Netanyahu finishes Europe tour in meeting with May centered on Iran

PM met with May in London followed by meeting with Boris Johnson; Meeting centered on Iran’s nuclear program and presence in Syria; May, Johnson, focus on Gaza; Johnson: UK, alongside France and Germany, firmly believes that the Iran nuclear deal is the best way to ensure a safe, secure future for the region.

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Prime Minister Netanyahu met with British Prime Minister Theresa May in London on Wednesday, the last meeting with European signatories of the nuclear deal with Iran. Their meeting, as with his meetings with Macron and Merkel, were centered on Iran’s nuclear and missile programs and presence in Syria.

Both leaders spoke before the press, Netanyahu praising Israel and Britain’s long history of diplomacy and cooperation in intelligence, security, technology and trade, stating “I think our relationship is going from strength to strength.” He then shifted to Iran, confirming his meeting as having two goals- the first, to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and the second, to “roll back Iran’s aggression in the region, and specifically in Syria.”

Netanyahu also spoke about Gaza, reiterating that Hamas is “rooted in the fundamental goal” to destroy Israel and that the protests are not peaceful at all, but violent. He stated “In addition to burning our fields, these people are being paid for and pushed by Hamas to try to break into Israel’s defenses, kill as many Israelis as they can, right next to our border, and kidnap our soldiers.”

Palestinians in Gaza, fueled by Hamas, continue to send arson kites into Israel, causing devastating fires and damages to farms and national parks. Palestinians are using the media to win sympathy, claiming their protests are legitimate and peaceful.

The prime minister assured May that Israel does everything it can to minimize casualties while at the same time defending the State of Israel. On human shields, he added “It’s a new technique, it’s a tactic of terrorists who attack civilian targets and hide behind civilians, or in this case use civilians as human shields. I think we should condemn it, and discuss ways how we can prevent this.”

He spoke of the economic and humanitarian crisis carried out by Hamas on its own people. He stated “Hamas diverts an enormous amount of resources from civilian needs to terror tunnels and other weapons of war… and the Palestinian Authority has cut back the money – a combination of choking Gaza financially from one Palestinian side and diverting resources for terrorism on the other side has created an economic crisis.”

Following his meeting with the prime minister, Netanyahu met with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson who called for a “transparent, independent inquiry” into the Gaza death toll, despite Hamas’s public announcement that majority of the deaths were Hamas militants. Johnson echoed May and other European leadership in support for the current nuclear deal with Iran, stating “The UK, alongside France and Germany, firmly believes that the Iran nuclear deal is the best way to ensure a safe, secure future for the region.”

 

 

Photo: Netanyahu and May meeting, Screenshot, 2018.

Netanyahu meeting with Macron centered on Iran

PM meets with Macron following Merkel and ahead of UK’s May; Netanyahu address focuses on radical Islam, Iran, Gaza crisis, anti-Semitism in France; Macron: Accord needs to be preserved to ensure control of ‎nuclear activity.

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Prime Minister Netanyahu met with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris Tuesday, their meeting centered on Iran. The leaders also attended a Gala event to celebrate 70 years of continued relations between Israel and France.

The prime minister met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin Monday, and is scheduled to meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday in efforts to persuade the European signatories of the nuclear deal to take action against Iran.

Speaking to the press following their meeting, Netanyahu spoke of the threat of radical Islam to the globe’s democracies, stating “all the democracies, share a common challenge… radical Islam. It challenges not only the democracies, it challenges Muslims. It kills Muslims. It does horrible things to them.” He referred to two great sources of aggression, the first the “militant Sunnis, initially led by Al-Qaeda and now led by Daesh [Islamic State] that has been largely crushed in Syria and Iraq,” and the second- militant Shiites led by Iran.

He assured Macron that Israel is “doing everything we can to prevent the aggressive designs of Iran, which will ultimately destabilize not only the Middle East in their effort to conquer the Middle East, but destabilize Europe and the world.” He also spoke of Israel and France’s intelligence cooperation which has aided France in thwarting numerous terror attacks.

