US Announces Deal To End War in Afghanistan Is in Place  

By AP Reports

In this Nov. 13, 2019, file photo, Afghan security personnel gather at the site of a car bomb attack in Kabul, Afghanistan.Rahmat Gul / AP PhotoIn this Nov. 13, 2019, file photo, Afghan security personnel gather at the site of a car bomb attack in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Rahmat Gul / AP Photo)

The countdown to the signing of a peace agreement between the Taliban and the United States on Feb. 29 to end the 18 years of war in Afghanistan will begin at midnight Friday, when a seven-day “reduction of violence” promised by the Taliban goes into effect, an Afghan official said.

After that week-long period, the long-sought peace agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban will be signed in Doha, Qatar, paving the way for a withdrawal of U.S. troops and intra-Afghan negotiations, a senior U.S. State Department official said.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the deal and its details.

Read more…

February 22, 2020 | 8:21 am | Comments » | 160 views

Why the Palestinian case at The Hague took a big hit this past week  

Backing Israel’s position against pending war crimes probe, 7 countries say Palestine is not a state that can transfer jurisdiction to the ICC. Not a single one argues the opposite


Demonstrators carry banners and Palestinian flags outside the International Criminal Court, ICC, urging the court to prosecute Israel's army for war crimes in The Hague, Netherlands, November 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Demonstrators carry banners and Palestinian flags outside the International Criminal Court, ICC, urging the court to prosecute Israel’s army for war crimes in The Hague, Netherlands, November 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

The notion that “Palestine” is a full-fledged state that can grant jurisdiction to the International Criminal Court was dealt a serious blow over the past week, as seven countries and many scholars of international law argued that the issue was not as simple as the Palestinians and their supporters would like to make it seem.

Even some countries that have formally recognized the “State of Palestine” along the pre-1967 lines argued that Palestine cannot necessarily be considered to have validly granted the ICC jurisdiction to probe war crimes allegedly committed on its territory. Read more…

February 21, 2020 | 4:16 pm | 1 Comment » | 270 views

Why Obama May Be Terrified by Trump Commuting Blagojevich’s Sentence  


President Barack Obama speaks during the awards dinner for Syracuse University’s Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting at Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, in Washington, Monday, March 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Ever since President Trump commuted the sentence of disgraced former governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich, I’ve been asking myself why he would do such a thing. I have a theory about what might have contributed to the decision, and if I’m right, Barack Obama should be concerned.

When Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008, it was then-Governor Blagojevich’s responsibility to appoint someone to fill the seat. But, Blagojevich didn’t just want to give it away, he wanted something for it. “A Senate seat is a f—ing valuable thing. You don’t just give it away for nothing,” Blagojevich said at the time.

Read more…

February 21, 2020 | 2:03 pm | 1 Comment » | 1,046 views

France: Macron Vows Crackdown on Political Islam  

French President Emmanuel Macron has announced new measures aimed at countering political Islam in France. The changes would limit the role that foreign governments have in France in training imams, financing mosques and educating children.


Pictured: Macron speaks to the media in Mulhouse, on February 18, 2020, shortly before making the major policy speech in which he vowed to fight what he called “Islamist separatism.” (Photo by Sebastien Bozon/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

“The problem is when, in the name of a religion, some people want to separate themselves from the Republic and therefore not respect its laws.” — French President Emmanuel Macron, February 18, 2020.

  • “Turkey today can make the choice to follow that path with us or not, but I will not allow any foreign country feed a cultural, religious or identity-related separatism on our Republic’s territory. We cannot have Turkey’s laws on France’s soil. No way.” — French President Emmanuel Macron, February 18, 2020.
  • “What we must put in place is not, as I have sometimes heard from some people, ‘a plan against Islam.’ That would be a profound mistake. What we must fight is the separatism….” — French President Emmanuel Macron, February 18, 2020.

Read more…

February 21, 2020 | 1:44 pm | Comments » | 189 views

In Democrats we Trust: Danger for Israel/Allies  

By Abe Katsman

Those whose hatred of political opponents exceeds their hatred for the country’s enemies should be kept far from the Presidency.  A party which treats foreign policy only as a means to claw back power at any cost cannot be trusted with America’s own national security interests; how reliable can it be when it comes to Israel’s?

This is getting dangerous.

Embassy attacks in Baghdad.  Targeted killings of top Iranian militia generals.  Threats of war, and counter-threats.  Widespread riots destabilizing both Iraq and Iran.  Implications of President Trump’s “Deal of the Century” peace plan, and the backlash against it.

