Report: Attackers saw off Jewish man’s finger, beat his brother near Paris
Two Jewish brothers said they were abducted briefly and beaten by several men in suburban Paris in an incident that ended with one brother having his finger sawed off by an assailant.Caroline Glick: Toward a true US-Israel partnership
The brothers were hospitalized in what was described as a state of shock following the incident Tuesday night in Bondy. A case report published Thursday by the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA, based on a police complaint by the alleged victims did not specify their medical condition.
The kippah-wearing brothers, whose father is a Jewish leader in Bondy, were forced off the main road by another vehicle on to a side street, according to the BNVCA report. While the vehicle was in motion, the driver and a passenger shouted anti-Semitic slogans at the brothers that included “Dirty Jews, You’re going to die!” the father told BNVCA based on the complaint filed by his sons.
The vehicle forced the brothers to stop their car, and they were surrounded by several men whom they described as having a Middle Eastern appearance. The men came out of a hookah café on to the side street, according to the case report published by the news website JSSNews.
The alleged attackers surrounded the brothers, then kicked and punched them repeatedly while threatening that they would be murdered if they moved. One of the alleged attackers then sawed off the finger of one of the brothers.
America and Israel should abrogate Obama’s military assistance package and replace it with a partnership based on US finance of Israeli R&D projects geared toward developing weapons systems and technologies that both the US and Israel require.UN Watch: Has the UN Human Rights Council Lost Its Way?
The deal should stipulate the modalities for both sides sharing the technologies with third parties, and their rights to use the technologies developed by Israel with US capital for civilian commercial purposes. Israel should be permitted to purchase US platforms based on Israeli-developed technologies.
Such a partnership would enable Israel to ensure that its continued dependence on the US won’t place it at a disadvantage vis-à-vis its enemies such as Iran, which are able to purchase advanced weapons systems from Russia and China. Such a partnership would ensure that both the US and Israel have the systems they need to outpace Chinese and Russian technological advances and develop the weapons systems they need to win tomorrow’s wars.
In his remarks before the Conference of Presidents, Rivlin voiced concern at the fact that Israel has become a partisan football in US politics. His concern is well placed.
Assuming that Israel’s dependence on the US will be a fixed variable for the foreseeable future, Israel needs to consider the best way of ensuring that the alliance will persevere regardless of the partisan attachments of future presidents.
The best way to ensure the resilience of the US-Israel alliance over time is for Israel to transform its military dependence into a mutually beneficial alliance with the US. A new military relationship based on joint technology development rather than Israeli purchase of US platforms is the best way to accomplish that goal, for the benefit of both countries.
Hillel Neuer, Director of UN Watch provides a brief history of the UN Human Rights Council and how it has fallen from its initial high ideals into a political farce.
Israel denies work visa to official from ‘fundamentally biased’ Human Rights Watch
Israeli authorities have rejected a request from Human Rights Watch to grant a work permit to its regional director, accusing the group of engaging in Palestinian “propaganda,” the group said Friday.NGO Monitor: Background: Human Rights Watch’s Political War Against Israel
The decision was Israel’s latest step against human rights groups and other advocacy organizations that it accuses of bias against the Jewish state.
Israel’s Interior Ministry issued its ruling this week, some six months after Human Rights Watch asked for permission for its New York-based Israel and Palestine director, Omar Shakir, to be able to work in the country.
In a letter dated Monday, the ministry said the group’s reports “have engaged in politics in the service of Palestinian propaganda, while falsely raising the banner of “human rights.” The decision, it said, was based on a recommendation from Israel’s Foreign Ministry.
Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon called Human Rights Watch a “blatantly hostile anti-Israeli organization whose reports have the sole purpose of harming Israel with no consideration whatsoever for the truth or reality.”
He said “there is no reason” to give a visa to a person or organization that wants to hurt the country. “We are not masochists and there is no reason we should keep doing that,” he said.
In October 2016,HRW hired Omar Shakir, who has been denied a work visa by the Israeli government, to serve as its “Israel and Palestine Country Director.” Shakir is a consistent advocate of a “one-state framework” and strident supporter of BDS (boycotts, divestment, sanctions) tactics.Trump: Two-State Solution Preferable, But Up to Israel, Palestinians to Decide
The most recent HRW campaigns targeting Israel include joining the Palestinian effort to punish Israel at FIFA (the world football body) and promoting a United Nations blacklist of companies that do business with Israel.
