Monday, February 12, 2018

From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: The Iranian Drone
Israel’s position today is analogous to Hitler having positioned 150,000 missile batteries in, say, Ireland, all pointing at Britain; and then advancing into France and reaching the Normandy coast, all the while steadily embedding his forces in the Channel Islands.

Britain finally went to war when Hitler invaded Poland. Even in appeasement Britain, no-one suggested it should have waited until the Nazis reached the French coast before it decided to fight them. Had it do so, Britain along with Europe would now be a Nazi dictatorship. Yet people expect Israel to sit on its hands while genocidal fanatics intent on its destruction encircle it unimpeded.

Just as with Hitler’s intentions in the 1930s, the Iranian regime’s implacable intention to exterminate Israel has been ignored, downplayed or denied. Now the significance of the Iranian drone is being downplayed, mischaracterised or denied.

No civilised country wants war, and Israel will do everything it can to avoid an all-out conflict. But Iran is already at war with Israel – a war Iran has initiated. The question today is whether the strength and accuracy of Israel’s response to the drone will deter Iran from further aggression.

There will be a far greater chance of averting all-out war if Britain and Europe finally come to their senses and start holding Iran’s feet to the fire rather than seeking to sanitise, excuse and reward it at every opportunity.

The answer to the question, however, depends on what Iran was intending when it dispatched its drone into Israel. From the information that has so far been made public, it is impossible to tell.

We must hope Israel itself knows the answer, and that it will do accordingly whatever it needs to do. Western nations may disapprove; but in the past when Jews faced extermination, these western nations chose to look the other way. And when today Israelis are murdered by Arab or Islamic fanatics these western nations still look the other away or, worse still, blame Israel for its own victimisation.

These nations may afford themselves the luxury of setting the value of Jewish lives at zero. But the State of Israel was founded on the principle “never again”; and if needs be it will also say, just as the defiant British soldier declared in the famous David Low cartoon in that darkest hour: “Very well, alone”.
Hoover Institution: The Limits Of The Indirect Approach
These developments represent a strategic setback for the United States and its allies. America had an opportunity to prevent this outcome during the previous six years. The Obama administration’s expressed policy at the time, however, was to respect Iran’s “equities” in Syria. This opportunity was squandered and the position of Syrian anti-Iranian forces is far weaker today. But the overriding US interest in Syria has not changed: disrupt this Iranian territorial link and degrade Hezbollah and the IRGC and their weapons capabilities in Syria and Lebanon. This is a priority that the United States still can, and should, pursue, even if it requires a more direct involvement today than it would have a few years ago.

The Iranian forces are vulnerable. They are overstretched and, in certain cases, they are operating in exposed terrain. The new military structures they are building are equally exposed. Israel has been exploiting these vulnerabilities to target military installations, bases, and weapons shipments, as well as senior IRGC and Hezbollah cadres. The Russian presence has not deterred the Israelis. The United States should reinforce this Israeli policy by adopting Israeli red lines as its own. And, using the considerable elements of US power in the region, it can expand this campaign against Iran’s and Hezbollah’s military infrastructure, arms shipments, logistical routes, and senior cadres. Local Syrian groups in eastern and southern Syria, and their sponsors, should also be empowered to take part in this endeavor.

Having the United States behind this policy strengthens Israel’s position vis-à-vis the Russians and provides it more room to maneuver, especially in the case of a conflagration with Hezbollah that expands to Lebanon. Throughout the Syrian war, the US position has held sacrosanct Lebanese stability, even as Lebanon was the launching pad for Hezbollah’s war effort in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, and even as the group multiplied its stockpile of missiles aimed at Israel. Should the targeting of IRGC and Hezbollah assets lead to an escalation that encompasses Lebanon, the United States should offer full backing to Israel as it destroys Iran’s infrastructure in Lebanon and degrades its long arm on the Mediterranean. Lebanon’s stability, insofar as it means the stability of the Iranian order and forward missile base there, is not, in fact, a US interest.

The Trump administration’s anti-Iran posture and its recognition that Iran is an adversary, not a partner, is a much-needed corrective to the previous administration’s policy. The profound strategic challenges and geopolitical shifts which resulted from Obama’s policy of realignment with Iran severely complicate the task of pushing back against Tehran in the region and significantly narrow US options. The moment calls for strategic clarity and a set of policies that rise to the nature of the challenge. While there’s room for measures that work over the long term, the United States also needs other options to address immediate priorities.
Caroline Glick: Syria – The War Everyone Must Fight and No One Can Win
Netanyahu’s last meeting with Putin was on January 29. In media briefings before and after their meeting, Netanyahu said that he spoke to Putin about three issues. First, due to Israel’s success in blocking Iran from transferring precision-guided missiles to Hezbollah in Lebanon through Syria, Iran is now building missile factories for Hezbollah inside of Lebanon. Netanyahu pledged to destroy those factories.

In his words, “Lebanon is becoming a factory for precision-guided missiles that threaten Israel. These missiles pose a grave threat to Israel, and we cannot accept this threat.”

