31 Mar 02:30 PDT: Israel- Apparently Netanyahu has been making security decisions on his own without the Security Cabinet and is attracting serious criticism deeply dividing Likud from its far right allies.
Syria- Heavy strikes on Idlib terrorists continue.
The U.S. military withdrawal from Syria will be paused as soon as the number drops to 1,000 troops inside the country, the New York Times reported on Friday.
30 Mar: A Blessed Sabbath for All God’s Faithful!
17:00 PDT: Israel/Gaza- The Israel Defense Forces acts with great restraint only firing a few tank shells at a Hamas outpost after five rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza at the Eshkol region adjacent to the southern Gaza Strip at about 12:40 a.m. local time, putting the truce in jeopardy. Israel killed four people and wounded forty with live fire, could the rockets be Islamic Jihad’s promised pay back?
15:00 PDT: Israel/Gaza- Israel to keep its massive military presence at the ready on the Gaza border in spite of truce.
Israel/Gaza- Netanyahu far right extremist allies reject calm with Hamas.
10:00 PDT: Israel has been forced to accept the Egyptian brokered ceasefire because Hezbollah has promised to enter any Israeli war with Gaza on behalf of Hamas. Israel is still waiting for the Syria Russian anti terror operation in Idlib to begin in earnest, so that Hezbollah and Syria will be occupied with Idlib when Israel enters Gaza.
Syria and Russia are presently engaged in pre invasion bombing in Idlib but that could last for weeks before any heavy ground invasion. With the restraint shown by both sides a temporary truce is now obtainable, which could allow the 9 April Israeli elections to go forward. Netanyahu’s popularity as “Mr. Security” will suffer among his far right extremist supporters who wanted to wipe out the Gaza militias.
As things stand today neither the Netanyahu Likud nor the Gantz Blue and White will be able to form a governing coalition after the 9 April election, without joining together in a national unity government or calling a second round of balloting. The Gaza invasion will come when the time is opportune for Israel, quite probably before any possible second round of voting.
As the Land Day demonstrations wrapped up, IDF spokesman Ronen Manelis attributed the relatively calm protests to an unprecedented showing of restraint by the Hamas group that was behind them. Manelis says Hamas operated with “restraint unlike any other in the past year.” He explains that [do to the proposed truce agreement with Israel] hundreds of Hamas members wearing orange vests spread out between the crowd and the fence, preventing mass rushes of demonstrators toward the border.
08:00 PDT: Hamas demonstrations fizzle peaking at 40,000 with most staying away from the border fence. The numbers have now dropped to about 19,000. One Palestinian was killed and 112 injured, three critically.
Deputy Hamas chief in the Gaza Strip Khalil al-Hayya says that Israel will deliver a time frame to an Egyptian security delegation tomorrow regarding the implementation of the truce understandings which have now been agreed upon.
06:00 PDT: Numbers demonstrating have grown to 30,000, four have been wounded by Israeli live fire and twenty-nine others suffered from tear gas injuries.
05:00 PDT: Some 20,000 are now taking part in riots along the Gaza border. A number of grenades and explosives are being thrown toward the security fence, as demonstrators also throw rocks and burn tires. The IDF is using “riot dispersal means” including live fire.
03:30 PDT: 20-year-old Mohammed Saad was killed about 100 meters from the Gaza fence last night.
This morning the IDF closed to civilian traffic Rt-232 linking central and southern Israel, including the locations adjacent to the Gaza Strip up to Nitzana. By 13:00 local time today about 5,500 early demonstrators had arrived and confrontations with the IDF have already begun.
29 Mar 15:30 PDT: Israel/Gaza- 10 Gazans wounded by Israeli live fire as they approach Gaza fence, one satchel charge thrown at the fence. Israel shells Hamas post near Gaza City. The Islamic Jihad warned Israel today that any civilian deaths would bring war.
13:00 PDT: Ukraine- With Ukraine elections coming Sunday, Ukrainian forces advance into Horlivka buffer zone with Donbas States, threaten to “liberate” the Russian speaking Donbas autonomous areas.
11:30 PDT: Israel/Gaza- Egyptian efforts to broker calm are continuing right up to tomorrow’s Land Day demonstrations. Israeli Gaza talks update. If there is a calm until the elections with no strong action, then the popularity of Netanyahu is likely to plummet and the war will still come soon anyway.
09:30 PDT: Brexit- After losing a third vote on her Brexit deal today and accused on all sides of plunging Britain into chaos, Prime Minister Theresa May’s leadership is hanging by a thread.
Israel/Gaza- Through phone calls, messages, public statements and leaflets dropped from aircraft, the Israel Defense Forces has warned people in the Gaza Strip that any attempts to break through the border fence will be met with live fire.
Israel’s security establishment is bracing for thousands of Palestinians to riot across the West Bank and Gaza Strip, marking Land Day and the one year anniversary of The Great Return March demonstrations along the Gaza front.
This morning Chief of Staff Kochavi received Readiness Reports from the Gaza Division Head of the Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Hertzi Halevi, Commander of the Gaza Division Brig.-Gen. Eliezer Toledano, Brig.-Gen. Oded Basiok Commander of the 162nd Division, Commander of the Ga’ash Formation Brig.-Gen. Avi Gil, as well as other brigade commanders.
02:00 PDT: At this time Egyptian efforts to broker an agreement to maintain calm have failed. Gaza demonstrations are set to begin within hours and increase through the week end. Israeli forces are massed and on high alert for an order to execute a Gaza blitz.
28 Mar: For an analysis of the current Gaza situation see this article.
10:00 PDT: Israel/Gaza- Directives have been issued for all required invasion preparations to be completed by Israeli commanders by Friday.
Netanyahu says he ordered the army to ready for an ‘extensive campaign’ in Gaza and all combat forces assigned to the Southern Command have been restricted to stand by mode.