In 2009, HRW founder Robert Bernstein published an article in the New York Times (“Rights Watchdog, Lost in the Mideast,” October 19, 2009) strongly criticizing the organization for ignoring severe human rights violations in closed societies, for its anti-Israel bias, and for “issuing reports…that are helping those who wish to turn Israel into a pariah state.”
This was triggered by, among other issues, the hiring of a “researcher” who was also an obsessive collector of Nazi memorabilia; using its attacks against Israel and the specter of “pro-Israel pressure groups” to fundraise in Saudi Arabia; and lobbying for the discredited “Goldstone report” on the 2008/9 Gaza war.
“The only ‘shocking’ aspect of this incident is that HRW, despite repeated exposure, continues its unprofessional and obsessive practices,” continued Steinberg. “If HRW and its backers wish to be taken seriously, they need to start acting in a manner consistent with the principles of universal human rights, including with respect to Israel.”
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he likes the concept of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, expressing his preference on the issue for the first time since sparking international criticism for appearing to back away from the longstanding bedrock of Middle East policy.VP Mike Pence Takes Strong Stance For Israel At CPAC
But in an interview with Reuters, Trump stopped short of reasserting a U.S. commitment to eventual Palestinian statehood and instead said again that he would be “satisfied with whatever makes both parties happy.”
Trump’s comments put a new twist on a statement he made at a Feb. 15 joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggesting that his administration would no longer insist on the creation of an independent Palestinian state as part of any future peace accord.
It could also send a signal to both sides, as well as the international community, that the principle that has long underpinned U.S.-led peace diplomacy will not be discarded if the Trump administration moves forward, as he has promised, with an initiative to restart long-stalled peace efforts.
“No, I like the two-state solution,” Trump said when asked whether he had backed away from the concept during his joint White House appearance with the right-wing Israeli leader. “But I ultimately like what the both parties like.”
“People have been talking about it for so many years now. It so far hasn’t worked,” he added. But he then repeated his revised position, saying: “I like this two-state solution, but I am satisfied with whatever both parties agree with.”
Vice President Mike Pence spoke to the Conservative Political Action Conference Thursday evening, where he laid out the new administration’s top priorities.A bold, common sense UN move for the Trump administration
Speaking to the GOP’s conservative base, Pence took a very strong position in support of the state of Israel. “I’m proud to stand with the president, who stands with our most important ally, the Jewish state,” Pence told the audience of conservative activists.
“Israel’s fight is our fight, its cause is our cause and her values are our values,” the vice president said to a standing ovation.
In Paris last month, diplomats reaffirmed their support for a just, lasting and comprehensive resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. So they said.Trump’s new ambassador is right: the UN is anti-Israel
Yet, they once again failed to discuss the single most important obstacle to attainment of that goal: the insistence of even “moderate” Palestinians of the Fatah party on an alleged “right of return.”
That is the term used to call for the mass migration to Israel of more than 5,000,000 persons of Palestinian Arab ancestry, 99 percent of whom are not refugees but rather descendants of refugees. This “return” would end the existence of Israel as a majority Jewish state and instead establish a Palestinian Arab country “from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea.”
The envoys, including then-Secretary of State John Kerry, appeared unmindful of the fact that the United Nations has for the past 67 years maintained an agency meant to provide humanitarian support for the original refugees—now estimated at 50,000 or fewer—but that for decades has compounded the problem. This is the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA. It operates programs offering assistance to all descendants of these refugees along the male line, including these days their great-grandchildren.
The most important statement from the new administration. Clear, concise, simply and devastatingly expressed. Exactly what many of us have been saying for years – and always upbraided and denounced for so doing. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Nikki Haley, the new US ambassador to the UN, who has called out the organisation’s anti-Israel bias:Egypt denies any plans to give Sinai to Palestinians
Well done, Ms Haley. A woman of colour in the supposedly racist and misogynistic Trump administration. Now she‘s said it, we all can, with a bit more confidence. And my guess is that more politicians over here will say it, having been given their cue.
