Tuesday, January 26, 2016

From Ian:

David Horovitz: Stop the incitement, stop the killing
Op-ed: Relentless Palestinian extremism has now even managed to persuade the center-left opposition that Israeli readiness for compromise is insufficient. What’s needed is a unified effort to stop the Palestinians filling their people’s heads with murderous hostility
Meanwhile, the Fatah hierarchy he heads has been openly encouraging attacks on Israelis, and the Hamas terror group with which he seeks to partner in government is again plotting suicide bombings, developing more sophisticated rockets, and digging tunnels under the Gaza-Israel border ahead of its next planned war.
Abbas may well be deploying his forces to keep a lid on clashes in the West Bank, but he’s presiding over an ongoing, strategic demonizing of Israel and Israelis — via his education system, political and spiritual leadership and mainstream and social media — that positively guarantees Palestinian violence and terrorism. So effective is this process that, nowadays, when a young Palestinian has a row at home, feels depressed, or wants to make a name for him or herself, the default response is to grab a knife and go kill the nearest vulnerable Jew.
And so, last week, we buried Dafna Meir.
And today, we buried Shlomit Krigman.
Israel paid for Abbas’s last ostensible readiness for peace talks, in 2013-14, with the release of dozens of killers and other Palestinian terrorists from our jails. Prior to that, in 2008, Abbas spurned Ehud Olmert’s extraordinary readiness to give him everything he purportedly sought: We were gone from Gaza, and Olmert offered to leave the West Bank — with one-for-one land swaps — and to divide Jerusalem, including relinquishing sovereignty in the Old City. If that wasn’t good enough for Abbas, then obviously nothing we can offer will be.
While the United States and much of the international community refuse to internalize this, the simple, bleak fact is that everything Arafat, Abbas and Hamas have done since the collapse of the Bill Clinton-hosted Camp David 2000 attempt at forging a deal has persuaded Israelis that they dare not relinquish territory to the Palestinians, despite the imperative to separate in order to maintain a Jewish, democratic Israel.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians: Is Abbas Losing Control?
If Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas loses control of his Fatah faction, who gets to comfort him? Could it be his erstwhile rivals in Hamas?
Abbas seems firm in his refusal to pave the way for the emergence of a new leadership in the West Bank. A split within Fatah in the West Bank seems the inevitable result. Gaza's Fatah leaders are furious with Abbas. The deepening divisions among Fatah could drive Fatah cadres in the Gaza Strip into the open arms of Hamas.
"The talk about Fatah-Hamas reconciliation is nothing but a smokescreen to conceal the growing discontent with President Abbas's autocratic rule." — Palestinian official.
Fatah is Israel's purported "peace partner" -- the faction spearheading efforts to establish an independent Palestinian state. Decision-makers in the U.S. and Europe might wish to keep abreast of the solvency of Abbas's Fatah faction when they consider the wisdom of the two-state solution.
Israeli woman murdered in Beit Horon terrorist attack
A 24-year-old Israeli woman was stabbed to death by two Palestinian terrorists on Monday evening outside a minimarket in the community of Beit Horon, located on Route 443 in Samaria between Modiin and Jerusalem.
Shlomit Krigman died on Tuesday morning at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem. She had been brought there in critical condition following the attack.
Krigman was laid to rest on Tuesday afternoon at the Givat Shaul cemetery in Jerusalem.
A statement released by the Beit Horon community said, "Shlomit was loved and well-known. She did her national service with Bnei Akiva in Beit Horon and during the past year she lived with her grandfather and grandmother in the community."
A second Israeli woman, age 58, was also wounded in the attack and was transported to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem in moderate but stable condition.
The two terrorists, both male, were shot dead outside the minimarket by a security guard who sprinted to the scene after being alerted to the attack.
