Tuesday, August 21, 2018

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: Hamas-Israel Ceasefire Talks Show Peace Impossible
Hamas-ruled Gaza is what a Palestinian state looks like. It is what a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria would look like if any U.S. or other peace proposal that requires Israel to transfer control over the areas to the PA/Fatah is implemented.

The Palestinians – as a people – are not interested in establishing an independent state. They are committed to annihilating Israel. This is why all of their political factions are terror groups. That’s why one of Abbas’s possible successors is in prison for five counts of terrorist murder and the other has called for Israel to be wiped out with nuclear weapons.

This is why, in a bid to shore up popular support for Fatah, Abbas is calling for a renewal of terror attacks against Israel. And this is why Hamas, whose record is one unblemished by phony peace processes with Israel, is more respected and trusted by the Palestinians in Gaza and Judea and Samaria.

Last week, Trump’s top advisors on the Palestinian conflict with Israel, Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley,, and Ambassador to Israel David Friedman issued a statement on their much touted plan.

“No one will be fully pleased with our proposal, but that’s the way it must be if real peace is to be achieved. Peace can only succeed if it is based on realities,” it read.

While it is true that peace can succeed only if it is based on reality, it is also true that there is no realistic prospect for peace. Hamas’s terror state in Gaza is the apotheosis of Palestinian aspirations. This is what the Palestinians seek to build in Judea and Samaria and, in due course, this is what they want all of Israel to become.

Under the circumstances, the Trump administration has a choice to make. Does it want Judea and Samaria to look like Gaza? Or does it want Judea and Samaria to look like Israel? The ceasefire talks between Hamas and Israel are proof that there is no third option.

Peter Lerner: The U.N.'s Insanity on Gaza
"The saying that 'insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results' has been attributed to several people over the years, including Albert Einstein. Now, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' latest report on the spectrum of options to help protect Palestinians seems like a perfect illustration of that statement.
...
Over the years the Palestinians have been one of the major recipients of international aid; indeed, it has been argued that the Palestinians receive one of the highest levels of aid in the world.
...
Needless to say, all the international organizations act as advocates for the Palestinians, and are extremely visible, despite what the UN chief may say.

The idea of civilian observers is also not new in our region. In Hebron, after the 1994 massacre of Palestinians by Baruch Goldstein, a Temporary International Presence in Hebron was established to guarantee the safety and protection of Palestinian civilians. Its mandate was revised over the years and its current one was determined in the Hebron Agreement in 1997, under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The force was established to guarantee the safety and protection of Palestinian civilians, the same logic and goals as the one the UN is now suggesting for Gaza. The problems of the one-sided mandate of such organizations can be clearly seen following the recent reports of a TIPH observer slashing tires of an Israeli vehicle, or a video that circulated of an observer slapping an Israeli settler child.

Finally, the idea of a UN military or police force to deter or protect civilians is useless in the Palestinian arena due to the already highly politicized reality. Israel has learned that it cannot depend on international forces like UNIFIL and UNDOF for its security concerns. When things get tough, these forces seem to only focus on Israeli violations, repeatedly failing to gain Israel's faith or confidence in their contribution..."
Abbas's Responsibility for Gaza Crisis
In a letter to the UN Secretary-General, Mahmoud Abbas's Foreign Ministry accused Israel of committing "crimes" against Palestinians civilians, especially in the Gaza Strip, and renewed the call for providing "international protection" for the Palestinians.

This is the same Abbas whose sanctions have triggered the recent violence along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel. If anyone needs "international protection," it is those protesters who are being targeted by Abbas's security forces in the West Bank.

Abbas is especially worried that the international community will be funding economic and humanitarian projects in the Gaza Strip behind his back. He wants the money to be spent through his government. He wants to control every penny the international community earmarks for the welfare of his people.

What exactly does Abbas want? He wants the people of the Gaza Strip to continue protesting so that he will be able to continue to demonize Israel.



