Tuesday, September 13, 2016

From Ian:

PMW: Fatah: Murder of Israeli athletes at Munich Olympics was "heroic operation"
Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah Movement continues to take pride in the massacre at the 1972 Munich Olympics, when Palestinian terrorists from the Black September terror group murdered 11 Israeli athletes.
On the anniversary of the killings, Fatah's Facebook page called the massacre a "heroic operation", posting photos of the terrorists carrying out the attack and of Black September leader Salah Khalaf. Fatah stated that the attack showed "the courage and power of the Palestinian resistance fighter":
"The 44th anniversary, Sept. 5-6, 1972, the anniversary of carrying out of the heroic Munich operation that was carried out by fighters of the PLO Black September organization. The Munich operation is still remembered and is recorded in history, and it demonstrates the meaning of the courage and power of the Palestinian resistance fighter and his self-sacrifice for the homeland and for the cause."
[Official Fatah Facebook page, Sept. 5, 2016]
Another Fatah Facebook post highlighted Fatah's role in the attack with the phrase "Munich operation, Sept. 5, 1972 - Fatah was here."
Fatah's glorification of the Munich killings and its continued praise of the murderers as heroes comes only two months after the International Olympic Committee finally commemorated the tragedy with an official ceremony at the recent Rio Olympics.

Eugene Kontorovich: New research paper: ‘Unsettled: A Global Study of Settlements in Occupied Territories’
My new working paper, “Unsettled: A Global Study of Settlements in Occupied Territories,” is now available on SSRN.
Imagine that someone (a scholar or a diplomat) wanted to understand how the general prohibition on aggression in the U.N. Charter was interpreted in international law. What do the general words of Art. 2(4) mean in practice? To figure out what Art. 2(4) means, he studies the Indian invasion and annexation of Portuguese territories in 1961. Examining this one case and the international reaction to it, he would conclude that the use of force and annexation of territory are permissible in international law.
Of course, this understanding would be deeply mistaken, because the Goa incident itself was highly anomalous. Without looking at other cases, from the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait to the Russian takeover of Crimea, one would misunderstand how states really interpret the provision. And that is why international law scholars, like lawyers generally, do not try to tease legal rules out of one particular case, but try to discern the pattern in the entire set of cases. Making law from one case risks serious error.
Yet that is exactly what happens with Art. 49(6) of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the provision that, loosely speaking, restricts settlements in occupied territory. The provision itself is quite obscure and has never been applied in any war crimes case. Thus, looking at state practice would be particularly useful to understand the scope of its meaning.
Yet scholars and humanitarian groups have only sought to understand its meaning through the lens of one case, that of Israel. If there were no other situations to look at, this would be understandable. But, as I show in my new research paper, settlement activity is fairly ubiquitous in occupations of contiguous territory. Yet state practice in these other situations has not been used to inform an understanding of the meaning of Art. 49(6).
Blood libels thicker than water
As politics goes, it doesn’t get much dirtier than the Palestinian Authority deliberately letting untreated sewage flow into water sources because it is reluctant to cooperate with Israel in building wastewater treatment plants, even though the funds and framework exist. Apparently, the PA considers normalization of relations with Israel more dangerous than any health hazards presented by the pollution and drilling of piratical wells.
In an extensive study published in 2012 by the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, hydrologist Prof. Haim Gvirtzman notes that, thanks to Israeli efforts, “In comparison to [their] Arab neighbors, the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria now enjoy much better access to running water.” That was before the civil war in Syria compounded the infrastructure problems there and sent a flow of more than half a million refugees into water-strapped Jordan.
Faced with the latest libel, several friends were reminded of the periodic “dam lies” that one wit termed “a flood libel.” For example, in February, news outlets around the world reported that Israel had deliberately opened the gates to dams bordering Gaza, flooding villages and leaving scores homeless.
Israeli officials swiftly pointed out that there are no dams in the area. Israel’s water company, Mekorot, has in the past answered pleas by the UN to provide Gaza with heavy-duty pumps to help it deal with the flooding. Ironically, the Dutch water company Vitens cut off contacts with Mekorot for alleged violation of international law for operating beyond the 1949 lines.