The spokesman for Egypt’s president on Thursday categorically denied Israeli reports that Egypt has proposed giving up part of the Sinai Peninsula for the Palestinians to set up an independent state.Partners in Peace: Hamas Releases Music Video Calling For Annihilation of Israel
In a statement, Alaa Youssef said the issue has not been discussed or presented “on any level.”
“It’s unimaginable to get into such unrealistic and unacceptable proposals especially in Sinai, which is a dear part of the nation,” he said.
His remarks came at the end of a meeting on Thursday between top commanders of the Egyptian army and police with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in Cairo.
The reports of establishing a Palestinian state in Sinai were first mentioned by Israeli minister-without-portfolio Ayoub Kara (Likud) last Tuesday, causing an outcry in Egypt.
Islamic Palestinian terrorist group Hamas has released a music video calling for the complete annihilation of the Jewish State.Despite détente with Israel, Turkey to host Hamas confab
The video is directed toward Jews as its ominous message is delivered in Hebrew. Here’s the clip, courtesy of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF):
“We’ve prepared all sorts of rockets that’ll hit you where you live,” hails the triumphant anthem as the video depicts “qassem10” rockets target the Israeli city of Tel Aviv. “If you’re not already killed, we can hold you captive,” the anthem’s speaker adds.
Throughout the video, Jews with yarmulkes are shown engaged in seemingly routine activities (or what radical Islamists see as Western occupations) as they have their heads blown off.
At one point, the head of an Orthodox Jew is shown impaled on a spike next to a glass of wine presumably filled with blood.
Other scenes show rockets flying across Gaza into Jewish cities marked by Israeli flags.
Say hello to Israel's Palestinian partners in peace.
Despite the recent thawing of ties between Israel and Turkey, Istanbul is set to play host this weekend to a well-attended conference whose speakers and organizers are either affiliated with Hamas or once held senior posts in the Palestinian terror group.JPost Editorial: Deepening ties Down Under
The Conference for Palestinians Abroad is named for the group organizing the event. It has faced vociferous criticism from the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority and Palestine Liberation Organization, who accuse the organizers of undermining the PLO’s position as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.
Hamas’s military wing is one of the bodies publicizing the event, slated for Saturday and Sunday, which is also hosting among its speakers members of the Muslim Brotherhood.
One of the leaders of the organizing group is Issam Moustafa Youssef, who the US Treasury Department has said was the head of Hamas’s political bureau at least until mid-2008.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull went out of his way to make Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu feel welcome during his trip this week.Netanyahu seeks to triple trade with Australia
The pomp and warmth that characterized the reception by the Aussies were extraordinary. In part, this is because Israel and Australia share so much as democracies.
“We have so much in common,” Turnbull said at the start of a press conference in Sydney on Wednesday.
“Shared values, democracy, freedom, the rule of law. Two great democracies – one very small in area, one vast, but each of us big-hearted, generous, committed to freedom.”
In an op-ed for The Australian that appeared on the paper’s front page and was titled “Welcome, Mr Netanyahu: the first Israeli PM to visit Australia,” Turnbull wrote that, though Israel is a nation located in a region “wracked by war,” nevertheless the Jewish state “succeeds as the sole liberal democracy, a world leader in every field of science and technology, its culture of innovation the envy of the world.”
Yet, as noted by Anthony Bergin, senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, more needs to be done to improve cooperation between the two countries.
The time has come for them to take cooperation – particularly in the area of security – beyond public declarations to the level of concrete and regular interaction on a long list of issues.
The two countries lack a high-level military exchange.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that he hoped to triple bilateral trade with Australia as the countries forge closer technology and aviation ties.Netanyahu took 2-hour detour to avoid Indonesia en route to Australia
Bilateral trade is currently worth about $1 billion a year, with Israel sending less than 1 percent of its exports Down Under and Australian products accounting for just 0.3% of Israel’s imports.
“Our trade is $1 billion. It should be at least double or triple that,” Netanyahu said as he sat for talks with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Australian government ministers in Sydney.
“I’d like to encourage the Australian and Israeli companies to increase in trade,” he said.
“If I did the schlep, they should do it too,” he added, referring to the 14,200-kilometer (8,800-mile) journey between Sydney and Tel Aviv.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went on a two-hour detour while en route to Australia from Singapore this week, apparently to avoid airspace belonging to Indonesia, with which Israel does not have formal diplomatic relations.Should Jews live in Israel or Australia?
