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  • US President Donald Trump (C) and US Vice President Mike Pence welcome Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) at the White House in Washington, DC, March 25, 2019. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP)
  • PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a bilateral meeting with US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2018. (photo credit: REUTERS/CARLOS BARRIA)

    WASHINGTON – Before boarding his plane for Washington early Sunday morning, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a brief statement to reporters, which made it perfectly clear why he was leaving the country for four days to travel to the United States just 16 days before the election.

    “The ties that I have with world leaders – with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, with [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi from India, with [President Jair] Bolsonaro, who will arrive here next week from Brazil, with [Shinzo] Abe from Japan, with the leaders of China, and with other leaders – are an asset to the State of Israel,” he said.

    “However, we have never had such a bond between the prime minister of Israel and an American president. This is a very, very important asset for the State of Israel and it is important that it continues to serve us.”

    Netanyahu was not leaving the campaign trail, rather he is using Washington as the backdrop for this part of the campaign in which he wants to drive home one message: “I have brought Israel’s relations to the world to unprecedented heights, I am the only one you can count on to sit and meet eye-to-eye with Putin, Modi, Bolsonaro, Abe and US President Donald Trump.”

  • Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman talks with Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud during the Gulf Cooperation Council's (GCC) Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia December 9, 2018. (photo credit: BANDAR ALGALOUD/COURTESY OF SAUDI ROYAL COURT/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
    Only a few days after shrugging off US President Donald Trump’s recognition of the Golan as part of Israel, the Middle East is now looking at how Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu handles the Gaza crises.

    Could one long-range rockets result in a conflict in Gaza, after a year of massive protests and hundreds of rockets resulted in more pragmatic Israeli responses? This is the question that hangs over the Middle East as Netanyahu cuts short his US trip to attend to the crises. Much is at stake because there are numerous forces that want quiet to be maintained along the Gaza border.

    Foremost among those forces are the southern Arab states such as Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Egypt has played an essential role in mediating the Gaza crises over the last year. Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which oppose Hamas, do not want a new Israel-Palestinian conflict because they see Iran as the major threat to the region and would prefer Israel keep its eyes on the Iranian threat as well. Jordan has been tiptoeing carefully as well, concerned after the US embassy move to Jerusalem last year.

  • A home in the central Israeli town of Mishmeret, which was destroyed in a rocket attack from the Gaza Strip on March 25, 2019. (Fired and Rescue Services)

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced he would cut short his trip to the United States on Monday after a rocket fired from Gaza struck a residential building in central Israel early Monday morning, injuring seven people, including two infants, and leveling the structure.

    “A few minutes ago I finished a briefing and consultation with the chief of staff [of the IDF], the head of the Shin Bet and the national security adviser,” Netanyahu said in a hastily released video from Washington. “This was a criminal attack on Israel and we will respond forcefully,” he vowed.

    He said he would stay in Washington just long enough to meet US President Donald Trump on Monday morning local time, “and immediately afterward return to Israel to oversee our response first-hand.”

  • Attorney General William Barr on Sunday released the "principal conclusions" of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's completed Russia probe in a bombshell four-page letter to Capitol Hill lawmakers, which stated definitively that Mueller did not establish evidence that President Trump's team or any associates of the Trump campaign had conspired with Russia to sway the 2016 election -- "despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign."

    For Trump, who has tweeted more than 230 times that he did not collude with Russians amid a torrent of allegations from media and political figures, the moment amounted to a near-total vindication. Although Mueller noted that his report did not "exonerate" Trump on obstruction, Barr wrote, the "report does not recommend any further indictments, nor did the Special Counsel obtain any sealed indictments that have yet to be made public."

    "No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION," Trump wrote on Twitter Sunday afternoon. "KEEP AMERICA GREAT!"
  • The Rabbi of the Western Wall and the Holy Places Shmuel Rabinovitch [L], United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman [R] in the Kotel Tunnels. . (photo credit: AMIT SHABI/POOL)

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggested that President Donald Trump may have been sent by God to protect Israel. 

    Asked in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network whether he thought “President Trump right now has been sort of raised for such a time as this, just like Queen Esther, to help save the Jewish people from the Iranian menace” — a reference to the story behind the Purim holiday, and to the present-day relationship between Iran and Israel — Pompeo said: “As a Christian, I certainly believe that’s possible.”

    He added that with “the work that our administration’s done to make sure that this democracy in the Middle East, that this Jewish state, remains,” that he is “confident that the Lord is at work here.”

    Pompeo was in Jerusalem, where he accompanied Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the Western Wall.

  • High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini gives a joint press conference during a Foreign Affairs Ministerial meeting at the EU headquarters in Brussels on January 21, 2019. (John Thys/AFP)

    The European Union will not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s declaration that Washington would do so, a spokesperson for the EU said Friday morning.

    “The European Union, in accordance with international law, does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the territories it occupied since July 1967, including the Golan Heights, and does not consider them as part of Israeli territory,” Maya Kosyanchich, a spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, said in a statement carried by several news outlets.

    Her comments came as Trump’s move was condemned strongly by Syria and its allies Russia and Iran, as well as by the president of Turkey.

  • Photo taken on October 18, 2017 shows an Israeli flag fluttering above the wreckage of an Israeli tank sitting on a hill in the Golan Heights and overlooking the border with Syria. (Photo by JALAA MAREY / AFP)

    The IDF on Saturday increased readiness for violence in the north of Israel and in Syria after US President Donald Trump recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

    “We are preparing for the possibility of tension in the northern Golan Heights,” the Israeli military said in a statement, without providing further details.

    Hebrew-language media reported that the Israeli military and police were preparing for violent protests on both sides of the border. According Channel 13 news, snipers have been deployed and riot control measures, such as tear gas and rubber bullets, have been supplied to forces stationed in the area.

  • Golan Heights, Israel - iStock Photo

    The Syrian government on Friday vowed to recover the Golan Heights after US President Donald Trump said it was time to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the region, Reuters reports.

    Damascus said on Friday the Golan would remain “Syrian, Arab” and added that Trump had shown contempt for international law.

    “The Syrian nation is more determined to liberate this precious piece of Syrian national land through all available means,” the Syrian government said, according to Reuters.

    Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu welcomed Trump's announcement on Thursday and described it as a "Purim miracle."

  • US President Donald Trump (R) meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House, March 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

    White House officials are currently drafting an official US declaration recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, with President Donald Trump set to sign it when he hosts Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington next week, TV reports said Friday.

    The reports on channels 12 and 13 came a day after Trump tweeted that it was “time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” upending decades of US policy on the matter.

    Israeli leadership was exuberant over the announcement, with Netanyahu saying “the message that President Trump has given the world is that America stands by Israel.”

     

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“The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees. He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking Him the rest of the day. If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, He will be in the last place the remainder of the day.” 
― E.M. Bounds

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