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  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Minister Benny Gantz in Tel Aviv on November 3, 2023. (photo: State Department)

    War cabinet Minister Benny Gantz has arrived in the US ahead of a series of meetings with high-level officials, his office says.

    Tomorrow, Gantz is slated to meet with Vice President Kamala Harris, National Security adviser Jake Sullivan and White House Middle East adviser Brett McGurk.

    On Tuesday, he is scheduled to sit down with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. After his trip to DC, Gantz is slated to fly to London and meet with Foreign Secretary David Cameron as well as other officials.

  • In the wake of Minister Benny Gantz's decision to hold a diplomatic visit to Washington without clearing it with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the latter instructed the Israeli Embassy in the US to withhold any assistance in arranging the meetings he was scheduled to have in the US capital.

  • Palestinian terrorists patrol in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, March 1, 2024. (photo: Abed Rahim Khatib, Flash90)

    Qatar told Israel on Sunday that ceasefire talks will not be able to advance, after Hamas failed to meet Jerusalem’s demand to provide a list of those hostages still alive.

    As a result, Israel will not send a delegation to the negotiations in Cairo on Sunday, after it was reported earlier in the day that U.S. and Emirati delegations were joining Hamas representatives in the Egyptian capital.

  • Smoke billows from the site of Israeli airstrikes on the southern Lebanese village of Kfar Kila near the border with Israel on March 2, 2024. (photo: Rabih Daher, AFP)

    A large wave of Israeli airstrikes is being carried out in central Gaza’s Deir al-Balah and in Khan Younis in the Strip’s south, according to Palestinian media.

    The IDF has not yet issued a comment on the strikes.

    The IDF says it carried out airstrikes on two buildings used by Hezbollah in the southern Lebanon village of Labbouneh.

    Earlier, the IDF says it struck another building belonging to the terror group in Ramyeh.

  • The United Nations General Assembly Hall building in New York. (photo: Wikipedia)

    The hyperfocus of the United Nations on the Israel-Hamas war will be on full display on Monday.

    In the morning, a U.N. General Assembly session will address Washington’s Feb. 20 veto of an Algeria-drafted Security Council resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire.

    On Monday afternoon, the General Assembly is slated to hold an urgent session on Israel’s effort to defund and disband UNRWA, the scandal-beset, Palestinian-only refugee and social services agency that is under fire for alleged substantial ties to Hamas. 

  • Demonstrators calling for the return of the hostages in Gaza reach Jerusalem after four-day march to the city on March 2, 2024. (photo: Charlie Summers, Times of Israel)

    Thousands of marchers led by relatives of Hamas-held hostages are now entering Jerusalem to participate in a weekly demonstration near Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official residence.

    The US military on Saturday carried out its first airdrop of humanitarian aid into Gaza, two US officials say.

    The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, say the airdrop was carried out using three C-130 planes.

  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with then-US president Donald Trump in the Oval Office, in 2020. (photo: Tom Brenner, Reuters)

    The Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, 2023, marked a significant geopolitical shift in the region, posing a serious political and military setback for Israel. It has compelled Israel to reengage with the issue of establishing a Palestinian state, which had been sidelined for years. The suppression of the Palestinian cause in global politics was largely due to Israeli efforts during the Trump administration.

    Former US president Donald Trump’s policy aligned with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s approach, focusing on improving relations with the Arab world while sidelining the Palestinian issue. This shift was evident in the signing of the Abraham Accords with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan, with Saudi Arabia’s tacit approval.

    This marked a departure from Saudi Arabia’s traditional stance, which linked normalization with Israel to the establishment of a Palestinian state. Discussions to expand the Abraham Accords, particularly with Saudi Arabia, took place during the Biden administration, leading to a tentative agreement for a defense alliance between Saudi Arabia and the United States, along with normalization with Israel.

  • Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud (photo: Wikimedia)

    A Saudi-led group of Arab states is urging the US and allies to persuade Israel to consider a renewed plan for Palestinian statehood that they say will de-escalate tensions in the Middle East, according to several Arab officials involved in drafting the proposal.