On Islamic terror in France, he cited the 250 deaths from terror attacks, reiterating the core of the threat of radical Islamic- Iran. “The greatest threat to the world today in my view is nuclear weapons in the hands of a radical Islamic regime like Tehran,” Netanyahu stated, then speaking of the recent nuclear archive Israel’s Mossad obtained. He stated “The nuclear archive that we uncovered recently proved that Iran lied to the world about its nuclear weapons program and I believe now is the time to apply maximum pressure on Iran to make sure that their nuclear program doesn’t go anywhere.”

Netanyahu clarified to the press that he did not ask Macron to leave the nuclear deal, but rather to focus on economic sanctions to pressure Iran. He reiterated Israel’s goal for “a reconstructed Syria which you seek… the precondition to that is that Iran leaves Syria- all of Syria. It has no business being there. And we must block Iran’s plans to transport its army and its weapons, sophisticated and deadly weapons to Syria, from which they seek to attack Israel.”

He then addressed the Gaza Strip crisis, clarifying to the press amidst ongoing media bias and lies that “These are violent riots that are organized by Hamas. They’re using human shields to move their terrorists in place, they want to kidnap Israelis, they want to murder Israelis.” He spoke about Hamas’s payment to protestors, and efforts to  “storm into Israel, capture civilians or soldiers right next to the fence, within meters of the fence, of the border fence, they burn our fields. These are not civilians.”

The prime minister added, “We have a right to defend ourselves against. We exercise that right. We seek to do it in nonlethal means and we’re not successful because Hamas wants these people killed.”

Speaking of growing relations between Israel with Arab states, Netanyahu highlighted the “changed attitude” as states in the region combat the same enemies. He also spoke of how “Arab countries believe that they can join Israeli technology to have water, to have agriculture, to have cleaner air, to have IT, to have all the health services,” adding “There is a change. And I believe ultimately this is the biggest hope for peace.”

Macron spoke following, echoing the words of Merkel from Monday, stating “I told the prime minister of my deep conviction, ‎which is shared with our European partners, that the ‎accord needs to be preserved to ensure control of ‎nuclear activity… I call on all sides to stabilize the situation and ‎‎not give into escalation which will lead to one ‎‎thing: conflict.”

Netanyahu will meet with Prime Minister Theresa May in London, his last stop in Europe this week.

 

 

Photo: Netanyahu and Macron, Screenshot, 2018. 

Netanyahu and Merkel meet on Iran

PM meets with Merkel ahead of Macron and May; Meeting centered on Iran’s nuclear and missile programs, efforts in Syria and Yemen; Netanyahu calls on IAEA to open investigation with Israel’s newly obtained intelligence on Iran’s weapons and nuclear programs; Merkel: We have the same goal that Iran must never get a nuclear weapon. The difference between us is how to do that.

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Prime Minister Netanyahu met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Germany on Monday, their meeting centered on Iran’s nuclear program and presence in Syria.

It was his first of three meetings with European leadership , Netanyahu meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron Tuesday in Paris. He will meet with with British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday.

Netanyahu and Merkel spoke to the press following their meeting, Netanyahu calling for economic sanctions and Iran’s complete withdrawal from Syria, as well as renewed investigation by the International Atomic Energy Agency following Israel’s exposure of Iran’s secret nuclear bomb program and advanced work on weaponization last month.

He spoke of the global threat and common challenge “the civilized world faces today is the danger that comes out from militant Islamic states that are bent on aggression and acquiring nuclear arsenals.” Referring to Iran’s Supreme Ruler’s tweet calling Israel a malignant cancerous tumor in the West Asian region that has to be removed and eradicated” on Monday, he stated “this is amazing that in the beginning of the 21st century, somebody talks about destroying Israel. It means destroying another 6 million plus Jews. It’s quite extraordinary that this goes on, but this is what we face.”

Specifically on Iran, Netanyahu said “Iran calls for our destruction, but it’s also seeking nuclear weapons to carry out its genocidal designs. We know that for a fact,” calling for the International Atomic Energy Agency to investigate Iran based on the new intelligence Israel provided in May, to all European signatories of the Iran nuclear deal and the IAEA.