Two Iranian-Americans Charged With Spying on Jewish, Israeli Facilities
Two Iranian-Americans have been charged by the Trump administration with spying on Jewish and Israeli-associated facilities in California on behalf of the hardline Iranian regime, the Department of Justice announced late Monday.

The charges, first made public on Monday, are among the first by the Trump administration charging Iranian spies of running operations on the Jewish and American communities on American soil.

"The National Security Division is committed to protecting the United States from individuals within our country who unlawfully act on behalf of hostile foreign nations," Assistant Attorney General John Demers said in a statement.

The two Iranian individuals—identified as Ahmadreza Mohammadi-Doostdar, a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen, and Majid Ghorbani, an Iranian citizen and resident of California—"with allegedly acting on behalf of the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran by conducting covert surveillance of Israeli and Jewish facilities in the United States, and collecting identifying information about American citizens and U.S. nationals who are members of the group Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK)," an Iranian opposition group that promotes regime change in the Islamic Republic.

"Doostdar and Ghorbani are alleged to have acted on behalf of Iran, including by conducting surveillance of political opponents and engaging in other activities that could put Americans at risk," Demers said. "With their arrest and these charges, we are seeking to hold the defendants accountable."

U.S. officials working on the case said the Trump administration will not permit Iranian regime-backed agents to operate with impunity on American soil.
MEMRI: Jordanian Journalist: Tyranny, Corruption, And Religious Extremism Pervade Arab Countries; Wiping Out Terror Will Not Be Enough
In an article he published in the London-based Al-Hayat daily, Jordanian journalist Muhammad Barhouma claimed that, from the dawn of history until the present day, Arab countries have been afflicted by three diseases – tyranny, corruption, and religious extremism. He writes that these illnesses feed on each other and prevent the development of democracy and acceptance of the other, and therefore even if the Sunni and Shi'ite terrorist organizations in the Arab world were wiped out, this still would not lead to stability in Arab countries and they would not be transformed into enlightened democracies. Barhouma called on the Arabs to learn from the West's experience of war and renaissance, and from the reforms undertaken by Christianity and Judaism over the years, and to reevaluate the Arab Renaissance of the 19th century – which he says was nipped in the bud by Western imperialism – so as to adapt itself to the modern era and advance democracy in the Arab world.

The following are excerpts from the article.[1]
"What would happen if the Islamic State [ISIS] and Al-Qaeda, as well as the Shi'ite militias in the Arab world, were wiped out? Would the impossible problems and crises in our region diminish? Would we wake up and discover united societies and decent countries ruling in accordance with the law and upholding liberties? And would stability and renewal prevail in our region?

"It is clear that the answer to these questions is no, since our problem is not exclusively with terrorism – although it does immense harm, which everyone must strive with all their might to defeat. Terrorism is [only] one side of the destructive triangle in our region. The two other sides are tyranny and corruption. In modern Arab history and in Islamic history, an organic connection exists between these three sides; the Arab despots created a religious and national culture that supports their tyranny and authority, while excluding interpretations that differ from their own and [do not suit] their interests, so that the regime's interpretation of the religion became the strongest and main interpretation, which corrupted the mind and society.

"Therefore, if I had to rate which of the three of these [sides] is the worst, I would say tyranny, followed by the corruption and [only] after that extremism and terrorism.
MEMRI: French Manifesto Calling To 'Declare Obsolete' Violent Quranic Verses Sparks Fury From Islamic Religious Establishment, Writers In Arab Media
On April 21, 2018, the French daily Le Parisien published a manifesto signed by over 250 French public figures, including former president Nicolas Sarkozy, former prime minister Manuel Valls, and famous singer Charles Aznavour, condemning the "new antisemitism" that radical Islam is spreading in France. The manifesto appeared about a month after the murder of Mireille Knoll, an 85-year-old Jewish Holocaust survivor who was stabbed to death in her Paris apartment, and about a year after another Jewish woman, 65-year-old Sarah Halimi, was beaten to death on a Paris street. Both murders have been recognized by the French authorities as antisemitic hate crimes. The manifesto, drafted by Philippe Val, the former editor of the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, stated that radical Islam engenders a new brand of antisemitism that has led to the murder of Jews, and that 10 percent of the Jews in the Paris area, some 50,000 people, left their homes recently because they felt threatened – which constitutes a case of "quiet ethnic cleansing." The manifesto therefore demanded that the Muslim establishment declare obsolete the verses of the Quran that call for persecuting and killing Jews, Christians and other non-Muslims, just as the Vatican renounced antisemitic texts during the 20th century.[1] It should be noted that among the signers of the manifesto are Muslim figures, such as Algerian writer Boualem Sansal; the Mufti of the Comoro Islands community in France, Mohamed 'Ali Kacim; Hassen Chalghoumi, imam of the Drancy Mosque in Paris, and Palestinian blogger Waleed Al-Husseini.

