Russia denies reports of agreement with United States for Assad’s refuge in foreign country

Reports claiming US and Russia agree to allow Assad refuge in foreign country dismissed by Kremlin; United States and Syrian Opposition dismiss Assad’s claims for unity government

Bashar_al_Assad.jpg

Reports claiming that Syrian President Bashar Assad will seek refuge in a foreign country were released Thursday.

According to Al-Hayat, an agreement was made between the United States and Russia, facilitated by United States Secretary of State John Kerry and the United Nations Security Council for Assad’s departure from Syria as part of efforts for a peace plan and solution to end Syria’s ongoing civil war.

Just hours following the report, spokesman to the Kremlin, Dmitry Peskov denied the reports stating “The difference between the Russian side and other countries lies in the fact that Russia does not discuss the issue of self-determination of third countries, including Syria, via diplomatic or other channel…The al-Hayat newspaper has published information that does not correspond to reality.”

Additionally, Assad proposed his capability of leading the country under a “new draft constitution” which he claimed would be “ready in weeks” as well as the formation of a government that “included opposition, independents and loyalists could be agreed… That’s why the solution is forming a national unity government which prepares for a new constitution.” The Syrian opposition rejected Assad’s claims as did the White House, Spokesman Josh Earnest stating “I don’t know whether he envisioned himself being part of that national unity government. Obviously that would be a nonstarter for us.”

Greek President to arrive in Israel Wednesday

Meetings to focus on implementation of Trilateral Summit agreements; Pavlopoulos to meet with Rivlin

PM Netanyahu in Nicosia with Cyprus President Anastasiades and Greek PM Tsipras

PM Netanyahu in Nicosia with Cyprus President Anastasiades and Greek PM Tsipras in January

Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos will arrive in Israel Wednesday and is scheduled to meet with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. The visit is the first by a Greek official since Israel, Greece and Cyprus announced the “Trilateral Summit Declaration” in January- future cooperation between the three countries in the areas of energy, technology, research, tourism, combatting terrorism and most importantly, natural gas import/export.

Pavlopoulos stated on Greek-Israeli relations that “Relations between the two states have reached unprecedented levels. We are marching together toward a more promising, and challenging, future that is based on a strategic partnership between the two states… The economic relations between the two countries are terrific. Bilateral trade grew by 32% over the past year. There are currently 30 joint projects that involves Greek and Israeli companies, and we will soon invite additional companies to take part in more projects.”

The trilateral declaration is expected to enter the fields of “agriculture, forestation, joint fire-fighting efforts, environmental protection including marine pollution, joint emergency response to natural disasters, exchange of information in emergency situations, joint search and rescue exercises, health, management of epidemics, joint scientific projects, development of renewable energy technologies, education, communications and trilateral roaming agreements, and commercial shipping.” The agreement is most significant because of Israel’s strategic advantage due to its gas fields, the agreements with Greece and Cyprus for the export of Eastern Mediterranean gas to continental Europe.

Pavlopoulos stated on the gas pipeline that “An underwater natural gas pipeline from the Israeli gas fields, through Cyprus to Greece, will serve as a convenient commercial bridge to Europe.” He additionally stated that “Israelis have proven their loyalty over the years by visiting Greece again and again. We feel the love and appreciation between the two peoples, which is based, in part, on a shared history, culture, the arts and music. Israelis know and love Greece, and everyone has their own magical place there; but we also recommend that people explore new places in the country; after all, we are just a 90 minute flight away.”

 

NSA chief held secret meeting in Israel with IDF last week

Reports surface of Rogers’ visit to Israel last week; While reports unconfirmed, reports made in Israel and the United States both made

Unknown.png

Michael Rogers, the head of the NSA (United States’ National Security Agency) and head of the United States Army’s Cyber Command reportedly visited Israel secretly last week. According to reports, the visit was centered on cooperation between the Israel Defense Forces Intelligence Corps (Unit 8200) and the NSA on cyber defense.

While unconfirmed, Rogers reportedly met with high-ranking officers from Unit 8200 as well as several senior political figures.

The visit comes following an indictment filed by the United States Justice Department against Iranian hackers who attempted to carry out cyber attacks over three years ago. The hackers were financially supported by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.

