Mid-East Conflict

The unrest in the Middle-East focuses on the civil struggle between the government of Israel and its Palestinian people who want to establish a separate Palestinian state. Most of the Arab and/or Islamic nations in the area are also involved. The United States, the U.N., the European Union, and even Russia are all trying to broker peace in the region.

The current wave of violence could die out and become one of many such cycles in the area, or it could lead to more serious war. The outcome of this war could be a most welcome peace agreement.

Such a peace agreement might be just another phase in the age-old struggle between these nations, or it could be the false peace mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 5:3. While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. (NIV)

When Israel finally is at peace, it will be the first time since they became a nation in 1948 that they have enjoyed such security. This could cause them to lower their guard, which would set the scene for yet another war, such as the one predicted in Ezekiel 38 and 39. (Many good Bible teachers think that war is more likely at the end of the Tribulation, but it does not correspond exactly to the Battle of Armageddon.) If it does come before the Tribulation, it will most likely correspond to the 2nd Seal of Revelation 6.

The dramatic end of this great war of the 2nd Seal could produce the treaty predicted in Daniel 9:27, which many prophecy scholars identify as the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation period.

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Key Scriptures

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NIV & Other VersionsIncludes Commentary
Jeremiah 6:14 Further Study
Ezekiel Chapters 38 & 39 Further Study
Daniel 9:27 Further Study
Zechariah 12:2-3 Further Study
1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 Further Study
Revelation 6:3-4 Further Study

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Current Events

See also:
The Israel-Lebanon War
Wars and Rumors of Wars
The War of Gog and Magog
The New Cold War

Notice: Sources often remove their news links after a period of time. Some of them move older stories to a subscription-only section. Even if the story is no longer on line, our summary will still be available on this page.

Newer Articles: Since April 12, 2008

Rice slams Carter for Hamas meeting

Apr. 12, 2008 - Former US president Jimmy Carter may plan to meet the exiled leader of Hamas during a visit to Syria. Hamas' Khaled Mashaal requested the meeting. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is encouraging Carter not to meet with him.
"I find it hard to understand what is going to be gained by having discussions with Hamas about peace when Hamas is, in fact, the impediment to peace," Rice said at a press event.
Source:Jerusalem Post

O Jerusalem! America drafts plan to cut in 2

Apr. 10, 2008 - U.S. peace plan details have been obtained that would give the Palestinian Authority some control over parts of East Jerusalem and sections of the Temple Mount.
The PA would be allowed to open some official institutions in Jerusalem, could elect a mayor for the Palestinian side of the city and would deploy police forces to maintain law and order.
After five years, if both sides keep their commitments, the PA would be given full sovereignty over these areas.
Source: WorldNetDaily

U.S. wants to hold summit at Sharm during Bush visit

April 9. 2008 - American diplomats are trying to arrange a summit at at the Sinai resort of Sharm el-Sheikh next month to keep the peace process moving forward. The meeting would take place while with President George Bush is visiting Israel for the country's 60th anniversary celebrations. The plan is for President Hosni Mubarak and President Bush to host the summit. Other top leaders would include Jordan's King Abdullah, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
According to the Israeli sources, the American initiative is still in the early planning stages, but was raised in talks with officials in Israel.
Source: Ha'Aretz

Israel: We'll 'destroy' Iran

April 8, 2008 - Ben-Eliezer, a former Israeli defense minister said that this week's intense war drill demonstrates Israel's readiness in case Iran should make the mistake of attacking Israel. He said that Israel will "destroy" Iran if that should happen. Iran will also be held accountable if they continue to supply arms to Syria and Hezbollah.
Source: WorldNetDaily

'Day Four of the War' - Israel's Largest Emergency Drill Ever

Apr. 7, 2008 - This is day four of Israel's largest war drill ever. The military activity is a simulation of the case that the State of Israel is under attack from Syria, Lebanon and Gaza.
The IDF dispatched a statement assuring citizens that the drill has been planned "as part of the IDF 2008 work plan," and emphasizing: The exercise was not planned in relation to any current events.
Source: Israel National News
Israel calms fears of Syria conflict - BBC
Israel prepares for the Apocalypse - Israel Insider

