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A New Dawn for the Middle East? Trump Promises Closer and Stronger US-Israel Relations

THE WHITE HOUSE — President Donald Trump committed to a strong U.S.-Israel partnership Wednesday in his first meeting as president with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Unlike his predecessors, the president said he was willing to embrace a variety of solutions for the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Still, President Trump insisted that America would not define parameters for a peace deal between the state of Israel and the Palestinian people. Contrary to the rigid two-state solution demands of the Obama administration and past presidents, Trump said he would review all available options for peace.

“I’m looking at two state and one state. And I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one,” Trump said at the joint press conference with Netanyahu.

Netanyahu agreed, claiming that policymakers need to get away from “labels” and get down to “substance” in negotiations.

Critics of the two-state solution note that it would essentially empower the terrorist group Hamas in Gaza and the terror-supporting Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. Other solutions for peace bring more countries and disputed territories into the fold, allowing for other actors to have a stake in the fate of the Palestinians.

Trump asked Netanyahu to “hold back on settlements a little bit,” referencing Israeli building projects in disputed territories. However, he did not suggest that the “settlements” in any way infringed upon a peace deal. Obama not only demanded Israel stop building settlements, he and his officials blamed the housing projects for the lack of peace in the entire region.

Netanyahu said he was looking forward to working with America to stop global jihadist movements.

“Under your leadership, I believe we can reverse the rising tide of radical Islam … Israel stands with you and I stand with you,” the Israeli prime minister said.

The two leaders agreed that one of the biggest obstacles to peace was the Palestinians’ practice of resorting to hatred and incitement. Both Netanyahu and Trump touched upon the fact that Palestinians are taught from an early age to not recognize Israel’s existence.

“The Palestinians have to get rid of some of the hate that they’re taught at a young age. They’re taught tremendous hate. I’ve seen what they’re taught,” Trump commented. Netanyahu added: “They continue to call for Israel’s destruction inside their schools, inside their mosques, inside their textbooks. You have to read it to believe it.”

The president did not commit to moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Israel’s capital. He did say, however, he was looking “very, very strongly” into the matter.

By and large, Trump and Netanyahu started things off on the right foot. The two leaders openly stated a deep appreciation for the other’s humanity and accomplishments. Netanyahu defended Trump from a hostile question insinuating that his November election victory was to blame for the rise of anti-Semitism worldwide. Trump welcomed his “friend” in Netanyahu and promised to uphold the “unbreakable bond” between the two nations. (For more from the author of “A New Dawn for the Middle East? Trump Promises Closer and Stronger US-Israel Relations” please click HERE)

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Trump, Netanyahu to Reset US-Israeli Relations After Strained 8 Years

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the White House on Wednesday will mark a chance for the United States and Israel to renew a relationship that had turned tumultuous in the eight years under President Barack Obama’s administration, experts say.

“It probably won’t take long to return to the warm relationship that has characterized the U.S.-Israeli relationship before,” said Jonathan Schanzer, vice president of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, in a phone interview with The Daily Signal.

Israel strongly opposed the Obama administration-led Iran nuclear deal, which President Donald Trump is against. Also, the Obama administration abstained from a vote on the United Nations Security Council condemning Israel for its settlements.

Schanzer believes both the Iran deal and the settlements issue can be addressed without too much controversy.

“With the settlements, there was common ground reached by Bush and Ariel Sharon, which allowed Israelis to continue to build in areas that already have significant Israeli population,” Schanzer said, referring to former President George W. Bush and Sharon, a former Israeli prime minister.

Schanzer added it might be difficult to undo the entire Iran nuclear deal, which relieved sanctions on the country, and was agreed upon by the United States and five other countries. However, it’s likely Trump will enforce the agreement in a way Obama would not.

“It will be about rigorous enforcement of the deal and not allowing Iran to cheat even in minor ways,” Schanzer said. “The Obama administration wouldn’t enforce this out of fear the deal would unravel. Trump doesn’t care about Obama’s foreign policy legacy.”

If the deal is enforced, Iran might be the country that walks away, said Jim Phillips, senior research fellow for Middle Eastern affairs at The Heritage Foundation.

“It’s difficult to walk away from the deal now without putting Iran in a better place [than before the deal was made],” Phillips told The Daily Signal. “If the U.S. is out, it’s very unlikely that Russia or China would reimpose international sanctions on Iran.”

Phillips said with vigorous enforcement, Iran is likely to violate the deal, which will mean sanctions should be imposed again.