08:30 PDT: Israel/Gaza- Egyptian officers are on their way to Tel Aviv with the Hamas answer to the Israeli “truce” offer. Israel is offering increased goods in exchange for a complete halt to Land Day events and the weekly demonstrations, the offer has been rejected by Hamas which is making a counter offer to halt violence AFTER the Land Day demonstrations.
Earlier Israeli drones struck a balloon team in the Gaza Strip causing casualties.
Today Netanyahu threatened that Israel has prepared and will conduct a military offensive in the Gaza Strip if their truce offer fails.
After attending a meeting on the Gaza border with local commanders Netanyahu said “We are tightening the security cordon around the Gaza Strip,” “I recently ordered the forces reinforced and more equipment put in place to be ready for a broad offensive. All Israelis should know that if a major offensive should be necessary, we will go into it strong and with confidence after exhausting all other possibilities.”
The IDF today announced that with the arrival of a division headquarters, three infantry and armor brigades and an artillery force, the Southern Command has completed operational preparations for the Land Day events in the southern arena and are continuing their preparations for a possible Gaza Operation.
Regarding to the northern front, Netanyahu noted: “Over the Golan border, there is Syria and also Iran. Our actions to defeat Iran’s attempts to establish a permanent presence in Syria and smuggle in advanced weapons goes on and will continue.
02:30 PDT: Syria- A Syrian news website reports that more than 25 members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards were killed in an attack attributed to Israel Wednesday evening. Sources describe the Iranian Guards headquarters in Aleppo as totally destroyed.
Syria and Russia have bombed medical facilities and a school in the rebel-held Idlib. What these propaganda reports are not revealing is that these facilities are being used by the terrorists as munitions dumps and military headquarters, and long ago ceased to be used for their intended purpose except in a cosmetic manner to hide their present usage.
Brexit- All alternatives to PM May’s exit plan have been voted down and she is preparing to introduce the plan for a third vote in parliament. Her pledge to resign if the plan is approved to make way for a new leader to negotiate a future trade deal could sway the vote in her favor.
27 Mar 13:00: Mideast War- Israel attacks bases near Aleppo Syria.
Renewal of the Golan UN Mission has been put in jeopardy by the Trump recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan.
Gazan “night confusion units” have resumed launching incendiary balloons towards Israel and hurling explosive devices at Israeli troops.
Israeli Chief of Staff Kohavi visited the Gaza Division today and met with its commander, Brig. Gen. Eliezer Toledano, along with Southern Command chief Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi. After their situational assessment, the chief of staff commanded the troops to be ready for an order to execute operations.
Brexit- British PM May promises to resign to let someone else handle negotiations on a future trade agreement if her Brexit package is passed.
06:15 PDT: Israel Elections- The extreme far right parties are preparing to make extreme post election demands on Netanyahu and Likud to form a coalition government.
It looks like Netanyahu and the extremist parties could split over the extremist parties rejection of the Trump Peace Initiative and other issues after the election This would allow Netanyahu and Likud to form a peace making national unity government with the centrist parties including Gantz’s Blue and White joint list.
Netanyahu is extremely close to the Kushner and Trump families and Bibi is in agreement with the Trump peace plan, and the far right extremists will not tolerate that.
05:30 PDT: Mideast War- Several roads are being closed in the south to facilitate the massing of large numbers of troops and quantities of military equipment ahead of an operation in Gaza. Israel began mobilizing large numbers of reserves yesterday and substantial forces are now on the move south.
01:30 PDT: Israel- With war potentially breaking out in the coming weeks; to postpone elections a special session of the Knesset would need to be needed and an 80 MK majority would be needed to pass an election postponement for extraordinary circumstances. This makes an election postponement very difficult.
26 Mar 16:15 PDT: Mideast War- Very heavy Israeli airstrikes were launched this evening and rocket fire has resumed.
Israel had demanded the cancellation of a mass protest marking the one-year anniversary of the Great March of Return demonstrations along Gaza’s eastern boundary in exchange for a ceasefire and shortly after 8 p.m., a rocket was fired at the southern Israeli Eshkol region in response.
Hamas and the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad — the two largest groups in the Strip — said like the Tel Aviv rocket, this rocket had not been fired with their permission and had been the work of a small terrorist cell or rogue individual,
14:15 PDT: Mideast War- After PM Netanyahu conferred with the chief of staff and defense officials on the Gaza crisis, today he ordered a continued buildup on the Gaza border in preparation for a major operation if there is any violence during the planned Hamas demonstrations this weekend.
The army was ordered to transfer another infantry brigade and an artillery battalion to the Gaza sector without delay, and it was decided to authorize a general mobilization of reserves. The Chief of Staff also immediately cancelled an ongoing battalion strength exercise to rush that regular force battalion to Gaza and issued the second call-up of reserves this week.
The missile launch that destroyed a home in the Eshkol region is now known to be a false flag attack, the investigation shows that the missile is now known to have been launched by an unnamed small independent militia group. Plainly Hamas would not have done this and jeopardized this weekend’s demonstrations.
08:30 PDT: Brexit- The Prime Minister has summoned all Tory MPs to a closed-doors Commons meeting Wednesday night. She will use the “1922 Committee” meeting for a last-ditch bid to unite the party and get her Brexit deal over the line. She may have to resign to guarantee that she won’t be in place during the post Brexit talks over a future trade deal, in order to try and pass her exit plan.
Mideast War- Netanyahu AIPAC speach.
06:15 PDT: Mideast War- Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will sit down in front of the camera at the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv to broadcast his speach to the AIPAC public policy conference in Washington DC at 3 pm Israel time, after he finishes a security assessment.
