Israel responds to accusations made by UN envoy on Monday; Netanyahu: The UN envoy to the Middle East’s remarks to the Security Council distort history and international law and push peace farther away
Israel responded harshly to remarks made by the United Nation’s Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenoy, to the Security Council on Monday. Mladenov claimed before the Security Council that there has been a “surge” in Israeli settlement growth in violation of international law and that Israel continues to disregard “recommendations” by the Quartet Report to end construction in the West Bank.
Mladenov stated on Monday that “It is difficult to read in these actions a genuine intention to work toward a viable two-state solution. This appears to reinforce a policy, carried out over decades, that has enabled over half a million Israelis to settle in territory that was occupied militarily in 1967,” adding that the Quartet’s “recommendations continue to be ignored, including by a surge in Israeli settlement-related announcements and continuing demolitions.”
The Office of Prime Minister Netanyahu responded to his remarks on Tuesday, releasing the statement: The UN envoy to the Middle East’s remarks to the Security Council distort history and international law and push peace farther away. Jews have been in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria for thousands of years and their presence there is not an obstacle to peace. The obstacle to peace is the unending attempt to deny the Jewish People’s connection to parts of their historic land and the obdurate refusal to recognize that they are not foreigners there. The claim that Jewish construction in Jerusalem is illegal is as absurd as the claim that American construction in Washington or French construction in Paris is illegal. The Palestinian demand that a future Palestinian state be ethnically cleansed of Jews is outrageous and the UN must condemn it instead of adopting it.”
A spokesman for the Prime Minister stated following Mladenov’s remarks “Jews have been in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria for thousands of years and their presence there is not an obstacle to peace. The obstacle to peace is the unending attempt to deny the Jewish People’s connection to parts of their historic land.”
Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nation’s, Danny Dannon, responded harshly to the accusations, stating “Israel will continue to build in its eternal capital of Jerusalem, like all other countries continue to build in their capitals without waiting for authorization from the UN. The UN should focus on the main obstacle to a regional solution – the Palestinian refusal to condemn terror and return to the negotiating table.”
Deployment televised and followed by speech from Ayatollah who claimed “defensive” purposes; Hours later US drone reported to have entered Iranian airspace
Iran has deployed its recently acquired S-300 missile defense system around its underground nuclear facility Fordo outside of Tehran Monday morning.
Video footage of the system at the underground nuclear site was shown on Iranian state media on Sunday, followed by a televised speech by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali. He claimed the system’s deployment is for “defensive” purposes and criticized the United States’ opposition to Iran’s acquiring the weapon, stating, “Continued opposition and hype on the S-300 or the Fordo site are examples of the viciousness of the enemy. The S-300 air defense system is a defensive instrument, not offensive, but the Americans did their best for Iran not to get hold of it.”
Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili claimed on Iran’s decision to deploy the S-300 system to Fordo that “Our main priority is to protect Iran’s nuclear facilities under any circumstances.”
Iran purchased its recently acquired S-300 missile defense system from Russia, the system to be fully operational by the end of 2016. In July, Iran received the missiles for the system from Russia, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stating during a showcase of the system that the “Iranian Army is the army of Islam, Islamic system and the whole Iranian nation. This army defends our establishment, homeland, laws, prestige, and national interests… If we can now proudly speak of our country’s security in such an insecure and unstable region, it is all due to having a mighty army, powerful Revolutionary Guards…”
Just hours after the televised deployment of the system, a U.S. drone was reported to have entered Iranian airspace from Afghanistan, according to Reuters. Iranian media reported that the drone had “left the area” after “Iran’s army air defense detected and warned an American drone in the eastern airspace of the country.”
Turkish airstrikes and Syrian rebel forces advance in Operation Euphrates Shield; A reported 25 killed with varied reports of higher casualties
Turkey carried out airstrikes on Syria Sunday morning, with a reported 25 killed in and surrounding the city of Jarablus. Various reports from media sources in Turkey and Syria have reported larger casualties, majority of which were Kurdish forces.
