of Jerusalem.”
    Israel regards all of Jerusalem as its capital.    Palestinians want East Jerusalem, captured by Israel in a 1967 war along with the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as capital of the state they seek.
    Ahmed Al-Deek, adviser to the Palestinian foreign ministry, said Barkat “represents the position of far-right parties in Israel which seek to block any chance of reaching a two-state solution.”
    Barkat said polling showed some 70% public support for the bill – enough to garner votes from within the coalition.    Asked for Bennett’s position, his spokesman cast the bill as a PR stunt, saying: “We don’t comment on trolling.”
    U.S. officials have been largely reticent on the issue, saying only that the reopening process remains in effect.
    Asked whether precedent existed in U.S. diplomacy for opening a mission over objections of a host country, the State Department’s Office of the Historian declined comment.
    Barkat’s bill recognises that there are handful of countries with Jerusalem missions, like the former consulate, that predate Israel’s founding in 1948.
    In what may signal a bid to persuade Israel to reconsider the former mission as a candidate to rejoin that group, Thomas Nides, Biden’s pick for ambassador, noted in his Sept. 22 confirmation hearing: “That consulate has existed, in one form or another, for almost 130 years.”
    Barkat was unmoved, saying: “We respect what happened before 1948 (but) never did we give anybody consent to open up a diplomatic mission for Palestinians in the city of Jerusalem.”
(Additional by Ali Sawafta; Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Mark Heinrich)

10/11/2021 Israel Says It Will Keep Golan As Assad’s Fortunes, U.S. Views Shift by Dan Williams
FILE PHOTO: A general view shows the town of Majdal Shams near the ceasefire line between
Israel and Syria in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights March 25, 2019. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel will keep the Golan Heights, which it captured from Syria in a 1967 war, even if international views on Damascus change, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Monday.
    In 2019, then U.S. President Donald Trump broke with other world powers by recognising Israel as sovereign on the Golan Heights, which it annexed in 1981 in a move not recognised internationally.
    Bennett’s remarks came as the current U.S. administration hedges on the Golan’s legal status and some U.S.-allied Arab states ease their shunning https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/arabs-ease-assads-isolation-us-looks-elsewhere-2021-10-10 of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over his handling of a decade-old civil war.
    Addressing a conference about the Golan’s future, Bennett said the internal Syrian strife had “persuaded many in the world that perhaps it is preferable that this beautiful and strategic territory be in the State of Israel’s hands."
    “But even in a situation in which – as could happen – the world changes tack on Syria, or in relation to Assad, this has no bearing on the Golan Heights,” he told the forum hosted by the conservative Makor Rishon newspaper.     “The Golan Heights is Israeli, full stop.”

    In his speech, Bennett pledged to double the size of the Israeli population on the Golan, which at around 20,000 is currently about equal to that of a Druze Arab community that often professes loyalty to Syria.
    An official source in Syria’s foreign ministry condemned Bennett’s settlement comments.
    “Such aggressive statements and policies will not change the eternal truth that the Golan was and will remain Arab and Syrian, and that it is returning to the motherland sooner or later,” the source said.
ASSAD GRIP ON POWER
    The extension of Assad’s two-decade-old presidency in a May election did little to break his pariah status in the West, but fellow Arab leaders are coming to terms with the fact he retains a solid grip on power.
    Geopolitical considerations contributing to their recalculation include calls by Assad backer Russia for Syria’s reintegration, Washington’s more hands-off regional approach and Arab hopes of countering Iranian and Turkish clout in Damascus.
    While not changing the policy, President Joe Biden’s administration has been circumspect on the Golan issue.
    Asked in a February interview if Washington would continue to deem the area part of Israel, Secretary of State Antony Blinken signalled openness to an eventual policy review https://www.reuters.com/article/israel-usa-golan-idINKBN2A9217 on a territory most countries consider to be under occupation.
(Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Alex Richardson, William Maclean)

10/13/2021 U.S. Will Move Forward With Reopening Its Palestinian Mission In Jerusalem - Blinken by Humeyra Pamuk, Matt Spetalnick and Daphne Psaledakis
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, accompanied by Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (not pictured)
and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyanin (not pictured), speaks at a joint news
conference at the State Department in Washington, U.S., October 13, 2021. Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday the Biden administration intends to press ahead with its plan to reopen the Jerusalem consulate that traditionally engaged with Palestinians, despite Israeli opposition to such a move.
    Blinken reiterated a pledge he originally made months ago on re-establishing the consulate, which had long been a base for diplomatic outreach to the Palestinians before it was closed by President Joe Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, in 2018.
    But Blinken, speaking at a Washington news conference with visiting Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and United Arab Emirates Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, stopped short of setting a date for reopening the consulate, which would strain relations with Israel’s new ideologically diverse government.
    “We’ll be moving forward with the process of opening a consulate as part of deepening of those ties with the Palestinians,” Blinken said at the State Department.
    The Biden administration has sought to repair relations with the Palestinians that were badly damaged under Trump.
    The consulate was subsumed into the U.S. Embassy that was moved to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv in 2018 by Trump – a reversal of longtime U.S. policy hailed by Israel and condemned by Palestinians.
    The Biden administration says it will reopen the consulate while leaving the embassy in place.
    Israel regards all of Jerusalem as its capital.    Palestinians want East Jerusalem, captured by Israel in a 1967 war along with the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as capital of the state they seek.
    Blinken spoke in response to a reporter’s question after a trilateral meeting that marked the latest sign of the Biden administration’s embrace of the so-called Abraham Accords, which were widely seen as a diplomatic success for Trump.
    The UAE was the first of four Arab states that moved late last year to normalize relations with Israel after decades of enmity.    Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco soon followed suit.
    Palestinian officials said they felt betrayed by their Arab brethren for reaching deals with Israel without first demanding progress toward the creation of a Palestinian state.
    Some critics said Trump had promoted Arab rapprochement with Israel while ignoring Palestinian aspirations for statehood.
ABRAHAM ACCORDS
    Biden administration officials have said the Abraham Accords are no substitute for a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians, a principle of U.S. policy that the Democratic president has returned to after Trump moved away from it.
    But U.S. officials have said the conditions are not right to press for a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, which collapsed in 2014.    Washington has been reluctant to take any action that could weaken an Israeli government it considers more cooperative than the one led by Benjamin Netanyahu, which was unseated in June.
    Reopening the consulate, however, would ignite tensions between Washington and its close Middle East ally.
    Israel has said it would oppose the move, asserting its sovereignty over Jerusalem and arguing that far-right Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government would be destabilized by the reintroduction of a diplomatic foothold for the Palestinians in the city.
    Blinken expressed hope that normalization between Israel and Arab states would be a “force for progress” between Israelis and Palestinians, reaffirmed support for a two-state solution and said both sides “equally deserve to live safely and securely.”
    Bin Zayed echoed Lapid in praising the ties their countries have forged and said he would visit Israel soon.    But he also insisted that there could only be peace in the region if the Israelis and Palestinians are on “talking terms.”
    In a nod to the Palestinians, Lapid said they, like all people, were “entitled to a decent way of life” and Israel’s goal was to work with the Palestinian Authority on that issue.    But he offered no specifics.
    Lapid, a centrist, reached a power-sharing deal with Bennett that ended Netanyahu’s 12-year run as prime minister.    Under the coalition deal, Lapid will replace Bennett as prime minister in 2023.
(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk, Maayan Lubell, Daphne Psaledakis, Matt Spetalnick, Simon Lewis, Dan Williams, Lilian Wagdy; writing by Matt Spetalnick; editing by Mark Heinrich and Jonathan Oatis)
[THIS MOVE BY BIDEN OR HIS CONTROLLERS THE DEEP STATE WHO ARE CONSIDERING WHAT IS PUTTING THEM IN THE CATEGORY OF WHAT IS MENTIONED AS THE “HE” IN DANIEL 9:27 OR IT COULD BE ENDING UP TO THE EU TO DO IT OR THE GLOBALIST SOCIALIST ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT OR THE UNITED NATIONS [A CONGREGATION OF COUNTRIES AND CITIES] MORE LIKELY SINCE THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, ISAAC AND JACOB, WOULD STATE THE SAME ENTITIES WHO LIKE NIMROD A MIGHTY HUNTER BROUGHT THEIR KINGDOM OF BABYLON, URUK, AKKAD AND KALNEH, AND IN SHINAR STARTED CITIES AND BUILT A TOWER TO REACH TO THE HEAVEN FOR PEOPLE TO GO UP IN IF THE WORLD FLOODS AGAIN BUT GOD GAVE PEOPLE VARIOUS LANGUAGES TO CONFUSE THEIR URGE TO BUILD CITIES INSTEAD OF LAND FARMS AND HOMES NOT CITIES BUT WHEN WILL THE ENTITY THAT WILL STEP FORWARD AND SIT IN THE THRONE OF GOD IN THE TEMPLE OF GOD AND CLAIM HE IS GOD OF ALL AND WILL BE THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION.].

10/13/2021 UAE Foreign Minister Says He Will Visit Israel Soon
FILE PHOTO: UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan speaks during
a news conference in Berlin, Germany, October 6, 2020. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/Pool
    (Reuters) – The foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates, Abdullah Bin Zayed, said on Wednesday that he would visit Israel soon, adding that his country was impressed with the growing bilateral relationship.
    Bin Zayed also said during a joint news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in Washington D.C. that there could be no talk of peace in the Middle East if Israel and the Palestinians were not “on talking terms.”
    He stressed that a more successful UAE-Israeli relationship would encourage both Israelis and Palestinians to see “that this path works, that this path is worth not only investing in but also taking the risk
    Last year, Israel and the UAE agreed to normalize relations in a major shift in Middle East politics from the Palestinian issue to the fight against Iran.
    On the conflict in Yemen, the UAE wants a resolution “but what’s dragging us in the situation is the lack of will and commitment on the Houthis’ side,” Bin Zayed said, referring to the Iran-aligned movement that ousted the internationally recognized government from the capital Sanaa in 2014 and now holds most of northern Yemen and main urban centers.
    “We are all working very hard among friends to ensure Yemenis have a better life.    But at the same time, we have to keep in mind that we don’t end up with a situation where we have another Hezbollah threatening the border of Saudi     Arabia,” he said, referring to the powerful Shi’ite group aligned to Iran in Lebanon.
(Reporting by Lilian Wagdy; Editing by Gareth Jones and Giles Elgood)
[GIVE IT UP BLINKEN YOU ARE TRYING TO STOP THE ABRAHAM ACCORD AND THESE NATIONS WILL ATTACK THE HOUTHIS IN YEMEN WHO ARE BACKED BY IRAN NOW THAT YOU ARE GIVING IRAN MONEY SO THEY CAN BUY WEAPONS AND MISSLES SO HAMAS MISSLES ATTACK INTO ISRAEL AND JOE SEEMS TO THINK HE CAN STOP TRUMPS DEAL OF THE CENTURY BUT HE IS GOING AGAINST SOMEONE WHO HAS MORE AUTHORITY THAN YOU WILL HAVE AND YOUR ONLY WAY AROUND THAT IS FOR YOU TO ATTACK ISRAEL YOURSELF AND I THINK THAT YOU ARE THAT STUPID TO DO THAT JUST LIKE YOUR FORMER OBAMA ATTACKED LIBYA AND KILLED GADDAFI WHO WAS ONE OF THE RELATIVES TO THE 12 TRIBES OF ISHAMAEL AND HIS ACTION CAUSED THE ARAB SPRING THE BEGINNING OF ISIS WHO KILLED THE PEOPLE IN THE CONSULATE AND TRUMP HAD TO CLEAN UP HIS MESS BY STOPPING ISIS WHICH YOU JUST RELEASE INTENTUAL AGAIN IN YOUR FAILURE IN AFGHANISTAN WHICH WAS NOT AN ACCIDENT IT WAS INTENDED.].

