Israel reportedly carried out an airstrike in southern Syria near the Golan Heights on Thursday, Syrian state television reported.
The report on state-owned Ikhbariyah said the attack targeted Tel al-Hara, where a Russian outpost was stationed, though has since been taken over by Iranian-backed militias, Reuters quoted Western intelligence sources as saying.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at a memorial ceremony for Ze’ev Jabotinsky, a revisionist Zionist leader, suggested that Israel was behind the strike.
“We’re defending ourselves at all times,” Netanyahu said.
Tel al-Hara overlooks the Golan Heights and had served as a Russian radar base until the Syrian army recaptured it last year from the rebels.
Syrian State News SANA claimed that Israel attacked and caused only damages to military materiel and equipment.
According to foreign media reports, Israel has carried out numerous attacks in Syrian in recent years targeting Iran and Hezbollah.
On Tuesday, Israel reportedly expanded its operations against Iran, by hitting its forces in Iraq, according to Asharq Al-Awsat, an Arabic-language newspaper based in London.
The Church of the Apostles, which is said to have been built over the house of Jesus’ disciples Peter and Andrew, has been unearthed by a team of Israeli and American archeologists along the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel.
For the past four years, the international team of experts has been uncovering the ancient Jewish fishing village of Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee. Bethsaida eventually turned into the Roman village of Julias
The story of this ancient find started in 725 with a Christian pilgrim named Saint Willibald, the 8th-century bishop of Eichstätt in Bavaria. During his travels in the Sea of Galilee, he set sail from Capernaum to Kursi. On the way, he stopped in Bethsaida and saw the Church of Peter and Andrew. This church was built over the homes of the houses of Jesus’ disciples – Peter and Andrew.
In an exclusive interview with Breaking Israel News, Dr. Moti Aviam, Professor of archaeology at the Kinneret Institute for Galilean Archaeology at Kinneret College said: “There is no other church that is known between Capernaum and Kursi. We also assume that the site we are digging in El Araj is a more likely candidate to be the location of Bethsaida than is the Jordan Park which is a few kilometers away”.
Aviam and his colleague, R. Steven Notley, knew that they discovered a church when they saw common indicators such as tessera and other pieces of marble that coincide with the design of a church during that time period. Until now, the team has unearthed the southern wall and mosaic floors. However, Aviam admits that they need at least another 2-3 years to uncover the rest of the church.
The United States plans to test a new missile in coming weeks that would have been prohibited under a landmark, 32-year-old arms control treaty that the US and Russia ripped up on Friday.
Washington and Moscow walked out of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty that President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev signed in 1987, raising fears of a new arms race. The US blamed Moscow for the death of the treaty. It said that for years Moscow has been developing and fielding weapons that violate the treaty and threaten the United States and its allies, particularly in Europe.
“Russia is solely responsible for the treaty’s demise,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement released on Friday.
But the US also sees an upside to exiting the treaty. Washington has complained for years that the arms control playing field was unfair. US officials argued that not only was Russia violating the treaty and developing prohibited weapons, but that China also was making similar non-compliant weapons, leaving the US alone in complying with the aging arms control pact.
Now, the US is free to develop weapons systems that were previously banned. The US is planning a test flight of such a weapon in coming weeks, according to a senior administration official, who was not authorized to publicly discuss the weapons development and spoke only on condition of anonymity.
The current Pentagon budget includes $48 million for research on potential military responses to the Russian violations of the INF treaty, but the options do not include a nuclear missile.
The official downplayed the test and said it was not meant as a provocation against Russia. Because the United States adhered to the treaty for 32 years, the United States is “years away” from effectively deploying weapons previously banned under the agreement, the official said Thursday.
Arms control advocates still worry that America’s exit from the INF treaty will lead the two nations to also scrap the larger New START treaty, which expires in early 2021.
“Pulling out of this treaty leaves New START as the only bilateral nuclear arms agreement between the US and Russia,” said physicist David Wright, co-director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. If US President Donald “Trump pulls out of that treaty as well or allows it to lapse, it will be the first time since 1972 that the two countries will be operating without any mutual constraints on their nuclear forces.”
