Thursday, July 30, 2015

From Ian:

Israel’s Foreign Ministry chief: Sunni Arab nations are our ‘allies’
The director general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, Dore Gold, called the Middle East’s Sunni Arab nations “Israel’s allies.”
Gold used the term twice in a presentation Wednesday in New York focused on the shortcomings of the Iran nuclear deal.
“What we have is a regime on a roll that is trying to conquer the Middle East,” Gold said of Iran, “and it’s not Israel talking, that is our Sunni Arab neighbors — and you know what? I’ll use another expression – that is our Sunni Arab allies talking.”
Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations and a longtime adviser to Israeli prime ministers from the right-wing Likud Party, is also the author of a 2003 book on Saudi Arabia called “Hatred’s Kingdom: How Saudi Arabia Supports the New Global Terrorism.” Saudi Arabia has been one of the most vocal Arab opponents of US-Iran rapprochement and the Iran nuclear agreement.
The presentation, which was organized by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, also featured Amos Yadlin, a former chief of Israeli military intelligence who now heads Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies. Yadlin ran unsuccessfully for the Knesset in March on the center-left Zionist Union list.
Infamous Terrorist Samir Kuntar Not Killed in Syria Airstrikes Attributed to Israel, Brother Claims
The brother of infamous Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar was quick to deny Samir’s death on Wednesday after air strikes attributed to Israel were reported in Lebanon and Syria, Israeli news site NRG reported.
According to the reports, two Hezbollah operatives and three loyalists to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad were killed in the strikes.
On Twitter, Bassem Kuntar claimed, “Samir is fine” and added his condolences to the “martyrs of the Syrian Arab resistance to the Israeli occupation in the Golan who were killed during the Israeli strike in the afternoon.”
Syrian State TV Reports Second Israeli Airstrike on Terror Targets in a Day
An Israeli warplane on Wednesday attacked a terrorist base belonging to a pro-Syrian government Palestinian terror group, Syrian state television claimed.
The Israeli plane purportedly attacked a military base along the Lebanon-Syria border belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a group that supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Reuters reported, citing the television report.
An Israeli military spokesman declined to comment on the reported strike.
Earlier on Wednesday, Arab media outlets reported that the Israeli Air Force struck a vehicle in the Quneitra region of southern Syria, killing at least two people and as many as five, who were possibly members of the Hezbollah terror group and the People’s Committees, a pro-Assad militia led by the Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar.
Netanyahu: Under nuke deal, Iran has months to hide illicit activity
If Iran honors the agreement, it will be able to build numerous nuclear weapons with the blessing of the international community, he lamented during a briefing for Israeli diplomatic correspondents in his Jerusalem office.
“The inspections regime is full of holes,” Netanyahu said. “This deal is terrible. It’s preferable to have no deal than this deal.”
Under the Comprehensive Joint Plan of Action that the world powers signed with Iran earlier this month, Iran has 24 days before it needs to grant international inspectors access to hitherto undeclared sites they suspect host nuclear activity.
But, Netanyahu said, if no agreement has been reached after that time elapses, the deal says that the complaint is to go to another committee trying to bridge the dispute, which will deal with the issue for another 30 days. If Iran still refuses to let inspectors into the site and the United Nations Security Council is involved, it will take another 30 days before any action is taken, the prime minister said.
“It could take a total of three months,” Netanyahu said.



Israel says it ‘hasn’t been given all the details’ on Iran accord
National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen claimed Wednesday that Israel has yet to be informed of the full details of the nuclear accord between six world powers and Iran.
“Contrary to promises, Israel has not yet received all the written supplements to the agreement signed between Iran and the world powers,” Cohen, a former deputy head of the Mossad, told members of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
He specified what he described as “confidential” appendices to the accord, relating to understandings reached between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency.
US lawmakers have demanded more details on the agreements reached between the IAEA and Iran with the consent of the P5+1 group of world powers. Those agreements were not previously revealed to Congress as part of the 60-day review process required under law.
But the White House denied there being any “side deals” and said it was “standard practice” not to publicly release “technical arrangements” with the IAEA, offering assurances that US experts were familiar and comfortable with the contents.
Under Nuclear Deal, Iran’s Obligations Are Voluntary
Virtually every treaty and agreement contains language that clearly binds the parties to definitive, explicitly agreed-to terms. However, the Iran deal — the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — is different. In the JCPOA, supposed obligations are merely called “voluntary measures.”
