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At New Hampshire event, Republican presidential candidates point to Iran and Biden in aftermath of Hamas attack

NASHUA, New Hampshire (JTA) — The spotlight was on Israel at a Republican Party summit in New Hampshire on Friday, where several Republican presidential candidates and other party leaders spoke to hundreds of local voters and GOP members.

The candidates condemned Hamas’ attacks in Israel and stood universally behind the Jewish state, putting the blame for the violence on Iran and its financial backing of Hamas.

Many also pointed to Joe Biden and his administration’s foreign policy decisions.

“There would be no Hamas if it wasn’t for Iran,” Nikki Haley, the United States’ former representative to the United Nations, told the crowd. “And what did the Biden administration do? He loosened all the sanctions that gave billions of dollars to Iran. Interestingly enough, China, number one importer of oil in Iran. Russia, getting their drones from Iran. Look at the triangle, because the triangle is real.” 

Hamas’ attack requires “an overwhelming response by the state of Israel,” said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, citing Hamas’ violent attacks, some of which were filmed and shared on social media, including contested reports of “decapitated babies.” 

“The only thing that’s going to end this is for Israel to uproot all the infrastructure that Hamas has done, all the terror accoutrements, and make Hamas no more,” he said. 

Like Haley, other candidates sought to tie the conflict in Israel to other global security issues, including Russia and China.

“We have four real bad actors in this world right now: China, Russia, North Korea and Iran,” said Chris Christie, the former governor from New Jersey. “And they are now working together to try to disrupt the world, to fill a vacuum that unfortunately has been left, in my opinion, by our country in world leadership.”

None of the candidates mentioned the Palestinian casualties that have resulted from Israel’s counterattacks or the mounting humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. Over 400,000 people have been displaced in Gaza so far, according to the United Nations, while Gazans have few places to go following a warning issued by Israel to evacuate the north ahead of an expected ground invasion.

New Hampshire will be the first to vote in the primary elections early in 2024, though an exact date has not yet been set. 

As of last week, Donald Trump maintains a strong lead in the Granite State with 49 percentage points followed by Nikki Haley (19%) and Ron DeSantis (10%).

Jews represent less than 1% of the population in New Hampshire, about 10,000 people. With over 70% of U.S. Jews identifying as Democrats in some national surveys, Jewish Republicans were not easy to find at Friday’s event.

But Judy Aron, a state representative from southwestern Sullivan County, was one of them. She said she was “beyond shocked” at the news of Hamas’ attack last week and worries about friends and family living in Israel. In New Hampshire, she says, both Jewish and non-Jewish communities have shown solidarity with Israel and are praying for peace together. 

As for the candidates who spoke on Friday, Aron said she was happy with the Republicans’ condemnations of Hamas and expressions of support for Israel. She’s also disappointed with the Democratic Party for not punishing members of their caucus who have come out in support of “Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.”

“It’s definitely a stark difference between the peace that the Trump administration fostered versus this turmoil and hate that has been fomenting with the Biden administration,” she said.

The post At New Hampshire event, Republican presidential candidates point to Iran and Biden in aftermath of Hamas attack appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Kyiv Rejects Putin’s ‘Absurd Ultimatum’ to End War

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Photo: Reuters/Maxim Shemetov

i24 NewsRussia’s strongman President Vladimir Putin said he would end the war in Ukraine only if Kyiv agreed to drop its NATO ambitions and hand over the entirety of four provinces claimed by Moscow. Kyiv swiftly rejected the demands as tantamount to surrender.

Putin demands that Ukraine transfers to Russia four regions, including a 300,000 city of Kherson and 700,000 Zaporizhzhya as a “precondition” to “peace talks”. This man is delusional, and those in the West who speak of “negotiations” or “cease fire” are enemies of the free world.

— Sergej Sumlenny, LL.M (@sumlenny) June 14, 2024

“The conditions are very simple,” Putin said, listing them as the full withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the entire territory of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions.