Oh, the events themselves aren’t unusually dangerous; but the reactions by the Democrats’ top presidential candidates and party leadership are.  The Democrats’ evident political priorities and leftward shift should scare American voters concerned with Mideast policy, particularly regarding the welfare of Israel and its U.S. relationship.  So far, those voters have yet to show sufficient levels of alarm.
Read more…

February 21, 2020 | 11:31 am | Comments » | 199 views

Bennett: To stop Gaza terrorism, focus on Iran and Syria  

“I will do everything to prevent a third Lebanon war, a 14th Protective Edge, to go to the source, to go to the same people who pay $1b. a year to Hezbollah”

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett during a recent visit to the Syrian border (photo credit: ARIEL HERMONI / DEFENSE MINISTRY)
Defense Minister Naftali Bennett during a recent visit to the Syrian border

As Israel granted a record number of travel permits to Gaza merchants after weeks of explosive balloons, rockets and a sniper attack, Defense Minister Naftali Bennett said he was trying his best to avoid a conflict with Hamas or Hezbollah to focus on Iran in Syria.

On Tuesday, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories announced that it would increase the number of travel permits for Gaza merchants by 2,000, bringing the total number to 7,000 permits. COGAT also decided to expand Gaza’s fishing zone from 10 to 15 nautical miles.

Read more…

February 21, 2020 | 9:00 am | Comments » | 139 views

Shaked: Next time I will not relinquish a ministerial portfolio  

Former Justice Minister: The Likud doesn’t want a Justice Minister and a Defense Minister from religious Zionism.

Arutz Sheva Staff, 

Ayelet Shaked
Ayelet Shaked-Kobi Richter/TPS

Former Justice Minister MK Ayelet Shaked (Yamina) spoke about Prime Minister Binyamin’s Netanyahu’s behavior toward her party, commented on her relations with Naftali Bennett and discussed her opinion on Rabbi Rafi Peretz’s statements against the LGBT community.

In an interview with the Israel Hayom newspaper, Shaked said, “In the first round of elections, had it not been for Netanyahu, we would have had a strong and stable right-wing government today. On Friday, five days before the April elections, I called one of the people closest to Netanyahu and told him: ‘He is running a ‘gevalt’ (scare tactics -ed.) campaign, one of the parties in the bloc will collapse for sure, and he will have no government.’”
Read more…

February 21, 2020 | 8:35 am | 4 Comments » | 229 views

Seminary of Fools  

By Vic Rosenthal

I belong to a Masorti (Conservative) congregation in Israel. Although most Israelis don’t believe this, the movement is theologically much closer to Modern Orthodoxy than to Reform Judaism. There is a commitment to halacha, albeit somewhat more lenient than in Orthodoxy (but not so much as Orthodox Jews tend to think). The biggest difference is the equal role granted to women and men in every respect, including participation in ritual.

Our rabbi leans a little leftward, at least compared to me, but he is capable of distinguishing politics from religion, and I like him.

Having said that, I am absolutely appalled by the anti-Israel politics rampant in the Conservative seminaries in the US, where most of our rabbis, American and Israeli, are educated.
Read more…

February 21, 2020 | 1:08 am | 1 Comment » | 232 views

The IDF Implements MEF’s Victory Concept  

News from the Middle East Forum

PHILADELPHIA – February 14, 2020 – The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) just unveiled a new work-plan inspired by the Middle East Forum’s Israel Victory Project.

The five-year “Momentum” plan is designed to increase the IDF’s capabilities sevenfold. Defense Minister Naftali Bennett explains that it “puts the principle of victory back at the top of the list of priorities.”

The IDF’s paradigm-shift is the culmination of over three years’ work in Israel. MEF has inspired a non-partisan national movement through intensive contacts with senior policy-makers; the Knesset Israel Victory Caucus; hosting conferences; hundreds of media engagementspublic campaigns; and grassroots outreach.
Read more…

February 21, 2020 | 12:40 am | 1 Comment » | 182 views

ANALYSIS: Turkey now technically at war with Russia and Syria  

Turkish troops shell Syrian army positions while Russian air force bombs Turkish positions in Idlib, Syria.

By Yochanan Visser, INN
Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Recep Tayyip ErdoganA week after Israel National News reported that Turkey was on a crash course with Russia over Syria the parties are now at war technically speaking.

This happened after talks between a Turkish delegation and the Kremlin in Moscow about the worsening crisis in northeast Syria and the imminent threat of a new Turkish invasion in Syria over the Idlib Province, which is home to a range of Sunni Islamist groups supported by Turkey, broke-down.

