Wednesday, March 01, 2017
AT LEAST 15 HAMAS TUNNELS EXTEND INTO ISRAEL.IRAN SAYS IT FIRED ROCKET FROM SUBMARINE.
28 And when these things begin to come to pass,(ALL THE PROPHECY SIGNS FROM THE BIBLE) then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption (RAPTURE) draweth nigh.
29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree,(ISRAEL) and all the trees;(ALL INDEPENDENT COUNTRIES)
30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.(ISRAEL LITERALLY BECAME AND INDEPENDENT COUNTRY JUST BEFORE SUMMER IN MAY 14,1948.)
3 A fire devoureth (ATOMIC BOMB) before them;(RUSSIAN-ARAB-MUSLIM ARMIES AGAINST ISRAEL) and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.
30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.(ATOMIC BOMB AFFECT)
12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet,(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB) and their eyes shall consume away in their holes,(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB) and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB)(BECAUSE NUKES HAVE BEEN USED ON ISRAELS ENEMIES)(GOD PROTECTS ISRAEL AND ALWAYS WILL)
13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour.(1/2-3 BILLION DIE IN WW3)(THIS IS AN ATOMIC BOMB EFFECT)
47 And say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein.
18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD'S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.
1 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven;(FROM ATOMIC BOMBS) and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
And here are the bounderies of the land that Israel will inherit either through war or peace or God in the future. God says its Israels land and only Israels land. They will have every inch God promised them of this land in the future.
Egypt east of the Nile River, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, The southern part of Turkey and the Western Half of Iraq west of the Euphrates. Gen 13:14-15, Psm 105:9,11, Gen 15:18, Exe 23:31, Num 34:1-12, Josh 1:4.ALL THIS LAND ISRAEL WILL DEFINATELY OWN IN THE FUTURE, ITS ISRAELS NOT ISHMAELS LAND.12 TRIBES INHERIT LAND IN THE FUTURE
Netanyahu: Still no agreement on settlements with Trump-‘Things are not as simple as you think they are’ regarding new construction, PM reportedly tells Likud lawmakers-By Alexander Fulbright February 27, 2017, 11:20 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly told MKs from his ruling Likud party on Monday that he still has not reached an agreement with US President Donald Trump regarding the construction of new homes in West Bank settlements.Netanyahu said that although he is working with the White House to establish a “mechanism” for coordinating settlement construction, “things are not as simple as you think they are,” unnamed participants in the Likud faction meeting told the Haaretz daily.Trump’s presidency “is a historic opportunity, but [we] need to know the limits of this opportunity,” Haaretz quoted Netanyahu as saying.Netanyahu’s comments were reportedly made during a heated argument between Likud lawmakers who support annexing large swaths of the West Bank and those in favor of separating from the Palestinians while still maintaining security control over the area.Although Netanyahu has expressed support for the establishment of a Palestinian state, he has refrained from voicing support for a two-state solution of late, as MKs from both Likud and the right-wing Jewish Home party — upon whose support Netanyahu’s coalition depends — have called on him to renounce the two-state solution.However, during his visit to Washington Netanyahu said “I don’t want to annex close to 2.5 millions Palestinians to Israel I do not want them to be our subjects,” while also telling Australian Foreign Minister last week while in Australia that Israel will never relinquish security control over the West Bank.While many on the right celebrated Trump’s election as an opportunity to move ahead with large scale construction in West Bank settlements, the US president told Netanyahu during a joint press conference at the White House that “I’d like to see you hold back on settlements for a little bit.”Just days before the prime minister’s visit, Trump also told the pro-Netanyahu Israel Hayom daily that “I am not somebody that believes that going forward with these settlements is a good thing for peace,” as “every time you take land for settlements, there is less land left.”Immediately following the prime minister’s visit to Washington, a senior Israeli official said that although the two sides have yet to reach an agreement on new settlement construction, they will work to establish a “mechanism” for discussing the issue upon Netanyahu’s arrival in Israel following his trip to Singapore and Australia, from which he returned on Sunday.
