Israel recalls its ambassador to UNESCO after second anti-Israel resolution this month is approved


Israel withdrew its envoy to UNESCO, the United Nations’ cultural body, after the organization’s World Heritage Committee approved an anti-Israel resolution on Wednesday, the second such resolution approved this month. The resolution refers to the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site, only by its Muslim names of Al-Haram Al-Sharif and Al-Aqsa Mosque, and only as “a Muslim holy site of worship,” with no mention or Judaism or Christianity. It was passed with 10 votes in favor, two against, and eight abstentions.

After the vote, Israel’s ambassador, Carmel Shama-Hacohen recalled the infamous resolution of 1975 that equated Zionism with racism, and how the Israeli Ambassador to the UN at the time, Chaim Herzog, had tor a copy of the resolution in half on the floor of the United Nations General Assembly. He said, “I have no intention of doing this today – not because of our dignity, or the dignity of this organization, but because it is not even worthy of the energy needed for tearing it up.” Shama-Hacohen proceeded to place a copy of the resolution into a waste basket with the word “History” taped onto it.

Shama-Hacohen told UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova, on Tuesday night, “Israel respects Muslim and other faiths and their presence in our holiest of places, and it is tragic that the other side doesn’t have a leadership that will do the same, but rather one that is engaged only in going the exact opposite.” Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett said that the resolution “is history denial and history will render this embarrassing decision as meaningless as previous ones.”

The ambassador said of his withdrawal, “The motive [for the recall] is the need to rethink and reevaluate our relations with UNESCO given the persistent persecution of Israel and the Jewish people.”

The Palestinian Authority is naming a school after the mastermind of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre, Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reported Tuesday.

A school in the West Bank city of Tulkarem has been named “the Martyr Salah Khalaf School” in memory of the leader of the Black September terrorist group. Khalaf, who was also known as Abu Iyad, planned the attack on the Israeli Olympic compound during the 1972 Munich Olympics, which led to the deaths of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches. Khalaf also had a role in the 1973 takeover of the American embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, which ended in the killing of two American diplomats.

This is the fourth school dedicated to the memory of Khalaf; the three others are in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

PMW wrote a letter to the European Union calling on the group to stop funding the PA’s education budget as long as the Authority is “presenting terrorist murderers of Israeli civilians as role models for Palestinian children.”

The EU said in response to another PMW letter earlier this year that it would not stop its financial support of the Palestinian Authority, despite revelations that the PA was paying salaries to imprisoned terrorists. The United Kingdom suspended $30 million in aid payments earlier this month for that reason.


At least 26 people, mostly children, were killed in airstrikes carried out either by Russian or Syrian regime warplanes on Monday, rescue workers and a human rights monitoring group reported. The airstrikes targeted the village of Haas, in rebel-held Idlib province. The White Helmets civil defense group said that 20 of the dead were children while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that there were 15 dead children. The White Helmets tweeted that a “complex of 3 schools was targeted…including a double tap.” A double tap refers to the Syrian government and Russian planes’ tactic of dropping their payload, flying off, and then circling back to bomb first responders on the scene.

BBC News explained the significance of Idlib to both the Syrian opposition and the Bashar al-Assad regime: “Idlib is where civilians from other parts of Syria have been evacuated after being forced to surrender by years of siege and bombardment by government forces.”

The Assad regime, which has perpetrated countless atrocities against Syrian civilians, is staunchly backed in its brutality by Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah, as well as a variety of Iranian-backed, -trained, and –funded Shiite militias. The Syrian government has carried out the systematic torture and indiscriminate murder of civilians through the use of barrel bombsmassacres, intentional starvation, and chemical weapon attacks, leading to the death of over 400,000 people and the world’s largest refugee crisis since the Second World War.


An ancient papyrus from the First Temple period containing the earliest Hebrew mention of Jerusalem outside the Bible was unveiled by the Israel Antiquities Authority on Wednesday.