10/13/2021 U.S., EU, Israel Take Tough Stance On Iran, Mull Options by Arshad Mohammed, John Irish and Parisa Hafezi
FILE PHOTO: The Iranian flag waves in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters,
before the beginning of a board of governors meeting, in Vienna, Austria, March 1, 2021. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner
    WASHINGTON/PARIS (Reuters) -U.S., Israeli and EU officials took a tough line toward Iran on Wednesday, with U.S. officials saying they would consider all options if Tehran failed to revive the 2015 nuclear deal and Israel saying it reserved the right to act.
    Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has so far refused to resume indirect talks with the United States in Vienna on both sides returning to compliance with the deal, under which Iran curbed its nuclear program in return for economic sanctions relief.
    “We will look at every option to deal with the challenge posed by Iran,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at a joint news conference with Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed.
    If the Iranians don’t believe the world is serious about stopping them, they will race to the bomb.    Israel reserves the right to act at any given moment in any given way,” Lapid said.    Israel has previously bombed nuclear sites in Iraq and Syria.
    U.S. officials stressed it was still Washington’s preference for the United States, which abandoned the nuclear deal in 2018 during the Trump administration, and Iran, which began violating its nuclear limits about a year later, to resume compliance.
    Iran struck the deal in 2015 with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.    The last round of Vienna talks took place in June and, Iran, beyond saying they would resume “soon,” has not set a new date.
    Iran has long denied any ambition to acquire nuclear weapons.
    A Western diplomat on Wednesday said he thought the earliest talks might happen was in late October, if then.
EU TO VISIT TEHRAN
    The European Union coordinator on Iran, Enrique Mora, plans to visit Tehran on Thursday, a trip diplomats from Britain, France and Germany, a group known as the E3, said came at a critical time as Iran keeps advancing its nuclear program.
    “The nuclear situation has worsened continuously and seriously,” said one E3 diplomat, alluding to Iran’s accelerating enrichment of uranium to higher fissile purity, a possible pathway to a nuclear bomb.
    “This therefore is from our E3 point of view not a ‘business as usual’ but a visit in (the) context of a deep crisis in the JCPOA,” the diplomat added.
    While officials have made similar past statements, taken together the comments suggested a more coercive rhetorical stance toward Tehran if it refused to resume compliance with the deal called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
    Earlier, the U.S. Special Envoy for Iran, Rob Malley, said Washington was ready to consider “all options” if Iran is unwilling to return to the 2015 deal, which was negotiated under then-President Barack Obama and then-Vice President Joe Biden, who is now the U.S. president.
    The phrase “all options,” is typically intended to include the possibility – however remote – of military action.’
    Malley also said he would soon travel to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar to coordinate with Gulf allies.
    “We will be prepared to adjust to a different reality in which we have to deal with all options to address Iran’s nuclear program if it’s not prepared to come back into the constraints,” he said in a virtual appearance at a Washington think tank.
    “There is every possibility that Iran will choose a different path, and we need to coordinate with Israel and other partners in the region.    I will be traveling to Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar in just a matter of days to talk about efforts to come back to (JCPOA) and what options we have to control Iran’s nuclear program if we can’t achieve that goal,” Malley said.
    He said the two sides made headway in their first six rounds of indirect talks in Vienna on reviving the deal but suggested the new Iranian government may take a different stance.
(Reporting by Arshad Mohammed; Additional reporting by Parisa Hafezi in Dubai, John Irish in Paris, Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem; and Humeyra Pamuk, Daphne Psaledakis, and Simon Lewis in Washington; Editing by Howard Goller)

10/14/2021 Israeli Troops Kill Palestinian Throwing Fire-Bomb, Military Says
FILE PHOTO: Israeli soldiers stand guard as demonstrators take part in a protest in support of Palestinian farmers and
against Israeli settlements, in Beita, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank October 10, 2021. REUTERS/Raneen Sawafta
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian man who was throwing fire-bombs at cars near a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, the military said.
    The Palestinian liaison office confirmed the man was killed and that another Palestinian was arrested by the troops. It provided no further details.
    The military wrote on Twitter that the two suspects hurled a fire-bomb at a road leading to an Israeli settlement bloc near the Palestinian city of Bethlehem, endangering drivers.
    Soldiers nearby acted “in order to thwart the threat,” the military said, and opened fire at the two men.    One of the two was wounded and received medical treatment at the scene but succumbed to his wounds, the military said.    The other man was arrested.
    Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East War, along with the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.    Palestinians want those territories for an independent state. U.S.-brokered peace talks between the sides collapsed in 2014.
(Reporting by Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem and Nidal al-Mugrabi in Gaza; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

10/14/2021 U.S. Will Oppose U.N. Human Rights Council’s ‘Disproportionate’ Attention On Israel - State Dept
FILE PHOTO: A general view during a special session of the Human Rights Council on the situation in Afghanistan, at
the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, August 24, 2021. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States has concerns with the United Nations Human Rights Council and will oppose its “disproportionate” attention on Israel, State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters on Thursday after the U.S. was elected back to the council.
    “We have concerns with the council.    We will vigorously oppose the council’s disproportionate attention on Israel, which includes the council’s only standing agenda item targeting a single country,” Price said, adding the United States will also press against the election of countries with “egregious human rights records.”
(Reporting by Simon Lewis, Chris Gallagher and Humeyra Pamuk; Writing by Daphne Psaledakis; Editing by Chris Reese)

10/19/2021 Israel Approves West Bank Residency For 4,000 Undocumented Palestinians
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz wears a face mask as he looks out from the window
of a helicopter during a tour of the Gaza border area, southern Israel, March 2, 2021. REUTERS/Dan Williams
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel announced on Tuesday that it approved registration as West Bank residents for some 4,000 Palestinians who have been living for years in the Israeli-occupied territory without official status.
    The decision affects 2,800 former inhabitants of the Gaza Strip who left the enclave after Hamas Islamist militants seized it in internal Palestinian fighting in 2007, Israel’s COGAT liaison office to the Palestinians said.
    Some 1,200 other Palestinians, among them undocumented spouses and children of West Bank residents, will also receive official standing.
    Inclusion in the Palestinian Population Registry, which Israel controls, will enable the group to receive identification cards.    The documentation will enable passage through Israeli military checkpoints in the West Bank, an area captured in a 1967 war.
    Israel describes the roadblocks, condemned by Palestinians and rights groups as restricting freedom of movement, as a security necessity.
    On Twitter, Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said he approved the 4,000 residency registrations as a humanitarian gesture and “as part of my policy to strengthen the economy and improve the lives of Palestinians” in the West Bank.
    Hussein Al Sheikh, a senior official of the Palestinian Authority (PA) that exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank, said on Twitter that the 4,000 “obtained their right to citizenship” and would receive identification cards.
    Under interim Israeli-Palestinian peace deals that established the PA, Israel committed to approve the residency in the West Bank and Gaza of some 4,000 new spouses of local residents each year under a family reunification programme.
    Israel suspended the approvals when the Palestinian uprising erupted in 2000.    It granted some 32,000 reunification permits in 2008 and 2009, but largely froze the process, save for a smattering of humanitarian cases, since then.
    Gantz gave the new approvals some seven weeks after holding talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah.    It was the highest-level meeting between Abbas and an Israeli minister to be made public since Israel’s new government was formed in June.
    Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, a far-right politician, opposes the creation of a Palestinian state, a divisive issue his cross-partisan government is unlikely to pursue.    Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed in 2014.
(Reporting by Jeffrey Heller, Ali Sawafta and Nidal al-Mughrabi; Writing by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Giles Elgood)

10/22/2021 Israel Designates Palestinian Civil Society Groups As Terrorists, U.N. ‘Alarmed’ by Rami Ayyub
FILE PHOTO: A girl wearing a protective face mask and the headband of the Popular Front for the
Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) looks on during a rally to show solidarity with hunger-striking Palestinian
prisoner Maher Al-Akhras, who is held by Israel, in Gaza City October 12, 2020. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
    TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Israel on Friday designated six Palestinian civil society groups as terrorist organisations and accused them of funnelling donor aid to militants, a move that drew criticism from the United Nations and human rights watchdogs.
    Israel’s defence ministry said the groups had ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLFP), a left-wing faction with an armed wing that has carried out deadly attacks against Israelis.
    The groups include Palestinian human rights organisations Addameer and Al-Haq, which document alleged rights violations by both Israel and the Western-backed Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank.
    “(The) declared organizations received large sums of money from European countries and international organizations, using a variety of forgery and deceit,” the defence ministry said, alleging that the money had supported PFLP’s activities.
    The designations authorise Israeli authorities to close the groups’ offices, seize their assets and arrest their staff in the West Bank, watchdogs Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said in a joint statement.
    Addameer and another of the groups, Defense for Children International – Palestine, rejected the accusations as an “attempt to eliminate Palestinian civil society.”
    The United Nations Human Rights Office in the Palestinian territories said it was “alarmed” by the announcement.
    “Counter-terrorism legislation must not be used to constrain legitimate human rights and humanitarian work,” it said, adding that some of the reasons given appeared vague or irrelevant.
    “These designations are the latest development in a long stigmatizing campaign against these and other organizations, damaging their ability to deliver on their crucial work,” it said.
    Israel’s ally the United States was not given advance warning of the move and would engage Israel for more information about the basis for the designations, State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters.
    “We believe respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and a strong civil society are critically important to responsible and responsive governance,” he said.
    But Israel’s defence ministry said: “Those organizations present themselves as acting for humanitarian purposes; however, they serve as a cover for the ‘Popular Front’ promotion and financing.”
    An official with the PFLP, which is on United States and European Union terrorism blacklists, did not outright reject ties to the six groups but said they maintain relations with civil society organisations across the West Bank and Gaza.
    “It is part of the rough battle Israel is launching against the Palestinian people and against civil society groups, in order to exhaust them,” PFLP official Kayed Al-Ghoul said
.
    Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said the “decision is an alarming escalation that threatens to shut down the work of Palestine’s most prominent civil society organizations.”
    Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war.    Palestinians seek the territories for a future state.
(Reporting by Rami Ayyub in Tel Aviv; Additional reporting by Ali Sawafta in Ramallah, Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza and Stephen Farrell in Jerusalem; Editing by William Maclean and Mark Porter)