Israel’s Defense Forces cooperates jointly with Israeli security agencies on combatting cyber attacks. Israel has been increasing its forces in cyber defense, in the IDF and security agencies. A unit was developed in 2013, training soldiers in cyber defense.

UNCHR passes resolution for settlement database

Danon calls resolution a “blacklist”; Netanyahu calls on international community to defend only democracy in the Middle East; PA praises “message of hope for our people”

1024px-Small_Flag_of_the_United_Nations_ZP.svg

UNCHR, the United Nations Human Rights Council, approved a resolution to create a database of companies, both Israeli and international, operating in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

The resolution passed after receiving 32 votes in favor, 0 against and 15 abstaining out of the 47-members.

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, referred to the resolution for the database as a “blacklist” on Thursday, Prime Minister Netanyahu condemning the move which he referred to as an “anti-Israel circus” attacking “the only democracy in the Middle East” while it “ignores the gross violations of Iran, Syria and North Korea.” He called on international community to take to action, stating, “Israel calls on responsible governments not to honor the decisions of the Council that discriminate against Israel.”

Israel’s Foreign Ministry responded to the resolution “the results of the vote in the ‘Human Rights Council’ represent further proof of this body’s sick obsessiveness, which dedicates itself mostly to Israel. The Council has again proven that it is cynical and hypocritical, disconnected from reality and irresponsible.”

Palestinian envoy to the UNHCR, Ibrahim Khreisheh stated on the resolution “Israel continues to systematically violate the inalienable rights of the Palestinians while enjoying impunity from the international community” and referred to the resolution as “a message of hope for our people.”

Obama: Resolution of Israeli-Palestinian conflict “not something I was able to get done.”

Amidst ongoing reports that Obama may support United Nations Security Council Resolution on two-state solution, Obama confirms conflict will not to be “solved in the nine months that I have left on the job.”

Unknown

 

President Obama stated that a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would not occur during his remaining time in the White House. His remarks come during reports from the media and unconfirmed by the Obama Administration that the president would consider pushing a United Nation’s Security Council Resolution on a two-state solution.

The President’s remarks were made on Wednesday in Argentina where Obama addressed students. He stated that a solution for the conflict “is not something I was able to get done. This conflict has been going on for 60 years. It’s certainly not going to be solved in the nine months that I have left on the job.”

When asked whether a binational solution was possible, Obama stated, “That isn’t a solution that will bring stability because of the great distrust between the Jewish people and the Palestinians. There’s been talk about a one-state solution or sort of a divided government. It’s hard for me to envision that being stable, there’s such deep distrust between the two peoples right now… The only way to solve the crisis is with two states for two peoples… Israelis and Palestinians both have legitimate fears, but when it comes to making peace, we can’t do it for them.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed a UN Security Council Resolution as detrimental to the peace process during his address to AIPAC on Tuesday. He stated that a “Security Council resolution to pressure Israel would further harden Palestinian positions, and thereby it could actually kill the chances of peace for many, many years. And that is why I hope the United States will maintain its longstanding position to reject such a UN resolution… I was glad to hear the presidential candidates from both parties reaffirm this basic principle. Peace won’t come through UN Security Council resolutions, but through direct negotiations between the parties.”

 

Prime Minister Netanyahu address to AIPAC policy conference

Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed the AIPAC policy conference live from Jerusalem on Tuesday following speeches given by American and Israeli leaders including presidential candidates Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton.

 

Netanyahu’s address focused on many subjects including Israel-US relations, ISIS and global Islamic terror, a United Nations Security Council Resolution as detrimental for peace, Iran and its violation of the nuclear deal and continued military development and Israel’s intelligence and innovation as benefitting the globe, regional threats to the Jewish State and much more.

Prime Minister Netanyahu:

Good morning, America. Good morning, AIPAC. And a special good morning to the 4,000 students who are cutting class today to be with AIPAC in Washington. Greetings to all of you from Jerusalem.

