February 2009 Headlines

Netanyahu Says He'll Honor Israel's Commitments

CBNNews.com—JERUSALEM—Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu told US Middle East envoy George Mitchell that his under his leadership Israel "would honor all its international commitments and would take no action to contradict them."  Netanyahu didn't mention specifically which commitments, but the most significant commitments by previous governments were outlined in former President Bush's "Road Map" peace plan, and include limits on construction in Jewish settlements in the West Bank, evacuation of illegal outposts, and a promise from the 2007 Annapolis summit to hold final status talks on the creation of a Palestinian state.

Jerusalem Silent on War Crimes Charges

CBNNews.com—JERUSALEM—As groups around the world line up to try Israelis for war crimes in the recent Gaza military operation, some government officials are worried that Jerusalem's silence in the face of strong legal action is hurting.  One official told The Jerusalem Post's Herb Keinon, "Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz is involved, and a committee has been set up to deal with any lawsuits filed, but these are all defensive measures.  We are not taking the offensive."

Netanyahu Opposes PA-Hamas Coalition

CBNNews.com—JERUSALEM—Israeli Prime Minister-Designate Benjamin Netanyahu will try to convince US officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who arrives here next week, that recognizing a Palestinian unity coalition between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas is bad for both Israel and the Middle East.  The PA and Hamas are holding talks in Egypt in an effort to reconcile differences between the two parties. 

PM Reinstates Envoy

CBNNews.com—JERUSALEM—Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has reinstated Amos Gilad, Israel's special envoy to Egypt.  Gilad was fired earlier this week for critical remarks he made about Olmert concerning the negotiation of a long-term cease fire with Hamas.  Gilad apologized to Olmert Wednesday.  He was upset that the prime minister and his security cabinet linked the release of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit with negotiations for an 18-month cease fire between Israel and Hamas and the opening of border crossings into Gaza.  In an interview last week with the Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv, he called the policy "insanity."

Holocaust Denier Convicted

CBNNews.com—BERLIN—A former leftist turned neo-Nazi was convicted of Holocaust denial in a German court and sentenced to six years in prison.  Horst Mahler, who was a founding member of the Red Army Faction in 1970, was convicted for posting videos denying the Holocaust on the Internet and distributing CD's filled with hate messages about Jews.  Holocaust denial is a criminal offense in Germany.

Clinton Scolds Israel on Gaza Aid

CBNNews.com—JERUSALEM—In advance of her first visit to Israel as US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has sent a series of messages to Israeli leaders, criticizing what she considers to be a slow pace for the transport of humanitarian aid entering the Gaza Strip.  Clinton's focus on humanitarian aid for Palestinians, rather than on Israel's security needs, is the latest sign that of what many Israelis perceive as the Obama Administration distancing itself from Israel.

Livni to Help Netanyahu on Iran

CBNNews.com—JERUSALEM—Kadima party leader Tzipi Livni says that even if she doesn't join a government headed by Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu, she will support him in whatever way she can on the issue of Israel's defense against the Iranian nuclear threat.  In their two meetings since he was tasked with forming a government, Netanyahu has stressed the importance of a unity government with Kadima and other large parties in the Knesset (parliament) because of the danger a nuclear Iran would pose to Israel.

Slow Going for Security Fence

CBNNews.com—JERUSALEM—Construction of Israel's security barrier in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) moved very slowly in 2008.  Crews built only 7.5 miles of fence during the year, making it unlikely that work on the barrier can be completed as scheduled by the end of 2010. Approximately 312 miles of the proposed 520 mile barrier have been completed.  Israel's government approved the fence in 2003 to prevent Palestinian terrorists from killing Israelis in Jewish population centers.  Since then, the number of terrorist attacks in Israel has dropped dramatically, and the fence has wide public support. 

Palestinians Fire Kassams, Israel Hits Tunnels

CBNNews.com—JERUSALEM—Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) struck weapons smuggling tunnels in the Philadelphi Corridor between Egypt and Gaza Wednesday, after terrorists fired two Kassam rockets into Israel.  No injury or damage was reported.  Since Israel declared a cease fire on January 18th, the Iranian-backed Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups have fired nearly 70 rockets and mortars in an effort to kill both Israeli soldiers and civilians.