Pentagon presents Trump with plan for ‘rapid defeat’ of IS-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis submits draft proposal which likely includes possibility of sending more US troops to region-By Thomas WATKINS February 28, 2017, 2:00 am-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
WASHINGTON (AFP) — The Pentagon presented the White House with possible new battle plans Monday to defeat the Islamic State group, after President Donald Trump demanded top brass find additional ways to destroy the jihadists.A pillar of Trump’s campaign was to quicken the fight against IS, which despite losing thousands of fighters still controls parts of northern Syria and Iraq, and he berated Barack Obama’s administration for taking too long to do so.Trump had claimed to have a secret plan to defeat the brutal extremists, but never disclosed what this might be.He repeatedly pledged to “bomb the hell” out of them and even threatened to kill family members of suspected IS fighters.Shortly after taking office, the new president gave the Pentagon 30 days to review progress to date and develop a comprehensive plan to “totally obliterate” IS.A US-led coalition has been bombing the jihadists in Iraq and Syria since late summer 2014, while also deploying Western commandos to train and advise local forces.The initial draft of the review is now complete, and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis presented the findings to Trump’s top national security advisors.The options outlined in the classified document are preliminary and need to be further refined, said Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis.“It is about the rapid defeat of ISIS,” Davis said.“We’re going to continue to have a dialogue with our chain of command going forward and developing this plan.”The proposals will likely outline the possibility of sending more US troops to the Middle East and could see the Pentagon taking a more aggressive stance in other key areas.“This is not about Syria and Iraq, it’s about a trans-regional threat,” General Joe Dunford, who chairs the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Washington audience last week.“In this particular case, we’re talking about ISIS, but it’s also Al-Qaeda and other groups that present a trans-regional threat.”Dunford stressed the importance of renewed military action coming alongside diplomatic and political efforts.“All of us who have participated in these conflicts over the last 15 years realize that anything we do on the ground has to be in the context of political objectives or it’s not going to be successful,” Dunford said.The review includes input from across the government, including its spy agencies, State Department and Department of Homeland Security.-More US forces? -Since the coalition effort to defeat IS began, the jihadists have lost much of the ground they once held, and tens of thousands have been killed in air strikes and ground combat.In Iraq, they are clinging to the last parts of their former bastion Mosul as Iraqi security forces backed by Western air power push them from the city.The fight is more complex in civil war-torn Syria, where Russia is conducting its own air campaign to prop up President Bashar al-Assad.A key question is whether America will arm Syrian Kurdish forces to lead the fight to retake Raqa — a move sure to infuriate ally Turkey, which considers the Kurdish fighters terrorists — or whether the United States should send in more combat troops.Currently, only about 500 US troops are in Syria, mostly special operations forces working behind the frontlines to train local Kurdish and Syrian Arab fighters.Because Obama was elected in 2008 on the promise of ending US conflicts in the Middle East, he was loath to put US forces in combat.The anti-IS review is also a significant first test for the relationship between Trump and Mattis.Trump has so far given the Pentagon chief broad leeway on shaping US military policy, even though the retired Marine Corps general has pushed back against much of Trump’s more blustery rhetoric, including his professed support of torture and claim that America should seize Iraq’s oil.
