BRINK OF WAR: Tensions Mount as Israel Fends Off Attacks on Its Northern Border

ISRAEL (Washington Free Beacon) — Israel is fending off attacks on its northern border while it confronts an escalating conflict with Hamas.

Israel Defense Forces shot down a drone near the country’s northern border on Tuesday. Although the drone approached Israel from Jordanian airspace, Israeli military officials say its origin is unclear.

The day before, a Palestinian militia fired at least six rockets at Israel from Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon. Three other rockets were launched at Israel from Syria on Friday after Hezbollah claimed Israeli forces killed one of its militants during a border protest.

The strikes on the country’s northern border come as Hamas ramps up its rocket attacks on cities in central and southern Israel. On Tuesday, former secretary of state Mike Pompeo said there is a real risk for a two-front war and that Iran-backed Hezbollah could join Hamas in its violent campaign against the Jewish state.

“The risk that Hezbollah decides to join this fight is real,” Pompeo said. “We know that Hezbollah has been able to build out their capabilities, including precision-guided munitions in the north. The threat is real in ways that these rockets from Hamas are not.”

While the Biden administration calls for a peaceful resolution to the conflict, Hamas continues to fire thousands of rockets toward Israeli cities. The terror group killed two Thai workers in southern Israel on Tuesday and wounded seven others. Israeli authorities on Sunday also apprehended two Jordanian men inside Israel who snuck past the border armed with knives.


The Washington Free Beacon’s Jack Beyrer contributed to the contents of this report.

‘OUT OF CONTROL’: Trump blasts Pelosi’s defense of ‘hateful’ Omar

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Monday lashed out at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for her ongoing defense of Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Omar (D-Minn.), has been under constant fire in recent weeks after making comments that were deemed anti-Semitic by Republicans and Democrats alike.

The controversy began in February after the freshman Democrat responded to a tweet from journalist Glenn Greenwald, who had commented on GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy’s threat to punish Omar and another congresswoman for being critical of Israel.

Omar wrote back, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” insinuating that Republicans only supported Jews and Israel for financial gain.

In a follow-up tweet Omar named the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, claiming the organization was funding Republican support for Israel.

Then last month, Omar again sparked controversy after making what many saw as hurtful comments regarding the September 11, 2001 terror attacks

“CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties,” Omar said in March in a speech to the Council on American Islamic Relations.

Pelosi was featured in a “60 Minutes” segment on Sunday night in which she slammed Trump’s leadership and appeared to downplay Omar’s inflammatory comments.

“Before Nancy, who has lost all control of Congress and is getting nothing done, decides to defend her leader, Rep. Omar, she should look at the anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and ungrateful U.S. HATE statements Omar has made,” Trump tweeted. “She is out of control, except for her control of Nancy!”

The president’s latest statement on the issue follows a tweet he put out on Friday which contained video footage of the September 11 terror attacks. In it he criticized Omar’s comments.

In a statement released late Sunday, Omar claimed she has been the subject of death threats following the president’s 9/11 tweet.

“Violent rhetoric and all forms of hate speech have no place in our society, much less from our country’s Commander in Chief,” Omar said. “We are all Americans. This is endangering lives. It has to stop.”

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REPORT: Dem’s anger at Omar reaching boiling point

WASHINGTON (The Hill) — Frustration among House Democrats simmered on Wednesday over Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-Minn.) criticism of Israel, with lawmakers questioning how they should respond to the latest controversy surrounding the freshman lawmaker.

Progressive lawmakers and members of key minority caucuses argued that voting on a resolution implicitly aimed at Omar — one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress — played into GOP hands trying to exacerbate Democratic divisions.

“I think it’s inappropriate to just focus on one person. I absolutely do,” said Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Bass also said the spotlight on Omar was creating real-world security risks for the freshman lawmaker.

“I also think, frankly, that it puts her at risk to focus on her. You know, she’s already received death threats,” Bass said.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), a Progressive Caucus leader, expressed frustration that the focus on Omar’s remarks was making it easier for Republicans to sow divisions among Democrats.

“We are now in the majority and the Republicans have an intent to try to divide us whenever they can. So what processes can we as a caucus put in place so that we don’t help them to do that?” Jayapal said

Other Democrats believe that Omar should be held accountable for her comments.