    While there are myriad obstacles to overcome — not least the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas — the alliance that includes Egypt, Jordan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates sees a potential cease-fire in the conflict becoming permanent and paving the way for fresh talks, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing sensitive matters.

    Many European states have embraced the unified Arab blueprint, though Washington is further apart, said two of the officials. The US has previously seen any deal for the Palestinians mainly in the context of its goal to forge diplomatic ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia, while easing the Jewish state’s economic and security integration into the Middle East, they said.

  • US President Joe Biden speaks at Culver City Julian Dixon Library in Culver City, California, February 21, 2024. (photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta, AP)

    US officials tell NBC News that despite increasing pressure, US President Joe Biden remains unwilling to fundamentally shift his policy in support of Israel by placing conditions on military aid to Jerusalem.

    Biden has privately expressed skepticism to some Democrats that withholding weaponry to Israel would be effective, arguing that while Jerusalem would like more security aid, it does not currently need it, NBC News reports, citing a source familiar with the matter.

    The president has also expressed concerns that shifting from his support for Israel could risk alienating his Jewish supporters.

  • Alleged Israeli airstrikes on facilities in the Syrian coastal city of Baniyas targeted three senior Iranian leaders, the U.K.-based monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Friday.

    Pro-Assad regime media reported that “three powerful explosions” rocked the city at dawn. The condition of the Iranian officials said to have been targeted in the strikes was not immediately clear.

    Rami Abdul Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory, told Saudi-owned Al-Hadath TV on Friday that while his group was unable to verify what caused the blasts, he believes that “all explosions that occur within areas under the control of the Syrian government are Israeli bombings.”

  • Robert Wood, deputy permanent representative of the United States to the United Nations, speaks to delegates during a security council meeting at UN headquarters in New York, January 22, 2024. (photo: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, AP)

    Arab nations have failed to get immediate support for a UN Security Council statement that would have blamed Israeli forces for opening fire at Palestinians waiting for the delivery of food and other humanitarian aid near Gaza City and killing dozens of people.

    Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian UN ambassador, tells reporters after an emergency closed council meeting on the deaths that 14 of the 15 council members supported the statement put forward by Algeria, the Arab representative on the body.

    The United States didn’t support the statement and US deputy ambassador Robert Wood tells a reporter who questions why, “We don’t have all the facts on the ground – that’s the problem.”

  • (image: Texas A&M University)

    In the Texas Panhandle, lampposts are now melted, power line posts are split in half and homes and properties have been reduced to charred remains. The Smokehouse Creek Fire that broke out on Monday has since extended to 1.1 million acres, firefighters said Thursday, quickly becoming the "largest and most destructive" in state history. 

    The West Odessa Volunteer Fire Department said overnight that the fire, located in Hutchinson County, grew to 1.1 million acres and is roughly 3% contained. 

    "This is now both the largest and most destructive fire in Texas history," the department wrote on Facebook. "It is also the second largest wildfire in U.S. history." 

  • The western U.S. on Thursday. (photo: NOAA)

    March will roar in like a lion for the West Coast, where the Sierra Nevada is about to be blasted by a multiday blizzard that begins Thursday night and will last until Sunday.

    At the peak of the storm, some locations — like Donner Pass in California and Lake Tahoe on the California-Nevada border — could experience snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour and ferocious wind gusts of 50 to 100 mph for 72 hours straight.

    Given this will be such a cold and windy storm, the blinding snow could snarl a large stretch of the heavily traveled I-80 corridor and greatly affect communities as low as the Sierra foothills.

  • Then-U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman speaks at the Jewish Federations' annual General Assembly in Tel Aviv, Oct. 24, 2018. Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90.

    Israel suffered the worst massacre in its history on Oct. 7, at the hands of Hamas—an Iranian terror proxy that was voted into power and continues to be supported by the majority of Palestinians in Gaza. The attack proved longstanding Israeli fears that any independent Palestinian entity without overriding Israeli security control would become a staging ground for barbaric terrorism against the Jewish state.