At least 15 Hamas tunnels extend into Israel, TV report says-Channel 2 item, citing unnamed security cabinet sources, comes two days before publication of ombudsman report on 2014 Gaza War-By Times of Israel staff and Judah Ari Gross February 26, 2017, 9:21 pm
The Gaza-based terror group Hamas has at least 15 attack tunnels that reach into Israeli territory, according to a Channel 2 report aired Sunday, quoting unnamed sources in the high-level security cabinet.Sunday’s report on the new cross-border tunnels came two days ahead of the scheduled publication of a damning state comptroller report on the 2014 Gaza war.Leaked copies of the report have been highly critical of the army’s failures to prepare adequately for the threat of Hamas tunnels, and chastise the political leadership for improperly managing the war effort.Israel’s 50-day campaign against Hamas in Gaza, known in Israel as Operative Protective Edge, began as a predominantly aerial campaign in response to repeated rocket attacks from the Strip, similar to the 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense. But after Hamas made use of its tunnel network to carry out attacks inside Israel, the focus shifted to tackling the subterranean threat.Although some 34 tunnels were destroyed during the campaign, Hamas has reportedly invested considerable resources rehabilitating its network of attack tunnels over the past few years. The IDF has also sought to improve its ability to counter the threat since the 2014 conflict.Ahead of Tuesday’s publication of the state comptroller’s report, IDF officials and senior politicians responsible for leading the campaign have been seeking to portray their involvement in a favorable light to help sway public opinion.“In the next week, you’re going to hear a lot about Protective Edge,” former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon wrote on his Facebook page on Saturday night. “They’ll say that we didn’t know, that we didn’t tell them, that we didn’t report to them. And the biggest lie of all? That we weren’t prepared and we lost. That’s nonsense.”Along with his Facebook post, the former defense minister also released a video that showed the threats made by Hamas leaders, followed by statistics on Israeli accomplishments, for example, the number of rocket launchers destroyed, Hamas fighters killed, and tunnels blown up-Benny Gantz, who was the IDF chief of staff during the war, stood up for Military Intelligence and its chief at the time, Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, on Friday, at a conference for veterans of “Havatzalot,” an elite intelligence program.“During Protective Edge, there was intelligence that was excellent, terrific, accessible, but not always perfect. I am ready to go to the next campaign with the same intelligence that we had in the last one,” Gantz said, according to a report Sunday in the the Yedioth Ahronoth daily.Both during the operation and in the nearly two and a half years since it ended, Education Minister Naftali Bennett has painted himself as the sole actor to recognize the threat of Hamas terror tunnels. Leaked transcripts from cabinet meetings during the war showed Bennett calling for the military to be more aggressive in combating the tunnel threat.On Sunday morning, Housing Minister Yoav Galant (Kulanu) responded to the claims made by Gantz and Ya’alon, accusing them of trying to turn failures into victories.“The preparations for Operation Protective Edge by IDF chief of staff Gantz and defense minister Ya’alon were negligent and a failure. It is grave that they were trying to present it as a victory and an accomplishment,” he said at a conference held by the financial Globes newspaper.
With few safeguards, Jewish cemeteries make easy targets for vandals-Two attacks, a week apart, on big, sparsely staffed and easy to access graveyards — combined with JCC bomb threats — have Jewish leaders increasingly concerned-By Ben Sales February 28, 2017, 12:52 am-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
NEW YORK (JTA) — Sometime between the afternoon of Friday, Feb. 17, and the following Monday morning, vandals damaged 170 gravestones at the Chesed Shel Emeth Jewish cemetery outside St. Louis.Beyond that, cemetery staffers aren’t sure when the attack happened. Groundskeepers leave at 4 p.m. Fridays, and the cemetery is open to the public, unstaffed, all day Sunday. An employee discovered the damaged headstones Monday morning.Even less is known about Saturday night’s attack on the Jewish Mount Carmel Cemetery in Philadelphia, which saw at least 100 gravestones toppled. Unlike the St. Louis-area cemetery, which is surrounded by a fence and employs groundskeepers, Mount Carmel is run by volunteers, with only a sidewalk separating it from the street.