The document is from the 7th century BCE, according to radiocarbon dating, making it one of three existing Hebrew papyri from that time period, The Times of Israel reported. It is the first non-biblical source to mention Jerusalem from that time, and predates the Dead Sea Scrolls by several centuries.

The papyrus measures 4.3 inches by 1 inch and describes the shipment of two wineskins to Jerusalem. “From the female servant of the king, from Naharata [a place near Jericho] two wineskins to Jerusalem,” the text reads. According to the IAA, the Naharata mentioned in the text is the same location “that is referred to in the description of the border between Ephraim and Benjamin in Joshua 16:7: ‘And it went down from Janohah to Ataroth, and to Naʽarat, and came to Jericho, and went out at Jordan.’”

The fact that the shipment was recorded on papyrus rather than cheaper pottery shards suggests that it was sent to someone prominent. Israel Prize-winning biblical scholar Shmuel Ahituv said that the term “female servant of the king” indicates that an important woman sent the wineskins to Jerusalem, the capital of the Judean Kingdom.

Palestinians warn UNESCO committee member states not to vote against anti-Israel resolution


The Palestinian and Jordanian delegations to UNESCO, the United Nations’ cultural body, threatened the organization’s member states if they did not vote in favor of an upcoming anti-Israel resolution that denies Jewish and Christian connections to holy sites in Jerusalem. UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee will vote on the draft resolution on Wednesday in Paris. Both the Palestinian and Jordanian delegations expect the draft resolution to pass unanimously, so that it does not have to go to a vote. “Otherwise,” they warned, “the delegation of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the delegation of Palestine would and according to the rules of procedure be obliged to consider other options.” The resolution only refers to the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site, as al-Haram al-Sharif, its Muslim name.The vote comes two weeks after a previous anti-Israel resolution was passed by the member states of UNESCO and then ratified by the body. Mexico and Brazil later announced that they regretted voting in favor of the resolution, and would abstain from similar resolutions in the future. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said last week that his country, which abstained, would vote against such resolutions in the future. “I think this is a mistaken, inconceivable resolution,” he said. “It is not possible to continue with these resolutions at the UN and UNESCO that aim to attack Israel. It is shocking and I have ordered that we stop taking this position…even if it means diverging from the position taken by the rest of Europe. I have asked diplomats handling these issues to cease doing so.”

Carmel Shama-Hacohen, Israel’s envoy to UNESCO, said, “The Palestinians and the Arabs understand that after Mexico and Italy they can expect a number of additional unpleasant surprises.” With this warning, he continued, they are trying to say: “Stop abandoning us or we’ll burn the house down with extreme anti-Israel resolutions that will cause tremendous damage to the organization.” Mexico, Brazil, and Italy are not, however, on the World Heritage Committee and therefore will not be casting a vote on this resolution’s text.

U.S. lawmakers from both sides of the aisle and both houses of Congress signed a letter that was sent to the committee, emphasizing that “attempting to erase the Jewish and Christian connection to this sacred city will further damage the prospects of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.” Last week UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova wrote to Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett, “Allow me to reassure you of my absolute commitment to continue all efforts in countering all forms of anti-Semitism, including those drawing on partial or distorted visions of culture and history, as well as those that seek to challenge the existence of Israel.”


Dual Iranian-American citizen Reza Shahini, 46, was sentenced to 18 years in prison in Iran over the weekend, Vice News reported. He was penalized for charges related to espionage and “collaborating with a hostile government.”“It was a terrifying moment, and they blindfolded me and they took me to the custody and I did not know where I was,” Shahini said, speaking to VICE News via phone from prison. “They were interrogating me every morning, every afternoon, and I was always by myself in my cell.”

Shahini also said Iranian officials refused to reveal the evidence against him and that “they are all brainwashed to think that the U.S. is a hostile government. Even the judge.”

This comes after just last week when Iranian-American Siamak Namazi, a businessman who advocated for closer ties between the U.S. and Iran, received a 10-year prison sentence along with his 80-year-old father.