04:15 PDT: Mideast War- Yesterday Israel struck dozens of sites in Gaza and received 60 rocket hits in return. Last night Hamas declared a ceasefire [because they want to hold their March 30-31 mass rallies] which ceasefire Israel has not accepted, but there has been a few hours of uneasy calm as all sides prepare for full scale hostilities at a feverish pace. Netanyahu is back at home receiving briefings from the military and will soon chair a Security Cabinet meeting. All Israeli schools have been closed in the south today and all outdoor activities forbidden as more troops are rushed south.
25 Mar Update 13:30 PDT: Mideast War- Twenty rockets have been launched from Gaza in response to the Israeli bombing. During the day, Hezbollah, the Lebanese ally of Hamas, offered to support the Gaza front by opening a northern front if Israel persists in its Gaza offensive.
Prime Minister Netanyahu delays his return to Israel from the US by three hours amid intense security consultations regarding the escalation in and around the Gaza Strip. Netanyahu is currently holding security consultations by conference call from the Blair House [the White House visitors guest facility] in Washington DC. He will still arrive at the IDF Tel Aviv headquarters in the early morning and quickly go into a Security Cabinet meeting.
Update 12:00 PDT: Mideast War- Rocket alerts have begun sounding in Israel as Israel attacks key government and leadership buildings in Gaza while waiting for the arrival of Netanyahu at military headquarters in the coming hours.
Israeli authorities send warning messages to tens of thousands of reservists to be prepared for a sudden emergency call up to active duty.
Update 09:00 PDT: Mideast War- United States President Donald Trump signs a declaration of US recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights and offers full American support for an Israeli operation in Gaza.
Roads around Gaza have been blocked to traffic as Israeli assault on Gaza begins with attacks throughout the strip. The operation began on March 25 with multiple air strikes at around 17:40 local time.
Militias inside the Gaza Strip are prepared for a major confrontation with the Israeli military. Bases and command centers have been evacuated and equipment removed. Hamas and Jihad have gone to battle positions in large networks of underground bunkers and rocket systems are standing by for action.
The heads of local towns and districts in the South have ordered their populations to open shelters, close schools and cancel all outside activity. Hospitals in Gaza and Israel have been put on alert. Authorities in Ashkelon and communities near the Gaza Strip ordered the opening of public shelters.
Train service from Ashkelon to Sderot has been halted “The Ofakim, Netivot and Sderot stations will be closed until further notice.” Blocked areas and routes include Givat Kobi in Sderot, Giv’at HaPa’amonim, the Black Arrow site, Givat Nazemit, Lone Horseman Hill, Highway 4 from Yad Mordechai Junction to Netiv Ha’asara and Highway 25 from Sa’ad Junction to Kibbutz Nahal Oz.
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai orders all public bomb shelters opened, Mayor Rubik Danilovich of Be’er Sheva has ordered the opening of security shelters throughout the city.
Update 08:00 PDT: Mideast War- Following an assessment of the situation between the mayor of Ashkelon and the Home Front Command, it was decided to cancel all municipal activities designated for the afternoon and to postpone other events planned for the city in the near future. All of the Gaza militias have now published a joint statement declaring that they will respond militarily to any Israeli strikes.
Update 06:00 PDT: Mideast War- The Eshkol, Sderot and the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council’s have announced the cancellation of all afternoon activities and postpone events planned for the near future.
Update 05:00 PDT: Mideast War- The IDF has declared areas in the Gaza vicinity a closed military zone, including Zikim Beach and the areas adjacent to the fence at Nahal Oz and Netiv Ha’asara, and has begun massing thousands of invasion troops. No Gaza militia takes responsibility for the rocket fire which was clearly contrary to Hamas interests. Gaza militias vow not to hold back like they did last time if Israel strikes.
Update 04:00 PDT: Mideast War- Israeli military officials have met with the heads of local governments in the communities around the Gaza Strip to prepare them for the planned retaliation and the expected response from Gaza.
Senior Israeli officials told reporters on Monday that a forceful retaliation to the early morning rocket attack was forthcoming, but it appeared to be delayed until Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s return from his visit to the United States, the rainy weather clears and final preparations for war are made.
02:00 PDT: BREAKING: Mideast War- Two rockets from Gaza caused large explosions early today in the town of Tira and Moshav Mishmeret in the Sharon region of central Israel north of Tel Aviv. Seven people were injured, including two infants and a woman of 60, who was moderately hurt by shrapnel, when their home in the Moshav took a direct hit. Two trapped residents pulled themselves out of the wrecked building.
Bibi to rush home from Washington vowing a powerful response, Bibi will discuss the coming war, especially Iran with Trump and then immediately return home. All political factions are demanding action and reserves are called up. 1,000 reinforcements were immediately deployed to reinforce regular troops on the Gaza border. Avi Dichter, Chair of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee, suggested on Monday that a large-scale military operation in the Gaza Strip may force a postponement of the April 9 general election. Gaza militias prepare for war and Israeli schools will today instruct students on air raid procedures which might include evacuation for some.
This rocket launch is so contrary to the best interests of Hamas and is such a gift to Netanyahu, being so clearly in the best interests of Israel in establishing a reason to attack Gaza, that it reeks with the smell of a possible “false flag attack.”
24 Mar 07:30 PDT: Brexit- May holds crisis talks on Brexit with cabinet poised to confront her on Monday. A leadership challenge by hard-line backers of Brexit failed in December last year and she cannot be challenged from inside the party until next December. But some senior party members reportedly wanted her to fall on her sword. “The end is nigh,” an unidentified cabinet minister told the newspaper. With strong support from her husband she is so far hanging on.