'Wars and Rumors of War'

Apr. 3, 2008 - Some of Today's news headlines!
Israel readies largest exercise ever to prepare for Iran-Syria missile war - World Tribune
Al-Qaida No. 2: We'll target world Jews - Jerusalem Post
IDF Deputy Chief vows 'painful' response to any attack on Israel - Ha'Aretz

Rice: Peace deal could happen by year's end

Mar. 31, 2008 - Meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice encouraged a return to the hard work of peace negotiations. She assured him that in spite of the recent violence in the Gaza Strip a peace agreement is possible by the end of the year
For his part, Abbas said that "peace and negotiations are our strategic choice," but fell short of announcing a resumption of peace talks...
Exclusive: Israel says no to Rice demand for free Palestinian passage from Jenin to Mt. Hebron - Debkafile
Barak says will allow establishment of Palestinian city - Rice Amazed - YNet News

Barak fears Hamas West Bank takeover

Mar. 29, 2008 -Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak warns that Israel is taking a chance by offering concessions to the Palestinians. They have allowed the Palestinian Authority to transfer weapons and armored vehicles. This could ultimately backfire because Hamas could come to power in the West Bank and be better equipped to turn on Israel.
Source: Jerusalem Post

Defense officials: Hezbollah rockets can reach almost all of Israel

Mar. 27, 2008 - Israeli defense officials warn that Hezbollah guerrillas now have Iranian rockets that have a range of 185 miles.
That means the guerrillas can strike anywhere in Israel's heavily populated center and reach as far south as Dimona, where Israel's nuclear reactor is located.
During their war in 2006, Hezbollah fired nearly 4,000 rockets into Israel, but those rockets had a range of 45 miles.

Blair: Middle East peace process is a race against time

Mar. 26, 2008 - Former British prime minister Tony Blair, speaking at a European Parliament panel in Brussels, said that those who want peace in the Middle East must act quickly to bring about a "different and better position" to achieve peace because they were facing "a race against time." He said that by the time President George W. Bush visits the Middle East in May there needs to be a better international strategy toward the Hamas-ruled Gaza strip.
He said peace was possible because both Israelis and Palestinians want to live side by side in peace. However, he added that while each side wants a two-state solution, neither believes it is going to get it.
Blair, who is the envoy for the Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators - The United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Russia, stressed that the world community must find ways to get more goods and food into Gaza to ease the humanitarian crisis there, and do it in a way that isolates the extremists.

Questionable Peace Deal Between Fatah and Hamas
Qureia: Fatah signed reconciliation draft with Hamas due to mixup

Mar. 24, 2008 - Representatives of Fatah and Hamas signed an agreement Sunday to share the goal of uniting in a single Palestinian government. However, the Fatah representative failed to get approval from Palestinian leader Abbas, so there is doubt that it will be honored.

Today an unnamed Israeli official said that that reconciliation between rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas would end the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. He said

The Fatah leadership has to make a choice. They can have a peace process and dialogue with Israel or a coalition with Hamas. But it's clear that you can't have them both.
Source: Ha'Aretz

McCain: 'The nature of the enemy is hydra-headed'

Mar. 21, 2008 - In an interview with the Jerusalem Post, Presidential hopeful John McCain assured Israelis that he is supportive of Israel and of the peace process. He spoke about various things.
... about how Israel is a unique partner; how support for Israel is not only about Israeli interests, but also American ones; and how the West is engaged in a titanic struggle with an extremist foe.
He said that our common strugle in the foreseeable future is between radical Islamic extremism and the forces of freedom and democracy. He added that the enemy is "hydra-headed," meaning that it is multi-dimensional. Those dimensions are military, diplomatic, intelligence and ideological. He said we must succeed in all these areas.
Source: Jerusalem Post

Fatah negotiators to leave Yemen without Hamas deal

Mar. 20, 2008 - Yemen sponsored an attempt to bring reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, but the meeting was a failure. Hamas was not willing to give up control of the Gaza Strip.