The Turkey-backed Islamist militias in Idlib are on the verge of defeat after the Iranian-Russian-backed pro-Assad coalition rapidly advanced in the last rebel stronghold and even surrounded Turkish observation posts which were set up to monitor a 2018 de-escalation agreement between Russia and Turkey that failed miserably.
Read more…

February 21, 2020 | 12:23 am | 8 Comments » | 253 views

Deicide libel against Jews surfaces in Nova Scotia  

By Bruce Ticker

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania — Someone finally did it – publicly blaming the Jewish people for the crucifixion of Jesus and, even more disgracefully, applying this libel to explain Israel’s so-called occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Henry M. Bradford’s words were printed on Jan. 27 in The Chronicle Herald, the daily newspaper serving Halifax in Canada’s Nova Scotia. His letter to the editor responded to a commentary about anti-Semitism by freelance journalist Ralph Surette.

“Ralph Surette is right to point out the absurdity of Western anti-Semitism in his Jan. 13 column,” Bradford wrote. “Presumably, it has its roots in Christian resentment of the crucifixion of their messiah by his fellow Jews. But that was 2,000 years ago!

“The most contentious remnant of this event is the occupation of Palestinian lands by the state of Israel,” he continued.
Read more…

February 20, 2020 | 5:45 pm | Comments » | 254 views

Site under revision  

Many people have suscribed today but less that 20% followed up with the process. If you are logged into Israpundit, log out. Then come back to and re-register. ( see blue menu bar on right.)  Let me know if you are still having trouble with any part of the process  ( tbelman3 – at- ) and I will help you.

We are  half way there. So things are a mess.

The purpose of these revisions is to get all visitors to Israpundit to Subscribe to Israpundit Daily Digest again or for the first time.

That’s because my mailing list is all screwed up.

To do this we are requiring everyone:

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When they register again, they will be classified as Subscribers.

Only Subscribers can access the full articles.

Our revisions should be done tomorrow. FEB 19/20

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.

Ted Belman

February 20, 2020 | 5:09 pm | 2 Comments » | 140 views

‘If we are bound to fight, we will exact a heavy price from Hezbollah,’ GOC Northern Command warns  

“Despite Lebanon’s immense economic struggles, Hezbollah is persisting with its efforts to procure and arm itself with precision weapons with which to hit the Israeli home front, and it continues to prepare south of the Litani River to attack communities and roads in our territory,” says Maj. Gen. Amir Baram.


'If we are bound to fight, we will exact a heavy price from Hezbollah,' GOC Northern Command warns

GOC Northern Command, Maj. Gen. Amir Baram, at Tel-Hai Academic College on Wednesday | Photo: Eyal Margolin / JINI

Head of the IDF’s Northern Command, Maj. Gen. Amir Baram, said on Thursday that the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terrorist organization continues to violate United Nations resolutions through its actions along the border with Israel in a manner that puts the lives of Lebanese civilians in danger.

“Around two weeks ago, the president of Lebanon told the French press that Hezbollah is not involved in the decision-making process of the new Lebanese government and that he personally guarantees that Hezbollah will honor UN Resolution 1701,” Baram said at a conference hosted by the Tel-Hai Academic College in northern Israel. Read more…

February 20, 2020 | 3:52 pm | Comments » | 197 views

Reconciliation with Turkey should only come with a price  

by Michael Rubin, Wash Examiner

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is threatening to fight the Syrian army directly if Syrian President Bashar Assad does not stop his assault on Idlib, the last major zone controlled by the Syrian opposition. While Erdogan imagined himself a master tactician, he is now learning that it was Russian President Vladimir Putin who played him. Erdogan discarded decades of alliance with the United States for a brief fling, only to discover Putin’s professions of love were for more limited aims.

This is not the first time Erdogan has found himself outplayed. But, after deliberately trashing Turkey’s relationship with the U.S., it is time Washington plays hardball. Those who say that Erdogan notwithstanding, Turkey is too important for the U.S. to turn its back against are likely underestimating the corrosive impact of 17 years of Erdoganism, the incitement and indoctrination broadcast over the airwaves or taught in Turkey’s schools, and demographic change.
Read more…

February 20, 2020 | 3:39 pm | Comments » | 175 views

Bernie Sanders: “A Jewish Candidate with a Non-Jewish Outlook”  

By Michael Derfler

“To be for the Israeli people and to be for peace in the Middle East does not mean that we have to support right-wing, racist governments that currently exist in Israel.” – Bernie Sanders

This quote fills me with disgust. I would respond with an essay, but I don’t have time for more than a few relevant quotes from rabbinic sources (separated by a thousand separations from the candidate’s vile words).

“…judge the whole person favorably.” – Pirkei Avot 1:6

“Every part of you is fair, my darling, There is no blemish in you.” Song of Songs 4:7. Rashi explained Song of Songs as a parable: it is the conversation between God and Israel. In this verse, according to Rashi, God is saying that He sees no blemish in Israel.
Read more…

February 20, 2020 | 3:25 pm | 4 Comments » | 257 views

End the Hoax: There Are No Palestinians  

The “Palestinian people” is a propaganda fiction. It’s time to stop playing along.