It is frightening that, in addition to failing to dismantle Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons; failing to end Iran’s worldwide support for terrorist attacks on Americans, Jews and others; and giving Iran sanctions relief and economic windfalls now estimated to reach $700 billion, which will drastically intensify Iran’s worldwide terror operations, the JCPOA appears to be written in such a way as to avoid imposing any real, binding, enforceable obligations on the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Right at the outset, the introduction to the Iran deal’s nuclear provisions calls the deal’s provisions “voluntary measures.” At the end of the JCPOA’s introductory Preamble and General Provisions, the JCPOA’s nuclear provisions are introduced with the following opening phrase:
“Iran and E3/EU-3 will take the following voluntary measures within the time frame as detailed in this JCPOA and its annexes.”
The phrase “voluntary measures” is also repeated elsewhere in the JCPOA.
The JCPOA’s key nuclear monitoring provisions and general provisions are called “voluntary measures” and “voluntary nuclear-related measures” — not obligations.
McCain: ‘Astonishing’ that US hasn’t seen Iran-IAEA deals
Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Sen. John McCain warned Wednesday that the world powers’ nuclear deal with Iran could put US military personnel at risk, and complained that “side agreements“ with Iran unexamined by the United States limited Congress’s ability to assess the viability of the agreement.
“The Iran agreement not only paves Iran’s path to nuclear capability, it will pave Iran’s path toward becoming a dominant power in the Middle East,” McCain admonished administration officials in his opening comments to the committee.
“Instead of enhancing our deterrence in Iran, it seems to enhance Iran’s deterrence of us,” he warned, adding that should the two states find themselves in conflict, “US service members’ lives are more at risk because of this agreement.”
The heated session of the powerful Senate committee saw the first public testimony by Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Army Gen. Martin Dempsey since Congress began its review of the controversial agreement.
“When we consider these broader strategic consequences of the agreement — the second-order effects — what is already a bad deal only looks that much worse,” McCain declared.
McCain: 'Absolutely Astounding' that Sec. Moniz Hasn't Seen Side Agreements


Video: Tom Cotton dismantles Kerry on Iran deal secrecy, regime’s ongoing terrorism
A tough, focused, relentless cross-examination of the Secretary of State by freshman Sen. Tom Cotton — an Iraq war veteran and a graduate of Harvard Law School. The clip is relatively short, and the whole thing is worth your time:
Cotton makes the most of his frustratingly limited time, zeroing in on a handful of key points:
(1) Cotton makes clear that the Corker/Cardin legislation, which was signed into law by President Obama, requires that Congress receive every single word of the finalized Iran deal. Having discovered and confirmed the existence of secret side agreements within the overall accord, Cotton wonders whether or how the administration will adhere to that provision of the law. Kerry responds that such matters must be classified in order to respect the privacy of the IAEA. Cotton’s framing is stark and outstanding: “The Ayatollahs will know what they agreed to, but not the American people.” Brutal.
July 29, 2015: Sen. Tom Cotton's Q&A during Senate Armed Services Committee hearing


Rubio: A strong America could have reached a better Iran deal
Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio wrote in a Fox News opinion piece on Wednesday that a stronger United States would have reached a better deal with Iran than the one signed earlier this month.
"This may be the best deal that a weak president can achieve, but a strong, trusted and respected America can do much better," he wrote in a biting criticism of U.S. President Barack Obama.
"The price for President Obama's penchant for negotiating from weakness is now clear. The deal announced with much fanfare by the White House two weeks ago comes nowhere close to the deal President Obama promised the American people he'd get."
American Jewish intellectual and writer Leon Wieseltier shared similar sentiments, writing in The Atlantic that in Obama's desire to avoid a foreign policy "rut," he ignored the importance of Iran changing its ways and instead sought to form "not a relationship with a new Iran, but a new relationship with this Iran, as it is presently -- that is to say, theocratically, oppressively, xenophobically, aggressively, anti-Semitically, misogynistically, homophobically -- constituted."
US defense chief: Good Iran deal better than strike
Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Wednesday that the US armed forces stand ready to confront Iran, but told lawmakers that a successful implementation of the nuclear agreement with Tehran is preferable to a military strike.
Carter, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and three members of President Barack Obama’s Cabinet testified at a committee hearing as part of the White House’s aggressive campaign to convince Congress to back the Iranian nuclear deal, which calls on Iran to curb its nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in sanctions relief.
Carter said there is a possibility that the nuclear agreement will move forward, but will not be “successfully implemented.”
“That’s why we are under instructions from the president to preserve, and indeed we are improving — and I can’t get into that here — the military option,” Carter said. “Temporary as it is, it needs to be there because that’s our fall back.”
Dem Congressman: We'll have to renegotiate Iran deal eventually


NY Democrat on House Foreign Affairs Committee Announces Opposition to Iran Nuke Deal
Rep. Grace Meng (D – N.Y.) announced her opposition to the nuclear deal with Iran, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in a press release today.
