US National Security Advisor Ambassador John Bolton discusses tensions with Iran in a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat in Jerusalem.
“The meetings re-affirmed the shared United States-Israel priority of confronting Iranian aggression throughout the region by continuing maximum economic pressure and increasing the cost of Iran’s malign activity,” US NSC Spokesman Garrett Marquis says in a statement.
“The Trump Administration unequivocally supports Israel’s efforts to ensure its self-defense and to roll back the Iranian regime’s and its proxy forces’ influence in the region,” the statement says.
What’s new is that now, thanks to crippling American sanctions, Iran is facing unprecedented economic pressure as a result of its aggression. So I was pleased to hear President Trump make clear yesterday that pressure will continue and that pressure will increase.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the US drone that “violated” Iranian airspace and was shot down on Thursday is the “start of new tensions in the region” according to the semiofficial FARS news agency.
Lebanon’s Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri has criticized the Trump administration’s $50 billion investment proposal, part of its Middle East peace plan, saying Beirut will not be “tempted” by money at the expense of Palestinians’ rights.
State-run National News Agency quoted Berri as saying Sunday that those who believe Beirut will be lured by billions of dollars at a time when Lebanon is passing through an economic crisis are “mistaken.”
The 10-year plan calls for projects worth $6.3 billion for Palestinians in Lebanon, as well as $27.5 billion in the West Bank and Gaza, $9.1 billion in Egypt and $7.4 billion in Jordan.
The large sums for Jordan and Lebanon, countries with substantial Palestinian refugee populations, are an apparent attempt to absorb refugees in these nations.
The Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Ministry calls the “obnoxious” US $50 billion investment proposal “the Balfour Declaration II, which denies the existence of the Palestinian people.”
A statement from Mahmoud Abbas’s government says the proposal “does not talk about the economy of the Palestinian state and its components, but tries to whitewash the occupation and settlements.”
The landmark 1917 Balfour declaration, which promised British support in the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Mandate Palestine, is seen as a key milestone in the establishment of the State of Israel. The document is roundly condemned by Palestinians who say it was instrumental in their eventual dispossession with the creation of Israel.