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Obama and Netanyahu meet in New York, affirm “unbreakable” bond between U.S. and Israel

Posted by Tip Staff - September 21, 2016


President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met, for likely the final time during Obama's tenure, in New York City on Wednesday on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. Netanyahu gave his thanks to Obama for the recent $38 billion memorandum of understanding between their two countries. The prime minister told Obama that Israel “will never give up” on seeking peace and told the president, “Your voice, your influential voice, will be heard for many decades, and I know you’ll continue to support Israel’s right to defend itself and its right to thrive as a Jewish state.”
Obama called the bond between the U.S. and Israel “unbreakable” and continued, “It is based on common values, family ties, a recognition that a Jewish state of Israel is one of our most important allies and a guiding principle throughout my presidency. One that I’ve expressed often to the prime minister is that it is important for America’s national security to ensure that we have a safe and secure Israel, one that can defend itself.”
President Obama also emphasized the need for a “secure” Israel to exist “alongside a Palestinian state.” There has been concern that the White House would support a United Nations Security Council resolution laying down parameters for a final status agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians. In an attempt to preempt this, 88 out of 100 senators, representing both the Democratic and Republican parties, signed a letter on Tuesday urging President Obama to oppose “one-sided” UNSC resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Key signatories included stalwart progressive Senator Elizabeth Warren and vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine.
After the public remarks, the two men retired to have a discussion in private. Netanyahu is scheduled to address the General Assembly on Thursday.


A mentally disturbed Turkish man brandishing a 12-inch knife attempted to stab a security guard at the Israeli Embassy in Ankara on Wednesday. The attacker – 41-year-old Osman Nuri Caliskan – sheathed his weapon inside a newspaper and shouted: “I will change the Middle East!” and “Allahu akbar!” as he charged towards officers in front of the embassy.
Turkish police repeatedly called for him to drop his weapon and fired a warning round. Caliskan, undeterred, continued to storm the embassy—prompting a Turkish police officer to shoot him in the leg. He was injured and then taken to a nearby hospital for treatment. All staff in the Israeli embassy were safe and Israeli officials thanked Turkish police for their “professional performance.”
Turkey and Israel signed a deal in June to restore diplomatic ties after a six-year rift. They are set to exchange ambassadors soon and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has already met and shaken hands with an Israeli diplomat—the first meeting of its kind in two years. When the Turkish government faced usurpation in July, Israel was among the first countries to stand by Erdogan and condemn the attempted military coup.


In yet another show of anti-Western saber-rattling, the Iranian regime put some of its newest weapons on display in a parade Wednesday through the streets of Tehran and threatened to destroy Israeli cities, Reuters reported. The parade showed off long-range missiles, tanks, and the Russian-supplied S-300 missile defense system, which Iran has deployed around Fordow, an underground nuclear complex outside of Qom. A banner on a truck carrying a Zolfaqar ballistic missile read, “If the leaders of the Zionist regime make a mistake then the Islamic Republic will turn Tel Aviv and Haifa to dust.” At a ballistic missile test in March, Iran launched a ballistic missile with a range of about 870 miles that had the phrase “Israel must be wiped from the face of the earth” inscribed on it in Hebrew. Iran also displayed the Qadr-H ballistic missile, which has a range of 2000 kilometers.
At the Gulf port of Bandar Abbas, Iran’s navy showed off 500 ships in addition to submarines and helicopters. Iran has increased its aggressiveness in the Persian Gulf since the implementation of the nuclear deal in January: there have been 31 incidents between Iranian and U.S. ships in that time period that were deemed “unsafe”, “unprofessional,” or both, which is the same amount for all of 2015. “We’ve seen an uptick in confrontations by Iranian vessels in the Arabian Gulf,” Gen. Joseph Votel, the head of U.S. Central Command, said earlier this month. “Ultimately if they continue to test us we’re going to respond and we’re going to protect ourselves and our partners.” Also this month, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ navy launched a new ship and draped a banner over it reading, “America should go to the Bay of Pigs, the Persian Gulf is our house.”


Facebook – which has a history of serving as a platform for anti-Israel incitement – is beginning to realize its role in enabling terrorist incitement and is enhancing cooperation with Israel, according to Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan. “Cooperation today is much better than it was in the past,” Shaked told Army radio on Monday. “The penny dropped for them as well that terror, incitement to terror, which is done on social media must be fought.”
The Israel Project’s own research associate Amanda Botfeld broke the story earlier this year in The Wall Street Journal that Facebook was letting anti-Israel and anti-Jewish hate speech go unchecked—and holding anti-Palestinian rhetoric to greater scrutiny. Pages with “Death to all the Arabs” violated Facebook’s community guidelines yet “Death to all the Jews” inexplicably did not. Since that time, Israel and the social media giant have been working together to make changes—Shaked said that over the past four months Facebook granted around 95 percent of requests to remove incendiary content.

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