The manifesto sparked furious responses from Muslim clerics and writers in the Arab media. The Muslim religious establishment rejected its demand to declare certain Quranic verses obsolete and accused its signatories of ignorance and racism and of inciting to Islamophobia. Prominent among these critics were members of the religious establishment in Egypt, especially members of Al-Azhar, who argued that the manifesto's signatories misunderstood the Quranic verses in question, which refer only to circumstances of self-defense. The Quran, they stressed, promotes peace and not war or violence. Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmad Al-Tayeb called the manifesto's demands "insolent," adding that "disrespect for what is sacred to others is among the main reasons for terror and for the killing of innocents." Al-Tayeb's deputy, 'Abbas Shouman, said that not a single letter of the Quran can be declared obsolete, and that whoever demands this can "go to hell." Members of Egypt's fatwa authority likewise attacked the manifesto and those who signed it. In this context it is worth noting that, in the past few years, the Egyptian regime has been urging Al-Azhar to act towards reforming the religious discourse by purging it of messages and interpretations that lead to violence and terror, and that Al-Azhar's failure to comply with this demand has led to a conflict with the presidency.[2]

Articles in the Arab media attacked the manifesto as well, stating that it distorts the intention of the Quran and may lead to religious war. Some of the writers resorted to antisemitic claims, calling the manifesto part of a Jewish plot against Islam, and others claimed it was part of the crusader war on Islam.
Does Israel have a strategy for Gaza?
For lack of any other feasible alternative, Israel is ready to accept Hamas as the de-facto ruling party in the Gaza Strip. It is not easy to legitimize this de-facto reality, since Hamas is a terror entity committed to Israel’s annihilation, but Israel believes that Hamas and the terrorism that comes with it can be constrained and contained for long periods of time. . . .

When it comes to military options, Israel wants to keep Hamas worried about the possibility of a ground offensive that will deprive it of its crown jewel, namely its control of Gaza. But at the same time, the Israeli government clearly has no appetite for such an operation, because it wants to avoid the casualties and to refrain from retaking Gaza. Israel repeatedly exacts a price for Hamas attacks through targeted air strikes and depriving Hamas of the ability to use terror options (rockets, naval operations, tunnels, balloons, and kites). This Israel is able to do without resorting to a ground offensive. Since the 2005 disengagement, Israel has not been—and does not regard itself as—an occupying force in Gaza, whereas the Palestinians and many other international players do not accept Israel’s outlook, and Egypt refuses to assume responsibility over this territory. . . .

[In other words], Israel does have a short- to medium-term strategy for Gaza, which like most other strategies contains inherent contradictions, especially given the complexity of the situation. In the last round of escalation, [this strategy] was proved effective once again, although employing harsher steps against the arson kites’ operators and their commanders and restricting the activity at the Kerem Shalom crossing [between Israel and Gaza] earlier on could have shortened this round and forced Hamas to stop the violence more quickly.

