Saturday, December 20, 2014


* WATCH: Palestinians stage pro-Hamas rally on Temple Mount Dozens of Palestinians, some of them dressed in balaclavas with the trademark green headband and Hamas insignia, waved Hamas banners during a demonstration on the Temple Mount on Friday.

* Kerry may not want Netanyahu back as premier, but Abbas sure does Long-time State Department Middle East hand Aaron David Miller wrote a piece on Foreign Policy's website this week under the entertaining headline "All John Kerry Wants for Christmas Is an Israel Without Bibi."

* Russian Nuclear Bombers Again Buzz Guam Russian strategic bombers conducted a third circumnavigation of the U.S. Pacific island of Guam last week as other bombers flew close to Alaska and Europe, defense officials said.

* IS said to execute 100 foreign fighters who wanted to quit The Islamic State extremist group has executed 100 of its own foreign fighters who tried to flee their headquarters in the Syrian city of Raqqa.

* Israeli Aircraft Strike Gaza Terror Sites Israeli aircraft hit Gaza for the first time since an August truce ended 50 days of war after Palestinian terrorists fired a rocket at a southern Israeli town.

* Ukraine crisis: Russia defies fresh Western sanctions Russia says it will not "cave in" to pressure, following a fresh set of US, EU and Canadian sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine.

* Hamas Official Says a 'New Chapter' Open with Iran Ali Baraka, Hamas's representative in Lebanon, said Friday that a recent visit by a Hamas delegation to Iran had "opened a new chapter" in relations between Tehran and the terror group.

* WHO: One Million People Wounded in Syrian War At least one million people have been wounded and 200,000 killed in Syria since its years-long Civil War began in March 2011, Syria's World Health Organization (WHO) representative stated to Reuters Friday.

* PA: Arab states have yet to transfer funds pledged for Gaza Less than two percent of the $5.4 billion of aid pledged by international donors to help rebuild Gaza following Operation Protective Edge has been transferred, and none of the Arab states have come through yet on their promised share.

* EU sanctions add to Putin's Crimea headache The EU will, from Saturday (20 December), ban almost all forms of business co-operation with Crimea in a further blow to the Russian economy.