‘Gentle’ and ‘kind’ stabbing victim Shlomit Krigman laid to rest
Hundreds of people on Tuesday attended the funeral of 23-year-old Shlomit Krigman, who sustained serious injuries during a stabbing attack in the West Bank settlement of Beit Horon Monday and died of her wounds Tuesday morning.
Krigman was buried at Jerusalem’s Givat Shaul cemetery, in a plot near that of Dafna Meir, an Israeli mother of six stabbed to death in her home in Otniel last week.
Speaking at the ceremony, which was closed to the press, Krigman’s teacher remembered her for her “great curiosity” and gentle demeanor.
“She was open to the world and had great curiosity,” said Eitan Bnaya, one of Krigman’s teachers at the Ariel University, according to the Ynet news website. “She was interested in many areas. Everything got cut off in a single moment, a young woman whose life was ended.”
Bnaya said that Krigman, an industrial design student, was an “amazing, quiet and kind person” and “very interesting.”

Slain woman, 23, remembered as ‘beloved, sweet, and full of light’
The death of 23-year-old Shlomit Krigman, who sustained serious injuries during a stabbing attack in the West Bank settlement of Beit Horon Monday and died of her wounds Tuesday morning, left the young woman’s friends and relatives shaken, as they grieved and recalled her warm heart, artistic nature, and her social conscience.
“She was a caring person, close and caring toward her friends,” Einat Dermer told the NRG news site. “She was just a person who wanted everything to be good, and she did that in her own way.”
Krigman, who had previously served as a group leader for the Bnei Akiva Youth Group in Beit Horon, was spending time with her grandparents in the settlement when she was attacked, according to a message from the community sent out Tuesday morning.
Though originally from the West Bank settlement of Shadmot Mehola, located in the Beit She’an Valley, Krigman spent much time in Beit Horon, outside Jerusalem, and was seen as a resident by many who lived in the small settlement.
Israeli man fights off Palestinian stabbers with a supermarket cart
An Israeli man who fought off two knife-wielding terrorists with a supermarket cart, preventing them from entering the store, said on Monday night that he didn’t know where he got the courage from.
“It was scary,” acknowledged Mordechai Shalem, the store owner, in a television interview soon after the attack at the West Bank settlement of Beit Horon.
“You see two people facing you with their knives raised. I saw the hatred in their eyes, the anger. I knew I had to stop them from getting in,” he said.
Two Israeli women were stabbed and injured in the attack, one critically. The terrorists then tried to enter the store, were blocked by Shalem, fled, and were killed by a security guard after a short chase, police said.
After stabbing attacks, army ordered to rethink settlement security
After a third terror attack inside a settlement in just over a week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the army Monday evening to prepare a wide-spread plan to increase settlement security.
“The prime minister has requested a detailed and encompassing program,” said a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.
Following Monday’s stabbing attack in the West Bank settlement of Beit Horon, the army implemented a series of security measures including freezing the work permits for the families of the attackers, the statement added.
Two women were injured, including one listed in critical condition, as two terrorists entered a market inside the settlement. Both attackers, one from nearby Beit Ur al-Tahta and one from the Ramallah area, were shot and killed by a security guard.
On Monday evening the army completely closed off Beit Ur al-Tahta with the exception of “humanitarian cases,” an IDF spokesperson said.
The IDF had earlier set up road road blocks around the town and were checking vehicles coming in and out while residents were still allowed to enter and leave.
IDF soldier said lightly hurt in possible car-ramming attack
An IDF soldier was lightly injured Tuesday afternoon in a possible car-ramming terrorist attack on Route 443, near the Atarot Junction north of Jerusalem.
Police said the apparent car-ramming occurred at a checkpoint at the entrance to the West Bank Palestinian village of Beit Ur al-Tahta, the hometown of one of the terrorists who carried out a deadly stabbing in the nearby settlement of Beit Horon on Monday.
The vehicle which hit the soldier was seen fleeing into the Palestinian village, and IDF forces were searching the area for the driver.