The prime minister then spoke of Iran’s presence on Israel’s borders in southern Syria and efforts through its proxies in the region, reiterating “the other danger from Iran is that it is trying to conquer the Middle East. It’s doing so in Syria. It’s doing so in Yemen. And it’s doing so in other places. In Syria, Iran is trying to put its army, its air force, its navy and ground forces from, moving it 1,500 kilometers from Iran to the backdoor of Israel, with the explicit goal of attacking us… we cannot accept that.”

He gave statistics of Iran’s activities in Syria, calling on Germany to condemn Iranian forces, stating “The Iranian military presence right now in Syria includes about 18,000 Shiite militia, commanded by Iranian commanders. These Shiite militias come from Afghanistan, from Pakistan, from other places, and they have a specific goal, a military goal, but also a religious goal. Iran wants to increase the number of such militia to 80,000 and to basically conduct a religious campaign in largely Sunni Syria. Syria is 96% Sunni, but try to convert Sunnis.”

He warned on the future refugee crisis as a result, stating “This will inflame another religious war. This time a religious war inside Syria, and the consequences would be many, many more refugees and you know exactly where they’ll come.”

Netanyahu spoke of Iran’s funding of terror groups and its proxies in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen, stressing the need for economic sanctions in order to  “break this cash machine that feeds the Iranian empire that endangers everybody, endangers Israel, but indirectly also endangers Germany and Europe.” He added, “Iran must not be allowed to have a foothold, a military foothold in Syria. Iran should leave Syria, all parts of Syria. This is our position, and I think we have to band together to confront this Iranian aggression, the world’s foremost sponsor of terror.”

Merkel then spoke, continuing with her support of the nuclear deal, stating that Germany “supports Israel’s right to security and have said this to Iran all along. We have the same goal that Iran must never get a nuclear weapon. The difference between us is how to do that.” While she stated that Iran’s “regional influence is worrying, especially for Israel’s security” she reported that Germany would “make every diplomatic effort to make use of our influence on the issue of Iran’s ballistic program and its activities in Yemen and the presence of Iran’s army in Syria.”

She added, “we don’t agree on all issues, but we are friends and partners and we try to understand each other’s interests. There is also a wide range of common views which we will continue to address.”

Netanyahu will meet with Merkel again in Jerusalem in October.

Be sure to watch Amir’s update from the Israeli-Syrian border on developments in Syria and through the region.

 

 

 

Photo: Screenshot of PM Netanyahu during press conference, 2018. 

Palestinian Authority funds to be deducted as compensation for damages from arson terror

PM announces PA funds deduction to compensate for damages in Israel from fires started from Gaza’s arson kites; 200 of 600 kites reached Israeli territory; Lieberman: We will act according to Israel’s interests at timing that is comfortable for us. We will not leave accounts open.

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Israel’s Defense Minister announced the IDF will take stronger measures to prevent arson kites and terror from the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Netanyahu announcing a deduction from PA funds as compensation for damages.

Palestinian rioters and terrorists continue to send arson kites into Israel territory, destroying hundreds of acres of land that cause massive fires due to the hot, dry weather ahead of summer.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad factions continue to call for increased terror activity, with daily attempts to infiltrate the border, tunnel construction, rocket and mortar attacks and arson attacks.

Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman addressed the arson and devastation to Israel’s southern communities, stating on Monday “We should be clear that we are not prepared to accept the kites becoming the norm. The same applies for riots on the border fence and attempts to breach it and cause damage to the sovereign territory of Israel.”

He warned “We will act according to Israel’s interests at timing that is comfortable for us. We will not leave accounts open. We will settle accounts with Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the rests of the terrorists operating against us from the Gaza Strip.”

Lieberman reported that over 600 kites have been sent to Israel, with 200 succeeding in reaching Israeli territory. He reported that “9,000 dunams of crops and forests” have been burned. Farmers in Israel’s south have reported over 7,000 acres of farmland and forests destroyed in fires from arson kites since April. Just this weekend, Israel’s ‎Israel Nature ‎and Parks Authority reported that 75 acres of the national Karmiya Nature Reserve destroyed over the weekend alone.