10/24/2021 Israeli Official Says Reopening Of U.S. Palestinian Mission In Jerusalem May Not Happen
FILE PHOTO: An American flag flutters at the premises of the former United States
Consulate General in Jerusalem March 4, 2019. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s deputy foreign minister said on Sunday that the Biden administration may shelve its plan to reopen a U.S diplomatic mission for Palestinians in Jerusalem after Israel voiced opposition to such a move.
    The Jerusalem consulate was subsumed into the U.S. Embassy that was moved to the contested city from Tel Aviv in 2018 by the administration of former President Donald Trump – a reversal of U.S. policy hailed by Israel and condemned by Palestinians.
    U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken this month reiterated Washington’s plan to reopen the consulate as part of efforts to repair Palestinian ties.    He did not give timelines.
    “I believe that I have good reason to think this will not happen,” Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll told Israel’s Ynet TV.
    “The Americans understand the political complexity,” Roll said.    “We have very good relations … We don’t believe in surprising them.    I don’t think they will try to surprise us.”
    U.S. Embassy spokespeople could not immediately be reached for comment Israel deems all Jerusalem its undivided capital and says it would not consent to reopening the consulate.    The Palestinians want the city’s east for their own future, hoped-for state.
    Reopening the consulate could weaken nationalist Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and undermine his fragile cross-partisan government, Israeli officials have argued.
(Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Giles Elgood)

10/25/2021 Hosting Emirati General, Israel Sees Airpower Cooperation by Dan Williams
FILE PHOTO: Emirati and Israeli flags fly upon the arrival of Israeli and U.S. delegates at Abu Dhabi
International Airport, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates August 31, 2020. REUTERS/Christopher Pike/File Photo
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The chief of the United Arab Emirates Air Force visited Israel on Monday on what the host country described as a harbinger of cooperation in air power.
    The U.S. allies normalised relations last year, brought together by shared worries about Iran and a desire for business ventures.    Their public embrace has so far been in the diplomatic and commercial, rather than military, spheres.
    Major-General Ibrahim Nasser Mohammed Al Alawi, commander of the UAE air force, made the previously unannounced appearance during a multinational drill, Blue Flag, hosted by Israel this week.
    “This is a truly historic day with tremendous significance for the future of cooperation between our air forces,” his Israeli counterpart, Major-General Amikam Norkin, tweeted.    The statement did not elaborate on how such cooperation might look.
    Israeli media have suggested the UAE – along with Gulf neighbour Bahrain, which also formalized ties with Israel last year – may be interested in joint defences against Iranian-made drones.
    Addressing the United Nations General Assembly last month, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said “Iran plans to arm its proxies in Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon with hundreds, and then thousands of these deadly drones.”
    Iran denies arming any paramilitary forces across the region.    Israel has mounted regular strikes against what it has described as Iranian-linked targets in Syria, including one such attack on Monday, according to Syrian state media.
    Briefing foreign reporters last week, a senior Israeli security official said security cooperation with Arab countries in new partnerships with Israel had “improved and intensified in recent months.”
    He did not name the countries nor detail the cooperation, other than to say it had been enhanced by Israel’s inclusion this year in Centcom, a U.S. military coordination umbrella organization for the Middle East.
(Reporting by Dan Williams; Editing by Howard Goller)

10/27/2021 Israel Moves Ahead With Thousands Of Settler Homes Despite U.S. Opposition by Jeffrey Heller
A view shows the Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, October 27, 2021 REUTERS/Ammar Awad
(Refiles to correct byline, no other changes)
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel moved forward on Wednesday with plans to build some 3,000 homes for Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank, defying the Biden administration’s strongest criticism to date of such projects.
    A senior Palestinian official said the decision showed that Israel’s new government, led by far-right politician Naftali Bennett, was “no less extreme” than the administration of the veteran leader he replaced, Benjamin Netanyahu.
    An Israeli defence official said a planning forum of Israel’s liaison office with the Palestinians gave preliminary approval for plans to build 1,344 housing units and its final go-ahead for projects to construct 1,800 homes.
    It will be up to Defence Minister Benny Gantz, a centrist in Israel’s politically diverse government, to give the nod for construction permits to be issued, with further friction with Washington looming.
    “This government is trying to balance between its good relations with the Biden administration and the various political constraints,” a senior Israeli official told Reuters.
    The United States on Tuesday said it was “deeply concerned” about Israel’s plans to advance thousands of settlement units.    It called such steps damaging to prospects for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and said it strongly opposes settlement expansion.
    Washington desisted from such criticism when President Joe Biden’s Republican predecessor Donald Trump was in office.
    A senior U.S. State department official said Secretary of State Antony Blinken had discussed the issue with Gantz on Tuesday.    Their phone call was first reported by the Axios news website, which cited Israeli officials as saying the chief U.S. diplomat voiced U.S. opposition to the settlement plan.
    The latest projects, as well as tenders published on Sunday https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/israel-advances-plans-new-west-bank-settlement-homes-2021-10-24 for more than 1,300 settler homes, amounted to the first major test case over settlement policy with the Biden administration that took office in January.
    “The behaviour of the Israeli government under Bennett is no less extreme than what it had been under Netanyahu,” Bassam Al-Salhe, a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, told Reuters.
    “The U.S. administration has words, and no deeds, to change the policy that had been put in place by Trump,” Salhe said.
    There was no immediate comment from Washington on Wednesday.
TIGHTROPE
    Walking a political and diplomatic tightrope, Bennett has been facing calls from settler leaders to step up construction.    Such projects are likely to be welcomed by his ultranationalist constituents, who share his opposition to Palestinian statehood.
    But along with the prospect of straining relations with Washington, Bennett could also alienate left-wing and Arab parties in a coalition governing with a razor-thin parliamentary majority, if they view settlement plans as too ambitious.
    Most countries regard the settlements Israel has built in territory it captured in a 1967 Middle East war as illegal.
    Israel disputes this and has settled some 440,000 Israelis in the West Bank, citing biblical, historical and political ties to the area, where 3 million Palestinians live.
    Palestinians seek to create a state in the West Bank and Gaza, with East Jerusalem as its capital.    Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed in 2014.
(Additional reporting by Dan Williams in Jerusalem, Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza and Humeyra Pamuk, Simon Lewis and Matt Spetalnick in Washington; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Howard Goller)


11/3/2021 200 GOP Lawmakers Tell Biden Not To Reopen Jerusalem Consulate For Palestinian Groups by OAN Newsroom
Israelis hold signs and flags during a protest against the possible reopening of the American consulate in front of
the site of the former consulate, in Jerusalem, Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. U. S. President Joe Biden promised in his
election campaign to reopen the consulate for Palestinians in Jerusalem. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
    Republican lawmakers are warning Joe Biden against reopening a U.S. consulate for Palestinian groups in Jerusalem.    In a letter to Biden on Tuesday, 200 congressional Republicans stressed the U.S. is recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and reopening a consulate for the Palestinian authority would strain U.S.-Israeli ties.
    Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) argued the first U.S. diplomatic mission in Jerusalem opened in 1844 and it was not designed as outreach to Palestinians.    Republicans added, the U.S. already has an embassy in Jerusalem.
    Israeli officials are also warning Biden against opening a Palestinian consulate. When asked if this was something officials were willing to sign off on, Israeli Justice Minister Gideon Saar said, “I want to make it very clear, we oppose it.”
    The State Department has yet to comment whether it’s possible to open a diplomatic mission overseas amid objections by the host country.
    [AS YOU MAY KNOW THAT ISRAEL IS DIVIDED INTO 3 SECTIONS, A, B, C.    JERUSALEM IS IN SECTION C.
    SO IF THE UNITED NATIONS STARTS CHANGING THESE ISSUES IT COULD CHANGE THE RULES OF THE HOUSE OF THE UNITED NATION HAS CONTROL OF TO RULE ON ISSUES OF A TWO-STATE OR A PALESTINE STATE WITH ISRAEL IN CONTROL OF JERUSALEM.
    AND EVENTUALLY ISRAEL WOULD POSSIBLY GET TO BUILD THEIR TEMPLE ON THE TEMPLE MOUNT BUT THE INTERSECTION OF THE U.N. COULD GIVE AN ENTITY OF THE U.N. TO ENTER THE ISRAELI TEMPLE AS IT IS MENTIONED IN:
    DANIEL 9:27 “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”
    The biggest problem is Joe BIden is so bone-headed to do stupid things and after the last 8 things he has done that have failed badly that he may do it thinking it was important to do it since Trump had a connection to it or worse Satan told him to do it for that very reason to implement the prophecy
.].

11/4/2021 Senate Confirms Thomas Nides As Ambassador To Israel by OAN Newsroom
Thomas Nides, Vice Chairman of Morgan Stanley and former Deputy Secretary of the State Department, meets U.S. veterans on December 13, 2014,
in Bastogne, during a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge. (ANTHONY DEHEZ/AFP via Getty Images)
    The Senate has confirmed Thomas Nides to serve as ambassador to Israel.    Nides was confirmed in a voice vote on Wednesday.
    He was nominated by Joe Biden back in June and approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last month.    Nides is the Vice Chairman of Morgan Stanley and previously served as Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources in the Obama administration.
    Israel’s ambassador to the UN offered his congratulations to Nides in a tweet.    It read, “I wish you much success in your role and a fruitful tenure at the U.S. Embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem.    I’m sure that you will further strengthen the special bond between Israel and the U.S.”
    Nides has said preserving Israel’s security serves U.S. national security interest and ensures the nation has a strong, reliable and secure partner.    He affirmed the U.S. is committed “to advancing the bonds between our people” and added “Biden announced we will work with Israel in hopes of them joining the visa waiver program.”
    The American Israel Public Affairs Committee also offered congratulations to the newest ambassador stating, “we congratulate Thomas Nides on his confirmation as U.S. ambassador to Israel.    We wish him great success in this critical position.”
[BE SUSPCIOUS WHEN BIDEN SELECTS SOMEONE TO DO BUSINESS IN ISRAEL AND MOST LIKELY WAS SENDING HIM THERE TO UNDO SOMETHING TRUMP DID THERE AND SCEW UP THE ABRAHAM ACCORD AND THE ONE STATE ISSUE WITH THE PALESTINIANS.].

