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.

israelvsiran

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.

schumervtrump

‘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.

embassy