I first want to send my condolences to the families of those murdered in today’s terrorist attacks in Brussels. The chain of attacks from Paris to San Bernardino to Istanbul to the Ivory Coast and now to Brussels, and the daily attacks in Israel – this is one continuous assault on all of us. In all these cases the terrorists have no resolvable grievances. It’s not as if we could offer them Brussels, or Istanbul, or California, or even the West Bank. That won’t satisfy their grievances. Because what they seek is our utter destruction and their total domination. Their basic demand is that we should simply disappear. Well, my friends, that’s not going to happen. The only way to defeat these terrorists is to join together and fight them together. That’s how we’ll defeat terrorism – with political unity and with moral clarity. I think we have that in abundance.

And I want to thank today the leadership of AIPAC and each and every one of you. I thank you for the tremendous support you’ve provided Israel over so many years. I thank you for the clear and unequivocal stand you took last year during the nuclear Iran deal debate, a debate critical for Israel’s security. And that debate, though intense, did not undermine the unbreakable alliance between Israel and the United States.

As part of that great alliance, America has generously provided Israel with many of the tools we need to defend ourselves. We are now working on a new agreement to help bolster Israel’s security in the years to come. I hope we can conclude that agreement soon.

And I take this opportunity once again to thank President Obama for his support, including for ballistic missile defense. Israel deeply appreciates it, and we also deeply appreciate the strong bipartisan support for Israel in Congress and the strong, overwhelming support for Israel among the American people. Year after year, the overwhelming majority of Americans stand with Israel. They know something profound, that stands out for all to see today. They know that Israel is an island of liberty and democracy, that Israel must never be an issue that divides Americans, but a great cause of liberty that unites Americans.

My friends, two weeks ago, I visited Yodfat in northern Israel. It was there, 2,000 years ago, that the Romans began their military campaign against the Jews. I’m holding in my hand right now an exact replica of an arrow found at Yodfat – one of thousands used by the Romans in their war to crush Jewish independence. Yet two millennia later, the Jewish people are once again free and sovereign in our ancient homeland. And in rebuilding our land, our state, our economy, our army, our science, our culture, we’ve achieved remarkable successes.

But it’s true we also face great challenges. We are in fact today witnessing two contradictory trends.

First, the positive trend: Every day high-level delegations land at Ben-Gurion Airport. They come from America. They come from Europe. Increasingly they come from Asia, from Africa, from Latin America. As many of them confront the rise of militant Islam and its accompanying terrorism, they come to Israel to strengthen their security. They wish to learn from Israel’s proven security and intelligence capabilities how to better protect their own people. But they also come to Israel because they want to upgrade their economies with Israel’s technology. And for good reason: Israel’s know-how is powering the world’s computers, navigating its cars, protecting its bank accounts. It’s led to breakthroughs in treating Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s. It helps farmers around the world yield more crops, produce more milk, conserve more water. So, for all these reasons, the world is coming to Israel. Today we have diplomatic relations with 161 countries – more than at any time in our history. And by the way, there are not that many countries left. There are only about 200 countries in the world.

But alongside this positive trend, there is a second, negative trend. While Israel is embraced by a growing number of individual nations, there are those who seek to malign Israel among the nations, and especially in the United Nations. At the UN, Israel, the Middle East’s only true democracy, is slandered like no other country on earth. At the UN, Israel is subjected to consistent, systematic discrimination. Only Israel is permanently scheduled for condemnation at the UN Human Rights Council – not Iran, not Syria, not North Korea. Only Israel is hounded by UN bodies expressly established to delegitimize its very existence. Only Israel is condemned every year by 20 hostile resolutions in the UN General Assembly. The UN, my friends, has a shameful record of singling out Israel for castigation and condemnation. So I have a question for you. Why would anyone think that the UN could decide on a fair and secure peace for Israel?

Yet amazingly, there are some who believe exactly that. They seek to impose terms on Israel in the UN Security Council. And those terms would undoubtedly be stacked against us. They always are. So such an effort in the UN would only convince the Palestinians that they can stab their way to a state. Mind you, not a state next to Israel, but a state instead of Israel. A Security Council resolution to pressure Israel would further harden Palestinian positions, and thereby it could actually kill the chances of peace for many, many years. And that is why I hope the United States will maintain its longstanding position to reject such a UN resolution.

I was glad to hear the presidential candidates from both parties reaffirm this basic principle. Peace won’t come through UN Security Council resolutions, but through direct negotiations between the parties.

