Trump addresses Iran nuclear deal, funding to UNRWA in State of the Union

In first State of the Union address, Trump calls on Congress to take action on Iran nuclear deal, calls for “legislation to help ensure American foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interests”.

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United States President Donald Trump gave his first State of the Union address Tuesday night, speaking about his Jerusalem recognition, US aid to the UNRWA and the nuclear deal with Iran.

Towards the end of his speech, President Trump addressed the United Nations vote against the United States’ sovereignty following his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December. He stated “Last month I took an action endorsed unanimously by the Senate just months before: I recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Shortly afterwards, dozens of countries voted in the United Nations General Assembly against America’s sovereign right to make this recognition.”

128 members of the UN General Assembly voted for the resolution that labels recognition of Jerusalem as void. It followed a previous vote at the Security Council where 14 members states voted in favor of the anti-Jerusalem resolution, the Unites States using its veto power. President Trump responded, vowing to cut aid to countries that voted against the United States.

The president called on Congress Tuesday night to pass legislature that would ensure US aid “always serve American interests,” referring specifically to the Trump Administration’s recent cut in aid to the UNRWA (United Nations Relief Works Agency for Palestinian refugees), He stated “In 2016, American taxpayers generously send those same countries billions of dollars in aid every year. That is why, tonight, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to help ensure American foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interests, and only go to friends of America, not enemies of America.”

Earlier this month, the State Department announced it was holding $65 million in aid to the UNRWA confirming the funds would “be held for future consideration,” clarifying that “it’s money that’s being frozen at this time. It’s not being canceled. It’s just being held for future consideration.”

The president then finished his speech, speaking about the United States’ adversaries, highlighting the Iran nuclear deal and calling on Congress to take further action against nuclear Iran.

He stated “as we strengthen friendships around the world, we are also restoring clarity about our adversaries.” The president vocalized US support for the people of Iran in their fight against the regime, stating, “When the people of Iran rose up against the crimes of their corrupt dictatorship, I did not stay silent. America stands with the people of Iran in their courageous struggle for freedom.”

The president then called on Congress “to address the fundamental flaws in the terrible Iran nuclear deal.”

Amir will address Trump’s speech, as well as Netanyahu’s meeting with Putin, Israel’s threat to eliminate Iranian missile plants in Lebanon, civil uprises in Iran, the situation in Europe and much more. Tune in for his LIVE Middle East Current Events Update, this evening, Wednesday, January 31, 2018 at 6:00 pm (Israel time). The event will be live on Facebook and our Youtube channel.

 

 

Photo: President Trump State of the Union address, Screenshot, 2018

Netanyahu: Israel will not allow Iran to turn Lebanon in missile factory

PM met with Putin in Moscow, meeting centered on Iran in Syria, Hezbollah missile factories and bilateral relations; Netanyahu warns that Israel will act against Hezbollah if needed; Netanyahu: If we have to act, we will act.

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Prime Minister Netanyahu met with President Putin in Moscow Monday, their meeting centered on Iran’s military presence in Syria, Hezbollah’s precision missile factories and bilateral ties.

The prime minister reported their talks as “very frank and direct, in the positive meaning of the word and encompassed a great number of matters,” confirming his meeting with President Trump last week addressed the same concerns discussed with Putin.

The Kremlin reported the meeting as centered on “Russian-Israeli cooperation in trade, economy, cultural and humanitarian spheres along with pressing international and regional issues, including the Middle East problem and the situation in Syria.”

The two leaders met for several hours, Netanyahu giving a statement summarizing their meeting following. He reported “I told him [Putin] that Israel views two developments with utmost gravity: First is Iran’s efforts to establish a military presence in Syria and second is Iran’s attempt to manufacture – in Lebanon – precision weapons against the State of Israel. I made it clear to him that we will not agree to either one of these developments and will act according to need.”

On Iran and its proxy’s expansion in the region, mainly in Syria, Netanyahu warning, “If it is not halted on its own then we will act to stop it.” Specifically on Hezbollah, Netanyahu confirmed that he told Putin that the “threat of precision weapons against Israel is a serious threat that we are not willing to accept and if we have to act, we will act.”

Israel has carried out dozens of covert operations in Syria and some in Lebanon, mainly preventing weapons transfers from the Syrian army or Iranian proxies to Hezbollah. In November of 2017, Lebanese media reported Israel Air Force strikes on a weapons facility in Syria close to the border with Lebanon. Hezbollah’s Al-Manar reported a total of four strikes by Israeli jets on a Syrian Army weapons facility close to the Lebanese border with multiple Arab media stations reporting that the Syrian army responded with surface to air missiles.