“There was nothing,” said Steve Rosenberg, chief marketing officer for Philadelphia’s Jewish federation. “It’s wide open. Anyone can walk right in. They can’t find anything that’s closed off to anyone.”The two attacks, coming one week apart, combined with a series of bomb threats called in to Jewish community centers, have stoked fears of rising anti-Semitism in the United States and have Jewish leaders fearing that more will follow. Cemeteries, security experts say, are particularly vulnerable because they are big, sparsely staffed and easy to penetrate.Chesed Shel Emet, with two locations in suburban St. Louis, has more than 20,000 grave plots and a staff of seven, including four groundskeepers. Mount Carmel in Philadelphia is even smaller: It has about 5,000 graves and no paid staff.Cemeteries “are of relatively large size, and if there is a cemetery staff, recent budget cuts tend to make that staff smaller and smaller,” said Michael Trinkley, director of the Chicora Foundation, a South Carolina group that conserves cemeteries and other historic sites. “There’s hardly any night security at cemeteries anymore.”“You can do a great deal of mischief in a relatively small amount of time, and the odds of getting caught are slim.”Paul Goldenberg, director of the Secure Community Network, which advises Jewish groups and institutions on security, fears that cemetery attacks could become a trend like the wave of JCC bomb threats, the latest of which came Monday.Serving in the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office two decades ago, Goldenberg investigated a wave of attacks on some 100 Jewish cemeteries over a period of seven years — including his father’s resting place. That spate, he said, was inspired by the neo-Nazi music scene.“There’s a feeling that the cemeteries may become a place where vandals may become more proactive,” Goldenberg said. “Right now we’re concerned about copycats.”Trinkley and Goldenberg said the most effective way to prevent cemetery vandalism is through volunteer patrols that keep the cemetery manned at night, as well as surveillance. Chesed Shel Emeth has security cameras, while Mount Carmel does not.Goldenberg added that community members need to contact law enforcement when they see a threat, and should let police examine damaged stones before repairing a vandalized cemetery.“People want to do the right thing and clean up and put stones up,” Goldenberg said. “They need to reconsider that until the police show up for investigation.”While Goldenberg floated the prospect of paid security, Trinkley said many cemetery budgets probably cannot support that. Even repairing damaged stones can get pricey. Trinkley estimated that setting a toppled headstone aright could cost $500, while buying a new one can run to $4,000.Financial help has streamed in to assist Chesed Shel Emeth, including more than $100,000 raised by Muslim activists. Online fundraising drives for Mount Carmel are ongoing as well. Volunteers including Vice President Mike Pence pitched in to clean up the damage in Missouri, and a similar effort is being organized in Philadelphia.Trinkley likewise advised against forbidding fences and gates. A fence is ineffective, he said, unless it’s 8 feet tall and topped by protective wire — features that can intimidate grieving families.“At some point, if you start making a cemetery look like a fortress, you’ve defeated most religious goals of making a cemetery a place of commemoration, visitation,” Trinkley said. “You want to be welcoming so people can go to seek solace and comfort.”At Chesed Shel Emeth, director Anita Feigenbaum has begun a security assessment on how to make the site less vulnerable to attacks. But though the vandalism happened during a weekend, she said closing the cemetery gates on Sundays in the name of safety might be a step too far.“A lot of people can’t make it during the week,” she said.
One dead, 7 wounded in suspected gangland shooting in Netanya-Shots fired at house in apparent criminal attack; one person in serious condition; all victims in their 20s-By Times of Israel staff February 28, 2017, 12:02 am
One person was killed and another seven were wounded Monday evening in the central city of Netanya in what was believed in a suspected gangland shooting.One person remained in serious condition and the rest were moderately to lightly hurt.All the victims were in their 20s, according to the Magen David Adom rescue service whose medics arrived on the scene shortly after the attack.Initially, the fatality was critically injured in the shooting and was transported to Laniado Hospital in the city before dying of his injuries.The circumstances of the incident were not immediately available, however, several Hebrew-language media reported that it was a gangland shooting, with some claiming that it had been a hit.The shooting was the second such incident Monday, and came after weeks of a string of underworld-related hits.Earlier Monday, a 27-year-old man was shot dead in the central city of Bat Yam, south of Tel Aviv, in an apparent underworld killing.The man, who works as a bodyguard for a known criminal figure, was driving down the city promenade when he was shot multiple times at close range by a motorcycle rider, who then fled the scene.
ITS ABOUT TIME AFTER 50 YEARS.ALT LEFT MIXED BAG OF EVERY THING BERNIE SANDERS GETS OUTTA HIS POWER TRIP GOVERNMENT. AND SHUTS UP ABOUT ISRAEL. ISRAEL IS OCCUPYING THE LAND. BECAUSE THEY CAPTURED THE LAND IN WAR. ISRAEL CAN DO WHAT IT WANTS ON THEIR GOD GIVIN LAND.
