Sunday, November 17, 2019
Turkey will use the S-400 missile defense system it has bought from Russia despite the US threat of sanctions, a senior defense official said Saturday, according to AFP.
Ankara and Washington have been at loggerheads over Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 system, which the United States says is not compatible with NATO defenses and poses a threat to Lockheed Martin’s F-35 “stealth” fighter jet.
The first parts of the S-400 air defense system were delivered to Turkey in July. Russia then delivered a second battery of S-400s in August.
US has threatened Turkey with sanctions, but said it would be spared from these measures under a 2017 law if the S-400 system is not turned on.
"It is not a correct approach to say 'we will not use for someone else's sake' a system we had purchased out of our need and we paid that amount of money," Ismail Demir, the head of the Defense Industry Directorate, a government body, told private CNN Turk broadcaster on Saturday.
"We will do our duty and (the system) will become usable. How it will be used is a decision to be made later," he added.
"We should respect the agreement we signed and that's what suits us as a country."
The issue was raised in talks in Washington this week between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Donald Trump.
Trump said that Turkey's controversial acquisition created "serious challenges" for Washington as he added officials would "immediately" get to work on resolving the issue.
Washington reacted to Turkey's purchase of the S-400 by removing the country off its F-35 fighter jet program.
Turkish officials insist that the deal to purchase the S-400 does not affect the security of the US and have repeatedly stressed that they will go ahead with the deal despite Washington’s objections.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday supported recent increases in gas and fuel protests which have sparked protests across Iran.
“Some people are no doubt worried by this decision ... but sabotage and arson is done by hooligans not our people. The counter-revolution and Iran’s enemies have always supported sabotage and breaches of security and continue to do so,” Khameini said on Iranian state television.
“Unfortunately some problems were caused, a number of people lost their lives and some centers were destroyed,” he added.
Protests erupted Saturday after the Iranian government raised the cost of regular gasoline to 15,000 rials ($0.13) a liter from 10,000 rials and instituted fuel rations. Additional liters would cost 30,000 rials.
One death was confirmed in the southeastern city of Sirjan. Several other deaths were reported on social media.
The increase in fuel prices was done in response the economic crisis Iran faces as a result of the renewed sanctions imposed by the United States.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu opened today's (Sunday) government meeting, concluding the two days of fighting in Gaza.
"I wish to, firstly, praise the security forces who took part in operation 'Black Belt.' I also would like to thank the members of the cabinet who agreed, as one, to authorize this operation. All goals were achieved."
"Again, I would like to stress, Israel has not obligated itself to anything. Security policy has not changed. We are keeping open all possible operational possibilities. We will attack those who try to attack us."
Netanyahu responded to the rocket fire on Saturday night, "on Saturday night, Hamas fired at Be'er Sheva, I have directed the IDF to fire on Hamas positions."
"We are prepared for every situation, we will do everything to protect the state of Israel and ensure its' security."
Saturday, November 16, 2019
Friday, November 15, 2019
The outline for the establishment of a unity government proposed by President Reuven Rivlin determines when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would declare himself incapacitated, what the nature of the incapacity would be, and whether the government to be established would include the entire right-wing bloc.
Channel 13 News revealed on Thursday that the plan includes three options for the date of the start of Netanyahu’s incapacitation: On the day of the Attorney General's announcement of the indictment (which is expected to be published in the coming weeks), when the indictment is submitted (a date that may happen in a few months), and when the trial begins – which may be in about a year.
During the talks, Netanyahu told Rivlin and Gantz, "This is a fair outline. The incapacity will take effect when the trial opens." Rivlin told Netanyahu, "A compromise means you will meet halfway," while pointing to the second option – the incapacity taking effect when the indictment is filed.
Netanyahu also reportedly had a favorite option about the depth of the incapacitation, and he reportedly said during the conversation, "Rivlin's idea is excellent. We will both be prime ministers together." Rivlin also objected to that and reportedly said, "You are going too far. There cannot be two prime ministers at the same time. Gantz will be your deputy, and as soon as you enter incapacitation you will be relieved of all your authority."
Another topic discussed during the talks was the possibility of including the entire right-wing bloc in the government. On this, Rivlin suggested, "Without disqualifications and without boycotts, all parties are legitimate. Equality will be expressed in the number of ministers."
Thursday, November 14, 2019
Yitzchack Ilan, former deputy director of the Shin Bet intelligence service, was interviewed today on Radio 103FM.
"This round was bizarre, we killed a medium-level commander and were hit by hundreds of rockets without responding appropriately. The round finished even more bizarrely."
How should have we responded?
"My opinion is that anyone who shoots rockets at civilians is a war criminal and thus should be treated. Either he should be arrested and spend a long time in jail or he should be eliminated."
25 members of Islamic Jihad were killed.
"2,500 members should have been killed, that would have been a fitting response."
You disagree with the rationale of the government that widespread action with multiple kills would bring Hamas into this round of violence?
"Of course, Israel and the IDF should put an end to this ridiculous saga in which civilians cannot sleep at night."
Can it be stopped through military means?
"Of course, if Gaza is conquered, similar to the way we conquered Judea and Samaria and cleared it of terrorists. I was Shin Bet commander in Samaria during Operation Defensive Shield (2002 operation in response to the 2nd Intifida), we had to persuade the government that the only way to stop terror attacks from Judea and Samaria was a large scale operation and not surgical strikes." READ MORE
A Jordanian television host called to “trample underfoot” the country’s peace treaty with Israel and “gouge out the eyes” of Israelis on Tuesday following the return to Jordanian hands of two small border areas farmed by Israel under the two nations’ 1994 peace agreement. The treaty had created special arrangements for Israeli farmers and their employees to work lands in Naharayim and the southern Tzofar enclave on the northern end of the countries’ shared border for 25 years.
That period ended last weekend, and Amman, in keeping with an announcement it made last year, took back possession of the small strips of land, known in Arabic as Baqoura and Ghumar. In a Tuesday comment on Jordan Today TV, host Rana Hmouz celebrated the Jordanian decision, and then called for the cancellation of the peace treaty itself, followed by the destruction of Israel. “Baqoura and Ghumar are Jordanian territory [once again]. This decision was bound to fill our hearts with joy instead of blood,” she said in the broadcast, which was translated by the MEMRI research institute. (Read More)