“I disagree with what was said. And I think there should be an apology,” said Rep. Colin Allred (D-Texas), a freshman who represents a swing district.

House Democratic leaders began crafting a resolution over the weekend to condemn anti-Semitism in the wake of Omar’s latest comments. Wednesday’s meeting offered the first caucus-wide discussion since that measure began circulating.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) acknowledged during the closed-door meeting that “we have some internal issues,” according to a Democratic aide, but advised lawmakers: “Don’t question the motivations of our colleagues.”

She sought to downplay the internal divisions and blamed the media for hyping them.

“If you say the bacon is not crispy enough, they’ll have an article about this unrest and unease in the Democratic Party,” Pelosi said.

Staff for Democratic leaders began drafting the resolution over the weekend, after House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) issued a statement accusing Omar of “invoking a vile anti-Semitic slur.”

A vote had initially been expected on Wednesday, but aides said Democratic leaders have pushed it back as they make changes to the resolution to make it more inclusive and broadly condemn hate, including Islamophobia.

The House could vote as soon as Thursday, but a plan has not been finalized.
“There are ongoing discussions with all of the stakeholders within the House Democratic Caucus about the appropriate way to proceed,” caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) told reporters.

A draft resolution began circulating on Monday that did not specifically name Omar, but states that the House “rejects anti-Semitism as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contradictory to the values that define the people of the United States.” The resolution did state that “accusations of dual loyalty generally have an insidious, bigoted history.”

During an event last week at the Busboys and Poets restaurant in Washington, D.C., Omar said critics were making accusations of anti-Semitism in bad faith.

“I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country,” Omar said. “I want to ask, why is it OK for me to talk about the influence of the [National Rifle Association] NRA, of fossil-fuel industries, or Big Pharma, and not talk about a powerful lobby that is influencing policy?”

Omar attended the caucus meeting on Wednesday but did not make remarks, according to attendees.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), who is Jewish, said Omar has personally apologized to her for past remarks. The House adopted a similar measure condemning anti-Semitism last month after Omar apologized for suggesting that U.S. lawmakers defending Israel were motivated by money.

Schakowsky suggested that Democrats should keep their disagreements off of social media.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) defended Omar on Twitter and went after Rep. Juan Vargas (D-Calif.) for saying that “questioning support for the U.S.-Israel relationship is unacceptable.”

And Omar had doubled down on her comments in response to a tweet from House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), who had called her remarks “hurtful.”

“I do not believe that Ilhan Omar is anti-Semitic. And I absolutely believe that she has become, as a result [of the comments], a target. I think the Republicans love that, and frankly, I think media loves to exploit the divisions. And I think we can do better in how we express ourselves. I think we ought to stay off of social media to have these conversations,” Schakowsky said.

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STOP THE BIAS: Political commentator Jacob Wohl becomes latest casualty in Twitter’s war on conservatives

SAN FRANCISCO — Jacob Wohl became the latest conservative to be banned by Twitter Tuesday after the social media giant suspended his account, claiming the 21-year-old had violated it’s platform’s rules.

Wohl, an outspoken supporter of Israel and President Donald Trump, had garnered more than 180,000 followers prior to his ban.

“The account was suspended for multiple violations of the Twitter Rules,” a Twitter spokesperson said Tuesday, “specifically creating and operating fake accounts.”

Wohl denied those allegations when reached by USA Today for comment on Tuesday.

“I’ve had accounts for my businesses and my future think tank but that’s about it,” Wohl said, adding that all of those accounts had been “nuked” as a result of his suspension. “I’ve not created fake accounts or bot armies or anything like that.”

Wohl is just the latest in a series of conservative commentators and outspoken Trump supporters to be banned by Twitter.

In late 2018 Twitter permanently suspended the account of Laura Loomer, another outspoken supporter of Israel and Trump.

Loomer, who had amassed more than 260,000 followers on the social-media platform prior to her suspension, was banned for “violating Twitter rules against hateful conduct” after she sent a tweet criticizing Minnesota Rep.-elect Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) for her Muslim faith.

In the tweet in question, Loomer called Omar “anti-Jewish” and called the Muslim religion one in which “homosexuals are oppressed” and “women are abused” and “forced to wear the hijab.”

“I’ve been silenced in America,” Loomer said in a video posted to YouTube in response to her Twitter ban. “Everything I said is 100 percent true and factual. It’s not malicious, it’s not mean, it’s not hateful.”