The Palestinian stories don’t hold water. But Israel is being made to pay hell. Since the Middle Ages, many, many Jewish lives have been lost in pogroms and attacks following false claims of Jews poisoning the wells. The Palestinians will not die of either thirst or poisoned waters. But lives are already being lost by poisoned minds.

Caroline Glick: Benjamin Netanyahu and the 'otherwise enlightened'
Netanyahu’s statement flummoxed the administration because no Israeli leader has ever stated the obvious bigotry of the US position regarding the so-called settlements so pointedly.
The only thing missing from Trudeau’s response was an explanation of why Netanyahu was wrong. She didn’t explain, nor was she asked, how the US’s opposition to Israel’s respect for Jewish Israelis’ property rights in these areas squares with her denial that its policy supports ethnic cleansing.
To make this point a bit more clearly, here are a few questions that Trudeau was neither asked nor explained on her own, but whose answers are self-evident from the administration’s apoplectic response to every move by Israel to permit Jews to lawfully build homes in Judea, Samaria and unified Jerusalem.
• In the US government’s view, does Israel have the right to pass laws or ordinances for land use in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria? If not, why not? • And if you do respect Israel’s right to issue rules on land use, why do you oppose the destruction of illegally built structures in Susiya? Why do you oppose the legal purchase of land by Jews in the so-called outposts? • Under what circumstances is it legal for Jews to buy land beyond the 1949 armistice lines in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria? • Under what circumstances is it legal for Jews to build homes for themselves in these areas? Through its consistently stated and deliberately applied policy of totally rejecting all rights of Jewish Israelis to live and build in these areas, from its first days in office, the Obama administration has made clear that it rejects the civil rights of Jews as Jews in these areas and seeks the complete negation of their rights through mass expulsion, property seizure and destruction, that is, through ethnic cleansing.
As Trudeau noted, the Obama administration’s support for the ethnic cleansing of Jews is a continuation (and radicalization) of the policies of its predecessors.
Netanyahu’s statement flummoxed the administration because no Israeli leader has ever stated the obvious bigotry of the US position regarding the so-called settlements so pointedly.
On Israeli TV, Hillary makes the choice for Trump clearer than ever
Hillary Clinton appeared on Channel 2 News late last week. She had the opportunity, once and for all, to distance herself from the views of Max Blumenthal, George Soros and her other far-left anti-Israel supporters, and to offer a change of course from President Barack Obama. Needless to say, she didn’t.
Clinton did little more than repeat her often-mentioned but even more often-violated platitude regarding the unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel. She failed to note how she single-handedly broke that bond in 2009 when she took office as US secretary of state and unilaterally ripped up the written commitment of George W. Bush – a promise made by the president to prime minister Ariel Sharon in connection with Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza – recognizing that the US no longer expected Israel to contract to the indefensible armistice lines of 1949.
She also failed to note how she broke that bond again just a few months later when she demanded that Israel immediately freeze any and all construction within Judea and Samaria, notwithstanding that the Palestinians were offering nothing in exchange for such a drastic concession. Oddly enough, she took great credit in the interview for implementing this freeze, something even Democrats now consider to be a mistake.
Clinton did not, because she could not, attempt to defend her well-established record of favoring the Palestinians against the Israelis. Clinton offered no explanation for the receipt of massive payments from theocratic Arab nations by the Clinton Foundation and herself personally, and did not attempt to distinguish her policies and practices from those of Barak Obama. Indeed, she hailed those policies and promised to continue them.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Mossad Furious At Rogue Agent For Making Hillary Collapse (satire)
Senior commanders in Israel’s secret intelligence service voiced frustration and anger yesterday with an operative who went against explicit orders by causing Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to lose consciousness and collapse on Sunday.