PM to Replace Fired Envoy Soon

CBNNews.com—JERUSALEM—Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says he will move quickly to replace Amos Gilad, Israel's envoy to Egypt who was fired by Olmert on Monday. Gilad was handling the delicate negotiations with Egypt concerning the opening of border crossings with Gaza, putting an end to Hamas rocket fire on Israeli communities and the freeing of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

18th Knesset Convenes

CBNNews.com—JERUSALEM—The 120 members of Israel's 18th Knesset [parliament] convened Tuesday for the first time.  The new Knesset members were chosen by party in Israel's national elections February 10th.  The country is still without a new prime minister, as the designated candidate, Benjamin Netanyahu, continues to work on forming a coalition government.  The new Knesset will be younger than its predecessor and a record 21 women will be serving.  Eight journalists are also among the incoming MK's (Members of Knesset).

Hezekiah Seals Uncovered

CBNNews.com—JERUSALEM—Archaeologists have uncovered several impressions bearing the royal seal of King Hezekiah in an Arab neighborhood southeast of Jerusalem.  The find was announced Monday by the Israeli Antiquities Authority.  The seal impressions are 2700 years old, and bear the names of two important officials—Ahimelech ben Amadyahu and Yehohail ben Shahar--who served in the Judean government of the biblical king.

ADL Slams Amnesty Int'l Embargo Call

CBNNews.com—JERUSALEM—The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has sharply criticized the London-based human rights group Amnesty International (AI) after it called for a global arms embargo against both Israel and the Palestinians for their military activities in and around the Gaza Strip.  In a statement Monday, ADL Director Abe Foxman said, "In calling for an arms embargo of Israel, Amnesty International is doing nothing short of denying Israel the right to self-defense, an internationally accepted right of every sovereign nation."

Israel's Livni Balks at Joining Unity Coalition

CBNNews.com—JERUSALEM - Israel's Kadima party leader Tzipi Livni says she is not inclined to accept Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu's offer to join a coalition government. 

Israelis Divided on Evangelical Charity

CBNNews.com—JERUSALEM--A new survey shows that Israeli Jews are sharply divided about whether to accept charity from evangelical Christians.  70 percent of secular Israelis believe that it is good for Jewish groups in Israel to accept money from Christians, but nearly 80 percent of Orthodox Jews believe it is wrong. Overall, a majority of 54 percent of Israeli Jews support taking the charity, while 41 percent oppose it.

Durban II Draft: Israel "Racist" State

CBNNews.com—JERUSALEM—Draft resolutions for the upcoming Durban II summit on racism indicate that the conference is likely to target Israel as an occupying state that practices racism.

IDF Stops Border Attack

CBNNews.com—ISRAEL-GAZA BORDER—Israeli soldiers from the Golani Brigade entered the Gaza Strip Monday and exchanged gunfire with Palestinians who had been shooting at an Israeli patrol.  An Israeli assault helicopter also fired on a suspicious vehicle in an area where terrorists have tried to plant explosive devices to kill soldiers.  A spokesperson for the Israeli Defense Forces [IDF] says the attack was prevented without injury.

Israel Looks Offshore for Oil, Gas

CBNNews.com—JERUSALEM—Israel's government may soon issue up to twenty more licenses for companies to drill for oil and gas in Israel's coastal waters. The nation's Crude Oil Council recommended the licensing Thursday after the confirmation several weeks ago of a large natural gas find in waters near the port of Haifa.

Palestinian Rocket Fire Continues

CBNNews.com - WESTERN NEGEV, Israel - Palestinian terrorists fired a 10-shell mortar barrage on IDF(Israel Defense Forces) troops near the Kissufim crossing with the Gaza Strip around 9:30 a.m. Friday.

Egypt Recalls Trade Ministry Reps

CBNNews.com - CAIRO, Egypt - Angered over Israel's demand that the release of kidnapped IDF (Israel Defense Forces) Corporal Gilad Shalit must precede any truce arrangement with Hamas, Egypt recalled its trade ministry representatives.

