Netanyahu visits Western Wall and gives speech ahead of Congress address

Netanyahu states his responsibilities as “to worry not only about the State of Israel, but also the future of the Jewish people’; Iran FM calls Netanyahu Congress address “fruitless”

Netanyahu Saturday night at Western Wall (Jpost)

Netanyahu Saturday night at Western Wall (Jpost)

Prime Minister Netanyahu visited the Kotel (The Western Wall) in Jerusalem at the end of the Sabbath ahead of his visit to the United States where he will speak before Congress, addressing the threats nuclear Iran and of radical Islam.

The Prime Minister will leave Israel for the United States tomorrow, having been invited by the Republics with much controversy over the past month due to the White House’s disapproval and protest against many Democrats.

Netanyahu stated on Saturday night “On the eve of my flight to the US I wanted to come to the Kotel. This is a chance for me to say that I respect President Barack Obama. I have faith in the strength of the bonds between Israel and the US, and through them we will overcome the disagreements we have and will continue to have. As prime minister, it is my responsibility to look after Israel and therefore we firmly object to the developing deal (with Iran over its nuclear program) which can threaten our very existence. We must unite in face of such an agreement and give voice to the threats it entails for Israel and the world.”

Netanyahu added, “My responsibility is to worry not only about the State of Israel, but also the future of the Jewish people- to stand up and raise our voice. Seventy, eighty years ago no one could raise their voice when there were plans to destroy us. Today there is, and it is my obligation.”

Meanwhile in Iran, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Java Zarif stated that Netanyahu’s Congress speech is “fruitless” stating, “I believe this effort is fruitless and it should not be an impediment to an agreement. It is unfortunate that there is a group which sees its interests in tension and crisis.” His comments were made in a press conference with Italian MP Paolo Gentiloni.

Zarif accused Netanyahu of “an attempt to utilize a fabricated crisis to cover up realities in the region, including occupation, the suppression of Palestinians and the violation of their rights. It is an on old policy to intimidate and spread lies in order to prevent peace in the region.”

 

Temperatures rise drastically through out Israel

Tel Aviv Marathon cancelled just hours into race; Heat rise through out all of Israel

Gordon Beach (Yulia Portos)

Gordon Beach (Yulia Portos)

Temperatures through out Israel drastically rose Friday and are to continue rising over the next days. Temperature were as high 28 degrees Celsius in Tel Aviv, 22 in Haifa and 18 in Jerusalem.

The highest temperature was in the south of Israel reaching 47 degrees Celsius.

The Tel Aviv Marathon was halted just a few hours after it had started due to the heat rise. Two were hospitalized for heat-related injuries and over 90 treated by medics and medical staff.

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Meteorologist Tsach Waxman explained the heat rise as a “most extreme situation” stating that “Last week a situation occurred in the atmosphere that allowed extremely cold air originating in Russia to arrive east of the Mediterranean Sea. The air arriving today is making its way from the Sahara Desert, and is bringing hot weather.”

Israel has had a long winter including two major storms. The country has received the highest rainfall in years, as well as snow in all of northern Israel, through out the Galilee, Jerusalem and the surrounding mountains as well as Be’er Sheva.

PM calls Congress address his “final chance to block a deal between the world powers and Iran

Netanyahu and Ya’alon continue to warn against deal with Iran; Negotiations reported successful and to resume on Monday: Kerry present at talks

Netanyahu and Ya'alon

Netanyahu and Ya’alon

Iran and world powers completed three days of negotiations over the weekend in Geneva, with reports of released to the public earlier this week on the progress of talks. US

According to reports, the United States and Iran are currently working on a “two-phase deal” with several sources claiming talks are making success ahead of the March 31 deadline. Secretary of State John Kerry was present for the last part of the talks.

World powers are to meet with the Iranian negotiation delegation next Monday, the location still undecided.

On Monday, Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon warned against an agreement with Iran, stating that Iran was the most dangerous regime and threat to the Middle East religion. He stated, “The agreement with Iran as it is coming together now is a great danger to Western world peace and a threat to Israel’s security.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Netanyahu continued to warn against any agreement with Iran warning of Iran’s intentions to create nuclear weapons. During a visit to the IDF’s Southern Command alongside Defense Minister Ya’alon, Netanyahu also addressed Iran’s ongoing support of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

He stated that any deal with Iran would “allow Iran to become a nuclear threshold state. That is to say, with the agreement of the world powers, Iran will be given license to develop the ability to make a bomb…. This Iran openly announces its intention to destroy the state of Israel. Unfortunately, the information I have received in recent days reinforces our fears in regard to the emerging deal between world powers and Iran. He added that his speech scheduled for March 2 to Congress as his “final chance to block a deal between the world powers and Iran.”

Suspected terror attack in Jerusalem

Suspected stabbing-terror attack in Jerusalem; Attacker being interigated – victim in moderate condition

Victim rushed to hospital

Victim rushed to hospital

A man was stabbed by an Arab teenager in Jerusalem in a suspected terror attack Sunday evening. The 18-year was caught and taken into custody for questioning.

The attack took place across from Jerusalem’s City Hall where the mayor, Nir Barakat witnessed the attack and reportedly ordered security to stop him. He stated on the attack, “I was traveling in a car next to the Safra Square when my team suddenly saw a terrorist with a knife right next to us. I immediately jumped out of the car together with my team, (my bodyguard) pulled out his gun and together we held the terrorist until security forces arrived. We also attempted to treat the victim on the scene.”