In an urgent meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, the operations department head and two of his deputies detailed the ways in which the unnamed agent had violated basic security procedures and independently arranged for Ms. Clinton to ingest a toxin whose effects mimic pneumonia, including a false positive bacterial culture. Despite the tight control the Mossad exerts over the Clinton and Trump campaigns, campaign executives and staffers were taken by surprise, as the collapse and apparent illness were not part of the plan the agency had given them. The campaign’s unpreparedness for the incident resulted in a bumbling response and a blow to Clinton’s credibility beyond that which was engineered by Israeli intelligence.
The agent in question, said a deputy director, has a history of vigilante and maverick behavior, but his skills, personal contacts, and resourcefulness remain unmatched, and the agency has often had little choice but to give him assignments no one else could handle. That situation makes the incident doubly frustrating, as the Mossad has little way of reining in the operative, who perennially causes just enough trouble to make everyone else’s work more complicated, but never crosses the line into harming Israeli interests.
“This is the guy who hired a bunch of people to look Jewish and dance when the Twin Towers collapsed,” said the deputy director. “It was apparently his idea of a joke. Obviously, we don’t share his sense of humor, and it’s taken quite a bit of work to relegate that report to the fringes of the media for fifteen years.”
Liberman: Population swaps should be part of Israeli-Palestinian peace deal
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Monday night called for a peace deal with the Palestinians that is based on population and land swaps.
“The principle of land for peace has failed,” Liberman said during a wide-ranging policy talk with students at Ariel University.
He promoted what has long been both his diplomatic plan and that of the Yisrael Beytenu party. It calls for the borders of the two-state solution to be drawn in such a way as to exclude the maximum amount of Palestinians and to include as many Israelis as possible.
The best path forward, he said, “is an exchange of territories and population.”
Such a plan would put the settlement blocs within Israel’s final borders, but exclude some Israeli-Arab areas of Israel.
“Why should the Triangle and Umm al-Fahm be part of Israel?” Liberman asked. “Why should I subsidize [Islamic movement leader Raed] Salah and pay [MK] Hanin Zoabi [Joint List]?”
US, Israel agree on $38 billion, 10-year defense deal — TV report
Israel and the US have reportedly reached a defense aid package deal to the tune of $38 billion over the next decade, with the Jewish state pledging not to seek additional funding from Congress.
According to a report by Channel 2 on Monday, Washington and Jerusalem have all but sealed the $38 billion agreement, which is set to be signed “within days.”
The agreement includes a provision slashing spending of the US funds on Israel’s arms industry over the next six years, the report said.
According to a report in the Washington Post on Sunday, the defense aid deal was being held up by Sen. Lindsey Graham, who was advancing a bill for $3.4 billion in annual military aid to Israel — a larger sum than what the White House was reportedly willing to offer.
“I’m offended that the administration would try to take over the appropriations process. If they don’t like what I’m doing, they can veto the bill,” Graham said. “We can’t have the executive branch dictating what the legislative branch will do for a decade based on an agreement we are not a party to.”
Why is the US going ahead with terror cases against Saudis but not PA?
With the US Congress having passed a law Friday to let private individuals sue Saudi Arabia in US courts over the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, some are asking: why not the Palestinian Authority as well? Only weeks ago, a $655 million terror judgment against the PA relating to terror attacks against Americans in Israel during the Second Intifada was thrown out by a US federal appeals court, giving the PA some jurisdictional immunity from almost any lawsuit.
Even taking those two results together, the truth is, the first question posed is the wrong question and needs to be rephrased to get to the real issues.
The right question would be: why should the end result be different between how Saudi Arabia and the PA are treated if their goal was the same? Why are they viewed so differently, even now? First, the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act is not law yet. The law which let Shurat HaDin go to trial and win a judgment against the PA has been in effect for over a decade, but US President Barack Obama must sign JASTA for it to go into effect, and he has made it clear that he will veto it.
But let us assume that Congress overrides his veto, a very real possibility considering the law has wide bipartisan support.
Next, a case would need to go to trial in order to make our two cases identical. A long line of cases have been filed against Saudi Arabia for 9/11, and have been stuck for years because of its sovereign immunity – the idea that countries cannot be sued.