“I strongly believe the world could and should have a better deal than that set forth in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which I will therefore oppose.
While I will continue to study the finer points of the deal, they will not be dispositive for me. I believe the inspections procedures set forth are flawed – leading nuclear experts assert that, pursuant to these procedures, inspectors would not necessarily know whether Iran is manufacturing uranium components for a nuclear weapon. This is unacceptable. Furthermore, I am deeply concerned that almost all of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure would remain intact; this leads me to believe Iran would simply resume its pursuit of a nuclear weapon at the conclusion of the deal in a decade’s time. Finally, the immediate sanctions relief provided Iran in the deal would incentivize the funding of terrorism and lessen Iran’s interest in restraining its nuclear ambitions over the long term.
I commend President Obama and Secretary Kerry for their efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, but the deal before us now is simply too dangerous for the American people. I have every confidence a better deal can be realized.”

Meng serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and its Subcommittees on the Middle East and North Africa, and Asia and the Pacific.
Obama, Kerry Sacrificing U.S.-Israel Alliance for Iran Deal
It’s the perfect metaphor for American foreign policy these days. Secretary of State John Kerry is heading to the Middle East next week to discuss the Iran deal with various American allies, but he’s leaving out one important stop: Israel. According to Israel Army Radio, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the snub by saying, “He really has no reason to come here.” Unfortunately, the prime minister is right. Though the trip is just one of many that Kerry has made, it is a telling symbol for the approach of the Obama administration on the most important issue facing both countries: the Iran nuclear deal. President Obama and Kerry kept Israel out of the loop during the negotiations and ignored its vital interests when signing off on Iran’s demands. Combined with the rhetoric coming out of both men that seeks to isolate and threaten Israel, Kerry’s pointed omission of the Jewish state on his tour is just one more indication that they seek to expand what is already a serious rift between the two countries. Though friends of Israel are rightly focused on persuading Congress to vote down a terrible Iran deal, they must also ponder the long-term impact of the administration campaign against the Jewish state.
Throughout the six and a half years as well as during the course of the negotiations with Iran, President Obama has maintained that he is a steadfast friend of Israel and will always look out for its security. If he criticized or sought to pressure its government it was, he has told us, only for its own good or because, as he noted in his recent speech to a Washington, D.C. synagogue, he wanted to help return Israel to a mythical past when it had the affection of Western liberals.
At this point, that pretense of friendship is wearing very thin. Secretary Kerry can quote a few stray retired Israeli security experts who endorse the Iran deal, but these largely disgruntled figures with political axes to grind against Netanyahu don’t speak for an Israel whose political leadership from right to left has united against the Iran deal. But the problem here goes deeper than even the profound differences over a pact that grants Iran’s nuclear program Western approval along with the end of sanctions and a vast cash bonus. The crisis in the alliance also transcends the personal disputes between Obama and Netanyahu.
Democrats Own the Disaster in the Middle East
The chaotic course of the war against ISIS is merely one facet of the realignment in the Middle East facilitated by Barack Obama’s ideologically motivated desire to extricate the U.S. from regional security matters. The kinetic military dimensions of that realignment are only the most outwardly perceptible sign of this tectonic shift. Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have conducted unannounced airstrikes on militants in the shattered Libya that NATO forces failed to secure after speeding the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi. A ten-member Sunni coalition, led by Saudi Arabia, continues to conduct strikes on Yemeni territory where the Iran-backed Houthis are stationed. Iran, the world’s foremost sponsored of state terrorism and the beneficiary of a grand rapprochement in the form of a nuclear accord with the West, maintains its campaign of terror across the region. The sustained target of its wrath, Bahrain, a nation the Islamic Republic regards as its “fourteenth province,” suffered a deadly terrorist bombing just Monday in which two police officers were killed and six others wounded. “Early information suggests that the explosives used in today’s terrorist attack are of the same type that were recently intercepted coming from Iran,” Bahraini state television reported prior to the announcement that the government in Manama had recalled its ambassador in Tehran.