McCain: Abbas committed to peace

Mar. 19, 2008 - U.S. Senator and Presidential candidate John McCain visited Israel on Tuesday and Wednesday. He met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and then with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. He said he believes that Abbas is committed to reaching a peace agreement with Israel.
According to Israel Radio, Livni told McCain that the security situation in the Gaza Strip had deteriorated since his last visit to Israel, and that without change in this matter, peace was not possible.
McCain stressed that the U.S. is still working toward peace in the region.
Source: Jerusalem Post

'Roadmap' focus of Mid-East talks

Mar. 15, 2008 - In an effort to salvage peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, Retired US Gen William Fraser will convene the first trilateral meeting since peace talks were relaunched last year. There are many obstacles to the process, including rocket attacks against Israel, Israeli raids into Gaza to try to stop the rockets, and continued building of Israeli settlements. The new meeting will use the 2003 so-called roadmap peace plan as a guide.
Source: BBC

Barak warns of Mahmoud Abbas's demise
Gaza fighting will get worse before calm prevails

Mar. 12, 2008 - Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned that temporary cease-fires in the Gaza Strip would not bring peace because Hamas would use these breaks to smuggle in more rockets and other arms. Israel will evidently have to intensify the pressure before the militants are defeated. According to other military leaders, the IDF is continuing to prepare for a large-scale invasion of the Gaza Strip.

In addition, there is concern that Hamas will depose Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas because of his willingness to negotiate peace with Israel.

Defense officials recently warned of Hamas's growing presence in the West Bank and the possibility that the terror group could overthrow Abbas's government over the next year.
Source: Jerusalem Post

Islamic Jihad's Bethlehem heads killed

Mar. 12, 2008 - A team from an Israeli counterterror killed four leaders of the Islamic Jihad gunmen in Bethlehem.
Among the dead was Mahmoud Shehada, 45, the commander of Islamic Jihad in Bethlehem. He had been on Israel's wanted list for eight years, since the eruption of the second intifada.
Source: Jerusalem Post

Hamas: No truce until IDF ends Gaza, W. Bank raids

Mar. 12, 2008 - Hamas has offered a temporary ceasefire with Israel if Israel will cease its raids into Palestinian territory and will reopen Gaza border crossings. Hamas's Gaza leader Ismail Haniyeh said that Israeli agreement to a ceasefire would be due to "Hamas' victory in the Gaza Strip after the Israeli operation," referring to the Israel Defense forces ground offensive against rocket squads in northern Gaza some two weeks ago.

Israel is not interested in stopping their pressure on Gaza until the rocket attacks cease.


Israel reportedly 'agrees to 30 days of quiet' with Hamas

Mar. 11, 2008 - Egyptian officials have proposed an initiative to bring calm between Israel and the Palestinians. A London-based Arab newspaper says that Israel is interested, but would require a 30-day "feeling the pulse" period first. During this time there would need to be a complete halt of rocket attacks against Israel, and no new smuggling tunnels would be dug along the Gaza-Egypt border. If the 30 days of quiet are successful...
...Israel will assent to the Egyptian calm initiative, including the cessation of ground and air attacks in the Gaza Strip and refraining from retaliating for the terror attack at the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva last week.
Source: Jerusalem Post

Israeli Intelligence: War unlikely in '08, But...