Serious negotiations vs. reality
Channel 1's "scoop" that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was at one point a KGB agent does not seem to have come as a shock to the Israeli intelligence establishment.
It also should not affect Israel's decision on whether to accept Russia's offer to host talks between Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Moscow, since Israel has already held talks with murderer and then-PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat -- meaning there is no moral argument for not holding similar talks with Agent Abbas.
The more important question is: Is the ground ripe for such talks, and is there any reasonable chance they would result in a positive outcome of any kind?
The first half of this two-part question has already been answered. The Palestinians continue to set preconditions for any meeting: the release of prisoners and the halt to all settlement construction (Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton noted this week that when Israel at one point froze construction for almost a year, there was no positive response from the Palestinians). Israel cannot accept these conditions, not for reasons of capriciousness or obstinacy, but because doing so would make negotiations meaningless and require Israel to make concessions on disputed issues in advance.
Far-left group: Palestinian citizenship for Jews
In the wake of Binyamin Netanyahu's recent comments comparing Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's insistence that Judea and Samaria be emptied of Jews to ethnic cleansing, a radical left-wing group has endorsed the proposal to grant Jews living over the Green Line citizenship in a future Palestinian state.
According to a spokesman for "Gush Shalom" (lit. The Peace Bloc), it is impossible to effect an evacuation in Judea and Samaria as was done in Gush Katif. While those communities contained roughly 9,000 residents, they noted, the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria have more than 400,000. These Jews, the spokesman said, should be offered the same opportunity Israel extended to Arabs within the Green Line - citizenship.
He relates that in Israel, an Arab Is required to obey Israeli law. If he wants to purchase a weapon, he must first acquire a permit, and only then may he procure a weapon. If he does otherwise, he can expect to be arrested, questioned, tried and sentenced to time in an Israeli jail. He has a right to vote in Israeli elections, and indeed, the Arab Joint List is the third largest party in the Knesset. This, he said, should be the fate of Israelis who decide to stay in a newly created Arab state.
While drawing the comparison with Israeli Arabs, Gush Shalom did not address rampant anti-Semitic incitement within the Palestinian Authority, or regular attacks by local Arabs on Jews.
Despite their endorsement of the arrangement, Gush Shalom expects few would trade their Israeli citizenship for Palestinian citizenship.
StandWithUs+: Temple Mount Denial

Days After Israel Retaliates Against Syria Attack, Another Rocket Strikes Golan
A rocket launched from Syria struck the Israeli Golan Heights on Monday night, the Israeli military said. No injuries were reported.
On Saturday, the Israeli Air Force retaliated against Syrian army positions in the Golan after a rocket struck Israel’s side of the territory. That projectile, which caused no injuries, was the third to hit Israel from Syria in the past week.
While an IDF spokeswoman said on Saturday that the rocket was likely “spillover” from the fighting in Syria’s civil war, the IAF struck Syrian army artillery positions in order to enforce its zero-tolerance policy on errant fire from the Syrian conflict reaching Israel. The IDF holds the Syrian regime accountable for all rocket fire from its territory into Israel.
“The Syrian government [is] accountable for this blatant breach of Israeli sovereignty, the IDF will continue to act in order to safeguard Israel and its civilians,” the Israeli military said in a statement.
Iranian state media reported last week that the Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah is preparing to move troops into the southern Golan area bordering Israel. Hezbollah, together with Syrian army soldiers, are reportedly preparing to launch operations against rebel groups operating near Israel’s border.
In response to these reports, the IDF said that it “closely monitors all of Israel’s borders, including in the north, and remains prepared for any scenario.”
IDF says Syria fired missiles at its jets, but denies claim aircraft was downed
The Syrian army claimed on Tuesday it had shot down an Israeli warplane and a drone after an Israeli attack on a regime position in southern Syria, state media reported.
Syrian news agency SANA reported that President Bashar Assad's forces shot down the Israeli aircraft in Syria after the IAF struck in the southern Quneitra countryside in response to a mortar exploding in the Golan Heights. The projectile's landing in the Golan appeared to be spillover fire from fighting in Syria.