Iran has a history of arresting dual nationals, which it does not recognize, meaning that the individuals cannot receive consular assistance; the number reached six in July, which, according to Reuters, comprised “the highest number of Iranians with dual-nationality detained at one time in recent years to have been acknowledged.” One more dual national, a former member of the Iranian nuclear negotiating team, was arrested in August. Many analysts believe that Iran is “seeking concessions from the West in exchange for releasing” dual nationals, the Associated Press wrote that month.


The United Nations has abandoned plans to evacuate patients from east Aleppo, which it had hoped to accomplish during a three-day lull in fighting last week. Eastern Aleppo is currently under siege by the Assad regime and its allies: Russia, Iran, Hezbollah, and various Shiite militias. An estimated 250,000 people remain trapped in the city.

“The evacuations were obstructed by various factors, including delays in receiving the necessary approvals from local authorities in eastern Aleppo, conditions placed by non-state armed groups and the government of Syria’s objection to allowing medical and other relief supplies into the eastern part of the city,” UN Under-Secretary-General for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator Stephen O’Brien said in a statement.

The news of the aborted mission comes the same day The Wall Street Journal published a devastating article on the destruction of Aleppo. Aleppo is “another Srebrenica, another Rwanda,” said United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura. “Thousands of Syrian civilians, not terrorists, will be killed.”

Only 30 doctors are left in eastern Aleppo, and their overworked skeleton staff does not have adequate resources. One doctor recounted delivering three babies during the winter only to watch each one of them die almost immediately due to lack of warm blankets. The massive influx of dead bodies has also caused a shortage in burial sites—forcing relatives to bury their loved ones in their own small vegetable gardens.


The Israeli avocado season is underway, and health-conscientious Europeans are keeping a watchful eye on this super fruit’s journey from orchard to cargo hold to their local grocery store. High on the lists of global health fads, the avocado is in hot demand. And the Israeli avocado specifically is an extremely popular commodity. “There is an increase in avocado demand every year. Israeli farmers can’t keep up with the demand,” Itzik Cohen, CEO of the Israel Fruit Growers Association, says. “2016 looks like it will be a very good year for business.” According to Cohen, Israel exported 60,000 tons of this creamy fruit in 2015. This year, the Israeli Agriculture International portal announced that it expects an avocado yield of almost 100,000 tons of fruit. Of that, 70 percent will be earmarked for export. Because avocados can grow in a wide range of soil, orchards stretch from the coastal plain to the Jordan Valley and Upper Galilee. “Every fruit grows with a different flavor in each country. Apples taste different depending on where they’re grown. The same happens with avocados,” says Cohen. “People like the Israeli varieties of avocados so they must have a very good taste.” Israeli avocados are exported to France, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Scandinavian countries and Russia. (via Israel21c)

Palestinian Authority arrests four Palestinians after attending Jewish holiday event


Four Palestinians who attended a Jewish holiday event in a Jewish town in the West Bank were arrested by Palestinian Authority security forces shortly thereafter.

“Any Palestinian cooperation with settlers is viewed as violating the law, as he cooperates with the enemy,” a senior Palestinian security official told The Times of Israel.

Oded Revivi, the mayor of Efrat and a lieutenant colonel in the army reserves, invited a few dozen Palestinian men from surrounding villages to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. The Palestinians mingled with around 30 Israelis. “Everyone was very polite,” The Washington Post reported. “A Palestinian farmer sat next to an Israeli diplomat. They live a mile and a world apart. A rabbi from the settlement broke bread with a Palestinian stonemason. Guests shook hands, took selfies, patted one another on the back. Both sides seemed a little stunned to be together celebrating a Jewish holiday.”

“It is absurd that having coffee with Jews is considered a crime by the Palestinian Authority,” Revivi said after the arrests. “Initiatives that seek to foster cooperation and peace between people should be encouraged, not silenced. It’s time the Palestinian Authority asks itself whether it would prefer to fan the flames of conflict instead of working to bring people together.”


