Monday, November 05, 2018

From Ian:

Netanyahu hails ‘historic’ Iran sanctions, says his fight against world paid off
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday praised US President Donald Trump’s “courageous, determined and important decision” to reinstate all US sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal, saying the move was a direct result of his own efforts against the deal.

“​For many years I ​have devoted my time and energy to the war against the Iranian threat. ​On this issue I went ​up ​almost against the whole world. Today we see the results of this long and ongoing struggle​,” Netanyahu said at the opening of his Likud faction meeting in the Knesset.

“This day is a historic day,” Netanyahu said. ​”​I would like to again thank President Donald Trump again for a courageous, determined and important decision. I think this contributes to stability, security and peace.”

Monday’s sanctions are the second batch the Trump administration has reimposed on the Islamic Republic since withdrawing from the nuclear agreement earlier this year.

The rollback ends US participation in the Obama-era accord, which now hangs in the balance as Iran no longer enjoys the billions of dollars in sanctions relief it was granted under the deal in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.

Israel, which considers Iran an existential threat and opposed the deal from the beginning, broadly welcomed the US’s exit from the deal and the reimposition of sanctions.

Netanyahu, who personally lobbied world leaders against the deal and since its signing, has called for it to be canceled said, “This is ​a very big day for the State of Israel. This is a great day for the people of Israel. This is a great day for the future of Israel.”

PMW: PA lies, presents Holocaust victims as Arabs
Purporting to be showing images of Arab victims from the village of Al-Dawayima which the Israeli army captured during Israel’s War of Independence in 1948 (see note below), official PA TV deceptively showed a photo from a Nazi concentration camp showing victims from the Holocaust.

Below is the original photo from the concentration camp at Nordhausen, originally a sub-camp of Buchenwald, showing hundreds of dead victims. It was taken right after liberation of the camp by the American army:
[April 17, 1945, AP photo / US army Signal Corps]

This is PA TV’s image and text on screen claiming the victims are Arabs:
“70 years since the occupation’s massacre at the village of Al-Dawayima”
[Official PA TV, Palestine This Morning, Oct. 28, 2018]

Ironically, this is not the first time PA TV have deceived their viewers about this concentration camp photo. Palestinian Media Watch exposed earlier this year that PA TV presented this very same photo claiming it showed Arabs killed by Jews on April 9, 1948 in the village of Deir Yassin.



The Middle East "Truce": Why Hamas Cannot Be Trusted
Israel is being asked to make all these gestures to Hamas at a time when most Arabs have stopped trusting the terrorist group years ago. The Syrian regime dumped Hamas shortly after the beginning of the civil war in 2011 because of its support for the anti-Bashar Assad opposition forces. In 2012, the Syrian authorities closed down Hamas offices in Damascus and expelled several leaders of the terrorist group.

Jordan also shut down the Hamas offices in Amman two decades ago, and in 1999 expelled several Hamas officials from the kingdom.

The Egyptians cordially hate Hamas: they consider it a "threat" to their national security because of its affiliation with Muslim Brotherhood and terrorist groups fighting against the regime of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Some Egyptians have also accused Hamas of working with the Islamic terrorist groups in the Sinai Peninsula.

Saudi Arabia has gone even further by denouncing Hamas as a terrorist organization.

These are only a few examples of how Arab countries view and deal with Hamas. Israel, meanwhile, is being asked to help Hamas by easing restrictions on the Gaza Strip. It is a request that poses a severe threat to Israel's security. Ironically, the threat to Israel that this truce presents is far more severe than the current assaults Israel is undoubtedly hoping that the truce will stop. If Hamas's Arab brothers do not trust this terrorist group, why should Israel?

The proposed truce may bring calm along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, but only in the short term. Hamas is not going to change its ideology or policies as a result of any temporary truce. It will always continue to work towards achieving its goal of seeing to it that Israel is "removed from the map."

This goal is why Israel needs to remain on high alert even if a truce is reached. Hamas's goal is also why the international community needs to understand that striking deals with terrorists simply emboldens terrorists and their friends in ISIS and other jihadi groups. The only way to deal with Islamist terrorists is by making sure that they are the first to "disappear from the map." A real truce between Israel and the Gaza Strip will be achieved only after the jihadi terrorists are removed from power, and not rewarded for violence and threats.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Egypt not opposed to letting Qatar pay Hamas salaries, despite PA concerns
Egypt is not opposed to Qatar’s intention to pay salaries to Hamas employees in the Gaza Strip, informed Palestinian sources said on Sunday.

