Tag: Middle East

Israel launches first air strike against Gaza since truce

Israel launched its first airstrike on Gaza since the Egyptian-mediated truce ended November’s eight-day bout of fighting.

IAF air strike in Gaza
Israel launched its first airstrike on the Gaza Strip on Tuesday since the Egyptian-mediated truce ended November’s eight-day bout of fighting.

“Occupation planes bombarded an open area in northern Gaza, there were no wounded,” the Hamas Interior Ministry said in a statement.

An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed there had been a strike in Gaza, but gave no further details.

The airstrike came in response to the firing of a projectile from Gaza, which exploded on Tuesday in an open area of southern Israel’s Eshkol region. The explosion did not cause any injuries.

US training Syrian opposition forces in Jordan for months, sources say

American Special Operations forces and Special Force troops tasked to work with U.S. intelligence agents are training small groups of Syrian opposition forces in Jordan, U.S. military sources told Fox News.

The U.S. trainers are working alongside their Jordanian counterparts to facilitate the training, which has been going on for the past eight to 12 months, the sources say.

The training program, first reported by the Associated Press, involves classes of about 50 to 60 secular Syrian fighters led by about 100 American trainers, a number that was capped by the Jordanian government. The program is part of a bid to bolster forces battling President Bashar Assad’s regime and stem the influence of Islamist radicals among the country’s persistently splintered opposition.

But there remain concerns that Al Qaeda figures have infiltrated the Free Syrian Army, making any official support and training to the opposition all the more difficult. At the same time, a senior defense official downplayed the reports, saying the U.S. military is helping to train only Jordanians, not the Syrian opposition.

Obama hosts Passover Seder, enthuses about Israel visitIn holiday greeting

US president speaks about celebrating freedom and the importance of repairing the world
By Ron Friedman

US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama host a Passover seder for family, staff and friends in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House, Monday. Barack ObamaPassover sederWhite HouseUS President Barack Obama hosted a Passover Seder Monday, in what has become an annual White House tradition. The president, who returned at the weekend from a visit to Israel, the West Bank and Jordan, had said during a speech in Jerusalem that he was looking forward to holding the celebration at the White House so his daughters could experience it.

Obama wished all those celebrating Passover in America, Israel, and around the world Chag Sameach (happy holiday) in a holiday greeting, earlier Monday, in which he also spoke of his trip to the Middle East.

“Last week, I visited the state of Israel for the third time, my first as President. I reaffirmed our countries’ unbreakable bonds with Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu and President [Shimon] Peres. I had the chance to speak directly with young Israelis about the future they wanted for their country, their region, and the world. And I saw once again how the dream of true freedom found its full expression in those words of hope from Hatikvah, lihyot ‘am chofshi be’artzeinu, ‘To be a free people in our land.’” he said in a statement.

Bethlehem Arabs ‘Shoe’ Obama posters, American officials

By David Levy

Barack Obama
White House
Arabs in Bethlehem had a “warm welcome” for American officials who came to prepare for President Obama’s visit to the city

White HouseArabs in Bethlehem had a “warm welcome” for American officials who on Monday came to prepare for President Barack H. Obama’s visit to the city Friday, by throwing shoes and garbage at the vehicles in an entourage from the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem. Hundreds of Arabs mobbed the vehicles outside the Church of the Nativity, where Obama is scheduled to visit when he comes to Bethlehem.

Sources in the city told Israel Radio that Arab protesters tore down posters with Obama’s image, throwing them to the ground and spitting and stepping on them. The protesters threw shoes at other posters that were hung too high for them to easily tear down.

The American entourage had entered Bethlehem unannounced, apparently in an effort to avoid such scenes. The entourage was said to be comprised chiefly of security officials who were there to ensure that Obama would be safe during his visit. PA police attempted to stop the crowd from throwing shoes and debris at the American vehicles, and were only partially successful, witnesses said.

Christian, please wake up!

By Chuck Baldwin

What is it going to take for pastors and churches to wake up and realize that America is in the throes of a burgeoning police state? Ladies and gentlemen, the long-standing veneration for law and order does not include blind submission to governmental abuse of power. Yet, it seems that very few Christian conservatives are even paying attention to what is happening before their very eyes.

For example, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has purchased over 2 billion rounds of hollow-point ammunition (enough to wage a 30-year war); the DHS has purchased over 7,000 AR-15s. The DHS calls them Personal Defense Weapons (PDW). These are the same semi-automatic rifles with high capacity magazines that when you and I buy them are called “assault rifles.” Plus, the DHS has purchased over 2,700 armored vehicles, the same kind that the US military uses in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Department of Defense (DOD) calls them MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected). They carry .50 caliber weapons that fire from inside the vehicle. The vehicle itself is impervious to mines and small-arms fire. They are the vehicle of choice for our combat troops in the Middle East.

See this report at Investor’s Business Daily:

DHS Buys Special Armored Fighting Vehicles

Pray tell, why does the DHS need that kind of firepower? And who do they anticipate using all of this firepower on?

If all of that isn’t disconcerting enough, we have now learned that the DHS has spent 2 million dollars on producing shooting targets of American gun owners. These are called “non-traditional threat” targets. They include pregnant women, elderly citizens, mothers in playgrounds, and even little children. These targets are produced by a company called Law Enforcement Targets, Inc. The company calls these targets “No More Hesitation” targets.

Did the wrong McCain school Hagel on the Middle East?

Did the Wrong McCain School Hagel on the Middle East?

Author: Moshe Phillips

Senator John McCain questioning former Senator Chuck Hagel. Photo: Screenshot.

The wrong McCain may have had the job of taking Senator Chuck Hagel to school on the Middle East. Senator John McCain earned plenty of headlines for his questioning of Hagel but did he teach Hagel anything about Israel and the Middle East?

Setting aside the question of whether Hagel has the ability to absorb the truths about the neighborhood that Israel lives in, this could have been a teachable moment for Hagel and many Americans who often do not grasp that Israel’s neighbors are not friendly Canadians.

That John McCain is a strong friend of Israel

John Kerry at State: A disaster for Israel

By Moshe Phillips
President Obama’s decision to nominate Senator John Kerry as his next secretary of state will prove to be a disaster for Israel.

The choice of the American Jewish establishment to vehemently protest the expected nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel while granting Kerry a free pass for his anti-Israel behavior follows a longtime pattern. Hagel is a Republican who has a history of marking foolish remarks regarding Israel and has long been seen as an independent thinker on Middle East policy with a non-interventionist outlook. Kerry, however, is the much bigger problem for Israel.

Hagel as SecDef will be tasked with handling military issues. Kerry will be in a position to effect policy as it impacts Israel, set an overall tone for the U.S. in the Middle East, and be a key player in future negotiations.

When it comes to criticizing Democrats who are hostile to Israel, the Jewish elites have a history of weakness. From Jesse Jackson to Jimmy Carter to Barack Obama, Democrats are treated with kid gloves and given the benefit of the doubt, while pro-Israel Republicans are never given their due praise.

When Kerry ran for president, he was vetted by the so-called pro-Israel community in the U.S., and little was made of his attitudes toward Israel because he had, for the most part, steered clear of controversy.