Second, Netanyahu warned Putin that Israel will not accept Iranian military entrenchment in Syria through the construction of permanent bases, among other things. Netanyahu explained, “The question is: Does Iran entrench itself in Syria, or will this process be stopped. If it doesn’t stop by itself, we will stop it.”

Third, Netanyahu spoke to Putin about improving Obama’s nuclear deal with the Iranian regime.

Russia is both a resource and a threat to Israel. It is a resource because Russia is capable of constraining Iran and Hezbollah. Israel treated Russia as a resource Saturday, when in the wake of its violent confrontations with Iran, which included Israel’s Air Force’s first combat loss of an F-16 since the 1980s, Israel turned to the Russians with an urgent request for them to restrain the Iranians.

Russia is a threat to Israel because it is Iran’s coalition partner. Until Russia deployed its forces to Syria, it appeared that the regime and its Iranian overlords were losing the war, or at least unable to win it. After Russia began providing air support for their ground operations, the tide of the war reversed in their favor.

At any rate, Israel is in no position to persuade Russia to abandon Syria. Russia’s presence in the region limits Israel’s actions but also guarantees that Israel will continue to act, because its vital interests will continue to come under threat and intermittent attack.

In all, the situation in Syria is and will remain unstable and exceedingly violent for the foreseeable future. Syria is not only a local battlefield where various Syrian factions vie for control over separate areas of the country – although it remains such a local battlefield.



PMW: Fatah: Suicide bomber is "the giant" who "blew himself up inside a Zionist bus
Fatah celebrated the anniversary of the death of a "heroic Martyr" and "giant" who blew himself up on a bus in Jerusalem and murdered 11 Israelis and wounded dozens, on Jan. 29, 2004. The suicide bomber Ali Munir Yusuf Ja'ara was from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades (Fatah's military wing) and a member of the PA police force.

Fatah's Bethlehem branch praised the murderer and celebrated his killing of "11 Zionists":
"Ali Munir Yusuf Ja'ara... This giant, who rose up, shattered the enemy's myth, crossed its separation fence, its fortifications, and its feeble Israeli Security Agency forces, got on bus number 19, and blew his body up in exactly the same neighborhood where arch-murderer [then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon lived. Martyrdom-seeker Ali Munir Ja'ara from the Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem blew himself up inside a Zionist bus next to the home of the terrorist Sharon in occupied Jerusalem, which led to the death of 11 Zionists and the wounding of approximately 53 others."
[Facebook page of the Fatah Movement - Bethlehem Branch, Jan. 29, 2018]


The branch expressed "admiration" for the murderer and vowed to "keep loyal to the Martyrs' blood." Moreover, it advocated seeking death fighting Israel, urging Palestinians to engage in "revolution... until victory or Martyrdom":

"We in the Bethlehem branch of the Fatah Movement send a blessing of honor and admiration to the soul of heroic Martyr Ali Munir Ja'ara on the anniversary of his death as a Martyr, and we vow to Almighty Allah that we will continue to be loyal to the blood of all of the heroic Martyrs. The revolution is until victory or Martyrdom."
JPolst Editorial: Russia and deterrence
The lesson that Iran and Syria are liable to learn from this weekend’s clashes is that they have the power to seriously challenge Israel on its northern border. Their ability to infiltrate Israeli airspace with a drone might make them believe they can do it again on a larger scale.

They might also place undue weight on their anti-aircraft abilities. Instead of looking at the dozens of Israeli air attacks carried out against targets in Syria in recent years, without a single Israeli aircraft downed as proof of their substandard aerial defense capabilities, Iran and Syria might be artificially emboldened by a single incident.

Hezbollah said on Saturday, for instance, that the downing of the Israeli F-16 jet by the Syrian Army marked the “start of a new strategic phase,” which would limit Israeli exploitation of Syrian airspace. “Today’s developments mean the old equations have categorically ended,” the Lebanese Shi’ite group said in a statement.

Therefore it is absolutely imperative that Hezbollah, Iran and Syria be disowned of this distorted perception of reality.

In addition to Israeli words and actions, the US plays an important role in maintaining Israel’s deterrence. That’s why it was important to hear unequivocal statements from the White House, the State Department and the Pentagon defending Israel’s right to protect itself.

Complicating matters, however, is Russia. Although Israel regularly coordinates with Moscow on military matters pertinent to Syria, ultimately Russia’s alliance with the Assad regime and with Iran against the Sunni opposition forces in Syria could create a situation in which Israeli and Russian interests clash.

Russia hinted at its displeasure with Israel’s air attacks when it said in a Foreign Ministry statement, “It is absolutely unacceptable to create threats to the lives and security of Russian soldiers that are in the Syrian Arab Republic on the invitation of the legal government to assist in the fight against terrorism.”

If it wants to avoid a full-blown conflict in Syria or in Lebanon between Israel and Iranian-backed forces, Russia must take a more proactive role. Instead of warning Israel, Moscow needs to stop Iranian belligerence before it’s too late.
Questions and Answers following the Northern Crisis
Q: Doesn't the downing of an Israeli jet deliver a devastating blow to Israel?
A: No. Just as a downed American jet in Afghanistan or a Russian jet in Syria are viewed as an inevitable, inherent part of war, so is it with Israel. Israeli aerial dominance is overwhelming and impressive. We have state-of-the-art detection and deflection systems, and carry out missions wherever necessary throughout the Middle East. But nothing is foolproof.

