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Israel Asks US to Reschedule Scrapped Meeting on Rafah Military Plans

US President Joe Biden and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken attend a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as Biden visits Israel amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Oct. 18, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

Israel has asked the White House to reschedule a high-level meeting on military plans for Gaza’s southern city of Rafah that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had abruptly canceled, officials said on Wednesday, in an apparent bid to ease tensions between the two allies.

Netanyahu called off a planned visit to Washington by a senior Israeli delegation after the US allowed passage of a Gaza ceasefire resolution at the United Nations on Monday, marking a new war-time low in his relations with President Joe Biden.

The suspension of this week’s meeting put a new obstacle in the way of efforts by the US, concerned about a deepening humanitarian crisis in Hamas-ruled Gaza, to get Netanyahu to consider alternatives to a ground operation in Rafah, the terror group’s last stronghold in the Palestinian enclave.

On Wednesday, White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters: “The prime minister’s office has agreed to reschedule the meeting dedicated” to Rafah.

“So we’re now working with them to set (a) convenient date,” she added.

An Israeli official in Washington, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that a new meeting was being arranged and said Netanyahu was considering sending his delegation as early as next week.

There was no immediate comment from Netanyahu’s office.

BID TO RESET WHITE HOUSE MEETING

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant held wide-ranging discussions with senior US officials this week and sought to lower the temperature between the two governments.

Gallant, though not part of Netanyahu’s inner circle, is a key architect of the campaign against Hamas following the terrorist group’s Oct. 7 rampage across Israel in which 1,200 people were murdered and 253 others taken as hostages.

The Israeli team will still be led by Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer and National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi, two of Netanyahu’s close confidants, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The talks are expected to focus on Israel‘s threatened offensive in Rafah, where more than a million displaced Palestinians are sheltering.

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said on Wednesday, “We do,” when asked if the US believes a limited military campaign in Rafah can take out remaining commanders of the Palestinian terrorist group.

The White House said last week it intended to share with Israeli officials alternatives for eliminating Hamas’ remaining battalions in Rafah without a full-scale ground invasion that Washington says would be a “disaster.”

The threat of such an offensive has increased differences between close allies the United States and Israel, and raised questions about whether the US might restrict military aid if Netanyahu defies Biden and presses ahead anyway.

Biden, running for re-election in November, faces pressure not just from America’s allies but from a growing number of fellow Democrats to rein in the Israeli military response in Gaza.

Biden’s decision to abstain at the UN, coming after months of mostly adhering to longtime US policy of shielding Israel at the world body, appeared to reflect growing US frustration with the Israeli leader.

Netanyahu issued a stinging rebuke, calling the US move a “clear retreat” from its previous position and would hurt Israel‘s war efforts and negotiations to free more than 130 hostages still held in Gaza.

US officials said at the time that the Biden administration was perplexed by Netanyahu’s decision and considered it an overreaction, insisting there had been no change in policy.

The post Israel Asks US to Reschedule Scrapped Meeting on Rafah Military Plans first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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OCAD University student is seeking $1M in damages—alleging a lack of protection from threats and abuse

Samantha Kline, 22, presented photos of antisemitic graffiti she says targeted her.

The post OCAD University student is seeking $1M in damages—alleging a lack of protection from threats and abuse appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Palestinian Islamic Jihad Releases New Propaganda Video of Israeli Hostage

Israeli hostage Alexander (Sasha) Trufanov as seen in a propaganda video released by Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Photo: Screenshot

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group on Tuesday released a short propaganda video featuring Israeli hostage Alexander (Sasha) Trufanov, 28, who was kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists during Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel.

The 30-second undated video shows Trufanov, an Amazon employee, identifying himself and saying that he will soon discuss what has happened to him and other hostages in Gaza.

Similar videos have been released by terrorists groups in Gaza. Israel has lambasted them as psychological warfare.

Trufanov’s mother said in a video released by the family that she was happy to see her son after all this time, but “it was heartbreaking” that he had been a hostage for so long.

Trufanov was an engineer at the Israeli microelectronics company Annapurna Labs, which Amazon owns.

Hamas-led Palestinian terrorists abducted over 250 people during their Oct. 7 onslaught. Trufanov was kidnapped alongside his mother, grandmother, and girlfriend.

All three were released as part of a temporary ceasefire agreement negotiated in November. His father, Vitaly Trufanov, was one of the 1,200 people killed during the Hamas massacre.

“The proof of life from Alexsander (Sasha) Trufanov is additional evidence that the Israeli government must give a significant mandate to the negotiating team,” the Hostages Families Forum, which represents the families of the hostages, said in a statement.

More than 120 hostages remain in Gaza, which is ruled by Hamas. Islamic Jihad is a separate but allied terrorist organization in the Palestinian enclave. Both are backed by Iran, which provides them with money, weapons, and training.

Negotiations brokered by Qatar, Egypt, and the US to reach a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas in Gaza have been stalled for weeks.

The post Palestinian Islamic Jihad Releases New Propaganda Video of Israeli Hostage first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Gal Gadot’s Action Movie Nabs Second Place on Netflix List of Most Watched Films in Second Half of 2023

Gal Gadot as Rachel Stone in a scene from the trailer for “Heart of Stone.” Photo: YouTube screenshot

Netflix released its engagement report that details the films with the most views from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2023, and Israeli actress Gal Gadot’s action thriller Heart of Stone secured the number two spot with 109.6 million views.

The film — starring Gadot alongside Jamie Dornan and Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt in leading roles — was the runner-up to Leave the World Behind, the drama starring Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, and Ethan Hawke that garnered 121 million views on Netflix.

Heart of Stone, directed by Tom Harper, was released on the streaming giant on Aug. 11 of last year. The action film is about international intelligence operative Rachel Stone, played by Gadot, who goes on a mission to protect an artificial intelligence system, known as The Heart, from falling in the wrong hands. The film was produced by Pilot Wave, a company founded by Gadot and her husband Jaron Varsano.

Gadot also stars in Netflix’s most popular film of all time, Red Notice, alongside Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds.

The post Gal Gadot’s Action Movie Nabs Second Place on Netflix List of Most Watched Films in Second Half of 2023 first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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