The diplomatic repercussions of the president’s withdrawal from the region are even more striking. Anwar Sadat’s determination to decouple the fate of Egypt from that of the U.S.S.R. has been all but undone by Obama’s disinterest in the region coupled with Vladimir Putin’s revanchist determination to revive Soviet glories. Russia has compensated for the military aid the United States cut off to Cairo following the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi. Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has even flirted with membership in Russia’s Eurasian Economic Union, an economic zone comprised of former Soviet Republics designed to compete with the EU. The Saudi Kingdom, too, has turned away from its suddenly untrustworthy allies in Washington. Riyadh instead turns toward France and Russia in pursuit of nuclear technology in the event that it must prepare for an atomic arms race with Iran. They host the Yemeni government-in-exile that was chased out of Sana’a by a Houthi militia group that Washington courted and sought to legitimize despite its virulent anti-Americanism and links to Tehran. Most strikingly, Washington’s favoritism toward Iran has compelled the Saudis to, for the most part, bury their historic animosity toward Israel. This represents an astounding détente, particularly considering Riyadh’s rejection of the Camp David accords that yielded normalized relations between Jerusalem and Cairo. But whereas Jimmy Carter ensured that the United States was central to that new understanding between formerly hostile powers, today America is on the outside looking in as Israel and the Saudis reconcile.
If you break it, you own it. That’s the supposed rule that Democrats imposed on the Bush administration as it allowed Iraq to descend into bloody chaos. If George W. Bush owned the Iraqi disaster, Barack Obama owns the implosion of America’s position in the Middle East. The region he will bequeath to his successor makes the Middle East he inherited appear placid and stable by comparison.
Dennis Prager: Is Munich 1938 a valid analogy for the Iran nuclear deal?
Many commentators — and not only Jews — compare the agreement between Iran and the United States, France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China to Munich 1938. Is this admittedly overused comparison valid?
Let’s review what happened in 1938. That year, democratic Western nations assured a police state, the Nazi regime, that they would do nothing to prevent its expansion. That year, the British prime minister, Neville Chamberlain, went to Munich to negotiate with Adolf Hitler. He left believing Hitler’s promises of peace in exchange for Germany being allowed to annex large parts of Czechoslovakia. Upon returning to England, Chamberlain announced, “Peace for our time.”
Now let’s list the similarities between 1938 and now:
The Nazi regime was a police state. The Islamic Republic of Iran is a police state.
The Nazis’ greatest aim was to exterminate the Jews of Europe. Iran’s greatest aim is to exterminate the Jewish state.
Nazi Germany hated the West and its freedoms. The Islamic Republic of Iran hates the West and its freedoms.
Germany sought to dominate Europe. Iran seeks to dominate the Middle East and the Muslim world.

Britain and France appeased Nazi Germany. Britain and France, along with the United States, have chosen to appease Iran.
And perhaps most important, in 1938, the Western democracies dismissed Nazism as the Jews’ problem. Today, Iran’s nuclear program is viewed as largely Israel’s problem.
New Poll: Opposition to Iran Deal Surges Across Political Spectrum
A poll conducted by Olive Tree Strategies and released today by The Israel Project (TIP) reveals growing opposition to the recently concluded nuclear deal with Iran, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The results show that the percentage of respondents who disapprove of the JCPOA has risen from 30% in the beginning of June to 44% today. Overall the poll shows that optimism about the deal has been dropping with increased focus on security issues. The Israel Project publishes The Tower.
The Daily Beast reported:
A new poll conducted for The Israel Project and exclusively obtained by The Daily Beast showed that a majority of voters—52 percent—disapprove of President Obama’s handling of nuclear negotiations with Iran. Meanwhile, 62 percent want Congress to reject the deal and refrain from lifting sanctions on Iran.
In the beginning of June, just 30 percent disapproved of the framework agreement with Iran. When nearly 2,000 registered voters were surveyed over the past week, 44 percent now say they disapprove of the agreement.

The Daily Beast quoted Josh Block, CEO and President of TIP, saying, “When members of Congress are back in their districts, they are going to be hearing from people out at dinner, at their offices, and at town hall meetings.”
Reading the Iran Deal: The United States Deters Itself
The Iran agreement has not materialized primarily because the Iranians are more clever negotiators than the E3/EU +3 or because President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry are naïve. It has come to pass because Obama and others especially in Europe have willingly and deliberately created a diplomatic structure that restrains the use of American power by embedding it in a web of multilateral institutions and proliferating interests in other countries. Should this or a future President of the United States conclude that intensified economic sanctions or a military strike from the air are the only ways to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, he/she will have to do so in the face of a coalition pleading for inaction composed of both our adversaries and, most probably, our allies as well. It would be a coalition fostered by the very terms this agreement.
The most likely outcomes of the Iran agreement are nuclear proliferation, more rapid spread of knowledge of how to make nuclear weapons around the world, American inaction in the face of Iranian violations and then, sooner rather than later, an Iran with nuclear weapons. From Iran’s point of view, it is an excellent agreement. Diplomacy must exist in tandem with power. It should not be a form of deterring ourselves from protecting our vital national interest. The Iran deal, the JCPOA of July 14, 2015 is not only a mistake of historic proportions for the United States. It is a self-inflicted wound rooted in decades of efforts to restrain the exercise of American power in world politics. The US Congress should reject it.