'Your fight is our fight,' Vermont senator tells Israeli progressives-Bernie Sanders draws parallels between Trump, Netanyahu, calls to end ’50-year occupation’-In J Street address, ex-presidential hopeful says progressives can oppose US president ‘without being anti-American’ and Israeli PM ‘without being anti-Israel’-By Rebecca Shimoni Stoil February 28, 2017, 2:51 am-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
WASHINGTON – Former presidential hopeful and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders called for “an end to [Israel’s] 50-year occupation” during J Street’s annual conference on Monday, stressing that progressives should see the common ground between opposing both the administration of US President Donald Trump as well as the right-wing policies of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.“We need to end this 50-year-long occupation and create a more prosperous future for Jews, Arabs and Palestinians alike,” Sanders proclaimed, warning against a peace in which “Palestinians will be forced to live under perpetual Israeli rule in a series of disconnected communities in the West Bank and Gaza.”Sanders, who ran against former secretary of state Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, directed some of his comments to Israeli progressives, telling them “your fight is our fight.”“Let me be as clear as I can be,” he continued. “To oppose the policies of a right-wing government in Israel does not make one anti-Israel or anti-Semitic; we can oppose the policies of President Trump without being anti-American. We can oppose the policies of Netanyahu without being anti-Israel. We can oppose the policies of Islamic extremism without being anti-Muslim.”Quoting former secretary of state John Kerry, Sanders repeated his admonition that friends should speak hard truths to each other. “The hard truth is that the continued occupation and the growth of settlements that the occupation supports undermines the hope for peace.”In his address, Sanders applauded “the Obama administration’s decision to abstain from vetoing UN Resolution 2334,” which slammed Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and labeled them illegal.Sanders said: “Those of us who worry about the future of Israel, who really love Israel, have got to tell the truth about policies that are hurting chances of the Israelis and the Palestinians reaching a peaceful resolution.”Sanders said that “progressives should acknowledge the enormous achievement of establishing a democratic homeland for the Jewish people” but also added that “as we all know there is another side to the story, a more painful side.”“Like our own country, the establishment of Israel caused the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people,” continued, noting that “to acknowledge this fact does not delegitimize Israel any more than acknowledging the Trail of Tears – what settlers did to Native Americans – delegitimizes America.”Sanders frequently drew comparisons between the Netanyahu government and the Trump administration, stressing that what he described as the “fight for justice” must continue in both countries.“Despair is not an option. Now more than ever we are going to continue to fight for justice for all of us”Sanders stressed that his perspective was in the interests of both Israel and the Palestinians.“Nobody gains when Israel spends an enormous part of its budget on its military,” he argued. “Nobody gains when Gaza is obliterated and thousands are killed; nobody gains when children and young men and young women are trained to become suicide bombers. Nobody gains when, year after year, decade after decade, the talk is about war and hatred instead of peace and development.”Speaking hours after a series of bomb threats were called in to almost two dozen Jewish community centers and schools across the United States, Sanders noted that “there has been a significant outbreak of anti-Semitism in our country. I – and I know all of you – are alarmed about the desecration of Jewish cemeteries, about bomb threats against Jewish organizations and about more and more anti-Semitic language.”Sanders grouped the events together with a series of “violent verbal and racist attacks against minorities,” and emphasized that “these attacks must be condemned at the highest levels of government.”The Vermont senator referenced the Trump administration’s much-maligned statement honoring International Holocaust Remembrance Daylast month, saying that “it was rather extraordinary that in the White House’s statement the murder of six million Jews was not mentioned by the Trump administration.” The crowd booed in response.“I hope very much that President Trump and his political adviser Mr. [Stephen] Bannon understand that the whole world is watching,” he said, adding that “all forms of bigotry in this country and around the world” must be condemned.Sanders called on Trump to denounce last Wednesday’s shooting attack in Kansas that killed an Indian software engineer and wounded another, and which police are investigating as a hate crime. The suspect, a Navy veteran, reportedly shouted “get out of my country” before opening fire at the two. The White House has been silent on the incident.In his speech, Sanders thanked J Street “for the bold voice they have provided in support of American leadership in the Middle East and in the ongoing efforts in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.”“Given the political climate in this capital this has not always been easy,” Sanders continued. The nuclear agreement with Iran, he said, “demonstrated that real American leadership, real American power is not shown by our ability to blow things up but by our ability as the leading and most powerful nation on earth to bring parties together and forge an international consensus.”For a long time in Washington there has been an echo chamber that has called for war,” Sanders complained. “It is about time that there is an echo chamber that called for peace.”