However, the ongoing instability and provocation from Palestinian forces in Gaza challenges Israel’s ability to sustain this strategy. Gaza’s rulers are not willing, for example, to give up their force build-up or to stop using human shields, and they continue to keep corpses of Israeli soldiers in their possession. Their strategy rests on creating disorder and militates against stability and prosperity—and thus makes sustaining the Israeli strategy challenging.
IDF opens investigation into deaths of two Gazan teens
Israel’s military has opened investigations into the shooting deaths of two Palestinian teenagers who were taking part in weekly demonstrations along the Gaza border fence.

IDF Military Advocate General Maj.-Gen. Sharon Afek ordered the investigations following an examination of command debriefings and after the IDF received additional information that raised suspicions the shootings were not in accordance with IDF rules of engagement.

“The General Staff debriefing mechanism will continue to investigate the events and its findings will be transferred to the Judge Advocate General’s Office,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement.

The first incident on March 30 involved 18-year-old Abdel Fattah Abdel Nabi, who was killed near the security fence east of Jabalya in the southern Gaza Strip.

According to Palestinian sources, Nabi was shot while his back was turned toward IDF troops as he was retreating from the perimeter area with another young Palestinian.

In videos released on social media, the other Palestinian can be seen picking up a tire and running away from the border fence with it. Nabi is then seen joining the other youth and taking the tire while continuing to run away from the border fence. The video also shows the moment Nabi was hit by sniper fire and dropped to the ground before being evacuated by other protesters.
Hamas leader Haniyeh: 'Gaza on the way to ending the blockade'
Ismail Haniyeh said Tuesday, “Gaza is on the way to ending the blockade thanks to your resilient stance. There will be no political price for humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.”

Haniyeh, leader of the Hamas movement, gave a speech to the citizens of Gaza on Tuesday morning in celebration of Eid al-Adha.

The Hamas leader clarified, “any humanitarian aid will be in national accordance with an Arab security net to offer suitable warranty, but we emphasize that opposition is the best warranty there is.”

Haniyeh further stated, “Our holiday brings good tidings despite the [malicious] plots. We are witness to the death of the harshest attack on us – the Deal of the Century, which no one can pass.”

Khalil al-Hayya, deputy Hamas leader, said on Friday during his visit to Egypt, “the Palestinian factors have reached an agreement about the reconciliation, the end of the blockade and the calm with Israel.”

“There are international projects that will be implemented in Gaza soon, and we are interested in reconciliation based on partnership,” added al-Hayya. He included, “we are at the home stretch of the Egyptian, Qatari and international efforts to achieve calm and are doing everything to ease [the conditions of] the blockade. However, the March of Return continues until the blockade is lifted.”
A Gaza fuel crisis could shut down essential services, U.N. envoy warns
The UN funding crisis for Gaza could force 250 health, water and sanitation facilities to shut down for lack of fuel, UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator Jamie McGoldrick warned on Monday.

“Life-saving services in the Gaza Strip rely heavily on donor-funded emergency fuel,” McGoldrick said. “We have now run out of funds and are delivering the final supplies in the next few days. Without funds to enable ongoing deliveries, service providers will be forced to suspend, or heavily reduce, operations from early September, with potentially grave consequences.”

Those facilities had been on the verge of shutting down as Israel had halted the flow of gas and fuel into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing from August 1 to August 14 to protest Hamas violence.

Gaza subsists on only four or five hours of electricity a day, so essential services rely heavily on back-up generators which run on fuel.

Even now that Israel has opened the Kerem Shalom crossing, the United Nations lacks the $4.5 million necessary to purchase the fuel necessary to keep critical services in Gaza afloat.
Report: Trump to introduce Mideast peace plan at UN
U.S. President Donald Trump plans to introduce his ‎Middle East peace plan, dubbed the "deal of the ‎century," during the U.N. General Assembly meeting ‎in New York next month, the Palestinian daily Al-‎Quds reported Monday.‎

The 73rd General Assembly session will be held from ‎Sept. 18 to Oct. 5 and will feature speeches from ‎prominent world leaders, including Trump, who is set ‎to address the assembly on Sept. 25. ‎