In 2018 Twitter was also one of several major social media networks to suspend Alex Jones from their platform.

Jones’ suspension came one day after the Texas-based talk show host tweeted a video of himself confronting a CNN reporter and accusing him of censorship.

In a statement posted to its website, Twitter claimed Jones’ actions violated its platform’s rules against “abusive behavior.”

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TRUMP: Omar ‘should resign’ over anti-Semitic remarks

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is calling on Ilhan Omar to resign over a series of tweets in which the freshman Democratic Rep. criticized the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

“It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” Omar wrote in a now-infamous tweet last weekend, suggesting that the only reason congressional leaders were backing Israel is for the purpose of making money.

In another tweet, after being asked who she thought was paying members of Congress to support Israel, Omar responded, “AIPAC!”

Omar’s tweets sparked a wave of backlash from both sides of the political fence, including from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) who rebuked the Minnesota Democrat’s anti-Semitic remarks.

“Congresswoman Omar’s use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel’s supporters is deeply offensive,” Pelosi said in a statement issued by her office and signed by other Democratic leaders. “We condemn these remarks, and we call upon Congresswoman Omar to immediately apologize for these hurtful comments.”

The verbal spanking led Omar to apologize for the comments in an effort to quell the controversy.

“We have to always be willing to step back and think through criticism, just as I expect people to hear me when others attack me about my identity,” Omar tweeted Monday. “This is why I unequivocally apologize.”

Omar’s apology fell on deaf ears when it came to President Donald Trump, however, who referred to her explanation as “lame”.

Asked on Air Force One en route to El Paso, Texas, about the controversy Monday night, Trump said the congresswoman “should be ashamed of herself” for the tweets.

“I think it was a terrible statement, and I don’t think her apology was adequate,” he said. Asked what she should have said, Trump replied: “She knows what to say.”

Speaking to reporters during a Cabinet meeting Tuesday morning, Trump again raised the issue.

“Anti-Semitism has no place in the United States Congress,” Trump said. “I think she should either resign from Congress or she should certainly resign from the foreign affairs committee.”

A spokesperson for Omar’s office said the congresswoman would have “no further comment” on the controversy when reached for statement late Tuesday.

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ON THE BRINK: Netanyahu moves security meetings to underground bunker as war with Iran looms

Jerusalem (The Times of Israel) — Israel’s high-level security cabinet will meet in a new, specially built underground bunker in Jerusalem for the foreseeable future.

The change of venue — meetings of the security cabinet usually take place in the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem — may signal the heightened sensitivity of upcoming discussions, with some observers in the Hebrew-language media suggesting it could point to preparations for a possible escalation of hostilities with Iran.

Talks held in the secure bunker could also prevent leaks to the media.

The decision to move the meetings to the bunker was made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Following Israel’s recent military successes, including the Air Force’s strike on an Iranian base attack two weeks ago, the cabinet is reportedly formulating policy and deciding Israel’s red lines with regard to Iran and Syria.

During two pre-dawn hours on May 10, Israeli F-15 and F-16 fighter jets evaded “dozens of missiles” and dropped “many dozens” of bombs on over 50 Iranian targets throughout Syria as the Israel air force carried out an extensive campaign, dubbed “Operation House of Cards,” to debilitate Iran’s military presence in the country.

Those strikes came after 32 rockets were fired by Iranian troops in Syria at the Golan Heights, according to Israel Air Force figures, none of which struck Israeli territory.

At a meeting on the morning after the attack, the security cabinet discussed how best to proceed — whether to press its military advantage or settle for what had already been achieved, Hadashot news reported.

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HELL FREEZES OVER: Schumer applauds Trump over move of US embassy to Jerusalem

Washington, D.C. (The Hill) — In a rare moment of agreement with President Trump, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Monday praised the president for moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“In a long overdue move, we have moved our embassy to Jerusalem. Every nation should have the right to choose its capital,” Schumer said in a statement. “I sponsored legislation to do this two decades ago, and I applaud President Trump for doing it.”

The statement echoed a sentiment Trump expressed in a video message presented at the embassy opening, in which the president said the move had “been a long time coming.”

But the embassy’s official opening Monday was also marked by a bloody day on Israel’s border with the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

The New York Times reported that at least 41 Palestinians were killed and more than 1,700 injured at the border’s barrier.