    And now, as Israel fights to permanently remove Hamas, a U.S.-designated terror organization, from the Gaza Strip, key members of the international community, including the United States and the United Kingdom, are doubling down on calls for the creation of a Palestinian state in all of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. These nations are considering official recognition of Palestinian statehood, while Israel fights to restore order in the region, whether or not Israelis or Palestinians support a two-state outcome, let alone are willing and able to reach an elusive agreement.

  • Marco Rubio (photo: Wikipedia Commons)

    Washington must prevent foreign courts and activists from vetoing U.S. national security and military decisions, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) wrote to Lloyd Austin, the U.S. defense secretary.

    The senator’s Feb. 27 letter comes more than two weeks after a Dutch appeals court ruled that U.S.-owned parts warehoused in the Netherlands for F-35 jets couldn’t ship to Israel, which it alleged would use them in “serious violations of international humanitarian law” in the war against Hamas.

    “The court case is the latest attempt by anti-Israel pressure groups to prevent Israel from continuing its justified military campaign to destroy Hamas and other terrorist groups responsible for the Oct. 7, 2023, massacres,” Rubio wrote.

  • A Hezbollah fighter stands in front of anti-tank artillery at Juroud Arsal. (photo: Ali Hashisho, Reuters)

    Iran has given Lebanese terror organization Hezbollah the green light to escalate its attacks along Israel's northern border, the Arabic Post reported on Wednesday, citing high-level Iranian and Lebanese sources.

    The Islamic Republic has reportedly set conditions for Hezbollah, ordering it to launch a large-scale attack on Israel only after it "had become certain of Israel's intention" to carry out an invasion of the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

    As per the report, Tehran gave the go-ahead amid fears that, after the IDF completes an invasion of Rafah, southern Lebanon "will be next."

  • U.S. President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, Oct. 18, 2023. Photo by Avi Ohayon/GPO.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday night hit back at U.S. President Joe Biden for claiming that the Jewish state’s “incredibly conservative government” risked losing it international support.

    “Since the start of the war, I have been leading a diplomatic campaign to block pressure designed to end the war prematurely and to secure strong support for Israel,” said Netanyahu in a video message.

    “We have had considerable success. Today, a Harvard-Harris poll was published which shows that 82% of the American public supports Israel, meaning that four out of five U.S. citizens support Israel and not Hamas,” he continued.

    “This will help us continue the campaign until total victory,” added the premier.

  • Yahya Sinwar, leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, attends a rally marking the anniversary of Land Day, in Gaza City on March 30, 2022. (photo: Attia Muhammed, Flash90)

    Despite Israeli voices raising cautious optimism over a potential hostage and ceasefire deal in the Gaza Strip, Hamas again upped its demands following talks in Paris, requesting a permanent ceasefire as well as a complete retreat of Israeli forces.

    The question that must be asked is: Which card is Hamas holding that allows them to up their demands?

    It is not a coincidence that the negotiating party craving a truce would be the same one that would toughen its stance. The unexpected answer is, that Hamas understands it holds the humanitarian card.

  • Palestinians protest after Friday prayers of the holy month of Ramadan, at the Al Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem's Old City, March 31, 2023. (photo credit: JAMAL AWAD/FLASH90)

    Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Tuesday warned that Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas are trying to use Ramadan to inflame the region so as to achieve another October 7 disaster against Israel.

    According to Gallant, their hope is to provoke Palestinians in the West Bank, Hezbollah, and Arabs and Muslims across the region to attack and turn their rage on Israel, using the Temple Mount and tensions in the West Bank as an excuse.

    The defense minister has been a leading voice for smashing Hamas and earlier in the war, tried to persuade the war cabinet to launch a preemptive strike on Hezbollah.

  • IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi speaks during an assessment in northern Israel, February 27, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)

    IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi warns that Hezbollah will “pay a very high price” for its continued attacks on northern Israel.