Netanyahu landed in Sydney on Wednesday for a four-day state visit, the first from a sitting Israeli prime minister, after spending two days in Singapore.
The prime minister’s total time on the El Al flight from Singapore to Sydney was 11 hours and 3 minutes, a journey that usually takes about 8.5 hours, according to flight-tracking site FlightAware.
The El Al flight left Singapore, traveling in an arc over Indonesia, north toward the Philippines, and down over Papua New Guinea before landing in Sydney.
What should Diaspora Jews do? Make the land of their birth greater, or take their talents with them and move to Israel? This tension came across clearly when Netanyahu spoke to the students after Turnbull. Because Netanyahu appreciated what was going on: the need to walk a tightrope between not wanting to be impolite to his host and call for the Jewish students to move to Israel, and wanting to signal the students that – at least in his worldview – their place is in the Jewish homeland.Netanyahu avoids endorsing two states in Sydney statement
And this tension was evident in the way each leader related to the great Australian Gen. John Monash.
Turnbull had referred to Monash – who has a village named after him in Israel – a number of times over the past two days, including in his speech to the students.
Monash, he reminded them, was a brilliant Australian general during World War I, a man Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery later described as the most brilliant general on the Western Front.
“He was an Australian Jew, born in Melbourne, son of Polish Jewish immigrants,” Turnbull said. Due to his brilliant victory in the 93-minute Battle of Hamel in northern France, “the tide of war was turned. It was an extraordinary achievement in military history.”
And what was Turnbull’s point in recalling this tale? “In every field, Jewish Australians have led again and again,” he said.
“In science, literature, arts, education, business, politics and more, and of course in war as well. So you are an essential, magnificent part of our great nation. I thank you for it, believe in yourselves,” he added.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu omitted a reference to the two-state solution in a joint declaration Thursday with his Australian counterpart, Malcolm Turnbull. It appeared to be the first formal manifestation of a dramatic scaling back of Israeli support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an idea that for years has been promoted by the international community.Palestinians Call for One-State Solution to US-Mexico Dispute (satire)
“Both countries re-stated their support for a directly negotiated peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Australia affirmed its support for a two-state solution,” read the declaration issued by Netanyahu and Turnbull in Sydney, where the prime minister is on a state visit.
While Israel has not explicitly walked back its previous commitment to accept, in principle, a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes Israel as a Jewish state, the fact that the statement cited only Australia as backing the two-state solution was telling.
In a rejection of more than two decades of Palestinian foreign policy, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said it might be time for the US and Mexico to give up on their attempt at a two-state solution.In Today’s Middle East, Arabs Are No Longer Dominant
“Listen, we’ve tried having separate states on each side of the Rio Grande, and we ended up with one side sending all its rapists over, and the other side trying to build a wall,” Abbas said during a joint press conference with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. “Two state, one state, I’m happy with whichever one the two sides like, but it seems like two states hasn’t been working out too well.”
Despite longstanding tension, most international observers have supported a partition of the US and Mexico rather than one country comprised of both entities. Even most Americans recognize that annexing Mexico would eventually create a country in which Mexicans make up a majority of citizens.
Abbas, however, was unfazed. Asked how to solve the US-Mexican conflict, Abbas announced that he had put his son-in-law in charge and promised that he’d be the one to reach a “tremendous” deal.
While Arabs maintain their longstanding ethnic majority in the Middle East, it is the non-Arab states—Turkey and Iran—that are the region’s most powerful Muslim forces. Asher Susser explains:European Counter-Terror Official:IRGC, Muslim Brotherhood Are Not Terror Groups
The last two generations have witnessed the steady decline of the Arab states, to the extent that some no longer even exist as the unitary entities they once were, like Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya. Generally speaking, the Arabs have not modernized successfully. Most Arab states (excluding the oil-rich and less populous Gulf states) suffer in one way or another from a critical imbalance between population and resources resulting in consistently poor economic performance. . . . The erstwhile movers and shakers like Egypt, Syria, and Iraq are but shadows of their former selves. . . .
