Thursday, June 21, 2018

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: The Road to Peace Does Not Run Through Ramallah
Last week, hundreds of Palestinians in PA-controlled Ramallah took to the streets to demand that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas end his economic war against Gaza. Rather than bow to the public’s demand, Abbas declared the protests illegal. His security forces attacked protesters with truncheons and tear gas.

To date, then, not only has the PA done nothing to help the people of Gaza, but the same regime that also uses every international stage to condemn Israel for the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, has taken active measures to deepen the suffering and poverty of the population.

Monday, PA leader Mahmoud Abbas’s spokesman released a statement responding to the Trump administration’s reported plan to help the people of Hamas-controlled Gaza. Promising that the Kushner-Greenblatt regional tour would end in abject failure, the PA spokesman insisted that the U.S. is trying to “divide the Gaza Strip from the West Bank under humanitarian pretexts.”

His statement also accused the U.S. of using the cause of “humanitarian aid or rehabilitation” as a means to defeat the Palestinian war against Israel by transforming the suffering of the people of Gaza into a “humanitarian issue rather than a political one.”

In other words, as far as the PA is concerned, Gaza’s humanitarian crisis is not something that is supposed to be dealt with on a practical level. No one is actually supposed to improve the lot of the residents of the Hamas-controlled enclave. Rather, Gaza is nothing more than a launching pad for human cannon fodder in the war against Israel. The purpose of the Palestinians’ existence in Gaza is to suffer and die to advance the cause of Israel’s annihilation. Anyone who treats the people of Gaza as human beings is harming the Palestinian cause.
Khaled Abu Toameh: The Palestinian Authority’s Policy of Denormalization
Conclusion
The Palestinian leadership and its NGO partners and supporters have distracted the international focus from addressing Palestinian economic development, liberalization, and infrastructural development. Instead, they have focused international attention on boycott and denormalization campaigns against Israel. Unlike much of the developing world, which has sought stronger economic relations in an age of technology, globalization, and economic integration, the Palestinian leadership has refused to develop its economy in conjunction with its economically thriving Israeli neighbor, who is potentially the prospective Palestinian state’s strongest trading partner.

Following the Oslo Accords, the Palestinians had the unique advantage of receiving aid from Israel, unlike other newly formed states. However, under the pretext of refusing to bolster Israel’s “occupation economy,” the Palestinian leadership has publicly declined to cooperate on joint projects with the Israeli government or the Israeli private sector that would benefit both economies.

Instead, the Palestinian leadership has been complicit in its own economic stagnation, due to questionable business ventures and investments that have largely failed to benefit the Palestinian people, and instead have denormalized relations with Israel.

The BDS movement and the Palestinian and foreign NGOs that subscribe to its destructive doctrine have also worsened the economic situation for Palestinian workers, by limiting access to Israel, the largest labor market for Palestinians. Instead of allowing its own people to find well-paying jobs, including salaries that could be taxed by the Palestinian Authority, and encouraging disposable incomes that could be reinvested in Palestinian services, the Palestinian leadership has operated not as a developing state, but a corrupt and even failing regime. This fact has long been evident to large sectors of Palestinian society. They recognize that the Palestinian leadership’s failure on the economic and political fronts has resulted in their attempts to refocus the debate on attacking Israel as an illegitimate, apartheid, colonial implant that is the source of all Palestinian ills.
Nikki Haley Blames Human Rights Orgs for Undermining Efforts to Reform U.N. Human Rights Council
The New York Times reports that Haley criticized the groups for opposing her efforts to garner support in the U.N. to reform the council. One of the groups Haley sent the letter to, Human Rights Watch, opposed Haley's push for a U.N. General Assembly vote on the reforms.

"The risk was that it would have opened a Pandora’s box of even worse problems," Human Rights Watch U.N. director Louis Charbonneau said.

Haley told the groups that they have aligned themselves on the side of Russia and China, which possess a murky record on human rights.

"You put yourself on the side of Russia and China, and opposite the United States, on a key human rights issue," she wrote. "You should know that your efforts to block negotiations and thwart reform were a contributing factor in the U.S. decision to withdraw from the council."

