Period: February 2015


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By Ahuva Balofsky - March 9, 2015 - “And the altar of burnt-offering he set at the door of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting, and offered upon it the burnt-offering and the meal-offering; as the LORD commanded Moses.” (Exodus 40:29)
The Temple Institute in Jerusalem has announced that it has finished building an altar suitable for the Temple service. The altar, which took several years to build, can be operational at little more than a moment’s notice, reported Matzav Haruach magazine. The Temple Institute is committed to preparing all the necessary clothing and tools for the rebuilt Holy Temple in Jerusalem. In addition, the institute operates an educational center for visitors and a preparatory training program for members of the priestly family who wish to be ready to serve as soon as the Temple is rebuilt.
The altar is a central component to the Biblical sacrificial service. In fact, there were separate altars for the incense and for other sacrifices. The larger altar sat in the outer courtyard of the Tabernacle, and later the Temple. It was approximately five meters (16 feet) tall and 16 meters (52.5 feet) wide, with four “horns”, or raised corners, and a ramp. Continued:

Diplomat voices ‘utter disbelief’ at Republican senators’ letter to Tehran, says prospective pact won’t be legally binding.
By Times of Israel staff, AP and AFP March 11, 2015 - The American diplomat spoke at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and criticized Republican lawmakers for dispatching a letter to Iran warning against the nuclear talks he’s leading, saying it threatened global trust in America. Kerry said that the letter undermined American foreign policy and was legally incorrect. “This risks undermining the confidence that foreign governments in thousands of important agreements commit to,” Kerry told the committee, adding he had reacted with “utter disbelief” to news of the letter, which comes as he prepares to return for further intense negotiations reaching the critical end-stage.
Kerry said that the deal he’s negotiating is not a “legally binding plan,” but will be one that has “a capacity for enforcement.” “The senators’ letter erroneously asserts this is a legally binding plan,” he said. “It is incorrect when it says that Congress can actually modify the terms of an agreement any time. That is flat wrong.”

March 18, 2015 - Israel’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud) said yesterday in an interview that the new government is willing to return to the negotiation table with the Palestinians. “We would be delighted to renew the negotiations,” Hanegbi said in an interview with the Israel Project. “We believe it is in the interest of both people– the Israeli and the Palestinian– to have a dialogue; to discuss our disputes; to try and find [a] common denominator in the issues that are so crucial to both people.”
Hanegbi, a Netanyahu loyalist, also said that the new government will begin an intense effort to renew the trust between the United States and Israel.
“We will make an effort, a very, very intimate and intense effort to renew the trust between the governments,” said the deputy foreign minister. “It is essential for the security of Israel. It is essential for the survival of the state of Israel.” Hanegbi’s words are significant in light of Netanyahu’s vocal opposition this week to the establishment of a Palestinian state. The hostility of the Obama Administration towards Netanyahu was also widely reported in the weeks leading up the Israeli election.

The White House hoped a new Israeli prime minister would resume peace talks with the Palestinians. With Netanyahu holding on, the administration is weighing a turn to the U.N. to help force a deal. Report: Obama Moving Towards Supporting UN Resolution to Force Peace Deal
March 19, 2015 - After years of blocking U.N. efforts to pressure Israelis and Palestinians into accepting a lasting two-state solution, the United States is edging closer toward supporting a U.N. Security Council resolution that would call for the resumption of political talks to conclude a final peace settlement, according to Western diplomats.
The move follows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decisive re-election Tuesday after the incumbent publicly abandoned his commitment to negotiate a Palestinian state — the basis of more than 20 years of U.S. diplomatic efforts — and promised to continue the construction of settlements on occupied territory. The development also reflects deepening pessimism over the prospect of U.S.-brokered negotiations delivering peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
Shortly before this week’s election, the United States informed its diplomatic partners that it would hold off any moves in the U.N. Security Council designed to put Israel on the spot at the United Nations in the event that Netanyahu’s challenger, Isaac Herzog, won the election. But U.S. officials signaled a willingness to consider a U.N. resolution in the event that Netanyahu was re-elected and formed a coalition government opposed to peace talks. The United States has not yet circulated a draft, but diplomats say Washington has set some red lines and is unwilling to agree to set a fixed deadline for political talks to conclude. Continued:

