Tag Archives: Israel

EU diplomacy sidelined Yemen conflict

At present there is a visible diplomatic apathy in the EU, regarding the protracted Yemen conflict, blaming on too many foreign actors, stirring the ongoing feud, which have already degraded into proxy war through involvement of multiple external players, supplying belligerent parties with weapons. However the revenues of arms exporters, namely the Europeans. are not the sole responsible for the warfare, continuously claiming lives of Yemenis, and escalating tensions in the Persian Gulf.

The desire of the European Union to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran, keeps out of focus numerous Tehran illicit activities, aggravating various conflicts, including civil war in Yemen, increasingly destabilizing the entire region. The recent attacks on Saudi oil facilities, which damaged half the production, evoked accusations from the West, presuming the rockets were launched from Iran’s territory. Tehran has vehemently denied any involvement in the offensive, claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels fighting a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. However Iran responded reasoning the attack on Aramco oil plans as an act of “legitimate defense” of Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

Since regional tensions escalated following the attacks on Saudi’s oil facilities mid-September, the Yemen conflict was upgraded on diplomatic agenda. Especially in view of the protection of vessels in the Persian Gulf from Iranian attacks, as well as the prevention of the illicit arms trade and the protection of civil aviation.

Nowadays there is growing concern among foreign policy experts, pointing at intensified engagement between the Houthi leadership with Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, and Hezbollah chiefs, conspiring operations to strengthening Iran position in the Strait of Hormuz, and weakening Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel.

In the context of the escalations of tensions, on October 21-22 the diplomats have been gathering for a conference in Bahrain (Manama) to discuss the security issue in the Gulf. The even has been co-hosted by the U.S. and Poland, and is regarded as a part of Warsaw Process (Ministerial’s Maritime and Aviation Security Working Group). So far there have been little information about the EU diplomacy participation, and input of the representatives of the European External Actions Service – who claim to be highly sought after “global player”. The conference was attended on a diplomatic level by a delegation representative, the spokesperson confirmed, adding the EEAS position remains unchanged, based on the EU Council conclusions.

The EU continues to reaffirm that only a negotiated and inclusive political solution can end the conflict in Yemen.The EU has contributed with over €560 million in assistance since the beginning of the conflict.

What is defined nowadays by experts as a “proxy war” erupted in in 2014, when Houthi rebels captured the capital, Sanaa. However, in reality it was a new chapter in a long saga of confrontation between the Iran-backed Shia movement and loyalist forces since 2004.

The United Nations Security Council reacted upon belligerent spell of Houthi with resolution 2201 “deploring” their “unilateral actions’ ” and calling for the immediate halt of hostilities. The message of the global community has repeated several times, condemning the violence, including after March 26, 2015, when the Saudi-led coalition that included the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, Sudan, and Morocco launched its first military operation.

The Yemeni Civil War is a protracted conflict (since 2015) between two factions: the Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi led Yemeni government and the Houthi armed movement, along with their supporters and allies. Both claim to constitute the official government of Yemen.

According to the UN report due to the protracted conflict, Yemen is the most affected country with in acute need for humanitarian aid for 24.1 million people, including children, who are prime victims of the bloodshed and hunger.

In September 18 drones and seven cruise missiles hit a major oil field and processing facility in Saudi Arabia, which blamed Iran for the attack.

Russia supplies Syria with S-300 air defense in fortnight

Within fortnight the Syrian army will receive from Russia S-300 air-defense missiles to improve its combat capabilities following the downing of a Ilyushin Il-20 in Syria, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said.  (Image: illustration).

A modern S-300 air defense missile system will be supplied to the Syrian Armed Forces within two weeks. It is capable of intercepting air assault weapons at a distance of more than 250 kilometers and hit simultaneously several air targets,” the minister said.

Shoigu said S-300 missiles will strongly strengthen combat capabilities of the Syrian air defense due to their jamming invulnerability and firing speed.

A Russian military aircraft with 15 people onboard has been accidentally shot down by Syrian anti-aircraft defences that were targeting Israeli jets, the Russian defence ministry said in a statement.

Israel strengthens ties with Baltic Republics

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began his visit in Lithuania, saying he hoped to deepen ties with eastern EU nations as Brussels blasted Israel’s plans for fresh settlements in the West Bank.

Dozens of Pro-Palestinian activists waved Palestinian flags and chanted that Netanyahu was “not welcome” while railing against Lithuania‘s ties with Israel outside government buildings in the capital Vilnius, where he held talks with his Lithuanian counterpart Saulius Skvernelis.

Netanyahu thanked Skvernelis for the “strong position you’ve taken in forums of the EU on behalf of truth, on behalf of Israel, on behalf of decency“.

Israel is often mistreated by the EU in Brussels, there are many distortions that are levelled at us, and it is refreshing to see that you take a stand of clarity, of truth and of courage, and we discussed how that can be expanded,Netanyahu added.

