The liberation of Mosul in Iraq and the imminent collapse of the Islamic State’s Syrian capital of Raqqa are wins for President Donald Trump. He was elected on a promise to pound the terrorists into submission, and that is happening. Trump is a believer in hard power, which is the only kind that works in the Middle East.
The president scored another win with the partial cease-fire in southwestern Syria he negotiated with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sideline of the G-20 talks in Germany. The truce probably won’t last, but it marked a significant moment.
Jason Greenblatt, center, President Trump’s envoy to the Middle East, announcing an agreement among Israelis, Jordanians and Palestinians on a large water infrastructure project on Thursday.
The Trump administration has yet to broker the “toughest deal of all” — that between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Chances seem slim. But Jason Greenblatt, the president’s Middle East envoy, did announce some welcome news at a press conference Thursday in Jerusalem: The Israelis, Jordanians and Palestinians will be cooperating on a large water infrastructure project, which will provide billions of gallons of new water supplies for each of the three parties.
That project — first announced in December 2013 — will take water from the Red Sea, near Israel’s southernmost city of Eilat, and use gravity to carry the water 137 miles via the kingdom of Jordan to the southern part of the Dead Sea, adjacent to Israel’s Arava desert. There it will be desalinated, with the brine deposited in the shrinking Dead Sea and the fresh water transferred into Israel for still-to-be-built desert farms. In exchange, a water pipeline will be built from Israel into Jordan’s capital, Amman, and Israel will augment the already significant amount of water it provides to the Palestinians in the West Bank, particularly in the Hebron area.
By Ghassan Charbel:…Setting aside trees and museums aside, there is something worse. Arabs took close note to Benjamin Netanyahu freeing up his day to attend his visiting guest, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
That was the first time a sitting Indian prime minister visits Israel. What is even more remarkable is that the Modi did not feel the need to visit the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. A move that saw to Israel’s liking.
It is worth remembering that India was a pioneer in understanding the aspirations of the people of Palestinian and did not hesitate to take their side in international arenas.
Arabs kept a close eye to each step of the visit, especially after the warm welcome Modi received in Israel and which exceeded in hospitality that which was afforded United States President Donald Trump.
Modi then said that true cooperation between Israel and India would change the face of the world. Netanyahu also said that Israel welcomed Modi in a manner befitting a president of leading the world’s largest democracy, and the only democratic state in the Middle East.
What turned around heads is that Modi viewed Israel as a prevalent beacon in technology and him clearly speaking of his country’s tremendous need to benefit from Israel’s capabilities in this field.
A peer and former chairman of the BBC has condemned the broadcaster, accusing it of anti-Israel bias in a House of Lords debate.
Speaking in yesterday’s debate on the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, Lord Grade highlighted a headline the BBC ran on its website after the fatal stabbing of an Israeli police officer last month.
Lord Grade said: “On 16 June two Palestinians, unprovoked, attacked Israeli police officers in Jerusalem with guns and knives, while a third stabbed to death Border Police Staff Sergeant Hadas Malka, aged 23.
“The BBC’s headline on its news website was ‘Three Palestinians killed after deadly stabbing in Jerusalem’. The BBC eventually changed its headline to ‘Israeli policewoman stabbed to death in Jerusalem’.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, right, welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has long argued that, far from being diplomatically isolated because of its policies toward the Palestinians, Israel is constantly being courted by countries seeking help in technology, intelligence and counterterrorism.
That narrative was reinforced on Tuesday when Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India arrived in Israel for a three-day visit, the first by an Indian premier in the 25 years since the two countries established full diplomatic relations.
“We’ve been waiting for you a long time. We’ve been waiting nearly 70 years, in fact,” since the state of Israel was established, Mr. Netanyahu said in his welcoming remarks at the airport.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Reuven Rivlin
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke on Wednesday morning of the “kinship” he feels with Israel, hailing the rapidly improving relations between the two countries, and especially the burgeoning trade ties.
Modi arrived Tuesday, making him the first-ever head of India’s government to visit the Jewish state.
The US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, has strongly criticized the Palestinian campaign for the Tomb of the Patriarchs and the Old City in the West Bank town of Hebron to be recognized as “Endangered World Heritage Sites” by UNESCO, the UN’s global cultural agency.
The Palestinian proposal is scheduled to be put to a vote on Friday, during the 41st meeting of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee which began last Sunday in the Polish city of Krakow.
In a letter addressed to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova – a copy of which was seen by The Algemeiner – Haley stated the Tomb of Patriarchs, which is “sacred to three faiths, is under no immediate threat.” To designate it as an “endangered” site, Haley said, risks “undermining the seriousness such an assessment by UNESCO should have.”
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman offered an optimistic outlook on Thursday regarding his country’s efforts to forge better ties with its neighbors.
“The word ‘peace’ is not relevant in the Middle East,” Lieberman said during a Kol Chai radio interview, according to the Hebrew news site nrg. “I’m talking about regional understandings. I reiterate: We’ve never been closer to a regional arrangement with moderate Arab countries and have never been so far from a deal of any sort with the Palestinians.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, pose for a photo with pilot Nechama Spiegel Novak (right) before taking off from Ben Gurion International Airport to Greece, June 14, 2017
The El Al flight taking Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife to Greece on Wednesday was piloted by a female ultra-Orthodox woman, a first for an official flight.
Nechama Spiegel Novak, a mother of four who has been flying Israel’s national carrier since earlier this year, left Ben Gurion International Airport on Wednesday morning guiding a chartered Boeing 737 to Thessaloniki, where Netanyahu is participating in a trilateral summit with Greece and Cyprus.
The prime minister and his wife, Sara, took several photos with the pilot, who was the first officer on the flight, before they took off.
Novak attended flight school in the United States, where she worked to log enough flight hours. Unlike most Israeli pilots, she did not serve in the Israeli Air Force, where most pilots log their flight hours and get their licenses.
“Being a pilot has always been a dream of mine. My husband is very supportive, and he is helping realize this dream,” she said in 2015 when she started her flight training.