In the summer of 2017, the IDF confirmed reports of Iranian underground weapons factories being built in Lebanon, funded by the Revolutionary Guard to provide terrorists organizations, mainly Hezbollah, with weapons. The factory’s locations in Lebanon are intentional as to avoid Israeli strikes.

Ahead of their meeting, both leaders attended an exhibit on the Sobibor uprising at Moscow’s Jewish Museum, Netanyahu addressing Jewish and Russian history, specifically “our common struggle against the greatest evil that humanity has known, and the awful price paid by my people, the Jewish people, and the Russian people and the great sacrifice of 20 million Russians alongside our 6 million, and the heroism of the Red Army in achieving victory over the Nazis.”

Netanyahu spoke of the murderous ideologies of then and now, stating, “This is also our mission today and it is to this end that I want to speak with you, about our common efforts to promote security and stability in our region, and, of course, the cooperation between us, between Russia and Israel.”

 

 

 

Photo: Netanyahu and Putin in Moscow, Screenshot, PM Facebook page, 2018

Israel to sell Croatia F-16 fighter jets

Israel to sell Croatia 30 F-16 fighter jets; Deal reported at $500 million and finalized between Netanyahu and Plenkoyic in Davos.

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Israel will sell Croatia 30 F-16 fighter jets in an arms deal reportedly over $500 million.

Prime Minister Netanyahu finalized the agreement during a meeting with Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic at the World Economic Forum in Davos. The arms sale must be approved by the United States, a decision the Trump Administration will likely support.

The deal was signed on Friday, one of several bilateral agreements between Croatia and Israel in the past two years.

The Office of the Prime Minister stated on the arms sale “This development is a further expression of the deep ties between the two countries. The two leaders agreed to expand economic, security, water, agricultural, academic and tourism cooperation.”

Israel announced last year that two of of its recently acquired F-35 fighter jets as operational, as Israel continues to advance its aerial defense capabilities. The F-35, called “Adir” in Israel, meaning “mighty/awesome/glorious”, was revealed to the public mid-2016 at the Lockheed Martin Aerospace Company in Texas. The Lockheed Martin produced-jets cost around $110 million each. The latest 17 purchases were negotiated “below $100 million. This is a significant reduction compared to the planes Israel has brought thus far,” according to Israel’s Defense Ministry.

The F-35 is capable of carrying over 16 tons of bombs and missiles and is most unique for having the most advanced stealth technology of any aircraft. The F-35 is also Israel’s solution to the S-300, as it is capable of evading the air defense system.

Israel is the first country aside from the United States to acquire the world’s most advanced fighter jets. Israel received five F-35’s total. Israel is set to receive a total of 50 F-35’s.

 

Photo: F-16 fighter jet, Wikimedia Commons, 2018

 

Netanyahu en route to Moscow to meet with Putin on Iran, Syria and Hezbollah

Netanyahu to attend exhibit of Sobibor uprising; Meeting with Putin to center on Iran, Iran in Syria and Hezbollah; Netanyahu: Iran’s effort to turn Lebanon into one giant missile site, a site for precision missiles against the State of Israel, which we will not tolerate.

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Prime Minister Netanyahu will meet with President Putin in Moscow Monday afternoon.

The prime minister left for Russia on Monday morning, speaking to the press on the itinerary for his meeting with Putin, confirming talks will center on Iran and Syria.

The two leaders meet periodically as part of agreed military cooperation in the region since 2016.

Prime Minister Netanyahu stated Monday morning “I am now leaving for Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.We meet periodically in order to ensure the military coordination between the IDF and the Russian forces in Syria; as of today this has succeeded and it is important that it continue to succeed.”

He confirmed that talks would center on Iran’s growing military presence in Syria, stating the leaders “will discuss with President Putin Iran’s relentless efforts to establish a military presence in Syria, which we strongly oppose and are also taking action against.”

He also confirmed that Hezbollah would be central to their talks, reiterating that “Iran’s effort to turn Lebanon into one giant missile site, a site for precision missiles against the State of Israel, which we will not tolerate.”

Netanyahu will also attend the opening of an exhibit on the 1943 Sobibor uprising at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow.

The leaders last met in Sochi in August 2017 and hold telephone calls every few months as part of its agreed military coordination in Syria.

 

 

Photo: Netanyahu, Wikimedia Commons, 2017

Israel condemns new Polish Holocaust legislation

New law aims to outlaw referring to Holocaust camps as “Polish”; Netanyahu: One cannot change history and the Holocaust cannot be denied.

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Poland passed a draft resolution on Friday making it a crime to claim Poland was responsible for concentration camps.

