Israel and Russia agreed to strengthen military coordination in Syria

PM spoke with Putin and Pompeo over the weekend on Iran and Syria; Netanyahu: Iran needs to withdraw from all of Syria. PM met with Russian head of Police Dictorate in Jerusalem on Friday.

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Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over the weekend, the talks centered on Iran’s presence in Syria.

Russia agreed to strengthen its military coordination with Israel in southern Syria during a call on Friday. The prime minister confirmed the talks, stating on Sunday “Over the weekend I spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin and with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. We discussed regional issues and focused – of course – on Syria.”

He reported “I reiterated our guiding principles regarding Syria. First of all, Iran needs to withdraw from all of Syria. Second, we will take action – and are already taking action – against efforts to establish a militarily presence by Iran and its proxies in Syria both close to the border and deep inside Syria. We will act against these efforts anywhere in Syria.”

Russia confirmed the talks, stating both sides “voiced readiness to strengthen coordination on Syria, including on combating international terrorism.”

Netanyahu also met with the head of Russia’s Military Police Directorate, Vladimir Ivanovsky, who traveled to Jerusalem on Friday, their meeting part of military coordination between Jerusalem and the Kremlin.

Addressing the press following the International Homeland Security Forum in Jerusalem, Netanyahu warned that Iran’s influence is not limited to the region, but to Europe as well. He warned “If Iran makes good on its threat, it will do so by utilizing 80,000 Shiite fighters, which will cause religious wars to erupt again,” later reiterating the effect it would have on immigrants in Europe, as a “recipe for a re-inflammation of another civil war… I should say a theological war, a religious war – and the sparks of that could be millions more that go into Europe and so on.”

 

 

Photo: Putin & Netanyahu in 2017, Wikimedia Commons, 2018

EU funding legal action against IDF through NGO’s

Funding of NGO and left-wing organizations by EU revealed over the weekend; Reported quarter of 1 million dollars invested in program.

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The European Union is funding legal action against the IDF through private organizations and NGO’s.

Reports were released over the weekend that the EU recently started funding a program centered on taking legal action by left-wing organizations targeting the Israel Defense Forces. According to reports from NGO Monitor and Israeli media, a reported $290,000 was invested into the program which will continue its efforts through 2021.

Organizations are attempting to combat a supposed “culture of impunity among members of ‎Israel’s security forces”, through legal action against the IDF and through funding to go to providing cameras to Palestinians to record IDF soldiers. It claims that  documenting “abuses” is for “the purpose of building a ‎database, providing testimony, following up on ‎investigations, filing appeals over their closing, ‎and filing High Court of Justice petitions on ‎matters of principle and in specific cases.”

The developments follow an announcement by Israel’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation on a bill proposal to combat filming of IDF solders by left-wing organizations. The bill would seek to combat “biased and systematic manner… used to put a mark of shame on IDF soldiers… This documentation… is systematic and edited in a one-sided manner, with one objective- to undermine the spirit of IDF soldiers and Israeli citizens.”

Last week, majority of EU countries voted in favor of a UN General Assembly resolution claiming Israel has used excessive force against the Palestinians of Gaza. The resolution does not mention Hamas after efforts by the United States to include condemnation of Hamas in the resolution. Of the 193 members, 120 voted in favor, with 8 against and 45 abstentions.

Haley: The common practice of turning a blind eye to the UN’s anti-Israel bias is changing.

General Assembly passes anti-Israel resolution on actions in Gaza; Haley slams resolution, highlights shift in support for Israel at UN; PM praises Trump Administration and Nikki Haley for defending Israel at the UN.

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Prime Minister Netanyahu again praised both the Trump Administration and US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley for defending Israel at the General Assembly on Wednesday.

Haley gave an address in defense of Israel, condemning the UN’s anti-Israel efforts after the General Assembly voted in a resolution claiming Israel has used excessive force against the Palestinians of Gaza. The resolution does not mention Hamas after efforts by the United States to include condemnation of Hamas in the resolution. Of the 193 members, 120 voted in favor, with 8 against and 45 abstentions.