Q: Wasn't targeting the Iranian ground station overdoing it?
A: No. This is totally consistent with Israeli doctrine - if you target Israel you will be targeted back. Not only were we able to detect and intercept a small UAV, but we knew exactly where it was launched from and who was controlling it. The fact that we had this information and were able to act on it and strike these components deep inside Syria demonstrates an incredible operational capability. So, Iran's message has been answered with a message of our own. The writer served in the IDF for 25 years as a helicopter pilot and in various international relations positions in the General Staff.
IDF may need to alter its Syrian air strategy, but not because of a downed F-16
While the downing of the F-16 might not indicate a change in Israeli air dominance, it is not yet fully clear what impact this weekend will have on the air force’s freedom of operation in Syria.

On the one hand, the air force’s destruction of a large percentage of Syria’s air defense would indicate that Israel could operate more freely in the country in the future.

The serious blow to the Syrian anti-aircraft systems, which air force officials say was the most significant of its kind since 1982, was also meant to send a message to Assad of what’s to come if he again fires on Israeli aircraft. If that was internalized by the despot, this too could smooth the way for future Israeli missions in Syria.

But on the other hand, there is rising concern over how Russia — by whose grace Israeli pilots are currently flying — will react to its ally, Assad, getting pummeled by Israel.

Moscow, which has not accepted Israel’s claims, could make its efforts more difficult, risky and complicated, Ben-Shalom said, though he is convinced that Israel could get by even if Russia took a more antagonistic view.

According to Shapir, the problem is not the capabilities of Russia’s S-400 themselves, but that Israel would rather not go to direct war by attempting to disable the system, which it might be more inclined to do if it belonged to another country.

“[Israel’s freedom of movement] isn’t limited because the system is an S-400, but because it is flying the Russian flag,” he said.
'We were very fortunate,' say pilots of downed F-16 jet
A day after an Israeli fighter jet was shot down over northern Israel prompting both crew members to eject, doctors at the Rambam Medical Center announced that the pilot who sustained serious injuries in the incident was well on his way to a full recovery.

The other pilot, who sustained moderate injuries in the crash, has been released from the hospital altogether.

The pilots recounted the tense moments leading up to the crash, recalling their fateful decision to eject at the last minute, mere seconds before the Israeli Air Force F-16 Sufa jet went up in flames.

According to the pilots' testimony, when the anti-aircraft missile targeting their aircraft exploded, they immediately realized they had been hit. "It is a very uncomfortable feeling. Losing control," said one of the pilots. "Ejection is very much immediate. There is no long process – there is no time. Only seconds. There is an immediate realization that you have to hurry up and eject, both because of the physical injuries and because of the damage to the aircraft, which stopped functioning."
IDF Blog: Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin visits injured pilot
On February 11 2018, the Commander of the Israel Air Force, Major General Amikam Norkin visited the pilot who was severely wounded on Saturday.

Major General Norkin told the pilot, Major E.: "From the moment you understood the dangerous situation you were in, you made the right decision to eject from the fighter jet. With this decision, you not only saved your own life but also that of the navigator, Major A."
State Department: U.S. "Strongly Supports Israel's Sovereign Right to Defend Itself"
State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said Saturday that the U.S. "strongly supports Israel's sovereign right to defend itself....The U.S. continues to push back on the totality of Iran's malign activities in the region and calls for an end to Iranian behavior that threatens peace and stability." (State Department)
U.S. Secretary of Defense Mattis: Israel Doesn't "Have to Wait until Their Citizens Are Dying" to Address the Iranian Threat
Secretary of Defense James Mattis said Sunday: "Everywhere we find trouble in the Middle East, you find the same thing behind it. Whether it be in Yemen or Beirut, or in Syria, in Iraq, you always find Iran engaged....If you live in the region, there's no doubt what Iran is doing."
"So when Syria, which has made no...excuse for what they're doing alongside Iran, when they are providing throughput for Iran to give weapons, including more sophisticated weapons, to the Lebanese Hizbullah, Israel has an absolute right to defend themselves. They don't have to wait until their citizens are dying under attack before they actually address that issue."
US Senator Ted Cruz issues statement condemning Iran
According to his press office, US Senator Ted Cruz issued a statement condemning Iran for it's actions over the past few days.

“This weekend, Iran committed an unprecedented, blatant act of aggression against our close friend and ally, Israel. Previously, Iranian proxies like Hezbollah and Hamas have used Iranian-provided resources to target Israel, but this escalation was a direct operation by the Iranian military against Israeli territory. This is utterly unacceptable. America stands with Israel, and resolutely against Iran's unprovoked act of war," the statement reads.