A Hamas terrorist was killed in a tunnel collapse on Saturday, marking the second time a member of the group has been killed in such a cave-in this past week. Nearly two dozen members of Palestinian terrorist organizations have died building tunnels since the beginning of the year.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Monday, “If [terrorists in the Gaza Strip] make the decision to stop digging tunnels, smuggling arms and firing rockets at us, we will be the first investors in the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip. We will be the first to invest in a maritime trading port, an airport and an industrial zone. Gaza could one day be the new Hong Kong or Singapore.”

Hamas spends an estimated $40 million of its $100 million military budget on building tunnels into Israel that can be used in future terrorist attacks. In July, an Israeli official estimated that Hamas digs some six miles of tunnels every month. Gen. Yossi Kuperwasser, formerly the head of the research division of Israeli military intelligence and later the director general of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, told reporters in May that the tunnels were a sign that Hamas is preparing for another war against Israel. “They definitely invest a lot in making the necessary preparations so that in the next round, when they decide to start it, they will be able to inflict the heaviest damage on Israel, including through those tunnels,” he said.

In September, Israel began constructing a $530 million underground barrier along its border with the Gaza Strip to prevent further tunnels from being built into Israeli territory. Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Gadi Eisenkot described the barrier as “the largest project” ever undertaken in Israel’s military history.

The Israeli Air Force carried out strikes in the Gaza Strip on Monday after Palestinian terrorists launched a rocket toward Israeli territory. The rocket reportedly was short of its target and landed in the Strip. Terrorists fired rockets at southern Israel in two incidents earlier this month, one of which landed in a residential neighborhood in the town of Sderot.


Hezbollah will fight alongside Bashar al-Assad in Syria to the bitter end, the terrorist organization’s leader vowed in a speech Sunday. Hassan Nasrallah declared that the Syrian revolt is “not about the fall of the regime, but about targeting the axis of resistance”: in other words, that the goal of the rebels is not the fall of Assad, but a conspiracy targeting the alliance between Iran, Hezbollah, and the Assad regime. Nasrallah has stated several times that the Syrian rebels are not actually interested in freedom from Assad’s tyranny, but rather are the puppets of the United States and “Zionists.” Hezbollah will stay in the fight until what Nasrallah called the “defeat [of] the apostate project.”

A ceasefire that was unilaterally declared by the Syrian regime and its ally Russia ended on Sunday, when airstrikes pounded rebel-held eastern Aleppo. Hezbollah is deeply complicit in the Syrian regime’s onslaught against Aleppo, and has lost several of its fighters there, including a top commander.

The United Nation’s top human rights official, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, called Aleppo a “slaughterhouse… where the lifeless bodies of small children are trapped under streets of rubble and pregnant women deliberately bombed” and asserted that Russian and Syrian bombardment of the city “constitute crimes of historic proportions.” The United Nations Human Rights Council called for a war crimes inquiry into the bombings of the city.

The Syrian government, bolstered on the ground by Iran, Hezbollah, and Shiite militiamen and from the air by Russia, has besieged the eastern half of Aleppo since July, which is home to some 300,000 civilians. The Assad regime and Russia have carried out human rights atrocities such as the barrel bombing of civilians and the systematic targeting of aid convoys and hospitals. The regime has launched chlorine gas attacks on the people of Aleppo; it and its Russian allies have purposely targeted first responders arriving on the scene to help those trapped in rubble. Nearly 500,000 people have died in Syria’s civil war, the vast majority victims of the Assad regime and its allies.


