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Israeli Settler Leader Says Settlements Grew Rapidly in 2017

Voice of America - Tue, 02/20/2018 - 01:55
The number of Jewish settlers in the West Bank grew at nearly twice the rate of Israel's overall population last year, a settler leader said Monday, predicting that settlement growth would surge even more in the coming years thanks in part to the Trump presidency.   Yaakov Katz said that President Donald Trump, backed by a Mideast team dominated by settler supporters, has created a friendly new atmosphere conducive to settlement growth after eight contentious years with the Obama...
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Saudi FM Rejects Qatari Proposal of EU-style Security Pact

Voice of America - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 23:41
Saudi Arabia has no interest in participating in a European Union-style regional security alliance as proposed by Qatar, its Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Monday. Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani said on Friday that Middle Eastern states should put their differences behind them and forge a security pact modelled on the European Union in order to pull the region back from the brink. He asked the international community to keep up diplomatic pressure on the...
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Turkish Foreign Minister Warns Syria About Military Intervention

Voice of America - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 23:15
With Turkish-led forces stepping up their military operations against the Syrian Kurdish militia, the YPG, in Syria's Kurdish-controlled Afrin enclave, Ankara has reacted cautiously to reports that Damascus is set to intervene militarily.  “If they are getting there to clean out YPG, then there is no problem,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Monday. “But If Syrian forces are entering Afrin to protect YPG, no one can militarily stop us.”  WATCH: Turkey,...
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Egyptian Firm to Buy $15 Billion in Israeli Natural Gas

Voice of America - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 18:07
An Egyptian company will buy $15 billion of Israeli natural gas in two 10-year agreements announced on Monday, marking a major export deal that Israel hopes will strengthen diplomatic ties. The partners in Israel’s Tamar and Leviathan offshore gas fields said they have signed with private Egyptian firm Dolphinus Holdings to supply a total of around 64 billion cubic meters of gas over a decade - with half coming from each field and the proceeds split equally between them. Israeli Prime...
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Minister: Lebanon Cannot Ask for Donor Funding Without Passing 2018 Budget

Voice of America - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 17:54
Lebanon cannot ask for support at an upcoming donor conference unless it first passes the 2018 budget, Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil said on Monday. Political tensions had left Lebanon without a government budget from 2005 until it passed one last year. The government must now agree a budget for 2018. Khalil said there was a commitment to finalizing the 2018 budget and referring it to parliament for approval by end of the month. If this is done within 15 days there is a...
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State Media: Iranian Rescue Teams Locate Wreckage of Plane Crash

Voice of America - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 17:15
Iranian rescue teams, battling weather and mountainous terrain, have located the wreckage of a plane that crashed with 65 people on board, Iran's official IRNA news agency reported Monday. The Aseman Airlines flight left Tehran Sunday morning for the city of Yasuj in Isfahan province, but went down in the Zagros mountains. Officials fear all those on board were killed. The search effort was initially delayed due to dense fog, high winds and snow that made it impossible for...
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France says Committed to Iran Deal, Will Keep Talking to European, US Allies

Voice of America - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 16:49
France reaffirmed its commitment to the Iran nuclear deal on Monday, saying it wanted it to be strictly implemented and was continuing talks with its European and U.S. partners on the program. The Foreign Ministry said France was concerned about Iran's ballistic missile program and its activities in the region, mentioning its support for Houthi rebels in Yemen but making no mention of its role in Syria. Reuters reported on Sunday that the United States is hoping to convince its...
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IS Ambushes Iraqi Shiite-led Force, Killing 27 Fighters

Voice of America - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 14:55
Islamic State militants have ambushed a group of Iraq's Shiite-led paramilitary fighters, killing at least 27.   The Popular Mobilization Forces, an umbrella group of mostly Shiite militias, said on Monday that the attack took place the previous night in the al-Saadounya area, southwest of the northern city of Kirkuk, when the paramilitaries were conducting overnight raids.   The PMF says the attackers were disguised in army uniforms. It says clashes lasted for at least two...
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Rescue Teams Search Wrecked Iranian Plane

Voice of America - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 12:40
Iranian rescue teams battled weather and mountainous terrain Monday as they searched for the wreckage of a plane that crashed with 65 people on board. The Aseman Airlines flight left Tehran Sunday morning for the city of Yasuj in Isfahan province, but went down in the Zagros mountains. Officials fear all those on board were killed. The search effort was initially delayed due to dense fog, high winds and snow that made it impossible for helicopters to get close to the crash...
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Israel And Iran Clash Over Nuclear Threat At Munich Security Conference

Voice of America - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 08:46
Iran and Israel have accused each other of aggression in the Middle East, with both sides warning of escalating dangers in the region. Speaking at the Munich Security Conference in Germany Sunday, Israel’s Prime Minister warned Tehran would develop a nuclear bomb within a decade. As Henry Ridgwell reports from Munich, the growing threat of nuclear warfare has loomed over the three-day meeting.
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Polish Embassy in Israel Vandalized After Polish PM's Controversial Remarks