The Times reports that Haley grew frustrated with the groups after they sent a joint letter to member states of the U.N., asking them to oppose Haley's resolution.



JPost Editorial: A moral move
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres voiced regret over the US decision, saying, “The UN’s human rights architecture plays a very important role in the promotion and protection of human rights worldwide.”

Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, criticized the move. “The Trump administration’s withdrawal is a sad reflection of its one-dimensional human rights policy: Defending Israeli abuses from criticism takes precedence above all else,” he said. “All Trump seems to care about is defending Israel.”

Washington’s withdrawal leaves the UNHRC in a predicament, because the US has traditionally been the prime defender of human rights around the globe. Still, the US joined the council only in 2009 under president Barack Obama and its term on the council was due to end next year, when it was to revert to observer status.

“The UNHRC has perverted its stated mandate by serially abusing Israel, while horrific human rights abuses around the world receive scant attention, if at all,” reads a statement issued by Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s dean and associate dean. “It consistently makes a mockery of its own mandate by serving as a rubber-stamping anti-Israel kangaroo court, while providing diplomatic safe haven for state sponsors of terrorism and human rights abuse.”

Let’s hope the US decision triggers a reassessment by the UNHRC of its mission and a real change in its review of human rights violations around the world in which Israel is not the focus.
The Decreasing Effectiveness of Hamas Terrorism
The effectiveness of Palestinian suicide bombings during the Second Intifada came to an end after Israel reconquered Area A in the Palestinian Authority in 2002, with nearly daily penetrations and arrests of would-be terrorists since then.

The destruction of both Hamas and Islamic Jihad sanctuaries that enabled them to plan elaborate suicide bombings - coupled with the smashing of its human infrastructure through incessant arrests of its operatives - considerably reduced their capabilities.

The decline in suicide bombings was followed by the spectacular rise from 2004 in missile launchings and by continuous improvement in the payload they carried and in the distance they traversed, directly affecting hundreds of thousands of Israeli civilians who lived in major cities.

As confirmed by the third bout between Hamas and Israel in the summer of 2014, missile terrorism became less effective over time due to Israel's technological developments. In 2014, only two of the 72 Israeli deaths during the 55 days of fighting resulted from missile launchings.

By then, Hamas had figured out that tunnel attacks could become a major substitute for missile launchings. But tunnel terrorism has also been essentially foiled by technological developments.

It is against the backdrop of the never-ending quest to find substitutes to increasingly ineffective terrorist measures that Hamas' innovation of kite terrorism can be understood. Presently, the results are merely destructive rather than lethal.
Hamas paid parents to lie about Gaza baby's death, indictment says
Hamas paid a Gazan family to falsely claim their baby died from inhaling tear gas used by Israel during violent riots at the Gaza Strip border last month, according to a relative.

The family of Layla Ghandour, who was reported to be eight or nine months old, initially claimed that she had died because of tear gas fired by the Israeli military to dispel mobs attempting to breach the border dividing Israel and Gaza, the Times of Israel reported.

However, 20-year-old Mahmoud Omar, the baby's cousin, told Israeli authorities during an interrogation that the baby died of a similar blood disease that killed her brother in 2017, according to an indictment that prosecutors filed Thursday.

Omar, who was indicted for trying to infiltrate Israel and take part in terrorist activities, said that Hamas' leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, paid the baby's family the equivalent of $2,206 to lie about the circumstances of her death.

The baby's mother, Mariam al-Ghandour, said, "The Israelis killed her," in an AFP article published May 15. The Times of Israel noted her funeral "was filmed and featured on global TV news broadcasts and newspaper front pages."
Hamas paid Leila al-Ghandour's family to blame Israel for her death


The dangerous weaponization of children
One cannot separate the macabre use the Palestinians make of their children as part of their struggle to destroy Israel from the heated discussions on the separation of the children of illegal immigrants to the United States from their parents.

True, the Palestinians sacrifice their children on the altar of Jew-hatred when they send them and sometimes even drag them to a confrontation with the Israel Defense Forces, knowing full well the risk involved.