The United States has, in the past, warned that if ‎Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas ‎remains adamant in his refusal to engage the U.S. as ‎a mediator in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, ‎Washington will introduce its regional peace plan ‎regardless of his reservations. ‎

Abbas has been shunning the U.S.'s peace efforts ‎since Trump's Dec. 6 recognition of Jerusalem as ‎Israel's capital and the subsequent move of the U.S. ‎Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and ‎has accused the Trump administration of being ‎‎"grossly biased" in Israel's favor. ‎

According to the report, U.S. Special Representative ‎for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt, ‎senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, U.S. ‎Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and ‎‎U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, who have ‎been working on the plan since early 2017, seek to ‎introduce it under the "most optimal conditions" and ‎the General Assembly is seen that the best venue to ‎do so. ‎
With Abbas sidelined, Israeli-Palestinian conflict enters new territory
It is unlikely coincidental that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas this weekend restated a call for "popular resistance" against Israel, as the PA boss, back up against the wall, is seen by critics as having resorted to the often-used tactic of deflecting blame away from his own shortcomings and onto the "occupation."

Increasingly, observers opine that Abbas' actions appear driven by his marginalization, with the Trump administration last week having expressed an unprecedented willingness to bypass the PA altogether if it means enhancing the security and economic prospects in the Gaza Strip. Ramallah's relations with Washington reached a nadir when the Palestinian leader imposed a boycott on American officials following President Donald Trump's recognition in December of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Abbas has on numerous occasions since rejected out-of-hand the White House's yet-unveiled peace proposal.

The cold hard truth may be setting in: namely, that Abbas is nearing the end of his road without having made much tangible progress towards achieving statehood for his people. To the contrary, the Palestinians arguably are divided more than ever between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which effectively constitute distinct and competing entities. Now, Abbas is publicly being accused of torpedoing the potential Israel-Hamas cease-fire deal possibly out of fear of being further sidelined; this, at a time when growing anger is being directed at the Palestinian chief, including rare protests in Ramallah.

Abbas may be running out of cards to play and is thus flexing "resistance" bona fides with a view to biding time, mobilizing the Palestinian "street" and also as a reminder that the current relative stability in the West Bank can unravel at any moment, not unlike when chaos was unleashed for weeks in the wake of the President Trump's Jerusalem declaration.
Abbas' son: No chance for 2 states
US Special Envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt met last month in secret with Tarek Abbas, the son of Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas, News 10 reported.

Israeli officials stated that during the meeting, the younger Abbas made it clear to Greenblatt that he did not think there was a chance of implementing the two-state solution, and therefore he supported a one-state solution with equal rights for all citizens.

The Israeli officials, who wished to remain anonymous, said that the US envoy wanted to try to establish contact with one of Abbas' closest associates as the Trump Administration pursued its Middle East peace plan.

However, during the meeting, Tarek Abbas surprised Greenblatt and told him that unlike his father, he is opposed to the two-state solution, which he believes is no longer feasible due to the expansion of construction in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. ""I support a one-state solution between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, with equal rights for all citizens."

The meeting took place a few days after President Trump met Abbas at the UN General Assembly in New York.
Israel's Finance Minister Sees West Bank Economy as Key to Peace
Israel’s finance minister is seeking to drum up American and European support for a plan to boost the Palestinian economy in the West Bank -- something he thinks will benefit Israel as well.

After more than three years of meetings with Palestinian officials, Moshe Kahlon is pushing a plan to build joint industrial zones, ease movement out of the West Bank and allow the Palestinian Authority to collect its own customs taxes. He will discuss the plan with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Jason Greenblatt, President Donald Trump’s Mideast peace envoy, later this month in Washington. The Trump team has pushed the notion that improving Palestinians’ standard of living will help create conditions for peace, and has pressed Israel for proposals.

“It isn’t always visible, but the economy makes an important contribution to what’s going on,” Kahlon said. “I’m a great believer in political process through economy.’’