The void left by Arab weakness has been filled by the non-Arab states of the region. . . . Iran and Turkey, as opposed to most of the Arab states, are not recently established entities and unlike many Arab states are not artificial creations, but large countries of some 80-million people each. They have long histories as sovereign nations, with unique linguistic and cultural identities of their own. . . . Turkish and Iranian nationalism has consequently proved to be considerably more cohesive and politically successful than Arab nationalism.
A leading European counter-terrorism official is facing criticism after claiming that the Muslim Brotherhood and Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC, are not terrorist groups.New York Times in Full Panic Mode Over Reports Trump May Designate Muslim Brotherhood a Terrorist Organization
Peter Neumann, an Austrian counter-terrorism official charged with working to combat violent extremism under the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) attracted criticism this week after stating that both the Brotherhood and IRGC are not terrorist groups and should not be formally designated as such.
Neumann's stance elicited criticism from U.S. terror experts who told the Washington Free Beacon that this line of thinking would not help European officials combat a rising threat from radical terrorists, many of whom have become radicalized through extremist doctrines promoted by the Muslim Brotherhood and the theocratic regime in Iran. The position also runs counter to views held by the Trump administration, which has vowed tougher action on radical organizations.
A senior White House official who spoke to the Free Beacon about the matter disclosed that the Trump administration is keeping a keen eye on all of these groups and will not hesitate to take action as the administration works to combat radical groups.
"Like with Muslim Brotherhood, the main argument against designating them as terrorist organisation is that they aren't one," Neumann stated on Twitter Tuesday, a day before he was appointed as a special representative on radicalization for the OSCE.
The New York Times this week continued its month-long campaign against designating the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization amid reports the Trump administration is debating the possibility of issuing an executive order making such a designation.Defense minister slams UN criticism of Azaria sentence
Declaring the Brotherhood a terrorist organization would add the U.S. to the growing list of nations to do so, including Muslim countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
The Times’ crusade culminated in the newspaper’s publication on Wednesday of an oped written from Egyptian prison by Gehad el-Haddad, the official spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood. The oped was splashed on the cover of Thursday’s international edition of the newspaper.
In the piece, Haddad whitewashed the Brotherhood as inspired by an “understanding of Islam that emphasizes the values of social justice, equality and the rule of law.”
“We remain committed to our ideals of community development, social justice and nonviolence,” wrote Haddad.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Friday dismissed criticism by the UN’s human rights agency over the sentence handed to Israeli soldier Elor Azaria, who killed an incapacitated Palestinian stabber in the West Bank last year in March.MEMRI: PA-Sponsored Legal Conference Recommends Expanding Palestinian Judicial Authority To All Territories, Including Jerusalem
Azaria was given an 18-month prison term after a trial which took almost a year to complete.
Liberman said the Human Rights’ Council was “a council not on human rights but on hatred of Israel.”
“Again it has been proven that in the distorted moral compass of the human rights’ council, one bullet fired by Azaria at a terrorist is worse than the millions of bullets killing innocents in Syria, in Libya, in Iraq and in Yemen,” Liberman wrote on his Facebook page.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett, leader of the Jewish Home party, wrote sarcastically on his Facebook page: “Among the 500 thousand people murdered by Assad, the people decapitated by Islamic State and the people hanged by Iran, this must be the central problem in the Middle East.”
A two-day February 18-19, 2017 conference on "Strengthening Arbitration in Jerusalem" in Al-Bireh, sponsored by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud 'Abbas, was attended by legal experts and experts in the field of arbitration. At its conclusion, the conference issued recommendations for expanding the Palestinian judicial authority to all Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, and for shifting conflict arbitration from the Israeli judicial system to a system that will be in accordance with Palestinian law, particularly for conflicts over land in Jerusalem and for all things concerning economic investment in the city.JCPA: The Palestinian Authority’s Succession Struggle Continues
Among the notable conferees were 'Abba's legal advisor, Hassan Al-'Awri; Palestinian Bar Association (PBA) head Hussein Shabaneh; Palestinian Jerusalem Affairs Minister and PA Jerusalem District Governor 'Adnan Al-Husayn,; and Mohammad Hadieh, founder and chairmen of ACT for Alternate Dispute Resolution and Studies.
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas made new appointments to the Fatah leadership on February 15, 2017, and also named a deputy chairman of the movement. He did not, however, solve the problem of the Palestinian succession struggle for the chairmanship.Terrorist Appointed as Mahmoud Abbas’ Deputy, But the World Stays Silent
With his move, Abbas managed to somewhat calm the disorder at the top level of Fatah, the ruling party. Behind the scenes, however, the succession struggle continues and could even escalate.