Though Obama and Netanyahu had a rocky relationship, Trump called Netanyahu during his first week in office.

Trump reportedly said settlements might not help the peace process. Israel’s parliament voted in favor of continuing settlements.

Another major issue could be moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“Israel supports the move and the U.S. wants to do it in a way that respects security for all in the region,” Schanzer said. “For the U.S., it’s not as complicated as it might seem. It is a very achievable goal if the administration remains committed to it.”

Phillips believes the administration should move slowly on this matter.

“The administration has signaled it will move very cautiously, as they should, because this has the potential to be an explosive issue and could ignite a firestorm even with some allies in the Middle East,” Phillips said. “I would think they will do that this year, but maybe not in the next few months.” (For more from the author of “Trump, Netanyahu to Reset US-Israeli Relations After Strained 8 Years” please click HERE)

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Netanyahu Could Be Indicted, Removed from Office

By David Rosenberg. Israeli lawmakers are taking seriously the possibility that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu could be indicted in one of the investigations currently underway, a senior MK from the Shas party said.

With a new police investigation into claims the Prime Minister received gifts from media mogul Nuni Mozes joining allegations of possible conflicts of interest in the purchase of ballistic missile submarines from Germany and a series of other police inquiries targeting Netanyahu, political leaders are preparing for a potential resignation by Netanyahu, followed by new elections. (Read more from “Netanyahu Could Be Indicted, Removed from Office” HERE)

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MKs Castigate Netanyahu as New Details Emerge about Alleged Illegal Proposal to Publisher

By Arik Bender and Joy Bernard. Knesset memberss publicly slammed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday following the revelation of new details regarding the suspicious proposition the premier allegedly made in his secret meetings with media mogul and owner of Yedioth Aharonot, Arnon (Noni) Mozes.

MK Stav Shafir (Zionist Union) took to social media to express her criticism of the prime minister, posting on Facebook that “Netanyahu is holding on to his rule out of a passion for power and [because of] the perks the role brings with it, but not in order to use his power for the benefit of the country.”

In her post Shafir called Netanyahu “the first Israeli prime minister of the mafia” and added that “this is why he has decided to crash and run over all the mechanisms that might rein in his power or expose its injustices to the public.”

The criticism came not only from the direction of opposition members but also from ministers and Knesset members from Netanyahu’s party, the Likud. MK David Bitan, who is considered by many a close confidante of the prime minister and who is mockingly dubbed by the Israeli Left “Netanyahu’s puppet,” said in an interview to Channel 10 that “after the investigation ends, Netanyahu will have to give up his role as Communications Minister.” (Read more from “MKs Castigate Netanyahu as New Details Emerge about Alleged Illegal Proposal to Publisher” HERE)

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Netanyahu Is Sounding the Alarm on Obama’s Anti-Israel Terrorist Collusion

While most politically-minded Americans were keeping up with the confirmation hearings Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was busy lambasting the Obama administration for colluding with terrorists to pass an “anti-Israel resolution” in the United Nations.

Netanyahu corrected the suggestion some have made that the U.N. Security Council’s decision, which ruled that Israel is illegally “occupying” its own land, follows the policies of previous United States administrations.

Netanyahu’s announcement came after Israeli news outlets reported Tuesday that the United States embassy could remain in Tel Aviv during Donald Trump’s presidency, breaking from the president-elect’s pledge to relocate to Jerusalem.

Other reports, however, stated that the Trump administration will move ahead with the relocation, despite liberals’ concerns that the decision would only lead to more violence in the Middle East. If Trump remains true to his campaign promise, it will send a clear message to Israel that America’s terrible foreign relations track record under Obama has come to an end. If he doesn’t, Bibi will surely take notice. (For more from the author of “Netanyahu Is Sounding the Alarm on Obama’s Anti-Israel Terrorist Collusion” please click HERE)

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Thank You, Bibi Netanyahu! This Is How You Deliver a Christmas Message

The Prime Minister of Israel Bibi Netanyahu posted a special message for Christians around the world today, wishing them a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Israel remains a bright spot for religious liberty in the war-torn Middle East, where Christians, Muslims, and other religions are free to worship and proselytize according to their consciences. Christians there will be able to celebrate Christmas openly, without the fear of persecution felt by so many in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, the American president has thus far only sent a “Happy Holidays” card. Will we see a Merry Christmas message from President Obama? (For more from the author of “Thank You, Bibi Netanyahu! This Is How You Deliver a Christmas Message” please click HERE)

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Netanyahu Says He and Trump Can Solve Palestinian Conflict, Get Rid of Iran Nuclear Deal

He’s now the longest serving prime minister in the history of Israel, has survived eight years of President Barack Obama in the White House, as well as many attempts by his political opponents and a hostile Israeli press to topple him.