A new pleasure cruise line connecting the ports of Haifa and Acre is proving to be a popular tourism attraction. The 45-minute sailing ride is a Tourism Ministry initiative meant to promote sightseeing in the northern Israeli cities. “This is the first such project of its kind in Israel, a complex one that I set as a central objective in developing the tourism infrastructure in the north, and this, after many years of talk but without implementation. This scheduled pleasure cruise line will serve as a fixed-price tourism attraction and will help significantly in promoting tourism to Haifa and Acre,” said Tourism Minister Yariv Levin. The first cruise set sail on October 10. High demand for a sailing ride during the Sukkot holiday – which is now underway — has prompted the Tourism Ministry to add evening sailings, in accordance with sea conditions. (via Israel21c)

Italian PM: UNESCO resolution is ‘inconceivable’


Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on Friday slammed the anti-Israel resolution adopted by UNESCO last week, saying that he found it “shocking.” The resolution denied the Jewish and Christian historical connections to Jerusalem, as Josh Block, President and CEO of The Israel Project, wrote in an op-ed Wednesday in The Hill. Democratic congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) found the vote so ludicrous he accused the organization of living in an “alternate universe…where you will see unicorns and flying dragons”.
“I think this is a mistaken, inconceivable resolution,” Renzi said during an interview with Italian radio while on a trip to Brussels. “It is not possible to continue with these resolutions at the UN and UNESCO that aim to attack Israel. It is shocking and I have ordered that we stop taking this position (i.e, the abstention) even if it means diverging from the position taken by the rest of Europe. I have asked diplomats handling these issues to cease doing so.”He said that upon his return, he will summon Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni to find out why Italy abstained from the vote instead of voting against the resolution.


Italy is the third country to announce a change in position since the vote, following Mexico and Brazil. Since the vote last week, Italy’s Jewish community has demonstrated against its country’s position, and senior members of the community have published articles and public letters in the press.


The United Nations’ top human rights official called Aleppo a “slaughterhouse” and the UN’s Human Rights Council (UNHCR) passed a resolution calling for an immediate cessation of bombing of Aleppo and a war crimes inquiry on Friday. Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said at an emergency session of the UNHRC in Geneva, “The violations and abuses suffered by people across the country, including the siege and bombardment of eastern Aleppo, are simply not tragedies; they also constitute crimes of historic proportions.” He continued, “The ancient city of Aleppo, a place of millennial civility and beauty, is today a slaughterhouse – a gruesome locus of pain and fear, where the lifeless bodies of small children are trapped under streets of rubble and pregnant women deliberately bombed.” Earlier this month, Secretary of State John Kerry similarly called for a war crimes investigation into the Syrian government and Russia’s bombing of Aleppo.


While Russia has instituted a “humanitarian pause” in eastern Aleppo, Britain’s junior Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood said it was “being used simply for them to regroup and further their own stranglehold over Aleppo.” The United Nations General Assembly discussed on Thursday ways to override the Security Council on the issue of Syria, where Russia is the chief obstructionist. Samantha Power, the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, said, “The perpetrators have names. When we don’t say ‘the Syrian regime’ or ‘Russia,’ we obscure their responsibility.”


The Syrian government led by Bashar al-Assad, bolstered on the ground by Iran, the terrorist group Hezbollah, and Shiite militiamen and from the air by Russia, have besieged the eastern half of Aleppo since July, which is home to some 300,000 civilians. They have carried out human rights atrocities such as the barrel bombing of civilians and the systematic targeting of aid convoys and hospitals. The regime has launched chlorine gas attacks on the people of Aleppo, and its Russian allies have purposely targeted first responders arriving on the scene to help those trapped in rubble.


Argentina has requested the extradition of Iran’s former foreign minister due to his alleged role in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aries, Agence France-Presse reported Friday.

The extradition of Ali Akbar Velayati, currently a close advisor to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was sent by Investigating Judge Rodolfo Canicoba to the government of Iraq, where Velayati is currently visiting. Canicoba made similar requests to Singapore and Malaysia when Velayati visited those nations in July.

Argentinian authorities suspect five senior Iranian officials, including Velayati and former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, of being involved in the bombing, which killed 85 people and is the deadliest-ever terror attack on Argentinian soil.

Prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who was charged with investigating the AMIA bombing, died of a gunshot wound to the head in January 2015 under mysterious circumstances. In March, a three-judge panel unanimously referred the inquiry into Nisman’s death to a federal court to be investigated as a political murder.

Nisman was also investigating a pact made by then-Argentinian president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner to jointly investigate the bombing with Iranian authorities. Nisman alleged that Kircher and other senior Argentinian authorities were engaged in a quid pro quo to cover up Iran’s involvement in the bombing in exchange for favorable trade deals. He died shortly before he was due to present his proof to the national congress.

A court later declared that the joint investigation was unconstitutional. New president Mauricio Macri, who was elected last December, said that he would not renew the agreement to jointly investigate the bombing.

Israeli actress Gal Gadot may be Wonder Woman on the big screen but Keren Herscovici, Noya Lempert and Efrat Dayagi – the initiators of a program for advancing women in prominent positions in their careers – are the true wonder women of Israel. They started Woman2Woman to help young women in top decision-making positions advance in their careers (in all fields) with some guidance from mentors who have already been there and succeeded. “A number of times in my life, I’ve felt that I’m really in need of a mentor. And that’s what our initiative is geared toward, answering this need,” Dayagi, a lawyer, tells ISRAEL21c. “You can’t just cold-call someone and say, ‘So and so told me to call you for advice.’ I’ve sought something like this program and I would have loved a connection like this with a mentor.” Herscovici, Lempert and Dayagi say they are different from other female empowerment initiatives because they don’t see women as underdogs. (via ISRAEL21c)


TIP CEO: Countries Should Reassess UNESCO Ties After Its “Mockery of the Historical Record”


The world’s democracies must reassess their ties with UNESCO, the United Nation’s cultural organization, if it does not revisit the resolution it passed last week denying the Jewish and Christian historical connections to Jerusalem, Josh Block, President and CEO of The Israel Project, wrote in an op-ed Wednesday in The Hill.

The resolution “inflicted a wound upon millions of Jews, and many more millions of Christians” and “makes a mockery of the historical record and flies in the face of religious tolerance,” Block wrote. He noted that strong condemnations of the resolution have come from the White House, Congress, UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova, and outgoing United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee is scheduled to meet in Paris next week, and will have an opportunity to revisit the decision. Some countries have already done so: Mexico changed its vote from supporting the resolution to an abstention, and Brazil may soon do the same. Poland and South Korea, countries with large Christian populations, sit on the committee and may reconsider the consequences of the resolution to their citizens.

If UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee doesn’t take action, Block argued, then the United States should follow Israel’s lead and “and reevaluate their ties with the agency.”


Israel’s Shin Bet security service and police forces thwarted a terror attack targeting a wedding hall, The Times of Israel reported on Thursday. A group of four Palestinians was plotting to carry out the attack and also kidnap an Israeli soldier for use as a future bargaining chip. Details permitted for publication on Thursday did not specify the type of attack.

Mahmoud Yusef Hassin Abu Taha allegedly led the cell, and told Shin Bet officials that he was the head of a terror group directed by the Islamic Jihad group in Gaza. Iran funds most of Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s budget, according to the U.S. State Department. Taha was responsible for assembling the three additional would-be attackers—two of whom were residing in Israel illegally. The group also included Hani M’suad Nasir Abu Amrah, 40, a Gazan who now lives in the south of Israel after being granted Israeli citizenship under the family reunification program.

“The case once again stresses the manner in which terror groups take advantage of the permits to enter Israel, which are given for humanitarian and economic reasons. And also the risk posed to the presence in Israel of Palestinians who don’t have a permit to be there,” the Shin Bet statement said.Terror groups have previously used kidnapped IDF soldiers or the remains of soldiers to bargain for the release of Palestinian prisoners. Once released, many prisoners revert back to terrorism—nearly half of the 13,000 terrorists Israel has released since 1985 have returned to the battlefield. There is even a special unit within Hamas consisting entirely of released prisoners—it is responsible for carrying out deadly attacks against civilians.