Trump’s controversial decision to move the U.S. Embassy to the city which is considered holy by three major religions has been met with widespread criticism from global leaders due to Jerusalem’s disputed status.

Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War. Some view this part of the city as occupied territory and Palestinians hope to make it the capital of a future independent state.

The Trump administration argues the embassy move rightfully recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city, while critics have cautioned the decision could cause unrest in the region.

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‘YOU HAVE MADE HISTORY’: US embassy opens in Jerusalem, recognizing holy city as ‘true capital’ of Israel

Jerusalem, — The Trump administration officially opened a new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, recognizing the holy city as the “true capital of Israel.”

“For many years, we have failed to acknowledge the obvious, plain reality that the [Israeli] capital is Jerusalem. At my direction, the United States finally and officially recognized Jerusalem as the true capital of Israel,” Trump said in a video address just moments before daughter his daughter Ivanka officially unveiled the embassy.

“The United States will always be a great friend of Israel and a partner in the cause of peace,” Trump added. “We extend a hand in friendship to Israel, the Palestinians and to all of their neighbors. May there be peace.”

Shortly after the unveiling of the facility, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed how “deeply grateful” he and the Israeli people are to President Trump and the people of the United States who supported the decision to place the facility within Jerusalem city limits.

“President Trump, by recognizing history, you have made history,” Netanyahu said, taking a moment to publicly recall a moment from his childhood when he was warned not to run too close to the Jerusalem border. “My mother said you can’t go any farther, that was near the border. There was sniper fire. That was then—this is now. Today the embassy of the most powerful nation on earth, our greatest ally, the United States of America, today the United States Embassy opened here. What a difference.”

Netanyahu went on to declare Monday a “great day for Israel,” and for the U.S.-Israel bond.

“We are in Jerusalem and we are here to stay,” Netanyahu said.

As America and Israel celebrated, however, clashes near the border with protestors who were opposed to the relocation left dozens of Palestinians dead and hundreds wounded.

Palestinian officials have criticized the Trump administration for its decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced he has cut ties with the U.S., declaring it no longer fit and too one-sided to mediate peace between Israel and Palestine.

The Trump has rebuffed Palestinian’s criticism, saying that the embassy move should be viewed as a first step toward brokering peace.

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TENSIONS RISE: Israel and Iran inch closer to war as Israel strikes back against Syrian targets

Jerusalem (The Telegraph) — Israel and Iran lurched closer to an all out war on Thursday after the Israeli military struck “almost all” of Iran’s bases in Syria in response to what it said was a Iranian rocket barrage fired at the Golan Heights.

The exchange of fire was the most direct confrontation between the two Middle East rivals after years of standoff in Syria and came just one day after Donald Trump pulled the US out of the Iran nuclear agreement and reimposed sanctions on Iran.

Israeli carried out its largest wave of airstrikes in Syria since the 1973 war, striking around 50 Iranian military bases, supply depots, and intelligence sites as well as Syrian regime air defence batteries, the Israeli military said.

“We, of course, struck almost all the Iranian infrastructure in Syria, and they need to remember this arrogance of theirs,” said Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli defence minister. “If we get rain, they’ll get a flood.”

The wave of strikes was in response to a barrage of 20 rockets which Israel said were fired by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard towards the Golan, a mountainous region that Israel annexed from Syria after capturing it in 1967.

There were no casualties on the Israeli side. The Israeli military said its Iron Dome missile defence system had intercepted four of the rockets at around 12.10am on Thursday, while the other 16 fell harmlessly inside of Syrian territory.

At least 23 people were killed by the Israeli strikes, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. It was not clear how many of the dead were Iranians. Iran has neither confirmed nor denied that it was responsible for the rocket barrage.

Israel has said repeatedly it will not allow Iran to build up a permanent military presence in Syria and is prepared to go to war to stop it. “Whoever hurts us, we will hurt him sevenfold. Whoever tries to hurt us, we will act to hurt him beforehand,” said Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister.

Tensions between the two sides have risen sharply since April 9, when a suspected Israeli strike on the T4 airbase in central Syria killed at least seven Iranians. Iran vowed revenge for the bombing and Israel has been warning for weeks that it was expecting an Iranian attack.