23 Mar: A Blessed Sabbath for All God’s Faithful!
13:30 PDT: Hamas Announcement- Today Hamas announced that leading up to the March 31 Land Day demonstration its members will operate near Israel’s southern border every night from 7:00 p.m. to early morning this week and will also increase its launching of incendiary balloons during the day. “Our position is clear,” Hamas wrote in a statement as reported by Haaretz. “Either the blockade is lifted or the residents of the area [Israelis living in border communities] will have to evacuate.”
09:30 PDT: Europe- The candidates for the top EU job.
Syria- The Syrian army has encircled Idlib terrorist tunnels and barricades at the eastern outskirts of Morik town Hama province, adjacent to Idlib. The terrorist have suffered heavy losses in two days of Syrian bombardment in this first major battle of the Idlib campaign.
Israel- The illegal Trump recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan contrary to UNSC Resolutions which the US voted for, is expected to motivate greater participation in the planned March 31 Gaza demonstrations. At the same time the West Bank is in an explosive state over the Israeli killing of four Palestinians in the past day.
Israel strikes two balloon squads so far today wounding four.
22 Mar 13:00 PDT: Gaza- Two Gazans killed 62 wounded by Israeli live fire and gas inhalation in violent demonstrations so far today. A balloon carrying an incendiary device launched from Gaza set a blaze between homes in the nearby Israeli kibbutz of Nir Am. Another blaze was started near Kibbutz Be’eri.
Brexit- PM May to get around the parliamentary Speaker’s refusal for a third vote on the same document by breaking that document up into several smaller separate independent bills.
US/Israel- Senior White House officials reported that special teams are drawing up a document for formalizing US recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan. It will be signed by US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu when they meet at the White House next Monday.
03:30 PDT: Syria- Hours after Russian air strikes in the Idlib zone heavy ground fight broke out.The most intense clashes were reported near the northern Hama towns of Lahaya, Zakat, and Al-Latamnah. In the Al-Ghaab Plain area, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported that the military destroyed a number of hideouts belonging to the militant groups in the village of Jisr Beit Al-Ras.
Brexit- EU gives Britain until April 12 to approve the existing deal or leave. If the deal is passed they will be given until May 22 to leave.
Gaza- Seven Gazan’s wounded by Israeli tank fire on fire balloon teams.
14:00 PDT: Israel- A fire bomb hurled by Palestinians struck an Israeli car driving on Rte 555 between Itamar and Alon Moreh and set it on fire. The driver and two passengers were moved to hospital with extensive burn injuries.
12:00 PDT: Brexit- 3,500 British troops reserved to deal with any Brexit issues. The EU has rejected Theresa May’s attempt to delay Brexit until 30 June and decided to approve her request for an Article 50 extension only until 22 May. Europe also demanded passage of the Brexit deal in a third parliamentary vote next week or there will be no more delays and a no deal exit.
Gaza- Today Israel responded to demonstrations in Gaza by live fire and tank fire on an Hamas outpost.
US/Israel- After 52 years, the time has come to recognize Israeli sovereignty on the Golan, US President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sent him back an answer saying: “You have made history.” “you have made a Purim miracle.”
The New Right party releases a new statement warning the move to recognize sovereignty on the Golan could be a preparation for establishing a Palestinian state as part of the Trump administration’s peace plan. “With all the joy of American recognition of the Golan Heights, it is essential to say: The ‘Golan in exchange for Hamastan’ deal is a danger to Jewish settlements and to Israel,”
01:30 PDT: Israel- Desperate for an election boost Netanyahu is exerting extreme pressure on Trump to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan next week. It is possible that Netanyahu could win the election and with not enough far right seats to form a government opt to abandon his far right positions and form a national unity peace making government with Gantz’s Blue and White joint list.
Syria- At dawn today the Russian air force struck terrorist sites in the villages of Frikeh, Sheikh Mustafa, al-Faqie, Al Hamidiyah, Hbit and the outskirts of the town of Kafr Rumah. The attacks were carried out by six Russian warplanes that took off from Khmeimim airbase in the country’s western Latakia province. The Russian Air Force recently deployed their Su-25 jets to Syria from Russia for this offensive.
The Russian Air Force is striking areas controlled by the jihadist group Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham in their part of the Aleppo and Idlib governorates. Russia is preparing to withdraw the bulk of its forces from Syria after the Idlib operation is concluded.
20 Mar 16:00 PDT: Israel- A fourth West Bank Palestinian man has been shot dead Wednesday evening by Israeli troops near the West Bank city of Bethlehem. Three other Palestinians were wounded by Israeli fire, one of them critically.
13:15 PDT: Brexit- Britain prepares to launch operation to prepare for no deal Brexit on Monday.
Israel- Latest poll: Blue and White [Gantz] 32 seats, Likud [Netanyahu] 27.
West Dank “Day of Rage” demonstrations called after three Palestinians were killed by Israel Defense Forces at Joseph’s Tomb disturbance in the West Bank city of Nablus. According to the spokesperson for the Red Crescent, Israeli forces prevented emergency services from reaching the site, and fired on an ambulance.
10:30 PDT: Brexit- The EU will only agree to a short Brexit delay on the condition that UK lawmakers approve the agreement that has already been rejected twice and which the Speaker refuses to put to a vote the third time. The EU will require “that a short extension will be possible, but it will be conditional on a positive vote” in the UK parliament on the Brexit agreement British Prime Minister Theresa May reached with the EU. This condition for an extension could make a hard exit on March 29 all but inevitable.
Israel- While in the US to address AIPAC Netanyahu will hold a “working meeting” with president Trump on Monday, followed by a dinner at the White House on Tuesday. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has landed in Israel to set up the talks.
Tension on the West Bank is heating up.
Hamas is going ahead with March 31 big push. Arab Media Sources report that Ismail Haniyeh Chairman of Hamas’s political Bureau said that Gaza is planning for a million man march on Land Day on March 22nd to call for the “occupier to comply to the demands of our people and end the siege (of Gaza).”