Houston is Latest Jewish Federation to Oppose Iran Deal
The Jewish Federation of Greater Houston on Wednesday became the latest individual Jewish federation to officially oppose the Iran nuclear deal.
While the Jewish federations of Los Angeles, Miami, Boston, Detroit, Dallas, Phoenix, and South Palm Beach, Fla., have also opposed the deal, an overwhelming majority of the 151 affiliates of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) umbrella group have not issued definitive opinions about the agreement. JFNA itself has also not directly opposed the deal, saying it is “concerned” due to “Iran’s support for Hezbollah and Hamas” and “its aggressive threats toward neighboring countries—including Israel,” but also “hopeful that diplomatic efforts will prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.”
The Houston federation said in a statement that it believes the deal “is cause for great concern” and that, “Regretfully, we have no choice but to oppose it and we urge others to join us.” While acknowledging “that there are diverse views within our community,” the federation said the agreement “puts Israel and others in harm’s way against a sworn and evil enemy in the world’s most volatile region.”
Two Policemen Killed in Bahrain Terror Attack; Iran Suspected
A bomb attack Tuesday in the northeastern city of Sitra, Bahrain killed two police officers and wounded six others. The explosives used were similar to explosives, allegedly originating from Iran, that were captured over the weekend by Bahraini authorities, raising suspicions that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) may have been involved.
This attack came just two days after Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called Bahraini allegations of Iranian involvement in the small island nation’s internal affairs “baseless,” and three days after Bahrain foiled the third Iran-backed terror plot in two months and recalled its ambassador from Tehran. Ties between Iran and Bahrain have been further strained since a televised speech in which Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei promised to continue supporting its proxies in Bahrain after the signing of a nuclear agreement with world powers. Bahraini officials are also concerned about the Iranian government’s claim that Bahrain is “Iran’s 14th province.”
Iran and the IRGC stand to gain financially from the recent deal signed between the Islamic Republic and world powers, which will unfreeze $150 billion in Iranian assets almost immediately. It is feared that this windfall will allow Iran to provide a surge of funding to its destabilizing proxies across the Middle East, including Saraya al-Ashtar in Bahrain, Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, the Houthis in Yemen, and Hezbollah in Lebanon, along with the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria and Shiite militias, known as Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs), in Iraq.
Egyptian Journalist Supports Iranian Nuclear Arms "in Order to Deter Israel"
In an interview with the Egyptian LTC TV channel, journalist Sabri Ghoneim said: "For the sake of Arab security in general, it is imperative for some [country] in the region to possess nuclear weapons, which could serve as a deterrent against Israel." The interview aired on July 26, 2015.


911 — What’s your emergency? (satire)
Dispatcher: 911, what’s your emergency?
Caller: There is a gang of people outside my home with guns and bombs threatening to kill my entire family!
Dispatcher: And what would you like us to do about that?
Caller: Are you serious? I want you to come over here, arrest them and throw them in jail!
Dispatcher: I have a much better idea! I am sending over a team of governmental representatives to give them money to buy more guns and ammo. After that, I will also make sure that the schools and businesses that these ne’er-do-wells had no access to, they will now be able to have access to them.
Caller: Wait a minute! Are you telling me that your plan gives them MORE guns and MORE public access!? Are you kidding me?
Dispatcher: But wait, there is more! I will also recommend that this governmental rep group stipulate that this group outside your home have free access in the open market to buy more guns, which they promise to use for peaceful purposes.
Caller: How do you know they will use GUNS for peaceful purposes?
Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians: A Rare Voice of Sanity
While many in the international community and media hold Israel fully responsible for the plight of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, Dr. Abrash offers a completely different perspective.
Referring to widespread corruption under the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank, the former Palestinian minister reveals that Palestinian academic institutions, including universities and colleges, have become "commercial projects for granting certificates that have no scientific value or content."
This is a voice that is rarely given a platform in mainstream media outlets in the West, whose journalists continue to focus almost entirely on stories that reflect negatively on Israel. Western journalists based in the Middle East tend to ignore Palestinians who are critical of the PA or Hamas, because such criticism does not fit the narrative according to which Israel is solely responsible for all the bad things that happen to the Palestinians.
Abrash's criticism of Hamas and the PA -- whom he openly holds responsible for the suffering of their people -- actually reflects the widespread sentiment among Palestinians. Over the past few years, a growing number of Palestinians have come to realize that their leaders have failed them again and again and are now aware that both Hamas and the PA, as corrupt as ever, are hindering efforts to rebuild the Gaza Strip.