“For some time, Israel has been calling attention to Iran’s efforts to establish another front on its border and attempt to build a permanent military presence in Syria, a call that has been largely ignored by much of the international community. This dangerous and provocative attack should serve as a wake up call to the entire world to take decisive action to stop Iran's expanding terrorist activities. The world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism that pledges to wipe Israel off the map has become much more emboldened since the Obama administration’s disastrous nuclear deal offered up billions of dollars in sanctions relief. And those billions have been used, in turn, to support even more terrorism. I commend Israel for its vigorous response, and the American people unequivocally support Israel's right to defend itself.”
UK backs Israeli airstrikes in Syria
Britain’s foreign affairs chief backed Israel’s military response to Iranian provocations over the weekend.

“The United Kingdom is concerned at developments over Israel’s border with Syria this weekend,” said the UK’s Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Boris Johnson, after Israeli aircraft bombed a Syrian military center near Damascus.

“We support Israel’s right to defend itself against any incursions into its territory.”

Johnson added that the British government was “concerned” by Iranian activity in the area, saying they impaired efforts to reboot the peace process.

“We are concerned at the Iranian actions, which detract from efforts to get a genuine peace process underway. We encourage Russia to use its influence to press the regime and its backers to avoid provocative actions and to support de-escalation in pursuit of a broader political settlement.”
Analysts: Iranian Drone Dispatched to Israeli Territory a Trap Aimed at Eliciting Israeli Counter Strike
A retired Israeli general said over the weekend that Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, "plans from the end," following the downing of an Israeli F-16.

Gen. Moshe (Chico) Cohen (ret.) was referring to military activity beyond Iran's borders.

Cohen implied that the Iranian drone that penetrated Israeli territory before dawn Saturday before being shot down was an opening move towards the end game Soleimani was preparing for.

When the terms of nuclear arms deal with Iran wind down in about a decade, Cohen told Israel’s Channel 10, Iran would rush to produce nuclear weapons. The Iranian general wants to have forces in place around Israel by then, said Cohen, to prevent the Israeli air force from taking off to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. According to published reports, Israel had indeed prepared for such an attack before the international community won suspension of Iran’s nuclear weapons program in return for the lifting of economic sanctions against Tehran.

Some Israeli analysts have suggested that the dispatch of the Iranian drone was a coordinated Iranian-Syrian trap aimed at eliciting an Israeli counter strike for which Syrian anti-aircraft units, massed across Israel’s border, were prepared. Israeli officials say that the drone had been monitored from the moment it was sent aloft from Palmyra, some 300 miles from Israel, despite its stealth features. Israel permitted the drone to cross its border, in order to be able to prove Iranian penetration of Israeli airspace, and to examine it. Although Israeli warplanes were in the air, an Apache helicopter was assigned to bring the drone down without destroying it.

The warplanes reached Palmyra and destroyed the command trailer from which the drone had been sent aloft. It is not known whether any of Gen. Soleimani’s men were inside it at the time.
Iran’s stealth drone used against Israel #ThanksObama
Knock-off of American drone brought down in Iran in December 2011, which Obama refused to destroy on the ground before the Iranians got to it.
One of the questions has been whether this was an Iranian ambush, in which the Israeli attack deliberately was provoked for a waiting barrage of 25 or more SAM missiles fired at different altitudes. The Israeli General doesn’t think so, noting the Iranians might have thought the drone could pass over Israel undetected because it was a knock-off of an American stealth drone.

The IDF’s working assumption, Ein Dar explained, is that this was not a planned Iranian ambush intended to drag Israel into an operational blunder. Rather, the belief is that the Iranians assumed that they could succeed in sending the drone without the IDF defenses noticing and they were mistaken….

According to Ein Dar, “The drone was of top quality technology, it was a copy of an American drone that fell into their hands.” He added: “The Iranians are operating in Syria and we therefore hit them in addition to intercepting the drone; and we will continue to do so wherever we find them.”

And, indeed, based on photos of the downed drone, it seems to have been an imitation of an American stealth drone that was felled over Iran in 2011. Aviationist Magazine noted that the drone is based on the American RQ-170 model, which is manufactured by Lockheed Martin and was nicknamed the Beast of Kandahar for its intelligence gathering over the Afghan city.


The reference to American technology falling into Iranian hands refers to December 2011, when an American stealth drone operating from Afghanistan crashed in Iran. Rather than bomb the downed drone so the Iranians couldn’t get the cutting edge design and technology, the Obama administration did nothing.
Iran’s stealth drone was shot down in a new way
The drone that came from Syria and entered Israel’s airspace, triggering off a significant confrontation between Syria, Iran and Israel was a knockoff of the United States’ RQ-170. Its distinct silhouette is clearly visible on video of the drone intrusion provided by Israel’s Defense Ministry.

The RQ-170, built by Lockheed Martin, is a stealth drone, meaning that it is specially designed to evade radar. The Syrians, Iranians, Hezbollah and the Russians have been using drones heavily in the civil war in Syria, but they also have been sent into Israeli airspace.

Last July a drone that may have been Iranian or Russian – it has never been positively identified – entered Israel’s airspace. The Israeli launched two Patriot missiles, both of which missed their target. It then tried to shoot down the drone with an air to air missile from an F-15, but that also missed. The drone escaped to Syria.

