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  • View of the International Court of Justice courtroom during the court's ruling on May 24, 2024 that Israel must cease military operations in Rafah. (photo: Bastiaan Musscher, U.N. Photo / ICJ-CIJ)

    The International Court of Justice, the principal United Nations judicial arm located in the Hague, voted 13 to two on Friday to insist that the Jewish state “immediately halt its military offensive and any other action in the Rafah governorate.”

    The U.N. high court, which was ruling on a case that South Africa brought against Israel, stated that the Jewish state must cease such operations in Rafah “which may inflict on the Palestinian group in Gaza conditions of life that could bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”

    The court also ruled that Israel must keep the Rafah crossing open “for unhindered provision at scale of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance,” and it must take “effective” measures to allow “unimpeded access to the Gaza Strip” to “any commission of inquiry, fact-finding mission or other investigative body mandated by competent organs of the United Nations to investigate allegations of genocide.”

  • Jim Jordan, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Mike Johnson in 2020. (photo: Mike Johnson House website)

    Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Mike Johnson announced Thursday that he will extend an invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress. 

    "This will be a timely and a very strong show of support to the Israeli government in their time of greatest need," Johnson said in a speech at the annual Independence Day event at the Israeli Embassy in Washington. 

    Johnson told reporters on Wednesday that he would invite Netanyahu in the coming week, though a date for the address has not yet been set. The move would make Netanyahu the first foreign leader in history to address Congress four times, breaking his own record of three addresses shared with Winston Churchill. 

  • Israelis call for the release of hostages held by terrorists in Gaza since Hamas's October 7 massacre, outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office in Jerusalem on May 22, 2024. (photo: Ahmad Gharabli, AFP)

    CIA director William Burns is traveling to Europe to meet with Mossad chief David Barnea in an effort to revive talks for the release of hostages held by Hamas, an Israeli official tells The Times of Israel.

    While it is unclear whether Qatari or Egyptian officials will also be present for the meeting both mediating countries continue to be involved in the efforts to secure a hostage deal between Israel and Hamas, the Israeli official says.

    Israel’s war cabinet approved the resumption of indirect talks with Hamas for the release of hostages early this morning, with a source telling Hebrew media that the negotiating team was handed new guidelines to try and make an elusive breakthrough.

  • Smoke trails left after the Iron Dome air defense system intercepted rockets fired at Israel from Lebanon, as seen from the northern city of Safed, May 23, 2024. (photo: David Cohen, Flash90)

    The Israel Defense Forces said Thursday some 30 projectiles were fired from Lebanon at northern towns in a barrage that came hours after a senior Hezbollah member, who was said to have procured “strategic and unique weapons” for the terror group, was killed in an Israeli strike.

    It was the latest round in a simmering border conflict that threatens to boil over into a full-scale war.

    According to the IDF, some of the projectiles were intercepted and others landed in open areas, and there were no injuries. The rockets sparked a bushfire in the Hula Valley region. Six firefighting crews were dispatched to try the blazes.

  • How bad could the upcoming hurricane season be? Maybe one of the busiest ever, at least judging by a new key preseason forecast.

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Thursday released its forecast for the 2024 season, which starts June 1, calling for a more active than normal season — thanks in large part to the off-the-charts high temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean.

    NOAA is predicting that 17 to 25 named storms could form this year, with eight to 13 powering up into hurricanes and four to seven of those reaching major hurricane status, Category 3 or higher. That’s above the average: 14 named storms, 7 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes. In fact, they’re the highest ever forecast by the federal agency. In 2020, NOAA had predicted the highest number of storms of all time. That season wound up with 30 named storms, 14 of them growing into hurricanes.

    This season — at least potentially — sets up to top that.

    “That’s the highest forecast that we’ve had,” said Ken Graham, director of the National Weather Service. “It’s reason to be concerned, of course, but not alarmed.”

  • (screen capture: Israel GPO)

    Plans by Ireland, Norway and Spain to recognize “Palestine” only seven months after Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre constitute a reward for terrorism, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday night.

    “Eighty percent of the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria support the terrible massacre of Oct. 7. This evil cannot be given a state,” Netanyahu stressed in a Hebrew-language video statement posted to social media.

    “This would be a terrorist state. It will try to repeat the massacre of Oct. 7 again and again,” he said, stressing that Israel “will not consent to this.”

    The premier concluded: “Rewarding terrorism will not bring peace and neither will it stop us from defeating Hamas.”

  • Then-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, March 9, 2016. (photo: Flash90)

    President Joe Biden still believes a Palestinian state should be realized only through direct negotiations with Israel, a U.S. National Security Council spokesperson told CNN on Wednesday, responding to the decisions by Ireland, Spain and Norway to recognize “Palestine.”