Abbas claims that he is in good health and for the time being can continue in his post. Yet senior Fatah officials say that the PA chairman, who has passed the age of 80, will soon have to find a successor, because the relative calm among the movement’s leadership is only temporary and could snap at any moment.
The distancing of Marwan Barghouti (who sits in Israeli prison for the murder of Israelis) from any meaningful position in the Fatah leadership has only intensified the confusion among the movement’s young generation, which supports Barghouti. It is something that Abbas’ opponents – most of all Muhammad Dahlan, who is on excellent terms with Barghouti – will exploit.
Abbas has, indeed, promoted two major Fatah figures to key positions in the leadership.
On February 15, Fatah appointed Mahmoud Al-Aloul as a deputy and possible successor to PA President Mahmoud Abbas: Unfortunately, just like Abbas, Mr. Al-Aloul is a terrorist who has condoned violence against Israelis. And unsurprisingly, the global media — which seems uninterested in reporting unflattering stories about the Palestinians — has largely ignored the news of his selection.Hamas denies allegation that UNRWA employee was elected to Hamas leadership
According to a policy brief by analysts Grant Rumley and Evan Charney of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Al-Aloul previously served as an assistant to Palestinian terrorist Khalil al-Wazir, better known by his nom de guerre of Abu Jihad.
Abu Jihad was one of the early founders of the Fatah movement. As Middle East analyst Efraim Karsh noted in his 2003 biography of Yasser Arafat, Abu Jihad oversaw the assassination of US diplomats in Khartoum, Sudan, in March 1973. Abu Jihad was also responsible for perpetrating and planning numerous terrorist attacks against Israelis, including the 1978 Coastal Road massacre, in which 38 civilians, including 11 children, were murdered.
In addition to his involvement in murdering no less then 124 Israelis, Abu Jihad also served as the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Fatah’s liaison with the Soviet Union, the Syrian Baathist party and the Muslim Brotherhood.
A senior Hamas official denied on Friday an allegation made by the Foreign Ministry that Suheil al-Hindi, a United Nations Relief Works Agency employee, was elected to the Hamas leadership in Gaza.Hizballah’s Relations with Iran Are Under Increasing Strain
“Suheil was not elected to any position nor did he participate in elections for any political party,” the senior Hamas official told The Jerusalem Post. “He has no position in Hamas.”
The Hamas official’s comments followed the publication of a tweet by Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon, which alleged that Hindi, a member of UNRWA’s education staff and the head of the UNRWA employees’ union in Gaza, was elected to the Hamas leadership.
“INCREDIBLE BUT TRUE!! Dr. Sahil al Hindi, senior at #UNWRA Gaza, [was] appointed to #Hamas leadership. Maybe that's how #Hamas looks for funding?!?” Nahshon wrote on Twitter.
Hanin Ghaddar, after interviewing a number of Hizballah fighters and commanders, sees ample evidence of their exasperation with their Iranian patrons, on whose behalf they have been fighting in Syria:Elliott Abrams: The Problem of the Lebanese Army
[I]n the early days of the war, the Hizballah-Iran dynamic changed quickly. The group’s commanders had already been working under the supervision of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) for years, but [the commander of IRGC’s expeditionary wing Qasem] Soleimani reportedly began micromanaging their military operations to an unprecedented degree. This shift, coupled with Soleimani’s strict command over the consolidated Iraqi, Afghani, and Pakistani Shiite militias fighting in Syria, highlighted the complex relations between Persian and Arab Shiites. [Shiite] unity has been challenged by deep-rooted Persian-Arab tensions. . . .
Similarly, a number of . . . fighters have complained of being abandoned by their Iranian and Iraqi Shiite allies on the battlefield. Such incidents apparently led to many losses among Hizballah’s ranks, and some fighters subsequently refused to fight under Iranian commanders. Likewise, many interviewees complained about the “stingy” and “arrogant” manner in which Iranians treat Arab fighters.