This could have been the first test of Iran’s RQ-170 clone. If so, it was successful and the drone turned out to be effective, and not just a toy as some experts allege. It also appears to have at least some radar-evading characteristic, enough to fool two Patriot missiles.

Here, in brief, is the background on how the Iranians got the RQ-170. It entered Iranian airspace from Afghanistan on Dec. 4, 2011. It appears to have been diverted by the Iranians, who were able to get control over it and land it at an air base, even though it was damaged.
PodCast - Omri Ceren (27:30): Liberal Media *Hearts* NoKo Dictators
The Western media continue their Will Rogers’ ways: they never met a Communist dictator they didn’t like—especially if he hates Trump!

Ethan Epstein on why the North Korean cheerleaders are the perfect symbol for the NoKo psycho dictatorship

Omri Ceren on Israel vs. Iran
Israel will teach Iran a lesson it won’t forget, minister tells Saudi outlet
A senior Israeli minister told a Saudi-linked news outlet that Israel would “teach Iran a lesson it will never forget” if Tehran launches an attack, and that Syrians could end up paying the price as well.

The strongly worded threat from intelligence minister Israel Katz, published late Sunday, came a day after cross-border violence flared in northern Israel and southern Syria following weeks of warnings from Jerusalem that it would not tolerate what it said were Iranian plans to establish a foothold on Israel’s northern border for eventual use in attacks against the Jewish state.

“If Iran continues to threaten and carry out offensive operations against Israel from Syria, Israel will teach Iran a lesson that it will never forget,” Katz told the London-based Arabic-language outlet Elaph.

The site, run by Saudi publisher Othman Al Omeir, has become a go-to news outlet for Israeli officials seeking to speak to the Arab world, and has run interviews with several high-ranking figures, including IDF chief Gadi Eisenkot.
Minister: Iran-allied Russia is ‘not against us, which is amazing’
Housing Minister Yoav Galant, a member of the high-level security cabinet, on Monday cautiously predicted Moscow will ultimately seek to uproot the growing Iranian military presence in Syria.

The former IDF general also claimed that Russia, which is allied with Hezbollah and Iran in the Syrian civil war, is not “against us, which is amazing.”

Meanwhile, from the opposition, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid urged Israel to lobby the United States to take on a more active role in Syria, while calling the Russian military relationship with Iran-backed forces in the country “very worrying and dangerous.”

The Israeli politicians were addressing recent tensions on the northern border after Israel shot down an Iranian drone over its territory on Saturday. The Israel Air Force also bombarded Syrian and Iranian targets in a series of reprisal strikes over the weekend, and an Israeli F-16 crashed during the exchange, apparently as a result of Syrian anti-aircraft fire, in a major escalation of hostilities.
HR Prompts Telegraph to Fix Iranian Drone Confusion
The Daily Telegraph‘s initial story on the Israeli interception of an Iranian drone and the subsequent downing of an Israeli F-16 made a real mess of the facts and the timeline.

Israel sent a helicopter gunship, not an F-16 to intercept the drone. The downed F-16 was on a subsequent mission shortly afterwards to strike Iranian military targets in Syria.
HR Prompts SMH to Correct Iranian Drone Error
When a media outlet enters into an arrangement to republish another’s stories, there’s always a risk that errors in the original and any subsequent updates will go unnoticed.

Such was the case with the Sydney Morning Herald‘s republication of the Washington Post‘s coverage of an Iranian drone incursion into Israeli airspace and the subsequent Israeli military response.

While the WaPo only took a few hours to update its story to correct the inaccurate claim that the Iranian drone was downed over Syrian territory, the SMH failed to follow suit.

Aside from a simple factual error which should be corrected on those grounds alone, the mistaken claim that the drone was shot down in Syrian territory is serious enough to skew the entire narrative of the story. After all, if the drone had not been over Israeli airspace, it would have been far harder for Israel to justify its actions.

We contacted SMH editors who responded by changing the text of the story as the Washington Post had already done – making it clear that the drone had been shot down in Israeli territory.




PreOccupiedTerritory: Activists Blast IDF For Shooting Down Iranian Drone Instead Of Granting Asylum (satire)
Advocates of offering full residential rights to illegal migrants criticized the Israeli military today for shooting down an Iranian unmanned vehicle Saturday, arguing that the aircraft should have been given all the legal protections due someone escaping oppression to another country.

Activists demonstrating and petitioning on behalf of tens of thousands of Africans who entered the country by unlawful means made similar contentions in the case of the Iranian drone, and claimed that the military violated its rights by shooting it down from an Apache attack helicopter instead of providing it with free housing, food, medical care, and jobs.

“Those who come to Israel undocumented do so for various reasons,” explained Mista Nenn, who holds weekly rallies in South Tel Aviv on behalf of Eritrean, Sudanese, and other migrants whom Israel seeks to deport. “They are looking for a better life – some because the economy in their native country is dismal, and some because they face persecution if they return. In the case of this drone, we will never know, because the military, typically, shot first and won’t even ask the questions later.”