The best formula for achieving peace remains two states for two peoples, in which a demilitarized Palestinian state finally recognizes the Jewish state. Now, I know there’s some skepticism about my views on this. So let me state unequivocally, and here’s the acid test: I am ready to begin such negotiations immediately, without preconditions, anytime, anywhere. That’s a fact. But President Abbas is not ready to do so. That’s also a fact. There is political will here in Jerusalem. There’s no political will there in Ramallah.

For the last five-and-a-half years, President Abbas has refused to sit down and talk with me even for a minute. But that doesn’t mean he’s been silent. He has helped inculcate a new generation of young Palestinians with murderous hatred for Israel. And my friends, this incitement has deadly consequences. Palestinian children are taught to stab Jews. They are taught that the goal of the Palestinian people is not to establish a state on the West Bank, but in all of Israel – in Akko, Haifa, Nazareth, Jaffa.

Now, what I’m about to show you is deeply disturbing. I think you have to see for yourselves what the Palestinians are teaching their children. I want you to see the daily Pledge of Allegiance of Palestinian children. Take a look (see video):

This is sick. It’s inexcusable. My friends, that little girl wasn’t born hating. She was taught to hate, as were the Palestinians who murdered the American student Taylor Force, and other American citizens in recent months. You’ve already heard what an impressive young man Taylor was, but President Abbas’s Fatah movement praised Taylor’s killer as – and I quote this – as “a hero and a martyr”. Now, that’s not from Hamas; that’s coming from Abbas. And now the Palestinians will spur even more terrorism by rewarding the families of murderers – including those who murdered Americans – with a regular monthly payment.

So the message they send to Palestinians is clear: terrorism pays – literally.

If the international community really wants to advance peace, it must demand that the Palestinians stop poisoning the minds of their children. If the international community wants to advance peace, it must address the true core of the conflict: the persistent Palestinian refusal to accept a Jewish state in any borders.

So there’s bad news, but there’s also some good news.

While the Palestinians are stuck in their refusal to make peace, others are moving forward. First, Israel’s peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan have weathered many storms. Second, increasingly our other neighbors recognize that we have common interests. They understand that we face the same threats from Iran and from ISIS. Now, I can tell you from a perspective of my lifetime: This is a historic change. I believe it offers a unique opportunity to advance peace. And we are working every day to seize that opportunity.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am confident that, over time, the trend of embracing Israel will overcome the trend of maligning Israel, because, ultimately, freedom beats tyranny, and ultimately, when vigorously defended, truth beats lies. So I believe that Israel faces a future of promise. I believe that when we stand together, all of us, we can overcome all the challenges facing us.

And of these challenges, none is greater than Iran’s unrelenting aggression. Iran remains fully committed to genocide – our genocide. Its leaders loudly, openly, even proudly, they say and proclaim that their goal is to destroy Israel. Iran sends deadly weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon against us. It bankrolls Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza against us. It seeks to open a new terror front on the Golan against us. And it offers thousands of dollars for each Palestinian terror attacks against us.

So here’s what I believe: I believe that both those who supported the nuclear deal and those who opposed it can, at the very least, work together to stop Iran’s aggression and terror and hold Iran accountable for its transgressions.

Since the nuclear deal, Iran has continued to conduct ballistic missile tests, in defiance of its international obligations. As you’ve heard, Iran recently fired a ballistic missile with a Hebrew inscription painted on it. It said, “Israel must be wiped out”. So ladies and gentlemen, the writing is not on the wall; it’s on the missile.

Now my friends, an arrow just like this was shot by a Roman soldier at Yodfat. He was fighting to end Jewish independence once and for all. But imperial Rome is long gone and I am speaking to you today from our capital, Jerusalem, as the Prime Minister of the reborn Jewish state. We have restored our independence. We have restored our capacity to defend ourselves. Iran should learn this history and it should have no illusions. Israel will defend itself mightily against all those who seek to destroy us. And Iran should remember that today it’s not only the enemies of the Jewish people who have arrows. Today, the Jewish state can defend itself with powerful arrows of our own.

Take a look (see video):

The Arrow missile defense system is the product of Americans and Israelis working together. So I want to say again to all of you: Thank you America. Thank you AIPAC. Thank you for helping secure our common future, and a happy Purim to all of you. Thank you.