Those who enter the United States illegally do not turn their children into human shields of the Palestinian kind. These immigrants risk a great deal when they head out on their path but they are not motivated by an ideological urge to sacrifice their children to destroy the U.S. Many simply hope to improve their families' living conditions by moving to the wealthy neighbor to their north.

They are also obviously aware that taking children with them across the border illegally will increase their chances of bending U.S. immigration laws because who would be so heartless as to withstand the cries and smiles of day-old babies and shut the gates of the land of opportunity in their faces? It is in this manner that these children are turned into tools.
Hamas prepared to make ‘comprehensive deal’ with Israel – report
The Hamas terror group is prepared to make a “comprehensive deal” with Israel that will include returning the Israelis it is holding in the Gaza Strip in exchange for an airport and seaport, the Lebanese-based Al-Akhbar newspaper reported Thursday.

The pro-Hezbollah news site said that Hamas leaders have been speaking with officials in Cairo in efforts to ease the dire economic situation in the coastal enclave. The talks reportedly became more urgent as tit-for-tat attacks between Israel and Hamas have escalated in recent days.

Gaza faces a lack of electricity, drinkable water, and food. Israel and Egypt maintain a blockade on the Strip to prevent Hamas from importing weapons and other goods that could be used to build fortifications or tunnels.

Israel blames Hamas for the dire situation, accusing the terror group of diverting millions in aid to purchase weapons, dig attack tunnels, manufacture rockets and train its military wing, instead of using the money for the welfare of its people.

The situation has also been made worse by an ongoing dispute between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, which has cut salaries it pays to workers in Gaza and has imposed various sanctions, including cutting of payments for electricity supplies to Gaza.
Hamas, Islamic Jihad claim responsibility for Gaza rocket barrage
The Gaza-based Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups claimed responsibility for the rocket barrage at Israel early Wednesday, warning they will not allow Israeli strikes in the Palestinian enclave to go unanswered.

The Israeli military said 45 rockets and mortars were launched at southern Israeli towns. The salvo came after Israeli jets struck Hamas positions in response to the flying of incendiary kites and balloons from Gaza into Israel, sparking some 20 brush fires Tuesday.

In a joint statement, the military wings of Hamas and allied Islamic Jihad said late Wednesday that they had “targeted seven Israeli military positions near Gaza… in response to continued Israeli aggression against resistance sites in Gaza.”

“We are committed to the formula of an attack for an attack. We will not allow the enemy to dictate a new formula,” the terror groups said, blaming Israel for the flare-up.

At least six rockets fired from Gaza early Wednesday landed inside Israeli communities adjacent to the border, including one that struck just outside a kindergarten, Israeli officials said. Most of the others landed in open fields in southern Israel.


Sappers defuse incendiary device flown into Israel by inflated condoms
Police sappers on Thursday disarmed an incendiary device flown into Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip using inflated condoms.

The device, constructed from flammable materials attached to two condoms, landed in a community in the Shaar Hanegev region of southern Israel. In a statement, police said the device was disarmed safely and did not spark a fire.

In the nearly three months of Palestinian demonstrations along the Gaza border, protesters have hurled grenades, improvised explosives and rocks at soldiers, burned tires and flown incendiary kites and balloons into Israeli territory, sparking hundreds of fires. The blazes in recent weeks have destroyed hundreds of dunams of forests, burned crops and killed wildlife and livestock.

Some of the balloons flown over the border recently were armed with small explosive devices, which seem to have not yet caused injury because of repeated warnings by police and local government officials not to approach them.

These “arson balloons” have presented a significant challenge to the IDF, who up until recently had been using drones and other high-tech solutions to stop the increasing number of devices flown into Israel.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Palestinians Running Out Of Innocent Things To Weaponize (satire)
Residents of this coastal Mediterranean territory warned today that there remain few ideas or objects untouched by hate and violence for them to appropriate and transform into agents of death and destruction.

Leaders of the Hamas movement that governs Gaza and citizens on the street alike confessed they have spent the last several years scouring stores, homes, and the internet for things associated with childhood, playfulness, and harmless fun, for purposes of turning those things into weapons against Israel, but there appears a dearth of such objects, ideas, and activities that have yet to undergo such transformation at the hand of Palestinians.

