Category Archive: Israel

Jun 12

Top Israeli intel official: Threat of Iran’s Mideast dominance ‘immediate’

ByAnna Ahronheim

June 7, 2017 05:32

Concern among officials about Iran’s influence – and what is believed to be its goal of forming a land corridor from Tehran to Beirut – has grown.

The threat from Tehran’s growing strength in Syria should be the number one focus of concern for Israel and the West, a top Israeli intelligence official said on Tuesday.

“The Iranian nuclear issue will of course always be a very high priority,” Intelligence Ministry director-general Chagai Tzuriel told The Jerusalem Post on the sidelines of the 8th annual Israel Defense Exhibition in Tel Aviv. “But the negative potential built-in in the nuclear agreement will become more threatening as time goes by, while the threat of Iranian dominance in the region is immediate.”

Developments in Syria have created “a strong imbalance in the region to Iran’s benefit,” Tzuriel told the global gathering of military and defense professionals. “Iran’s strengthening in Syria is an issue that must be addressed right now.”

Concern among officials about Iran’s influence – and what is believed to be its goal of forming a land corridor from Tehran to Beirut – has grown.

This is particularly true since Iranian-backed Iraqi militias recently reached strategically situated villages on the Syria-Iraq border, which according to Tzuriel is today’s location of greatest urgency.

“There is no doubt that Iran has a strategic plan to make a continuous land bridge,” Tzuriel told the Post, and if Tehran succeeds in creating a continuous land bridge from Iran to Lebanon, he said, “it would be a strategic game-changer.”

Maj.-Gen. Qassem Soleimani, a senior figure in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, was photographed on a scouting tour of the northwest Iraqi countryside near the Syrian border.

Tzuriel, who served in the Mossad for 28 years, said the presence of Soleimani, a top player in external Iranian operations as well as internal politics, was “a significant” message from Iran.

“Having Iran on the Iraq-Syria border is a new chapter,” he said. “We may be entering the final stretch of Islamic State militancy in those countries… but we must then ask ourselves what are we paving the way for? What is the next threat? A mutation of global jihad or Iran, or both?” Tzuriel said the West and Israel must prevent the threat posed by Iran from maturing.

“If Iran and Hezbollah manage to base themselves in Syria, it would be a permanent source of instability in the entire region. Even Moscow understands this,” he explained.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8584

Jun 05

Trump Officially Vetoes Embassy Move, Disappointing Millions of Pro-Israel Voters

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz June 2, 2017 , 10:51 am

“Blessed be Hashem out of Tzion, who dwelleth at Yerushalayim. Hallelujah.” Psalms 135:21 (The Israel Bible™)

In direct contradiction of a key campaign promise, US President Donald Trump signed a waiver on Wednesday, delaying the enactment of the Jerusalem Embassy Act for another six months. The move is a blow to millions of pro-Israel voters who were instrumental in helping Trump win the presidential election.

The Jerusalem Embassy Act, passed in Congress in 1995, authorized moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but allowed for a presidential veto lasting six-months based on security concerns. Since the law was passed, every president has signed the veto preventing the move, the last time being in December by former President Barack Obama in his final days in office. The veto expired on Wednesday at midnight.

The White House released a statement explaining the decision was to enhance the possibility of successful negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel, and the president has full intention of ordering the embassy move sometime in the future.

While President Donald J. Trump signed the waiver under the Jerusalem Embassy Act and delayed moving the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, no one should consider this step to be in any way a retreat from the President’s strong support for Israel and for the United States-Israel alliance.

President Trump made this decision to maximize the chances of successfully negotiating a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, fulfilling his solemn obligation to defend America’s national security interests. But, as he has repeatedly stated his intention to move the embassy, the question is not if that move happens, but only when.

Trump garnered strong support among pro-Israel Jews and Christians during his run for the presidency by promising to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, most notably during his speech at the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual policy conference in March 2016, when he declared that if elected, “We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem.”

As rumors increased that the administration was distancing itself from the promise in recent months, evangelical and Jewish leaders stepped up to urge Trump to fulfill his promise.

“President Trump’s promise to move the embassy to Jerusalem was of critical importance to millions of Christian Zionists who ultimately supported his bid for the White House. They will be watching what the president does very closely,” Pastor John Hagee, founder of influential Christian Zionist group Christians United for Israel, said last week.

Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy for the Orthodox Union, echoed the sentiment on behalf of Trump’s Jewish supporters. “A majority of American Orthodox Jews voted for Mr. Trump because of the expectation that he would be a more supportive president for Israel,” he said

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8571

Jun 05

Turkey Eclipsing Jordan in Arab Claims to Old City, Temple Mount

By JNI Media May 30, 2017 , 9:00 am

“And they deceive every one his neighbour, and truth they speak not; they have taught their tongue to speak lies, they weary themselves to commit iniquity.” Jeremiah 9:4 (The Israel Bible™)

The Jerusalem municipality’s eastern Jerusalem experts have revealed in recent days that Turkey has been competing with Jordan over influence among Arab residents as well as over control of the Temple Mount, Hashiloach—an Israeli journal for thought and policy, created by the Tikvah Fund—reported last week.

The city’s experts, David Koren and Ben Avrahami, also revealed that Turkey has begun pouring millions of dollars into non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in eastern Jerusalem, in order to strengthen Ankara’s status among the Arab residents, at the expense of Jordan and Israel.

The Arab population of Jerusalem numbers approximately 320,000, with another 50,000 residents of Judea and Samaria who are staying in the city illegally or through family reunification. Jerusalem Arabs constitute about 37 percent of the city’s population and about 20 percent of the Arab population in Israel. In fact, Jerusalem is the city with the highest Arab population density between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea (excluding Gaza). Ramallah has 280,000 residents, and Nazareth, the largest Arab city in Israel, has only 75,000.

The vast majority of Jerusalem’s Arabs are Muslim – the Christian population is estimated at between 10 and 15 thousand.

“The growing involvement of the Erdogan regime, which is now the main patron of the Muslim Brotherhood worldwide, shows that the Turkish actions in Jerusalem are part of a wider process of creating regional Turkish hegemony at the expense of other players,” wrote the Jerusalem mayor’s advisers on the eastern part of the city, noting that “the biggest loser from the increased Turkish presence is Jordan, which for many years had enjoyed the status of Custodian of the Holy Places and the protector of the residents of eastern Jerusalem.

“The greatest threat to the Hashemite Kingdom on the Temple Mount comes from Turkey.”

Earlier this month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed Israel for “massacring the Palestinians,” calling on the Turks to visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque and dubbing Israel’s control of Jerusalem “an insult.” He also attacked President Donald Trump’s plans to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, and declared that “all Muslims must defend Jerusalem.”

The experts added that in May 2015, Muslim worshipers expelled the chief Jordanian Kadi from the Temple Mount, while at the same time receiving with great honor the Turkish minister of religious affairs. “In recent years, the Turks have poured considerable sums of money into the Temple Mount for a number of activities: Koran reading groups, transporting worshipers to and from the mosque, Ramadan meals, renovations, and cleaning. As a rule, whether deliberately or not, Muslim groups on the Temple Mount are acting in favor of Turkey and to the detriment of Jordan.

“In their view, replacing the Jordanian presence with Turkish presence would be a positive and welcome step,” Koren and Avrahami wrote.

“Erdogan’s Turkey now enjoys unprecedented popularity among the residents of eastern Jerusalem,” the report continued. “Turkish flags are often seen hanging from rooftops in the eastern part of the city and even on the Temple Mount, and Turkish culture is being revived, which is reflected in Turkish language courses, Turkish music and Turkish cuisine.”

One hundred years after the last Turkish soldier was chased out of Jerusalem by the invading British Empire, “Turkey’s public support for the Palestinian cause and the Al-Aqsa conflict, and their channeling of millions of dollars into eastern Jerusalem, bear many fruits in the form of sympathy and support,” the experts concluded, adding that the Turks’ “involvement is made possible by their cooperation with Muslim Brotherhood elements in the city, who are often being used as their allies and collaborators.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8569

May 30

Netanyahu Vows Temple Mount Will Remain Under Israeli Sovereignty Forever

By JNS May 25, 2017 , 9:30 am

“Thus saith Hashem: I return unto Tzion and will dwell in the midst of Yerushalayim; and Yerushalayim shall be called the city of truth; and the mountain of Hashem of hosts the holy mountain.” Zechariah 8:3 (The Israel Bible™)

An aerial view of the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. (Andrew Shiva via Wikimedia Commons)

During a celebration for Jerusalem Day at the Israeli Knesset, marking the 50th anniversary of the capital city’s reunification, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed the Temple Mount and Western Wall would remain under Israeli sovereignty.

“The black cloud over Jerusalem disappeared 50 years ago,” said Netanyahu. “The Temple Mount and Western Wall will stay under Israeli sovereignty forever.”