Haley called out the UN’s anti-Israel resolution, stating on Wednesday “In the face of Hamas terrorists routinely inciting violence, firing over a hundred rockets into Israeli communities, and even attacking the crossing point that brings humanitarian supplies into Gaza, today the UN made the morally bankrupt judgment that the recent Gaza violence is all Israel’s fault. It is no wonder that no one takes the UN seriously as a force for Middle East peace. But the common practice of turning a blind eye to the UN’s anti-Israel bias is changing.”

She however highlighted a shift at the UN, stating “Today, a plurality of 62 countries voted in favor of the U.S.-led effort to address Hamas’s responsibility for the disastrous conditions in Gaza. We had more countries on the right side than the wrong side. By their votes, those countries recognized that peace will only be achieved when realities are recognized, including Israel’s legitimate security interests, and the need to end Hamas’ terrorism.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu released a statement through his office addressing the UN General Assembly and the United States’ support for Israel on Thursday. He stated “Israel appreciates the Trump Administration’s steadfast support for Israel at the United Nations and Ambassador Haley’s strong statement today exposing the hypocrisy of the UN’s bias against Israel. The UN’s incessant focus on Israel not only brings shame to the organization. It also draws attention away from so many other pressing issues that demand the attention of the international community.”

On Gaza he stated “Hamas is responsible for the terrible situation there and for the loss of life and suffering that has occurred as a result of the violent riots it has instigated over the last few weeks. Rather than improve the lives of the people of Gaza, Hamas is using the civilian Palestinian population as human shields in its unremitting terror war against Israel.” He criticized Palestinian Authority President Abbas for making the humanitarian crisis “worse by reducing payments of salaries to Gaza and by refusing to pay for electricity provided to Gaza.”

The prime minister addressed Israel’s ongoing assistance to the  humanitarian crisis of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, “While Israel will continue to defend itself and protect the security of its citizens, Israel will continue to seek ways to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza. The people of Gaza are not our enemy. Hamas is.”

He confirmed that he would meet with Trump’s special envoys to the Middle East Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman next week. The officials will discuss “ways to advance peace between Israelis and Palestinians and between Israel and the broader Arab world.”

 

 

Photo: Netanyahu and Haley 2017, Wikimedia Commons, 2018. 

 

 

Netanyahu: I commend Trump on the historic summit in Singapore.

PM praises Trump on historic summit with N. Korea; Netanyahu: President Trump has also taken a strong stand against Iran’s efforts to arm itself with nuclear weapons and against its aggression in the Middle East. This is already affecting the Iranian economy.

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Prime Minister Netanyahu praised President Trump’s summit with North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jon-un as an important step in the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

The prime minister gave a short video address follow the summit in Singapore, stating “I commend US President Donald Trump on the historic summit in Singapore. This is an important step in the effort to rid the Korean peninsula of nuclear weapons.”

He also praised the President’s stance and action against Iran stating “President Trump has also taken a strong stand against Iran’s efforts to arm itself with nuclear weapons and against its aggression in the Middle East. This is already affecting the Iranian economy. President Trump’s policy is an important development for Israel, the region and the entire world.”

Both leaders signed an agreement centered on denuclearization and diplomatic relations. The agreement calls for both sides to “commit to establish new U.S.–DPRK relations and joint efforts “to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula”. The agreement reaffirms the Panmunjom Declaration and calls for the “DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” and that both states would work to recover “POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified”.

Amir will address the summit during his special update on the US-North Korea summit and its effect on the Middle East. Tune in on June 13, 2018 at 10:00 pm (Vienna).

 

 

Photo: Netanyahu, Wikimedia Commons, 2018.

IDF destroyed Hamas underwater terror tunnel

First underwater tunnel found and destroyed in Gaza Strip; Tunnel ran over 3 kilometers; IDF: The IDF will continue to use operational tools and intelligence to monitor the area and keep Israelis out of harm’s way.

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The IDF reported that it destroyed a naval Hamas terror tunnel, the first underwater tunnel detected in the Gaza Strip to date.

The tunnel, which was 2-3 meters deep and ran over 3 kilometer, was destroyed in Israel Air Force strikes in the Gaza Strip last weekend. The strikes were in retaliation for ongoing rocket fire, reports of the tunnel released only on Sunday night.

The IAF reportedly hit 15 targets in total, the strikes mostly on Hamas’s Al Qassam Brigade sites including three military compounds, two ammunition manufacturing sites weapons storage sites and naval forces, now known to be a tunnel. The airstrikes were carried out Saturday night and early Sunday morning.