Trump hasn’t committed to extending or replacing New START, which beginning in 2018 imposed limits on the number of US and Russian long-range nuclear warheadsand launchers. Trump has called New START “just another bad deal” made by the Obama administration, and Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, said in June that it’s unlikely the administration will agree to extend the treaty for five years, which could be done without legislative action in either capital.
The Trump administration thinks talks about extending New START are premature. The administration claims that with China’s growing arsenal of nuclear warheads, Beijing can no longer be excluded from nuclear arms control agreements. Trump has expressed a desire to negotiate a trilateral arms control deal signed by the US, Russia and China.
“We’ll see what happens,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Thursday. “I will say Russia would like to do something on a nuclear treaty and that’s OK with me. They’d like to do something and so would I.”
The administration official said the US has had regular discussions with the Russians and Chinese about the possibility of a three-way arms control agreement. Trump wants the agreement to address not just intermediate-range weapons, but “all nuclear weapons,” the official said.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov urged the United States to observe a moratorium in using intermediate-range weapons.
“We invited the US and other NATO countries to assess the possibility of declaring the same moratorium on deploying intermediate-range and shorter-range equipment as we have, the same moratorium Vladimir Putin declared, saying that Russia will refrain from deploying these systems when we acquire them unless the American equipment is deployed in certain regions,” he said in an interview with state news agency Tass.
European leaders are expected to react to Friday’s demise of the INF with disappointment and concern.
“With the end of the INF treaty, a bit of security in Europe is being lost,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said this week. “Now we call all the more on Russia and the US to preserve the New START treaty as a cornerstone of worldwide arms control.
“Nuclear powers such as China must also face up to their responsibility on arms control – they have more weight in the world than at the time of the Cold War.”
Over its lifetime, the 1987 INF treaty led to the elimination of 2,692 US and Soviet Union nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles. Until its demise, the treaty banned land-based missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers (310 to 3,410 miles).
Pompeo said the US first raised its concerns that Russia was violating the treaty in 2013 during the Obama administration. He said the US tried for six years to prod Russia back into compliance.
In February, Trump determined that Moscow was in material breach of the treaty and the US suspended its own obligations under the agreement. That started a six-month clock to get Russia back into compliance – time that ran out on Friday.
“As it has for many years, Russia chose to keep its non-compliant missile rather than going back into compliance with its treaty obligations,” Pompeo said. “The United States will not remain party to a treaty that is deliberately violated by Russia.”
In my book Winds of Megiddo and Conspiracy Conspiracy Conspiracy I point out the many resolutions that have been made against Israel and the coming war of Armagedden. Here is another resolution to add to the collection. Read what God revealed to me in the books. You can get them on Amazon.com.
House of Representatives passes measure to oppose efforts to boycott Israel. Resolution passes by vote of 398-17, in a rare display of bipartisan unity.
The US House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a resolution Tuesday opposing an international effort to boycott Israel, a rare bipartisan vote as Democrats try to tamp down increasingly heated political rhetoric over differences with the longtime US ally.
Democrats have been wrestling with the issue all year. Liberal lawmakers, most notably Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn, and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich, two newly elected Muslim Americans, have spoken out about the boycott, divest and sanctions movement, known as BDS, as they criticize Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Republicans have amplified the views of the left flank to portray Democrats as deeply divided and at odds with Israel.
Ahead of voting, the bill’s chief backers warned against the stark framing as dangerous for both countries.
“This issue has been politicized in a way that I find ugly and ultimately harmful to the US-Israel relationship,” said Rep. Eliot Engel, D-NY, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
The resolution passed on a vote of 398-17.
House Democrats have been eager to vote to show support for Israel and, for those lawmakers from more conservative areas, to resist having the party be defined by its most liberal members.
Omar, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, was among the only lawmakers to voice objection when the bill was included in a package the panel approved last week.
“What are we doing to bring peace? I believe that simple question should guide every vote we take in this committee,” said the freshman lawmaker, who came to the US as a refugee from Somalia when she was a child and became a US citizen.
Omar has been outspoken against Israel, once tweeting that lawmakers were supportive of the Jewish state because they were essentially being paid to do so. It was widely considered a slur that relied on a trope against Jewish people, and she later “unequivocally” apologized.
