Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was forced to cancel a planned visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) because of a diplomatic dispute with Jordan. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said the trip was called off because Jordan delayed approving the prime minister’s flight path to the UAE. The PMO believes this was in retaliation for Jordanian Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah's canceled trip to the Temple Mount, which he called off on Wednesday when his security detail was denied entry into Israel. Jordanian officials have already indicated they will allow Netanyahu to fly over their country’s airspace, and a rescheduled visit is reportedly in the works. The prime minister's trip to the UAE would have been his first official visit since Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi forged diplomatic ties last year.
Top US and Israeli national security officials met Thursday by secure video conference for their first round of talks on Iran and other regional issues. The first virtual US–Israel Strategic Consultative Group meeting, which was led by National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and his Israeli counterpart, Meir Ben-Shabbat, comes as President Joe Biden's national security team has stepped up efforts to engage the Israelis on his intentions toward Iran. In addition to a Congressional bi-partisan letter that outlines a framework for dealing with Iran, Secretary of State Antony Blinken stressed that Biden is committed to consulting with Israel, and other Gulf nations, "regarding anything that we might do going forward on that [Iran] agreement."
The last flight of Operation Rock of Israel—the latest effort to bring the remainder of the Falash Mura community in Ethiopia to Israel—landed Thursday morning, with some 300 new immigrants disembarking at Ben-Gurion Airport. Roughly 2,000 members of the community have been brought to Israel since September, when the government approved the plan. Activists have criticized the Israeli government for failing to bring all remaining members (approximately 5,500 people) of the Falash Mura community to Israel. Tamano-Shata, who spearheaded the mission, said Israel remained committed to bringing over the remaining Jews from Ethiopia. “Let’s use this moving moment to remember that we have a duty to put an end to this painful saga,” said Tamano-Shata, who arrived in Israel as a young girl via Operation Moses, a 1984 airlift that brought 6,000 Ethiopian Jews to the country from Sudan.
In recent years, Israel has targeted at least 12 ships bound for Syria, most of them transporting Iranian oil, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Citing “US and regional officials,” the Wall Street Journal reported that the attacks, which started in late 2019, employed mines and other weapons and targeted both Iranian vessels and ships with Iranian cargo. Over this time, Iran has continued its oil trade with Syria, shipping millions of barrels and contravening US sanctions against Iran and international sanctions against Syria. Israel has sought to halt the trade in oil because it believed the profits were financing regional extremists, the report said. Israel declined to offer any comment.
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Jackie Congedo, Director, JCRC
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