    Biden thinks that “a Palestinian state should be realized through direct negotiations between the parties, not through unilateral recognition,” the spokesperson said, adding that the president is “a strong supporter of a two-state solution and has been throughout his career.”

    Earlier on Wednesday, Norway, Ireland and Spain announced their recognition of a Palestinian state, in decisions that the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas terrorist organization welcomed.

  • Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez delivers a speech to announce that Spain will recognize a Palestinian state on May 28, at the Congress of Deputies in Madrid on May 22, 2024. (photo: Thomas Coex, AFP)

    The leaders of Norway, Ireland and Spain announced Wednesday that their countries will recognize a Palestinian state within days, sparking a diplomatic row with Israel.

    Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said their countries would make recognition official on May 28, in a joint move with Ireland, whose leader Simon Harris said he expected other countries to join an upswell of support for Palestinian statehood in the coming weeks.

    Several European Union countries have in the past weeks indicated that they plan to declare their recognition of a Palestinian state, arguing a two-state solution is essential for lasting peace in the region.

  • Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh, right, is welcomed by Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian for their meeting in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, March 26, 2024. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

    Amir-Abdollahian had a close relationship with senior IRGC commander Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad in 2020.

    “You should thank the Islamic Republic and Qassem Soleimani because Soleimani has contributed to world peace and security,” Amir-Abdollahian once said. “If there was no Islamic Republic, your metro stations and gathering centers in Brussels, London and Paris would not be safe.” 

    In December 2023, Amir-Abdollahian met with Hamas politburo leader Ismail Haniyeh in Qatar. A month prior, he held meetings with senior Hamas politburo member Khalil Al-Hayya, and with Palestinian Islamic Jihad Secretary General Ziad al-Nakhaleh in Lebanon.

    He met with Haniyeh twice more, once in February during a visit to Doha and again in March during the Hamas political chief’s visit to Tehran.


  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill on May 21, 2024 in Washington, DC. (Kent Nishimura/Getty Images/AFP)

    US Secretary of State Antony Blinken acknowledged for the first time on Tuesday that Israel might not be willing to embrace a normalization deal with Saudi Arabia if it means agreeing to clear progress toward a Palestinian state.

    “The Saudis demand a ceasefire in Gaza and a pathway to a Palestinian state, and it may well be that Israel isn’t able, willing to proceed down this pathway,” Blinken said in testimony before Congress.

    “It must decide if it wants to take advantage of this opportunity to achieve something sought from its founding,” he added.

  • The United Nations flag is lowered to half-mast at UN Headquarters to honor Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi, the Iranian president, who died in a helicopter crash on May 19, 2024. At right is Amir Saeid Iravani, Iranian ambassador to the United Nations, on May 21, 2024. Credit: Mark Garten/U.N. Photo.

    The day after critics slammed the United Nations for holding a moment of silence for the late Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who died in a helicopter crash on Sunday, the global body lowered flags to half-mast to honor the leader known as the “Butcher of Tehran.” 

    “The United Nations has completely gone off the deep end. Lowering the U.N. flag to half mast in tribute of Iranian President Raisi, a.k.a The Butcher of Tehran,” wrote the Israeli diplomat Yaki Lopez, a staffer in the Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry’s digital diplomacy bureau.

    “Raisi is personally responsible for the deaths of thousands of Iranians, as well as for attacks on Israel,” Lopez added. “What a disgrace.”

  • Israeli President Isaac Herzog meets with U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in Jerusalem, Jan. 18, 2023. Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO.

    Israeli President Isaac Herzog on Tuesday said that normalization with Saudi Arabia is a real possibility, adding that such an eventuality would be a “game-changer” for the region. 

    Speaking at a conference in Jerusalem, Herzog said, “Two days ago, I met with the U.S. National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, and heard from him what was officially announced yesterday—that there is an option for normalization with Saudi Arabia. This is a move that could bring about tremendous change, a historic ‘game-changer’ that constitutes a victory over the empire of evil.”

  • IDF soldiers during operational activity in the Jabalia area of northern Gaza on May 20, 2024. (photo: IDF)

    Israel will not engage in a full-scale military offensive in Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah. Instead, it will continue its limited operation in the last Hamas bastion, with the blessing of the Biden administration, according to Washington Post analyst David Ignatius.

  • Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in Moscow, 2022.Credit: Maxim Shemetov /AP

    Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, a hardliner close to the country's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard who confronted the West while also overseeing indirect talks with the U.S. over the country's nuclear program, died in the helicopter crash that also killed the country's president. 

    Amirabdollahian represented the hard-line shift in Iran after the collapse of Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers after then-U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from the accord. He served under President Ebrahim Raisi, a protégé of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and followed their policies.