The IDF Spokespersons Unit reiterated that Hamas would be held accountable stating following this weekend’s rockets and arson terror, “This weekend’s events represent Hamas’ determination to turn the area near the security fence into a war zone, and its desire to harm Israeli civilians no matter the cost to its own. Ultimately, Hamas, as the governing body in the Gaza Strip, must make the decision to invest in its people or harm Israelis. For now, it’s clear that Hamas puts its terror-based goals ahead of its civilians.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu announced that funds for the Palestinian Authority would be deducted to pay for damages in Israel from arson terror, stating Monday “I have instructed National Security Council head Meir Ben-Shabbat to advance a system to deduct from Palestinian Authority funds the compensation that Israel will pay Gaza border communities for the damage cause by recent arson attacks.”

 

 

 

Photo: Palestinian rioters on Israel’s border, IDF Spokespersons Unit, 2018.

Netanyahu travels to Europe to meet with Merkel, Macron and May on Iran

PM to meet with heads of state of UK, France and Germany; Talks to center on Iran nuclear deal and growing presence in Syria; Iran denies reports that it will leave southern Syria; Ayatollah: Israel is a malignant cancerous tumor in the West Asian region that has to be removed and eradicated: it is possible and it will happen.

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Prime Minister Netanyahu left for Europe Monday for meetings with heads of state to center on Iran’s nuclear program and its expansion in the region, mainly in Syria.

Netanyahu will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel today, followed by a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday and British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday. Ahead of his flight Monday, he stated “I am now leaving on an important visit to Europe. I will meet with three leaders and I will raise two issues there: Iran and Iran.”

He confirmed talks would centered on the  “need to continue the pressure on Iran against its nuclear program,” reiterating Israel’s stance that “this pressure should be increased and it could be that there is not full agreement on this at the moment, but in my opinion, such an understanding will take shape.” The prime minister added “The second issue is blocking Iran’s aggression in the region, especially its attempts to establish a military presence against us in Syria and attack us from there. On this issue I hope to form an agreed-upon policy.”

Meanwhile, a senior Iranian military official, Brigadier General Massoud Jazayer denied reports that Iranian forces will leave southern Syria under a Russian-brokered agreement, stating “Iran and Syria enjoy deep relations that would not be influenced by the propaganda measures of anyone.”

On Israel’s defense against Iranian terror in Syria, he claimed “The biggest fear of the Zionist regime is the ‎presence of Muslim fighters in its proximity. Now ‎that this has come true, the U.S. and Israel are ‎making desperate efforts to change the situation.‎ But they should know that this condition is not ‎going to change.”

Referring to Iranian military forces as “military advisors” as all Iranian and Syrian officials have, he stated “Unlike the American military forces and the regional reactionaries, the Iranian advisors are present in Syria at the request of the Syrian government and people. We are waiting to see a day that Syria and the other regional countries would witness an era without the annoying and troublemaking aliens.”

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei took to Twitter, referring to Israel as a “malignant cancerous tumor” that needs to be removed while fueling the Palestinians “resistance”.

Referring to riots and terror from Gaza, he claimed “Undoubtedly, resistance is the only path to save Palestine from oppression, and the only cure to heal the wounds on the body of this courageous and proud nation. Woe to the heads of those dependent and traitorous countries, who refrain from the great duty of fighting against Israel and defending Palestine only to win U.S’s attention and a few more days of power.”

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He added “For Iran, the Palestinian cause is not a tactical issue, nor is it a ‘political’ strategy. It’s an issue of beliefs, an issue of the heart and an issue of faith. Our stance against Israel is the same stance we have always taken. Israel is a malignant cancerous tumor in the West Asian region that has to be removed and eradicated: it is possible and it will happen.”

 

Be sure to watch Amir’s special update on regional developments from the Israeli-Syrian border Monday morning. 

 

Photo: Prime Minister Netanyahu, Wikimedia Commons, 2018

IDF attacked 15 terror targets in Gaza Strip

Multiple Hamas sites targeted including weapons storage, naval forces, military compounds and ammunition manufacturing sites; No injuries or damages reported from rocket fire on Israel Saturday night.

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The Israel Air Force carried out airstrikes in the Gaza Strip in retaliation for rocket fire on Israel Saturday 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, naval forces and weapons storage sites. The airstrikes were carried out Saturday night and early Sunday morning.