Mar. 10, 2008 - Israeli intelligence of war threats has been conducted by the Mossad, Military Intelligence, and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency). They conclude that war is unlikely this year, but a crisis with Iran could come in late 2009 or early 2010.
...both the Mossad and Military Intelligence pointed to Iran as Israel's most menacing threat - both because of the progress it was making in its nuclear program, and due to its leadership of a radical axis in the Islamic world.
Israel's other threats include Syria, Hizbullah, Gaza and Palestinian terrorism, and global jihad. And an escalation in violence in the Gaza Strip could lead to a Hizbullah attack in the North.
Source: Jerusalem Post

Mourners gather at Israeli school

Mar. 7, 2008 - Thousands of mourners converged on the Mercaz Harav seminary in Jerusalem to lament the shooting of eight students there. The gunman was was identified as Ala Abu Dhaim, a resident of East Jerusalem. He was killed by a paratrooper who responded to the commotion. The attack was presumed to be a response to the Israeli military action in Gaza.
A previously unknown group called the Jalil Freedom Battalions - the Martyrs of Imad Mughniyeh and Gaza, claimed it was behind the attack, Lebanese Hezbollah media reports.
Source: BBC
Hamas 'blesses' terror attack at Jerusalem seminary - Jerusalem Pos

Rice: Peace deal could happen by year's end

Mar. 5, 2008 - Meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that Israel and the Palestinians could still reach a peace agreement by the end of the year. Fighting between Israel and the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip has slowed the process considerably.
For his part, Abbas said that "peace and negotiations are our strategic choice," but fell short of announcing a resumption of peace talks that his government cut off after the upsurge in fighting in Gaza.
Abbas agrees to resume talks despite earlier truce demand - Ha'Aretz

Rice to Try to Salvage Mideast Talks

Mar. 4, 2008 - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice returns to the Middle East at a very difficult time to try to keep peace talks going. Hamas forces in Palestinian areas have been relentless in their rocket attacks against Israel, and armed responses from Israel have resulted in the death of over 120 Palestinians in the past week. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has cut off negotiations with the Israelis, but Rice will try to persuade him to return to the process.
Source: Guardian - UK

Israeli Gaza operation 'not over'

Mar. 3, 2008 - After several days of military action in Gaza to try to stop the firing of rockets into Israeli towns, Israeli forces withdrew for a "two-day interval" while US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visits Jerusalem and Ramallah in the West Bank on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Palestinian militant group Hamas claimed victory over Israeli forces and held a rally in Gaza City.
So far, 100 people have died in the area.
Source: BBC
Israel remains defiant as Gaza toll rises - Times Online

33 Palestinians killed during ongoing IDF raids in Gaza Strip

Mar 1, 2008 - Continued rocket fire on Israeli cities by Palestinians has resulted in raids by the Israeli Defense Forces that have resulted in at least 33 new Palestinian deaths.
In all, 63 Palestinians have been killed since clashes between Israel and Hamas terrorists spiked Wednesday when an Israeli student at Sapir College in Sderot was killed by a Kassam rocket.
Source: Jerusalem Post
Palestinians threaten to call off talks - Jerusalem Post

Israel prepares for assault on Gaza

Feb. 29, 2008 - Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak prepared Israel and the world for the liklihood of a large-scale attack in Gaza. Hamas has recently added the city of Ashkelon to the list of targets for heavy rocket attacks. Barak said that Israel could not tolerate the current level of rocket fire in the South without offering a wider response. Defense sources say Israel has been planning such an operation for weeks.
[It] would not "merely" be to reduce the threat of rocket fire and rocket manufacturing in the Gaza Strip, but would also likely entail paralyzing the Hamas government's ability to operate, and even include "regime change."
Source: Jerusalem Post
Israel Warns of Unleashing 'Holocaust' in Gaza if Rocket Attacks Continue - Fox

Abbas: Peace in 2008 or never

Feb. 26, 2008 - Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas says the US-brokered final peace settlement between The Palestinians and Israelis must succeed this year. If it isn't achieved in 2008, he predicts that it never will happen.
Abbas spoke following a closed door meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah... if the Bush administration didn't make good on its pledge to "make 2008 the year to broker peace, then there will never be any future chances to achieve this goal."
Border closings between Israel and Gaza have resulted in basic services such as water, sewerage, medical care and education in Palestinian areas. The US plan calls for the establishment of a separate Palestinian state.
Source: Jerusalem Post