Earlier Tuesday, a 23-year-old woman injured in a terrorist attack Monday died of her wounds, hospital officials said. Shlomit Krigman sustained serious injuries during a stabbing attack in the West Bank settlement of Beit Horon.
Despite efforts to stabilize her, she deteriorated overnight and died in the early hours of Tuesday morning, a statement from the hospital said.
Home of Anatot terrorist already slated for destruction
Israeli land NGO “Regavim” has revealed that the house of the terrorist who infiltrated the Jewish town of Anatot on Saturday and was subsequently killed, was an illegal structure that had already been slated for demolition.
The family of the thirteen-year-old terrorist came from the town of Ya’ata which is located inside the Palestinian Authority in the hills south of Hevron. They later moved to the Arab town of Anata close to Jerusalem. The area of land that the family built their home upon is privately owned and therefore the structure is illegal. The land lay fallow until 2008, when numerous illegal buildings were constructed on the land. The construction was done without the permission of the owners and seemingly was an attempted land grab.
Regavim sent an urgent letter to the Civil Administration on Monday illustrating the illegality of the buildings, and demanded that the structures, which include a metal scrap heap, be torn down. In addition to the illegality of the buildings, Regavim added that the scrap heap is polluting the land.
Palestinian media spurring wave of terror
Hamas' popular television channel Al Aqsa, which broadcasts to every home in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, has been devoting nearly all of its air time over the past four months to encouraging attacks and keeping the flame of the current terror wave burning.
Interviews with relatives of terrorists are a daily occurrence. "I am the mother of the heroic martyr Muataz Qasim, who was killed in an heroic act near the village of Jaba," the mother of one terrorist told the channel. "Muataz was a kind, young, handsome man, who never hurt anyone and always loved the al-Aqsa Mosque. In fact, his favorite thing in the world was the al-Aqsa Mosque."
To complete the picture, the heads of the station, based in the Gaza Strip, set up a new studio decorated with burning tires, barbed wire and a wall of graffiti showing Palestinians holding knives and stones. The station's hosts wear black and white keffiyehs to show solidarity with Palestinians who confront the IDF.
Why not bomb Al Aqsa TV?
Ynet.com reports that Al Aqsa “has been devoting nearly all of its air time over the past four months to encouraging attacks and keeping the flame of the current terror wave burning.”
Interviews with relatives of terrorists are a daily occurrence. “I am the mother of the heroic martyr Muataz Qasim, who was killed in an heroic act near the village of Jaba,” the mother of one terrorist told the channel. “Muataz was a kind, young, handsome man, who never hurt anyone and always loved the al-Aqsa Mosque. In fact, his favorite thing in the world was the al-Aqsa Mosque.”
To complete the picture, the heads of the station, based in the Gaza Strip, set up a new studio decorated with burning tires, barbed wire and a wall of graffiti showing Palestinians holding knives and stones. The station’s hosts wear black and white keffiyehs to show solidarity with Palestinians who confront the IDF.

Clearly the continuous incitement to murder provides just cause for an attack on Al Aqsa’s studios, transmitters or anything else that enables them to churn out this poisonous propaganda.
Is there anything holding Israel back?
Palestinian expert on PA TV: Knife attacks are not terror
Palestinian expert on Israeli affairs, Shaker Shabat: “What puts Israel in an ‎embarrassing situation now, and what prevents it from dealing with the intifada, is that ‎it is individuals of a somewhat peaceful character [who carry it out]. A knife is not ‎considered a firearm and [stabbing] is not classified as an act of terror. Israel is in a ‎crisis because the one who confronts the Israeli army and the settlers is the ‎Palestinian civilian, with a knife, or even with his exposed body, or with a screwdriver ‎or scissors.”‎[Official PA TV, Jan. 9, 2016]‎
Presenting the Palestinian attacks as having targeted only Israeli so-called “settlers” and ‎soldiers is incorrect. Stabbing attacks have been carried out all over Israel against ‎civilians, including children, women, and the elderly.‎

Edgar Davidson: 4-1 in favour of the Arabs - all the world will know from the murder of another defenceless Jewish woman
Another day, another terrorist attack by 'Palestinian' Arabs against defenceless Jewish women in Israel one of whom, Shlomit Kreigman, was stabbed in the head and killed. These terrorists also had bombs.
