March 15, 2018

Poll: Americans remain staunchly in Israel’s corner

Americans’ stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is as strongly pro-Israel as at any time in Gallup’s three-decade trend. In a poll taken Feb. 1-10, 64% say their sympathies in the dispute lie more with the Israelis, tying the high previously recorded in 2013 and 1991.  Just 19% of Americans sympathize more with the Palestinians, slightly higher than the 15% in Gallup’s initial 1988 measurement.

Currently, 74% of U.S. adults view Israel favorably and 23% view it unfavorably, whereas 21% view the Palestinian Authority favorably and 71% unfavorably.  This results in a strong tendency for Americans to sympathize with Israel in the conflict and to call for greater diplomatic pressure on the Palestinians.



Is favoring Israel an American security interest? – Eric R. Mandel

The State Department, over the years, has been reluctant to “take sides” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  However, this has magnified Palestinian intransigence, while draining American taxpayer dollars, and propping up a corrupt Palestinian Authority without demanding anything substantial of it.

For the U.S., there is no better source of reliable information in the Middle East than Israel.  The Israelis live in this bad neighborhood and understand the realities better than those on the outside.  It was Israel that discovered the North Korean-built Syrian nuclear reactor and destroyed it. Can you imagine if there were loose nukes in today’s Syria?

Today the U.S. has a reliable Naval port in Haifa, joint military exercises preparing its soldiers, American troops manning the X-band anti-Missile system in Israel to protect Europe, Israel’s security technology for U.S. homeland security, and Israel’s advances in drone technology to benefit our military.

You need only to look at Erdogan’s Turkey, the eastern flank of NATO, to know how important Israel has become to American long-term security interests in the region.

Favoring Israel is an American “national security interest.”



White House hosts meeting on Gaza without Palestinians – James Oliphant

The White House on Tuesday (13th) hosted 19 nations, including Israel and the Arab Gulf States, to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, but the Palestinian Authority boycotted the meeting.  “Fixing Gaza is necessary to achieve a peace agreement,” a senior administration official said.

Presidential advisor Jared Kushner gave a two-hour presentation to the attending countries, which included Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, and the UAE, as well as several European nations.  Potential electricity, water sewage, and health projects were discussed.



Greenblatt: Hamas bears responsibility for Gaza’s suffering  

Jason Greenblatt, the President’s Special Representative for International negotiations, told a conference at the White House on Gaza, Tuesday (13th): We regret that the Palestinian Authority is not here with us today.  This is not about politics. This is about the health, safety and happiness of the people of Gaza.”

“Everything we do must be done in a way that ensures we do not put the security of Israelis and Egyptians at risk – and that we do not inadvertently empower Hamas, which bears the responsibility for Gaza’s suffering….I have…seen the terror attack tunnels built by Hamas, and the remnants of the rockets used to murder Israelis – all built using money belonging to the international community, the Palestinian Authority and the people of Gaza.”



IDF helps prepare U.S. troops for tunnel combat – Shai Ben-Ari

The U.S. Marine Corps is learning the finer points of bitter tunnel combat from the Israeli military during a joint infantry drill currently underway.  The exercise kicked off with beach landings at Palmachim on the southern Israeli coast, executed by American hovercraft vehicles, and later featured training for urban and desert warfare.



Israel in touch with Russia on removal of Shiite forces from southern Syria

Israel is in touch with Russia to achieve the withdrawal of Shia forces from the southern de-escalation zone in Syria, Israeli Ambassador to Russia Harry Koren told Sputnik.

“Any cooperation with the international community including Russia and the United States, which could lead to withdrawal of Shia and Iranian forces from Syria, is important to us,” he said.  Koren added that Iran’s attempts to deploy units of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to the Israel-Syria border “can lead to a dangerous strategic escalation.”



Gaza bombing dealt a mortal blow to Palestinian reconciliation – Amos Harel

Even though PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, and the head of the PA intelligence services, Gen. Majid Faraj escaped Tuesday’s (13th) blast in Gaza without injury, the efforts led by Egypt to effect a reconciliation between the Fatah-led PA and Hamas have suffered a mortal blow.  It is unlikely that Hamdallah will come to Gaza for another visit any time soon. And the Hamas leadership have now earned an even more determined rival in Faraj, who is arguably the most powerful person in the West Bank today.



Israel 11th happiest country in the world, UN says

Israel came in at number 11 on the United Nations annual happiness index.  Topping the index was Finland, followed by Norway and Denmark.



Israel to broadcast 2018 World Cup to Arab states for free

One of the most watched events in the world, the FIFA World Cup, will be broadcast via satellite in Arabic for free by the Israel Broadcasting Authority.  The Israel Foreign Ministry called the move “a historic step that confirms the status of the Arabic language and Israel’s respect for it.”  The IBA paid $7.8 million to purchase the rights to broadcast the 2018 World Cup. For millions of soccer fans in Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon, to watch the World Cup costs $45 per household through Qatar’s beIN Sports channel.



Israel donates 40 generators to Papua New Guinea after earthquake – Abigail Klein Leichman

Following a devastating earthquake that struck Papua New Guinea’s highlands region on Feb. 26, the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Agency for International Development Cooperation (MASHAV) delivered 40 generators to affected communities on March 8.  With 150,000 people in desperate need of emergency supplies, Israel was one of the first countries to send aid. Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Peter O’Neill said his “government and the people of Papua New Guinea appreciate the support and friendship of Israel during these challenging times.”