He also guided Israel safely through five years of unprecedented turmoil in the Middle East and even succeeded to team up with former foes in the Arab world against an ever more aggressive Iran that has succeeded to become a regional superpower in recent years.

At the age of 67, Benyamin Netanyahu has become the grand old man of Israeli politics. But he has no plans to retire.

The Israeli prime minister is eagerly looking forward to work with President-elect Donald Trump, who he says he knows well after only two meetings, and explained to CBS’ 60 Minutes why he is so optimistic about the future of his country.

“Part of his optimism relates to the election in the U.S. He and his followers on the Israeli right, are greeting the idea of President Donald Trump with a resounding l’chaim (on life or cheers),” said CBS correspondent Lesley Stahl in her introduction to the interview.

Stahl is right. The election of Trump has raised high hopes for a totally different relationship between the White House and the Israeli government and for a completely different U.S. policy toward the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

“I know Donald Trump. I know him very well. And I think his attitude, his support for Israel is clear. He feels very warmly about the Jewish state, about the Jewish people and about Jewish people. There’s no question about that,” Netanyahu said at the outset of the interview.

Netanyahu told Stahl that he doesn’t regret going to Congress last year to campaign against the Iran deal and said it was his responsibility to stand up against Obama and speak out against the nuclear deal with Iran because it threatens the future of Israel.

Netanyahu said he has quite a few options to get rid of the nuclear deal with the Mullahs now that Trump will occupy the White House.

“There are ways, various ways of undoing it (the nuclear deal). I have about five things in my mind,” the Israeli leader said, but he refused elaborate.

Netanyahu told 60 Minutes that the only good thing the deal has done to Israel is to bring ”the Arab countries and Israel closer together.”

“All I can tell you is that Israel’s position in the Arab world has changed because they no longer see Israel as their enemy, but as their ally, in their indispensable battle against the forces of militant Islam,” Netanyahu said.

He confirmed that Israel’s relations with Egypt and Jordan have dramatically improved and that Israel has formed an alliance with Saudi Arabia against the Iranian threat.

Netanyahu vehemently denied that his good relations with Russia President Vladimir Putin have put Israel in the anti-U.S. bloc led by China and Russia, as Stahl suggested.

“That’s a false impression. First of all, there is, there is an irreplaceable ally. It’s called the United States of America,” the prime minister said, adding that the U.S. too has all sorts of relations with the two countries.

He said he developed good relations with Putin to avoid a clash between the IDF and the Russian army in Syria, where Israel frequently attacks Hezbollah-bound weapon convoys.

Stahl then tried to blame Netanyahu for the stalemate in the negotiations with the Palestinian Arabs and claimed they suffer under an occupation that has lasted 50 years, and the expansion of so-called Israeli settlements, the Jewish villages in Judea and Samaria, was the main stumbling block on the road to peace.

Netanyahu remained unfazed, however, and said the claim that Israel has become isolated as a result of its “occupation” of the Palestinian Arabs was false.

“Isolated? All these countries are coming to Israel and it’s a fantastic change,” Netanyahu said in reference to the many countries who turn to Israel for help in areas such as agriculture or water technology.

He denied the “settlements” were an obstacle to peace, not only because they make up less than three percent of the land mass of Judea and Samaria, but because the obsession with them obscures the real reason for the absence of peace — the Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish State.

“The real reason we haven’t had peace is because of a persistent refusal of the Palestinians to recognize a Jewish state in any border,” Netanyahu said.

“You (the Palestinian Arabs) ask us to recognize you, I’m willing to do that. I ask you to recognize us. Recognize the Jewish state, for God’s sake. And if they do, this thing will begin to correct itself very quickly,” he said.

Netanyahu said he hasn’t reversed his position on the solution of the conflict — two states for two peoples — and repeated his desire to work with Trump in order to solve the 100-year-old conflict that Trump has dubbed “the war that never ends.” (For more from the author of “Netanyahu Says He and Trump Can Solve Palestinian Conflict, Get Rid of Iran Nuclear Deal” please click HERE)

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Netanyahu Quotes Bible, Voices Strong Support for Gay Rights

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu showed his support on the Knesset’s first designated LGBT Rights Day on Tuesday.