Outside of Israel, yet again nobody will hear about Shlomit Kreigman. All they will hear will be an update to the antisemitic scorecards that the western media uses** to summarise the current unprovoked terrorist violence against Israeli civilians. Because both the Arab terrorists were shot and killed by a security guard as they tried to kill more people, and because this followed an earlier attack the same day where two terrorists were killed in the act, the scorecard update will show
"4 dead Palestinians and 1 dead Israeli"
- further 'proof' of Israel's 'disproportionate aggression'.
Honest Reporting highlights the hypocrisy of the Guardian's appalling reporting (Guardian headline was "Two Palestinians shot dead after knife attack in West Bank Shop")
**Fox News (supposedly the most pro-Israel Western media outlet) actually runs the scorecards in ticker-tape continually whenever there is an attack. No context - just the scorecards - and no choice for the viewer to ignore them as they move relentlessly back and forth across the screen for hours on end. Currently showing "26 Israelis and at least 149 Palestinians killed in wave of violence":
Guardian headline on terror attack focuses on death of Palestinian perpetrator
As we’ve noted previously when commenting on misleading Guardian headlines, it would be difficult to find an example of terror in world – outside of Israel – where media outlets prioritize the fate of the perpetrators over that of their victims.
Sure enough, the Guardian has done it again, with the following headline accompanying an Associated Press (AP) report on yesterday’s deadly terror attack in Beit Horon.
"Two Palestinians shot dead after knife attack in West Bank shop"
What possibly would motivate editors to lead with the death of the terrorists, while relegating the victims of their attack (one of whom died after the story was published) to the strapline?
It is important to note that, when publishing articles written by news agencies such as AP, editors have control over the headline, strapline and photo choices. As such, it’s quite telling that the AP article itself begins appropriately, by prioritizing the victims:
Abbas's aide visits mourners' tent for terrorist
Kamel Hammad, mayor of the Palestinian side of Hevron, visited a mourners' tent that was set up by the family of the terrorist who attempted to carry out a terror attack in the town of Anatot over the weekend. The terrorist, a thirteen year-old girl, was killed during the foiled attack.
The Palestinian city rulers are appointed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and are considered to be his representatives in the regions under their control.
The terrorist was neutralized on Saturday when she was seen running with a knife in her hand past the entrance gate of the the town of Anatot, in the Binyamin regional council. A civilian security guard who was stationed at the gate shot and injured the girl. She later died of her wounds. According to reports on Channel Two news, the terrorist had an argument with her family, then grabbed a knife and ran away to perpetrate out a terror attack in the nearby Jewish town of Anatot.
COGAT warns of Gaza crossings closure if Hamas doesn't stop terror recruitment
Ongoing attempts by Hamas to exploit entry permits given to Gazan residents by Israel are jeopardizing future crossings by Palestinians, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai has warned.
In an interview to the Al-Quds Palestinian newspaper, Mordechai said Hamas will force Israel to consider closing the crossings completely between Gaza and Hamas, if attempts to recruit Gazan residents for terrorist missions do not cease.
Gazans requiring medical care or seeking business opportunities cross daily into Israel and the West Bank via the Erez Border Crossing (while the Kerem Shalom Crossing sees an average of between 400 to 500 trucks pass though every day, carrying tens of thousands of tons worth of goods).
Hamas's "cynical exploitation of Israeli entry permits is forcing Israel to think twice before it issues permits to Gazans. This situation will eventually lead to the closure of the Strip and the complete cessation of travel by Gazans from the Strip," Mordechai warned.
