Bolton in Israel: Preventing Iran From Acquiring Nukes Has “Highest Importance“ for U.S.
White House National Security Adviser John Bolton met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Sunday evening, saying that Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs were “right at the top of the list” of challenges facing the United States and the world, The Times of Israel reported.
Bolton told Netanyahu that for the U.S. preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons capabilities was of “highest importance,” and the rationale behind the withdrawal from the JCPOA earlier in the year.
Bolton also explained that the Trump administration was working to convince European allies “of the need to take stronger steps against the Iranian nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program.”
Netanyahu agreed with Bolton that the JCPOA was “disastrous” and observed that “the nuclear deal did not block Iran’s path to the bomb, it paved Iran’s path to an entire nuclear arsenal.”
Both men praised the strong relationship and said ties between the two nations had never been better. Bolton made a point of noting his “privilege and an honor to be here in Jerusalem, Israel’s capital.”
In an interview with ABC News’ “This Week” from Israel, Bolton said “I think the president’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal has put a real crimp into the Iranian economy… I think they’re feeling it and their capability for the Quds Force or the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to conduct offensive operations in – in the region here and in Yemen as well.”
“I think this is part of the problem with the Iranian regime generally and why it’s such a threat to peace and security not just because of its nuclear program, but because of its military operations and its support for terrorism,” Bolton said.
Bolton landed in Israel for a 48-hour trip on Sunday evening, the first stop on a three-country tour taking place this week.
Relations Between PA and Egypt “Very Tense” After Abbas Rejects Cairo-Led Peace Efforts
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is said to have angered the government of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi with his rejection of an Egypt-brokered truce between Israel and Hamas to end the violence in Gaza, The Times of Israel reported Sunday.
According to a report by the London-based Al-Hayat daily newspaper, Abbas insisted that a reconciliation deal between his Fatah party and its rival Hamas take precedence over a long-term ceasefire agreement with Israel and that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which he chairs, be part of any such deal.
Relations between the PA and Egypt are “very tense,” the report said citing Palestinian sources.
During a meeting of PLO officials, Abbas said the Palestinians should not “underestimate the importance of popular resistance,” a synonym often used to encourage terrorist attacks against Israel.
The PLO council said in a statement: “The truce with the Israeli occupation is the national responsibility of the PLO, which is the sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.” The Council added: “It is not a factional issue.”
The council also reiterated its pledge to boycott a regional peace plan, currently drawn up by the Trump administration, which enjoys the backing of Arab states. “The US administration is a partner of the Israeli occupation government,” the council charged. “It is part of the problem, and not part of the solution.”
Recent months have seen repeated rounds of intense violence between Israel and Hamas.
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has defended Israel for its “restraint” shown in dealing with the border riots. In addition to clashes at the border, southern Israel has experienced hundreds of fires as a result of incendiary terror-kites and balloons flown over the Hamas-controlled coastal enclave.
TIP CEO: Iranian Support Gave Houthi Rebels Resources to Wage War in Yemen
In an op-ed published in The Jerusalem Post on Sunday, TIP CEO & President Joshua S. Block detailed how support from Iran gave Houthi rebels the resources to wage war in Yemen and how the humanitarian crisis affecting the Yemeni people could be alleviated by cutting off the Houthis from their Iranian masters.
“It is clear that the UN Verification and Inspection Mechanism (UNVIM), which provides clearance for commercial shipping to Houthi-controlled territory, has failed to stop the flow of illicit arms to the rebels…Since the war broke out and the Houthis unseated the legitimate government of Yemen, the group has received training, expertise, and weapons from Iran and Hezbollah.”
The battle for control over the strategic port of Hodeidah – the access and distribution point for more than 70 percent of aid reaching the war-torn country – intensified in late July, following an attack on two Saudi oil tankers off the west coast that led Saudi Arabia to suspend its oil shipments through the Bab Al-Mandeb strait.
Since taking control of Hodeidah in October 2014, the Iranian-backed rebels have blocked aid deliveries, threatened volunteers, and blocked the transfer of wounded civilians in what Block called “a cynical infringement of basic humanitarian law.”
“It is therefore imperative for the UN to take this lifeline out of Houthi control.” A UN-led peace initiative, however, appears to be on the brink of collapse, after Houthi rebels used the negotiation period to further entrench their forces in Hodeidah. “Houthi activity in the city has intensified, and the group has made it clear that there are no terms under which they will hand over the city to an internationally- supervised operation.”
Block praised the decision by the United States to reimpose sanctions on Iran and limit the cash flow to Tehran’s proxies across the Middle East, including to the Houthi rebels.
Soda Giant Pepsi Agrees to Buy Israel's SodaStream for $3.2 Billion
Beverage and snack giant PepsiCo has agreed to buy Israeli company SodaStream in a deal worth $3.2 billion. SodaStream makes home beverage carbonation systems sold in 46 countries.
Pepsi’s incoming CEO, Ramon Laguarta, said the acquisition reflects the company’s campaign to find new ways to reach consumers “beyond the bottle” as well as its growing emphasis on sparkling water.
“SodaStream is highly complementary and incremental to our business, adding to our growing water portfolio while catalyzing our ability to offer personalized in-home beverage solutions around the world,” said Laguarta.
SodaStream just experienced its most successful quarterly period in the company’s history, according to a statement from Daniel Birnbaum, CEO of SodaStream since 2007.
“Most notably, sales of sparkling water maker units increased 22% to over 1 million in the second quarter and sales of gas refill units grew 17% to an all-time record 9.7 million,” Birnbaum said.
Most SodaStream customers today are using their countertop machines to prepare liter bottles of plain sparkling water, making the Israeli company the largest sparkling water brand in the world by volume.
US-based PepsiCo, which has a distribution network in 200 countries, is the largest food and beverage business in the United States, Russia, India, and the Middle East.
The lucrative deal, expected to close in January upon agreement of PepsiCo shareholders, is the third-largest acquisition of an Israeli company announced this year.