Reuters by Michelle Nichols - 3.18.2015 - UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations said on Wednesday that Israel needs to stick with the Middle East peace process to remain a democracy after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu abandoned a commitment ahead of his re-election to negotiate a Palestinian state.
In the final days of campaigning before Israeli voters went to the polls on Tuesday, Netanyahu said he would not permit a Palestinian state to be created under his watch and also promised to go on building settlements on occupied land. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon believes the peace process, including an end to illegal settlement building, is "the best and only way forward for Israel to remain a democratic state," U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters.
Palestinians seek a state in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, lands Israel captured in the 1967 War.

Associated Press - 3.18.2015 - UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon responded to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's election victory with a call Wednesday for the new government to negotiate a final peace agreement that will create "a viable Palestinian state." U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq made clear that the unusually pointed statement reflects the secretary-general's expectation and response to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's campaign comments opposing a two-state solution. He said Ban's call for the new government to create conditions for a negotiated peace deal includes halting "illegal settlement building."
"The secretary-general firmly believes this is also the best and only way forward for Israel to remain a democratic state," Haq said.
He said Ban welcomed the election results and expressed hopes "for the rapid establishment of a new government that reflects the will of all Israeli voters."
Israel's U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor denied Israel's democracy is threatened. "The United Nations may disagree with the policies of the Israeli government, but there is one fact that can't be disputed - that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East," Prosor said in a statement, noting that voter turnout in Tuesday's election was 72 percent


Trailing in the polls ahead of Tuesday's elections, the Israeli premier disavowed the creation of a Palestinian state in an appeal to the right.
The Atlantic - By Adam Chandler - Mar 16 2015, - Back in 2009, just three months after he became Israel's prime minister for the second time, Benjamin Netanyahu delivered what many called "an historic address." In it, Netanyahu described his "vision" of peace between Israelis and Palestinians:
There are two free peoples living side by side in this small land, with good neighborly relations and mutual respect, each with its flag, anthem and government, with neither one threatening its neighbor's security and existence.
The speech was deemed remarkable because it contained Netanyahu's first-ever call for the establishment of a Palestinian state, a statement he had resisted throughout his long and winding political career.
Nearly six years and three Gaza wars later, and with his political legacy on the ropes, Netanyahu issued a major retraction on Monday evening: “I think that anyone who is going to establish a Palestinian state today and evacuate lands, is giving attack grounds to the radical Islam against the state of Israel,” he said in a radio interview.
Needing to siphon off votes from right-leaning parties, Netanyahu's change in course is the latest moment of panic.
The reversal came as his political fortunes flounder—Netanyahu's Likud Party is trailing in Israel's (notoriously fickle) polls, leaving many to believe he might be unseated in Tuesday's elections. Badly needing to siphon off votes from Israel's right-leaning parties, Netanyahu's change in course is the latest moment of panic in a campaign he was never meant to lose. On Sunday, Netanyahu raised the specter that his party might not emerge with enough seats to secure the premiership. In doing so, Netanyahu sank his long-standing air of invincibility in a country where a majority of citizens have had trouble imagining anyone else as their prime minister.
"One of Netanyahu’s greatest electoral assets—borne out in those relentless polls showing him to be voters’ preferred prime minister—is that he had created a palpable sense of inevitability about his rule," David Horovitz argues over at The Times of Israel. We'll find whether that is still true on Tuesday. But given his election-eve reversal, it seems Netanyahu may not even believe it anymore.