PA Sources: Cyprus Initiating Resumption of Peace Talks
Sources in the Palestinian Authority (PA) told the Ma’an news agency on Tuesday that Cyprus has pushed an initiative to revive the peace process between the PA and Israel.
Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades reportedly phoned PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Monday and briefed him on the initiative before talking to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who was in Cyprus on Tuesday.
Sources told Ma'an that the initiative is "European and Cypriot," and includes an invitation to both Abbas and Netenyahu to separately address EU leaders at a future summit in Brussels.
The Palestinian leadership is still studying the initiative, but emphasized that it wouldn't stand as a replacement for a French initiative, according to Ma’an.
Netanyahu accepted the invitation to address the EU on Tuesday during his one-day visit to Cyprus, Israeli media reported.
'You Can't Label Settlement Products Made in Israel'
Lars Faaborg-Andersen, the head of the European Union (EU) delegation to Israel, told Arutz Sheva on Wednesday that the EU is opposed to boycotts of Israel - but also said he understood why there are such boycotts.
“The EU is totally against BDS, boycotts, isolation. We want dialogue and we think that it’s the best way to get our points across and get Israel to work in the direction that we would like to see,” said Faaborg-Andersen.
At the same time, he continued, “There are other groups in Europe and also in the United States that are advocating for BDS but there are also corporations and others taking decisions to disengage economically from Israel, and they are not in our control.”
He warned that Israel could find itself in a situation “where it has fewer friends in the world, if a solution is not found to the problem of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.”
Faaborg-Andersen acknowledged that “it takes two to tango” but added, “What we don’t like to see is the parties taking steps that are bringing us further away from the solution.”
Why is Muslim harassment of Jews on the Temple Mount increasing?
The problem of intimidation of Jews at the holiest site to Jews has reached a critical stage in the last several years, Arnon Segal, secretary of the Temple Mount Faithful group, said on Wednesday.
“Over the past two to three years, we saw men first sitting in circles studying the Koran, and then, sooner than later, they sat on pathways designated for Jewish visitors, so they couldn’t walk,” he said.
“Then the women got up and followed us around, screaming and yelling ‘Allahu akbar!’ The police will not push and shove them like they will the men, which is why women frequently lead the mobs.”
The Jordanian government pays between 300 and 500 Muslim women and unemployed men to harass Jews, Segal claimed.
The Islamic Movement’s northern branch, based in Umm el-Fahm, compensates 150 additional provocateurs, he said.
Father of Slain IDF Soldier Blames Kerry, UN for Son’s Death
Simchah made the comment while speaking about the Hannibal Protocol that was activated by the IDF in the area of Rafah during last year’s operation when it became apparent that a soldier was missing and was taken by Hamas during a 72-hour ceasefire.
“According to what I heard from his friends and his brigade commander who were with me, Hadar was not one who would go down without a fight, so we were sure that he was hurt. The Givati Brigade tried to rescue Hadar, on the assumption that he was alive and injured,” said Simchah, adding that every military unit in the world would act in such a way to rescue one of its members.
Simchah continued, saying, “the one who proposed the [72-hours] cease fire,” during which Hadar was captured and killed, “was U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. They put on pressure for a cease-fire.”
“Hadar and his friends were killed because of this cease-fire,” said Simchah. “And I am very disappointed with the U.S. secretary of state. The three casualties are on his conscience. One year does not change this.”
'Abbas significantly contributing to stability' in West Bank, senior security source says
The high ranking source, who is highly familiar with Israel's security activities in the territories, described Abbas as "a person with a clear agenda, consistent and coherent, and when I translate that into practical steps, it is good for us. I think he is a stabilizing factor. Violence for him is a red line. I truly believe that he does not want violence. He opposes an intifada, he is against shooting attacks on roads [in Judea and Samaria]," the source said.
While internal political needs and constraints mean Abbas will not often condemn acts of violence, the source said, "What's more important is what Abbas declares. I do not know many other Arab leaders who said that security coordination [with Israel] is holy. That's an accurate quote by Abbas, from around three months ago."
Looking at the situation from Abbas's eyes, the source continued, "Negotiations [with Israel] are stuck, the Arab world is in a problem, and Hamas is a problem. Abbas says he has no choice – violence is not his path, he has no negotiations, and the Arab world is not an option. The only things left are… turning to international institutions, seeking recognition… various lawsuits [against Israel]."
"They will challenge the state of Israel as much as they can through UN institutions, international recognition, and the International Criminal Court," he added.
Despite the relative stability on the ground, the PA leadership is unhappy about Israeli steps to ease conditions for the Palestinian population in the West Bank, as it undercuts the leaderships' attempt to organize non-violent rallies and demonstrations against Israel.