Palestinian convicted of assaulting MK during Temple Mount visit-Shuli Mualem-Refaeli was taking a tour of the Temple Mount in 2014 when a Palestinian woman shoved and shouted her down-By Jacob Magid February 26, 2017, 5:30 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
A Palestinian woman was convicted on Sunday of assaulting an Israeli legislator during the Knesset member’s November 2014 visit to the Temple Mount.The indictment from the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court said Sahar Natshe shouted “go away” and “Allahu Akbar” as she pushed Shuli Moalem-Refaeli (Jewish Home), in an attempt to prevent the MK from entering the compound.Footage from the incident does not show Natshe making contact with Moalem-Refaeli, but the Palestinian woman can be heard screaming, along with a number of other women, at the Israeli legislator who continues walking across the compound, unfazed.Following the October 2014 attempted assassination of Temple Mount activist (and current Likud MK) Yehuda Glick, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared his intention to maintain the status quo at the compound. Lawmakers have been prevented from visiting the holy site since October 2015.The flashpoint Temple Mount, which is administrated by the Jordanian authorities, is the holiest site in Judaism, revered by Jews as the site where the biblical Temples stood.Muslims call it the Noble Sanctuary and believe it is the spot where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven. It is the third holiest site in Islam and houses the Al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock shrine.The Palestinians have frequently charged that Israel is trying to change longstanding understandings, in place since 1967, under which Jews are allowed to visit, but not pray at, the site.On February 1, police denied the request of Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) to visit the complex, just one day after the Knesset Ethics Committee voted to lift a ban prohibiting lawmakers from visiting the compound.According to the Knesset committee decision, lawmakers may now visit the Temple Mount so long as they coordinate the trip ahead of time and receive permission from the police.Ariel claimed that Netanyahu had personally ordered security officials to continue implementing the ban, despite the committee’s ruling.In November 2015, the same committee decided to ban visits to the complex from both Jewish and Arab MKs. The prohibition was upheld again in June 2016 before being lifted earlier this month.In January, Palestinian officials demanded an apology from new United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres after he said it was “completely clear that the Temple that the Romans destroyed in Jerusalem was a Jewish temple.”
Prosecutors open criminal investigation into submarines affair-Justice Ministry says Netanyahu not involved but evidence warrants formal probe of PM’s lawyer, former naval officers-By Raoul Wootliff February 27, 2017, 9:42 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
The State Attorney’s Office has opened a criminal investigation into the so-called submarines affair amid suspicions the prime minister’s personal lawyer tried to influence multi-million dollar naval deals, the Justice Ministry announced Monday.The statement said the decision to move from a preliminary inquiry to a full blown investigation was made by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit in light of the evidence and testimony gathered by police investigators over the past few months.The case involves suspicions that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s personal attorney David Shimron, acting also on behalf of the German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp, lobbied the Defense Ministry to purchase naval vessels — including new submarines for the Israel Navy as well as ships intended to protect the country’s maritime natural gas fields.According to suspicions, pushing through the NIS 6 billion ($1.5 billion) defense contract would net him a hefty fee, despite a possible conflicts of interest. Part of the agreement could also see ThyssenKrupp construct a lucrative shipyard in Israel, where the company would maintain the vessels.Netanyahu is not a suspect in the case, which the Justice Ministry emphasized in its statement on Monday.The decision to open a formal criminal investigation was reportedly made after police received the testimony of former Israel Navy commander Maj. Gen. (res.) Ram Rothberg in early February.A Channel 2 report from earlier this month said Shimron, businessman Mickey Ganor and Maj. Gen. (res.) Eliezer Marom are all to be questioned under caution in the affair.In October of last year, Netanyahu announced in a cabinet meeting that Israel was in the process of negotiating the purchase of three new submarines for the navy, which currently maintains a fleet of five underwater vessels, with another slated to be delivered in coming years.Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing in the multi-billion-shekel deal for the submarines, saying that bolstering Israel’s long-term security needs was the “only consideration” behind the purchases.The new submarines were intended as replacements for the military’s older models and would reportedly be outfitted with nuclear strike capabilities.The affair gained media and public attention as accusations surfaced that the prime minister may have been swayed in the decision by business ties that his personal counsel Shimron had with the submarines’ builder, ThyssenKrupp. Netanyahu had pushed for Israel to buy the vessels, reportedly against the wishes of the Israel Defense Forces as well as then-defense minister Moshe Ya’alon.Also in October, opposition parties said they would seek a special parliamentary inquiry into Netanyahu’s alleged conflict of interest in the submarine affair.Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit ordered a preliminary probe last November into a related affair: allegations that Shimron may have used his connection to Netanyahu in 2014 to lobby for the purchase of ThyssenKrupp-built patrol ships to protect Israel’s Mediterranean gas fields.Shimron allegedly used his close relationship with Netanyahu to push Israel to purchase several ships from ThyssenKrupp, as well as to allow the company to build a shipyard here, effectively outsourcing the lucrative maintenance of the naval vessels.Shimron said that he “wasn’t in touch with any state official over the issue of Israel’s purchase of naval vessels,” and that his work for the German company — while he was simultaneously serving as the prime minister’s lawyer — did not constitute a conflict of interest, the Haaretz daily reported at the time.However, after Israel issued an international tender in 2014 for the purchase of ships to protect newly developed Mediterranean gas fields, Shimron reportedly called the legal adviser of the Defense Ministry, Ahaz Ben-Ari, to inquire why a tender had been declared, as he wanted the contract to be given to ThyssenKrupp without a competitive process.Channel 10 has reported that Netanyahu also asked the Defense Ministry why the contract was opened for competitive bidding, and pressured the ministry to cancel the tender, which eventually was done.Although Netanyahu is not a suspect in the case, MK Erel Margalit of the opposition Zionist Union party has called for a formal investigation into Netanyahu’s ties to ThyssenKrupp and filed a petition with the High Court of Justice to that effect last month.Netanyahu has dismissed Margalit’s entreaties to the court, saying through a lawyer on Sunday that the initiative was “borderline obstruction of justice.”“This petition is nothing but a direct continuation of an unbridled attack launched by the petitioner against the sitting prime minister for improper reasons,” Netanyahu’s lawyer said in a statement.Times of Israel Staff contributed to this report.
Iran says it test-fired missile from submarine-In latest series of launches, laser-guided missile also fired; US reimposed some sanctions after January tests-By Times of Israel staff February 27, 2017, 8:18 pm
Amid tensions with the United States, Iran announced on Monday that it tested two missiles during a series of naval drills in the Persian Gulf. One was fired from a submarine, it said.Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan said the Nasir missile, which he described as Iran’s latest submarine launched cruise missile, “successfully hit its target” during its test launch, the official IRNA news agency reported.Tasnim news agency said the Dehlaviyeh, a laser-guided missile, had also been successfully tested.It was reported back in 2012 that Iran had based the Dehlaviyeh on a Russian anti-tank missile.The ranges of the two missiles were not given.The most recent Iranian missile firings follow the launches of a ballistic missile and cruise missile in late January — both of which are nuclear capable — with the former resulting in new US sanctions on a number of entities involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program and a warning from US President Donald Trump that the Islamic Republic had been “put on notice” and that “nothing is off the table” in terms of a military response to perceived Iranian provocations.Cruise missiles — such as the Nasir fired in the most recent missile launches — are not covered by UN Resolution 2231, which was passed shortly after the nuclear deal with Iran was signed in July 2015 and calls on Tehran “not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.” Iran argues that its ballistic missile program is also not covered by the resolution because it does not have a nuclear weapons program.However, the test is likely to be viewed in Israel and the US as another aggressive maneuver by Tehran to expand its missile program.Since Trump’s inauguration in January, there has been a marked increase in tensions between the the US and Iran, with a number of senior Iranian military officials issuing pointed warnings to the US if it takes military action over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.AFP contributed to this report.
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