Trump called her apology “lame” and Republicans have continued to stoke opposition to her views as part of the “squad” of liberal freshmen lawmakers. Trump stood by last week at a campaign rally as the crowd chanted about Omar, “Send her back.”
Omar, who was among a handful of Democrats who voted against the bill Tuesday, said she supports the long-held US goal of a “two-state solution.” But she said during the committee hearing last week that “truly achieving peace” means “ending this occupation.”
The House has struggled with the issue since the start of the year, after an earlier version passed the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., had introduced it as the first piece of legislation of the new Congress, and brought it forward repeatedly for votes until it ultimately passed, also with robust bipartisan support. But the Senate measure, which was part of a broader foreign policy package, stalled in the House amid concerns over First Amendment rights and the ability of Americans to protest Israel’s policies.
The resolution puts the House on record opposing the BDS movement and its efforts to target US companies that do business with Israel. The movement has grown in recent years, and Israel sees it as a threat. Supporters of Israel view it as an attempt to delegitimize the Jewish state.
“We must reject the blatant anti-Semitics injected throughout BDS,” said Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-NY, a sponsor of the measure.
To win over those in the House who had panned the Senate effort, the resolution beefed up First Amendment protections over the boycott. While the Senate bill affirmed the legal authority of state and local governments to restrict contracts or take other actions against entities that boycott Israel, the House bill affirms the constitutional right of Americans to engage in “free speech, including the right to protest or criticize the policies of the United States or foreign governments.”
Syrian state television said on Wednesday that Israel struck a strategic area in southern Syria overlooking the Golan Heights where Western intelligence sources previously said Iranian-backed militias are known to be based.
The newsflash on state-owned Ikhbariyah did not give details, but said the strike, involving surface-to-surface missiles began at 12:40 a.m. and was directed on Tal al-Hara, a strategic hill south of Damascus that had long been an outpost for Russian forces but was later taken by Iranian-backed militias, according to Western intelligence sources, and Quneitra province. The hill overlooks wide parts of southern Syria all the way to the Israeli Golan Heights.According to the Syrian state news agency’s report, the country’s air-defense systems were activated against “hostile missiles” launched from the Israeli Golan Heights and Israeli aircraft west of Damascus. In addition, According to the report, two further explosions were heard around 1:00 a.m., one in the Quneitra area and a second in Tal al-Hara, adjacent to Quneitra.
According to state news agency SANA, damages were only material.
However, according to Arab media reports, the brunt of the attack as directed at an Iranian base where Hezbollah and members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard are stationed.
Syrian officials were quoted in the Arab media reports as saying the attack decimated the base, and that there were many wounded and killed.
According to reports in Syria, a number of sites incurred major damage in the attacks, and there were casualties, although the number of those killed and wounded remained unclear.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the attack was directed, among other targets, against weapons storage sites used by Hezbollah and other pro-Iranian militias in Syria’s and housing long-range missiles and other weaponry. It was further reported that one of the missiles had exploded inside a base in western Damascus where large forces of pro-Iranian militias in Syria were stationed.
The zone has been a target of Israeli raids against Tehran-backed militias which have become entrenched in southern Syria and the Golan Heights near the border with Israel.
State news agency SANA later referred to the last Israeli attacks at the end of last month when it said its air defenses repelled a major attack on some of its outposts on the outskirts of the capital and Homs province.
Diplomatic sources familiar with Syria said at the time these overnight attacks outside Damascus on Iranian-backed forces, including bases of Lebanon’s powerful Hezbollah group, were among the largest strikes attributed to Israel in recent years.
They came only days after the national security advisers of Israel, the United States and Russia met in Israel, with Washington and Jerusalem demanding that Moscow ensure the withdrawal of Iran’s forces from the region, according to intelligence sources.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed after the trilateral meeting to continue to act against Iranian entrenchment in Syria.
The media gave no further details about the early Wednesday attack that came a month after Israel targeted the same area. In that instance, Syria said its air defenses repelled a major attack on some of its outposts on the outskirts of the capital and Homs province.
In recent years, Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes in Syria that it says have targeted its regional archrival, Iran, as well as Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which it calls the biggest threat to its borders.
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister and defense minister, signed a declaration this week that calls a Hamas TV channel a “terrorist organization.”