The tunnel was designed so that Palestinian terrorists and militants could enter Israeli territory by diving into the sea.

The IDF confirmed the tunnel and events, stating “the IDF struck another Hamas terror tunnel during strikes against Hamas military posts in the northern Gaza Strip. The tunnel was unique, in that it was land-based, located within a Hamas post, and its exit was in the sea, giving terrorists ways to attack Israel at sea. The tunnel’s route was identified as part of an ongoing IDF campaign against Hamas’ naval force.” It warned, “the IDF will continue to use operational tools and intelligence to monitor the area and keep Israelis out of harm’s way.”

Last month, Israel’s Defense Ministry announced it would construct a sea barrier along the northern border with the Gaza Strip. Israel’s Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman described the barrier as a means to “effectively block the possibility of infiltrating into Israel via sea, and this will further thwart Hamas’ loss of strategic capabilities.”

 

 

Photo: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit illustration of underwater tunnel, 2018

Israeli humanitarian team working in Guatemala

Israel was first responder to Guatemalan volcano eruption last week; Netanyahu confirms team working hard to assist.

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Prime Minister Netanyahu gave a report on Israel’s humanitarian relief team that was dispatched to Escuintla, Guatemala last week to assist following the devastating volcano eruption that killed over 110.

Thousands have been displaced and approximately 200 people missing following the Fuego volcano eruption last week. Israel, as with majority of the world’s disaster, was one of a first responder to the crisis, arriving the day following the eruption.

Prime Minister Netanyahu confirmed during his weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday that “Last Wednesday I spoke with my friend, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales, about dispatching a medical mission to Guatemala to help with the disaster. Last night I received a report about their work. They are already at work on the ground. They are showing Israel at its best and are really rendering assistance and saving lives. We are all proud of our mission and of our doctors.” The team consists of doctors, burn specialists and medics.

Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that humanitarian aid, Israel’s Ambassador to Guatemala and his staff “organized and delivered immediate humanitarian assistance to the people of Escuintla following the devastating volcanic eruption that hit the region.

Guatemala officially opened its embassy in Jerusalem just a few days following the United States. Guatemala’s support for Israel began before the creation of the Jewish state when it voted in favor of the Partition Plan and the United Nations in 1947. It frequently defends Israel at the United Nations and votes against anti-Israel resolutions.

 

 

 

Photo: Israel doctors in Guatemala, Netanyahu Twitter, 2018 

IDF launches surprise military exercise in the Golan Heights

IDF Spokespersons Unit confirms exercise planned weeks ago; Exercise to continue through mid-week and follows IDF, Navy and IAF drills held in southern Israel last week; IDF confirms it will participate for first time in RIMPAC.

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The IDF began a large-scale military exercise in the Golan Heights on Sunday morning.

The drill was planned weeks ago but was unannounced to the public. The exercises will continue until mid-week and will include majority of the IDF combat and intelligence units, as well as reservists.

This week’s drill in the Golan Heights follows a number of IDF drills held last week. The IDF completed a four-day drill in southern Israel last week and the Israeli Navy completed a military exercise centered on defense scenarios from attacks from Lebanon and Syria. The navy exercise included war simulations, foreign attacks and practice with new radar detection and missile ships.

The Israel Air Force recently completing a week-long drill in the south and north of Israel. The IAF drill focused on preventing terror, simulated multi-threat attacks and jet exercises on simulated strikes in the Gaza Strip. The drills also focused on strategies in case of ground invasion from the Gaza Strip. The IDF confirmed that “dozens of fighter jets simulated strikes on hundreds of targets in the Gaza Strip in a short period of time.”

The IDF recently confirmed it will participate in the United States Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) multinational naval exercise. It will be Israel’s first time participating in the biennial exercise. The exercise, which is centered on “capable adaptive partners”, will be held towards the end of June outside of Hawaii. The maritime exercise will include 25,000 participants this year from 26 countries, 47 ships, 5 submarines and over 200 aircraft.

Israel, Brazil, Sri Lanka and Vietnam will participate in the exercise for the first time.

Amir will address these developments and much more during his LIVE Middle East Current Events Update on Sunday. Tune in at 6:00 pm (Israel time).

 

 

Photo: IDF soldiers in the Golan Heights, Wikimedia Commons, 2018.