Saudi Contractors: Gaza is Unsafe

CBNNews.com - RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - Saudi Arabian construction contractors refuse to send crews to the Gaza Strip, citing the security situation.

Lieberman Gives Netanyahu Key Endorsement

CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Yisrael Beiteinu party chairman Avigdor Lieberman, who received the third largest number of votes in Israel's February 10th elections, told President Shimon Peres Wednesday that he supports Likud party chairman Binyamin Netanyahu to be the next prime minister.

No Fans at Israel/Sweden Davis Cup

CBNNews.com - MALMO, Sweden - When Israel and Sweden face off in the first round of the Davis Cup next month, they will play to an empty stadium.

Jordan Suspends 'War Crimes' Petition

CBNNews.com - AMMAN, Jordan - Jordanian legislators canceled a trip to The Hague to petition the international court against Israeli leaders for "war crimes and genocide in Gaza."

Sec'y Clinton to Attend Gaza Mtg.

CBNNews.com - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she plans to attend next week's conference in Cairo on aid to Gaza.

Syria: Chemical Weapons Facility Underway

CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - A defense analyst group reported that Syria has a chemical weapons plant under construction, next to a large missile base.

IDF Displays Its Hi-Tech Gadgetry

CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Israelis have an opportunity to see some of the hi-tech gadgetry and state-of-the-art weaponry helping the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) to do its job well.

Faction Heads Meet with President

CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli President Shimon Peres began receiving delegations Wednesday from the various political parties to hear their recommendation of who should form a new government.

Three MKs Must Annul Foreign Passports

CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Three members of Knesset (MKs) will have to relinquish their dual citizenship to serve in the Israeli parliament.

Israel in Covert War with Iran?

CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Israel is in a covert war against the Iranian nuclear program, according to an article in Britain's Daily Telegraph, published Tuesday.

ZAKA Assists in Plane Crash Recovery

CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - A team of six workers from Israel's ZAKA volunteer rescue organization arrived in New York Tuesday to aid in recovery efforts for victims of last week's fatal plane crash.

Record Number Lose Jobs in January

CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - A record number of Israelis lost their jobs in January, according to the newest statistics released by the National Employment Service.

South Korea Buys Israeli Radar System

CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - South Korea chose an Israeli early warning radar system over a less advanced US system and a French radar system, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz.

Israel's Livni: Must Give Up 'Half the Land'

CBNNews.com - Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni says her country must give up "half of the land of Israel" in order to keep it a Jewish and democratic state.

Russia Plans Middle East Summit

CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - During a meeting Sunday with Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said his country plans to host a Middle East peace conference sometime during the first half of the year.

Kassams Hit Western Negev

CBNNews.com - SDOT NEGEV, Israel - Palestinians in the Gaza Strip fired two Kassam rockets at western Negev communities Monday morning.

Israel: No Truce Without Shalit

CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert dismissed reports in the Arab press of an imminent agreement between Hamas and Israel.

Hamas's Medicine Bottle Grenades

CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - During Israel's recent three-week military incursion in the Gaza Strip, Hamas terrorists transformed medicine bottles, provided in humanitarian aide shipments, into grenades, The Jerusalem Post reported Friday.

Two-Thirds of Gaza Fatalities Terrorists

CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - A report issued by Israeli Military Intelligence and the coordinator of government activities in the territories confirmed that two-thirds of the Palestinians killed during the three-week military operation in the Gaza Strip were terrorists.

Abbas Campaigns against Likud

CBNNews.com - RAMALLAH - Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas has been traveling around Europe trying to convince EU leaders to isolate an Israeli government headed by Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu.

Leftists Outnumbered Two to One

CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Results of a Rafi Smith Institute poll released Wednesday showed that Israelis identifying with the right outnumbered their leftist counterparts two to one.

Kerry to Meet with Assad next Week

CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Senator John Kerry (D-Mass), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will meet with President Bashar Assad in Damascus next week.