The Israel Security Apparatus and the Defense Ministry said the Hamas TV channel, “Al Aqsa,” was using the station “to recruit militants to its ranks.”
The ISA said Palestinian broadcasters and journalists were using cues on the air to try to recruit Palestinians with Israeli ID cards to carry out attacks from inside Israel.
“Declaring Al-Asqa TV a terror organization is a precise labeling,” said Itamar Marcus, director of Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), a media watchdog group.
“Al-Asqa TV promotes all the components of Palestinian terror, including murder of Jews, suicide bombings, kidnapping of soldiers, bombing our cities and destruction of Israel.”
In one recording of the station, a Hamas music video aired on the channel and said, “Strap on an explosive belt … O Martyrdom-seeker, respond to Al-Aqsa’s call… send them to Hell… Let fire burn them, turn them into body parts, roast them.”
In another broadcast, the station featured an Arabic song that said, “Expel the thieving occupier from the enraged land of Jerusalem. Rid your house of that one, that Zionist in his humiliation. Write ‘death, death, death to Israel’ with flowing blood. And with the bleeding body cause death, death, death to Israel.”
The TV station was bombed by IDF military in November, but the station reportedly began broadcasting from a new location soon after, according to The Jerusalem Post.
“The cry “Violence!” Shall no more be heard in your land, Nor “Wrack and ruin!” Within your borders. And you shall name your walls “Victory” And your gates “Renown.” Isaiah 60:18 (The Israel Bible™)
A United Nations report released on Thursday claimed Israeli soldiers were guilty of “war crimes” when firing at Hamas-led rioters rushing the security fence separating Israel from Gaza.
“The commission has reasonable grounds to believe that during the Great March of Return, Israeli soldiers committed violations of international human rights and humanitarian law,” said Argentinian legal expert Santiago Canton, who chaired the UNHRC’s commission of inquiry into the protests. “Some of those violations may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity, and must be immediately investigated by Israel.”
The 22-page report comes after 11 months of Hamas-led March of Return riots. The three-person independent Commission of Inquiry issued by the UN Human Rights Council said more than 6,000 people were shot by IDF snipers using live ammunition, 189 of them fatally.
“The Commission found reasonable grounds to believe that Israeli snipers shot at journalists, health workers, children and persons with disabilities, knowing they were clearly recognizable as such,” the report claimed. The report noted significant violence by the rioters but claimed they did not pose an “imminent threat,” concluding that the protests were peaceful.
“The demonstrations were civilian in nature, with clearly stated political aims,” the statement said. “Despite some acts of significant violence, the Commission found that the demonstrations did not constitute combat or military campaigns.”
The report did blame Hamas for using aerial incendiary devices against southern Israel. The report was based on 325 interviews including 15 from the Israeli side. The Israeli government refused to cooperate with the investigation.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the report reflected the council’s “obsessive hatred” of Israel.“The UN Human Rights Council is setting new records of hypocrisy and lies stemming from its obsessive hatred toward Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East. Hamas is the one firing missiles at Israeli civilians, throwing explosive devices and carrying terrorist activity during demonstrations on the Gaza border,” Netanyahu said. Israel won’t allow Hamas to violate its sovereignty and hurt its citizens and will preserve its right to defend itself. IDF soldiers will continue defending with determination Israeli communities and civilians from Hamas and other terror organizations funded by Iran, which declares its intention to annihilate Israel,” the prime minister added.
Prime Minister Netanyahu hails Terminal High Altitude Area Defense as a sign of U.S. commitment to Israeli security • “Together with our defense systems, we are stronger is dealing with threats emanating from all areas of the Middle East,” he says
The deployment, which began in March, was intended to test the U.S. military’s ability to rapidly deploy such weapons around the world, said a spokeswoman for U.S. European Command.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the arrival of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system as a sign of the U.S. commitment to Israeli security.
“The American THAAD system is considered among the most advanced systems in the world, and together with our defense systems, we are stronger in dealing with threats, close or distant, emanating from all areas of the Middle East,” he said.
The move comes amid increased tensions between Israel and Iran over Israel’s bombing campaign in Syria and comments in which Iran’s foreign minister said he could not rule out the possibility of military conflict between the two countries.
The U.S. military said the decision to rapidly move the THAAD system to Israel was intended “as a demonstration of the United States’ continued commitment to Israel’s regional security.”