Putin’s maximalist conditions apparently reflect Moscow’s growing confidence that its forces have the upper hand in the war.

He restated his demand for Ukraine’s demilitarization and said an end to Western sanctions must also be part of a peace deal. He also repeated his call for Ukraine’s “denazification.”

“He is offering for Ukraine to admit defeat. He is offering for Ukraine to legally give up its territories to Russia. He is offering for Ukraine to sign away its geopolitical sovereignty,” said Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak, rejecting the demands as “absurd.”

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Deadly Explosion Kills 8 IDF Soldiers in Rafah

Illustrative. Some rises after an Israeli strike as Israeli forces launch a ground and air operation in the eastern part of Rafah, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, May 7, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Hatem Khaled

i24 NewsEarly this morning, tragedy struck in the southern Gaza city of Rafah as eight Israeli soldiers lost their lives in a devastating explosion, marking the deadliest incident for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in the region since January.

The IDF has confirmed the casualties, with one soldier identified as Captain Wassem Mahmoud, 23, a deputy company commander from Beit Jann in the Combat Engineering Corps’ 601st Battalion.

The names of the other seven soldiers will be released after their families have been notified.

According to initial reports from the IDF, the soldiers were traveling in a Namer armored combat engineering vehicle (CEV) as part of a convoy around 5 a.m., following a successful overnight operation targeting Hamas militants in the Tel Sultan neighborhood of Rafah. During the operation, troops under the 401st Armored Brigade reportedly neutralized approximately 50 gunmen.

The convoy was en route to buildings captured by the army for the soldiers to rest, when the Namer CEV, which was the fifth or sixth vehicle in the convoy, was struck by a powerful explosion. The nature of the explosion remains under investigation, with possibilities ranging from a pre-planted bomb to an improvised device placed on the vehicle by Hamas operatives.

Initial findings suggest that explosives stored on the exterior of the Namer CEV may have contributed to the severity of the blast. Normally, such explosives are designed to minimize harm to troops inside if detonated.

The IDF probe indicates there was no gunfire preceding the explosion, and the vehicle was not stationary at the time of the incident. The circumstances surrounding the tragedy have prompted intensified scrutiny into the safety protocols and operational procedures during military movements in hostile territories.

The deaths of these eight soldiers bring the total number of IDF casualties in recent ground operations against Hamas to 307. This figure includes a police officer killed during a recent hostage rescue operation and a civilian Defense Ministry contractor also slain in the conflict.

This is a developing story 

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U.S. Officials Fear Escalating Conflict Between Israel and Hezbollah

Israeli firefighters work following rocket attacks from Lebanon, amid ongoing cross-border hostilities between Hezbollah and Israeli forces, near the border on its Israeli side, June 13, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Avi Ohayon

i24 NewsRecent actions by both Israel and Hezbollah have sparked growing concerns among U.S. officials, who fear that the situation could escalate into a full-scale war, according to reports from CBS News.

The tension has intensified following a series of Israeli airstrikes on Lebanese territory, which some American authorities believe are laying the groundwork for a larger military operation.

Sources within the US government have expressed worries that such a move could trigger a conflict that might strain Israel’s alliance with Washington.

Hezbollah, in response to recent events including the assassination of senior commander Taleb Sami Abdullah, has escalated its own actions. The group has begun launching daily rocket attacks targeting northern Israeli communities since October 8, citing solidarity with Hamas amidst the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

US officials cited by CBS News have highlighted concerns over the potential unintended consequences of Hezbollah’s increased attacks. They fear that these actions could provoke Israel into launching a significant military assault, further exacerbating the volatile situation in the region.

The developments come amid ongoing international efforts to de-escalate tensions and prevent a wider conflict. Diplomatic channels remain active, with calls for restraint and dialogue from various quarters.

The United States, a key ally of Israel, has historically played a crucial role in mediating and influencing regional conflicts. Officials are closely monitoring the situation, emphasizing the importance of avoiding actions that could escalate tensions further.

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