Israel to Bulldoze Illegal Jewish Settlement in West Bank
Israeli police bulldozers plan to start knocking down dozens of homes Thursday after evicting about 50 Jewish families from an illegal settlement in the West Bank.
Several hundred protesters set up barricades and threw stones at police who came to carry out the court-ordered evacuation of Amona, a Jewish settlement northeast of Ramallah, the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority.
Angry protesters and settlers yelled at the police that "Jews don't expel Jews." About 20 officers were hurt.
Most of the settlers left quietly, carrying their belongings, holding children by the hand. Some vowed to return.
One day earlier, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved 3,000 new homes for the evacuated settlers and others elsewhere in the West Bank.
Amona is the largest of around 100 unauthorized outposts erected in the West Bank without permission but - until now - generally tolerated by the Israeli government.
Palestinians say Jewish settlements on land they want as part of a future state are a major impediment to peace. Israel says the Palestinians' refusal to recognize the Jewish state is blocking Mideast peace.
Israel was furious when the United States, under former President Barack Obama, abstained instead of vetoing a U.N. Security Council resolution in December calling the settlements illegal and demanding Israel stop building them. The new Trump White House has so far been silent on Israeli settlement construction, but Jewish settlers told reporters Wednesday they expect the new U.S. administration will not stand in the way of a new wave of settlements in the West Bank.
White House Warns Iran Against Missile Launch
U.S. President Donald Trump's national security adviser on Wednesday denounced Iran's ballistic missile launch and said Tehran is putting at risk the nuclear agreement it reached in 2015 with the United States and other major powers.
Retired General Michael Flynn condemned the missile launch, declaring it "just the latest in a series of incidents" in which Iran has threatened the U.S. and its regional allies over the past six months. He said leaders in Tehran were emboldened to take such action now because the nuclear agreement is "weak and ineffective," and because the other nations involved in the agreement failed to take action to rein in Iran's military ambitions.
During a briefing at the White House, Flynn accused former President Barack Obama and other members of his administration of not being tough enough on Tehran.
“The Obama administration failed to respond adequately to Tehran’s malign actions — including weapons transfers, support for terrorism and other violations of international norms,” Flynn said. “The Trump administration condemns such actions by Iran that undermine security, prosperity and stability throughout and beyond the Middle East and place American lives at risk.”
Flynn added, "As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice." He did not explain his comment further, and threaten any specific action against Tehran.
Late Wednesday, senior White House officials said Iran’s ballistic missile launch and its support for Houthi rebels in Yemen are provocative, are destabilizing the region and are threatening multiple countries, including U.S. allies. The officials said the United States will respond “appropriately.”
Asked what kind of action the U.S. might take, the officials would only say they have a large range of options available. However, senior White House officials said the Iranian missile launch and a possible U.S. response are separate from the Iran nuclear deal, and that the White House is not accusing Iran of violating the original agreement.
Iran confirmed Wednesday that it carried out a missile launch Sunday, but said this did not violate the nuclear agreement by six world powers and Tehran in 2015. U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, adopted after the nuclear deal was reached, called on Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles, but it did not specifically ban such activity.