  • Karim Khan, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (center), announces he is seeking arrest warrants from the court’s judges for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, along with Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif and Ismail Haniyeh, May 20, 2024. (ICC)

    In an unprecedented and hugely controversial development, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Kahn, said Monday that he had requested arrest warrants from the court’s judges for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, along with top Hamas leaders.

    Kahn said that the charges against Israel’s premier and defense chief are for the crimes of “causing extermination, causing starvation as a method of war including the denial of humanitarian relief supplies, deliberately targeting civilians in conflict.”

    “We submit that the crimes against humanity charged were committed as part of a widespread and systematic attack against the Palestinian civilian population pursuant to State policy. These crimes, in our assessment, continue to this day,” said Khan in reference to Netanyahu and Gallant.

  • A handout picture provided by the Iranian presidency shows Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi (C) at the site of Qiz Qalasi, the third dam jointly built by Iran and Azerbaijan on the Aras River, ahead of its inauguration ceremony on May 19, 2024.(Iranian Presidency/AFP)

    Searchers arrived at the crash site of the helicopter which carried Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and found no sign of life, according to IRINN Telegram message.

    Hopes are fading that Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his foreign minister have survived a helicopter crash in mountainous terrain and icy weather, an Iranian official said on Monday after search teams located the wreckage.

    "President Raisi's helicopter was completely burned in the crash ... unfortunately, all passengers are feared dead," the official told Reuters.

  • This graphic shows active Severe Thunderstorm Watches on Sunday, May 19, 2024. (FOX Weather)

    Major damage was reported Sunday as powerful storms tore across the central U.S. with destructive winds, giant hail and even a few tornadoes.

    The severe weather threat included the potential for a derecho that could sweep across portions of Kansas and Oklahoma with wind gusts higher than 100 mph and baseball-sized hail. That is the same type of storm that barreled across Texas and Louisiana on Thursday, blasting the Houston metro area with winds up to 100 mph that left at least seven people dead and more than 1 million customers without power.

  • U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan met with Netanyahu to discuss an ambitious U.S. plan for Saudi Arabia to recognize Israel and help the Palestinian Authority govern Gaza in exchange for a path to eventual statehood. Netanyahu's office in a statement said they focused on Israel's military operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, humanitarian aid and hostages held in Gaza.

    Netanyahu opposes Palestinian statehood, saying Israel will maintain open-ended security control over Gaza and partner with local Palestinians unaffiliated with Hamas or the Western-backed Palestinian Authority.

    The U.S. said Sullivan said Israel should "connect its military operations to a political strategy" and proposed measures to ensure more aid "surges" into Gaza.

  • Israel Minister of Foreign Affairs Israel Katz meets US Congresswoman Elisa Stefanik (R-NY) on May 19, 2024.

    Israel called for bipartisan support on Sunday from the United States against the establishment of a Palestinian state, which it said would be a reward for Hamas and its backer Iran.

    European Union members including Ireland, Spain, Slovenia and Malta have said they could recognise a Palestinian state this month, seeing a two-state solution as essential for lasting peace.

    Israel's foreign minister, Israel Katz, who met top House Republican Elise Stefanik earlier, said if a Palestinian state was established, Iran would use it as a base to "work towards the destruction of Israel".

  • In this photo released by the Iranian Presidency Office, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi attends the inauguration ceremony of dam of Qiz Qalasi, or Castel of Girl in Azeri, at the border of Iran and Azerbaijan, May 19, 2024. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

    Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency publishes footage purporting to show rescue crews speeding through a misty, rural forest to reach the site where a helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is believed to have crashed.

    Iranian state media reports that the helicopter suffered a “hard landing.”

    Raisi was traveling in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province. State TV says the incident happened near Jolfa, a city on the border with Azerbaijan, some 600 kilometers (375 miles) northwest of the Iranian capital, Tehran.

  • Jack Lew, US ambassador to Israel, at a rally in Tel Aviv, May 18, 2024. (photo: Pauline Fatimer)

    The Biden administration pledged it would never abandon the remaining 128 hostages, alive or dead, as its National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan was due to arrive in Israel on Sunday in an effort to reenergize talks.

    “The United States continues to press ahead with negotiations to bring the hostages home,” US Ambassador to Israel Jack Lew told protesters at Hostage Square, as he addressed them for the second time in the last seven months.

    “Today marks 225 days since innocents were ripped from their loved ones, children from their parents, parents from their children,” he stated.

  • IAEA Chief Rafael Grossi says Iran is not months but weeks away from possessing enough enriched uranium to develop a nuclear bomb, though he clarified that this does not signify that Tehran would avail itself of nuclear weapons at that point. (photo: Chris Gallagher, Reuters)

    Iran may be mere weeks away from developing nuclear weapons, according to the director general of the UN’s nuclear agency,

    Rafael Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN’s nuclear oversight organization, flew to Iran last week to strengthen the UN’s supervision of Iranian nuclear activities. 