Iran has increased its delivery of weapons to the Houthi rebels in Yemen, U.S., Western, and Iranian officials told Reuters Thursday. The weapons are smuggled overland into Yemen over the Omani border, according to the report, although the Omani government has denied this charge. A U.S. official said, “What they’re bringing in via Oman are anti-ship missiles, explosives…  money and personnel.” An Iranian diplomat confirmed that his government has upped its support for the Houthis, saying, “The nuclear deal gave Iran an upper hand in its rivalry with Saudi Arabia, but it needs to be preserved.” Critics of the Iran nuclear deal, including the governments of Israel and Saudi Arabia, had expressed their concern that it would give Iran more leeway to support its destabilizing proxies throughout the region, including the Houthis and the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah.

The Houthis may have fired missiles at U.S. Navy vessels operating off the coast of Yemen over this past weekend, according to American defense officials. The Pentagon declined on Monday, however, to say whether or not missiles had definitively been fired.

Last Wednesday, U.S. Navy vessels destroyed three Houthi-controlled radar sites with missile strikes authorized by President Barack Obama. The strikes came just two days after the Houthis fired two missiles at the USS Mason. The day after the American strike, Iran dispatched two warships to the Gulf of Aden.

The Houthis seized control of the Yemeni government in 2015, prompting a military intervention by a Saudi-led coalition of Arab countries. The Iranian proxy, whose slogan reads in Arabic “God is great, Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse on the Jews, Victory to Islam,” have received arms—including missiles—and training from Iran. American, French, and Australian vessels have intercepted weapons shipments from Iran on their way to the Houthi rebels. After the capture of Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, in 2014, Iranian parliamentarian Ali Reza Zakani, who is close to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, boasted that Iran now controlled four Arab capitals, the other three being Damascus, Baghdad, and Beirut.

Secretary of State John Kerry has previously expressed his concern about Iranian missiles being delivered to the Houthis, and then being fired over the border into Saudi territory.


Just days after the UN’s cultural agency voted in favor of a resolution denying Jerusalem’s Jewish history, archaeologists have discovered the site where the Romans breached Jerusalem’s walls in the prelude to the destruction of the Second Jewish Temple nearly 2,000 years ago, confirming those ties, The Times of Israe lreported Thursday.

The site, just outside of Jerusalem’s Old City, was discovered last winter. According to Israel’s Antiquities Authority, which confirmed the findings earlier this week, archaeologists found “remains of a tower surrounded by scores of stones and boulders fired by Roman catapults at the Jewish forces guarding the wall,” matching the description by Jewish historian Flavius Josephus of the wall breached by the Romans.

The discovery of the battle site settles a longstanding debate among archaeologists as to how far the walls of Jerusalem extended prior to Titus’ attack on Jerusalem.

The official Palestinian position—as expressed in the Palestinian National Charter posted on the website of the Palestinian Authority’s United Nations delegation—is that “the claims of historic and spiritual ties between Jews and Palestine are not in agreement with the facts of history or with the true basis of sound statehood.” At the Camp David summit in 2000, then-Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat unsettled President Bill Clinton by denying that there had ever been a Jewish temple in Jerusalem. Arafat’s successor, Mahmoud Abbas, has repeatedly lashed out against suggestions that Jews have links to Jerusalem, which is mentioned by name over 600 times in the Jewish Bible.

Palestinian attempts to erase or cast doubt on the well-established historical connection between Jerusalem and the Jewish faith, which The New York Times noted last year, is a phenomenon that former Israeli Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold has described as “Temple denial.” Days after the Times report, the Mufti of Jerusalem, who was appointed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, claimed that the Temple Mount has been the site of a mosque “since the creation of the world” and that it never housed a Jewish temple, despite ample evidence to the contrary.