“THAAD is the most advanced integrated air and missile defense system in the world, and this deployment readiness exercise demonstrates that U.S. forces are agile and can respond quickly and unpredictably to any threat, anywhere, at any time,” U.S. European Command said in a statement.
Lockheed Martin, the biggest U.S. arms maker, builds and integrates the THAAD system, which is designed to shoot down short-, medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles. Raytheon, another U.S. firm, builds its advanced radar.
As part of the deployment, U.S. forces will work at various locations in Europe, the United States and in Israel to operate the system in close cooperation with the Israel Defense Forces, it said. U.S. officials declined to say how quickly the system was moved to Israel from its home base at Fort Bliss, Texas.
IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said the deployment differed from previous simulated U.S.-Israel joint military exercises and involved tactical coordination on the ground.
He said all of the components of the THAAD system were at an air force base in the Negev desert, in southern Israel, and would soon be moved to an undisclosed site in southern Israel.
“The advantage from the Israeli point of view is that we have an opportunity to integrate it into our systems and simulate different scenarios,” he said.
The IDF said the deployment was defensive in nature and not related to any specific current event.
Saudi Arabia agreed in November to buy 44 THAAD launchers, missiles and related equipment from the United States in a separate deal valued at $15 billion.
Senior Blue and White party officials Benny Gantz, Yair Lapid, Moshe Ya’alon, Gabi Ashkenazi promise to act against any threat against Israel on tour of Golan Heights • At the same time, Blue and White says social, not security, issues to be top priority.
Speaking in the Golan, Gantz said, “We are now encountering here a terror network, an Iranian front that is sitting on the border with the State of Israel. We know how to handle any threat, in any one of the arenas, for as long as necessary. We will build a responsible and assertive cabinet. We will be unforgiving of any form of aggression against the State of Israel in any of the arenas.”
Lapid said they were there “to remind the entire world that we will never return the Golan Heights [to Syria]. Israel has sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and will always have sovereignty over the Golan Heights. We expect the European Union and the U.N. to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.”
Ya’alon said the Israel-Syria border before them was more than just a border between countries, but a “border between civilizations: the green, blooming, flourishing and thriving on our side opposite the black, the burned, the bloody on the Syrian side. This is the border of hope against evil,” he said.
Ashkenazi had a message for all of Israel’s enemies inside Syria and the region, saying, “In the face of any existential threat to the State of Israel, we will act and we will not contain: action – not containment.”
Although much of it has already been made public, the Blue and White party will officially release its party platform, Wednesday.
In one of the clauses of the platform, the party says it will not act to repeal the nation-state law, but rather anchor it in legislation that ensures equality for Israel’s citizens.
The nation-state law was one of the main areas where there were disagreements among the parties that comprise Blue and White. Both Lapid’s Yesh Atid party and Gantz’s Israel Resilience Party had said ahead of the merger that they would work to amend the controversial law.
Earlier, the heads of Blue and White clarified that “although this is a party of [former IDF] chiefs of staff, the subject of security is secondary. In a conversation with Israel Hayom, Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah said that “the ruling party needs to have a say on all aspects of life, and security is but one of them.” Noting Blue and White’s platform focus on health and transportation, he said that these days, the civilian aspect is “no less important for people” than security. “We have a plan to add 12.5 billion shekels [$3.45 billion] to the health system in the next five years.” Asked where the money would come from, Shelah replied. “There’s no need to worry. We’ll manage.”
The Blue and White party’s platform also includes plans for a regional conference aimed at forging a diplomatic process for Israel to separate from the Palestinians, a commitment not to carry out a unilateral disengagement from Judea and Samaria as well as a commitment not to withdraw from the settlement blocs and the Jordan Valley. The party platform makes no mention of terms such as a “Palestinian state” or “two-state solution,” but does commit to canceling the recommendations law, which prohibits police from making recommendations either for or against an indictment in high-profile investigations, and the supermarket law, which gives the interior minister the power to shutter convenience stores operating on Shabbat, as well as ensuring continuity of the draft law put in place by the current defense establishment.
Blue and White clarified that although differences remained among the various parties, they were largely in agreement on the platform and were committed to it in its entirety.