The prime minister lauded the freedom of religion practiced in Jerusalem “only under our (Israeli) control.” From 1948-1967, Jordan controlled eastern Jerusalem.

Netanyahu also linked Jerusalem Day with this week’s terror attack in Manchester, U.K., which killed 22 people and injured as many as 59 during an Ariana Grande concert.

“Had the victims of the Manchester attack been killed in Jerusalem, the terrorist’s family would have received a big stipend from the Palestinian Authority,” he said, referring to an ongoing Palestinian Authority practice that Israel and the U.S. have sought to end.

“You cannot say that the despicable act in Manchester is forbidden, but that here in Jerusalem it is allowed,” said Netanyahu.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8565

May 30

At City of David, “Watching Jerusalem Rise From the Ashes”

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz May 23, 2017 , 2:30 pm

“And [David] made him houses in the city of David; and he prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched for it a tent.” I Chronicles 15:1 (The Israel Bible™)

City of David (Photo: Deror Avi/ Wiki Commons)

As the ancient City of David is uncovered by archaeologists, excavations are revealing not only the past but the city’s central role in prophecy. One woman, tasked with getting the word out about the site, will be a panelist at the Breaking Israel News Prophecy in the News Conference in order to  help the Biblical city reemerge and take its central role in Israel today.

Three years ago, AnaRina Heymann, Outreach Coordinator for the City of David, initiated the Jerusalem Watch project with the goal of creating awareness for ancient Biblical Jerusalem. As part of her job, she educates people about the ongoing archaeology uncovering the city’s Biblical past.

“The City of David is the place where it all began,” Heymann told Breaking Israel News. “Excavations at the City of David offer unequivocal proof of the Jewish heritage and over 3,000 years of presence in the land.”

Heymann described archaeology as a process of “liberation”, freeing the ancient city.

“In our excavations, we are watching the ancient city rise again,” she said. “The city is being  liberated from her millennia-old prison through the archaeological excavations.”

Heymann noted that this is an auspicious time for the undertaking, for liberating Jerusalem from the sands of time.

“This is timely, since we are in the Jubilee year,” she said. “Liberation and freedom stands at the core of the concept of the Jubilee.”

And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you. Leviticus 25:10

She takes her cue from the Bible, explaining that archaeology is literally manifesting prophecy by uncovering the glory of the city.

Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Yerushalayim; Isaiah 52:2

As a result, she believes her job is an active part in the prophecy.

“I began Jerusalem Watch to connect people to the fact that Jerusalem is literally rising from the dust and ashes, just as Isaiah promised,” said Heymann. “When people connect to this, they are literally becoming a part of the tangible fulfillment of prophecy.”

Heymann’s connection to Jerusalem has made prophecy a daily part of her life.

“I really see the Bible and the Prophets as ancient principles that can help us in modern times,” Heymann said.

Heymann emphasized this as the universal connection between Jews and Christians.

“Prophecy in the Bible is the mutual overlap between Jews and Christians,” she said. “We can come together on this. Jerusalem is the connecting point.”

“Ancient Jerusalem’s rise stands at the core of the End-of-Days events. It is key that people not only learn about her true location – the best kept secret of our time – but also to realign with the city by understanding her past and  giving moral and tangible support in the present.”

Heymann explained that keeping the city whole, reconnecting the past with the present, is a Biblical mandate not to be ignored. Heymann cited Psalms to illustrate her point.

For my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say: ‘Peace be within thee.’ Psalms 122:8

“The word peace, shalom, is embedded in the name of Jerusalem,” Heymann said. “But the root of the word peace is shalem, completeness.”

To bring this about is a simple step: a change in attitude.

“What I think we need to bring these prophecies to the forefront, to actually make them happen, is a much stronger awakening,” Heymann said. “There needs to be a much deeper commitment to these dynamics.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8563

May 18

US, UK, Jordanian forces enter S. Syria

US special forces, together with British and Jordanian elite troops, moved into southern Syria late Sunday, May 14. They were acting to counter the Syrian-Iranian scheme to nullify the American plan for posting Jordanian forces in southeastern Syria, which timed for the days before US President Donald Trump’s trip to the Middle East.