11/6/2021 Israel Suggests U.S Open Consulate For Palestinians In West Bank, Not Jerusalem by Dan Williams
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett reacts during a news conference with Foreign Minister
Yair Lapid and Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman (unseen) at the Government Press Office,
(GPO) in Jerusalem November 6, 2021. Ohad Zwigenberg/Pool via REUTERS
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel stepped up its public opposition on Saturday to a plan by President Joe Biden’s administration to reopen a U.S. consulate for Palestinians in Jerusalem, suggesting such a mission should be in the occupied West Bank.
    Under former President Donald Trump, Washington delighted Israelis and outraged Palestinians by closing the Jerusalem consulate and placing its staff within the U.S. Embassy to Israel that was moved to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv in 2018.
    Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state and saw the U.S. initiative to move its embassy as undermining that aspiration. Israel, which captured East Jerusalem in 1967, calls Jerusalem its indivisible capital.
    Seeking to repair ties with Palestinians, the Biden administration has said it would reopen the consulate, although it has not given a date.
    “My position, and it was presented to the Americans … is that there is no place for a U.S. consulate which serves the Palestinians in Jerusalem.    We are voicing our opinion consistently, quietly, without drama,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told reporters.
    Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, speaking next to Bennett, proposed reopening the consulate in the de-facto seat of Palestinian government in Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank.
    “If they (the United States) want to open a consulate in Ramallah, we have no problem with that,” he said.
    In Ramallah, the spokesman of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rejected Lapid’s comments.     “We will only accept a U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, the capital of the Palestinian state.    That was what the U.S. administration had announced and had committed itself to doing,” Nabil Abu Rudeineh told Reuters. Spokespeople for the U.S. Embassy did not immediately comment.
    U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last month Washington would “be moving forward with the process of opening a consulate as part of deepening of those ties with the Palestinians,” although one of his senior staff also said Israel’s rejection of the plan was an obstacle.
    “My understanding (is) that we need the consent of the host government to open any diplomatic facility,” Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Brian McKeon said during a U.S. Senate hearing when queried on the consulate standoff.
(Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Edmund Blair)

11/6/2021 Israeli Foreign Minister Distances Government From Blacklisted NSO Group
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid speaks during a meeting with his Russian counterpart
Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, Russia September 9, 2021. Alexander Nemenov/Pool via REUTERS
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Saturday distanced the government from the NSO Group, a firm blacklisted this week by the United States over alleged misuse of its phone hacking spyware.
    An investigation by 17 media organisations published in July said NSO’s Pegasus software had targeted smartphones of journalists, rights activists and government officials in several countries.
    The company sends its products abroad under licences from Israel’s Defence Ministry, which has launched its own probe of the company’s practices after the alleged software misuse emerged.
    No results have been announced and Israel has given no indication so far that it was considering limiting the scope of NSO’s exports.
    “NSO is a private company, it is not a governmental project and therefore even if it is designated, it has nothing to do with the policies of the Israeli government,” Lapid told a news conference in Jerusalem.    “I don’t think there is another country in the world which has such strict rules according to cyber warfare and that is imposing those rules more than Israel and we will continue to do so.”
    His comments are the first made publicly by a senior Israeli minister since the U.S. Commerce Department announced the blacklisting on Wednesday.
    In the past, NSO Group has been accused of selling hacking tools to authoritarian regimes.    NSO says it only sells its products to law enforcement and intelligence agencies and takes steps to curb abuse.
    Its inclusion on the U.S. list, for engaging in activities contrary to U.S. national security or foreign policy interests, means that exports to them from U.S counterparts are restricted.
    NSO has said it was “dismayed” by the U.S. decision and that it has ended contracts with government agencies that misused products it promotes as legitimate tools to help crime-fighting authorities battle terrorism.
(Reporting by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Mike Harrison)

11/6/2021 Moroccan King Ignores Algeria Accusation In Speech
FILE PHOTO: Morocco's King Mohammed VI arrives for a lunch at the Elysee Palace as part
of the One Planet Summit in Paris, France, December 12, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
    RABAT (Reuters) – Morocco’s King Mohammed gave a speech about Western Sahara on Saturday but made no mention of an Algerian accusation that Morocco targeted Algerian civilians in an incident last week that the United Nations said took place in the disputed territory.
    Algeria’s accusation has raised fears of further escalation between the North African rivals after Algeria cut off diplomatic relations, stopped supplying gas to Morocco and blocked Algerian airspace to Moroccan flights.
    Ties between the countries have been fractious for years, but have deteriorated since last year after the Algeria-backed Polisario Front said it was resuming its armed struggle for the independence of Western Sahara, a territory Morocco sees as its own.
    King Mohammed’s silence on the dispute with Algeria in his annual speech on Western Sahara is in line with Morocco’s practice since soon after Algeria broke off ties in August in ignoring all statements coming from Algiers.
    However, Algeria’s accusation on Wednesday that Morocco had killed three civilians driving in the Sahara on Monday has sharply raised the stakes.
    Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune vowed in a statement that the death of the three men “would not go unpunished.”
    Morocco has not formally responded to the accusation.
    The U.N. peacekeeping force in Western Sahara, MINURSO, visited the site of the incident in territory outside Moroccan control and found two badly damaged Algerian-plated trucks, a U.N. spokesperson said on Friday.    The spokesperson said MINURSO was looking into the incident.
    Last year the United States recognised Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara as part of a deal that also included Rabat bolstering ties with Israel.
    Morocco has been more assertive since then in pushing European countries to follow suit.    However, they have not done so and in September a European Union court said some European trade deals with Morocco were invalid because they included products originating in Western Sahara territory.
    King Mohammed said on Saturday that Morocco would not agree “any economic or commercial step that excludes the Moroccan Sahara.”
(Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi, writing by Angus McDowall; Editing by Alistair Bell)

11/16/2021 U.S. Intends To Move Forward On F-35 Sale To UAE, U.S. Official Says
FILE PHOTO: F-35 Lightning II pilot U.S. Air Force Captain Kristin "BEO" Wolfe performs the "high-speed pass"
maneuver at approximately .95 mach, which is just below the speed of sound, at the 2020 Fort Lauderdale Air Show
in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S. November 22, 2020. U.S. Air Force/Capt. Kip Sumner/Handout via REUTERS.
    DUBAI (Reuters) -The United States intends to move forward with the sale of 50 F-35 stealth fighters jets to the United Arab Emirates but there must be a clear understanding of “Emirati obligations,” a U.S. official said on Tuesday as progress on the sale slows.
    “We continue consulting with Emirati officials to ensure we have unmistakeable, clear mutually understanding with respect to Emirati obligations and actions before, during and after delivery,” said Mira Resnick a deputy U.S. assistant secretary of state, on a call with reporters, without elaborating on what the obligations were.
    The sale of 50 F-35 warplanes to the UAE has slowed amid concerns in Washington over Abu Dhabi’s relationship with China, including use of Huawei 5G technology in the country.
    “i>Washington continues to press Abu Dhabi on specific commitments regarding how and where the system will be operated once delivered, some of which might be viewed by the UAE as an infringement on its sovereignty,” the head of the U.S.-UAE Business Council, Danny Sebright, told Reuters.
    “Chinese involvement (in) the UAE’s next generation of communications and data networks, China’s presence at UAE naval ports, and China’s offer of certain sensitive military technologies to the UAE are also significant sticking points complicating closure of the F-35 deal with the U.S.
    The United States under then-President Donald Trump agreed to sell the warplane after the UAE last year established ties with Israel.    President Joe Biden’s administration has said this year it would proceed with the sale.
(Reporting by Alexander CornwellEditing by Peter Graff and Jonathan Oatis)

11/19/2021 Britain Outlaws Palestinian Militant Group Hamas -Interior Minister by Stephen Farrell and Alistair Smout
FILE PHOTO: Britain's Home Secretary Priti Patel speaks during a news conference about
the ongoing situation with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, inside
10 Downing Street, in London, Britain January 21, 2021. Matt Dunham/Pool via REUTERS
    JERUSALEM/LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s interior minister Priti Patel on Friday said she had banned the Palestinian militant group Hamas in a move that brings the UK’s stance on Gaza’s rulers in line with the United States and the European Union.
    “Hamas has significant terrorist capability, including access to extensive and sophisticated weaponry, as well as terrorist training facilities,” Patel said in a statement.
    “That is why today I have acted to proscribe Hamas in its entirety.”
    The organisation would be banned under the Terrorism Act and anyone expressing support for Hamas, flying its flag or arranging meetings for the organisation would be in breach of the law, the interior ministry confirmed.    Patel is expected to present the change to parliament next week.
    Hamas has political and military wings. Founded in 1987, it opposes the existence of Israel and peace talks, instead advocating “armed resistance” against Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.
    Until now Britain had banned only its military arm — the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades.
    Hamas political official Sami Abu Zuhri said Britain’s move showed “absolute bias toward the Israeli occupation and is a submission to Israeli blackmail and dictations.”
    “Resisting occupation by all available means, including armed resistance, is a right granted to people under occupation as stated by the international law,” said Hamas in a separate statement.
    The Palestinian Mission to the United Kingdom, which represents President Mahmoud Abbas’s Western-backed Palestinian Authority, also condemned the move.
    Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett welcomed the decision, saying on Twitter: “Hamas is a terrorist organization, simply put.    The ‘political arm’ enables its military activity.”
    Hamas and Israel clashed most recently in a deadly 11-day conflict in May. During the second Palestinian uprising two decades ago, Hamas suicide bombers killed hundreds of Israelis, a campaign publicly backed by its political wing.
‘STRENGTHENING TIES’
    In 2017 Patel was forced to resign as Britain’s international development secretary after she failed to disclose meetings with senior Israeli officials during a private holiday to the country, including then-opposition leader Yair Lapid.
    Lapid, now Israel’s foreign minister, hailed the decision on Hamas as “part of strengthening ties with Britain.”
    Hamas is on the U.S. list of designated foreign terrorist organisations.    The European Union also deems it a terrorist movement.
    Based in Gaza, Hamas won the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary election, defeating its nationalist rival Fatah.    It seized military control of Gaza the following year.
(Reporting by Stephen Farrell in Jerusalem and Aistair Smout in London; Additional reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza; Editing by Toby Chopra)