Boosting the West Bank economy could shore up the Palestinian Authority, which has largely eschewed violence only to see Israel and other international actors propose aid for the Gaza Strip, where the ruling Hamas movement encourages anti-Israel attacks. Kahlon believes Israel also stands to gain from the West Bank plan if it lessens the impression of regional instability.
Is Putin’s Kremlin subverting Israeli democracy? A Russia expert thinks so
Despite the global headlines about Russian meddling in foreign elections, Israeli experts have thus far expressed little concern that it could happen here.

At Tel Aviv University’s CyberWeek cybersecurity conference in June, for instance, Israeli officials made light of the impact of fake news and foreign influence campaigns on Israeli society. Fake news is a “nuisance,” Eviatar Matania, head of the National Cyber Bureau in the Prime Minister’s Office, told a panel at the conference, not a major threat. Other speakers said they had seen no signs of Russian influence campaigns targeting Israel.

But the recent release by researchers at Clemenson University of three million Russian troll tweets created by Russia’s Internet Research Agency between 2012 and 2018 paints a different picture.

Reporters from Israel’s Channel 10 News found that tens of thousands of the tweets dealt with Israel and the region and some were written in Hebrew, indicating they were indeed targeting Israelis and people who care about Israel.

Ilya Zaslavskiy, a Washington, DC-based expert on Russia and head of research at the Free Russia Foundation — a nonprofit led by Russians abroad that says it “seeks to be a voice for those who can’t speak under the repression of the current Russian leadership” — told The Times of Israel that he would be extremely surprised if Russia weren’t carrying out covert influence campaigns in Israel.
Russia to Start Delivering S-400 Defense System to Turkey in 2019
Russia will begin delivering its advanced S-400 missile defense system to Turkey in 2019, the Interfax news agency cited Russia’s state arms exporter Rosoboronexport as saying on Tuesday.

The United States has expressed concern that NATO member Turkey’s planned deployment of the Russian-made S-400 could risk the security of several US-made weapons used by Turkey, including the F-35 jet.

Rosoboronexport also said it would switch to using local currencies in deals with foreign trade partners, instead of using the dollar, the RIA news agency reported.
Trump vows 'no concessions' with Turkey over detained U.S. pastor
US President Donald Trump ruled out agreeing to any demands from Turkey to gain the release of a detained American pastor in an interview to Reuters Monday.

Trump said he was not concerned that his tough stance could end up hurting European and emerging market economies.

In a wide-ranging Oval Office interview, Trump complained about interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve and suggested he was having second thoughts about Jerome Powell, his choice for Fed chair. He also said he "most likely" will have a second meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and indicated he would consider lifting US sanctions on Russia if Moscow took some actions in return.

Trump said he thought he had a deal with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan when he helped persuade Israel to free a detained Turkish citizen. He had thought Erdogan would then release pastor Andrew Brunson, who denies Turkey's allegations that he was involved in a plot against Erdogan two years ago.

"I think it's very sad what Turkey is doing. I think they're making a terrible mistake. There will be no concessions," he said.

Turkey has demanded that the United States hand over Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric in the United States suspected in the coup plot against Erdogan, but the United States has balked at this.
Hundreds of thousands more Israelis okayed to carry guns under new rules
More than half a million Israelis have become eligible to receive gun permits under a major reform of the country’s firearms rules, with the stated goal of improving the immediate response to terror attacks.

Under the new rules, which went into effect immediately upon being announced Monday, hundreds of thousands of veterans of the IDF’s infantry units will be eligible for gun permits, along with police officers who received the equivalent training.

Additionally, army officers ranked first lieutenant or higher, as well as non-commissioned officers ranked first sergeant or higher, who carried a weapon during their military service will no longer be required to return their guns and permits when they are discharged from reserve service, and will be allowed to ask to keep carrying them.

Volunteers in certain police units and in medical organizations Magen David Adom, ZAKA and Hatzalah will also be eligible to receive permits.

