For the first time, the U.S. State Department has cited violence by settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank under the heading "terrorist incidents" in its annual Country Report on Terrorism.
Escalating Israeli rhetoric regarding a possible strike on Iran's nuclear facilities was answered this weekend by even cruder threats from Iran and Hezbollah. The Iranians have always marked their version of Jerusalem Day, which fell on Friday, with warlike declarations, but this time they raised the volume a bit.
The U.S. and Israeli navies conducted a joint search-and-rescue exercise in the Mediterranean Sea last week. The four-day exercise, known as Reliant Mermaid, included the use of live fire, and the U.S. participants included Aegis guided-missile destroyers of the type that would in theory be used to help defend Israel against Iranian missiles.
Sunday marks the first day of Eid al-Fitr, the holiday celebrated at the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Syrian President Bashar Assad joined in the festivities, marking the holiday with a prayer at a Damascus mosque.
Vice Prime Minister and Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon said that the fire-bomb attack on a Palestinian taxi on Thursday, in which six people were wounded, was "a terrorist attack." He also condemned the suspected Jerusalem lynching of three Palestinian youths on Friday in downtown Jerusalem.
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Shas Party spiritual leader, harshly criticized the Israeli justice system, labeling it a “court of gentiles,” using a Talmudic term. Rabbi Yosef stated that according to Jewish law, judges presiding over Israeli courts should not be allowed to be witnesses at Jewish marriage ceremonies, implicating religiously observant judges as well.
Iraq has been helping Iran skirt economic sanctions imposed because of its nuclear program, using a network of financial institutions and oil-smuggling operations that are providing Tehran with a crucial flow of dollars.
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