Egyptian intelligence officials recently told Hamas leaders representatives of other Gaza-based terrorist groups that Cairo believes that the Qatari initiative would contribute to stability and calm and facilitate efforts to achieve a truce with Israel, the sources told the Palestinian daily Al-Quds.

Egypt, the sources said, was keen on improving the living conditions of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip as long as the aid is done under the supervision of the United Nations.

The sources pointed out that Egypt had not opposed in the past the delivery of Qatari funds to the Gaza Strip.

Several Arab media outlets have published in the past few days details of what they called the draft of the proposed truce between Hamas and Israel.

According to the unconfirmed reports, the proposed deal calls for an end to the violent demonstrations along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, expanding the fishing zone, reopening the border crossings and allowing thousands of Palestinians to work in Israel.
Israeli official: Many countries plan to move embassies to Jerusalem
Following Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro's announcement in an interview with Israel Hayom that he plans to transfer the Brazilian Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a senior diplomatic official told Israel Hayom additional countries are expected to announce they also intend to relocate their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. According to the official, the Czech Republic may be the first country to make the move.

Netanyahu has called Bolsonaro's announcement "a historic, correct and moving step."

The official said the subject came up in talks Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held during his official visit to Varna, Bulgaria over the weekend, as part of Israel's efforts to bolster ties with existing alliances inside the European Union.

The same official revealed Israel was examining the possibility of initiating additional intra-European associations in an effort to decrease the transfer of funds to left-wing organizations. It was the official's assessment that Israel could find common ground with many countries inside Europe in its campaign against the policy of support for these anti-Israel nongovernmental organizations.

Netanyahu asked Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, who will soon take on the role of rotating EU president to use her senior role to influence the EU's treatment of Israel.

At the Craiova Forum in Varna, Netanyahu revealed that Israel had recently prevented dozens of terrorist attacks on European soil, including in Denmark .
Doha warns Brazil against moving embassy to Jerusalem
Qatar has called on Brazil's President-elect Jair Bolsonaro to reverse his decision to relocate his country's embassy in Israel to what the Persian Gulf state called "the occupied Jerusalem city."

In a statement citing the U.N. General Assembly's refusal to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, alongside the U.N.'s call for countries not to establish diplomatic missions there, Qatar's Foreign Ministry cautioned that moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would be a departure from the international consensus.

Officials in the Arab world have expressed concern over the Brazilian initiative, which they fear could prompt other South American countries to follow suit.

In an interview with Israel Hayom published Thursday, Bolsonaro said: "Israel is a sovereign state. If you decide on your capital city, we will act in accordance. When I was asked during the campaign if I'll do it [relocate the embassy] when I was president, I said yes, and that you're the ones who decide on the capital of Israel, not other people.

"As for the Palestinian Embassy [in Brazil], it was built too close to the presidential palace," he continued. "No embassy can be so close to the presidential palace, so we intend to move it. There's no other way, in my opinion. Other than that, Palestine first needs to be a state to have the right to an embassy."
Senior Catholic leadership calls on government to rescind nation-state law
The most senior Catholic clergy in Israel on Sunday called for the government to rescind the Nation-State Law passed in July, describing it as “a blow” to the values of democracy while acknowledging that the legislation “changes very little in practice.”

The Basic Law states Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People and generated huge controversy for ascribing certain rights and values to the country’s Jewish population but failing to affirm the commitment of the state to promote equality for all citizens.

Proponents say no rights were negatively impacted by the law, and that equality for all citizens is laid out in the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Freedom. They further argue that Israel’s Jewish character had never been delineated in law.

The Catholic clergy – including Archbishop of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church in Israel Georges Bacouni, Maronite Archbishop of Haifa and Exarch of Jerusalem Moussa El-Hage, and Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate Pierbattista Pizzaballa – argued in a joint statement, however, that the law provides a constitutional basis for infringing the rights of non-Jewish citizens in the future.

They said that when tensions in Israel have led to an emphasis of the country’s Jewish over its democratic character, it has led to discrimination against the Arab population.