Meanwhile, Ghaddar writes, Hizballah is losing some of its popularity among its Lebanese Shiite base, with possible consequences for Israel:
One thing that could revive Shiite public support for Hizballah at home is a confrontation with Israel. Although all-out war is not in the cards at the moment, post-Aleppo military operations in Syria have brought Hizballah forces back to Lebanon’s borders, creating an opportunity for renewed anti-Israel rhetoric and provocations.
Should the United States be giving military assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF)? According to the U.S. ambassador to Lebanon (speaking last summer), “In this year alone we provided over $221 million in equipment and training to the Lebanese security forces.” That number presumably includes aid to Lebanon’s police and Internal Security Forces, but given the small size of the country it is a hefty sum.Iranian President Rouhani, Touted in West as ‘Moderate,’ Calls Intifada Against Israel Palestinians’ ‘Sole Choice’
Lebanon is a friendly country, an ally against jihadi groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS, and a sort of democracy. But it is also the home of the terrorist group Hezbollah, which largely dominates its politics and makes its democracy a sometime thing. It’s fair to say that nothing happens in Lebanon without Hezbollah’s approval, no matter how elections turn out.
Lebanon’s new president is legitimizing Hezbollah’s military role–which is independent from control by the Lebanese state (despite repeated UN Security Council resolutions demanding that there be no militias in Lebanon outside state control). The collaboration between Hezbollah and the LAF may be growing: a Times of Israel article on February 12 about the Lebanon/Israel border area said “On the Israeli side, officials are following, almost in astonishment, the deepening cooperation between the Lebanese army and Hezbollah.” Lebanese President Michel Aoun responded by saying of Hezbollah “As long as the Lebanese army is not strong enough to battle Israel … we feel the need for its existence.” When Israel’s UN envoy wrote to the UN Security Council about Hezbollah violations of resolutions concerning Lebanon, the response from Aoun’s office was “Any attempt to hurt Lebanese sovereignty or expose the Lebanese to danger will find the appropriate response.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani — touted by many in the West as a “moderate” — hailed on Wednesday the “tireless resistance of [the] Palestinian nation” against Israel.The False Narrative of Iranian Moderation
In a speech delivered at the conclusion of the two-day Sixth International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Intifada in Tehran, Rouhani, according to the semi-official state news agency Mehr, said “intifada” — the Arabic word meaning “tremor” that is most commonly associated around the world with surges of Palestinian violence against Israel — is “a struggle for [survival] and the sole choice by a noble nation to stay and not give up.”
Also on Wednesday, the Tehran Times reported, Rouhani met with Salim Zanoun — chairman of the Palestinian National Council — and said, “The Iranian people have paid high cost for supporting the Palestinians and opposing the Zionist regime of Israel’s actions, however they will continue their supports [sic].”
As reported in The Algemeiner last year, Iran has been making serious attempts to restore its relationship with Hamas — the Islamist Palestinian terrorist group that rules the Gaza Strip. Shiite Iran was once a main backer — both financially and militarily — of Sunni Hamas, but ties soured following the outbreak of the Syria conflict in 2011, when they found themselves on opposite sides, and Hamas was forced to abandon its Damascus command post.
The Iranian threat to Israel over the last number of years has been measured either by looking at the capabilities the Iranian armed forces have and are able to employ in any future conflict, and by the intentions that Iran harbors with respect to Israel’s future and its security.
Back in May 2016, the chief strategist for the previous administration, who marketed the Iran agreement to the American public, was Ben Rhodes. He explained that in order to make this agreement palatable in the United States and internationally, he needed to present Iran as a country that was moving in a much more moderate direction. He used the opportunity of the Iranian elections to make this argument. But was it true?
We’ve all seen evidence that Iran’s behavior in the Middle East has become far more dangerous and severe. The Iranian navy is regularly moving throughout the Middle East region, from the Persian Gulf to the Red Sea, and has even visited the Mediterranean. Iran is testing new generations of missiles, despite the fact that the UN Security Council prohibited this type of activity.
But where we have gotten a real reminder that this analysis of Iranian moderation is completely false is from the statements of Iranian leaders in just the last few months. In fact, we received a reminder that Iranian intentions are unchanged. On February 21, the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khomenei, once again referred to Israel as a cancerous tumor in the Middle East that had to be removed. He spoke about the complete liberation of Palestine – which means the complete destruction of Israel. And he called for a holy jihad.