The reform was unveiled by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who has pushed for allowing more Israelis to arm themselves as a response to terror attacks.
Special Report: IDF’s file of Gaza Beach war crimes probe–the truth
Earlier, a Saturday report by The Intercept marked a new turn in the issue when it was the first to gain access to the IDF’s internal file.However, the Intercept report summarizes conclusions to the reader without presenting the raw material and it is unclear from that report whether the full file was reviewed in the same depth as the Post.

A key point which the Intercept and a prior initial report by the Post’s dealt with were whether the IDF team involved in the strike harbored doubts at any point.

Questions pertained to whether or not the IDF had doubts: about the identity of those being attacked, about the scope of the area in which attacking the four minors was allowed and whether the staff acted sufficiently in resolving those doubts.

After a full review of the file, including most importantly regarding those issues, the statements of Israel Air Force witnesses 16 (Captain “A”), 17 (Captain “M”) and 18 (Major “S”), the Post concludes that a major source of confusion was the interrogation itself.

What did the interrogation itself look like?

Overall, though it was slow moving, the IDF did an impressive job interrogating 20 witnesses from several disparate operations, intelligence analysis and intelligence operations units spread in different parts of the country. The investigation was not just about the one person who pushed the button to fire the missiles.

The failure to ask standard follow-up questions in the interrogation leaves some issues open to interpretation. Nevertheless, the overall thrust of the testimonies appears to be that, both what The Intercept called a drone strike team as well as the intelligence team were broadly convinced that the four minors were Hamas naval commandos regarding both missile strikes.

Where is the confusion?
Liberman: Masses at terrorist burial show ‘Umm al-Fahm needs to be in Palestine’
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Tuesday renewed his promotion of a controversial plan to transfer jurisdiction of some Arab Israeli towns to a future Palestinian state, pointing to the hundreds who participated in the Umm al-Fahm funeral of a terrorist shot dead as he tried to stab a policeman.

His comments came hours after several hundred people attended the early morning funeral of Ahmed Muhammad Mahameed in the northern Arab Israeli town of Umm al-Fahm.

Police said the large numbers who took part were a violation of an agreement with the family that it be a low-key ceremony.

“Are you are still asking yourselves why Umm al-Fahm needs to be in Palestine and not Israel?” Liberman tweeted. “The scenes yesterday of many hundreds of people participating in the funeral of the terrorist from their city with Palestinian flags, and chants that ‘with spirit and blood we will redeem you martyr,’ will finally answer the question. The plan that I published many years ago for an exchange of territory and populations is more relevant than ever.”

Mahameed was shot dead last week as he tried to stab an officer in the Old City of Jerusalem. His body was returned to his family overnight Monday after an agreement was reached on the number of people who would take part in the funeral as well as the route and time of the procession.
‘Shirley Temper’ Ahed Tamimi Invents New Version of ‘Slap’ Story
In the first version:
- The soldier was trying to provoke her
- She told him to not come down the stairs of her house
- At that time, she heard he had shot her cousin
- The soldier started firing at people from her house
- She got angry and slapped him

In the latest version:
- Soldiers (plural) started shooting at homes in her village and THEN shot her cousin, who is now described as “on the verge of death”
- The soldier who shot him then came and stopped at the door of her house
- The soldier started shooting not just “people” but “small kids” and “the youth”
- She told the soldier to go away and when he didn’t, she slapped him

Of course, we know neither version is true, because the incident was filmed by her mother Nariman. The soldiers were just standing outside – not shooting anyone as claimed (had they been shooting, you can bet it would have been filmed) – and Ahed and her cousin Nour were instructed by Nariman to “kick them out.”

So my question is this: why does the media continue to give credence to her claims, especially considering this footage is available to not just me but everyone?

I think we already know the answer to this.
Ahed Tamimi’s brother sentenced to 14 months for stone-throwing
An Israeli military court on Monday sentenced the brother of Ahed Tamimi to 14 months behind bars for throwing stones at security forces in two clashes over the last three years.

Wa’ed Tamimi, 22, was arrested in May over an incident that took place the previous year, in March 2017, in which he and others from his village of Nabi Saleh hurled stones at an army jeep that had gotten stuck in the town.