The US-led armored force with British and Jordanian units crossed from northern Jordan through the Tanf Border-Crossing between the Hashemite Kingdom, Iraq and Syria, and took up positions capable of consolidating their control of the main road between Palmyra and Baghdad. Some of their moves were coordinated with Israel.
(See map).
This push aimed at countering the drive in the last few days by hundreds of Syrian troops, Iranian-backed Shiite militias and Hizballah’s Radwan special forces, with tanks and heavy equipment, to take over the town of Sabaa Biyar. Located in sparsely desert territory, this town lies 110km west of the Syrian-Iraqi border, 95km north of the Syrian-Jordanian border and 128km east of Damascus.

Its high strategic importance for Tehran, Damascus and Hizballah lies in its command of the border between Syria, Iraq and Jordan and of Highway No. 1 which links the Jordanian capital of Amman with Baghdad.

debkafile’s military sources explain that Damascus and Tehran acted to pre-empt the US-Jordanian-Israeli military operations along the Israeli and Jordanian borders with Syria, lest they lead to the carving out of US-controlled security zones in southern Syria.

Our military sources add that Moscow too eyes the new US-led military movements with mistrust, in view of its potential impact on the Russian plan for four ceasefire zones in Syria, in cooperation with Iranian and Turkish forces. The Russians are accordingly feeding Tehran and Damascus intelligence on the US-led movements.
On Sunday, too, the Israeli Defense Forces launched a large-scale military exercise in the Galilee and Golan regions close to its borders with Syria and Lebanon. The war game may well run over its final date in order to keep a substantial military force poised on along Israel’s northern borders, in case of attempts to disrupt the Trump visits to Saudi Arabia and Israel from May 22 to May 24.

Other military movements in the region this week were taken by the Iraqi army and Iraqi Shiite militias under the command of Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers. Iran continued to pour additional troops into Damascus through the Baghdad-Damascus highway, on the one hand, while, on the other, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi offered Washington two of his army’s divisions, which would be sent into Syria to support US military operations in the southeast.
For the time being, the Trump administration’s plans for an offensive against the Islamic State appear to have been put on a back burner.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8550

May 15

End-of-Days Prophecy Describes Erdogan Leading Ishmael to Final War for Jerusalem

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz May 11, 2017 , 12:30 pm

“And he said: ‘Hearken ye, all Yehudah, and ye inhabitants of Yerushalayim, and thou king Yehoshafat: thus saith Hashem unto you: Fear not ye, neither be dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” II Chronicles 20:15 (The Israel Bible™)

This week, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan established himself as a leader in the End-of-Days by calling for the Islam to unite for Jerusalem. Erdogan’s perplexing statement could be the cry that rallies the world of Ishmael for the prophesied third and final battle of Jerusalem preceding the Messiah.

On Monday, at the opening ceremony of the International Forum on Al-Quds Wakfs (Islamic trusts) in Istanbul, Erdogan called for hundreds of thousands of Muslims to ascend to the Temple Mount, thundering, “Each day that Jerusalem is under occupation is an insult to us.”

Rabbi Berger, rabbi of the Tomb of King David on Mount Zion, believes that Erdogan’s call to Muslims was based in a Jewish prophecy that predates Islam.

“Erdogan is fulfilling a prophecy as the leader of his country,” Rabbi Berger told Breaking Israel News. “Just like Pharaoh in Egypt.”

The rabbi related a prophecy written in Pirkei D’Rebbe Eliezer, a collection of Biblical exegesis believed to have been compiled in the seventh century. He explained that according to the prophecy, the “sons of Ishmael”, which the rabbi identifies as Islam, will wage a war against “Edom”, which the rabbi identifies as Christianity. After this war, the sons of Ishmael will wage three wars against the Jews focused around Jerusalem.

“Rabbi Ishmael (the High Priest) said, ‘Three wars of turmoil the Sons of Ishmael are destined to wage in Israel in the end-of-days’,” the prophecy reads, citing a verse in Isaiah.

For they fled away from the swords, from the drawn sword, and from the bent bow, and from the grievousness of war. Isaiah 21:15

The prophecy continues, “And from there, the Messiah from the House of David will grow, and he will witness their destruction, and then he will come to Israel.”

Rabbi Berger explained how the prophecy, written hundreds of years before Muhammad founded Islam, related to current events.

“The war between Islam and Christianity has been going on for some time now, in Europe and America,” Rabbi Berger said.  He identified the two intifadas Israel has suffered, the first from 1987-1993 and the second from 2000-2005, as the first two wars to which the prophecy refers.

“Erdogan has just declared the third and final war for Jerusalem as foretold in the prophecy,” Rabbi Berger said.