11/21/2021 Hamas Gunman Kills Israeli In Jerusalem’s Old City, Is Shot Dead By Police
Top Israeli police officials gather near the site of a shooting incident
in Jerusalem's Old City November 21, 2021. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) -A Palestinian gunman from the Islamist group Hamas killed an Israeli and wounded three other people in Jerusalem’s Old City on Sunday before being shot dead by police, officials said.
    The incident, the second attack in Jerusalem in four days, occurred near one of the gates to the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the third-holiest site in Islam.    Jews revere the site as the remnant of two ancient temples.
    Hamas identified the gunman as one of its leaders in East Jerusalem, among areas where Palestinians seek statehood.
    Unlike the more moderate Palestinian Authority which governs in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, refuses permanent coexistence with Israel.
    Britain on Friday banned Hamas, bringing London’s stance in line with the United States and the European Union.
    “On a morning like this one can draw support from the (British) decision to designate Hamas – including what is called its political wing – as a terrorist organisation,” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told his cabinet.
    Sunday’s attack also wounded a second civilian and two Israeli police officers, police said.    The dead civilian was identified as a recent Jewish immigrant from South Africa.
    Israel captured the Old City and other parts of East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed them as its capital in a move not recognised internationally.
(Reporting by Rami Ayyub, Dan Williams, Nisreen Salem and Nidal al-Mughrabi; editing by David Evans, William Maclean)

11/23/2021 Israel Sees Iranian Atomic Bomb In Five Years, Deal Or No Deal by Dan Williams
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett attends a cabinet meeting at the
Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem, November 21, 2021. Abir Sultan Pool via REUTERS
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Iran is five years away from developing a nuclear weapon, and international talks due to restart next week will do nothing to slow it down, Israel said on Tuesday, adding it reserved the right to act to protect itself.
    Indirect negotiations https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/iran-says-nuclear-talks-with-world-powers-resume-nov-29-2021-11-03 to revive the 2015 accord, under which Iran agreed to curbs on its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of international sanctions, are due to resume in Vienna next Monday after a five-month pause.
    Israel long opposed the nuclear deal, but Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government, in power since June, had previously said it could be open to a new deal with tougher restrictions.    In remarks on Tuesday to a security forum, however, he sounded less accomodating.
    Bennett described Iran, which denies it is pursuing nuclear arms, as being at “the most advanced stage” of a nuclear weapons programme.
    “In any event, even if there is a return to a deal, Israel is of course not a party to the deal and Israel is not obligated by the deal,” he told the conference, hosted by Reichman University.
    Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman said: “With or without an agreement, Iran will be a nuclear state and have a nuclear weapon within five years, tops.”
    Israel, itself widely believed to have nuclear weapons, has long argued that the 2015 deal was too weak to prevent Iran from pursuing a bomb. Former U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned the deal in 2018, describing it as too soft, and Iran responded by violating some of the deal’s restrictions. President Joe Biden’s administration aims to revive it.
    Israel has also complained that the nuclear agreement does nothing to rein in Iran’s missile programme, or hostile activity by Iranian-backed militia.
    “The Iranians have encircled the State of Israel with missiles while they sit safely in Tehran,” Bennett said. “To chase the terrorist du jour sent by the (Iranian covert) Qods Force does not pay off anymore.    We must go for the dispatcher.”
    Speaking separately, the chief of Israel’s air force offered cooperation with Gulf Arab partners against Iranian-made attack drones, a rare public airing of the possibility of joint operations.
(Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Giles Elgood)

11/23/2021 Israel Flags Iranian UAV Bases, Offers Counter-Measures To Arab Allies
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz walks past the media during the weekly
cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, August 1, 2021. Abir Sultan/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Israel sharpened its rhetoric against Iranian combat drones on Tuesday, disclosing what it said were two bases used to carry out maritime attacks with the remote-controlled planes and offering to cooperate with Arab partners on counter-measures.
    Gulf Arab countries share Israeli concerns about such drones, seeing the hand of Iran or its allies in aerial attacks on shipping or on energy facilities in Saudi Arabia.    Tehran has often denied such allegations.
    “Today I reveal to you two central bases in the area of Chabahar and Qeshm island in south Iran, from which operations in the maritime arena were launched, and where today, too, advanced Shahed attack drones are deployed,” Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz told a televised security conference.
    Separately, the chief of Israel’s air force proposed working with Arab partners – such as the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, with which Israel formalised ties last year – against the drone threat.
    “It think that this is a great opportunity to create contacts and to build a defence plan for all the countries that have a common interest in protecting themselves,” Major-General Amikam Norkin told the conference, hosted by Reichman University.
    “We can help significantly (against drones), whether in terms of intelligence, detection or interception.”
(Writing by Dan WilliamsEditing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

11/24/2021 Israel Signs Defence Pact With Morocco, As Cooperation With New Arab Partners Builds by Ahmed Eljechtimi
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz attends a cabinet meeting at the
Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem, November 21, 2021. Abir Sultan/Pool via REUTERS
    RABAT (Reuters) – Israel signed a defence pact with Morocco on Wednesday, its latest public display of readiness to advance national security interests in tandem with Arab countries that have drawn closer to it amid shared concern over Iran and Islamist militancy.
    The memorandum of understanding could herald intelligence cooperation, arms deals and joint military training, Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said in Rabat.
    His two-day visit came within weeks of an Israeli-hosted air force drill that was attended by an Emirati general, and naval maneuvers by Israel, UAE and Bahrain.    The two Gulf states, along with Morocco and Sudan, forged relations with Israel last year.
    After the signing ceremony with Abdellatif Loudiyi, Morocco’s defence administration minister, a senior Gantz aide said he saw a Moroccan market for Israeli counter-insurgency know-how.
    “This is a deal that will enable us to help them with what they need from us, of course subject to our interests in the region,” the aide, Zohar Palti, told Israel’s Kan broadcaster.
    “Morocco has for years been battling terror on several fronts, and is a country that is struggling against al Qaeda and global jihadi groups.”
    Rabat had no immediate comment on Wednesday’s agreement.    Its Royal Armed Forces said the countries previously signed an memorandum on cyber cooperation and data security – the latter a possible preamble to purchases of high-end Israeli military technologies.
    Israeli media have speculated about possible sales to Morocco of pilotless aircraft or missile defence systems.
    The chief of Israel’s air force, Major-General Amikam Norkin, declined to discuss any such specific prospects at a conference on Tuesday, saying only that he favoured “airpower diplomacy” with Arab partners to help offset Iran’s clout.
    “I think that this (Gantz visit to Rabat) is an opportunity,” Norkin said, recalling how, at this month’s Dubai Airshow, his Moroccan counterpart had come to introduce himself and “added a few sentences in Hebrew” when they conversed.
    Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid travelled to Morocco in August for the first visit by Israel’s top diplomat to that country since 2003.
(Additional reporting by Dan Williams and Maayan Lubell; Editing by Jeffrey Heller, Alex Richardson and Alistair Bell)

11/27/2021 Jordanians Protest Against Water-For-Energy Deal With Israel by Suleiman Al-Khalidi and Muath Freij
Jordanians carry flags and placards as they demonstrate against the declaration of intent for water-for-energy deal
signed by Israel, Jordan and the UAE, in Amman, Jordan November 26, 2021. REUTERS/Muath Freij
    AMMAN (Reuters) – Several thousand Jordanians protested on Friday against a water-for-energy deal with Israel and the United Emirates, calling on their government to scrap its peace agreement with Israel and saying any normalisation was a humiliating submission.
    Police were deployed heavily around a downtown area of the capital Amman leading to the Husseini mosque where demonstrators marched after Friday prayers.
    “No to the agreement of shame,” protesters chanted, some carrying banners such as “Normalisation is Treason” in a protest organized by a mix of opposition parties including Islamists and leftists as well as tribal groups and unions.
    Jordan, Israel and the UAE signed the deal https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/israel-jordan-partner-water-for-energy-deal-israeli-ministry-says-2021-11-22/#:~:text=JERUSALEM%2FDUBAI%2C%20Nov%2022%20(,deal%20between%20the%20two%20countries last Monday in the presence of U.S. climate envoy John Kerry.     Under the agreement, Jordan would install 600 megawatts of solar power generating capacity to be exported to Israel, while Israel would provide water-scarce Jordan with 200 million cubic metres of desalinated water.
    The UAE, which became the first Gulf state to normalise relations with Israel last year, was expected build the solar plant in Jordan.
    The initiative is subject to feasibility studies, but if it comes to fruition it will be one of the largest regional cooperation projects undertaken between Israel and Arab countries, Western diplomats say.
    “This deal is aimed at linking Jordan with the Zionist entity completely.    It is not a trade deal, it is a normalization deal that is shameful and humiliating,” said Ali Abu Sukkar, a prominent Islamist opposition figure.
    Many Jordanians oppose the normalisation of ties with Israel that resulted from a landmark peace deal in 1994, which opened the way for far-reaching cooperation in energy, water and gas.
    Anti-Israel sentiment runs high in a country where most of the 10 million citizens are of Palestinian origin.    They or their parents were expelled or fled to Jordan in the fighting that accompanied the creation of Israel in 1948.
    After the deal was announced this week sporadic demonstrations sprang up at university campuses across the country in defiance of a ban on protests.    Hundreds of students chanted anti-Israel slogans and called on the government to sever ties with its neighbour and scrap the project.
(Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi Additional reporting by Jehad Abu Shalbak, Editing by William Maclean)
[SOME ENTITY IS TRYING TO THROW A WRENCH INTO THE ABRAHAM ACCORD AND ALL WAS GOING SMOOTH UNTIL THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION BEGAN TO INTERFERE WITH IT SO LETS SEE WHAT COMES OF THIS.].

11/30/2021 U.K. Prime Minister Backs Israel Amid Biden-Iran Nuclear Talks, Says Israel Has Right To Defend Itself by OAN Newsroom
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, left, meets with Jewish community leaders during a visit to the
Talmud Torah synagogue in Rabat, Morocco, Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021. Israel’s defense minister said Thursday
he hopes a better nuclear deal will come out of upcoming talks between world powers and Iran, but that
Israel is hedging its bets and building up its military capabilities. (AP Photo/Ilan Ben Zion)
    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson reiterated his commitment to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.    While speaking at a Conservative Friends of Israel meeting in London on Monday, he said Britain fully supports Israel and he understands that Iran is seeking to destabilize the region.
    “And it is for the sake of peace that the U.K. supports Israel’s right to defend itself with no equivocation, including from hostile states like Iran,” he stated.
    Johnson’s remarks come amid ongoing indirect talks between the Biden administration and the Ayatollah regime to restore the Obama-era nuclear deal.    Israel said even a partial deal would help Iran create a nuclear weapon and must be stopped.
    “We will continue to do everything we can to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and as talks resume in Vienna, we hope that diplomacy could work,” Johnson continued.    “But while the nuclear issue is the most urgent, Iran’s overall behavior has to change.    The attacks at sea, the support for terrorism, the destabilization of the region all form part of the same pattern.”
    The British prime minister said the international community must pressure Iran to stop supporting terror groups, stop attacks on oil tankers and stop destabilizing the Middle East.