By Robert Spencer, FPM

President Trump’s “Deal of the Century” was a brilliant illustration of his mastery of the art of the deal. This extravagantly generous proposal, and the Palestinians’ contemptuous rejection of it, severely damages the international Left’s claim that the Israelis are the obstacles to peace, and exposes the Palestinian leadership for the genocidal warmongers they are. Now it is time to take one more crucial step: end the recognition of the “Palestinian people” altogether. There is no such nation, race, ethnicity, nationality, or culture, and never was. Returning to reality on this matter will pave the way to the adoption of sane policies for the region.

“The Palestinian people” was born in 1963, when the foes of Israel hit upon a new strategy that would turn the tide of international public opinion against Israel and give new impetus to the jihad against it. Before that, as The Palestinian Delusion: The Catastrophic History of the Middle East Peace Process shows, amid all the drama surrounding Jewish settlement in Palestine, the rise of Zionism, and the establishment of the Jewish state, the Palestinians are nowhere to be seen. Palestine was the name of a region, like Staten Island or Dubuque, not the name of a people. Read more…

February 20, 2020 | 12:56 pm | 4 Comments » | 312 views

‘Israeli missile is only guarantee of survival from potential Iran nukes’  

The Arrow missile system has already succeeded in pushing Iran to shift its military tactics.

By Yonah Jeremy Bob, JPOST FEBRUARY 19, 2020 11:10

Defense minister Moshe Arens wth Israeli Air Force personnel at the Paris Air Show in 1999 with the Israel Aircraft Industry Arrow missile. (photo credit: YA’ACOV SA’AR/GPO)

Defense minister Moshe Arens wth Israeli Air Force personnel at the Paris Air Show in 1999 with the Israel Aircraft Industry Arrow missile. (photo credit: YA’ACOV SA’AR/GPO)

In the face of a potential Iranian nuclear weapon, “only the Arrow missile-defense system guarantees Israeli survival,” Dov Raviv, former head of the Arrow project at Israel Aircraft Industries, said Tuesday.

“We cannot dismiss a leader of a country who says it will destroy Israel… Iran has said this explicitly,” he said at a conference of the Association for Israeli Military History on the occasion of the publication of a new book by another stalwart of Israel missile defense, Uzi Rubin.

While Israel has many military and diplomatic tools to try to stop Iran’s drive to obtain a nuclear weapon, if it does not succeed, missile defense will be its last line of defense, Raviv said.
Read more…

February 20, 2020 | 10:26 am | 3 Comments » | 158 views

Only Wilders decries the Islam fueling Western European Jew-hatred  

Comparative findings revealing disproportionate rates of extreme antisemitism, and antisemitic violence, or violent threats, among Western European Muslims.

By Dr. Andrew G. Bostom, INN

The Dutch CIDI (Centrum Informatie En Documentatie Israel) annual report for 2019 just released Monday 2/17/20, recorded 182antisemitic incidents, its highest number ever registered since 1982, when monitoring began. This figure represented a 35% increase from 2018.

Even the CIDI’s full 99 page Dutch language report, however, provided only limited anecdotal information about a select sample of the perpetrators, rendering a quantitative determination of major (and/or relative) group responsibility impossible to assess. This glaring lacuna was “enlarged” by the report’s absence of background discussion of previously published comparative findings revealing disproportionate rates of extreme antisemitism, and antisemitic violence, or violent threats, among Western European Muslims, including confirmatory data on antisemitic attitudes within the Netherlands itself. Read more…

February 20, 2020 | 10:17 am | Comments » | 133 views

Jewish leaders and Qatar: a disturbing new twist  

Qatar has been spending billions of dollars at American universities.  Its goal cannot be good.  American Jewish leaders are silent.

By Att’y Stephen M. Flatow, INN

Just when you thought the controversy over American Jewish leaders’ relationship with Qatar was old news, a shocking new revelation forces us to direct our attention to that ugly episode once again.

The new scandal has to do with major American universities accepting large donations from the government of Qatar and not reporting them. That’s bad enough. But for friends of Israel, there is a disturbing new twist because it turns out there is a direct connection between Qatari money and pro-Palestinian groups on our college campuses.

Yes, the very same Palestinian campus groups that are always being denounced by American Zionist leaders—including some of the leaders who visited and praised Qatar two years ago. Sadly, it seems that while some American Zionists were boosting Qatar’s PR image, Qatar was promoting the Palestinian propaganda groups that are preying on our college students. Read more…

February 20, 2020 | 10:07 am | Comments » | 135 views

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