In a rare response to a foreign report, the IDF on Tuesday denied that any of its aircraft had been downed, but said Syrian forces had fired two surface-to-air missiles after the Israeli strike Monday night on a Syrian position.
However, the military said the missiles were nowhere near the vicinity of the Israel aircraft. The IDF added that all the Israeli jets had returned to base.
On Monday evening, Syrian fire crossed into the northern Golan Heights as a nationwide ceasefire brokered by the US and Russia came into effect in the embattled country.
In response, the Israeli air force attacked cannons belonging to the Syrian regime on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.
2 IDF soldiers mistakenly enter West Bank city, are rescued
Two female IDF soldiers were rescued from the West Bank city of Tulkarem on Monday, after they mistakenly entered the area and had rocks thrown at their vehicle, an army spokesperson said.
When the army received reports that the soldiers had accidentally entered the Palestinian city, the Defense Ministry’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories unit, along with the Israel Police, hastened to rescue the soldiers.
Once they were extracted from Tulkarem, the soldiers “were transferred to IDF custody,” a spokesperson said.
It was not immediately clear how the soldiers mistakenly entered the city, the spokesperson added.
“The incident will be investigated,” the army said.
In contrast to the army’s account, Hebrew daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported Tuesday that the two soldiers were rescued by Palestinian police, who extracted them from the area where they were being stoned and took them to a local police station, from where they were subsequently transferred to the Israeli authorities.
PA reaches $133M debt settlement with Israeli power company
The Palestinian Authority on Monday reached a settlement with Israel Electric Corporation over Ramallah's 500 million shekel ($130 million) debt to the Israeli power company.
The settlement, which is still being finalized by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, seeks to resolve the issue, which has been dragging out for years.
The Palestinian Authority's outstanding debt has ballooned to NIS 1.7 billion ($450 million) and the settlement essentially forgives the remainder, to a tune of NIS 1.2 billion ($320 million).
Israel Electric Corporation was forced to cut power to several major Palestinian cities in 2015 over the debt.
Channel 2 News called the settlement "historic," adding the Palestinian Authority has agreed to "assume responsibility for any future debt" as well.
Source: Court Decision To Suspend Palestinian Elections Impacted By Fatah Fear Of Defeat
A Palestinian court decision to suspend next month’s local elections in the West Bank was the result of grave concerns among Fatah politicians that they may lose to Hamas, a top Fatah official told Breitbart Jerusalem.
On Thursday, a court in Ramallah upheld a petition against the elections, saying that as long as Hamas rules the Gaza Strip by force and fails to approve Fatah candidates there, the elections could not go ahead.
In July, Hamas announced it would take part in the elections, scheduled for October, after the Islamic movement boycotted the last elections in 2012, which resulted in a sweeping Fatah victory.
In 2005, Hamas candidates won in most councils in the West Bank and Gaza, then still under unified rule, though they were ousted from the West Bank by Fatah following their movement’s violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007.
In its announcement, Hamas said it would strive to form coalitions and joint lists with experts and organizationally unaffiliated professionals for the benefit of the Palestinian citizenry.
Hamas takes advantage of cancer patients
The Hamas terror group takes advantage of Israel's humanitarian policies and uses patients who receive treatment in hospitals in Israel to transfer funds and information for terror activities, Channel 10 News reports.
Hamas operatives wait for people who have transit permits out of Gaza at the checkpoint before the Erez Crossing, and give them money, directives, and especially valuable information for transfer to operatives in Israel for the sake of establishing terror cells and infrastructure.
So far Israeli security agencies have arrested dozens of people who collaborated with Hamas, with some of them carrying large sums of money. According to the reports, in one case thousands of euro were found in a hair accessory belonging to a heart-disease patient who had a permit to receive treatment in Israel.
The patients who are found to be collaborating with Hamas to enable terror attacks are usually questioned in Israeli territory and returned to Gaza.
Assad Regime Violates Ceasefire After Less Than an Hour
Residents in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo said that they had been attacked by barrel bombs dropped by a government helicopter less than hour after a ceasefire went into effect, The New York Times reported Monday.