Under the bill, claiming Poland was responsible or complicit with the Germans’ war crimes in Poland, specifically referring to concentration camps as “Polish death camps”, would be illegal. Breaking of the law could result in up to three years in prison, the Polish government claiming that the death camps were German and suggesting they were Polish is a criminal offense.

The State of Israel and Jewish communities around the world have rebuked the bill, which must be approved by the senate and president before it goes into law.

Prime Minister Netanyahu condemned the law, stating in response “The law is baseless; I strongly oppose it. One cannot change history and the Holocaust cannot be denied.” He confirmed that he “instructed the Israeli Ambassador to Poland to meet with the Polish Prime Minister this evening and express to him my strong position against the law.”

Israel’s national Holocaust museum, Yad Va’Shem, also addressed the bill, iterating “There is no doubt that the term ‘Polish death camps’ is a historical misrepresentation. However, restrictions on statements by scholars and others regarding the Polish people’s direct or indirect complicity with the crimes committed on their land during the Holocaust are a serious distortion.”

Polish Deputy Ambassador to Israel Piotr Kozlowski was summoned on Sunday, meeting with the Deputy Director of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, Rodica Radian-Gordon. He stated following their meeting that “We [Poland] are not trying to erase history, but rather trying to uphold the truth… I heard what I expected to hear.”

Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki took to Twitter defending the bill. He wrote “Auschwitz is the most bitter lesson on how evil ideologies can lead to hell on earth. Jews, Poles, and all victims should be guardians of the memory of all who were murdered by German Nazis. Auschwitz-Birkenau is not a Polish name, and Arbeit Macht Frei is not a Polish phrase.” He later stated that Auschwitz, and the slogan on the entrance gate to the camp, “Arbeit Macht Frei (Work sets you free), is “not a polish phrase, but German”.

On Monday, the Office of Prime Minister confirmed that Netanyahu spoke with Morawiecki, reporting that “The two agreed that teams from the two countries would open an immediate dialogue in order to try to reach understandings regarding the legislation.”

 

Photo: Entrance to Auschwitz, Wikimedia Commons, 2018

 

Netanyahu to Trump: By recognizing history, you’ve made history.

PM met with Trump in Davos Thursday, their meeting centered on the nuclear deal, the peace process and bilateral ties; Trump confirms aid cuts to Palestinians will continue until they enter talks with Israel; Netanyahu refers to UN as “house of slander against Israel and against the United States”.

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Prime Minister Netanyahu met with President Trump during the World Economic Forum in Davis on Thursday, their meeting centered on bilateral ties, nuclear Iran and the peace process.

Addressing the press following their meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked President Trump for his “historic decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move the embassy and now to expedite the movement of the embassy to Jerusalem,” referring to Vice President Mike Pence’s confirmation that the embassy would be moved by the end of 2019.

Netanyahu thanked Trump for his decision that “will be forever etched in the hearts of our people for generations to come.” On claims Jerusalem’s recognition stalls or damages the peace process, the prime minister stated “I say it pushes peace forward, because it recognizes history, it recognizes the present reality. And peace can only be built on the basis of truth. By recognizing history, you’ve made history. And we will always remember that.”

The prime minister then addressed the nuclear deal and Iran, the center of his talks with all heads of state during the forum. He reiterated that Israel supports the United States “stalwart position on the Iran nuclear deal.” He added “We also appreciate the fact that you confront Iran’s aggression with us and with other parties in the region as never before. I’ve never seen the realistic alliance between the United States, Israel and your other allies in the region as strong, as unified, as it is under your leadership.”

Finally, the prime minister addressed the United States support for Israel at the United Nations. Netanyahu thanked the Trump Administration for combatting Israel bias and taking a stand for Israel. Netanyahu stated “you stood up for Israel at the UN in a remarkable way, rock-solid support. This is a place, it’s a house of slander against Israel and against the United States, and by word and deed, you have told them, enough is enough.”

President Trump confirmed that Palestinian aid would be cut until it resumed peace negotiations with Israel. He stated on US cuts to the UNWRA and moving forward that “money is not going to them unless they sit down and negotiate peace, because I can tell you that Israel does want to make peace, and they’re going to have to want to make peace, too, or we’re going to have nothing to do with it any longer.”

The president also addressed the Palestinian’s disrespect to its largest donor, referring to the PA’s ban of communication with Vice President Mike Pence last week. Trump stated “When they disrespected us a week ago by not allowing our great vice president to see them, and we give them hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and support, tremendous numbers, numbers that nobody understands, that money is on the table.”

 

 

Photo: Netanyahu and Trump, Screenshot, Israeli TV, 2018