    “Hezbollah decided on October 7th, in the evening, that it is joining. For that it must pay a very high price,” Halevi says during an assessment in northern Israel, with the chief of the Northern Command, Maj. Gen. Ori Gordin, and the commander of the 146th Division, Brig. Gen. Yisrael Shomer.

    Halevi says the IDF is “taking the right steps” to enable some 80,000 displaced Israelis from Lebanon border communities to return to their homes. He says that as a result of the IDF’s actions, “Hezbollah is no longer close to the fence.”

  • Inside the tunnel network unearthed by the IDF. February 26, 2024. (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

    Forces of Division 162, along with the Nahal Brigade's combat team and engineering forces, unearthed an underground tunnel network that connects the north and south of the Gaza Strip, the military announced on Monday.

    The underground routes run for some 10 km and pass under a hospital and a university.

    After gaining operational control of the network, IDF soldiers examined it and destroyed large portions of it. 

    The underground routes connected the Turkish hospital bordering the camps in the center of the Strip to the Israa  University building in the south of Gaza City, reaching as far as the area of Zeitoun.

  • IAF F-35 stealth fighter aircraft fly in Israeli airspace. Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit.

    Following Hezbollah’s interception of an Israeli drone on Monday morning, the Israel Defense Forces said it was attacking the terrorist organization “deep inside Lebanon,” with reports of an attack in the area of Baalbek, located about 42 miles northeast of Beirut.

    Fighter jets struck sites used by Hezbollah’s air defense array in the Beqaa Valley, “in response to the launch of surface-to-air missiles towards an unmanned aerial vehicle of the ‘Hermes 450’ type, that fell earlier today,” according to the IDF spokesperson.

    The strikes are the deepest attack carried out by the IDF in Lebanese territory since the beginning of the war.

  • Foreign Minister Israel Katz tours the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum in Jerusalem, February 19, 2024. (Chaim Goldberg, Flash90)

    Foreign Minister Israel Katz accused the UN Human Rights Council of collaborating with Hamas on Saturday, after a group of UN rights officials called for an arms embargo on Israel, saying that any export of weapons or ammunition to the Jewish state for use in Gaza was “likely to violate international humanitarian law.”

    In the statement, issued under the auspices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the rights experts said that all countries have a responsibility not to sell weapons “if it is expected, given the facts or past patterns of behavior, that they would be used to violate international law.” The same thing went for military intelligence, the statement noted.

    In response to the statement, the Foreign Ministry reiterated that Israel was fighting the war in self-defense and that “even in the face of the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Hamas terrorists, Israel has acted, and will continue to act, in accordance with international law.”

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen on February 22, 2024 in Kazan, Russia. According to a new report from TASS, Putin was not notified of Armenia’s departure from his “mini NATO” ahead of the announcement on Friday. (photo: Getty Images)

    Russian President Vladimir Putin was caught off guard by Armenia's suspending its membership of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a crucial military alliance for Moscow.

    Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said during an interview with France 24 on Friday that Armenia would leave CSTO, viewed as Putin's response to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a Western military alliance. CSTO is an alliance in which member nations pledge to support one another in the event of an attack and has frequently been referred to as Putin's "mini NATO."

  • Ronen Bar, head of the Shin Bet security services, left, with Mossad chief David Barnea at the annual IDF memorial ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War at Yad La-Shiryon, September 27, 2023. (photo: Jonathan Shaul, Flash90)

    The Israeli delegation returns from talks in Paris with cautious optimism that a deal can be reached to temporarily halt the fighting with the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip and see Israeli and foreign hostages released.

    An Israeli official quoted by Hebrew multiple media sites says that an “outline of an agreement” was reached by the Israeli, American, Egyptian and Qatari representatives for a temporary ceasefire in the Gaza war, sparked by the terror group’s October 7 massacres.

    “There were good talks, there’s significant progress,” Channel 12 quotes the official as saying. “We have a basis on which to build a plan and the negotiations.”

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Provocative Commentary

“The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees. He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking Him the rest of the day. If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, He will be in the last place the remainder of the day.” 
― E.M. Bounds

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