“This is a violation of the drone’s human rights,” declared Amnesty International. “While not every undocumented migrant is a refugee, all must be provided the opportunity to apply for asylum, and plainly, that opportunity was not provided here. We call on the international community to take measures that ensure Israel respects the rights of of all foreign aircraft, especially those that might be escaping the carnage in Syria.”
How Mahmoud Abbas lost his marbles
What’s today – Sunday? That’s the day Mahmoud Abbas threatened to cut off all ties with Israel.

On Friday, he threatened to cut off all ties with the United States.

On Thursday, he threatened to go to the Security Council to have Israel and the United States cut off from the United Nations.

On Wednesday, he threatened to go before the ICC, International Criminal Court to have everybody cut off and arrested.

On Tuesday, through his propaganda minister Saeb Erekat who told her to “shut up,” Abbas threatened to cut off all ties with Nikki Haley.

On Monday, he threatened to cut off all ties with President Trump.

I may have the days wrong, off a day or two, but not the facts…clearly, that the man has lost his marbles.

This terrorist in a suit can’t take it that finally one President, Trump, is not buying that PA/Fatah/Hamas Palestinian garbage anymore…and that many around the rest of the world have come around to Trump’s point of view. Abbas will try anything to get the world’s attention as the result of the abrupt cold shoulder.

That’s what’s got him going berserk… Trump’s official Declaration that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel…followed by cuts in US funding for his PA and his UNRWA…the UN division which the Palestinian Authority owns to the brim. Ouch. That’s not the way it used to be under previous administrations that came running whenever Abbas whistled.
PM says he’s in talks with Trump administration to annex settlements
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that he has been in talks with the White House on a “historic” initiative to annex Israeli settlement areas in the West Bank.

“I can tell you that for a while now I’ve been talking about it with the Americans,” Netanyahu said during a Likud faction meeting in the Knesset.

“I’m guided by two principles in this issue… optimal coordination with the Americans, whose relationship with us is a strategic asset for Israel and the settlement movement; and the fact that it must be a government initiative rather than a private one because it would be a historic move,” he added.

Getting US backing for such a move would be a major shift in policy for the Americans, who have long considered the settlements illegal under international law.

US President Donald Trump, in an interview published Sunday in the Israel Hayom daily, expressed concerns about Israeli settlement building, although his administration has been far less critical of the enterprise than was that of his predecessor Barack Obama.

Trump’s ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, has long been a supporter of settlements in the West Bank.
President Rivlin: All of the Land of Israel belongs to us
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Monday morning spoke at the fifteenth Jerusalem Conference, and gave an interview to Channel 2.

Answering Channel 2's question of why much of the public believes he is a leftist, Rivlin said, "All my life, I have been on the side that is correct- or as you'd say in English, the right side. I always stood up for my values, even when they weren't agreed upon by the right. I believe that as president, after I have been chosen, I must make it clear that there is no contradiction between Israel being a Jewish country, and its being a democratic country."

"I continue to say it again and again....we are turning into people who only believe in our individual beliefs, and have no idea what the other side believes.

"It could be that people think I was elected only in order to provide them with what they want. But I was elected by the Knesset, which has Jews and Arabs, left and right, and I must make sure that we speak to each other, that there is dialogue. We need to know that there are people who don't think the way I do. It was always clear to me that not everyone who doesn't think as I do is against me."

When asked about his support for the left, Rivlin said, "When the Haaretz newspaper writes good things about me, I am very concerned and I start examining my actions." However, Rivlin also said that he will not change his mind, and blamed "others" for changing theirs.
Friedman: Trump is responsible for improvement in US-Israel ties
American Ambassador to Israel David Friedman addressed the opening gala of the 2018 Jerusalem Conference on Sunday.

The conference, hosted by Besheva in the International Convention Center in Jerusalem, has been held every year since 2004, and brings together policy-makers and other Israeli leaders for discussions on the top issues facing the State of Israel.

On Sunday, Besheva held a special gala ahead of the conference, slated for Monday and Tuesday.

Speaking at the opening gala, Ambassador Friedman hailed President Donald Trump’s December 6th declaration recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and the administration’s Israel Independence Day celebration last year – the first ever held at the White House.

“For the 70th anniversary of the State of Israel, I can’t help but think back to how I celebrated the 69th anniversary of the State of Israel. It was my pleasure for the last anniversary to be the master of ceremonies at the very first Yom Haatzmaut [Independence Day] ceremony ever held at the White House.

“We have turned the page with regard to the United States’ relationship with Israel from that 69th Yom Haatzmaut celebration in the White House, we moved ahead to Yom Yerushalayim [Jerusalem Day]. I was the first US Ambassador to celebrate an [event] for Yom Yerushalayim. The very next day, President Trump became the first sitting president in history to visit the Kotel Hamaaravi [the Western Wall].

“All of those things… pale by comparison to the historic…determination by President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel.”
Canada's Conservative Party Recognizes Jerusalem As Israel's Capital
Canada’s official opposition Conservative Party announced its recognition that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.

