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IDF Shoots at Drone from Syria
By Micah Halpern

Sunday June 24, 2 018

I've Been Thinking:

Earlier this morning Israel launched a Patriot anti-missile salvo at a drone that was infiltrating northern Israel from Syria.

The trail of the Patriot was filmed by numerous people in the Safed area.

The drone was flying from the Syrian controlled area of the Golan Heights into Israel. These drones are large and are used for two purposes - primarily for reconnaissance but also for attack. This drone, and others like it, is part of a Syrian/Iranian system patrolling the skies and gathering information.

The Patriot is a US weapon that Israel purchased in order to bolster their defense against missiles, just like this drone, entering their airspace.

On Nov 17, 2017 Israel shot down a drone in a similar fashion.

Earlier today the Patriot missed its target, but despite that, the drone changed course and returned to base.

Israel must make certain that their airspace is not breached. The information Iran and Syria could garner from aerial photos could be devastating to Israel’s security.

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Iran Makes 15 Demands of US
By Micah Halpern

Friday June 22, 2 018

I've Been Thinking:

Iran posted 15 demands for the United States. They say that the demands are a list of the 15 things necessary to bring them back to the table. They are basic requirements.

The list was provided to the US by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.

These 15 items are a direct response to the actions taken by United States, that is clear and obvious. In May the US set down a series of demands for Iran and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is the person who listed those demands.

It's a case of tit for tat.

Iran's demands include the return of the United States to the P5+1 Nuke Deal. They are also demanding that the US stop providing aid to Yemen invaders. The expression "Yemen invaders," when spoken by the Iranians, means the Saudis. Another demand is that US stop their opposition to Israel's nuclear disarmament.

There is very little chance that this Iranian strategy will succeed. Never the less, Iran is taking it very seriously.

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Gaza Changing The Rules of Engagement
By Micah Halpern

Thursday June 21, 2 018

I've Been Thinking:

45 mortars and rockets from Gaza were shot toward Israel yesterday.
Seven were intercepted. At least five fell in Gaza. The others were left alone, they were not en route to populated areas within Israel.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad of Gaza claimed responsibility for the rockets.

In response, Israel struck 25 Hamas targets. Hamas and Islamic Jihad, for their part, claim that they are responding to Israeli aggression. They have announced that they will counter every Israeli attack with an attack.

Islamic Jihad said that, as of now, Israel can no longer act freely in Gaza.

These statements - and more importantly, the launching of rockets and mortars as a response to Israel's response - is a new reality and a new strategy for Gaza.

It will not impact Israel's actions but it is, none the less, a significant change in status.

It's real purpose is not to intimidate Israel. It's real purpose is to empower Gazans, to give Gazans a sense that they are not defenseless against Israeli attacks.

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US Team Meets w Jordan King
By Micah Halpern

Wednesday June 20, 2 018

I've Been Thinking:

US President Donald Trump's Middle East team met with Jordan's King Abdullah II yesterday. The team also plans to meet with leaders from Egypt, Israel, Qatar and Saudi Arabia over the next few days.

The US team leaders are in Jared Kushner, presidential son-in-law and Presidential Special Middle East Envoy and presidential advisor Jason Greenblatt.

The meeting with Abdullah took place in the Jordanian capital, Amman.

It followed one day after the Jordanian King hosted a quiet and surprise visit to Amman by Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Everyone is weighing in on the still unknown, new, US peace plan.

We do not know what is in the plan only that the Palestinians do not like it. Once again the Palestinian press was filled with vitriol and rejection of the plan.


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Pope Pulls a Trump
By Micah Halpern

Tuesday June 19, 2018

I've Been Thinking:

Pope Francis spoke off the cuff recently. His topic about abortion.

The Pope said: "Last century, the whole world was scandalized by what the Nazis did to purify the race. Today, we do the same thing but with white gloves."

The parallel between today and abortions during the Holocaust is extreme.
The policy for decades was that the Pope always spoke from prepared statements and never spoke off the cuff. This is why.

There is no way to compare the events of the Holocaust to what happens in the year 2018 in America.

This is an exaggeration better fitting of a Trump tweet or a Trump rally that a comment by the Pope.

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CNN Reporter Tours Gaza Tunnel
By Micah Halpern

Monday June 18, 2018

I've Been Thinking:

CNN reporter Ian Lee was blindfolded and brought on a tour of a terror tunnel by Islamic Jihad in Gaza.

The tour was taped and, quite frankly, not at all interesting. However - one question and answer were very insightful.

Lee asked about indiscriminately shooting rockets into Israel. He said that it appears that Islamic Jihad targets children's schools.

Islamic Jihad leadership responded that they do not deliberately target children.

Islamic Jihads wants to wreak as much havoc upon Israel as possible. Targeting children hurts Israel more than any other attack. Children are the most valued jewel in Israeli society. And that's why Jihad definitely wants to target children.

Their tunnels are an attack route into Israel. They are shelters to protect against Israeli air force attacks.

These tunnels are their lifeline, they are Islamic Jihad’s most effective attack weapon against Israel.

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Hateful Sermon in Mosque in Jerusalem
By Micah Halpern

Sunday June 17, 2018

I've Been Thinking:

On Friday over 90,000 people attended prayer services at the Al Aqsa mosque atop the temple mount in Jerusalem. They were also treated to a lengthy sermon which was extremely critical of the US and Israel.

Al Aqsa is the place where according to Muslim tradition Muhammad journeyed on in his nighttime mirage. It was a guided tour on his famous steed he saw Al Aqsa and even ascended to heaven.

Friday was special because it was Eid al Fitr the holiday/feast that concludes the month long Muslim fast of Ramadan.

In his sermon, the Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheik Muhammad Hussein, used the opportunity to lash out at the US and Israel especially US President Donald Trump. The Mufti shouted that the US peace plan which is about to be unveiled is destructive to the Palestinian cause. He said that "this is an unfair plan that aims at the liquidation of the Palestinian cause."

As you can imagine the Mufti also had sharp words about the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem.

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