06:30 PDT: Brexit- Prime Minister Theresa May has asked the European Union to delay Britain’s departure from the European Union until June 30. She has further promised parliament that she will not ask for any further extension. The reason for avoiding any further delay is the requirement for Britain to participate in the May EU elections if Brexit is delayed beyond the sitting of the new EU body on 2 July.
05:30 PDT: Idlib- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu discussed the situation in Idlib in Damascus on Tuesday.
19 Mar 13:15 PDT: Gaza- Eleven Gazans injured in demonstrations last evening, Incendiary balloon launchings resume.
Israel- Omar Abu Lil the Ariel Junction attacker has been killed in a firefight near Ramallah.
07:00 PDT: Israel- Rabbinic Purim Wednesday night through Friday gets Israeli’s psyched up for upcoming conflict. West Bank locked down from tonight through to Sunday.
Brexit- May seeking Brexit delay to June 30 with option to extend for two-years.
01:30 PDT: Israel- Efforts continue to locate and capture the perpetrator of the attacks at on soldiers at the Ariel Junction and the Gitai Avishar Junction earlier this week, Omar Abu Lila. Hamas and Islamic Jihad praised the man who attacked armed Israeli soldiers and escaped. so far. In light of the present Gaza situation, such praise may be a very big mistake for them.
18 Mar 15:30 PDT: Brexit- In light of yesterday’s threat by Labor to sponsor a no confidence vote if the May deal was voted down the third time, and today’s bombshell by the Speaker forbidding a third vote on the same document; Mrs May is requesting a long term postponement of the Brexit deadline. Granting the postponement request or rejecting it will be up to the EU summit on March 21-22. Also see the 14 March Brexit section.
10:30 PDT: Brexit- UK House of Commons speaker John Bercow dealt a major blow to Theresa May’s Brexit strategy by effectively banning her from bringing her deal back to parliament for a third time, unless it changes significantly.
08:30 PDT: Mideast War- Hamas has announced that, starting Monday night, the demonstrations that have been paused the past few days near the border fence between Israel and Gaza will resume, because Israel is not implementing the agreed understandings for the calm.
03:45 PDT: Syrian, Russian and Iraqi military chiefs of staff met in Damascus today to discuss an operation to destroy the Islamic extremists in Idlib ahead of a summit in Turkey. The Syrian military will retake every inch of Syria, including all territories controlled by anti-government forces, Minister of Defense General Ali Ayoub said in a press conference this afternoon.
17 Mar 04:30 PDT: Brexit- Ahead of Thursday’s EU summit PM May is to present her existing Brexit proposal for a third vote on Tuesday. If the deal is voted down the third time the Labor party will seek a no confidence motion. Passage of such a motion would give the government two weeks to respond or dissolve, it could also put an end to any hopes of a Brexit extension. May could be forced to resign making way for Boris Johnson [Trump’s choice] to become the new PM to preside with trade talks with the US.
03:00 PDT: Israel Attack Update- One Israeli soldier killed, five more injured, two of them critically, outside Ariel. Two Palestinian terrorists attacked a group of Israelis waiting for transport at Ariel junction; they stabbed one, snatched his sidearm and turned it on others. They then stole a car and drove to the nearby Gitai Avisar junction to continue the attack. Security forces in pursuit of the terrorists have tracked them to the nearby Palestinian village of Burkan.
01:15 PDT: TheShiningLight- A new article has been posted on preparations for the Middle East war, expected in the coming weeks.
Israel- Two Palestinian’s attacked a man of 20 at Ariel Junction this morning. He was seriously injured by gunfire as well as by stabbing, according to first reports. Paramedics are attending. The two assailants escaped by car after seizing his sidearm. Military units are on their way.
16 Mar: A Blessed Sabbath for All God’s Faithful!
Passover- The new moon should be easily visible at Jerusalem after sunset ending 6 April. Subject to actual observation 7 April should be the first day of the Biblical New Year and Passover will be on Saturday 20 April. The first High of the Feast of Unleavened would be 21 April with the last High Day on 27 April and Pentecost on June 9.
Since the first High Day falls on a Sunday it will be necessary to properly prepare for a weekly Sabbath followed by a Holy Day. At the Biblical Studies site the book of John is scheduled to begin tomorrow; this will be followed by a study of the Way to Salvation and the Spring Festivals beginning on 31 March.
15 Mar 05:00 PDT: The IDF announced Friday that Iron Dome anti-rocket batteries had been deployed across Israel in the wake of the dual rocket attack on the Tel Aviv region.
02:00 EDT: Mideast War- Under advisement from Iran Hamas opts to refrain from further response to the Israeli attacks and leverage the strikes into an increased motivation for people to protest on Mar 30th. To facilitate truly huge demonstrations at month’s end today’s rally has been cancelled. It appears that last night’s round has temporarily paused.
14 Mar 22:00 PDT: In Israel this morning the IDF announced that they had attacked more than 100 Hamas targets overnight. Hamas and Islamic Jihad which had kept largely silent during the night began launching rockets this morning when the IDF did not stop its bombardment. A few minutes ago the Iron Dome system intercepted three of five rockets fired from Gaza this morning. Bomb shelters are being opened across Israel this morning [indicating that the bombardment is not over] as the Security Cabinet prepares to call up reserves for an invasion of the strip.
Update 17:00 PDT: The security consultation held by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with senior defense officials earlier this evening at the IDF’s Kirya headquarters in Tel Aviv concluded with a decision to strike dozens of targets in the Gaza Strip.
The IDF says it is currently carrying out airstrikes “targeting terror sites” in the Gaza Strip in response to the launching of two rockets from the coastal enclave toward Tel Aviv some four hours earlier. Palestinian media reports explosions being heard throughout the Strip.