In February, Iran allegedly launched an armed drone from Syria into Israel. Israel shot down the drone and carried out a wave of airstrikes in response. One Israeli F-16 was shot down by Syrian air defence systems during the attack, the first time Israel has lost a warplane in combat since 1982.

Britain and the US were quick to issue messages of support for Israel and condemning Iran. “The United Kingdom condemns in the strongest terms the Iranian rocket attacks against Israeli forces. We strongly support Israel’s right to defend itself,” said Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary.

Both the UK and US called on Russia to do more to rein in Iran’s presence in Syria and avoid a further escalation. Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, also condemned the attack in phone call with Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian president.

The Israeli attacks are likely to strain the relationship between Iran and Russia, who are fighting on the same side in Syria on behalf of the Assad regime.

Israel warned Russia of its intention to launch strikes ahead of time but Russian forces in Syria appear to have done nothing to shield their Iranian allies. Hours before the Israeli attack, Vladimir Putin hosted Mr. Netanyahu as an honoured guest at a military parade in Moscow.

While Israel has scored tactical military victories over Iran in Syria, it has struggled with a broader diplomatic campaign to convince world powers to clamp down on Iran in Syria. Mr. Netanyahu travels regularly to Moscow to make this point but his diplomatic efforts have so far yielded few visible results.

Bahrain also voiced support for Israel’s strikes, in an unusual example of an Arab state publicly applauding Israel for dropping bombs on the territory of a fellow Arab state. Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations share many of Israel’s fears about Iran.

Israel said the rockets were fired by the Quds Force, the expeditionary wing of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, and accused its leader, General Qassem Soleimani, of personally ordering the attack.

“It was ordered and commanded by Qassem Soleimani and it has not achieved its purpose,” said Lt Col Jonathan Conricus, a spokesman for the Israeli Defence Forces.

By Thursday afternoon quiet had returned to the Golan Heights and tourists mingled with UN Observers on Mount Bental, a mountain affording sweeping views into Syria.

Nathan Gabah, a 24-year-old businessman relaxing in the late afternoon sun at the beauty spot, said he heard explosions on Thursday morning from his home city of Safed, around 30 miles from the site of the alleged Iranian barrage.

“There was a vroom and a bang, like a bomb,” he said, describing the firing of an Iron Dome anti-missile battery near by.

“I’m not worried at all. Then again I have a friend who is really scared. It varies from person to person,” he shrugged. “It doesn’t feel like we’ve suddenly gone to war.”

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AMERICA VS THE WORLD: UN votes to condemn US recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday defied warnings from the United States by overwhelmingly passing a resolution which condemned President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

A total of 128 countries voted in favor of condemning Trump’s declaration. Just seven states, Togo, Micronesia, Guatemala, Nauru, Palau, Marshall Islands and Honduras joined the U.S. and Israel in voting against the resolution.

Speaking before the UN assembly prior to the vote, U.S. ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, defended the Trump administration’s decision, saying the recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital represented “the will of the people”.

“The decision does not prejudge any final status issues, including Jerusalem’s boundaries. The decision does not preclude a two-state solution, if the parties agree to that,” Haley said. “The decision does nothing to harm peace efforts. Rather, the president’s decision reflects the will of the American people and our right as a nation to choose the location of our embassy.”

“America will put our embassy to Jerusalem,” Haley added. “That’s what the American people want us to do. And it’s the right thing to do.”

Haley then went on to issue a fierce warning to states who chose to support the resolution.

“We will remember it when we are called upon once again to make the world’s largest contribution to the United Nations,” vowed Hailey. “And we will remember when so many countries come calling on us, as they so often do, to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit.”

Thursday’s vote “will make a difference on how Americans look at the U.N. and on how we look at countries who disrespect us in the U.N., and this vote will be remembered,” Hailey warned.

In a video statement following the vote, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that “Israel completely rejects this preposterous resolution. Jerusalem is our capital — always was, always will be.” However, Netanyahu added, “I do appreciate the fact that a growing number of countries refuse to participate in this theater of the absurd.”

Referring to the United States as Israel’s strongest ally, Netanyahu thanked President Donald Trump and Haley for their “stalwart defense” of Israel and “the truth”.

In a declaration of victory, a spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said: “The vote is a victory for Palestine.” The spokesperson went on to pledge that the Palestinians would “continue our efforts in the United Nations and at all international forums to put an end to this occupation and to establish our Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.”

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