IDF says it could launch preemptive strikes in Sinai
A senior military officer has said Israel could attack militants affiliated to the Islamic State in neighboring Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, if they were about to attack Israeli soldiers or civilians.
The “threat of terror from Sinai” has grown in recent years, Brigadier General Royi Elcabets said on Wednesday.
Speaking at a ceremony marking the end of his two years as commander of the Edom division that controls the border with the Sinai, Elcabets said IS’s Egypt affiliate could attempt an attack on Israel.
“It is our duty to preempt it and strike at it, if and when this happens,” he said in remarks relayed by the military.
Militants loyal to the Islamic State have killed hundreds of Egyptian policemen and soldiers in Sinai since the army overthrew Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in 2013.
The Egyptian military says it has killed more than 1,000 militants in Sinai, which borders Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Force-feeding law is 'license to kill Palestinian prisoners,' PA says
The new force-feeding bill is tantamount to a license to kill Palestinian prisoners, Issa Qaraqi, head of the Palestinian Authority’s Prisoners Commission said on Thursday.
Qaraqi said that the bill was also a form of “immoral torture” against the prisoners and a “very dangerous precedent.”
Qaraqi warned that force-feeding could lead to death, as was the case in 1980, when three inmates who were on hunger strike died after authorities tried to feed them by force.
The Palestinian official claimed that this was the first bill of its kind in the world. He called on the international community to “assume its responsibilities toward the Palestinian prisoners,” adding that the bill was in violation of international laws and conventions.
PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi also condemned the force-feeding bill, saying it “affirms Israel’s racism and arrogance.”
Ashrawi said that the new bill would allow Israel to “continue committing its crimes” against Palestinian prisoners.
MEMRI: Iraqi Ummah Party Leader Mithal Al-Alusi: ISIS Is An Arab-Muslim Creation; I Long For Peace With Israel
In an interview with the Kuwaiti daily Al-Rai that was published July 5, 2015, Sunni Iraqi MP and leader of the Ummah Party Mithal Al-Alusi said that the Arabs and Muslims are responsible for the emergence of the Islamic State (ISIS). Arguing that ISIS the organization is an Arab and Muslim creation because it was they who allowed extremist views, a vengeance mentality, and nullification of the other, he called for combating this approach, and for uniting the Arab and Muslim ranks in the struggle against ISIS.
The newspaper asked Al-Alusi, who has visited Israel several times, about his position vis-à-vis the country, and he replied that he supports peace with Israel and longs for an Iraqi Embassy in Israel with an Iraqi flag flying atop it. He also called Iran an "insane actor" that is gambling with the lives of the Iranian people in its attempts to take over the region.
PreOccupiedTerritory: ICC Caps Statute Of Limitations On Palestinian War Crimes At 24 Hours (satire)
The International Criminal Court continued to devote attention to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict today, issuing new prosecutorial guidelines for its investigators to the effect that alleged war crimes perpetrated by Palestinians would only be eligible for consideration as ICC cases if indictment occurs within a day of the alleged crime.
ICC magistrates instructed the prosecution teams to review all pending cases of alleged war crimes by Palestinians to determine whether they conform to the new guidelines, and if not, to consider closing those cases effective immediately. The move is believed to affect up to 100% of investigations against Palestinians, notably figures from Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and various militias affiliated with the Fatah faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization who ultimately answer to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Whether the prosecutors will implement the decision in its entirety remains an open question, as the investigation and prosecution teams may seek to assert their independence from the judicial arm of the Court, but the policy change definitely applies to all new cases. It is expected to lighten the load of ICC investigators, who already have their hands full not prosecuting criminals from Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Russia, Ukraine, Central African Republic, Congo, Nigeria, Chad, the Philippines, Egypt, and Libya, among others.
Initially, the Court considered a full 48 hours as the statute of limitations for Palestinian crimes, but rolled it back after a spirited discussion, according to an ICC official who spoke on condition of anonymity. “It was really a question of consistency more than anything else,” said the official. “The international community, which we represent, as a rule reaches a guilty verdict more or less immediately when Israeli actions are involved, so the Court deemed it appropriate to set a similar time frame for allegations of analogous Palestinian misdeeds.” He said the original 48-hour time frame was developed by parties still immersed in an obsolescent view of traditional media, through which reports tended to emerge over the day or two following an event, as opposed to the instantaneous way that twenty-first-century news media function. Once that point was clarified, the statute of limitations was set at 24 hours, and even that was more than at least one member of the Court wanted.
Jerusalem is “Arab-Palestinian-Canaanite” and Israel imposes Jewish history - official PA TV
PA TV narrator: "The occupation authorities are working incessantly to change the character of occupied Jerusalem. The Judaization octopus is spreading [its arms] to devour what is left of the historic sites that left their mark on the city for thousands of years. One of those sites is the Silwan Spring (i.e., Gihon Spring), which the occupation later turned into Talmudic walking trails..."