Update 14:15 PDT: Members of the security cabinet are receiving continual updates from the National Security Council on the General Staff conference, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s spokesperson says. All political parties are calling for a severe Israeli response.
13:00 PDT Breaking: Mideast War- Sirens alerted the towns of central Israel in the heart of Tel Aviv, Bnei Berak, Ramat Gan, Holon and Mikveh Israel, as two rockets struck Tel Aviv from Gaza.
Tel Aviv and other cities are preparing to open air raid shelters and all Israel’s emergency services are on alert. Binyamin Netanyahu, in his capacity as defense minister, is leading an emergency consultation at IDF General Staff headquarters in Tel Aviv on Israel’s response.
Israeli residents in the Gaza area have been placed on high alert and Egyptian officers in Gaza City are preparing to leave without delay. Hamas and other militias in Gaza are evacuating military posts in the Gaza Strip in preparation for a substantial IDF response.
This firing from Gaza two weeks before the planned major demonstrations seems illogical, since it furnishes Israel with the necessary provocation to preempt those demonstrations.
03:00 PDT: Brexit- Trump intervenes.
The British parliament is poised to vote approval for a request to extend the March 29 Brexit deadline.
If passed this would be a profoundly tragic mistake of monumental proportions, because it would result in an extended period of uncertainty while delaying talks with the United States at the same time. Such an extended period of uncertainty would effect Europe as well as Britain and would demonstrate the instability and ineffective nature of the present EU system; thereby providing a strong impetus for a New Federal Europe to arise outside the present EU.
If elected Manfred Weber, the center-right candidate expected to be the next European Commission president intends to present the Vatican backed Franco German proposals for EU reform into a trading bloc, with further efforts at political union to continue outside the EU by a Franco German core. The staunch Catholic is intense about Europe establishing its independence, urging Brussels on Wednesday to hit back hard if Donald Trump hikes tariffs on European cars; which he plans to do after the looming Mideast war. In fact Trump intends to go far beyond that with outrageous economic demands on NATO countries.
Under White House direction, the administration is drawing up demands that Germany, Japan and any other country hosting U.S. troops pay the full price of American soldiers deployed on their soil — plus 50 percent or more for the privilege of hosting them.
In some cases, nations hosting American forces could be asked to pay five to six times as much as they do now under the “Cost Plus 50” formula.
The plan would determine how much money countries such as Germany ought to be asked to pay and would then determine the discount those countries would get if their policies align closely with the U.S. thus forcing compliance with all US policies
Nations like Germany and Japan with populations that have long resisted the American presence, would probably be outraged and reject any such U.S. demand seeing it as an ultimatum.
After the coming Mideast war Trump wants to get out of Europe and is likely to demand adherence to US policy and massive payments to the US for security as a condition for trade between the US and Europe, and the continued presence of US troops in Europe.
This will force a core of European countries to seek their own security and withdraw their national forces from NATO, while also creating a New Federal Europe.
Syria- The Syrian Arab Army has sent the entire Russian-trained 5th Corps to front-lines in northern Hama, where they will join both the 4th Armored Division and Tiger Forces for the upcoming operation to destroy the terrorists in the Idlib region. In addition the Syrian Arab Army’s 3rd and 7th Corps, along with the Palestinian-led [Iranian backed] Al-Quds Brigade, will be moving from eastern and northern Syria to the front-lines in the Hama and Idlib governorates. Yesterday Russian warplanes destroyed terrorist weapons depots in the Idlib region.
13 Mar 14:00 PDT: Boeing- After nearly every airline in the world decided to ground the 737 Max 8 President Donald Trump announced an upcoming emergency order Wednesday grounding these planes, forcing Boeing to finally relent ground its entire fleet “out of an abundance of caution.”
Syria- Heavy shelling and bombing of Idlib terrorists continues.
04:00 PST: Israel- Twenty-nine arrested as Israeli roundup continues across the West Bank.
12 Mar 16:30 PDT: Boeing- After the second disaster in five months due to a design flaw, nearly all nations except the US and Canada have grounded the seriously flawed Boeing 737 Max. This is going to be a financial disaster for Boeing and a big advantage for the European Airbus.
15:00 PDT: Israel- One Palestinian is killed in the West Bank and riots ensued after Israel closed the Temple Mount when its police station was fire bombed over demonstrations after Israeli intervention against the reopening of a building on the site. After more demonstrations were called for tomorrow, Israel agreed to open the Mount in the morning.
US/Iran- Ahead of Mideast war 50 US generals and diplomats call for US reentry to the Iranian nuclear deal.
Venezuela- A September 2010 memo by a US-funded soft power organization that helped train Venezuelan coup leader Juan Guaido and his allies, indicates that last week’s suspected US cyber-attack on the Simon Bolivar Hydroelectric Plant at Guri dam causing rolling blackouts across Venezuela is part of a plan to overthrow the Maduro government. Today’s scenario as outlined is playing out almost exactly according to the plan.
14:30 PDT: Brexit- British MPs reject Theresa Mays’ amended agreement for withdrawal from the European Union Tuesday night by a vote of 391 to 242. PM May responded that the government motion rejected on Tuesday was the only deal on offer. The parliament votes on Wednesday on withdrawal on March 29, without an agreement, The response from European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker to the government’s defeat on Tuesday was regret and a warning that the EU will only examine an extension at the March 22 summit, if “credible justification” is presented and approved by the other 27 members.
05:00 PDT: US Military- With Islamic State defeated, President Trump has unveiled a budget plan which, in addition to cutting social spending across the board, would seek a huge increase in military spending, centered almost entirely on war funding.
US military spending is by far the largest on the planet, several times the amount of the next highest spending, China. Trump’s proposal would bring the overall defense budget for 2020 to $750 billion. This includes a $544 billion base-line defense budget, which is not in and of itself a huge increase. But on top of that will be a nearly $100 billion in the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) Fund, and a $9 billion “emergency” funding request meant to make up for the money already taken from the military to build the border wall.
