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  • A fire raging next to the Romema neighborhood in Jerusalem on May 23, 2019. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

    Fires raged across Israel on Thursday, forcing residents of several communities to flee their homes and blocking major roads as temperatures soared throughout the country in what authorities said was an “extreme” heat wave.

    Firefighters were battling a large fire in the Ben Shemen Forest near the central city of Modiin. Some residents in the nearby communities of Kfar Daniel, Mevo Modiim and Gimzo were evacuated from their homes and Route 443, a key road linking Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, was closed.

    Witnesses said homes were on fire in Mevo Modiim and Kibbutz Harel, which lies southwest of Modiin. At least 10 homes were destroyed in Mevo Modiim.

     
  • Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman greets Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas before the start of the 29th Arab Summit in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia April 15, 2018. (photo credit: HAMAD I MOHAMMED/REUTERS)

    Some Arab states have begun exerting pressure on the Palestinians to agree to participate in next month’s workshop in Bahrain, where the US administration is planning to unveil the economic portion of its long-awaited plan for peace in the Middle East.

    “Some Arab countries are unhappy that we immediately rejected the idea of the workshop,” a senior Palestinian Authority official in Ramallah told The Jerusalem Post. “They are now asking us to stop attacking the workshop and not to oppose the participation of Palestinian businessmen.”

    The official did not name the Arab countries that were reportedly pressuring the PA leadership to soften its stance towards the upcoming workshop in Manama, Bahrain.

  • In this Nov. 7, 2018, photo released by the US Army, US soldiers gather for a brief during a combined joint patrol rehearsal in Manbij, Syria (US Army photo by Spc. Zoe Garbarino via AP)

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon on Thursday will present plans to the White House to send up to 10,000 more troops to the Middle East, in a move to beef up defenses against potential Iranian threats, US officials said Wednesday.

    The officials said no final decision has been made yet, and it’s not clear if the White House would approve sending all or just some of the requested forces. Officials said the move is not in response to any new threat from Iran, but is aimed at reinforcing security in the region. They said the troops would be defensive forces, and the discussions include additional Patriot missile batteries, more ships and increased efforts to monitor Iran.

    The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the plans have not been formally announced.

  • President Donald Trump discusses Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election in the Rose Garden at the White House May 22, 2019 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images

    President Trump on Wednesday demanded Democrats end what he called their "phony investigations" before he'll negotiate with them on issues like infrastructure, as he delivered a fiery statement from the Rose Garden after cutting a meeting short with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.

    The president had met for mere minutes with the two Democratic leaders in a session scheduled to discuss a possible bipartisan infrastructure package. But moments before that sit-down, Pelosi accused Trump of having "engaged in a cover-up" regarding the Russia probe.

    Trump suggested the comments, and the numerous investigations into him, prevented them from negotiating.

    “You can't do it under these circumstances,” Trump said. “Get these phony investigations over with.”

  • The aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) sails in the Indian Ocean near Indonesia, February 3, 2005.. (photo credit: TIMOTHY SMITH/US NAVY/REUTERS)

    United States Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan stated at a Pentagon briefing Tuesday that the recently increased presence of American forces in the surrounding areas of Iran "put on hold the potential for attacks on Americans.”

    Tensions have risen between the two countries in recent weeks as the White House officially announced its intention to end sanctions waivers on eight countries that are still trading oil with Iran late last month, increasing the United States' “maximum pressure” campaign against the Islamic Republic.

    Threats have been heard from both sides and the military presence of the United States in the Gulf Sea has risen significantly in recent weeks in response to warnings about potential attacks on US interests and positions in the Middle East by Iranian forces.

  • File: Palestinian security forces in Hebron, November 14, 2017. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

    Israel has authorized the transfer of 10 armored cars to Palestinian security forces in the West Bank, after years of rejecting such requests, Palestinian media reported Tuesday.

    The vehicles provide by the European Union entered the West Bank through Jordan, the report said.

    It was not clear what led to Israel to okay the entry of the cars at the present time, but the move came amid concerns that the Palestinian Authority could downgrade security cooperation with Israel in the West Bank over a dispute involving tax revenues. Israeli officials say the cooperation is vital for anti-terror efforts.

  • Fox News photo

    President Trump, in between battling subpoenas and other demands from congressional committees as they ramp up their probes into his administration, on Monday urged top-ranking Democrats to shift their focus to “Crooked Hillary” and the genesis of the “phony” Russia investigation.

    The president even suggested House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff could boost their “credibility” by doing so.

    “Why are the Democrats not looking into all of the crimes committed by Crooked Hillary and the phony Russia Investigation? They would get back their credibility. Jerry Nadler, Schiff, would have a whole new future open to them. Perhaps they could even run for President!” Trump tweeted Monday morning.

  • Houthi drones have an almost identical build and capability as the Iranian Qasef-1, the UN says [File: Jon Gambrell/AP]

    Drone attacks on a Saudi oil pipeline west of Riyadh on Tuesday have revealed an apparent significant leap in the capabilities of the Ansar Allah fighting group, otherwise known as the Houthis.

    The Aramco East-West pipeline, stretching across the country to the port and oil terminal at Yenbu, was damaged in two places as pumping stations were hit.