Netanyahu rarely appears in the legislature on Tuesdays, a day on which it usually does not hold important votes, but he arrived specially to participate in LGBT Rights Day, during which discussions of the topic were held in the plenum and committees.

The prime minister briefly addressed the plenum: “I know that there were important and lengthy discussions today, and I came here in the middle of my schedule, which was no less busy, to say one sentence to the members of the LGBT community: ‘Every man was created in the image of God.’ That is the idea brought by our nation to mankind thousands of years ago, and it is the principle that must guide our national lives today.” (Read more from “Netanyahu Quotes Bible, Voices Strong Support for Gay Rights” HERE)

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Benjamin Netanyahu Marks Holocaust Remembrance Day

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Tuesday that “in Europe and elsewhere, Jews are once again being targeted just for being Jews.”

Netanyahu’s statement came Tuesday on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day. He emphasized that “the memory of the Holocaust is more important today than ever.”

“Preserving the memory of the Holocaust is more important today than ever for in this period of resurgent and sometimes violent anti-Semitism,” Netanyahu wrote, “it is commemorations like this that remind us all where the oldest and most enduring hatred can lead.”

“Unfortunately, in Europe and elsewhere, Jews are once again being targeted just for being Jews. Around the world, Jewish communities are increasingly living in fear,” Netanyahu continued. “We see anti-Semitism directed against individual Jews, and we also see this hatred directed against the collective Jew, against the Jewish state. Israel is targeted with the same slurs and the same libels that were leveled against the Jewish people since time immemorial.

“Islamic extremists incorporate the most outrageous anti-Semitism into their murderous doctrines. We see this in Gaza; we see it in Raqqa; we see it in Tehran. And it’s not just Islamic extremists in the Middle East and Europe,” Netanyahu argued. “Even respected Western opinion leaders have become afflicted with hatred for the Jewish people and the Jewish state.” (Read more from “Benjamin Netanyahu Marks Holocaust Remembrance Day” HERE)

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Obama’s Secret Post-Presidency Plan Uncovered, But Netanyahu Plots Immediate Sabotage

Barack Obama is reportedly already lobbying for his post presidency position: Secretary General of the United Nations.

According to the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida, Obama has discussed the topic with Republican, Democrat, and Jewish officials in the United States.

The Jerusalem Post is reporting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is working behind the scenes with moderate Arab governments in order to thwart the president’s potential succession plans.

A source close to the prime minister told Al-Jarida that he “sees an opportunity to establish good relations based on shared interests with moderate states from which Obama has moved away.” These would likely include the Persian Gulf states who believe Obama betrayed them by pushing through the nuclear deal with Iran.

“Obama’s term is ending with him forging an alliance with Iran, coming to an agreement with it on its nuclear program which in the end will result in a similar scenario that took place with North Korea,” the source said.

“Wasn’t eight years of having Obama in office enough?,” Netanyahu is quoted in the Kuwaiti daily as telling associates. “Eight years during which he ignored Israel? And now he wants to be in a position that is liable to cause us hardships in the international arena.” (Read more from “Obama’s Secret Post-Presidency Plan Reportedly Uncovered- Netanyahu Plots Immediate Sabotage” HERE)

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Netanyahu: Jewish Terrorism an Anomaly, Arab Terrorism is Government-Backed

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday rejected comparisons between Jewish and Arab terrorism.

At his weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu pointed out that terrorist attacks perpetrated by Arabs are supported by the Palestinian Authority, while Israel [condemns] such acts committed by Jewish extremists.

Netanyahu said that unlike Israel, which “disavows, condemns and takes action” against terrorism, the Palestinian Authority “encourages and incites terrorism.” He added, “Arab terrorism attacks us relentlessly and we are fighting it without restrictions. This terrorism is much greater in magnitude; there is no comparison.”

“The government here, and our public, and all bodies and all leaders come out against the phenomena of Jewish terrorism. We condemn, they praise,” he said. “In the Palestinian Authority, public squares and streets are named after them. They pay them salaries” . . .

In addition, a video of Jewish extremists mocking the death of a Palestinian child made headlines last week. The footage, which was filmed at a Jerusalem wedding, featured a group of far-right activists dancing while holding various weapons. (Read more from “Netanyahu: Jewish Terrorism an Anomaly, Arab Terrorism Is Government-Backed” HERE)

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