Cruz, Trump and Clinton address AIPAC

Presidential candidates address AIPAC in Washington DC, speaking on issues such as Iran, US-Israel relations, Hezbollah, two-state solution, and much more

Unknown

United States presidential candidates spoke at the AIPAC annual policy conference on Monday evening in Washington DC. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is the United State’s pro-Israel lobbying committee that works directly with Congress and American leadership on policies and relations between the Jewish State and United States. Their annual conference is attended by thousands of political figures, departments and leaders from Israel and North America.

Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz all addressed Israel, relations with the United States and their prospective agendas for foreign relations between both countries.

Donald Trump started his speech vocalizing his support for the State of Israel. “I speak to you today as a lifelong supporter and true friend of Israel. I’m a newcomer to politics, but not to backing the Jewish state,” addressing the nuclear deal with Iran, Hezbollah and Iran’s recent violation of the nuclear agreement when it tested two ballistic missiles in which was “painted on those missiles – in both Hebrew and Farsi – were the words “Israel must be wiped off the face of the earth”. What kind of demented minds write that in Hebrew? And here’s another twisted part – testing these missiles does not even violate the horrible deal that we made!”

Trump criticized recent reports that the Obama Administration may use a United Nations Security Resolution to push for a two-state solution, stating “An agreement imposed by the UN would be a total and complete disaster. The United States must oppose this resolution and use the power of our veto. Why? Because that’s not how you make a deal. Deals are made when parties come to the table and negotiate. Each side must give up something it values in exchange for something it requires. A deal that imposes conditions on Israel and the Palestinian Authority will do nothing to bring peace. It will only further delegitimize Israel and it would reward Palestinian terrorism, because every day they are stabbing Israelis – and even Americans,” adding “When I’m president, believe me, I will veto any attempt by the UN to impose its will on the Jewish state.”

On US-Israel relations and in reaction to President Obama’s refusal to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu, Trump stated “When I become President, the days of treating Israel like a second-class citizen will end on Day One. I will meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu immediately. I have known him for many years and we will be able to work closely together to help bring stability and peace to Israel and to the entire region.” He stated that “President Obama thinks that applying pressure to Israel will force the issue, but it’s precisely the opposite. Already, half the population of Palestine has been taken over by the Palestinian ISIS in Hamas, and the other half refuses to confront the first half, so it’s a very difficult situation but when the United States stands with Israel, the chances of peace actually rise. That’s what will happen when I’m president.”

On the American Embassy in Tel Aviv, which President Obama and president before him have refused to relocate to Jerusalem- Israel’s capital city, Trump stated “We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem – and we will send a clear signal that there is no daylight between America and our most reliable ally, the state of Israel.” He finished his speech stating “The Palestinians must come to the table knowing that the bond between the United States and Israel is unbreakable. They must come to the table willing and able to stop the terror being committed on a daily basis against Israel and they must come to the table willing to accept that Israel is a Jewish State and it will forever exist as a Jewish State.”

Trump has been harshly criticized for his claim that the United States should not provide military aid to Israel- a claim vastly different to his overall rhetoric and vocal support for the State of Israel.

Republican candidate Senator Ted Cruz also addressed the conference. He criticized Donald Trump when he stated “My leading Republican opponent promised he, as president, would be neutral between Israel and the Palestinians. Let me be very clear, as president I will not be neutral. America will stand unapologetically with the nation of Israel.” He also spoke out on Trump’s referral to “Palestine”, stating, “Perhaps to the surprise of the previous speaker, Palestine has not existed since 1948.” He ended his speech stating “Am Yisrael Chai!” (The nation of Israel lives).

 Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton addressed the peace process, BDS movement, Hezbollah, Israel as the only democracy in the Middle East and improving the United States’ relations with Israel. She stated that “One of the first things I’ll do in office is invite the Israeli prime minister to visit the White House.” She stated “America can’t ever be neutral when it comes to Israel’s security and survival, and anyone who doesn’t understand that has no business being our president.”

Opposite to Cruz and Trump, Clinton vocalized support for the nuclear deal made with Iran stating, “I believe Israel and the US are safer but our approach must be ‘distrust and verify,'” adding that “Iran must understand that if we see any violation we will act to stop it, with force if necessary.”