PA TV reporter: "We are at the Silwan pool. This is a historic site with definite Arab-Palestinian-Canaanite roots and history..."
Fakhri Abu Diab, member of the Silwan and Al-Bustan Neighborhood Defense Committee: "5,000 years ago, the Jebusite and Canaanite Arabs came and founded Jerusalem... The Jews understood the history and significance of this historic landmark, and wanted to impose a Biblical- Talmudic-Jewish story on this place, in order to falsify facts and prove that they have a past and a history in this area."
[Official Palestinian Authority TV, March 11, 2015]


Hamas Summer Camps in Gaza Train Youth in Warfare, Instill Spirit of Jihad
On July 28, Al-Mayadeen TV reported on Hamas "Vanguard of Liberation" summer camps, which provide military training to youth. According to the report, 25,000 participants trained in various camps throughout the Gaza Strip, the goal of which was to "instill spirit of Jihad in these cubs." Footage posted on the Internet shows naval and military training, including shooting, hand-to-hand combat, and drills.


Hamas Rejects Fatah's Demand for Control of Gaza
Hamas officials on Wednesday rejected demands by Fatah that the group hand over rule of Gaza as part of a reconciliation agreement, calling instead for an "uprising" against Palestinian Authority security forces, the Ma’an news agency reported.
Fatah leader Azzam al-Ahmad had said on Sunday that Hamas "foiled" efforts towards a unity government, and that the group must hand over rule of Gaza as a condition for forming the new government.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in response that the Fatah leader's comments created tension and were "untrue," blaming the failure to form a unity government on Fatah's "factionalism."
He added that Fatah's calls to reform the unity government were a media maneuver, reiterating his movement's willingness to form the government based on national consensus.
The Palestinian unity agreement signed in April 2014 sought to end seven years of bad blood between Fatah and Hamas, but the sides have continued to quarrel over many issues.
Blast Wounds 7 at Palestinian Terrorist Base in Lebanon
An explosion wounded seven people at the base of a Palestinian terrorist group linked to Syria's Assad regime in eastern Lebanon on Wednesday, a security official told AFP.
The explosion rocked a position in the town of Qusaya of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC), a hardline group with close ties to the Syrian regime.
The official, who said the base was being used to store ammunition, said the blast was caused by "a rocket fired from Syrian territory."
The PFLP-GC confirmed the incident, but said it was caused by an Israeli air attack.
"Israeli planes struck a PFLP-GC military position on the Lebanese-Syrian border... wounding six of our fighters and hitting our ammunition depot," a statement read.
Terrorist who led killing of 37 is ‎"the Bride of Palestine” - Host on Fatah-run TV
Awdah TV host:‎ "Today and on the 50th anniversary of the founding of Fatah, ‎which has sacrificed many of its sons and commanders, we will talk about the Bride of ‎Palestine, the daughter and Martyr of the Palestinian revolution, Dalal Mughrabi. This ‎young woman's name has been engraved in history in letters that will never be ‎forgotten... We will talk about how Dalal became a role model..."
Israa Al-Bargouti, Fatah’s Shabiba movement:‎ "The Sisters of Dalal Mughrabi ‎‎(i.e., PA universities' Fatah committee), or the name Dalal Mughrabi has longstanding ‎symbolism in Palestine. No one has forgotten Dalal Mughrabi since her Martyrdom in ‎‎1978. Her name is engraved on the hearts of all Palestinians, male and female. ‎Therefore we [Fatah’s committee] are proud to be named after Dalal Mughrabi, the hero ‎of Palestine, the Bride of Palestine, and the Martyr of Palestine... Dalal Mughrabi has ‎affected me greatly, because she gave me the hope that even though I am a girl, I can ‎defend my homeland. It is my role to be an inseparable part of Palestine, to offer and ‎sacrifice myself for Palestine. Even though she was a young woman of only 20, she ‎led 12 fighters of Al-Asifa (i.e., Fatah’s military wing during the 1960s - 1970s), and ‎carried out an operation (i.e., terror attack), in which she died as a Martyr. This way, she ‎affects all young women today: We are allowed to do something even greater than ‎what she did. We will follow her path, Allah willing. [Mughrabi] accomplished ‎something great. She led the operation, which claimed casualties, and she died as a ‎Martyr."
Awdah TV host:‎ "She was the commander of a military squad, and she gave the ‎orders.‎"
‎[Fatah-run Awdah TV and Awdah TV Facebook, Jan. 3, 2015]‎


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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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