A rebel group in the southern province of Dara’a also claimed to have killed four government soldiers after the truce, which was brokered by American and Russian diplomats.
According to the terms of the truce, which the Times noted “contains many caveats and unenforceable provisions,” the United States and Russia will continue targeting jihadists in Syria while the air force of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad would be banned from flying over any rebel-held areas.
Assad was hardly pacifist in the hours before the truce went into effect, promising to win the five-year-old civil war against his rule. He made his comments in the city of Daraya, which his forces captured from rebels last month. Daraya, the Times observed, “reflected Mr. Assad’s strengthened position” after Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah reinforced and backed up his troops last year. “The Syrian state is determined to recover every area from the terrorists,” Assad said, referring to all rebel groups who oppose his rule. He added that his army would be victorious “regardless of any internal or external circumstances.”
Expert: Assad, Helped by Iran, Ethnically Cleansing Damascus Area of Sunnis
The regime of Iran-backed Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad has engaged in a systematic campaign of ethnically cleansing Sunnis from the capital of Damascus, in order to strengthen Assad’s hold on his strife-torn country and realize Iran’s ambition of creating a Shiite crescent in the Middle East, an analysis published Thursday by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy asserted.
Hanin Ghaddar, a fellow of the institute and a veteran Lebanese journalist, observed that Assad’s forces captured the largely Sunni suburb of Daraya in August after convincing 8,000 residents to leave. The remaining residents surrendered following intense bombardment and denial of access to food and medical needs. Ghaddar called the regime’s tactics “starve or surrender,” and noted that following the surrender of Daraya, the regime targeted two more Sunni areas with threats of “total war” if they did not surrender. Now, she wrote, “Assad seems to be moving from ‘starve or surrender’ to ‘war or surrender’ tactics in order to eliminate any Sunni presence around Damascus as soon as possible.”
Ghaddar predicted that this campaign will continue, with Sunnis living in other areas around Damascus being forced out as well. They may be replaced by Shiites in an effort to change the religious balance of the area: Arab media have reported this week that some 300 Shiite families from Iraq have been resettled in the emptied Damascus suburbs and given $2,000 each, Ghaddar wrote. The transfer was allegedly supervised by one of the Iraqi Shiite militias that works closely with Iran.
Germany arrests 3 Syrians believed sent by Islamic State
Three Syrian men believed to have been sent to Germany last year by the Islamic State group were arrested in raids on Tuesday, part of efforts to root out extremists sent to Europe amid the migrant influx, authorities said.
The three are accused of coming to Germany in mid-November at the behest of IS “in order either to carry out an assignment they had already received or to keep themselves ready for further instructions,” federal prosecutors said. They are suspected of membership in a foreign terrorist organization.
Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the suspects had a “link” to the Paris jihadist attackers, adding that they may have been a “sleeper cell.”
The men apparently used the same migrant trafficking network to travel from Syria into Europe and had fake Syrian passports that were made in the “same workshop” as those of the IS attackers in the French capital, he said.
They were arrested in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany’s northernmost state, and their apartments searched, prosecutors added. They were identified only as Mahir Al-H., 17, Mohamed A., 26, and Ibrahim M., 18, in keeping with German privacy rules.
The three traveled to Germany via Turkey and Greece, the route used by most migrants to Europe last year. Mahir Al-H. joined IS in Raqqa, Syria, earlier last year and received weapons and explosives training, prosecutors said, before he and the other two suspects in October told an IS official responsible for “operations and attacks outside the IS area” that they would travel to Europe.
D Minus Seven Years, and Counting
Standing between Iran's capabilities and the application of these capabilities are Iran's formal obligations under the NPT and the JCPOA, the IAEA's verification mechanism, and the ability to make challenge inspections to undeclared installations based on intelligence information.