The victim, 27, was rushed to a nearby hospital sustaining moderate wounds.

Security has been raised in public areas including the Square where the attack took place.

Heavy storms and snow through out Israel

Snow in Jerusalem, north of Israel and even Be’er Sheva; Heavy rainstorms and winds as well as hail

Amir Tsarfati

Amir Tsarfati

Heavy storms continued through out Israel and are expected to go on through the weekend.

The north of Israel, Jerusalem, regions in the Galilee and as far south as Be’er Sheva received snow. It is the first time snow has fallen in Be’er Sheva in several years. Dozens of centimeters of snow lay through out Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, with 30 centimeters reported in the Golan Heights and 25 in Jerusalem.

Snow fell in Haifa as well with northern regions with heavy snow cancelling school for the day.

Heavy winds and rainstorms have been ongoing through out Israel, with flooding and slight damages causing heavy traffic and some power outages. There were also several hail storms through out the center and south of Israel.

The Mediterranean Sea is expected to rise 600 meters with rainstorms to continue through Saturday night. Regions close to rivers are on high alert due to flooding.

Netanyahu: Iran is refusing to reveal to the world its preparations for the production of nuclear weapons

Report by IAEA reports “transparency” in nuclear program alterations however that Iran has not “addressed al questions” given by the agency; Negotiations to resume Friday in Geneva

Prime Minister Netanyahu  (Eli Mandelbaum)

Prime Minister Netanyahu (Eli Mandelbaum)

Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed a recent report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that Iran “has not addressed all questions given by the agency on its nuclear program”. Netanyahu accused Iran of concealing plans to create a nuclear weapons, stated that the report is proof of Iran’s intentions to create nuclear arms.

He stated, “The IAEA report again notes that Iran is refusing to reveal to the world its preparations for the production of nuclear weapons. Iran insists on hiding this from the international community at a time when the major powers are continuing to try and allow Iran to produce the core of such weapons, enriched uranium. These do not go together.”

Addressing negotiations between world powers and Iran, which are set to end with a framework agreement by March 31, Netanyahu stated “The major powers do not need to court Iran to agree to accept the possibility of producing nuclear weapons even as the latter refuses to divulge the details of the preparations for its nuclear weapons.”

Iranian Ambassador to the IAEA Reza Najafi stated that the recently released report indicated “the complete transparency of Iran’s peaceful nuclear program…. With regards to the implementation of agreed practical measures, Iran has completed most of them.” According to the IAEA, Iran has followed through with the interim agreement signed with world powers in November of 2013 including the halting of uranium enrichment in IR-5 centrifuges at the Natanz nuclear facility.

According to a report by the IAEA released Thursday, the IR-5 has been disconnected, the document released to member states stating, “The disconnection reflects Iran addressing concerns about its enrichment of uranium…The disconnection provides additional confidence that Iran is abiding by its commitments under the Joint Plan of Action.”

Negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran are to resume on Friday in Geneva with daily reports of success and progress in talks.

Irananian President confirms progress in nuclear talks

Iranian President confirms progress in talks ahead of deadline; Ayatollah threatens gas imports halt if sanctions not pulled; Diplomat confirms limited briefing to Israel on nuclear talks

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at WEF (AP)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at WEF (AP)

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani confirmed reports that progress is being made in nuclear talks with world powers. Talks between the P5+1 and Iran are set to end with a framework agreement by March 31 to be implemented by the end of June this year.

Rouhani stated that, Iran has “made highly important progress in the nuclear field, but the negotiations receive so much attraction and hue and cry that they overshadow these activities; otherwise, we are running at a higher speed.”

He insisted that Iran’s nuclear efforts are peaceful and for science only, denying any intention for creating nuclear arms. He stated on negotiations that “We don’t and will not take permission from anyone to make progress in science and knowledge.”

Meanwhile Iranian Supreme Ruler Ayatollah Ali Knamenei threatened to resist sanctions by world powers on Iran by cutting gas exports if needed. He stated that “The enemy is using the lever of sanctions to the hilt and their goal is to stop our people’s progress. I believe that if we allow them to dictate to us on the nuclear issue, they will still keep the sanctions in place because what they are against is the very foundation of our revolution.”

He added that “hard work must be done” to make a deal with world powers to lift sanctions stating, “We can withstand the sanctions and neutralize and foil the enemy’s goals. If we don’t, the enemy would proceed and place conditions on our nuclear program and impose sanctions. If sanctions are to be the way, the Iranian nation can also do it. A big collection of the world’s oil and gas is in Iran so Iran if necessary can hold back on the gas that Europe and the world is so dependent on.”

Israel has been strict in its stance against a nuclear deal with Iran, lobbying and pressing diplomatically to halt any agreement. Prime Minister Netanyahu has even been invited to Congress to address nuclear Iran, despite objection by the White House.

Reports released Wednesday also confirmed that European officials have in fact cautioned the US Department to not fully brief Israel on profess made in nuclear talks between world powers and Iran as “the details could be twisted to undermine a deal.” The White House has denied any such reports for the past two weeks, a European diplomat in nuclear negotiations confirming Wednesday.

Netanyahu’s speech to Congress is scheduled for March 3.