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Israel a ‘Mighty Aircraft Carrier’ of the US, Netanyahu Says

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the USS George H.W. Bush docked outside of Haifa.

The destroyer had just returned from five months of battling Daesh. Netanyahu spoke of Israel’s contributions to fighting the militant jihadists in Syria and Iraq, hailing the ongoing efforts of the US-led coalition.

"We are here on a mighty aircraft carrier of the United States and a few miles from here, there is another mighty aircraft carrier of our common civilization – it’s called the State of Israel," he said, adding that Israel and the US "are both peace loving people, while we recognize that sometimes you need to fight those enemies of peace, those that want to chop the head off our common societies … This is what we do together."

The prime minister also thanked US Naval Forces Europe Commander Admiral Michelle Howard called US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman "a proud American and a great champion of the America-Israel alliance."

USS George H.W. Bush commanding officer and Navy Captain William Pennington pointed out the long history of strategic cooperation and intelligence sharing between Israel and the US, saying the two nations are "very tightly linked with our colleagues and partners and allies from the Israel Defense Forces and have been for many, many years," according to Defense News.

Pennington added, "There is a tremendous network of shared intelligence. As you are aware, the airspace in this region is very, very busy with lots of different actors, so the need to deconflict that and make sure that everyone understands their mission is very, very important."

Friedman pointed out that this was the first time a world leader had been aboard the Bush, saying the event "speaks volumes to the unbreakable bind ties between the United States and the State of Israel."

Israel Plans to Evict Palestinians for East Jerusalem Construction Plan
Jason Ditz

Construction to Add Housing for Jews in Arab Neighborhood.

Israel intends to move forward with plans to expand Jewish-only neighborhoods that have been built in the middle of an Arab neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem, and in the next two weeks, at least five Palestinian families will be evicted from their homes to make way for the expansions.

The far-right Israeli government has made much of their intention to expand what are essentially settlements, but which since Israel nominally annexed East Jerusalem they claim is a distinct expansion of housing in a religiously-exclusive manner, for quite some time.

Since President Trump’s election, Israeli politicians have believed themselves more or less free to expand settlements, particularly in East Jerusalem, as quickly as they want without fear of serious reprimand from the US, and by extension from the UN.

Israeli NGO Peace Now was very critical of the planned expansions, saying that the Palestinian families were protected tenants and had lived in the area for decades, and their expulsion proved that the current government is trying to further undermine the possibility of a two-state solution.

Israeli Defense Minister Warns Syria, Lebanon: Don't Test Us

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman cautioned the country’s northern neighbors against testing the Jewish State’s patience following numerous cases of spillover fire from Syria.

On Saturday, two stray mortars landed near a security fence in Israel's Golan Heights in the latest of a series of such incidents in just one week. The projectiles are believed to be from fighting between the Bashar Assad regime and rebel groups near the city of Quneitra. They caused no injuries or damage to property.

The IDF responded with a retaliatory raid targeting a Syrian military post near the Naba Fawar base.

The Israeli defense minister said on Sunday that while Israel maintains a policy of staying out of the raging Syrian Civil War, breaches of the country's territorial sovereignty won't be tolerated.

"We have no intention of entering any conflict, but I advise our neighbors not to test us," Lieberman told military journalists during a briefing at the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv, as cited by the Jerusalem Post.

"We will not tolerate any spillover into our territory."

He added that Syria and Lebanon already know that it is not a good idea to test Israel's military strength, implying the retaliatory strikes.

Additionally, Lieberman pointed out that Israel is ready to support a peace process in Syria — unless it involves Iran, Hezbollah or Assad.

"Keeping Assad in power is not in our security interests," he told reporters.

Though Israel says it wants to stay out Syria's seven-year-old civil war, Lieberman said there are red lines Jerusalem has set, including the smuggling of sophisticated weaponry to Hezbollah and an Iranian presence on its borders.
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