He noted that while Erdogan might not seem the natural Arab leader to unite the Muslims, he had touched on a universal message in targeting Jerusalem which would, in a sense, ‘activate’ the need to fulfill the prophecy.

“The world of Islam is fighting among itself and Erdogan is not a major Islamic leader,” Rabbi Berger said. “But his call to unite in the fight for Jerusalem will resonate among the Muslims because it is the call they have been waiting for. It is written in their soul.”

The Islamic war for Jerusalem was also predicted in the Zohar, the foundational work of Jewish mysticism. It is written in the Zohar that in the sixth cycle of 1,000 years, “there will be a spiritual process of 70 days”, which “will return the Torah to Moses”. After that, “a great cry will go up to God from Israel from the suffering.” The Zohar (Vayera 1:119a) then predicts a multinational war for Jerusalem led by Islam, basing this prophecy on a verse in the final chapter of Zechariah.

For I will gather all nations against Yerushalayim to battle; and the city shall be taken and the houses rifled and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity but the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Zechariah 14:2

Professor Ze’ev Maghen of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic studies (BESA) explained that Turkey has a powerful political interest in Jerusalem as well which relates to the historic ties between the two regions.

“It should be remembered that Erdogan inherited the title of leader of the Ottoman Empire, which ruled over Jerusalem and its holy places, politically and religiously, for 400 years,” Dr. Maghen told Breaking Israel News. “Erdogan is, after all, an Islamist, and Jerusalem is the third holiest city in Islam.”

The professor explained that as leader of the current incarnation of the Ottoman Empire, Erdogan sees it is his role to lead the Islamic battle for Jerusalem.

“Since Saudi Arabia as the leader of Sunni Wahabism rules over the holy city of Mecca, it is only natural that a call to war would focus on Jerusalem,” said Dr. Maghen. “For that reason, Iran has a Jerusalem Day.”

Iran instituted ‘Quds Day’ in 1979 as an annual holiday held on the last day of the Ramadan period of fasting. It was intended to be in direct opposition to Israel’s celebration of Jerusalem Day. At its inception, the Ayatollah Khomeini, the spiritual leader of Iran, declared the “liberation” of Jerusalem a religious duty to all Muslims.

Essentially, Dr. Maghen concluded, “Erdogan’s call for Islam to unify in the fight for Jerusalem dates back to Suleiman the Magnificent, leading to the 200-year battle against the Christian Crusaders.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8541

May 15

Russian monitors for Syrian Golan – not Iranians

DEBKAfile Special Report May 11, 2017, 4:23 PM (IDT)

Moscow this week responded to Israel’s concerns about posting Iranian and Turkish officers on its borders to monitor the potential “de-escalation” zones Russia is proposing for Syria. In respect of those concerns, debkafile’s military and intelligence sources reveal that Russia agreed in high-level contacts in the last few days to replace them with Russian military officers in the Mt. Hermon region and the areas where Israeli, Lebanese and Syrian borders meet. The proposal also calls for the expansion of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which supervises the cease-fire between Israel and Syria on the Golan.

(debkafile was the first publication to reveal Israel’s concerns on May 3 and May 5.)

The Russian military are preparing to establish four ceasefire safe zones in Syria. The southernmost would be located along Syria’s borders with Israel and Jordan. The issue came up during Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s talks with US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Washington on May 11, and a day earlier, in a telephone conversation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, was also involved in the exchanges on the ceasefire zones between Washington, Moscow and Jerusalem during his visit to Israel this week as the guest of the Israeli chief of staff, Lieut. Gen. Gady Eisenkott. On Tuesday, May 9, Dunford said that “Israel is concerned about the possibility of having Iranian or Iranian-backed forces, such as Hizballah, so close to its border.” Both Putin and Lavrov promised that neither Iranian, pro-Iranian, nor Turkish officers would be placed in areas close to the Israeli border.

Our military sources report that during talks between Washington, Moscow and Jerusalem on Thursday, May 11, the three sides agreed to continue to discuss the Russian proposal.

Another issue raised among them was who will deal with the ISIS forces in the Yarmouk area near the Israel-Jordan and Israel-Syria borders, including the bases established by the Khaled bin al-Walid army, which has sworn allegiance to ISIS.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8539

May 10

Turkey’s Erdogan Calls on Muslims to Ascent Temple Mount in Defiance of Jerusalem “Occupation”

By JNS May 9, 2017 , 7:30 am

“Who devise evil things in their heart; every day do they stir up wars.” Psalms 140:3 (The Israel Bible™)

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Facebook)

In an anti-Israel tirade Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for thousands of Muslims to ascend the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Erdogan made the remarks at the opening of the Al-Quds Waqf International Forum in Istanbul, saying Turkey will not allow for Muslim prayers to be silenced in Jerusalem.