Massive forces deploy along Gaza fence

Feb. 25, 2008 - Hamas is planning a "human-chain" demonstration that will put civilians on the front line at the Gaza fence. The Israeli Defense Force mobilized security forces along the fence to try to keep the demonstration from reaching the level of last month's Rafah border-storming.
The IDF was unwilling to confirm or deny a Channel 2 news report saying soldiers would be instructed to fire at protesters' legs should they approach the security fence, in order to prevent a recurrence of what happened at the Gaza-Sinai border on January 23.
Source: Jerusalem Post

Netanyahu: Olmert government taking measures to cede Jerusalem

Feb. 21, 2008 - Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that the current government of Israel, under Ehud Olmert, is planning to divide Jerusalem. He urged the Shas party to exit from Olmert's coalition. This could topple the government and "save Jerusalem."
Netanyahu was reacting to ongoing wrangling between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas over Olmert's assertion that the sides had agreed to defer discussions over the status of Jerusalem to a future final phase of negotiations.
Source: Ha'Aretz

Iran predicts Hezbollah will destroy Israel

Feb. 20, 2008 - The assassination of Hezbollah's second-highest leader, Imad Mughniyah, has brought startling rhetoric against Israel. The commander or Iran's Revolutionary Guard, Mohammad Ali Jafari, said:
"In the near future, we will witness the destruction of Israel, the aggressor, this cancerous microbe Israel, at the able hands of the soldiers of the community of Hezbollah,"
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Mughniyah's death would result in increased resistance against Israel.
Source: Yahoo

Lebanon tensions grow amid specter of renewed Israel-Hezbollah fighting

Feb. 19, 2008 - In the wake of last week's assassination of terrorist mastermind Imad Mughniyah, Israel has prepared for renewed fighting with Hezbollah forces in Lebanon by deploying Patriot air defense missiles near Haifa. The Lebanese people do not want war, but are unable to control the situation.
The recent statements by Hezbollah's secretary-general, Hassan Nasrallah, that the Second Lebanon War is not over yet and that there is an "open war" with Israel, have stirred angry responses from Lebanese figures opposed to the radical Shi'ite group.
Source: Ha'Aretz

Hezbollah: Mugniyah revenge to be 'extremely costly' for Israel

Feb. 17, 2008 - Sheikh Nabil Kauk, a Lebanese Hezbollah leader, said "It won't be long before the conceited Zionists realize that Imad Mughniyah's blood is extremely costly, and it makes history and brings about a new victory."
Source: Ha'Aretz

Nasrallah: Now I'm really miffed; Israel girds for revenge attacks

Feb. 15, 2008 - Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah wouldn't appear in public, but used a videoconference to claim that the assassination of Imad Mughniyah "will lead to the elimination of Israel."
Source: Israel Insider

Nasrallah says ready for open war with Israel

Feb. 14, 2008 - At a mass funeral was held in Lebbanon for Hezbollah's second-in-command leader Imad Mughniyah, who was killed two days ago in a bomb attack. Top Hezbollah commander, Hassan Nasrallah told the crowds that their group was ready for "open war" with Israel.
"Zionists, if you want this type of open war then let the whole world hear: let it be an open war," Nasrallah told the tens of thousands of mourners at Mughniyah's funeral.
Israel has not admitted to the bombing, but it is generally believed that they are responsible.
Analyze This: Far more than the killing of one terrorist - Jerusalem Post
Ashkenazi orders IAF, Navy, ground forces to be prepared in North - Jerusalem Post
U.S. partner praises Hezbollah terrorist - Killer of hundreds of Americans called 'hero' of 'the Muslim nation' - WorldNetDaily

Barak orders IDF to gird for wide Gaza offensive

Feb. 11, 2008 - Because of the continued attack of Israel by Qassam rockets, Defense Minister Ehud Barak may order a wide-scale military operation in the Gaza Strip.
Barak told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Israel would not rule out any possible course of action to bring quiet back to the western Negev and security to the residents of Sderot and nearby communities.
Barak said that the rocket attacks may continue for some time, "but the army will stop the phenomenon."
Source: Ha'Aretz

