After eight months of negotiations, Saad Hariri finally formed a new Lebanese government. The Prime Minister will head the new 30-member government and will initiate urgent economic and political reforms. In a recent speech, Hariri stated that the economy will be the government’s main challenge moving forward.
The Syrian state media reported on Monday February 11th, 2019 that Israel bombed a demolished hospital and observation post in Syria’s southern Quneitra province near the border between Israel and Syria. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed on February 12th, 2019 that Israel did in fact strike Hezbollah targets in Syria the previous day. "We operate every day, including yesterday, against Iran and its attempts to entrench itself in the region," Netanyahu stated as he set out to attend an international conference on the Middle East in Warsaw.
On January 26th, Jordanian liaison officers delayed hundreds of Israeli tourists from entering the Baqoura/Naharayim site, while other sources reported that tourists were completely banned from entering the town. The incident followed Jordan’s announcement that was reported in October of 2018; of not renewing the lease in which grants Israeli farmers and military officers free access to Al-Baqoura which is a site adjacent to the Israeli-Jordanian Northern border.
In 2018 RedCrow’s system recorded more than 500 incidents of settler-related “nationalist crimes” against Palestinians in the West Bank. Such incidents include vandalism, violence, and destruction of olive trees. Until mid-Dec 2018, there were 482 incidents of politically motivated crimes committed by Israeli settlers in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) compared to 140 in 2017. It’s the highest number of incidents in four years.
On Friday, Jan 11th, 2019, Israeli warplanes launched multiple missiles towards Damascus. According to a Syrian military source, the attack took place at 11:15 PM (2115 GMT) when Israeli warplanes coming from the direction of the Galilee fired several missiles towards the vicinity of Damascus. The source claimed most of the missiles were intercepted by the Syrian air defense system and that the airstrike caused damage but no casualties. said a “ministry of transport warehouse at Damascus International Airport” was hit.
On Dec 19th, 2018, Wednesday, Donald Trump announced that he’ll be pulling US troops from Syria and declared victory over ISIS. According to various reports, Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops from Syria was made hastily without consulting his security advisers nor any US allies. The US president reportedly made this decision following a phone call with Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan on Dec 14th.
On Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018, seven Israeli settlers were wounded near the settlement of Ofra NE Ramallah in a drive-by shooting. A footage of the shooting showed a moving vehicle slowing down and targeting settlers on the junction near the entrance of the settlement. After shots were fired from the vehicle, Israeli soldiers fired back at the car, which then fled and continued north on Route 60. This incident triggered a massive manhunt in search of the gunmen in nearby villages and even in Ramallah.
Earlier this week on Tuesday, ISF announced that a cross-border Hezbollah tunnel has been destroyed as part of the Operation Northern Shield. This was the first tunnel ISF has discovered to destroy tunnels crossing the “Blue Line,” the border demarcation between Lebanon and Israel published by the United Nations in June 2000 to verify that Israel had fully withdrawn from Lebanon.