Voice of America - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 00:54
Vandals spray painted swastikas on the Polish embassy in Tel Aviv after Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki talked about what he called "Jewish perpetrators" of the Holocaust. Israeli leaders immediately condemned his comment. The prime minister was responding to a reporter's question about Poland's new law punishing anyone who calls the Nazi genocide a "Polish crime." "Saying that our people collaborate with the Nazis is a new low," Israeli...
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US-Russia Dispute Forms Backdrop for Tense Security Conference

Voice of America - Sun, 02/18/2018 - 22:17
Moscow has dismissed U.S. charges against several Russian citizens and companies for meddling in the 2016 presidential election as "blather." Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov questioned the evidence. The charges have formed a tense backdrop to the conference, which has focused on growing threats to global security, as Henry Ridgwell reports from Munich.
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Macron’s Ideas on Reform of Islam Draw Fire

Voice of America - Sun, 02/18/2018 - 18:58
Six months ago after a string of jihadist-inspired attacks in London and Manchester, British Prime Minister Theresa May said the time had come to have “embarrassing conversations” about Islam’s place in Britain. Her comment was sparked by claims that the country’s Muslims weren’t doing enough to counter extremism and jihadist propaganda. So far, mired in Brexit controversy, the British government hasn’t started a debate in earnest. But on the other side of the English Channel,...
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Netanyahu Says Israel Could Act Against Iran's 'Empire'

Voice of America - Sun, 02/18/2018 - 16:03
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel would act against Iran, not just its allies in the Middle East, if needed, reiterating his country's position that Tehran was the world's greatest threat. As tensions increase in the Middle East over Iran's role in Syria and Yemen and as U.S. President Donald Trump presses for a tougher approach on Tehran, Israel is seeking wider support to contain its regional nemesis. Holding a piece of what he said was an...
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Israel, Iran Clash Over Nuclear Threat at Munich Conference

Voice of America - Sun, 02/18/2018 - 15:19
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has claimed that Iran is just years away from having a nuclear bomb. Under pressure back home and facing possible corruption charges, Netanyahu took to the stage at the Munich Security Conference Sunday to deliver a warning about the security of the Middle East region, accusing Iran of posing an existential threat. WATCH: MSC ​"The nuclear agreement with Iran has brought the countdown, has begun the countdown to an Iranian nuclear...
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65 Passengers and Crew Feared Dead In Iran Plane Crash

Voice of America - Sun, 02/18/2018 - 11:10
An Iranian domestic airliner has crashed into the country's Zagros mountains, and officials fear all 65 people on board were killed. The flight left Tehran Sunday morning for the city of Yasuj in the Isfahan province, a flight of some 560 kilometers. The Iranian Red Crescent said it has deployed teams to the area, but dense fog, high winds and heavy snow made it impossible for the helicopters to get close to the crash site. The United Nations said Secretary-General Antonio...
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From Dishwasher to Heart Doctor, Atlanta Refugee Embodies American Story

Voice of America - Sun, 02/18/2018 - 10:49
A cardiologist at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, is an example of the classic American rags to riches story, with a twist. Dr. Heval Mohamed Kelli started his American experience as a young refugee from Syria, and Saleh Damiger has his story.
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Four Israeli Soldiers Wounded in Gaza Border Explosion

Voice of America - Sun, 02/18/2018 - 05:02
Four Israeli soldiers were wounded, two of them seriously, when an improvised explosive device blew up near the Israeli-Gaza border fence Saturday. Israel responded with airstrikes. The military said it hit 18 targets in the Gaza Strip later in the day and overnight, including what the military said were a weapons manufacturing site and an underground tunnel being built in the direction of Israel. There were no reports of casualties in Gaza from the attacks. And there was no...
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Israel Builds Case for Europeans to Accept Iran Nuclear Deal 'Fix'

Voice of America - Sat, 02/17/2018 - 21:42
U.S. officials will have another opportunity to persuade their European counterparts to accept changes to the Iran nuclear deal when they meet at the Munich Security Conference this weekend. The deal, aimed at preventing Tehran from building a nuclear bomb, is considered dangerously flawed by the Trump administration. With Israel backing Trump's goal of fixing the deal, VOA's Michael Lipin asked former Israeli officials whether they think those efforts will succeed.
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Iran and India Agree to Lease Part of Chabahar Port to New Delhi

Voice of America - Sat, 02/17/2018 - 18:56
India and Iran sealed nine agreements during a visit by the Iranian President to New Delhi including a key accord that leases operational control of part of the Iranian port of Chabahar to New Delhi for 18 months. India is helping develop the port to create a strategic trade route to landlocked Afghanistan and Central Asian Republics, bypassing rival Pakistan.  Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also agreed to step up efforts to bring...
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