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Mideast experiencing "chronic instability": Israeli minister

English.news.cn   2014-09-02 02:42:00

JERUSALEM, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) -- Israel and the United States are confronting new challenges posed by a "chronically unstable" Middle East, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon on Monday told a visiting delegation of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee.

"In this tough neighborhood, we are meeting new challenges that include all the varieties of radical Islam, whether it is ISIS, Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaida elements on the Golan Heights and over the border," Ya'alon said, contending that the "Iranian threat" is the central factor behind the instability plaguing the region.

The remarks came a day after the Israel Air Force shot down a drone that entered Israeli airspace in the northern Golan Heights, and as intense battles between Syrian government forces and rebels for control of a strategic crossing adjacent to the border with Israel continued into Monday.

Israel will not allow any breach of its sovereignty on the Golan Heights or at any other of its borders, Ya'alon told the U.S. delegation, which includes Representative Ed Royce, a California Republican who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and ranking member Eliot Engel.

During their meeting with Ya'alon at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, the congressmen were briefed on the Israeli military's operations in the recent war with Hamas and the militant group's " usage of Gaza's civilian facilities to fire rockets at Israel and its residents as human shields," the ministry said in a statement.

Ya'alon, who had previously come under fire for criticizing the Obama administration's handling of Mideast crises, including a failed nine-month attempt to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians, told the delegation that their visit "reflects the closeness and alliance" between the two countries, which is based on "shared interests and values."

He said Israel greatly appreciates the military aid from the United States, noting the "special relations" between the Pentagon and his ministry, and between himself and his counterpart, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.

"We share our views with regard to events in the Middle East," said Ya'alon, adding that both he and Hagel also believe that Washington and Jerusalem will know how to join forces in dealing with the challenges they present.

Congressman Royce said the delegation's visit was an expression of solidarity with Israel and intended to discuss joint challenges in combating terrorism.

He said the United States derives "great satisfaction" from the recent success of Israel's Iron Dome rocket defense system in intercepting hundreds of rockets fired from Gaza at Israel during the course of the 50-day conflict.

"Without Iron Dome, without the joint effort of the United States and Israel, and the support from Congress, Israel wouldn't have attained the results it did," said Royce.

Related:

Israel shoots down drone near Syria interim border

JERUSALEM, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- The Israeli Air Force on Sunday shot down an unmanned aircraft that infiltrated the Golan Heights, apparently from Syria, the Israeli military said in a statement.

The drone was intercepted by a Patriot surface-to-air missile, according to the statement.  Full story

Israeli official calls for int'l summit to disarm, rebuild Gaza

JERUSALEM, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- Israel's Finance Minister on Sunday called on international leaders to hold a regional summit focused on demilitarizing and reconstructing the Gaza Strip, which was devastated following Israel's military offensive against the Islamist Hamas movement.

But Finance Minister Yair Lapid said that Gaza's reconstruction should be conditional on whether or not Hamas is demilitarized to ensure Israel achieves its diplomatic goals.  Full story

Israel still bans construction materials in Gaza despite ceasefire: official

GAZA, Aug 31 (Xinhua) -- Israel still bans the entrance of construction raw materials into the Gaza Strip despite of a ceasefire deal between Israel and the Gaza Hamas-led militant groups on Aug. 26, a senior official said on Sunday.

Nazmi Muhana, the director of crossings' corporation in the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), told Xinhua that until now the Palestinian side "hasn't been informed or received clues on any changes related to the operation of the two main crossings on the borders between Israel and the Gaza Strip."    Full story

Ceasefire came into effect in the Gaza Strip: witnesses

GAZA, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- A new Gaza ceasefire came into effect on Tuesday at 7:00 a.m. (0400 GMT), after an agreement, brokered by Egypt, reached between Israel and the Palestinian factions, including Hamas movement.

At 7:00 p.m. militants intensively fired into the air celebrating what mosques announced on loudspeakers that the Palestinian resistance has made a victory. Cars in the streets turned its front lights on and drivers pressed on the horns of their cars.  Full story

Editor: Liu
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