Israel approved plans for more than 1,000 settlement homes in the occupied West Bank prompting EU spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic to say that the bloc was “strongly opposed” to Israel’s “illegal” settlement policy, calling it “an obstacle to peace”.

The settlements “would further jeopardise the prospect of a contiguous and viable future Palestinian state,”  Kocijancic continued.

Netanyahu said he wanted “to achieve a balance in the European Union’s not always friendly relations with Israel” ahead of the the first-ever visit by an Israeli premier to Lithuania.

Israeli PM will meet the leaders of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in Vilnius  during the visit, which is set to last until Sunday, August 26.

Russian diplomats celebrate National Day in Jerusalem

According to Russian diplomatic sources, the Embassy of Russian Federation in Israel is hosting its annual National Day (12 June) reception in Jerusalem, in a gesture of recognition of West Jerusalem as capital of State of Israel not only de jure in statements, but also de facto.

Russia’s incoming Ambassador H.E. Anatoly Viktorov has invited guests to the reception (reportedly celebrated on 14th of June) at Sergei’s Courtyard.

Russian compound church

Sergei’s Courtyard constructed in 1889, but sometimes still referred to as New Courtyard, a part of a historic complex in the Jerusalem neighborhood  known as the Russian Compound (pictured), which Israeli authorities handed to Russia a decade ago in a goodwill gesture.

Russian compound Jerusalem

At present Russia remains committed to the decisions of the United Nations on the status of Jerusalem. In April 2017, Russian Foreign Ministry (MFA) issued a statement on the “urgent need” for resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, underlining its firm commitment to the decisions of the United Nations on the principles of settlement, including the status of East Jerusalem as the capital of the future Palestinian state.

However “at the same time, we consider it necessary to declare that in this context we consider West Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel” – the statement of Russian MFA concluded.

On December 6, Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesperson, reaffirmed Russia‘s position to support the immediate resumption of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on “all controversial issues, including the status of Jerusalem.”

In June 2017, the Israeli authorities suggested to Russian government to move the embassy to Jerusalem, but in response the diplomats said that Russia has no intention to do so until Israel and Palestine have settled their bilateral relations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Israel celebrates US Embassy inauguration in Jerusalem

In afternoon the United States Embassy in Jerusalem, Israel opened in an official ceremony with many guests of honor.

Israel is a sovereign nation, with the right like every other sovereign nation, to determine its own capital. Yet for many years, we failed to acknowledge the obvious. The plain reality that Israel’s capital is Jerusalem” – said President Donald Trump in his video address.

The Ambassador David M. Friedman credited President Donald Trump for having the courage to open an embassy in Israel’s capital. “Today’s historic event is attributed to the vision, the courage, and the moral clarity of one person to whom we owe an enormous and eternal debt of gratitude, President Donald J. Trump.”

On this exact day 70 years ago, at almost this exact time, David Ben Gurion declared Israel’s independence. Just 11 minutes later, President Harry Truman caused the United States to be the first nation to recognize the reborn State of Israel. He later regretted that he waited so long,Ambassador David M. Friedman said in his inauguration speech.

Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, along with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, led the US delegation with the message from President Trump that the United States will continue to support the peace process in every way it can, but also that the President is determined to deliver upon his promises. President Trump ensured that he remained committed to “facilitating a lasting peace agreement,” and that he was “extending a hand of friendship to Israel, the Palestinians and to all of their neighbors.”

While presidents before him have backed down from their pledge to move the American Embassy once they were in office, this president delivered. Because when President Trump makes a promise, he keeps it,” Kushner said.

The truth and peace are interconnected” Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in his welcoming speech. “A peace that is built on lies, will crash on the rocks of Middle Eastern realities. You can only build peace on truth. And the truth is that Jerusalem has been and will always be the capital of the Jewish people, the capital of the Jewish state” – he added.

The Palestinians responded to the opening of Embassy with an outbreak of violence.

 

 

Ivanka arrived for Embassy inauguration in Jerusalem

Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner arrived in Israel ahead of the opening of the new US embassy in Jerusalem, scheduled for Monday, May 14.

Both White House senior advisers  Trump-Kushner will attend the ceremony, while President Trump himself will not come to the inauguration.

The plan of opening the American Embassy in Jerusalem has been conceived to mark  the state of Israel’s 70th anniversary.

Israel regards Jerusalem as its “eternal and undivided” capital while the Palestinians claim East Jerusalem occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, and insist the city to be the capital of the future Palestinian state.

President Trump‘s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel is a fulfillment of a series of promises made by his predecessors from both Republican and Democratic parties.

 

Israel’s Netta wins Eurovision

Netta, representing Israel, has won the Eurovision Song Contest for her quirky dance song Toy – assembled with its trademark chicken dance.

Israeli candidate became an early favourite, but the vote went down to the wire with Cyprus finishing in second place.

Netta thanked juries and the public for “choosing different” as she lifted the glass microphone trophy.

Netta Barzilai (in Hebrew: נטע ברזילי‎; born 22 January 1993), known by many as simply Netta, is an Israeli singer and a looping artist.

« Older Entries