He cited a cancer patient from Gaza's Khan Younis area who travelled to Nablus for medical care after receiving an Israeli permit, and was asked by Hamas to gather intelligence for it. A resident of Gaza's Shati refugee camp who trades in Israel was captured by security forces while trying to smuggle goods for Hamas, according to the COGAT head.
IsraellyCool: There’s A Warm Cozy Place Awaiting Gideon Levy
Take, for instance, the opening paragraph of his piece entitled, Yes, Israel Is Executing Palestinians Without Trial, (http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.697788) published January 17th. Now that title is what we bloggers and journalists call “link bait.” It’s so shocking, it stops you cold in your tracks and forces you to click the link to read the whole darned thing. Variously, it’s such a tease, like the tiniest taste of something delicious, and you must have more.
In short, it’s irresistible.
I think carefully about my titles. I think most writers do. I am not above using my titles to entice the reader into clicking open my pieces to read them, because I know how much stuff is out there, competing for the reader’s eye. If you want to get read, you gotta draw in the reader somehow, and the title works as well as anything else.
But the thing is, I don’t use my title to spread falsehoods. I don’t use my titles to damage Israel and incite Israel’s enemies. And unfortunately, that is exactly what Gideon Levy did with his link bait title: he made out as if Israel is randomly executing Arabs without benefit of trial. That’s as opposed to stopping TERRORISTS IN MID ATTACK. Which is what really happens.
Now, I don’t doubt that Gideon Levy looked into the facts before he made his assertion. He well knows that Israel is NOT executing Arabs without trial, but killing terrorists when it appears there is no other way to stop them from killing civilians. And yet he puts out that damaging title out there for all to read.
IsraellyCool: UK Israel Haters Show Solidarity With Terrorist Who Stabbed Young Boy
In the meantime, Israel haters in the UK have held protests demanding the release of this wannabe murderer.
Again, consider what we just saw here. A group of people unequivocally supporting a terrorist – albeit a young one – who attempted to murder a Jewish child.
If these were true human rights activists, they would be condemning the attempted murder of the Jewish child.
Alas, they are not – they are merely Israel haters and antisemites who approve of the actions of Ahmad Manasrah and other palestinian terrorists, and similarly desire the destruction of the state of Israel
Fatah's military wing condemns 'Hamas conspiracy' against the Palestinian Authority
Fatah's military wing, the al-Aksa Martyrs' Brigades, voiced its relentless support for the head of the Palestinian General Intelligence Service, Majid Faraj, in light of his recent comments on security coordination between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.
On Monday, the group organized rallies in the West Bank in support of Faraj and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, blaming Hamas for spreading lies about Faraj.
On January 18, Faraj said in an interview to Defense News that the Palestinian Authority has foiled some 200 attacks against Israelis since the eruption of the recent wave of violence in October. Faraj's comments aroused furious reactions among Hamas, which called him a "traitor that collaborates with Israel."
In one rally, several members of the al-Aksa Martyrs' Brigades dressed in military uniforms with their faces covered, declaring that "those who prevent the firing of rockets from Gaza and storm mosques to attack Salafist Islamists do not have the right to defame a leader such as Faraj," in reference to Hamas, which attempts to deter other militant factions from launching projectile attacks on Israel.
WATCH - Gaza Journalist: Israel Buys Slave Girls on IS Market, Converts Them to Judaism
A Gaza journalist said that Israel buys slave girls from the Islamic State and converts them to Judaism, MEMRI reported.
In an interview with the Turkish TRT Arabic TV channel, Tawfiq Abu Shomar said that Israel brings over “large numbers” of Yazidis from Iraq and converts them.
The journalist’s claim that Israel seeks to expand its population by any means possible even extends to leveraging natural disasters as a way of attracting refugees.
“It uses natural circumstances, even earthquakes,” claimed Abu Shomar. “During the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Israel brought over a large number of Haitians and had them converted to Judaism.”