The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it.
By Graeme Wood - March 2015 - What is the Islamic State? Where did it come from, and what are its intentions? The simplicity of these questions can be deceiving, and few Western leaders seem to know the answers. In December, The New York Times published confidential comments by Major General Michael K. Nagata, the Special Operations commander for the United States in the Middle East, admitting that he had hardly begun figuring out the Islamic State’s appeal. “We have not defeated the idea,” he said. “We do not even understand the idea.” In the past year, President Obama has referred to the Islamic State, variously, as “not Islamic” and as al-Qaeda’s “jayvee team,” statements that reflected confusion about the group, and may have contributed to significant strategic errors.
The group seized Mosul, Iraq, last June, and already rules an area larger than the United Kingdom. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been its leader since May 2010, but until last summer, his most recent known appearance on film was a grainy mug shot from a stay in U.S. captivity at Camp Bucca during the occupation of Iraq. Then, on July 5 of last year, he stepped into the pulpit of the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul, to deliver a Ramadan sermon as the first caliph in generations—upgrading his resolution from grainy to high-definition, and his position from hunted guerrilla to commander of all Muslims. The inflow of jihadists that followed, from around the world, was unprecedented in its pace and volume, and is continuing.
Our ignorance of the Islamic State is in some ways understandable: It is a hermit kingdom; few have gone there and returned. Baghdadi has spoken on camera only once. But his address, and the Islamic State’s countless other propaganda videos and encyclicals, are online, and the caliphate’s supporters have toiled mightily to make their project knowable. We can gather that their state rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change, even if that change might ensure its survival; and that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world.
The Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), follows a distinctive variety of Islam whose beliefs about the path to the Day of Judgment matter to its strategy, and can help the West know its enemy and predict its behavior. Its rise to power is less like the triumph of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (a group whose leaders the Islamic State considers apostates) than like the realization of a dystopian alternate reality in which David Koresh or Jim Jones survived to wield absolute power over not just a few hundred people, but some 8 million.