The catch is the assumption that Iran will continue to abide by its commitments to the JCPOA, and here the problem is twofold. The first issue is that Iran has already sought technologies and technical procurement. The second, more important issue is that preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons cannot be based only on trust. Iran has in the past disregarded its obligations under the NPT; it has also disregarded Security Council demands concerning R&D, including testing, of its missile program. Had there been trust in Iran's abiding by its international commitments, there would have been no need for the "unprecedented" verification mechanism embedded in the JCPOA. And while this verification system has been hailed as the best ever, it is still not foolproof. Its two main faults are that it cannot search for undeclared sites that depends on the availability of intelligence that is never perfect and it has no power to inspect Iran's R&D work on the delivery systems.
But the most important issue is the high probability that after ten years, Iran will proceed with the production of highly enriched uranium, and thus will have the capability to produce nuclear weapons almost at will, with a breakout time reduced to two months, if not less. Thus, the JCPOA is a setback for Iran, albeit probably temporary. The deferment of the issue for ten years or less is minor in the historical timescale. Iran knows how to be patient. There should be little doubt that unless something dramatic changes in the Iranian regime or its policies, it will seek this nuclear capability.
The euphoric greeting of the JCPOA by at least some world leaders eclipsed the fact that this joy may be short-lived. However, if the international community truly wishes to prevent Iran from achieving its nuclear ambitions, the approach of the IAEA Board of Governors to the issue should change. At the very least, Iran should be condemned for its past activities in the nuclear realm. The present atmosphere of focusing only on having avoided the nuclear crisis is not conducive to almost any preventive action regarding the potential scenario of an Iranian breakout after 10-15 years. Under these circumstances, when the countdown ends we will most likely find ourselves facing a nuclear Iran.
Deterring Iranian Provocations at Sea
To reset tolerable risk boundaries, the United States should -- as noted at the outset -- act on multiple tracks. While gestures such as intensified diplomacy are unlikely to persuade Iran to act differently, the U.S. government should make sure governments around the world understand that Washington wants to deescalate and that Iran bears the blame for any incidents that do occur. To that end, the United States should, first, press other countries, such as China and Russia, to urge the Iranians to take up American offers to deescalate.
Second, Washington should engage in a preemptive public diplomacy campaign to indicate that unsafe and unprofessional conduct afloat will no longer be tolerated. Moreover, the United States should renew calls for a hotline between U.S. and Iranian commanders to avert or contain any incident. While past American efforts to propose such a hotline were rebuffed by Iran, this would be yet another opportunity to demonstrate that American forces would rather coexist peacefully.
Third, the U.S. Navy should revise preplanned responses and warnings to permit a more assertive response to IRGC-N harassment. Encouraging commanding officers to take warning action, including warning shots, earlier will reset the boundaries of the U.S.-IRGC-N maritime relationship and may cause Iran to reconsider its most dangerous actions in the Gulf.
Iranian harassment is best deterred. This end is most effectively achieved through the measured use of live warning shots early in the engagement to compel Iranian ships to stay at safer distances. The USS Squall showed that such deterrence measures can safely and effectively defuse a situation. The response to naval harassment in the Gulf should be overt, assertive, and done early enough to reduce risk while allowing Iranian vessels to safely and honorably disengage, thereby avoiding an incident that could damage the broader U.S.-Iran relationship.
John Bolton: North Korea: Another Obama Failure
North Korea’s fifth nuclear test signals continuing progress and sophistication in its decades-long effort to possess deliverable nuclear weapons. Moreover, both US and South Korean military experts assess that the increasing range of Pyongyang’s ballistic missiles, and its ability to miniaturize nuclear devices in order to mate them with its missiles, means targets across America will be vulnerable in just a few years.
The North’s weapons program perfectly embodies Winston Churchill’s warning about “perverted science,” where humanity’s highest intellectual achievements fall into the wrong hands.
The test is yet another fire bell in the night. North Korea’s leaders may have been trying to get President Obama’s attention, but their odds of success are small. For nearly eight years, his resolute indifference to Kim Jung-un’s advances demonstrated that nuclear proliferation is just not one of his priorities.
While Obama’s rhetorical response to the North’s evident progress is sometimes vigorous, it never extends to meaningfully tightening sanctions or anything more robust. And Pyongyang doesn’t even slow down.
