Middle East

Netanyahu’s push to annex the Jordan Valley, explained

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement in Ramat Gan on September 10, 2019. Photo by Hadas Parush/Flash90

(JTA) — Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that if he is re-elected next week, he’ll immediately annex a big part of the West Bank: the Jordan Valley. That’s kind of a big deal. On the other hand, it’s not really — yet. That specific eastern swath of the West Bank… Read more »

As U.S.-Iran tensions escalate, Jews are warned they could be targeted

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivers a speech at a ceremony in Tabriz, Iran, Aug. 1, 2019. (Presidency of Iran/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – In 1992, Israel killed Abbas al-Musawi, a founder of the Hezbollah terrorist group in Lebanon, in a dramatic helicopter attack. Iran, Hezbollah’s primary funder, threatened to retaliate – talk that was somewhat expected for a country that routinely calls for the destruction of Israel. But two… Read more »

Israel airstrike in Iraq is 1st in 4 decades

(JTA) — Israel has carried out an airstrike on a weapons depot in Iraq that officials said was being used by Iran to move weapons to Syria, the New York Times reported. The attack, which happened last month and is believed to be the first Israeli bombing in Iraq… Read more »

Abbas says the the Palestinian Authority will ‘sever all ties’ with Israel

(JTA) — Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, reiterated statements about terminating his government’s dealings with Israel. Abbas’ announcement Thursday followed an emergency meeting after Israel razed Palestinian buildings built without permit on the edge of Jerusalem, near the security barrier that Israel built in the West… Read more »

White House unveils economic portion of Middle East peace plan

A picture shows the new West Bank Palestinian town of Rawabi, described as the largest privately-funded development project in Palestinian history, just north of Ramallah, on September 29, 2017. (ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Days ahead of a workshop where Jared Kushner will seek tens of billions of dollars for his Middle East peace plan, the White House unveiled an outline of its economic portion, including proposals, like a Gaza-West Bank travel corridor, that are sure to rattle Israel’s government.… Read more »

US, Israeli and Russian security advisers to meet in Jerusalem in June

(JTA) — The national security advisers of the United States, Israel and Russia will meet in Jerusalem in June, the White House said Wednesday. The announcement said that John Bolton of the United States, Meir Ben-Shabbat of Israel and Nikolay Patrushev, secretary of the Russian Security Council, would convene… Read more »

Is Iran the new Iraq? Here are the similarities — and big differences

Two Navy men attach cargo to a Sea Hawk helicopter from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in the Red Sea, May 10, 2019. The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group has been deployed to the area as tensions with Iran have escalated. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Amber Smalley/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — An American administration is issuing dire warnings about a Persian Gulf nation, there’s talk of war and questions about the quality of intelligence. And those who back confronting Iran and those who don’t are citing Israel as a factor. If the Iran war talk sounds familiar,… Read more »

Palestinian Authority prime minister resigns

This is a developing story. JERUSALEM (JTA) — Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah submitted his resignation to President Mahmoud Abbas. The rest of the government also resigned on Tuesday, according to reports. Abbas will have to decide whether to accept any or all of the resignations. The resignations… Read more »

U.S. cuts to Palestinians begin to have impact

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Reports of rollbacks in Palestinian aid projects are emerging as massive cuts in U.S. aid to the Palestinians kick in. The Associated Press reported Tuesday that up to 90,000 Palestinians will not get food aid in programs that are administered by nongovernmental organizations funded by U.S.… Read more »

On summer travels in Israel, Tucsonans delight in people, places, studies

(L-R): Garrett Fenton, Matt Landau, Sophia Yatsenko, Monica Montes, and Linnea Dawson in the Old City of Jerusalem at the Western Wall

This summer season marked the 18th anniversary of Birthright Israel, the program that brings Diaspora Jews, ages 18-26, on a free trip to Israel. From May 24-June 4, Bus #1545 carried University of Arizona students along with participants from the University of Southern California, Arizona State University, and San… Read more »

How 17-year-old Ahed Tamimi became a Palestinian national symbol

Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi is welcomed by relatives and supporters after her release from an Israeli prison, July 29, 2018. (Flash90)

(JTA) — When Ahed Tamimi left an Israeli prison on Sunday after eight months, she returned home to jubilation from friends and family in her West Bank hometown of Nabi Saleh. The 17-year-old Palestinian activist also was celebrated as a hero around the world for what some see as… Read more »

OP-ED Mahmoud Abbas’ remarks on the Holocaust explain why two-state solution is dying

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the Palestinian National Council in the West Bank city of Ramallah, April 30, 2018. (Flash90)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Rabbi Donniel Hartman had some bad news for his audience on the largely liberal Upper West Side: The two-state solution might not be dead, but it’s not imminent either, and most Israelis don’t believe the two-state solution is “implementable in their lifetime.” It’s not a… Read more »

Deaths on Gaza border hand Hamas a PR victory and Israel an angry internal debate

A Palestinian protester burning tires during clashes with Israeli forces near the border of the southern Gaza Strip, April 2, 2018. (Said Khatib/AFP/Getty Images)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — When the smoke from the rifles of Israeli sharpshooters and the firebombs thrown by Gaza Palestinians cleared in the wake of the Palestinian March of Return, there were at least 15 Palestinians dead and hundreds of protesters injured. Israel, meanwhile, had a huge PR mess. Israeli… Read more »