In the wake of the devastating earthquake, Israel’s team of 220 doctors, rescue and relief professionals were first on the ground in Haiti, setting up field hospitals and rescue operations. There is no evidence to suggest that Haitian refugees were brought back to Israel.
The clip ends with Abu Shomar saying, “In addition to the ruling Jewish authorities, there are organizations abroad that buy slave girls on the IS market and take them to Israel.”
Pope meets Rouhani, asks Iran to help stop Mideast terrorism
Pope Francis on Tuesday met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and asked Tehran to work with other Middle East states to promote peace and stop the spread of terrorism and arms trafficking in the region.
A Vatican statement issued after the meeting spoke of the "relevant role Iran is called on to play" to find political solutions to the problems afflicting the Middle East.
Shi'ite Muslim Iran is the strongest ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, while European countries back his mainly Sunni Muslim opponents in the five-year-old civil war.
Many Western nations accuse Iran of funding various militant groups that they deem to be terror organizations.
Rome’s nude statues covered up ahead of Rouhani visit
Several Rome statues depicting nudity were covered ahead of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s visit this week, so as not to offend his Islamic sensibilities, Italian media reported Tuesday.
Rouhani arrived in Italy on Monday, where he met Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and closed bilateral deals worth some 17 billion euros ($18.5 billion).
The two leaders met Monday at the Capitoline Museums, a complex of art and architectural museums located atop Capitoline Hill in Rome, a hill overlooking the city graced with a plaza designed by Michelangelo.
According to Italian paper Corriere della Sera, all female statues at the museum’s Esedra Hall were covered with four white panels. Members of the Iranian delegation confirmed that the statues were covered.
Jerusalem suicide bombing victim awaits ruling on Iran’s compensation
US Supreme Court to decide on Islamic Republic’s appeal of $2.65 billion judgment.
Daniel Miller still limps. Some 19 years after surviving a suicide bombing in Jerusalem, he still has permanent nerve damage in his arm from shrapnel, which also causes his limp.
But on January 14, when he stood before the US Supreme Court, Miller finally felt victory.
Miller talked to The Jerusalem Post following the historic hearing, both about his experience of the September 4, 1997 Ben-Yehuda pedestrian mall suicide bombing and his feelings on the verge of getting some kind of justice from America’s highest court.
Iran Holocaust Cartoon Contest: ‘Outraged’ Unesco Director-General To Challenge Rouhani, Report Says
Irina Bokova, director-general of the United Nations’ cultural agency (Unesco), is expected to directly challenge Iranian President Hassan Rouhani over his government’s decision to hold a state-sponsored cartoon contest about the Holocaust. The contest, which would be the third of its kind held in Iran, was announced by the country’s state-run news agency in December and is scheduled for June.
According to a report by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, which cited correspondence between Bokova and Israel’s envoy to Unesco, Carmel Shama-Hacohen, the Unesco director-general was “deeply outraged” when she heard Iran was once again holding the contest, “which makes a mockery of the darkest chapter in the history of humanity.”
“I believe this contest can only serve to incite hatred, racism and discrimination,” Bokova reportedly wrote to Shama-Hacohen earlier this month, in response to a letter by the Israeli diplomat. “This goes against the objectives pursued by the Unesco, including to promote greater understanding and knowledge about the Holocaust, through education, through youth engagement, and by advancing new skills for dialogue and intercultural dialogue.”
Bokova is likely to raise the issue during her meeting with Rouhani after the Iranian president’s address to the UN body in Paris Wednesday, which is also the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Haaretz reported.
Freed US pastor claims he was tortured by Iran
Saeed Abedini, a US pastor who was released from an Iranian prison as part of a recent prisoner exchange, says that he was tortured and placed in solitary confinement after he refused to sign a false confession.