Why should it, given Obama’s lack of interest? Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has also been thoroughly indifferent, although her rhetoric, especially as she runs for president herself, tends to torque somewhat higher than Obama’s. Nonetheless, if humor is permitted in these dire circumstances, Clinton’s just deserts will be having to deal with the consequences of their mutually failed North Korea policy if she wins.
Ex-CIA boss and strident Iran deal critic joins Trump campaign
James Woolsey, a former CIA director known for his outspoken opposition to the Iran deal, joined the presidential campaign of Donald Trump as a senior adviser.
In an announcement Monday by the Republican nominee’s campaign, Woolsey cast his decision to join mostly in support of recent promises by Trump to end budget cuts to the defense community. Trump had previously favored cutting defense spending.
“I am pleased to be asked to participate with others I respect in advising GOP candidate Donald J. Trump on the urgent need to reinvest in and modernize our military in order to confront the challenges of the 21st century,” Woolsey said. “Mr. Trump’s commitment to reversing the harmful defense budget cuts signed into law by the current administration, while acknowledging the need for debt reduction, is an essential step toward reinstating the United States’ primacy in the conventional and digital battlespace."
Woolsey is close to rightist pro-Israel groups and is chairman of the leadership counsel of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, the think tank that has taken the lead in opposing the deal reached last year between Iran and six major powers rolling back nuclear development in exchange for sanctions relief. He has spoken at the Herzliya Conference, Israel's leading gathering of national security experts.
Woolsey directed the CIA for the first two years of President Bill Clinton’s presidency, from 1993 to 1995, but has since become a strident critic of Clinton and his wife, Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee facing Trump in November.
Zionist Moon Base Plans Revealed (satire)
This morning Prime Minister Netanyahu announced Israel will be launching a space expedition from its Palmachim Airbase to find suitable land to build new settlements on.
Netanyahu revealed the plans at an anti-BDS conference held in Jerusalem, which will include 200 housing units on what he calls the ‘disputed lunar territories’, commonly referred to as the Moon.
Naturally, the Obama administration condemned the decision without really knowing why but mainly because of a nagging doubt that if Netanyahu wants to do it, it’s probably wrong:
“Jewish…I mean Israeli settlements, have no right to be there,” President Obama commented.
Across the pond in the European Union, key leaders said the decision is only likely to hinder peace: “Jews have the right to live anywhere safely,” a spokesman said, “Just not on the Moon, Europe and especially not in the West Bank. That prime spot is reserved for our settlements. We really don’t want to have to start expelling Jews again.”
The plans were welcomed across the Israeli political spectrum though, with the right-wing “Jewish Home Party” the most vocal in their support: “Jews have been into space before, therefore it is Israeli territory,” said ultra-nationalist, batshit crazy party leader Naftali Bennett.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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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The Jerusalem Report:"A seemingly indefatigable one-man operation, armed only with a computer, chutzpa and stamina."

Algemeiner: "Fiercely intelligent and erudite"

Omri: "Elder is one of the best established and most respected members of the jblogosphere..."
Atheist Jew:"Elder of Ziyon probably had the greatest impression on me..."
Soccer Dad: "He undertakes the important task of making sure that his readers learn from history."
AbbaGav: "A truly exceptional blog..."
Judeopundit: "[A] venerable blog-pioneer and beloved patriarchal figure...his blog is indispensable."
Oleh Musings: "The most comprehensive Zionist blog I have seen."
Carl in Jerusalem: "...probably the most under-recognized blog in the JBlogsphere as far as I am concerned."
Aussie Dave: "King of the auto-translation."
The Israel Situation:The Elder manages to write so many great, investigative posts that I am often looking to him for important news on the PalArab (his term for Palestinian Arab) side of things."
Tikun Olam: "Either you are carelessly ignorant or a willful liar and distorter of the truth. Either way, it makes you one mean SOB."
Mondoweiss commenter: "For virulent pro-Zionism (and plain straightforward lies of course) there is nothing much to beat it."
Didi Remez: "Leading wingnut"

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