“We’ve already done children – that was a no-brainer,” remarked Yahya Sinwar, leader of Hamas. “But that was hardly our innovation; child soldiers have been a thing forever. But motherhood – check. Booby-trapped toys when the IDF comes in – check. Kites – check. There’s almost nothing we haven’t turned into a weapon of some sort, but we’re running out of new ideas. Without the surge of pride in devising new and different ways to weaponize pure, good things, we risk the entire Palestinian nationalist movement.”
JCPA: The Gaza Strip and “the Deal of the Century”
Abbas is afraid of possible betrayal by the Arab leaders over the Palestinian problem because, for them, the Iranian danger takes priority.

Therefore, the senior officials of the Palestinian Authority make sure to issue regular reminders through the media that not only is the PA chairman opposed to “the deal of the century,” but so are all of the leaders of the Arab countries.

Nabil Shaath, Mahmoud Abbas’ adviser for international affairs, told the Al-Hayat newspaper on June 17, 2018, that the Palestinians relied on the resistance of the Arab leaders to “the deal of the century” and that they promised to oppose any diplomatic plan that was not acceptable to the Palestinian leadership.

PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas has been working in recent months to build a Palestinian, Arab, and international consensus to torpedo “the deal of the century,” the motto of which is “there’s no state in Gaza, and there’s no state without Gaza.”

The Trump administration is now working hard to break up this consensus. Hamas terror in the Gaza Strip is increasing the concerns of the leaders of the Arab world who want quiet, and it is most likely that they will cooperate with the ideas of President Trump.
US envoy fumes at Palestinians for rejecting Gaza aid drive
US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace envoy accused the Palestinians of “hypocrisy” Thursday, after a Palestinian Authority official said American efforts to provide humanitarian relief to Gaza were aimed at separating the Palestinian enclave from the West Bank.

“Hamas & the PA, who have been fighting one another for over a decade, are each cynically claiming that the US is trying to divide Gaza and the West Bank, instead of acknowledging that we are trying to help the Palestinians in Gaza,” Jason Greenblatt wrote on Twitter early Thursday morning.

“What hypocrisy,” he added.

Greenblatt and senior White House official Jared Kushner are currently on a tour of the Middle East, where they are discussing the Trump administration’s efforts to put forward an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan with allies in the region.
Family of fallen soldier held by Hamas asks EU to hold Gaza aid
The family of fallen IDF soldier Hadar Goldin, who was killed during 2014's Operation Protective Edge, is continuing its efforts to return his body as well as that of Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul and Israeli captives Hisham al-Sayed and Avera Mengistu to Israel.

The Goldin family is at the European Parliament in Brussels this week to enlist international support for their efforts. Hadar's parents, Leah and Simcha and his twin brother Tzur have met with senior members of the European Commission including its vice president and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini in recent days.

On Wednesday, the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee held a special event with the assistance of the Israeli Embassy to the EU. Some 70 people, including parliamentarians from across the political spectrum, attended the event in what was a rare show of unity concerning Israel.

Speaking at the event, the Goldin family said any resolution to the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip must be bilateral and include the return of Israelis held captive by Hamas.
EU: Hamas violating international law by holding Goldin’s body
The Foreign Affairs Committee of the EU ruled that Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are violating international humanitarian law by holding on to the body of captured IDF Lieutenant Hadar Goldin.

At a special session attended by the Goldin family, representatives of Romania, Hungary and the Netherlands insisted that all humanitarian assistance to Gaza be conditioned on the return of captured IDF soldiers and civilians held by Hamas.
Spanish city councilors call to declare Israeli officials 'persona non grata'
Councilors at the city of Pamplona, the capital of the Navarre province in northern Spain, have called on the Spanish government to stop its arms trade with Israel and on their municipality to declare Israeli officials as "persona non grata" until Israel stops its "oppressive policy against the Palestinian people."

The resolution passed by the heads of the factions in the Pamplona municipality also expressed support of the Palestinian right of return and the Palestinians' right to hold a peaceful protest "which has been suppressed with force by the Israeli army."