Conservative Foreign Affairs Critic Erin O’Toole matter-of-factly made the announcement Saturday during a foreign policy plenary at the Manning Networking Conference, where Canadian social and fiscal conservatives meet every year to discuss policy.

The statement was prompted when an audience member asked O’Toole if Jerusalem was the capital of Israel.

”Yes,” he responded.

Since President Donald Trump decided to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and move the U.S. embassy there, there has been virtual silence from both the Canadian government and opposition.

“The strong presence of the Jewish people there is thousands of years old. But the modern era of Israel — the Knesset is in Jerusalem, the Supreme Court, most of the foreign affairs and government ministries in West Jerusalem. And you can support an option of the two-state solution while also recognizing that Jerusalem will be the capital of Israel,” O’Toole, an Ontario Member of Parliament, told the audience.
'Transferring money to the PA means Israelis will be killed'
Shai Maimon, who was wounded in a shooting attack in which his friend Malachi Rosenfeld was murdered, came to the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Monday to attend a hearing on a bill that would withhold Israeli fund transfers to the Palestinian Authority.

Since the establishment of the PA following the 1993 Oslo Accords, Israel has collected taxes from PA residents working in pre-1967 Israel, transferring the funds every month to the PA. Critics of the policy have cited the PA's funding for jailed terrorists and called on the State of Israel to halt its monthly transfers to the PA.

PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas has defended the policy of providing stipends to jailed terrorists and the families of terrorists killed during terror attacks.

On Monday, the committee discussed security officials' request to introduce a clause granting the government the option of bypassing the law and transferring the funds, even if the Palestinian Authority continues paying salaries to terrorists.

Maimon objected to this proposal saying, "If the government decides to suspend the law and transfer the funds, it doesn't encourage terrorism or give it a prize, it decrees that more Israelis will die."

Maimon spoke about his personal case in which the verdict stated the terrorist purchased the weapons used to carry out the attack from the Palestinian Prisoners' Office.

"For 30 years we've been transferring money to terror, and only in 2018 we begin to deal with this issue; does that make sense?" wondered Maimon.
Soldiers attacked, gun stolen after accidentally entering Jenin
Two Israeli soldiers came under attack, getting pelted with rocks and beaten by a mob, after they accidentally drove their military car into the Palestinian city of Jenin in the northern West Bank on Monday, the army said.

In the attack, one of the soldiers’ guns was stolen by the rioting Palestinians, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

The army said forces were searching the area for the weapon.

When the two soldiers, a man and a woman, drove into the city on Monday afternoon, local residents began attacking the car with rocks and chairs, breaking the windows and bloodying the soldiers.

Before the riot began, the female soldier could be seen holding an M-16 assault rifle, without a magazine, across her lap. It was not immediately clear if the male soldier had a gun as well.
Arab Israeli man, Turkish citizen arrested for helping to fund Hamas
The Shin Bet security service announced Monday that it had arrested an Arab Israeli man and a Turkish citizen suspected of helping the Hamas terrorist group raise and launder money to fund its military activities against Israel.

Cemil Tekeli, the Turkish national, was enlisted by Zaher Jabarin, a senior figure in Hamas responsible for its finances, the Shin Bet said. Jabarin was one of a thousand convicted Palestinian terrorists released from Israeli prisons as part of a 2011 deal to secure the return of captured soldier Gilad Shalit.

The statement did not say where they were arrested. Tekeli was deported from Israel after his interrogation, the Shin Bet said.

The Arab Israeli suspect, Durgham Jabarin, a resident of the northern town of Umm al-Fahm, is expected to be charged in the coming days.

The Shin Bet did not specify Durgham Jabarin’s relationship to Zaher Jabarin, who recruited him as well.
Arab MK calls IDF soldiers 'murderers'
MK Hanin Zoabi (Joint Arab List) on Monday morning was removed from an Education Committee discussion after she called IDF soldiers "murderers."

"Do you think is is appropriate to say that all Arabs are murderers? What kind of comparison is that? IDF soldiers are dealing with a complex reality, one that you yourselves have created," MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli (Jewish Home) said.

"Terrorists who are killed brought it on themselves. You should be ashamed of yourself."

When Zoabi was ordered to leave the discussion, she refused, forcing two guards to physically remove her. She then insisted that she would "leave on her own," but insisted on screaming into her microphone as she gathered her belongings, forcing the guards to physically remove her from the room.
PreOccupiedTerritory: NGO Cites Poll Showing 50% Of Arabs Want Migrants Deported To Prove Jews Are Racist (satire)
A human-rights-monitoring group showcased a survey today of Arabs who hold Israeli citizenship regarding the impending deportation of illegal African migrants as evidence that the Jews of Israel harbor ethnically prejudiced attitudes.

The Rights-Auditing Committee on Israeli Social Trends (RACIST) released a report today citing that because half of the Arab-Israelis surveyed in a recent poll supported the expulsion of illegal migrants from Africa to either their country of origin or a stable third state, the Jews of Israel must be racist.