New Syrian missile can pinpoint Israeli targets

Feb. 8, 2008 - Syria can now deploy the Iranian ZelZal missile with a 250 km range and able to carry exceptionally large payloads, and the ability to reach specific targets. Future attacks from Syria will be able to strike airports, ports and factories.
Source: Stan Goodenough - Jerusalem Newswire

In final State of the Union, Bush reiterates call for democratic Palestine

Jan. 29, 2008 - In President Bush's final State of the Union speech, he spoke about problems with the economy, conditions in Iraq, and other pressing issues. He also mentioned the importance of the Mid-East peace negotiations.
"The time has come for a Holy Land where a democratic Israel and a democratic Palestine live side-by-side in peace." Bush said Monday night, standing before Congress in the final State of the Union message of his presidency.
Source: Ha'Aretz

Blair Wants Mideast Peace in 2008

Jan. 28, 2008 - Speakers at the five-day World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, ended on an optomistic note despite fears of a U.S. economic downturn.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair supported hope for the U.S. brokered peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians by the end of this year.

"I would like to see an agreement that gives us the prospect of a lasting peace between Israel and Palestine because I do think that would be the greatest signal of reconciliation with which the 21st century could start."
Blair is the chief envoy for the "Quartet" of powers (US, EU, UN, and Russia) that has been working toward peace in the Middle East for some time.
Source:Associated Press: My Way

Hamas leader says attacks 'must continue'

Jan. 25, 2008 - At a Palestinian liberation conference in Damascus, a Hamas leader, Khaled Mashaal, told delegates that the conflict with Israel must continue until the Israeli siege ends and "the liberation of Palestine" is realized.
Members of Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinian and other unaffiliated parties attended the conference.
Violence As Egypt Closes Gaza Border - Sky News
Hamas Wins In Gaza - WorldNetDaily Editorial
Israeli air strike kills Hamas commander - AFP

Saudi prince: If Israel quits Arab land, it could join Arab world

Jan. 20, 2008 - According to Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former ambassador to the United States and Britain and adviser to King Abdullah, a Saudi peace plan could grant full normalization of relations with Israel. Their plan, first adopted in 2002, requires Israel to withdrawal from occupied Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese land. Israel rejected the offer at that time. Prince al-Faisal said,
"The Arab world, by the Arab peace initiative, has crossed the Rubicon from hostility towards Israel to peace with Israel and has extended the hand of peace to Israel."
Source: Ha'Aretz

Barak orders lockdown of Gaza, Hamas vows revenge

Jan. 18, 2008 - Because terror cells in Gaza have launched more than 130 rockets into southern Israel, the Israeli army continues to strike the rocket launch areas, resulting in the death of at least 25 Palestinians.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak toured the region accompanied by regional army commanders and vowed Israel would put an end to the Palestinian rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip.
Barak has ordered a complete closure of the Gaza coastal territory.
Source: YNet News
Gaza Strip residents must reject terrorism or face the consequences - YNet News Opinion
Update Jan 19, 2008 - Ehud Olmert: 'We are at war with Hamas' - Telegraph - UK
Update Jan 19, 2008 - Israel test-launches nuclear-capable missile - Telegraph - UK

PM: Israel will continue to wage war on militants firing rockets

Jan. 17, 2008 - Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that Air Force strikes against Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip will continue as long as they attack Israel with rockets. He said Israel does not want to kill residents, but will persue militants relentlessly.
"We will continue to fight the [Islamic] Jihad, Hamas and all their allies without compromise, without concessions and without mercy," the prime minister said.
Source: Ha'Aretz

Olmert: All Options to Prevent a Nuclear-Armed Iran On the Table

Jan. 14, 2008 - Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told a parliamentary panel in Jerusalem that Israel is willing to use military force against Iran to prevent their nuclear development. The statement was made a few days after hes meeting with President Bush.
During that visit, Israeli officials disputed the recently released conclusions of a U.S. National Intelligence Estimate that concluded Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003.