The Pamplona municipality condemned the IDF for killing at least 100 Palestinians and wounding thousands during the "non-violent" "March of Return" demonstrations and offered its support and condolences to the families of the victims.

The resolution also called on the European Union's governments to increase the pressure and impose sanctions on Israel to force it to stop its "aggression" against the Palestinian people.

They further slammed the US decision to move its embassy to "occupied Jerusalem," describing this move as extremely dangerous and in contravention of international law.
Sara Netanyahu indicted for misusing $100,000 in state funds to buy gourmet food
State attoneys filed an indictment against Sara Netanyahu Thursday for alleged misuse of some $100,000 in state funds.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan had already notified the prime minister’s wife of their intention to file charges in recent months.

Negotiations for her to return a portion of the diverted money and confess to the charges in exchange for avoiding prosecution broke down when the prime minister’s wife reportedly refused to pay the sums requested by prosecutors, telling her lawyers she’d rather go to jail than reimburse the state. Her lawyers have denied such reports.

In Thursday’s indictment, the prime minister’s wife is charged along with Ezra Saidoff, a former deputy director general of the Prime Minister’s Office, for fraud along with breach of trust.

The two are accused of fraudulently charging some NIS 359,000 ($100,000) in gourmet meals to the state’s expense between 2010 and 2013, violating laws which ban the ordering of prepared food when a chef is already employed at the Prime Minister’s Residence.
IDF demolishes home of Palestinian terrorist who killed two soldiers
Israel’s military destroyed the home of Palestinian terrorist Alaa Kabha from the West Bank village of Barta’a, who murdered two IDF soldiers in a vehicular ramming attack in March.

Troops from the Menashe Territorial Brigade along with Border Police officers and the Civil Administration carried out the demolition of Kabha’s home, located on the third floor of an apartment building.

According to the Palestinian Wafa News Agency, the demolition of Kabha’s 150-square meter apartment, in a building owned by his father Rateb Kabha, caused damage to other apartments in the building.

On March 16, Kabha fatally rammed his car into brigade commander officer Capt. Ziv Daus, 21, and Sgt. Netanel Kahalani, 20, near the settlement of Mevo Dotan. Daus, from the central Israeli town of Azor, and Kahalani, from the northern community of Elyakim, were killed instantly.

Kabha, 26, was lightly to moderately hurt in the attack and evacuated to the Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera, where he was interrogated by the Shin Bet security service.
Bill to criminalize some filming of IDF soldiers clears first Knesset hurdle
Legislation criminalizing the filming of Israeli soldiers engaged in some military activities cleared its first hurdle in the Knesset Wednesday ahead of expected revisions meant to give it legal backing.

The bill, which passed its first reading in a 45-42 vote, would outlaw the recording of soldiers carrying out their duties with the aim of demoralizing them or harming Israel’s security.

The draft legislation will now head to committee before coming up for the second and third plenum readings it must clear to become law.

“For many years already the state of Israel has witnessed the troubling phenomenon of the documenting IDF soldiers… by anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian groups,” an explanation of the bill states.

“In many cases the organizations spend whole days near IDF troops and impatiently wait for activity that be documented in a misleading and biased way and by which cast shame on IDF soldiers,” it adds.

Yisrael Beytenu MK Robert Ilatov, who proposed the bill with backing from Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, said ahead of the vote the legislation is necessary to prevent soldiers from “hostile elements” who seek to interfere with their duties and disgrace them.

“The soldiers we dispatch should not be at the front lines of the BDS organizations, and to not allow you, those who support these organizations, to slander the state of Israel,” he told the Knesset.
'Radical anti-Zionist organizations turn cameras into weapons'
Over 20 wounded IDF veterans on Wednesday sent a letter to Coalition Chairman MK David Amsalem (Likud) urging him to pressure the coalition to vote in favor of a bill prohibiting the use of cameras to harass IDF soldiers.

The letter, penned by Chairman of the Wounded IDF Veterans Forum Liran Baroch, was sent to the coalition whip ahead of bill's preliminary vote, which is scheduled for Wednesday.