    Iran has agreed to provide the agency with information about its nuclear facilities and access to cameras at its nuclear sights. Since 2022, many surveillance cameras have been removed, and traces of uranium have been found in unexpected locations.

  • War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz holds a press conference in Ramat Gan, May 18, 2024. (photo: Miriam Alster, Flash90)

    Gantz says that the war cabinet must formulate and put in place “a plan of action” by June 8 to achieve “six strategic goals”:

    1. “To bring the hostages home;”

    2. “To topple Hamas rule, demilitarize the Gaza Strip and gain Israeli security control [of Gaza];”

    3. Alongside that Israeli security control, “to create an international civilian governance mechanism for Gaza, including American, European, Arab and Palestinian elements — which will also serve as a basis for a future alternative that is not Hamas and is not [Palestinian Authority President] Abbas;”

    4. “To return residents of the north to their homes by September 1, and to rehabilitate the western Negev (adjacent to Gaza, targeted by Hamas on October 7);”

    5. “To advance normalization with Saudi Arabia as part of a comprehensive process to create an alliance with the free world and the West against Iran and its allies;” and

    6. “To adopt a framework for [military/national] service under which all Israelis will serve the state and contribute to the national effort.”

  • If necessary, Netanyahu can simply shrug off Gantz and return to his core, 64-strong pre-war coalition. It’s only from within that it can be brought down.

  • A line of severe thunderstorms swept through southeastern Texas and Louisiana on Thursday, blasting the Houston area with incredible winds reaching up to 100 mph that left at least seven dead - including a mother of a newborn - and more than 1 million power customers without electricity.

    The extreme wind gusts blew out windows of high-rise buildings and caused transmission towers holding power lines to crumble.

    The National Weather Service in Houston called the event a derecho, which produces destructive winds over hundreds of miles and impacts millions of people.

  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Israel on Wednesday not to reoccupy Gaza, to refrain from a major Rafah operation, and to finalize a day-after plan for the enclave, as he spoke to reporters in Kyiv.

    “When it comes to the future of Gaza, we do not support and will not support an Israeli reoccupation,” Blinken said, amid a bitter row between Jerusalem and Washington over the Gaza war.

    Blinken said that he did not support Hamas governance in Gaza, but there also can’t be anarchy and a vacuum that’s likely to be filled by chaos.

    In an interview with CNBC, Netanyahu stressed that those who want Israel to halt its military campaign in Gaza and refrain from a major Rafah operation to destroy the four Hamas battalions there, are empowering the terror group.

  • A screenshot (right) from IDF aerial footage of an airstrike in eastern Lebanon that targeted al-Jama'a al-Islamiyya operative Sharhabil Sayed, May 17, 2024; Sharhabil Sayed (left) in an official Hamas poster. (photo: Israel Defense Forces)

    The Israeli military on Friday confirmed carrying out an airstrike in eastern Lebanon’s Majdal Anjar, close to the border with Syria, killing a top al-Jama’a al-Islamiyya operative who worked alongside Hamas.

    The IDF said the drone strike targeted and killed Sharhabil Sayed.

    Sayed, according to the IDF, was a senior member of al-Jama’a al-Islamiyya who “led and advanced numerous terror attacks from Lebanese territory against Israel in [Lebanon’s] eastern region in the recent period… in cooperation with the Lebanon branch of the Hamas terrorist organization.”

  • A picture taken from southern Lebanon shows smoke rising above the northern Israeli town of Metula following a strike from the Lebanese side on May 16, 2024. (Rabih Daher / AFP)

    Three soldiers were injured, one seriously, when a drone packed with explosives launched from Lebanese territory crashed and blew up in an area near the northern community of Metula, the Israeli military said Thursday.

    The attack was claimed by the Hezbollah terror group, which said it had targeted Israel Defense Forces targets with a missile-armed drone, as cross-border hostilities continued to spiral following the killing of a senior Hezbollah field commander earlier this week.

    One of the troops was hospitalized in serious condition, the military said, and the other two were lightly hurt as a result of the blast.

  • Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, speaking to IDF forces in Rafah on Thursday, said that their operation there was about making sure "the faucet to Hamas is closed" from being able to rearm.

    He said, "many tunnels have already been destroyed and many more will be destroyed soon," which would finally end the terror group's major cross-border capability to resupply itself with weapons.

    Next, he said that "the operation will continue with additional forces which will invade ... this operation will continue and intensify."

  • "We are moving closer to a situation where there is a big, huge question mark about what they are doing and why they are doing it," said IAEA director Rafael Grossi with regard to Iran's nuclear program.

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Provocative Commentary

“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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