March 19.2015 - Report describes 'outright hostility' against longtime democratic ally. It was U.S. President Harry S. Truman who jumped into action when David Ben-Gurion, head of the Jewish Agency, declared the state of Israel on that May day in 1948, recognizing the fledgling nation the same day and giving stature by association, based on America’s successful defense of freedom around the globe in World War II, to the target of Arab hostilities.
And over the years, dozens of times, perhaps hundreds, the U.S. has protected Israel with vetoes of United Nations moves against the Middle East democracy, an antagonism that started to develop in the 1970s and has grown exponentially nearly every year since. For example, the watchdog group called UNWatch reported, “The U.N.’s discrimination against Israel is not a minor infraction, nor a parochial nuisance of interest solely to those concerned with the equal rights of the Jewish people and the Jewish state. Instead, the world body’s obsession with censuring Israel at every turn directly affects all citizens of the world, for it constitutes (a) a severe violation of the equality principles guaranteed by the U.N. Charter and underlying the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and (b) a significant obstacle to the U.N.’s ability to carry out its proper mandate.”
Now, however, a U.S. president who has been described as “pouting” over conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election victory (Barack Obama has declined to call Netanyahu with congratulations), may be willing to turn the American ship around and side with the U.N. to attack Israel. At the Foreign Policy site it was reported on Thursday that the U.S. “is edging closer toward supporting a U.N. Security Council resolution that would call for the resumption of political talks to conclude a final peace settlement, according to Western diplomats.”
Narrated by Leonard Nimoy, “The Miracle of Israel” documentary tells the miraculous story of Israel’s restoration and why it may hold the key to our future. Already seen by more than 1 million people, it’s available now at the WND Superstore
The conflict between Obama and Netanyahu dates to when Obama was elected president and his opposition to a conservative political position, like Netanyahu’s for Israel, became clear. The snubs have developed repeatedly.
Then there were reports that Obama was infuriated by Netanyahu’s acceptance of an invitation to speak to the U.S. Congress – without Netanyahu first asking Obama’s permission. The White House publicly criticized the speech before it happened and afterward. Obama said there was nothing new in it.
Is Obama an anti-Semite? Then during a hotly contested re-election campaign, Netanyahu abandoned the moderate positions he’d supported on several issues, and promised constituents there would be no partition of Israel, no creation with Israel’s land, of a Palestinian state while he leads. That further estranged Obama, whose goals have included a legacy of foreign policy successes like a peace accord in the Middle East. Foreign Policy also reported that because of Netanyahu’s victory, there was a new willingness on the part of the U.S. to consider U.N. action against Israel. The report quoted an unnamed “Western diplomat” saying, “The more the new government veers to the right the more likely you will see something in New York.”
Subsequently, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said she could not rule out the U.S. supporting a U.N. resolution on Israel and Palestine. That despite the fact multiple plans for a resolution in that part of the world have been torpedoed not by Israel, which has indicated a willingness to cooperate, but by Palestinian interests, who have not. “Ilan Goldenberg, a former member of the Obama administration’s Mideast peace team, told FP that Washington might be inclined to support a Security Council resolution backing a two-state solution as an alternative to the Palestinian effort to hold Israel accountable at the [International Criminal Court],” the report said. At the ICC, Palestinians are accusing Israel of war crimes for the 214 conflict in Gaza, where civilians were casualties. Israel said Hamas militants took shelter in populated areas, creating the problem.
UNWatch pointedly noted that the U.N. has been anything but fair to Israel in recent years. “During the 61st Session of the General Assembly, the time spent by ambassadors on enacting the 22nd anti-Israel resolution of the year was time not spent on passing a single resolution on Sudan’s genocide in Darfur. … U.N. bias against Israel is overt in bodies such as the General Assembly, which each year passes some 19 resolutions against Israel and none against most other member states, including the world’s most repressive regimes.” Federal archives suggest that’s a huge change from the launch of Israel, when America supported the creation of of the state, and Israeli forces fought off attacks from armies from Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Egypt. CNN openly described Obama’s actions as “outright hostility” and noted the impact on relations between the nations “remains to be seen.”
“But America’s historic support for Israel at the U.N., as well as any White House ambitions of brokering further Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, seem likely to be affected sooner rather than later,” the report said. However, members of Congress said the frustration expressed by Obama, whose administration had sent funding to groups that ended up trying to undermine Netanyahu’s re-election campaign, wouldn’t affect security aid levels from the U.S. to Israel. In fact, Arizona Sen. John McCain applauded Netanyahu’s victory, with, “Congrats to Bibi – the comeback kid!”
GOP leaders align with Israel in their concern over Obama’s negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, and The Times of Israel said an Obama administration official warned, “Bibi needs to understand that there are policy ramifications…”
Earlier Thursday, WND reported a spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party told WND his information confirms that the Obama administration is studying the possibility of supporting a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for the resumption of talks to create a Palestinian state. Dmitry Diliani, who is also a member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, stated, “Now the United States, at the same time, yes, it has been studying its position.
“Especially at a time when Benjamin Netanyahu basically not only slapped the face of American policy by a statement rejecting a two-state solution,” he said. “He spat on the face of the American policy. Something that I don’t think any American would allow this to happen to the greatest country in the world.”

Charge Netanyahu 'spat on face of American policy'
Aaron Klein - 3.19.2015 - WND - TEL AVIV, Israel – A spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party told WND his information confirms a report Thursday that the Obama administration is studying the possibility of supporting a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for the resumption of talks to create a Palestinian state.
Dmitry Diliani, who is also a member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, stated, “Now the United States, at the same time, yes, it has been studying its position. “Especially at a time when Benjamin Netanyahu basically not only slapped the face of American policy by a statement rejecting a two-state solution,” he said. “He spat on the face of the American policy. Something that I don’t think any American would allow this to happen to the greatest country in the world.”
Diliani further confirmed reports that in light of the re-election of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Abbas may turn to the U.N. and other international bodies for recognition without the approval of Israel. This is something that is a total right for an independent state of Palestine that is recognized by the United Nations,” he said. Diliani commented on Netanyahu’s election promise to reject the formation of a Palestinian state during his tenure in office. Stated Diliani: “That means he basically canceled all the agreements. All the political planning in the region. Everything that is considered a political map for the whole region that was adapted by the whole world and former governments of Israel and the Palestinian people.”
Narrated by Leonard Nimoy, “The Miracle of Israel” documentary tells the miraculous story of Israel’s restoration and why it may hold the key to our future. Already seen by more than 1 million people, it’s available now at the WND Superstore. On the eve of this week’s elections, Netanyahu stated in a video interview with Israel’s NRG news website: “I think that anyone who is going to establish a Palestinian state today and evacuate lands is giving attack grounds to the radical Islam against the state of Israel.” He said anyone “who ignores this is sticking his head in the sand.” “The left does this time and time again,” Netanyahu said. “We are realistic and understand.”
The interviewer asked Netanyahu specifically whether he meant that a Palestinian state would not be established if he were re-elected. “Correct,” he replied.