"We, wounded veterans of the IDF, call on you to exert all your pressure [as Coalition Chairman] in order to ensure that the bill is approved," the letter stated. "In the face of unrelenting terrorism, there is no compromise and we must do all in our power to ensure that those we wish to harm IDF soldiers do not succeed."

"As someone who lost his eye during an operational activity, I was horrified to learn that de-legitimization organizations have been operating for the past decade against IDF soldiers with impunity. These organizations film the soldiers and upload the videos to be used as a source of information for terrorist organizations.
PMW: PA official admits there's no "proof" Arafat was “murdered by poisoning”
For years, the Palestinian Authority has been spreading the libel that Israel murdered Yasser Arafat with poison. The PA propaganda has been so successful that even small children discuss the “poisoning by the Jews” with the host of a PA TV children’s show:
Palestinian boy Adnan: "The Jews put poison in his food, and then he died."
Official PA TV host: "Bravo! That is very important information. Arafat was poisoned to death. Correct, his food was poisoned and he died as a Martyr. Bravo, very clever, my friend Adnan."
[Official PA TV, The Best Home, Nov. 17, 2017]

After years of cementing this libel in the Palestinian consciousness, now a top PA official has admitted that there is no “proof” to back up the claim that Arafat was “murdered by poisoning.” However, in spite of the lack of evidence, he added that he and "all the members of the Palestinian people are completely convinced that leader Yasser Arafat died as a Martyr by poisoning."

Interviewed on PA TV, Spokesman of the PA Security Forces Adnan Al-Damiri stated that “the reports from Switzerland, Russia, and other states in the world didn’t provide clear proof on the matter”:
PMW: Read like a Murderer - PA honors murderer of 3 as role model to encourage reading
On Oct. 13, 2015, Palestinian terrorists Baha Alyan and Bilal Ghanem boarded a bus in Jerusalem and attacked passengers with a gun and a knife, murdering 3 people. Alyan was shot and killed by an Israeli security guard while Ghanem was wounded and later imprisoned.

Before deciding to become a terrorist and murder Israelis, Baha Alyan once organized a “human reading chain” in Jerusalem. Despite Alyan being a murderer - or perhaps precisely because Alyan became a murderer of Israelis - the PA is now using him as a role model to encourage reading.

In the company of Mahmoud Alyan, the father of terrorist Baha Alyan, PA Minister of Culture Ehab Bessaiso launched the “National Reading Day events” earlier this year. Referring to terrorist Alyan’s reading chain in 2014, the PA minister said that because “Martyrs and prisoners” had been among the initiators of that chain, the PA Ministry of Culture has declared March 16 National Reading Day “out of loyalty to their memory and the Palestinian national struggle, and out of our absolute belief that culture is resistance”:
Minister Bessaiso: “They formed the longest human reading chain around the walls of Jerusalem. This happened on March 16, 2014. Among those who initiated this chain were Martyrs (Shahids) and prisoners. Therefore, and out of loyalty to their memory and the Palestinian national struggle, and out of our absolute belief that culture is resistance, we in the Ministry of Culture have decided... to declare March 16 each year National Reading Day in all the homeland’s districts. This is out of loyalty to the Martyrs and to everyone that believes that culture can remain one of the central pillars of the national resistance.” [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 17, 2018]

The PA Ministry of Culture had invited murderer Alyan’s father to speak at the event, and he also joined the minister for a group photo:


Report: Rafah Crossing to remain open indefinitely
The administration of the Rafah Border Crossing between Egypt and Gaza said on Tuesday that the crossing will remain open until further notice, Yediot Aharonot reported.

The move will enable residents of Gaza to enter Egypt and come back without waiting.

Egyptian authorities have kept the Rafah crossing virtually sealed since a terrorist attack in the Sinai Peninsula in October 2014, though they have temporarily reopened the crossing several times since that attack, mostly for the passage of humanitarian cases.

The crossing has been open since the start of the month of Ramadan, under the orders of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, in order to ease the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Egypt has kept the crossing closed as it blames Hamas terrorists for providing the weapons for the lethal 2014 attack, which killed 30 soldiers, through one of its smuggling tunnels under the border to Sinai. Hamas denies the allegations.