Air Force Targets Hamas Security Post

GAZA STRIP - IAF (Israeli Air Force) helicopter gun ships targeted a Hamas security outpost in Khan Younis in central Gaza overnight Wednesday.

High Alert on Northern Border

CBNNews.com - Israel Defense Forces (IDF) troops stationed along the northern border are on heightened alert as Lebanese-based Hezbollah terrorists mark the anniversary of the death of the group's senior commander Imad Mugniyeh.

Livni Meets with Lieberman

CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni met with Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman at the Foreign Ministry Wednesday morning.

DM: Labor Will Sit in Opposition

CBNNews.com - TEL AVIV, Israel - Defense Minister and Labor party chairman Ehud Barak said in view of Labor's stunning defeat, they will likely sit in the opposition rather than join the coalition.

Ultra Left Meretz Party Decimated

CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Members of the far-left Meretz party were stunned at their losses in the general election, falling to a low of three seats.

Party Leaders Vote Early

CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Leading contenders for the premiership cast their ballots early Tuesday morning.

Israeli President Urges Citizens to Vote

CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - On Monday evening, President Shimon Peres urged Israeli citizens to go to vote in Tuesday's general election.

Police Ban Marzel, Remove Eldad

CBNNews.com - UMM AL-FAHM, Israel - Police escorted MK (member of Knesset) Arieh Eldad (Ichud Leumi/National Union) from the polling station in the Arab Israeli city of Umm al-Fahm out of concerns for his safety.

Arab Israelis: Vote or Boycott?

CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Arab Israelis are torn between exercising their right to vote and boycotting the elections.

Cease-Fire in Two Days?

CBNNews.com - CAIRO, Egypt - Egyptian mediators say they will have a truce deal within two days, an Egyptian newspaper reported.

Olmert Endorses Livni for PM

CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has given his endorsement to Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who succeeded him in September as head of the Kadima party.

Border Police, Soldiers Go to the Polls

CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers, including those serving annual reserve duty, and border policemen cast their ballots two days before the rest of the country.

Plainclothes Police on Duty Election Day

CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli polling stations throughout the country will be under the watchful eye of plainclothes policemen on Election Day Tuesday.

Two Air Strikes in Response to Rockets

CBNNews.com - GAZA STRIP - The Israel Air Force (IAF) targeted two Hamas posts in the Gaza Strip early Monday in response to weekend rocket attacks.

Who Will Be Israel's Next Leader?

CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - The countdown to Israel's elections picked up steam last July when corruption charges led Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to announce his resignation, which took place officially on September 22.

Olmert Transfers Millions to Gaza

CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ordered 175,000,000 shekels (nearly $43.5 million) to be transferred to the Gaza Strip.

Hamas Leaves Millions in Egypt

RAFAH BORDER CROSSING - Egyptian border guards, searching the luggage of a Hamas delegation returning from cease-fire negotiations in Cairo, discovered $9 million and 2 million euros in cash.

Israel Releases Gaza Ship Detainees

CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Eighteen activists and crew members of a Lebanese vessel detained by Israel after trying to dock in Gaza have been released, all to different destinations.

Russia to Launch Iranian Nuclear Plant in 2009

CBNNews.com - TEHERAN, Iran - The head of Russia's nuclear program said his country will assist the Iranians to bring the Bushehr nuclear plant on-line this year.

Iranian-bound Ship Still in Greece

CBNNews.com - ATHENS, Greece - Greek authorities have been holding a ship that was en route to Iran for nearly eight weeks, the Elefterotipia, a Greek newspaper, reported.

Israeli Navy Redirects Lebanese Ship

CBNNews.com - ASHDOD, Israel - The Israeli Navy prevented a Lebanese ship from reaching Gaza on Thursday, redirecting it to the Ashdod port.

Top Islamic Jihad Commander Killed

CBNNews.com - KABATIYA, West Bank - Israel Defense Forces (IDF) forces operating in the Palestinian Authority-controlled town of Kabatiya, south of Jenin, overnight on Wednesday killed a senior Islamic Jihad commander.

