Archive for August 26, 2019

Trump says Mideast peace plan may be revealed before Israeli elections

August 26, 2019

On sidelines of G7 summit, US president tells leaders both sides are ready to negotiate a deal, says Palestinians ‘will be happy to get US funding again’

By TOI STAFFToday, 11:15 am  0

US President Donald Trump meets with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in Biarritz, southwest France on August 26, 2019, on the third day of the annual G7 Summit. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP)

US President Donald Trump meets with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in Biarritz, southwest France on August 26, 2019, on the third day of the annual G7 Summit. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP)

US President Donald Trump said Monday that his administration might release its Middle East peace plan before Israel’s elections in September, reversing earlier statements that it would wait until after the election re-do to unveil the long-delayed proposal.

Trump told reporters on the sidelines of the annual G7 summit in Paris that both Israelis and Palestinians were interested in reaching a peace deal. Trump said he “thinks the Palestinians will be happy to get US funding again and make a deal,” according to Rueters.

“We’re going to know who the [Israeli] prime minister is going to be fairly soon,” he said, according to Axios. “[A deal] won’t be before the election, I don’t think… But I think you may see what the deal is before the election.”

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Trump will address the media alongside French President Emmanuel Macron at the conclusion of the three-day summit later on Monday.

His administration’s Mideast peace plan was supposed to roll out over the summer, but unveiling of the US plan was delayed after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to cobble together a coalition following the April elections and called a fresh vote, now scheduled for September 17.

The US has so far kept the political elements of its plan under wraps, while the economic aspects of it were presented in June by Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner at an American-led conference in Bahrain. The economic side of the plan would see a $50 billion investment package for the Palestinians and the wider region.

The Palestinians skipped the Bahrain conference and have rejected the peace plan outright, pressing on with their boycott of the administration since Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017 and cut Palestinian aid.

The Trump administration has since cut hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinians, including all of its support for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees and nearly $200 million earmarked for humanitarian programs in the West Bank and Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is willing to wait and see the contents of the plan, but has reiterated he will not compromise on Israel’s security or evacuate settlements.

No details have been published so far about how the plan tackles key issues such as a potential independent Palestinian state, Israeli control over the West Bank, the fate of Jerusalem and the so-called “right of return” for Palestinians to homes from which their families fled or were expelled after Israel’s creation in 1948.

US officials have indicated that they will back “Palestinian autonomy” and self-governance, but stop short of endorsing the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Israel Mocks Iran Over Failed Drone Attack Launched From Luxury Villa With Pool: ‘That Sounded Good in the Morning Meeting’

August 26, 2019

AUGUST 25, 2019 10:14 AM0

by Benjamin Kerstein

An Israeli Air Force jet. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The Israeli Army mocked a leading Iranian general on Twitter Sunday following an IAF airstrike in Syria that thwarted an attempted drone attack on Israel’s north.

“TO: Iranian Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani, RE: Last Night,” the tweet said, “’We will carry out a large-scale attack of killer drones on the ‘Zionist entity’ from Syria.’ It sounded good in your morning meeting, didn’t it?”

Israel Defense Forces@IDF

TO: Iranian Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani,

RE: Last Night

“We will carry out a large-scale attack of killer drones on the ‘Zionist entity’ from Syria.”

It sounded good in your morning meeting, didn’t it?4,0807:27 AM – Aug 25, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy1,376 people are talking about this

At the same time, details began to emerge about the background to the planned Iranian attack.

According to Israeli news website Mako, the failed attack was planned by Iranian operatives together with members of Shia militia groups. They were brought to Syria by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Quds Force, which coordinates Iran’s terrorist operations abroad.

They arrived at Damascus airport together with the weapons and technology required to carry out the attack and were taken to the village of Aqraba.

According to the IDF, the operatives were then hidden in a private luxury villa that included a storage room, a large garden, and a swimming pool.

IDF Spokesman Ronen Manelis said that the villa belongs to the Quds Force and “that’s where the attack and other activities were planned. In addition, there is also a warehouse where the cargo is kept — all this, inside a civilian village in Syria.”

Veteran Israeli analyst Amos Yadlin said in a lengthy twitter thread that the Israeli strike proved “a wide, multi-dimensional (geographic, operational, intelligence, technological) campaign is waged in the Middle East, far beyond last night’s strike in Syria.”

“Impressive IDF Intel and AF capabilities last night. High quality RT intel along with a precise surgical operation prevented a significant attack on Israel,” he added. “I would not want to be in Qassem Suleimani’s shoes this morning.”

“Israel’s decision to take responsibility 1) signal as warning to the enemy to avoid further escalation, 2) increases readiness of our forces for an Iranian response, and 3) serves political purposes by distracting from the deteriorating security situation in Gaza and the [West Bank],” Yadlin stated.

