“J Street welcomes the House of Representatives’ unanimous, bipartisan adoption of an amendment to the 2018-2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which unequivocally states that the use of military force against Iran is not currently authorized by any act of Congress. By explicitly stating that the administration does not now have congressional authorization for initiating military action against Iran, the House has set a clear marker at a vital time.”
“The Civil Administration will be taking steps to push the immediate construction of 2,500 new homes in the West Bank settlements, followed by 1,400 more, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman told the press on Thursday.”
“Efforts by world powers to salvage the landmark nuclear deal with Iran pick up on Friday in Vienna, where officials will meet for the first time without U.S. diplomats present. Russia, China, the U.K., France and Germany will discuss the economic incentives Iran needs to keep caps on its nuclear work in place, according to officials who’ll attend the talks.”
Ben Caspit writes, “Even in the Mossad, not many believe that bringing down the Iranian regime by remote control is a realistic option. Many fear that the open declaration of war by the American administration against the Iranian regime could result in strengthening the ayatollahs rather than weakening their hold. Top Israeli defense officials voiced similar arguments in the debate that raged between 2009 and 2013 about whether to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities. One of the main arguments against an attack, put forth mostly by the late Mossad chief Meir Dagan, was that such a strike could unite the Iranian people around its leaders and extend the lifespan of the Islamic Revolution, rather than cutting it short. The same is true today.”
Monitor: Strike on Syrian Air Base Targets Hezbollah Weapons Depot, Times of Israel
A military air base in western Syria was hit in an airstrikes Thursday night, sparking large explosions, which were heard throughout the area, state media reported. The targets of the strike were munitions depots belonging to the Iran-backed Hezbollah terrorist group, located on an air base south of the city of Homs, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group, which also said the strikes were most likely carried out by Israel.
Iran has stayed within the main curbs on its nuclear activity imposed by its deal with major powers despite the U.S. pullout from the pact, but could be quicker to provide extra access to inspectors, the UN atomic watchdog indicated on Thursday. In its first such report since President Donald Trump announced Washington’s withdrawal on May 8, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran had complied with limits on the level to which it can enrich uranium, its stock of enriched uranium and other items.
An IDF soldier from an elite unit was critically wounded early Thursday morning when a stone block was dropped on him at a Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank, the military said. The piece of marble was thrown from a third-story rooftop at a group of troops who were conducting an arrest raid in the al-Am’ari refugee camp near Ramallah, the army said.
A Palestinian boy, 15, died of his wounds Wednesday after being seriously wounded by a live bullet eight days ago in clashes with the Israeli army in Ramallah, the Palestinian Ministry of Health reported.
A Haaretz investigation can reveal that a secretive Israeli firm collected intelligence on American citizen Linda Sarsour and her family, acting on behalf of an American-Israeli organization established to combat the BDS movement. Israel Cyber Shield (ICS) delivered the dossier to the pro-Israel Act.IL group, which used it as the basis of a campaign to discourage U.S. colleges from allowing the pro-BDS activist to speak on campus.
The Palestinians have joined two United Nations agencies and the global convention to halt the spread of chemical weapons, a UN envoy said Wednesday, despite a threat of US funding cuts. At the United Nations, the Palestinians have the status of a non-member observer state that allows them to seek membership of agencies and become a party to international treaties.
The Los Angeles Times Editorial Board writes, “Regardless of what you think of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority or even of the United Nations, it’s difficult to see how cutting basic aid to desperate people makes sense on either a human level or a political level. It’s unclear how less schooling, more hunger and fewer jobs will improve the quality of life, ease cross-border tensions or boost the chances of peace.”
Egypt Opens a Door, and Gaza Residents Rush for the Exits, Wall Street Journal
Abu Bakr Bashir and Jared Malsin report, “Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi ordered the Rafah border crossing opened for a month after Israeli forces killed some 60 people during protests last week at Gaza’s border with Israel. The Egyptian border is usually open only intermittently, and thousands of people are on the waiting list. Many Gazans who have come to the Egyptian border in recent days are united by unfulfilled ambition, frustrated by the collapsing Gaza economy, and eager to jump-start lives that have been on hold.”