    The attacks caused minor damage but alarmed an international community already rattled by the sharp downturn in relations between Iran and the United States.

  • Iran's nuclear enrichment facility in Natanz, 300 kilometers (186 miles) south of capital Tehran, Iran, April, 9, 2007. (Hasan Sarbakhshian/AP/File)

    Semi-official news agencies in Iran reported on Monday that the country has quadrupled its production of low-enriched uranium amid tensions with the US over an unraveling atomic accord.

    The Fars and Tasnim news agencies both reported that the production is of uranium enriched only to the 3.67 percent limit set by the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, far below the 20% to which Iran was enriching before the deal or the 90% required to produce nuclear weapons.

    However, a quadrupling of production would mean that Iran likely will soon go beyond the stockpile limitation of 300 kilograms set by the deal.

  • Reuters photo
    WASHINGTON – The economic part of the US peace plan will be revealed on June 25 in Bahrain during an international conference, the White House announced Sunday. It is unclear when the political part of the plan will be released.
     

    According to a senior administration official, representatives from the EU, Asia and the Arab world, as well as Palestinian businessmen, will attend the “Peace to Prosperity” economic forum in the capital, Manama.

    The conference will facilitate discussions on an ambitious vision for the Palestinian people and the region, including enhancements to economic governance, development of human capital, and facilitation of rapid private-sector growth, the White House said. “If implemented, this vision has the potential to radically transform lives and put the region on a path toward a brighter future.”

  • US Embassy Baghdad, Iraq

    President Trump fired a social media broadside at the Iranian regime Sunday afternoon, vowing that war between Washington and Tehran would result in "the official end of Iran" before warning, "[n]ever threaten the United States again!"

    Trump tweeted hours after a rocket landed less than a mile from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, the first such attack since September. An Iraqi military spokesman told reporters the rocket appeared to have been fired from east Baghdad, which is home to several Iran-backed Shiite militias.

    The U.S. also ordered nonessential staff out of its diplomatic posts in Iraq days after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Baghdad told Iraqi intelligence that the United States had been picking up intelligence that Iran is threatening American interests in the Middle East. Two Iraqi officials told the Associated Press that Pompeo had offered no details of the alleged threat.

  • A bus purportedly targeted by a bomb near Egypt's Giza pyramids on May 19, 2019. (screen capture: Twitter)

    An explosion struck a tourist bus on Sunday near Egypt’s famed pyramids, injuring 17 people including foreigners, security and medical sources said.

    South Africans and Egyptians were among those injured when the explosive device went off, hitting the bus, according to the sources.

    The consul at Israel’s embassy in Cairo said no Israelis were injured in the blast, according to the Foreign Ministry.

  • Chairman of the NATO Military Committee Pavel. (photo credit: REUTERS)

    IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Eyal Zamir will head to Brussels next week to represent Israel at a meeting of the NATO Military Committee, the alliance’s highest military authority, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit confirmed to The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.

    The meeting will see senior officers from NATO armies attend as well as representatives from NATO’s Middle East Dialogue, including Egypt and Jordan.

    Zamir’s working visit to Brussels comes as tensions between the United States and Iran are at an all-time high, and as NATO member Turkey continues to push forward in purchasing the advanced S-400 missile defense system from Russia.

     

  • Air strike in Syria (archive) Reuters

    Sounds of explosions were reportedly heard in the vicinity of the Syrian capital Damascus on Friday evening.

    Syrian media claimed the explosions were the result of an Israeli air strike on the country.

    The official Syrian news agency SANA reported that the country’s aerial defense systems targeted “luminous objects coming from occupied territories, shooting down a number of them.”

    Syrian TV aired footage of what it claimed were the “luminous objects” that were fired from Israel.

  • In this May 9, 2019 photo released by the US Navy, the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln transits the Suez Canal in Egypt. (Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Dan Snow, US Navy via AP)

    A state-aligned Saudi newspaper has called for “surgical” US strikes in retaliation against alleged threats from Iran.

    The Arab News published an editorial in English on Thursday, arguing that after incidents this week against Saudi energy targets, the next logical step “should be surgical strikes.”

    The editorial said US airstrikes in Syria, when the government there was suspected of using chemical weapons against civilians, “set a precedent.”

     

  • US President Donald Trump. (photo credit: REUTERS)

    As the US administration prepares to roll out its long-awaited plan for peace in the Middle East, there are indications of growing instability and consternation in Jordan.

    Facing increased demands for major political and economic reforms in the kingdom, King Abdullah II seems worried that his kingdom will pay a heavy price whether it accepts or rejects the deal.

    The monarch’s biggest fear, political analysts say, is that the plan would require Jordan to absorb millions of Palestinians who are already living in the kingdom. Abdullah is also worried that the plan would end the Hashemites’ historic custodianship over the holy sites in Jerusalem in favor of other Arab and Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia and Morocco.

    In an attempt to reassure the Jordanian monarch, US President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy, Jason Greenblatt, last month took to Twitter to announce: “@King Abdullah II & Jordan are strong US allies. Rumors that our peace vision includes a confederation between Jordan, Israel & the PA [Palestinian Authority], or that the vision contemplates making Jordan the homeland for Palestinians, are incorrect. Please don’t spread rumors.”

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“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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