IsraellyCool: Lying Hamas-hole in the Hotseat
These days, Tim Sebastian, formerly of the BBC’s HARDTalk, asks the tough questions on DW’s Conflict Zone. Many Israeli politicians have been subjected to his grilling, but now it is the turn of Osama Hamdan, Hamas’ top representative in Lebanon.

Don’t try a “drink every time he lies” drinking game while watching this. You’ll be dead of alcohol poisoning within minutes


Sohrab Ahmari: Game of Peacock Thrones
Perhaps the opposition forces will conjure a leader at the right moment and in organic fashion. Or maybe an ambitious would-be shah will emerge from among the security apparatus. Yet the most plausible current candidate is probably Reza Pahlavi, Reza Shah’s exiled grandson, whose prestige and popularity have spiked in recent years, as Iranians born after the revolution reckon with what they lost to their parents’ collective folly. Among the revolutionary slogans in currency today, the one with the greatest political meaning and potential is “Long live Reza Shah!” The slogan is pregnant with nostalgia, yes, but also with political imagination.

Second, Iranian political culture demands a source of continuity with Persian history. The anxieties associated with modernity and centuries of historical discontinuity drove Iranians into the arms of Khomeini and his bearded minions, who promised a connection to Shiite tradition. Khomeinism turned out to be a bloody failure, but there is scant reason to imagine the thirst for continuity has been quenched. To weather the storms of modernity, Iranians need a point of orientation—perhaps a mast to tie themselves to. Islamism wasn’t it. Iranian nationalism, however, could be the answer, and, judging by the nationalist tone of the current upheaval, it is the one the people have already hit upon.

When protestors chant “We Will Die to Get Iran Back,” “Not Gaza, Not Lebanon, My Life Only for Iran,” and “Let Syria Be, Do Something for Me,” they are expressing a positive vision of Iranian nationhood: No longer do they wish to pay the price for the regime’s Shiite hegemonic ambitions. Iranian blood should be spilled for Iran, not Gaza, which for most Iranians is little more than a geographic abstraction. It is precisely its nationalist dimension that makes the current revolt the most potent the mullahs have yet faced. Nationalism, after all, is a much stronger force, and the longing for historical continuity runs much deeper in Iran than liberal-democratic aspiration. Westerners who wish to see a replay of Central and Eastern Europe in 1989 in today’s Iran will find the lessons of Iranian history hard and distasteful, but Iranians and their friends who wish to see past the Islamic Republic must pay heed.
Iran insists US stop opposing Israeli nuke disarmament
Iran has announced a list of 15 demands for improving relations with the United States, including a US return to the 2015 nuclear accord, in response to a similar list of demands made by Washington last month.

In an article in a state-owned newspaper Thursday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called on the US to stop providing arms to the “invaders of Yemen,” referring to Saudi Arabia, and to drop its opposition to the nuclear disarmament of Israel.

Israel is believed by foreign governments and media to be the Middle East’s sole nuclear power, but has long refused to confirm or deny that it has nuclear weapons.

Zarif’s article came in response to demands laid out in May by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who called for a wholesale change in Iran’s military and regional policies, threatening the “strongest sanctions in history” if it refused.

Pompeo outlined 12 conditions that the US considers prerequisites for any firm agreement with the Islamic Republic, including giving up ballistic missiles, ending support for terror and halting threats against Israel, among other demands.

He said the length of the list was simple testament to the “scope of the malign behavior of Iran.”


IsraellyCool: Zionist Distractor of Doomᵀᴹ Puts Iranian Player off his Game
I am being tongue-in-cheek, although I am sure the Iranian regime will actually somehow blame Israel for this:


Background:
MILAD MOHAMMADI bizarrely attempted a somersault thrown-in during the dying stages of Iran’s defeat to Spain.

The 24-year-old kissed the ball and pointed to the sky before he tried to send the ball into the box.

Despite landing the flip, the Iran substitute got his execution all wrong and had to retake the throw.

Mohammadi lost his nerve and then decided to throw the ball backwards and not into the penalty area.

As a result, Spain had time to organise themselves and they easily dealt with the attack – Mohammadi wasted almost 30 seconds with time running out.



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