IDF Did Not Shell UN School

CBNNews.com - GAZA STRIP - The UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) retracted earlier accusations that the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) shelled one of its schools in the Gaza Strip during Operation Cast Lead.

S. African Workers Boycott Israeli Goods

CBNNews.com - SOUTH AFRICA - The South African dock workers union announced that it would no longer unload Israeli goods at the country's ports.

IDF: Tank Shells Killed Dr.'s Daughters

CBNNews.com - JERUSAPLEM, Israel - An IDF (Israel Defense Forces) investigation into the deaths of four Palestinian girls during Operation Cast Lead concluded that they were killed by tank shells.

Hamas Raids U.N. Warehouse

CBNNews.com - GAZA STRIP - Hamas police raided a UN warehouse in Gaza City on Tuesday evening, confiscating 3,500 blankets and some 400 packages of food.

Hamas on Cease-Fire, Shalit Release

CBNNews.com - GAZA STRIP - In what may be the newest turn in brokering a cease-fire with Israel, a senior Hamas official said the group would not oppose simultaneous negotiations on the release of captured IDF (Israel Defense Forces) Corporal Gilad Shalit.

Doctors: Paratrooper's Recovery Miraculous

CBNNews.com - PETAH TIKVA, Israel - Three weeks after Second Lt. Aharon Karov was airlifted to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva in critical condition, after being wounded in Operation Cast Lead, he was discharged from the hospital.

Gilad: 'Collision Course with Syria'

CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Defense Ministry Diplomatic-Security Bureau chief Major General (ret.) Amos Gilad expects a confrontation with Syria in the near future.

Cyprus Reports to UN on Iranian Ship

CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - The Cypriot Foreign Affairs Ministry released a statement on Tuesday saying it had submitted its findings on the cargo of an Iranian ship to the United Nations.

Grad Hits Central Ashkelon

CBNNews.com - ASHKELON, Israel - For the first time since the conclusion of Israel's three-week operation in the Gaza Strip, a Grad missile exploded in central Ashkelon.

Israel Air Force Targets Rafah Tunnels

CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli Air Force (IAF) aircraft targeted tunnels near the Rafah border crossing with Egypt on Tuesday.

Netanyahu: Topple Hamas Regime

CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - After touring the Ashkelon neighborhood hit by a Grad missile Tuesday morning, Likud chairman Binyamin (Bibi) Netanyahu said a government led by him would topple Hamas.

Cairo Resumes Gas Exports to Israel

CBNNews.com - CAIRO, Egypt - A Cairo court overturned an earlier ruling canceling gas exports to Israel.

Iran Launches 'Homemade' Satellite

CBNNews.com - TEHERAN, Iran - Iranian state television announced the successful launch of the Islamic Republic's first "homemade" research and telecommunications satellite.

Gov't. Sanctions on al-Jazeera in Israel

CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - The government plans to impose sanctions on employees of the Arabic al-Jazeera television network stationed in Israel.

Abbas: Hamas Must Submit to PLO

CBNNews.com - RAMALLAH, West Bank - Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas warned that Hamas must accept his authority if is sincere about reconciliation.

Gazans Tell of Hamas's Abuse

CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Palestinians arrested during Israel's three-week Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip spoke about the abuse they and their neighbors have suffered under Hamas rule.

Israel Warns of Kidnapping Attempts

CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - The Israeli Counter-Terrorism Bureau said Israelis abroad face a "concrete and high-level threat" of being kidnapped or killed by Hezbollah terrorists.

Soldiers Kill Arab Sniper near Hevron

CBNNews.com - An Israel Defense Forces (IDF) patrol killed an Arab sniper after he opened fire on them Monday.

Israel Targets Terror Infrastructure

CBNNews.com - GAZA STRIP - The Israeli Air Force (IAF) targeted rocket-launching sites, arms smuggling tunnels and a Hamas security installation Sunday evening in response to rocket and mortar shell attacks on Israel over the weekend.

Dividing Jerusalem: An Option for Peace?

JERUSALEM, Israel -- One of the first things President Barack Obama did on his first full morning in the Oval Office was to place telephone calls to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.