RT / UK Published on Mar 20, 2015 - Edited time: March 21, 2015 10:27 Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has called on the British Parliament to formally recognize a Palestinian state following Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s last-minute election promise not to pursue a two-state solution. Speaking during his weekly radio phone-in, Clegg described Netanyahu’s election pledge as “extremely worrying.”
The Liberal Democrat leader said he hoped the “desperate attempt” to win votes was “breathless rhetoric.”
However, he warned if Netanyahu, leader of the right-wing Likud party, carried out his threats, then the British Parliament would have “no choice” but to officially recognize Palestine.
The Likud Party won a surprise victory on Wednesday, claiming 30 seats in the 120-seat parliament, the Knesset.

The White House says that a two-state solution is still the best way to resolve the dispute in the Middle East, Israeli Prime Minister’s Benjamin Netanyahu promise this week to prevent further establishment of a Palestinian state notwithstanding.
“A two-state solution is the best way to address this conflict,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One on Wednesday, according to USA Today.
Netanyahu said earlier this week on Monday that he would fend off efforts to create a Palestinian state if he’s re-elected as prime minister of Israel. On Wednesday, the leader declared himself victorious following a narrow win against challenger Isaac Herzog of the center-left Zionist Union.
US President Barack Obama had yet to congratulate Netanyahu on his win as of Wednesday afternoon, and Earnest, the White House spokesman, said he anticipated that a phone call between the two would occur in the coming days. In 2013, Obama waited nearly a week to call Netanyahu after he narrowly won that year’s election.
David Simas, a political director for the White House, told CNN on Wednesday that the administration wanted to “give space to the formation of that coalition government” before extending its congratulations.
“Now, the hard work of coalition building begins. Sometimes that takes a couple of weeks,” he said. “And we're not going to weigh in one way or another except to say that the United States and Israel have a historic and close relationship and that will continue going forward.”
The relationship between Obama and Israel has been rocky in recent weeks, especially after the president declined to attend an event in Washington in which Netanyahu spoke before Congress upon invitation of Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), the House speaker. Netanyahu used the address to urge American lawmakers to reject the administration’s efforts to ink an agreement with Iran concerning the nation’s nuclear ambitions, and the rift between the executive and legislative branches was driven fwider when 47 of the 54 Republican senators wrote to Iran urging the country to abandon any talks with the White House. Continued:

March 20, 2015 - If Iran is permitted to keep 6,000 nuclear centrifuges, it will not be able to create enough fuel for a peaceful nuclear program, but it will be able to build a nuclear weapon, David Ibsen, Executive Director of the watchdog group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) told The Algemeiner on Thursday. Iran has long claimed that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
The “consensus is 6,000 centrifuges is short of the capacity necessary to generate fuel to power nuclear power plants,” Ibsen said in a written statement. Ibsen was responding to an exclusive AP story reporting that the US and Iran had reached a draft nuclear accord that permits Iran to continue its nuclear enrichment program.
Under the tentative agreement, the US will lift sanctions against Iran, and cap Iran’s nuclear enrichment capability to 6,000 centrifuges. Iran presently has 19,000 centrifuges capable of enriching the uranium needed for a nuclear weapon. The US had previously attempted to cap Tehran’s enrichment program at 500 – 1,500 centrifuges. The AP also reported that under the draft accord, the UN might “roll back” an arms embargo against Iran. UANI believes that Iran can still build a bomb under such a draft agreement.
“6,000 centrifuges is not insignificant, because you can still use that to make a bomb,” Ibsen told The Algemeiner.
UANI called the draft agreement a concession by the p5+1, referring to the world powers presently negotiating alongside the US to limit Iran’s nuclear capabilities. Continued:

March 20, 2015 - President Obama is considering cutting all ties with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s YNet News reported on Friday. According to a source cited by the paper, the White House “is contemplating lowering its ties with Israel and putting Kerry as the sole liaison between the two states, as opposed to the open line Netanyahu now enjoys with Obama.” “The president is pragmatic, if he were to think there was some gain to be made from talking directly with Netanyahu he would do so, but he just prefers not to waste his time,” the White House source said
The report culminates weeks of mounting anger by the White House towards Netanyahu. Administration officials were very critical of Netanyahu’s historic speech earlier this month before a joint session of Congress on the Iranian nuclear threat, and there was even speculation that the White House was attempting to unseat the Israeli Prime Minister.
Following Netanyahu’s landslide electoral victory this week, it appeared as though the tension with the White House might dissipate. The White House took a conciliatory tone on the day of the win, and a Netanyahu loyalist made it clear that the new government would seek to renew trust with the United States.
The peace was short-lived.
The White House quickly resumed hostilities towards Netanyahu in the days following the election. A White House official avoided congratulating the Israeli Prime Minister the day after the win. The White House also directly criticized Netanyahu’s Election Day comments about Arab voter turnout, calling them “cynical.” Then there were several reports that the White House was reconsidering its pro-Israel stance at the United Nations because of Netanyahu’s rescinding of support for Palestinian statehood at this time. Netanyahu, seemingly in response to the mounting White House hostility, abandoned his pre-election opposition to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, seeking again to renew the US-Israel relationship. The White House rejected this overture, and said that it was “re-evaluating” its thinking about relations with Israel. Continued:

Published time: December 10, 2014 14:31
The Obama administration has led the charge against Jewish settlement construction in the contested West Bank, Israel’s defense minister has said, adding that he hopes the slowdown will be “temporary”.
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Israel wants to construct more settlements in the West Bank, but an outpouring of global condemnation - spearheaded by the United States - has sidelined those aspirations.
"I really want to approve plans and build more – right now this issue provokes a reaction first and foremost from the Americans, and then threats from various sources," Ya’alon said, as quoted by Haaretz, on Tuesday addressing high school students in a Jewish West Bank settlement.
According to Ya’alon, the United States has “led the charge” and Israel has been “very, very careful not to push the envelope too much.” Continued:

Published time: November 05, 2014 12:15 - Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has rejected “Israel’s threats of war on Lebanon,” saying it is fully prepared to defend the country, while an Israeli MP said in the event of war the IDF would return Lebanon “to the Stone Age.” Addressing a mass gathering of Lebanese Shiites celebrating the Islamic holy day of Asura in the southern suburbs of Beirut, Nasrallah warned Israel of the consequences of a war with Lebanon. “Israel’s threats of another war on Lebanon do not stem from its power because it has lost hope and is concerned… The resistance is a real threat to Israel,” Nasrallah said, Lebanon's Daily Star reported.
“Israelis are saying in the media that they would have to close down the Ben Gurion Airport and the Haifa port and yes, that’s true." Nasrallah confirmed the Israeli reports, saying “there is no place extending on the land of occupied Palestine that the resistance’s rockets cannot reach.”
Israeli Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, a member of the hawkish Likud Party, blasted Nasrallah’s speech in an angry response. “In order to avoid any doubt on the matter, Nasrallah the cowardly braggart should know this: that option does not exist for us,” Katz wrote on his Facebook page. “If such a scenario does materialize, we will raze Lebanon to the ground! We will return it to the Stone Age and bury [Nasrallah] under the rocks." Continued:

'US AN ENEMY': PALESTINIAN OFFICIAL BLASTS WASHINGTON OVER UNSC STATEHOOD VETO December 31, 2014 - Palestine will start an international campaign showcasing the US as “an enemy,” pushing Israeli extremists to carry on with their actions and supporting Israel in everything, Fatah central committee member Abbas Zaki said. Zaki, also the former representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Lebanon, told RT Arabic that the latest developments in the UNSC were not a failure for Palestinian diplomacy.
“It’s just the persistent unwillingness of the US administration to give the Palestinian people its lawful right of self-determination. It’s a very dangerous precedent,” he said.
“The US administration realizes very well that 138 states support Palestine as having UN observer status. The US knows that there are many decisions and resolutions of international organizations condemning the Israeli crimes and injustice towards the Palestinian people,” Zaki said. He added: “Regardless of all that, the current US administration still uses its right to veto. In such a way, the US wants to tell Palestine not to address the UN, neither today nor in the future.’ Continued:

December 31, 2014 - Edited time: December 31, 2014 - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has signed the Rome Statute, the founding treaty to join the International Criminal Court, a day after the UNSC failed to adopt the Arab coalition’s bid for the creation of a Palestinian state.The Palestinian Authority could also schedule a date for applying to join the International Criminal Court and other international agencies, negotiator Saeb Erekat said, adding that officials would hold a "very serious meeting" on Wednesday.
"There will be no more waiting, no more hesitation, no more slowdown," Erekat said. "We are going to meet and make decisions." A batch of newly signed treaties will be delivered to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's office by the end of the week, a diplomat at the Palestinian UN observer mission told Reuters.

January 01, 2015 - The UN Security Council has failed to adopt the Arab coalition’s bid calling for the creation of a Palestinian state and an end to Israeli “occupation”. The veto power US and Australia voted against the move with 5 abstentions. The draft resolution gathered only 8 votes in favour, so it was automatically defeated. The US however still used its veto power and voted against the resolution. Another veto power state, the UK, along with Lithuania, Nigeria, Korea and Rwanda have abstained from the vote. "This resolution sets the stage for more division, not for compromise," said US Ambassador Samantha Power, calling the draft a “staged confrontation.”
“The United kingdom supports much of the content of the draft resolution. It is therefore with deep regret that we abstained from it,” said UK ambassador to the UN, Mark Lyall Grant. “We are disappointed that the normal and necessary negotiation did not take place on this occasion.”
However, Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said that Moscow “cannot share the objections of those who believe that the draft resolution was undermining the prospects of the negotiating process.” Continued:

Final results: Netanyahu's Likud scores decisive victory in Israeli election, set to win 30 Knesset seats, Zionist Union gets 24 • Netanyahu calls for 'strong' government to safeguard security, welfare • Meretz leader Zehava Galon resigns in wake of election results.
By Haaretz - Mar. 18, 2015 - With nearly all votes counted, Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party is set to emerge as the election's big winner with 30 seats. The Zionist Union trails behind with 24 seats. The Joint List of Arab parties is the third-largest party at this point, followed by Yesh Atid, Kulanu, Habayit Hayehudi, Shas, Yisrael Beiteinu, United Torah Judaism, Meretz and Yahad.
President Reuven Rivlin said he would work for a national unity government.
Ballots were cast at 10,372 polling stations throughout Israel. There are 5,881,696 Israelis (citizens over the age of 18) who were eligible to vote today for the 20th Knesset.

Zionist Union party co-leaders Isaac Herzog listens to Tzipi Livni as she delivers a statement in the party's election headquarters in Tel Aviv, Israel, Wednesday, March 18, 2015, a day after Israel held legislative election. Netanyahu's right-wing Likud Party scored a resounding victory in Israel's election, final results showed Wednesday, a stunning turnaround after a tight race that had put his lengthy rule in jeopardy. (AP Photo - Ariel Schalit) From Associated Press March 19, 2015 - Israel's parliamentary election this week says his party will not join the next government, and accused Benjamin Netanyahu of racism. Isaac Herzog says his Zionist Union, which finished second in the vote, would sit in the opposition and "challenge a narrow right-wing government."
Herzog spoke Thursday to Army Radio. The latest tally from Tuesday's vote shows the Zionist Union got 24 seats, compared to Likud's 30. Herzog criticized Netanyahu's campaign, saying it "touched on racism" and was based on "lies, hostility and fear-mongering." In a last-ditch attempt to spur supporters to the polls, Netanyahu said Arab citizens were voting "in droves" and were endangering years of rule by his Likud Party.
The comments drew accusations of racism from Israeli Arabs and a White House rebuke.





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