Abedini told Fox News, "In interrogation once they beat me very badly because they wanted me to write something I didn't do ... Actually it was in a courtroom that the judge closed the door and the interrogators started beating me, and at that time I got a stomach bleeding."
He added that he was put in a cell with an al-Qaeda member who tried to kill him, and that he saw other prisoners crying and screaming as they were taken to be hanged. "The worst thing that I saw was when they took some Sunnis for execution...Most of them were Sunnis, some of them were political prisoners... I can say most were executed for their faith."
In 2012, Abedini was sentenced to eight years in prison for allegedly endangering Iranian national security. As evidence, prosecutors pointed out that he had organized Christian churches based in people's homes. "He said you are here because you want to use Christianity to remove government and it was like no, I don’t want to do that, I just came here to start orphanage, loving people and share the gospel with people and just that."
No, Iran is not ‘opening up’
Sanctions have been lifted on Iran, and a moment of change has arrived. President Obama has called this “a unique opportunity, a window, to try to resolve important issues.” The brilliant ex-diplomat Nicholas Burns has said we are at a “potential turning point in the modern history of the Middle East.” And of course they are right. The diplomacy of the Middle East will now change, for better or for worse, forever.
But be very wary of anyone who claims anything more, and certainly be careful of anyone who claims anything more for Iran itself. President Hassan Rouhani is not Mikhail Gorbachev, and this is not a perestroika moment. Iran is not “opening up” or becoming “more Western” or somehow more liberal. Maybe Iran’s foreign minister will now pick up the phone when John Kerry calls. But other than that, the nature of the Iranian regime has not altered at all.
On the contrary, the level of repression inside the country has grown since the “moderate” Rouhani was elected in 2013. The number of death sentences has risen. In 2014, Iran carried out the largest number of executions anywhere in the world except for China. Last year, the number may have exceeded 1,000. Partly this is because Iran’s chief justice has boasted of the eradication (i.e., mass killing) of drug offenders, many of whom are juveniles or convicted on dubious evidence.
Political pressure and religious discrimination have increased, too. Women who don’t wear veils are still vulnerable to arrest and sentencing. The penalties for apostasy, adultery and homosexuality are still high, up to and including capital punishment. Cultural dissidents are under pressure, too, even more so since the sanctions-lifting deal was announced. On Jan. 7, the poet Hila Sedighi was arrested after landing at Tehran airport and detained for 48 hours, presumably as a warning. In October, a Kurdish filmmaker received six years and 223 lashes for “insulting the sacred.” When five Americans were released from Iranian prisons this month, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran noted that many other political prisoners, including some foreigners, remain in Iranian prisons.
Report: Hezbollah Cells Operating Across Latin America on Orders From Iran
Hezbollah has been increasing its presence and activities in South America on orders from Iran, the London-based Arabic daily Asharq Al-Awsat reported on Monday.
According to the report, Mexican and Canadian intelligence services discovered that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps had ordered the Lebanese-based terrorist organization to form intelligence-gathering cells in Latin America to monitor targets hostile to the regime in Tehran.
The report further states that these Hezbollah cells are now operating across the continent, including in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Nicaragua.
Israeli 'spy vulture' captured in south Lebanon
Citizens from the town of Bint Jbeil in south Lebanon were surprised to discover on Tuesday morning a vulture carrying what they claimed was Israeli spy equipment, Lebanese media reported.
According to the reports, the vulture, which arrived in Lebanon from Tel Aviv, according to a tag on its leg band, was immediately captured in order to prevent it from attacking Bint Jbeil's citizens.
After the town's security staff assured that the vulture was not carrying any dangerous equipment, they released it.
Lebanese media reported that the incident did not mark the first time that Israeli 'spy vultures' have infiltrated Lebanon. Three months ago, a similar "Israeli vulture" was captured in the village of Kfar Kila, also in south Lebanon.
Israel's neighbors have previously accused the Jewish state of employing the use of spy animals on multiple occasions.

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