A poll this week revealed that half of the Arab citizens of Israel who responded agreed with the government’s stated intention to deport thousands of such migrants. In response, RACIST issued an analysis of the survey that asserts such numbers demonstrate the systemic racism inherent in Israel’s Jewish majority, and called on the international community to take measures to punish Israel for such depravities.

“First, we dispute the relevance of categorizing people as ‘Jewish’ or ‘Arab’ Israelis for purposes of the poll,” the report read. “Standard practice in NGO work calls for that distinction to be made only when it fits the narrative of evil-Jews, evil-Israel, victim-Arab. Methodologically, then, this poll only shows that half of Israelis want black Africans expelled, which is a bona fide indicator of racism.”
Hamas operations exposed in Turkey
It has been cleared for publication Monday that the Israel Security Agency (ISA) and Israel Police last month arrested two men suspected of having recruited individuals for the Hamas terror organization and directing their activities from Turkey.

On January 1st, 2018, a Turkish citizen named Cemil Tekeli, a lecturer in law, was arrested on suspicion of aiding Hamas terrorists in Turkey. On January 21, Dara'am Jabarin, an Israeli citizen and resident of Umm al-Fahm was also arrested.

During the investigation, it was learned that the two had been recruited in Turkey by senior Hamas terrorist Zaher Jabarin, who was released in the Shalit deal. He is responsible for Hamas' budget and promotes terrorist operations in Judea and Samaria on instruction from Salah Aruri, who serves as the deputy chairman of the organization and head of its operations in Judea and Samaria.

In Tekeli's investigation, it was learned that Turkey contributes to the military wing of Hamas via, among others, the SADAT company that was established at the behest of Adnan Basha, an adviser who is close to senior Turkish officials. The company was founded to assist, with funds and war materiel, the creation of the 'Palestine Army', the purpose of which is to fight Israel. One of its employees even helped senior Hamas officials to visit a 2015 weapons show in Turkey, during which they expressed interest in UAVs.
Gaza’s largest hospital suspends surgeries due to cleaners’ strike
Shifa Hospital, the largest medical complex in the Gaza Strip, announced on Sunday that it was suspending all surgeries, with the exception of emergency cases, due to a cleaners’ strike over unpaid salaries.

“It has been decided to postpone all scheduled surgeries, including those for patients with tumors,” the hospital said, noting that the decision excluded “life-saving cases.”

The medical staff at Shifa called on all relevant parties to work toward ending the strike of the cleaners immediately.

The strike, which began on Sunday, threatens patients’ and workers’ lives because of the dangerous accumulation of medical garbage in the hospital, the staff warned.

It was the second time in recent weeks that the hospital cleaners in the Gaza Strip went on strike.


Iran: Speaking Swedish, Acting North Korean
In a bid to counter Trump's chest-beating about human rights in Iran, the mullahs acted out of character when they chose not to massacre people in the streets during the recent nationwide uprising.

More interestingly, all regime grandees, including Khamenei himself, dwelling on the "benefits of protest and criticism in Islam," have donned their fake Swedish mask, hiding the North Korean face behind it.

At regional level, too, the mullahs are trying to talk Swedish.

They muse on reducing their footprint in Syria, claiming that they have already won the war for their protégé Bashar al-Assad.

And last Sunday, Defense Minister General Amir Hatami even offered to give Afghanistan military aid to fight ISIS and its groups installed there.

The next issue on which I expect Tehran to start singing Swedish concerns Trump's demand for renegotiating the nuclear "deal", concocted by Obama.

The initial tune from Tehran was a "No! No! Nannette" number! with a harsh North Korean accent. Recently, however, I hear a "Maybe baby!" number with a soft Swedish accent.


Turkey's Operation in Northern Syria
The evolving U.S.-Kurdish partnership has alarmed Turkey. Ankara fears that establishing a Kurdish-led entity on its southern borders would empower its restive Kurdish population, particularly PKK fighters.

Washington needs to ensure that its Kurdish partners on the ground are protected and not distracted from the main mission, which is defeating terror in Syria.

Turkey's offensive against Syrian Kurds will serve only to aggravate the multi-layered conflict in Syria, making it even harder for international interlocutors to bring an end to the seven-year civil war and secure a much-needed political settlement for the country.
UN Sends Trudeau to Syria to Halt Misgendering (satire)
With the conflict in war-torn Syria escalating, the United Nations has appointed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as a special envoy to combat gender-exclusionary language in the country.

“Years of bombing, torture, and chemical warfare have tragically led some participants in the Syrian Civil War to turn to words that alienate whole groups of people based on their race, sex, or gender orientation,” Trudeau said in a statement. “I mean, does ISIS think about how calling its offshoot the ‘Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade’ makes people who have not been martyred feel?”

The appointment came after Trudeau bravely corrected a woman who referred to “mankind” instead of the made up “peoplekind.” Already, he has seen success in his role in Syria. Joint airstrikes by the Canadian and Syrian government have forced the Army of Free Men to change its name to the “Army of Free People.”

“If we are successful, participants in this conflict will be able to gas, shoot, and torture each other without fear of someone wrongly assuming their gender,” Trudeau added. “That would be a great victory for homosapienkind – and heterosapienkind, too.”



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