Bush leaves Israel with hopes for 'chances of peace'

Jan. 11, 2008 - As President Bush was leaving Israel he told Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President Shimon Peres that there was a good chance for peace there and he wants to help make it happen. They invited him to return in May to celebrate Israel's 60th anniversary.
"Mr. Prime Minister and Mr. President, thank you very much for your invitation to come back. I'm accepting it now," Bush said on the tarmac.

Bush Predicts Mideast Peace Treaty Before He Leaves White House

Jan. 10, 2008 - While visiting the Palestinian West Bank area, President Bush told reporters that he believes a Mideast peace treaty will be completed before he leaves office twelve months from now.
He named Lt. Gen. William Fraser III, assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to monitor progress that both sides are making on the peace process known as the "roadmap," a U.S. official told The Associated Press.
Fraser is a three-star Air Force General who has travelled to the region before with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Source: Fox
ANALYSIS: Palestinians believe Bush won't pressure Israel - Ha'Aretz

Bush launches key Mid-East tour

Jan. 9, 2007 - Arriving in Israel with red-carpet treatment, President Bush affirmed the United States' commitment to Israel.
He said the alliance between the US and Israel "helps guarantee Israel's security as a Jewish state".
Tomorrow the President will spend time encouraging Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to clearly define their vision of a state that can exist alongside Israel. Hamas, the more militant faction among the Palestinians say the President's visit is not welcomed.
"Bush has come to the region only to give political, moral and material support to the Israeli occupation and also to widen the internal Palestinian rift," Sami Abu-Zhuri, a senior Hamas official, told the BBC.
Source: BBC

Leaders prepare for key Bush tour

Jan. 8, 2008 - Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert are having last-minute discussions in preparation for President Bush's arrival. President Bush hopes to keep the peace process on track following the November conference at Annapolis. Since November several issues have slowed down progress toward agreement there
Mr Olmert has expressed particular concern at one rocket attack that reached as far as the Israeli town of Ashkelon, 15km (nine miles) from the border.

For their part, the Palestinians are angry Israel wants to build more than 300 new apartments in a disputed part of Jerusalem.

An Abbas spokesman said that they think President Bush will ask Israel to freeze settlement activity.
Source: BBC

Questions on Iran as Bush heads to Mideast

Jan. 7, 2008 - President Bush is scheduled to begin a trip to the Middle East in hopes of stimulating the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations he launched in Annapolis late last year. Howeverthe issue of Iran's nuclear developments may have a higher priority in the region. The recent U.S. intelligence report that minimized Iran's nuclear threat has caused doubt that the U.S. will confront Iran.
Leaders in the region are gauging whether the lame-duck administration has the interest and ability to cope with Iran, or whether they should pursue their own military and diplomatic solutions.
Source: MSNBC
UN Atomic Chief Takes Probe to Iran - TIME
Israel to present Bush with 'Iran file' - YNet

Bush Urges Progress on Palestinian State

Jan. 5, 2008 - As a follow-up to November's Annapolis peace conference, President Bush is heading to the Middle East next week.
President Bush says his job is to keep Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas focused on the big picture, despite what he says are considerable roadblocks toward an independent Palestinian state.
He says that the first step in the process is to define the Palestinian state.
Source: Voice of America

Olmert, Bush and Abbas to hold three-way summit in Jerusalem

Jan. 3, 2008 - President Bush will visit seven countries in the Middle East next week. In Israel he will meet with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
The purpose of the tripartite meeting is to energize the negotiations between Israel and the PA.
Source: Ha'Aretz

Olmert: 'Israel must internalize divided Jerusalem'

Jan 1, 2008 - In an interview with the Jerusalem Post, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that he is hopeful that 2008 will bring about a permanent Israeli-Palestinian peace accord. He said that even Israel's friends think in terms of returning to the 1967 borders and with Jerusalem divided. He personally does not accept the '67 borders as the final configuration, and he says President Bush also agrees that Israel should retain some territory in Samaria and Judea.
Source:Jerusalem Post

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