12/5/2021 UAE Defence Ministry Says French Warplanes Not A Substitute For U.S. Jets
FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron meets with Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin
Zayed al-Nahyan in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates December 3, 2021. WAM/Handout via REUTERS
    DUBAI (Reuters) – The United Arab Emirates defence ministry said its purchase of French Rafale fighter jets would complement its planned deal to buy American F-35 warplanes, which has slowed due to Washington’s concerns over Abu Dhabi’s relationship with China.
    The Gulf Arab state on Friday ordered 80 Rafales made by Dassault Aviation and 12 Caracal military helicopters made by Airbus Helicopters in an arms contract worth 17 billion euros ($19.2 billion).
    Major General Ibrahim Nasser Al Alawi, commander of the UAE Air Force and Air Defence, said in a statement on state news agency WAM late on Saturday that the Rafale jets would replace the UAE’s French-built Mirage 2000 fleet.
    This deal is not considered as an alternative for the forthcoming F-35 deal, it is rather a complementary deal … as we develop our air force capabilities,” Alawi said, adding the UAE had for some time been looking to replace its Mirage fleet.
    The sale of 50 F-35 warplanes made by Lockheed Martin to the UAE has slowed amid concerns in Washington over Abu Dhabi’s relationship with China, including use of Huawei 5G technology in the country.
    Last month, a U.S. official said the United States intends to move forward with the sale but that there must be a clear understanding of “Emirati obligations.”
    The United States under then-President Donald Trump agreed to sell the jets after the UAE last year established ties with Israel.    President Joe Biden’s administration has said this year it would proceed with the sale.
(Reporting by Ghaida Ghantous;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)
[AS YOU CAN CLEARLY SEE THAT THE ABRAHAM ACCORD MIDEAST COUNTRIES WERE LINING UP TO JOIN IT UNTIL BIDEN AND THE GLOBALIST SOCIALIST ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT WHICH INCLUDES THE EUROPEAN UNION AND CERTAIN ENTITIES IMMEDIATELY BEGAN TO TRY TO CHANGE THE REASONS OF THE ACCORD.].

12/5/2021 New U.S. Ambassador To Israel Meets With President Herzog by OAN Newsroom
Newly-appointed U.S. Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides (R) takes part in a Menorah lighting ceremony
for Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, with Israeli President Isaac Herzog (C) and his
wife Michal in Jerusalem, on December 5, 2021. (Photo by GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP via Getty Images)
    Newly-appointed U.S. Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides delivered diplomatic credentials to the president of the Jewish State.
    “My agenda as ambassador will be first and foremost to reinforce our unshakable and enduring commitment to Israel’s defense,” said Nides.
    During the ceremony in Jerusalem on Sunday, the two officials discussed risks to regional stability posed by Iran and its nuclear aspirations. Nides said the U.S. would replenish the Iron Dome missile defense system and would cooperate with Israeli security forces.
    During their meeting, the Israeli president also warned against restoring a nuclear deal with Iran.
    “We are closely following the international community’s recent negotiations with Iran,” said President Isaac Herzog.    “Israel is keeping all options on the table and it must be said that if the international community does not take a vigorous stance on this issue, Israel will do so.    Israel will protect itself.”
    Meanwhile, the Biden administration has been advancing indirect talks with Iran in Vienna to restore the failed 2015 nuclear deal, despite opposition by Israel.

12/6/2021 Israel Delays Major Settlement Plan For East Jerusalem
A general view of the former Atarot airport near Qalandia in the occupied West Bank where Israel plans to build a
settlement that it would designate as a new neighbourhood of Jerusalem November 25, 2021 REUTERS/ Ronen Zvulun
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – An Israeli state planning committee on Monday delayed granting further approval of a major settlement project in East Jerusalem that has drawn U.S. and Palestinian concern.
    The proposal that envisages building up to 9,000 homes for Jewish settlers, a move that would cement more occupied West Bank lands within Israel’s municipal boundaries for Jerusalem, received preliminary approval last month.
    A Jerusalem district planning and building committee has now decided against moving forward, citing the need for an environmental study, according to a statement from Israel’s Planning Administration.    No timeline for further discussion was given.
    Critics contend that the proposed construction between East Jerusalem and the Palestinian city of Ramallah in the West Bank would further dim any Palestinian hopes for a future state.
    “We hope the government takes advantage of the time to reexamine the damage the plan has on the chance for peace, the development of Jerusalem, and Israel’s relations with the United States,” said Israel’s Peace Now organization, which monitors and opposes Jewish settlement on occupied land.
    The site once housed an airport and is known to Israelis as Atarot.    The Palestinian Foreign Ministry condemned the settlement plan as a bid to finalise “the separation of Jerusalem from our outlying Palestinian area.”
    The Jerusalem municipal committee approved the project on Nov. 24, drawing Israeli media speculation that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett could move slowly towards final approval to avoid friction with Washington over settlement issues.
    Israel captured the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war.    Palestinans seek a state in the West Bank and Gaza, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
    Most world powers deem Israeli settlements in occupied territory as illegal.    Israel, citing historical, biblical and political links to the West Bank and East Jerusalem, disputes this.
    On Sunday, the Atarot project was discussed in a call between Bennett and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, an Israeli statement said, without giving details.
    A State Department spokesperson said Blinken urged Israel and the Palestinians to refrain from any unilateral steps and noted that “advancing settlement activity” could undercut any efforts to negotiate a two-state solution to their conflict.
(Reporting by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Nick Macfie)

12/6/2021 Israeli Prime Minister Urges Countries To Take A Hardline Stance On Iran by OAN Newsroom
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett chairs a cabinet meeting at the prime minister’s office
in Jerusalem, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021. Bennett on Sunday urged world powers to take a hard line
against Iran in negotiations to curb the country’s nuclear program, as his top defense and
intelligence officials headed to Washington amid the flailing talks. (Gil Cohen-Magen/Pool via AP)
    Israel tapped the U.S. and other countries to take a hardline stance against Iran as the countries deliberate reviving the failed nuclear deal.
    On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett urged countries to be wary when dealing with Iran, stressing Iran cannot continue to violate agreements while trying to negotiate new ones.
    Bennett’s sentiments came after deliberations in Vienna ended in a stalemate with U.S. and foreign negotiators reporting Iran had taken a hardline stance of its own.
    “We got an example of the nuclear blackmail I was talking about when, during the Vienna talks, it was published that they (the Iranians) began enriching uranium to 20 percent in advanced centrifuges in the underground facility of Fordo,” said the Israeli Prime Minister.    “This is a very serious stage.    I call on every country negotiating with Iran in Vienna to take a strong line and make it clear to Iran that they cannot enrich uranium and negotiate at the same time.”
    Since Joe Biden took over the U.S. White House, Iran has strengthened their nuclear stockpile far past the agreed amount.

12/11/2021 Palestinians Vote In Local Elections Amid Rising Anger With Abbas by Rami Ayyub and Ali Sawafta
FILE PHOTO: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends a meeting with Russian President
Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia November 23, 2021. Sputnik/Evgeny Biyatov/Kremlin via REUTERS
    RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) – Palestinians held municipal elections in the occupied West Bank on Saturday in a rare democratic exercise and amid rising anger with President Mahmoud Abbas after he cancelled planned legislative and presidential votes earlier this year.
    More than 400,000 Palestinians were eligible to cast ballots for representatives in 154 village councils in the West Bank, where Abbas’ Palestinian Authority has limited self-rule.    Municipal votes are typically held every four or five years.
    But the elections are not being held in Gaza, whose Islamist rulers Hamas are boycotting the vote amid a rift with Abbas’ Fatah party.    And the 86-year-old leader postponed votes in the West Bank’s major cities, like Ramallah, where Fatah’s performance would be seen as a referendum on his rule.
    “These elections cannot be an alternative to legislative elections,” said Ahmad Issa, 23, outside a polling station in the village of Bir Nabala.    “We need (legislative) elections, to give a horizon to youth, and to make reforms, laws and change.”
    Abbas, already sagging in opinion polls, drew widespread anger in April when he cancelled https://www.reuters.com/article/us-palestinians-politics-election-idUSKBN189066 legislative and presidential elections scheduled for the summer, citing Israeli curbs on Palestinian voting in East Jerusalem.
    Abbas’ rivals, including Hamas, accused him of using the Jerusalem voting dispute as an excuse to cancel elections that polls showed he and his party would lose to the Islamist group. Abbas, who has ruled by decree for over a decade, denies this.
    A spokesman for Hamas, which boycotted previous municipal elections in 2012 and 2017, said in a statement the group “refuses to participate in partial elections that are tailored to Fatah, and conducted by the PA,” calling on Abbas to reschedule the cancelled summer votes.
    Hamas has enjoyed a surge in popularity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since fighting an 11-day war with Israel in May.    The group won student council elections this year at several top West Bank universities, an important barometer of support.
    The Palestinians seek statehood in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, territory Israel captured in a 1967 war.    Israel annexed East Jerusalem in a move not recognised internationally, and peace talks between the two sides broke down in 2014.
    Hamas won the Palestinians’ last legislative election, in 2006.    That laid the ground for a political rupture: Hamas seized Gaza after fighting a short civil war with Fatah in 2007, and has ruled the coastal enclave ever since.
(Additional reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza; Editing by Frances Kerry)

12/12/2021 Israeli PM To Pay First Visit To UAE Since Formalising Ties by Dan Williams
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett holds a cabinet meeting at the Prime
Minister's office in Jerusalem, Israel, December 5, 2021. Gil Cohen-Magen/Pool via REUTERS
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will travel to the United Arab Emirates on Sunday and meet the Gulf state’s de facto ruler in the highest-level visit since the countries formalised relations last year.
    The trip comes amid heightened regional tension as world powers’ try to renew a nuclear deal with Iran.    Israel and some Gulf Arabs share concern over Iranian activities in the region.
    “I will be going out today to the United Arab Emirates, in the first visit ever by an Israeli prime minister,” Bennett told a meeting of his cabinet on Sunday.
    There was no immediate confirmation from Abu Dhabi.
    The UAE along with Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco moved toward normal ties with Israel under a U.S.-sponsored initiative dubbed the “Abraham Accords” in reference to the biblical patriarch revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims.
    Bennett’s trip on Sunday would be the first by an Israeli premier to any of those four countries.    Trips planned by his predecessor and Abraham Accords signatory Benjamin Netanyahu were cancelled, with Israel citing COVID-19 travel curbs and difficulties in arranging a flight over Jordanian territory.
    Bennett will meet Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan on Monday, the Israeli prime minister’s office said.
    The two leaders will discuss deepening ties, with an emphasis on economic issues that will contribute to prosperity, welfare and strengthening stability between the countries, the Israeli statement added.
(Reporting by Dan Williams, Rami AyyubEditing by Ari Rabinovitch and Raissa Kasolowsky)