The strikes mark the fifth day of “Operation Euphrates Shield” which began Wednesday morning when Turkish tanks invaded Syria in a large-scale ground operation, alongside Syrian rebel forces. Turkey claims its motives are to combat the Islamic State while calling on Kurdish forces to withdraw from the region.
Turkey confirmed that they sent fighter jets that bombed a “Kurdish YPG militia site”, the Turkish military claiming it was targeting “terrorists” reporting that “five buildings used by the terrorists were also destroyed.” Turkey also reported that it had gained control of five additional villages outside of Jarablus.
Turkey continues to advance its offense on Syrian soil, moving west, targeting the Syrian Democratic Forces, the vast majority of which are YPG (The Kurdish People’s Protection Unit), with Syrian rebels carrying out ground operations Sunday morning on the village of al-Amarna, south of Jarablus, which was later hit by Turkish airstrikes.
Ahead of the weekend, Turkey’s Defense Minister Fikri Isik warned Kurdish forces that “Turkey will be following, moment by moment… If this withdrawal doesn’t happen, Turkey has every right to intervene.”
Media reports claim Fatah officials are calling on the PA president to cancel Oct. 8 elections; Hamas announced participation in elections mid-2016
The Fatah party of the Palestinian Authority has called on President Mahmoud Abbas to cancel upcoming local elections as polls indicate that Hamas will likely win.
Reports from several West Bank and Gaza Strip media outlets Friday claimed that several Fatah officials are calling for the October 8th vote to be cancelled, citing their reasons because of Hamas’s likelihood to win the local elections and the threat such a victory poses to the Authority and Fatah party.
Hamas announced in July that it would participate in scheduled local elections in the Palestinian Territories. The Palestinian Central Elections Committee accepted Hamas’s participation and scheduled a delegation to travel to the Gaza Strip on Sunday to meet with political officials.
The terrorist organization made the announcement of its first participation in local elections in nearly a decade. Hamas reported that it hopes participating in the upcoming elections would “lay the foundation for the general election in the future.” Hamas boycotted the last elections held in 2012.
Hamas released the following statement on its decision to participate in elections in July: We hope that this election will help national reconciliation if we succeeded to have transparent election as this could lay the foundation for the general election in the future. Once we have this election, this might lead to a general election and national reconciliation. If we succeed and everybody accepts the result, I think this is going to give us a signal to the future election. The movement sees the necessity and importance of holding local elections in the Gaza Strip and West Bank and renewing local councils in support of a popular and free administration through the ballot box,” claiming that they “will work to facilitate and make the elections successful in a way that serves the interest of our people and issue on the basis of providing assurances of fairness, equal opportunity, and respect for its result.”
In June of 2014, Hamas and Fatah announced the formation of a unity government, officially ending negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel at the time, as Israel does not negotiate with terrorists. The unity government was intended to end the seven years of severed ties between the two parties, the unity government not lasting more than a few months.
Since then, Hamas and Fatah signed the Cairo Agreement which designated that Hamas would remain in power in the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Authority (Fatah) would govern the West Bank and border crossings for all Palestinian territories. In March of 2016, talks between Hamas and Fatah were held in Doha with no resolutions or reconciliations made.
Turkish tanks reportedly enter Syria for second consecutive day; Defense Minister warns Kurdish forces to withdraw from region
Turkey continued to deploy tanks into Syria on Thursday morning following its invasion into Syria on Wednesday morning.
According to reports, ten tanks entered into Syria Thursday into and around Jarabulus in continued fighting in what Turkish officials have reported to be military efforts to eradicate the Islamic State from the region. The excursion is also reported to combat Kurdish forces in the Jarabulus region across the Euphrates.
On Thursday morning, Defense Minister Fikri Isik claimed that Turkey has every right to invade Syria and demanded Kurdish forces “move to the east of the Euphrates” stating “They have not yet withdrawn but we are watching and monitoring whether they will withdraw. Turkey will be following, moment by moment,” warning that “If this withdrawal doesn’t happen, Turkey has every right to intervene.”