03:30 PDT: Brexit- European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, ands British PM May secured an agreement that the Irish backstop, the insurance policy for avoiding a hard border with Ireland, would not become permanent; and the two parties were jointly committed to replace the backstop with an alternative by December 2020. Juncker warned there would be no “third chance.” If the MPs vote down the amended deal today, Britain will exit the EU without a deal on March 29. It the deal passes parliament today it will still have to be approved at the March 21-22 EU summit.
11 Mar 14:00 PDT: Iran- Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani visits Baghdad today to formalize a deal between Tehran and Iraqi prime minister Adel Abdel Mahdi.
The deal sets up a mechanism enabling Iran’s foreign clients to purchase oil and gas, in defiance of President Donald Trump’s sanctions, by registering the transactions as purchases of Iraqi oil. Payment would be deposited in Iraqi banks in Baghdad and Basra, then quietly transferred in euros to banks in Tehran.
The deal is negotiations began on Feb. 6, and the governor of the Iraqi central bank Abdolnasser Hemmat and his Iranian counterpart Ali Mohsen Ismail al-Alaq have now reached an agreement. Rouhani, is being accompanied on his three-day visit to Baghdad by foreign minister Mohammed Javad Zarif and oil minister Bijan Zangeneh, is to add the government’s seal to the transaction.
The deal not only bypasses US sanctions on Iran but embraces the Euro, abandoning the US dollar and makes war with Iran a virtual certainty in the near future.
On Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo phoned the Iraqi prime minister with an ultimatum: If Iraq goes through with the deal with Tehran, the US will block their access to the international financial markets ruled by the US dollar. Iraq countered threatening to demand that US forces leave Iraq immediately.
05:45 PDT: Brexit- Theresa May is reported to be considering pulling a second vote on her Brexit deal as she faces the prospect of another huge and humiliating defeat. The prime minister had assured MPs they would be given another “meaningful vote” by tomorrow at the latest, but may have to abandon the plan amid “deadlock” in negotiations with the EU.
10 Mar 08:30: Mideast Peace- In a move which could speed a Mideast Peace Deal, Mahmoud Abbas backed by the Fatah Central Committee today asked his long-time adviser Mohammad Shtayyeh, 60, to form a new Palestinian government.
Shtayyeh, a British-educated economist, is a top official in Abbas’s Fatah movement. He is a former peace negotiator and a strong proponent of a two-state solution with Israel. He is also is a strong critic of the Islamist terror group Hamas. He could quickly join planned Trump peace talks after Israel takes out Hamas and call elections as a Palestinian referendum for any agreement.
Netanyahu has again warned of an approaching Israeli operation to destroy Hamas regardless of the Israeli elections [which could be postponed if war breaks out].
04:00 PST: US- How Dupont and 3M make billions bringing cancer and birth defects into your home.
Syria- The Russian air force begins bombarding terrorists in Idlib, joining the Syrian army which has been bombing and shelling for weeks. Russian / Turkish joint patrols have also begun, their purpose is to separate the Turkish backed militias from the Al Qaeda linked terrorists so the militias will not be caught in the anti terrorism offensive.
9 Mar: A Blessed Sabbath and New Moon for All God’s Faithful!
18:00 PST: Gaza- The IDF attacked several sites in Gaza Saturday night.
08:00 PST: Papacy- Entire Mormon leadership meets Pontiff ahead of dedication of Mormon cathedral in Rome.
01:00 PST: Gaza- Responding to a mortar hit and two border infiltrators caught on Friday, Israel struck several facilities in Gaza this morning including a naval facility near Sudaniya, a naval facility in Khan Younis, and two other sites in Zeytoun and Tuffah in Gaza City.
Mideast War- A heavy buildup of US forces in Iraq was completed on Mar 7 with final troops airlifted via Israel and Jordan, Mar 6.
The move comes after the US designated the Iranian backed and commanded Kata’ib Hezbollah and Asaib Ahl al-Haq aka the Khazali Network and Iran’s third pro-Iranian Iraqi militia in Syria/Iraq, Nujaba, terrorist organizations. The militias have been deployed in Iraq on behalf of Iran for the upcoming regional war by their commander, Al Qods chief Gen. Qassem Solemani.
The US has also deployed its air defenses in Israel, and American forces in the Gulf region and southern Europe have been placed on a high state of readiness. See our article Why US forces in the Middle East are Repositioning
Ukraine- The Armed Forces of Ukraine are ready for all forms and methods of fighting, including offensive operations, as Russian forces also build up near the Donbas region.
7 Mar: TheShiningLight- No Aviv barley was found near Jerusalem or anywhere else in Israel. Therefore an intercalary thirteenth month will be added at the next visible new moon [tomorrow evening], and the first month of the new year will begin in April. See our Report here.
09:00 PST: Gaza- Netanyahu begins a policy of incremental escalation. Israeli tanks pounded a Hamas target in response to gunfire from northern Gaza against an IDF position near Nahal Oz. The incident came after PM/Defense Minister Binyamin Netanyahu toured the region with Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi and discussed the looming Gaza offensive with officers and men. Asked about Israel’s response to the daily explosive balloon attacks, Netanyahu replied: “Every instance of Hamas aggression will be greeted with an increasing more powerful response by the IDF.”
05:00 PST: Gaza- A balloon sent from the Gaza Strip landed in a tree in the Sha’ar Hanegev region, 90 minutes later Israel bombed a Hamas observation post.
6 Mar 16:15 PST: Palestinian media is reporting that the IDF is attacking in Gaza in response to the rocket fire and the firing of explosive balloons at Israel.
Israel Science- Israeli tech company growing steaks from cattle cells.