12/12/2021 Analysis-Stuck In The Middle? UAE Walks Tightrope Between U.S, Israel And Iran by Ghaida Ghantous and Aziz El Yaakoubi
FILE PHOTO: Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan gestures as he walks
outside Downing Street in London, Britain, September 16, 2021. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
    DUBAI (Reuters) – The United Arab Emirates is walking a diplomatic high wire between superpower ally Washington, new friend Israel and old adversary Iran as it seeks to avoid a costly regional conflict that could torpedo its trade and tourism ambitions.
    Abu Dhabi hosts Israel’s prime minister this week and will receive a U.S. delegation seeking to warn companies in the UAE about compliance with sanctions on Iran over its nuclear activities.    The Gulf state also dispatched a senior official to Tehran last week in a bid to mend ties and contain tensions.
    The whirl of diplomacy marks a shift in foreign policy approach for the UAE, which is retreating from military adventurism after having waded into a series of damaging conflicts over the past decade, from Yemen to Libya, according to Emirati officials, analysts and regional diplomats.
    “We need to avoid a major conflict that will embroil the United States or indeed the countries in the region,” senior UAE official Anwar Gargash told a U.S.-based think-tank on Thursday.    “Our interest is to try and avoid it at all costs.”
    The United States and Israel have recently increased rhetorical pressure on Iran about possible economic or military consequences should efforts to salvage a 2015 nuclear pact fail.
    World powers are trying to bring both Washington and Tehran back into full compliance with the pact, which then-President Donald Trump quit in 2018. He re-imposed sanctions, prompting Tehran to gradually violate the nuclear limits of the 2015 deal.
    Abu Dhabi, which forged ties with Israel last year, shares U.S. and Israeli concerns about Iran’s nuclear ambitions along with its missiles programme and regional proxies.    But it is trying to balance curtailing Iran with protecting its economic interests as a tourism and commercial hub post COVID-19 in the face of increasing economic competition in the region.
    “It is time to de-escalate, not escalate.    If Israel is in this mood, we are not going to share it,” said UAE political analyst Abdulkhaleq Abdulla.
    Gargash, diplomatic adviser to the UAE president, told the Arab Gulf States Institute that neither the region nor Washington want another conflict like Iraq or Afghanistan.
    Iran rejects Western suspicions that it is seeking atomic weapons, saying its nuclear activities are for civilian energy purposes.    It says it abided by the terms of the 2015 deal in good faith, and wants all sanctions imposed by the United States after Trump abandoned the deal to be lifted.
AMERICA IS ‘ABSOLUTE PRIORITY’
    The UAE and Saudi Arabia, while pressing global powers to address Iran’s missile programme and regional behaviour, are wary of a repeat of 2019 attacks on tankers in Gulf waters and on Saudi oil facilities that forced the kingdom to temporarily shut down more than half its crude output.
    The UAE “needs to hedge as best as it can to offset Iranian punitive actions, but there can be no doubt that its relationship with the U.S. is absolute priority,” said Neil Quilliam, associate fellow at Chatham House.
    Gulf nations rely heavily on the United States for security but there is deepening uncertainty over the U.S. regional role.    Israel has broached setting up joint defences with Gulf states following normalisation of ties with the UAE and Bahrain.
    The UAE signed a $23 billion deal at the tail end of the Trump presidency to buy American-made F-35 fighter jets, drones and other defence equipment.    But the sales progress has since slowed amid U.S. concerns over UAE ties with China, a major Emirati trade partner.
    Gargash said the UAE had recently halted work on Chinese facilities at an Emirati port after Washington voiced concern that they had military purposes.
    The UAE, Gargash said, wants to find a “common economic denominator” to improve ties with Iran, Turkey and Syria, even as Abu Dhabi builds on relations forged with Israel.
    In a sign Washington is cranking up economic pressure on Iran, Treasury official Andrea Gacki is due to visit the UAE as part of a delegation on Monday for what the State Department said were discussions with private sector firms and financial institutions that “facilitate non-compliant Iranian commerce.”
    The UAE, long one of Iran’s main links to the outside world with business ties stretching back a century, saw its exports with Iran shrink from $14 billion in 2017 to $7 billion in 2019 according to World Bank data.    Flows have started to recover.
    Analyst Abdulla said there was no appetite in the UAE for further economic penalties on Iran.
    “We have done our job and done our share of compliance in the past five, six years,” he added.    “But enough is enough.    Nobody is in the mood in Abu Dhabi to go for more sanctions.    That is very clear.”
(Reporting by Ghaida Ghantous and Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Pravin Char)

12/13/2021 Israeli Leader Begins First Visit To UAE As Iran Tensions Surge
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett holds a cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's
office in Jerusalem, Israel, December 5, 2021. Gil Cohen-Magen/Pool via REUTERS
    ABU DHABI (Reuters) -Prime Minister Naftali Bennett began the first official visit by an Israeli leader to the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, seeking to strengthen Gulf ties at a time of heightened regional tension as world powers try to revive a nuclear deal with Iran.
    Bennett, a far-right politician who took office as the head of a broad Israeli coalition government in June, plans to hold talks on Monday with the UAE’s de facto leader, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan.
    The diplomatic outreach comes as world powers negotiate with Iran on salvaging a 2015 nuclear deal opposed by Israel and abandoned in 2018 by then-U.S. President Donald Trump.
    Since August 2020, the UAE, followed by Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco, have moved to normalise ties with Israel under a U.S.-sponsored initiative dubbed the “Abraham Accords” after the biblical patriarch revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims.
    Bennett’s UAE trip is the first by an Israeli premier to any of those countries since the accords.     On arrival in Abu Dhabi after a flight from Tel Aviv, Bennett was welcomed by an honour guard and the UAE’s foreign minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed.
    “What a wonderful reception.    I am very excited to be here on behalf of my people (on the) first official visit of an Israeli leader here,” Bennett said.    “We are looking forward to strengthening the relationship,” he added.
    Israel has broached setting up joint defences with Gulf Arab states that share its concern over Iranian activities.    Pursuing economic, health and energy ties with its new ally, the UAE has signed dozens of memorandums of understanding with Israel since the Abraham Accords were signed.
    Yet the UAE has also reached out to its Iran, sending its senior national security adviser there last Monday to meet his Iranian counterpart and President Ebrahim Raisi.
    A flight-tracking app showed Bennett’s El Al Israel Airlines plane overflying Saudi Arabia, which does not have formal ties with Israel, en route to Abu Dhabi.    Riyadh agreed last year to allow Israel-UAE flights to cross its territory despite the absence of official ties.
    The rapprochement in the Gulf has been condemned by Palestinians, whose diplomacy with Israel stalled in 2014.
(Writing by Jeffrey Heller in Jerusalem, Additional reporting by Rami Ayyub, Ali Sawafta, Nidal al-Mughrabi and Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Ari Rabinovitch, Raissa Kasolowsky, Pravin Char and Jane Merriman)

12/13/2021 Israeli PM To Discuss Iran, Bilateral Issues With Crown Prince In UAE
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett walks with United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan during
a welcoming ceremony upon his arrival in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates December 12, 2021. WAM/Handout via REUTERS.
    ABU DHABI (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will discuss Iran as well as bilateral issues during his landmark meeting with the de facto ruler of the United Arab Emirates on Monday, an Israeli envoy said, following outreach by the Gulf state to Tehran.
    Shared concern about Iranian activity was among reasons for the formalisation of Israel-UAE relations last year under a U.S.-led regional initiative known as the Abraham Accords.
    With world powers now trying to renew an Iran nuclear deal, Abu Dhabi last week sent an top envoy to its Persian neighbour.    A U.S. delegation is due in UAE this week to warn Emirati banks against non-compliance with Iran sanctions.
    Iran is Israel’s arch-foe.    But it has not been mentioned publicly by Bennett since he set off on Sunday for the first visit by an Israeli premier to UAE with pledges to promote bilateral commerce and other forms of civilian cooperation.
    “I suppose that it will not be a secret that this subject (Iran) will certainly come up” in Bennett’s meeting with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the Israeli ambassador to Abu Dhabi, Amir Hayek, said.
    Israel Hayom newspaper, citing unnamed officials, said Bennett was expected to brief Sheikh Mohammed on intelligence regarding Iranian-supplied militias and drones in the region.
    Hayek declined to elaborate on any discussion of Iran.    “The prime minister did not only come here solely to address the Iranian issue,” he told Israel’s Army Radio in an interview.
    Israel last month broached setting up joint defences against Iran with Gulf Arab states.    Hayek said military sales to UAE are in the works, though Israeli industry sources say advanced Israeli air defence systems have yet to be offered.
    “Israel is in cooperation with a new friend, with a partner for the long-term, and the considerations will be both considerations of defence and also considerations of how you work with a country which is very, very, very friendly to Israel,” Hayek said.
    Israel-UAE bilateral trade in goods alone reached nearly $500 million so far in 2021 – up from $125 million in 2020 – and is expected to continue growing rapidly.
(Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Michael Perry)

12/14/2021 UAE Will Suspend Talks With US On F-35 Jets, Says Official
FILE PHOTO: A formation of U.S. Air Force F-35 Lightning II fighter jets perform aerial maneuvers during
as part of a combat power exercise over Utah Test and Training Range, Utah, U.S. November 19, 2018.
Picture taken November 19, 2018. U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Cory D. Payne/Handout via REUTERS.
    DUBAI (Reuters) – The United Arab Emirates has informed the United States that it will suspend discussions to acquire U.S.-made F-35 fighter jets, a UAE official said on Tuesday, part of a $23 billion deal that also includes drones and other advanced munitions.
    “Technical requirements, sovereign operational restrictions, and cost/benefit analysis led to the re-assessment,” the official said in a statement to Reuters, adding that discussions for the F-35 aircraft “may be re-opened in the future.”
(Reporting by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Gareth Jones)