“Turkey attaches great importance to the justified resistance of the Palestinians and will not yield to Israeli attempts to change the status quo in the Al-Aqsa mosque,” said Erdogan, Turkey’s Daily Saba newspaper reported. “We as Muslims should visit the Al-Aqsa mosque more often, every day that Jerusalem is under occupation is an insult to us.”

Erdogan also criticized Israel for its “Muezzin Bill,” which is meant to limit the volume of Muslim calls to prayer during early morning hours.

“The fact that such an issue is even coming to the agenda is shameful,” Erodgan said. “Why are you afraid of the freedom of faith if you believe in your faith? I am now reminding Israeli administrators: If you believe in your faith, then why are you afraid of the sound of our prayers?”

The Turkish leader called Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians “racist and discriminatory,” and said Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip “has no place in humanity.”

The Israeli government was swift in condemning Erdogan’s comments as “baseless slander.”

“Anyone who systemically violates human rights in their own country, should not preach about morality to the only democracy in the region,” Israel’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding, “Israel strictly adheres to protecting full freedom of worship for Jews, Muslims and Christians.”

Turkey and Israel last year agreed to normalize diplomatic ties following a six-year rift in their relationship, but Erdogan has a history of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic remarks.

In his comments at the conference in Istanbul, Erodgan also criticized promises by President Donald Trump to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, saying the plan is “extremely wrong” and should be “dropped from the agenda.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8533

May 09

Putin & Trump discuss Iranians on Israel’s border

DEBKAfile Special Report May 3, 2017, 7:54 PM (IDT)

Israel was seriously dismayed Wednesday, May 3, when first reports reached Jerusalem about the telephone conversation between Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin Tuesday, during which Trump agreed to consider Putin’s plan for “de-escalation zones” in Syria, in place of the American security zones proposal. The Russian president’s plan includes the posting of Iranian military officers as co-monitors for those zones, one of which is to be located on the Syrian-Israeli border.

President Trump described the conversation as “Very good.”

The four “de-escalation zones” proposed would be situated at:

  1. The northwestern province of Idlib up to the Turkish border;
  2. The central Syrian province of Homs (where also the Al-Shariat air base hit by US Tomahawks last month is located);
  3. The East Ghouta suburb of Damascus (including also a big military airfield);
  4. The Southern region along Syria’s borders with Jordan and Syria.

The Russian president explained that the “guarantor countries” – i.e. Russia, Turkey and Iran – would appoint the monitors for the de-escalation zones.

debkafile’s military and intelligence sources report that Israel was deeply concerned to discover that President Trump had nodded to Putin going forward with his plan, despite Iran’s active involvement. He was even ready to send a US official for the first time to the fourth round of the Syrian peace talks between the Syrian government and opposition in Astana Wednesday, although this process is jointly sponsored by Russia, Turkey and Iran. Stuart Jones, acting assistant Secretary of State, was sent to attend the meeting in the Kazakh capital as an observer, thereby elevating the former American representation from ambassador..

This development caused Israeli disquiet on a number of grounds:

  1. a) The Iranian monitors for the new zones will sit directly opposite the Israeli border. Notice has gone out to Washington and Moscow that the Israeli government will on no account countenance an Iran military presence along its border.
  2. b)  Israel also eyes with mistrust the possible deployment of Russian and Turkish offices along its border with Syria.
  3. c)  Declaring eastern Damascus a protected zone would obstruct Israel aerial operations for keeping Iranian air shipments of advanced weapons via Syria out of Hizballah’s hands. Iran would be able to renew its shipments under full protection.
  4. d)  There were also some misgivings in Israel about the way National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster characterized President Trump’s approach to foreign policy, shortly before Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas arrived at the White House on Wednesday.
    “The president is not a super-patient man,” he said. He does not have time to “debate over doctrine, and instead seeks to challenge failed policies of the past with a businessman’s results-oriented approach,” McMaster said.

The trouble is that Middle East issues, such as the Syrian conflict and Israeli security, demand patience and rather more than a businessman’s results-oriented approach, else they may lead to such potentially disastrous consequences as an Iranian military presence that is far too near and dangerous for Israel to countenance.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8527

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