According to the indictment against Tamimi, a soldier suffered a hand injury as a result of the rock throwing.

The verdict came less than a month after Tamimi’s sister Ahed Tamimi and mother Nariman Tamimi were released for prison for hitting a soldier in a case that drew international attention.

In handing down its sentence — which was first reported by the Kan public broadcaster — Judge Rani Amar said he took into account a similar clash in which Wa’ed Tamimi took part in January 2016. For that incident, he was given a 12-month suspended sentence.

Amar accepted the plea agreement reached between the defense and the prosecution in which Tamimi agreed to serve 14 months behind bars — eight months for the 2017 incident and six months for the 2016 one.
JCPA: Nasrallah Presents Hizbullah’s Perception of Confrontation with Israel
In an address marking the 12th anniversary of the Second Lebanon War on August 14, 2018, Hassan Nasrallah, the Secretary General of Hizbullah, described how he perceived the confrontation with Israel. Hizbullah’s “victory” in the Second Lebanon War, Nasrallah claimed, achieved complete deterrence against Israel. Prior to 2006, Israel attacked Lebanon freely and at will, even when there was no cause for attack. Israeli aerial attacks targeted southern Lebanon, the Beqaa Valley, northern Lebanon, and the capital, Beirut. This is no longer the status quo, declared Nasrallah, due to the new reality Hizbullah set for Israel.

In light of Hizbullah’s military buildup, of which Israel is well-aware, Nasrallah stressed that Israel’s threat assessment takes into account the damage to its own gas, electric, and oil facilities.

For the first time, Nasrallah noted, Israel’s military training is based on defending itself against Lebanon and not merely on offensive attacks into Lebanese territory. According to Nasrallah, Israel has never been on the defensive in a war with Lebanon before. Israel’s military training efforts are now invested every year in southern Lebanon and northern Israel in defense tactics designed to prevent the occupation of the Galilee.

Nasrallah noted Israel’s failed attempts to topple the Syrian regime. He claimed that Israeli assessments that the Syrian army would collapse, followed by the Assad regime, have been disproven.
Report: Iraq to ask U.S. for exemptions on some Iran sanctions
Baghdad is going to ask Washington for permission to ignore some US sanctions on its neighbor Iran, Iraqi government and central bank officials said.

Iraq's economy is very closely linked to Iran's. Iraq imports crucial supplies from ally Iran but its other major ally is the United States, which provides security assistance and training.

US President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from an international deal aimed at limiting Iran's nuclear program earlier this year and reimposed trade sanctions.

Washington has said there will be consequences for countries that do not respect the sanctions. This puts Baghdad in a difficult position.

The request would mark an important change in political tactics for Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. He initially said Baghdad would respect all the US sanctions but faced heavy criticism from rivals.

The officials told Reuters a delegation will travel to Washington to ask for exemptions in applying the sanctions. They did not say when that trip would take place.
Senior Turkish official claims 'Jewish bankers' run the world
A veteran Turkish politician has drawn criticism over the past few days, after he accused “Zionist bankers” of conspiring to dominate the world and claimed a small cadre of Jews had destroyed the American monetary system.

Burhan Kuzu, a founding member of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, had served as a member of the Turkish parliament until this June’s election. He nevertheless remains an influential figure within the party, and a confidant of President Erdogan.

Last Wednesday, Kuzu claimed via Twitter that a group of some 300 “Zionist bankers of Jewish descent” had taken control of the printing of US currency, as part of a larger plot to ‘run the world’.

“This is not a hoax!” Kuzu wrote. “The American people think that the dollar is US money. However, the paper bills are printed and controlled by just 12 families of Zionist bankers of Jewish descent, whose numbers do not exceed 300.”

This group of “Zionist bankers”, Kuzu claimed, “runs the world”.

To back up his claims, Kuzu cited the end of America’s use of the Gold Standard in monetary policy, claiming that the switch to fiat money was evidence of the plot by “Zionist bankers”.




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