The Iron Dome missile defense system was able to intercept three of the four rockets fired at Israel with no damages or injuries reported.

The IDF Spokespersons Unit confirmed the events, reporting Sunday “IAF fighter jets targeted five terror targets at a military compound belonging to the Hamas terror organization’s naval force in the northern Gaza Strip.” On strikes in the Strip last night, it confirmed “There was an additional IDF strike carried out last night targeting terror sites belonging to the Hamas terror organization… The strike was conducted in response to the projectiles which were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel last night, in addition to the acts of terror approved and led by the Hamas terror organization throughout the weekend.”

It reiterated “IDF views the Hamas terror organization’s actions with great severity and will continue fulfilling its mission to protect Israeli civilians as necessary.”

The United Nations Security Council held a session last week by request from the United States, Kuwait blocking a draft statement brought to the Council condemning Hamas’s ongoing terror activity on Israel’s border, as well as its resumed rocket attacks. On May 29, 70 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip at Israel, the vast majority intercepted by the Iron Dome. US Ambassador the the UN, Nikki Haley, gave a speech before the Council, stating that it “is outrageous for the Security Council to fail to condemn Hamas rocket attacks against Israeli civilians, while the Human Rights Council approves sending a team to investigate Israeli actions taken in self-defense.”

 

 

 

Photo: Hamas compound destroyed by IAF, IDF Spokespersons Unit, 2018

Assad: Syria improving air defense systems

Assad accuses Israel of supporting rebel forces and lying about attacks in Syria; He claimed no Iranian forces in Syria and no Iranian deaths in IAF airstrikes; Assad: Conflict between US and Syria deterred due to “wisdom of the Russian leadership”.

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Syrian President Bashar Assad claimed there are no Iranian forces in Syria, reporting that the Syrian army is improving its air defense system to deal with ongoing attacks.

In an interview with Russia Today, Assad boasted on Syria’ air defenses, “thanks to Russian support”, claiming “Our air defense is much stronger than before, thanks to the Russian support, and the recent attacks by the Israelis and by the Americans and British and French proved that we are in a better situation. The only option is to improve our air defense, this is the only thing we can do, and we are doing that.” He referred to the “West led by the US, and their puppets in Europe and in our region as our enemies and opponents”.

Assad took to bashing Israel, accusing it of supporting rebel forces, which he refers to as “terrorists”, and referring to states that have attacked Syrian air bases as “mercenaries”. He stated “The first target of the mercenaries in Syria was the air defense. Before attacking any other military base it was the air defense,” claiming “This is the other proof that Israel was in direct link with those terrorists in Syria. So, they attacked those bases, and they destroyed a big part of our air defenses.”

He lied about Iranian forces in Syria, despite confirmed reports of multiple Iranian deaths following IDF airstrikes, stating “we do not have Iranian troops… we had tens of Syrian martyrs and wounded soldiers, not a single Iranian. So, how could they say that we have it? So, it is a lie.”

The Syrian President claimed Israel’s “threats” to continue attacks in Syria are a result of its “panic”, claiming “The Israelis have been assassinating, killing, occupying for decades now… in this region, but usually they do all this without threatening. Now, why do they threaten in this way? This is panic, this is a kind of hysterical feeling because they are losing the ‘dear ones’,” referring to Al-Nusra and ISIS.

On its civil war, Assad claimed the “only problem left in Syria is the SDF,” announcing that the Syrian Democratic Forces, led by Kurdish forces, would be left with two options, stating “the first one we started now opening doors for negotiations,” as “the majority of them are Syrians. Supposedly they like their country, they don’t like to be puppets to any foreigners.”

The second option he reported was that the Syrian army would resort to “liberating those areas by force. It’s our land, it’s our right, and it’s our duty to liberate it, and the Americans should leave. Somehow they’re going to leave.”

Assad additionally claimed that Russian leadership has deterred a conflict between Syria and the United States, stating “We were close to have direct conflict between the Russian forces and the American forces, and fortunately, it has been avoided, not by the wisdom of the American leadership, but by the wisdom of the Russian leadership.”

 

 

Photo: Assad, Wikimedia Commons, 2018.