On Thursday, a reported 20 Turkish tanks entered Turkey supported by around 500 soldiers of the Free Syrian Army. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed the attack was to take the fight against the Islamic State into Turkey’s own hands, stating “The attacks that targeted our country from Syria have come to such a level that leaves us no choice but to solve this problem immediately.” The military excursion comes following a suicide bombing in Gaziantep, Turkey that killed 54.
Erdogan stated that “If the world does not reach an agreement against on terrorism then everyone is responsible for the consequences” and that “a unified fight is a must.” Following a meeting with Vice Prsident Joe Biden in Ankara on Wednesday, Erdogan stated that Whether Daesh [Islamic State], the PKK, the PYD or FETO- all are terrorists in our view… We cannot make distinctions [between] bad terrorists, good terrorists. Terrorists are terrorists.”
A reported 70 targets destroyed, Turkey claiming military advance as means to combat Islamic State; Syrian rebels assisting Turkish forces; Kurdish PYD demands Turkey withdrawal immediately
Turkey invaded Syria on Wednesday morning, claiming its military operation is to fight the Islamic State.
Syria rebels have joined Turkey in the military invasion and are assisting Turkish forces in operation combatting ISIS and the Kurdish PYD. The operation is being referred to as the “Euphrates Shield”.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildrim confirmed the operation began in the early hours of Wednesday morning, the Turkish military deploying tanks and warplanes targeting Islamic State targets and Syrian Kurdish forces in the border town of Jarablus, a reported 70 targets destroyed by artillery and rocket strikes.
Turkish President Erdogan addressed the military operation, stating “The attacks that targeted our country from Syria have come to such a level that leaves us no choice but to solve this problem immediately and the process for this started today,” stating that “If the world does not reach an agreement against on terrorism then everyone is responsible for the consequences… a unified fight is a must. Daesh [Islamic State] has nothing to do with Islam. On the contrary, it is the biggest trouble for Islam in this century.”
The Kurdish Democratic Union Party has demanded Turkey’s immediate withdrawal from Syria, stating on Wednesday morning “Turkey is trying to turn its indirect occupation of Syria into a direct one. We demand that Turkey immediately withdraws from the territory of Syria, stops supporting terrorist groups in Syria, otherwise we will force them out of our territory.”
Escalation on the border between Syria and Turkey began on Monday when the Turkish military began shelling Islamic State positions in northern Syria not far from Jarablus.
Following approved reconciliation deal by Turkish Parliament, Israel and Turkey to resume diplomatic relations and appoint ambassadors in coming days
Turkey and Israel will officially resume diplomatic relations and are scheduled to exchange ambassadors in the coming days according to Turkey’s Foreign Ministry.
The report was confirmed by Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu Tuesday and follows the Turkish Parliament’s ratification of a reconciliation deal with Israel on Saturday.
A statement released by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office on the approval of the reconciliation deal was released following the ratification. It stated “Israel welcomes the Turkish Parliament’s decision to approve the deal recently concluded by the two governments and looks forward to the next steps of its implementation, including the return of our respective ambassadors.”
While diplomatic relations are to renew following six years of severed ties, the Turkish Foreign Ministry heavily condemned Israel’s military strikes on over the weekend in the Gaza Strip. The Ministry released the statement “The normalization of relations with Israel does not mean that we have to remain silent about attacks against the Palestinian people in Gaza. On the contrary, we will continue to defend the Palestinian issue in the face of Israeli actions which violate international law and are contrary to basic human morality.”
Israel’s Foreign Ministry responded, stating “The normalization of our relations with Turkey does not mean that we will remain silent in the face of its baseless condemnations. Israel will continue to defend its civilians from all rocket fire on our territory, in accordance with international law and our conscience. Turkey should think twice before criticizing the military actions of others.”
The IDF reported that it had hit over 50 terrorist sites in the Gaza Strip following a rocket attack on the southern town of Sderot, Israel.