BREAKING 03:00 PST: Israel Warns Hamas Through Multiple Channels of Pending Broad Military Operation- Three senior Egyptian Intelligence Generals, Omar Hanafi, Ayman Badi and Ahmad Abd al-Khalek, arrived in Gaza Tuesday to deliver a warning to Hamas from Israel, that a broad Israeli military operation is pending if Hamas does not end demonstrations and incendiary balloon attacks.
To emphasize the warnings Abbas Kamel, the director of Egypt’s General Intelligence Directorate, will also visit the Strip in the coming days. Israel has also sent the same warnings to Hamas through European countries. Hamas responds that they will prepare for war.
The warnings come in response to the announced “million man march” on the border Hamas plans for Land Day March 30. The 4 March deployment of the US missile defense system in Israel is part of Israel US preparations for a regional war.
5 Mar 14:00 PST: Israel- Jordan rejects Israeli order to close Temple Mount facility by Monday.
4 Mar 12:30 PST: Mideast War- Israel strikes two Gaza sites in the fourth attack since Sunday, as Hamas warns Netanyahu not to stage a pre-election operation.
06:30 PST: Mideast War- On Sunday Israel announced a new zero tolerance policy for all incidents from Gaza. Today for the third time since then Israel struck Gaza in response to incendiary balloons.
Today the US began a deployment of the THAAD air defense system in Israel from the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command (AAMDC) stationed at Ft. Bliss, Texas. The move comes at a time of heightened war risk and just weeks after the joint air defense exercise Juniper Falcon in February.
The THAAD system is being deployed to Israel as a small part of a massive Israeli air defense exercise conducted by Israel the United States European Command (EUCOM). Thousands of US troops will take part in the exercise many from Europe.
01:00 PST: Israel- Two Israeli’s were injured while trying to make arrests in the West Bank this morning. The arrests were part of a weeks long roundup or Hamas men by Israel in the West Bank.
3 Mar 13:00 PST: Israel bombs Hamas site as Hamas deploys “night confusion” units for night demonstrations. Hamas is slowly ratcheting up the pressure towards the one year anniversary of the present weekly demonstrations on March 30 “Land Day.” On March 30 Hamas plans a “million-man march,” which might actually involve a 100,000 person march on the border fence.
10:00 PST: Syria- Ansar al-Tawfiq an Idlib terrorist group linked to Al Qaeda, attacked the Syrian army in the village of Massasneh north of Hama province killing 21 men.
Korea- Tomorrow a nine day exercise of local forces will begin, replacing the big annual six week surge Key Resolve exercises.
12:30 PST: Gaza- Last night Israel bombed two Hamas sites in Gaza after thousands demonstrate on border and incendiary balloons cross the border.
Korea- The large joint US-South Korea spring military exercises Foal Eagle and Key Resolve are to be canceled, according to officials familiar with the situation. The move will free up resources for other projects.
2 Mar: A Blessed Sabbath for All God’s Faithful!
1 Mar: 06:00 PST: Brexit- France and some others are preparing to reject a British request for a last minute and apparently hopeless “extension to nowhere.”
US Britain Trade- Robert Lighthizer, and the US Trade Representative’s office (USTR).could formally start fast track negotiations with Britain in as few as 30 days.
The US and the UK will work to “build on progress” already made in talks related to regulatory cooperation during the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations, the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and the ongoing US-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC).
Yesterday the United States laid out objectives for a trade deal with the United Kingdom that would ensure fair and balanced trade, cut tariff and non-tariff barriers for U.S. industrial and agricultural goods and reduce regulatory differences.
The talks will be under the “fast-track trade negotiating authority law, and will seek to boost trade between the two countries by eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers,” announced the U.S. Trade Representative’s office. A quick deal with the US has become a major priority after trade talks with Japan hit snags.
01:00 PST: Korea- Contrary to president Trump’s claim the DPRK is seeking only a partial lifting of sanctions in exchange for dismantling the Yonbyon nuclear facility, not a complete lifting as Trump has misinformed the public.
In particular the North is specifically seeking the lifting of sanctions under five United Nations Security Council resolutions adopted in 2016 and 2017. There are six other sanctions Resolutions. Trump had promised a lifting of some sanctions in exchange for DPRK advances, in a step by step incremental process; which promise Trump has now backed away from prompting the end of the summit when Kim held his ground.
Mideast Peace- Yesterday there was a dramatic advance towards Middle East peace when the Attorney General Announced that he will file corruption indictments against PM Netanyahu. In a 57-page document the attorney general gave details of illicit deals and conflicts of interest, harmed public trust and abuse of office allegations. Jerusalem Post announcement polls show Bibi and Likud now have no chance to form a government. See the Feb 28 news post.
Mideast War- The Middle East situation is explosive. Netanyahu now has no chance to win the April 9 election and can probably be expected to attack Gaza in order to force an election postponement and try to establish a “Mr. Security” and “Conquering Hero” persona, in an effort to turn the tide and save himself from prison. Bibi needs to be elected so that as prime minister with popular backing he could offer to negotiate a plea bargain by offering to plead “No Contest” and pay a fine to avoid prison.
While all eyes are fixed on the US troop reduction in Syria, the Pentagon has been quietly building up its forces in the three main US bases in Western Iraq: Tallil Air Base at Nasiriyah in the south, Ayn al-Assad in Anbar and K1 near Kirkuk, because Iranian backed Shia militia are waiting to attack the US Iraqi bases once open war erupts in the region.
With this buildup it is conceivable that the US will not withdraw as many troops from Syria as quickly as announced. See our article Why US forces in the Middle East are Repositioning
At this time the Syrian offensive against the Idlib terrorists is underway and as it builds Israel is preparing to destroy the militias in Gaza and then pivot to the northern front.