12/18/2021 Settlers Clash With Palestinians In Aftermath Of West Bank Killing by Ali Sawafta and Nidal al-Mughrabi
Mourners carry the body of Palestinian Ahmed Manasrah, during his funeral near Bethlehem,
in the Israeli-occupied West Bank March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman
    HOMESH, West Bank (Reuters) – The United Nations Mideast peace envoy warned against escalating tensions on Friday after Palestinian gunmen killed an Israeli in the occupied West Bank and Jewish settlers were accused of attacking Arab villages in the aftermath.
    Yehuda Dimentman, 25, was killed on Thursday in an ambush on his car as he left Homesh, an Israeli settlement in the northern West Bank that was evacuated in 2005 and is now home to a religious seminary.
    On Friday hundreds of mourners boarded armoured buses to Homesh for a memorial service at which some called for the settlement to be re-established.
    Even as the procession took place Palestinians reported settlers attacking nearby villages, shooting, hurling stones and injuring one man in his home in Qaryut.    Settler leaders said Palestinians also threw rocks at Israelis.
    Tor Wennesland, the U.N. special coordinator, said he was “alarmed” by the escalation.
    “Last night, Palestinian assailants opened fire toward an Israeli vehicle near Nablus in which one Israeli was killed and two others injured.    Since this morning there have been several retaliatory attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinians,” he said.    “These tragic incidents, and numerous others in recent weeks, highlight the volatility of the current situation.”
    No Palestinian group claimed responsibility for the latest shooting, which follows several Palestinian attacks on Israelis in recent weeks. Palestinians also complain of attacks by settlers, whose residence in the West Bank the international community considers illegal.
    Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, a former head of the West Bank’s main settler movement, sent his “deepest condolences” to Dimentman’s family on Friday.
    “We will not be silent until we have caught and dealt with the vile murderers,” he said on Twitter.
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ office accused the settlers of intimidating Palestinians “with the encouragement and protection of the Israeli occupation government,” according to the official Wafa news agency.
    There were also clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police in the flashpoint East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.
    The Associated Press news agency said one of its photographers, Mahmoud Illean, was “pushed and beaten by Israeli police in an unprovoked attack” while covering the protests, requiring hospital treatment.
    The AP said it was “outraged” and the Foreign Press Association called for an investigation.    In response, a police spokeswoman said officers “used means to disperse riots to maintain public order” and that the incident would be investigated.
(Reporting by Ronen Zvulun and Rami Amichay in Homesh, Ali Sawafta in Ramallah and Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza; Writing by Stephen Farrell in Jerusalem; Editing by Giles Elgood and Mark Porter)

12/27/2021 Syria Condemns Israeli Plans To Double Number Of Golan Settlers
FILE PHOTO: Fences are seen on the ceasefire line between Israel and Syria in
the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, March 25, 2019. REUTERS/Ammar Awad/File Photo
    BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syria’s foreign ministry on Monday condemned Israeli plans to double the number of Jewish settlers in the Golan Heights within five years as a “dangerous and unprecedented escalation,” Syrian state media reported.
    Israel’s cabinet approved nL1N2TB06Y a blueprint on Sunday to build some 7,300 additional housing units on the strategic plateau that it captured from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war, in a move that could tighten its hold on the territory.
    “Syria strongly condemns the dangerous and unprecedented escalation by the Israeli occupation authorities” in the Golan, the state-run SANA news agency said, adding Damascus would seek to use all legally available means to retake the territory.
    Syria has long demanded the return of the 1,200-square-km (460-square-mile) strip of land, which also overlooks Lebanon and borders Jordan.
(Reporting by Omar Fahmy; Writing by Ahmad Elhamy in Cairo and Timour Azhari in Beirut; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

12/28/2021 Israel Hits Syrian Port For Second Time This Month – Syrian State Media
A still image from a video footage shows a firefighter dousing flames at the
Syrian port of Latakia, Syria, December 28, 2021. SANA/Handout via REUTERS
    CAIRO (Reuters) - Israel launched an air strike on the Syrian port of Latakia on Tuesday, setting ablaze the container storage area and damaging nearby buildings in a second attack on the facility this month, Syrian state media reported.
    An Israeli military spokesperson declined to comment.    “We don’t comment on foreign reports,” the spokesperson said.
    The Syrian reports made no mention of any casualties.
    Israel has mounted frequent attacks against what it says are Iranian targets in Syria, where Tehran-backed forces including Lebanon’s Hezbollah have deployed over the last decade in support of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s civil war.
    Citing a military source, Syrian state news agency SANA said Israel had carried out the air strike targeting the container storage area at 3.21 a.m. (0121 GMT), causing a fire and leading to “big material damages.”
    Fire fighters were working to extinguish the blaze, SANA cited the head of the Latakia fire brigade as saying.    The containers targeted in the strike contained oils and spare parts for machines and cars, it quoted him as saying.
    Footage aired by the Syrian state TV showed flames and smoke in the container area.
    Citing its correspondent, state-run broadcaster al-Ikhbariya said a number of residential buildings, a hospital and a number of shops and tourist facilities had been damaged by the power of the blasts.
    Russia, which has been Assad’s most powerful ally during the war, operates an air base at Hmeimim some 20 km (12 miles) away from Latakia.
(Reporting by Yasmin Hussein and Alaa Swilam in Cairo and Jeffrey Heller in Jerusalem; Writing by Alaa Swilam and Tom Perry; Editing by Himani Sarkar, Michael Perry and Gareth Jones)

12/29/2021 Israeli Defense Minister Meets With Palestinian President
Israel's Defense Minister Benny Gantz speaks during a meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin following an enhanced
honor cordon arrival ceremony at the Pentagon, in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., December 9, 2021. REUTERS/Ken Cedeno
    Jerusalem (Reuters) -Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on Wednesday that he met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to strengthen economic and security ties.
    The meeting, their second since Abbas hosted Gantz in August in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, was held late on Tuesday at Gantz’s home in Israel, Israel’s public broadcaster Kan reported, a first such trip for Abbas in more than a decade.
    Palestinian official Hussein al-Sheikh said the two discussed the “importance of creating a political horizon,” for the solution of the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.    The last round of peace talks collapsed in 2014.
    “We discussed the implementation of economic and civilian measures, and emphasized the importance of deepening security coordination and preventing terror and violence – for the well-being of both     Israelis and Palestinians,” Gantz said on Twitter.
    Their talks mark the highest-level public meetings between Abbas and an Israeli minister since Israel’s new government was formed in June.
    But few see prospects for a resumption of peace talks with Israel’s coalition government headed by hawkish Prime Minister Naftali Bennett who opposes Palestinian statehood.
    The Palestinians seek an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza with a capital in east Jerusalem.    Israel captured those territories in the 1967 Middle East war.
    The Palestinians have limited self-rule in the West Bank.    Israel annexed east Jerusalem in a move unrecognized internationally and in 2005 pulled out of Gaza, which is now controlled by Islamist armed group Hamas.
    Hamas, which has fought several wars with Israel, condemned the Abbas-Gantz talks.
(Reporting by Ali Sawafta in Ramallah, Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem, Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza and Ahmed Tolba in Cairo; Editing by Richard Pullin)

12/29/2021 Gaza Border Violence Erupts After Palestinian President Visits Israel
FILE PHOTO: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends a meeting with Russian President Vladimir
Putin in Sochi, Russia November 23, 2021. Sputnik/Evgeny Biyatov/Kremlin via REUTERS/File Photo
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) -An Israeli was wounded in a shooting attack on the Gaza border on Wednesday, the military said, after a rare visit to Israel by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas drew condemnation from the enclave’s Hamas rulers.
    The Israeli military said it responded to the shooting with tank fire, targeting Hamas posts in the northern Gaza Strip. Gaza health officials said three Palestinian farmers were wounded.
    Israel’s Defence Minister Benny Gantz hosted Abbas in his home late on Tuesday, the Western-backed Palestinian leader’s first such visit to Israel in more than a decade, although it signalled few prospects for any resumption of long-stalled peace negotiations.
    Following their talks, the Israeli Defence Ministry announced a series of what it described as “confidence-building measures” that would ease the entry of hundreds of Palestinian business people to Israel.
    In Gaza, Hazem Qassem, a Hamas spokesman, said that by meeting Gantz, Abbas was “deepening Palestinian political divisions” and encouraging accommodation with “the occupation”, a term the Islamist militant group uses to describe Israel.
    There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the shooting attack from Gaza, which the Israeli military said slightly wounded the civilian.    The border has been largely quiet since an 11-day war between Israel and Gaza militants in May.
‘POLITICAL HORIZON’
    Abbas and Gantz last met in August, in the occupied West Bank. Palestinian official Hussein al-Sheikh said that at Tuesday’s talks they discussed the “importance of creating a political horizon” for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    Gantz, in his summation of the meeting on Twitter, made no mention of a peace process, stalled since 2014 after U.S.-backed talks collapsed.    Palestinians seek to establish a state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
    “We discussed the implementation of economic and civilian measures, and emphasised the importance of deepening security coordination and preventing terror and violence – for the well-being of both Israelis and Palestinians,” Gantz wrote.
    Israel’s multi-party government is deeply divided over the statehood issue. Palestinian rivalries remain strong, with Hamas, which has fought four wars with Israel, running the Gaza Strip.
    In a move that could ease travel for thousands of Palestinians, the Defence Ministry said Gantz approved registration as West Bank residents for some 6,000 people who had been living in the territory, captured by Israel in a 1967 war, without official status.
    Another 3,500 people from Gaza would also receive residency documentation, the ministry said.
    The meeting followed several Palestinian attacks on Israelis in recent weeks in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.    Palestinians also complain of attacks by Israeli settlers.
(Reporting by Ali Sawafta in Ramallah, Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem, Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza and Ahmed Tolba in Cairo; Writing by Jeffrey Heller in Jerusalem; Editing by Richard Pullin and Alex Richardson)

12/31/2021 Israel Signs Deal To Buy $2 Billion In U.S. Helicopters, Tankers by Dan Williams
FILE PHOTO: A photograph of a CH-53 helicopter is pictured at the booth of Sikorsky
- Lockheed Martin company during preparation for the ILA Berlin Air Show in Schoenefeld,
south of Berlin, Germany, May 31, 2016. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/File Photo
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel has signed a deal with the United States to buy 12 Lockheed Martin Corp CH-53K helicopters and two Boeing Co KC-46 refuelling planes, the Israeli Defence Ministry said on Friday, estimating the total price at around $2 billion.
    The deal, signed on Thursday, is part of an upgrade of Israel’s air force capabilities and includes an option to buy six additional helicopters, a ministry statement said.
    It said the first helicopters were due to arrive in Israel in 2026.    Brigadier-General Shimon Tsentsiper, chief of materiel for the air force, told Israel’s Army Radio on Thursday that the refuelling planes on order would not be delivered before 2025.
    He said Israel was trying to bring forward the delivery of the KC-46s, and eventually wanted a total of four of them.
    Israeli media have speculated that the refuelling planes could be crucial for carrying out a long-threatened air strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.    Tsentsiper said the air force’s current refuelling capacities were sufficient for its missions.
(Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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