Amos Yadlin@YadlinAmos

A wide, multi-dimensional (geographic, operational, intelligence, technological) campaign is waged in the Middle East, far beyond last night’s strike in Syria.
1/6794:27 AM – Aug 25, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy76 people are talking about this

Another long-time Israeli analyst, Ehud Yaari, wrote that Israel’s “war between the wars” with Iran is “the real war,” and in this struggle, the US has chosen to take a back seat, leaving it up to Israel and its allies to do the “bulk of the work.”

“In the absence of an American willingness to act forcefully against the Iranians, Israel is in effect the ‘proxy’ of Washington,” he said, “and performs the roles that the Americans avoid.”

“Trump, with all his friendship with Israel, has left Israel alone to face the Iranians — and Tehran understands this very well,” Yaari added.

This has forced Israel to act in Iraq as well as Syria, he said, as the US is unwilling to undertake action against Iran due to the political situation in Iraq.

Nonetheless, Yaari wrote, “Airstrikes in Syria over the past three and a half years have prevented the Iranians from implementing about 80 percent of their plan to build an independent war machine on Syrian soil. But the Iranians are not stopping and do not intend to give up on [Syria].”

MK Kisch: Major Gaza operation just a matter of time

August 26, 2019

Hamas is crossing red line, endangering its own rule,’ Likud MK says.Arutz Sheva Staff, 26/08/19 12:46Share

MK Yoav Kish

MK Yoav KishFlash 90

Likud MK Yoav Kisch on Monday warned that Israel would conduct a “very significant” operation in Gaza.

In an interview with Kan Reshet Bet regarding the security situation southern Israel, Kisch said that “the problem called Gaza must be resolved with determination and discretion.”

“I have no doubt that we will go to a very significant operation in Gaza, period,” he emphasized. “The only question facing cabinet members is: Is this the right time?”

According to Kisch: “The easiest thing to do is say, ‘Okay, let’s go in.’ There’s no magic solution. Prime Minister [Binyamin] Netanyahu is handling it with careful consideration. We were very close to going into Gaza before the previous elections, but in the end Hamas took a step back.”

In March, Gaza terrorists rained dozens of rockets on Israeli civilians, even after it claimed a ceasefire had been reached.

“Hamas is crossing a red line and leading to a process which will upset and endanger its rule.”

LEBANON: ISRAEL STRUCK PFLP-GC BASE IN BEKAA VALLEY

August 26, 2019

Alleged strike comes amid heightened tensions in northern Israel.

BY ANNA AHRONHEIM  AUGUST 26, 2019 12:53 2 minute read.  

Lebanon: Israel struck PFLP-GC base in Bekaa Valley

T-Heron drone from the IAF. (photo credit: IAI)

Israeli drones struck a base belonging to a Palestinian terrorist group in Lebanon’s Bekaa near the border with Syria early Monday, Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency said.

“Three hostile strikes” hit Lebanon’s eastern mountains near Qusaya after midnight “where the PFLP-GC has military posts,” NNA said, adding that “they responded with a barrage of anti-aircraft fire.According to the report, the strikes caused material damage and no casualties.

Videos posted on social media showed explosions as well as by heavy anti-aircraft fire by militants.

The PFLP-GC split from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in 1968, claiming it wanted to focus more on resistance and less on politics. 

Led by Ahmad Jibril, a former captain in the Syrian Army, the PFLP-GC is closely tied to both Syria and Iran. While it’s political leadership is headquartered in Damascus, it has bases in southern Lebanon, in Palestinian refugee camps and a small presence in the Gaza Strip.

It has carried out dozens of deadly attacks since it’s split, most recently in December 2015, when the group fired three rockets from Lebanon towards northern Israel.

The alleged Israeli airstrike came amid heightened tensions on Israel’s northern borders.

The reported strikes came just hours after Israel struck an Iranian drone team in Syria killing two Hezbollah militants and one Iranian and after two alleged Israeli drones crashed in Lebanon’s capital of Beirut, drawing threats by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah that the organization would retaliate.

“What happened in Syria and Lebanon last night is very, very dangerous,” Nasrallah said in a speech Sunday night, adding that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “would be mistaken if he thinks that this issue can go unnoticed.

“The time at which Israeli war jets used to strike targets in Lebanon while the usurping entity in Palestine kept safe has ended,” Nasrallah continued. “From tonight, I tell the Israeli army on the border, wait for our response, which may take place at any time on the border and beyond the border. Be prepared and wait for us.”

Netanyahu meanwhile warned neighboring countries that they would be responsible for any attack targeting Israel from their territory.

“We won’t tolerate attacks on Israel from any country in the area. Any country that allows its territory to be used for attacks against Israel will bear the consequences. I stress: The state will bear the consequences,” he said during a tour of the Golan Heights with IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi.

Alon Einhorn contributed to this report.