The clergy objected in particular to the clause in the law promoting “Jewish settlement as a national value,” and what they described as the downgrading of Arabic in relation to Hebrew.
Jordan says Israel has asked to discuss canceled borderlands deal
Jordan said it has received a formal request from Israel to open negotiations about the future of two parcels of land along the border between the countries that the kingdom last month said it would retake control of, in a move perceived as downgrading the peace treaty between the two nations.

Minister of State for Media Affairs Jumana Ghunaimat said Sunday that Israel had asked to hold consultations about the Baqour and Ghumar regions, Jordan’s official Petra News Agency reported.

Known in Israel as Naharayim in the north and the Tzofar enclave in the southern Arava desert, the lands in question were ceded to Jordan as part of the countries’ 1994 peace treaty, but Amman agreed Israeli farmers could still access and work the plots as part of a 25-year lease that had been widely expected in Israel to be renewed.

Ghunaimat noted that Jordan was exercising its legal right in notifying that it had decided not to renew the agreement. She said that the kingdom was committed to negotiating with Israel in a way that “preserves Jordan’s national interests” the report said.

King Abdullah II announced on October 21 that Amman would not renew the agreement to lease the lands as it has done for the past 24 years.
Israel’s US ambassador slams Turkey, Qatar for attempting to ‘ruin’ Saudi-US relationship
Israel’s ambassador to the US Ron Dermer has used a recent panel discussion to slam global double standards with regard to the world’s outcry over journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder and criticism of the US’ decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and impose sanctions.

Dermer said: “It is hard for me to take seriously statements of outrage that (the murder) caused and the calls for a fundamental change to the relationship with Saudi Arabia, when (the same people) supported an agreement that gave an avowed enemy of the US hundreds of billions of dollars.”

He added: “If we are outraged by the murder of one, we should be five-hundred thousand times more outraged by the murder of five-hundred thousand,” citing how the nuclear deal had “enabled” Bashar Assad to kill 500,000 innocent Syrians.

He also highlighted the external forces that continue to attempt to ruin Saudi Arabia’s relationships with the US.

Dermer referenced Turkish and Qatari moves to drive a wedge between the Kingdom and the United States in the aftermath of the murder of Khashoggi.

Dermer said: “Turkey and Qatar are pressing hard to ruin relationships with Saudi Arabia,” as he criticized Qatari news channel Al-Jazeera for spreading anti-American and anti-semitic messages.

Dermer said the US had to be careful about throwing away the important “strategic relationship” it has with Saudi Arabia, as he highlighted how the US and Iran shared “no interests and no values.”
Documents Show Qatar Likely Hacked Boteach, Others Due to Ties With Adelson
A series of messages reviewed by the Jewish Journal show that the nation of Qatar likely targeted Rabbi Shmuley Boteach in a hacking scheme due to his ties with major GOP donor and Israel supporter Sheldon Adelson.

The Journal reviewed a series of WhatsApp messages between Nick Muzin, the former deputy chief of staff for Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Tex.) presidential campaign, and Joey Allaham, former owner of New York kosher restaurants. The two were reportedly contracted to conduct lobbying efforts on behalf of the Qatari government.

On Jan. 26, Allaham messaged Muzin, “This Vegas thing is bothering me,” referencing that Allaham and Muzin were not going to be welcomed at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s (RJC) leadership retreat in April. A Republican source told the Journal that this was in part due to their ties to the Qatari government.

“It’s really shocking,” Muzin replied. “Someone very influential there is out to get me. It must be Sheldon [Adelson].”

Muzin added, “I think Shmuley [Boteach] stirred him up.”
SWIFT network suspends Iran banks as US sanctions take force
The SWIFT banking network, the backbone for international monetary transfers, said Monday it has suspended several Iranian banks from its service, after the United States reimposed nuclear sanctions on Tehran.

“In keeping with our mission of supporting the resilience and integrity of the global financial system as a global and neutral service provider, SWIFT is suspending certain Iranian banks’ access to the messaging system,” it said.

“This step, while regrettable, has been taken in the interest of the stability and integrity of the wider global financial system.”

SWIFT, the Belgian-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, provides banks with a secure messenger network to allow international transfers.

Without its services, Iranian banks will find it more difficult to do business with any client prepared to brave US sanctions to maintain ties with Tehran.
Europe Has Little to Gain from Standing by Iran
Today the Trump administration is imposing further sanctions on the Islamic Republic, making it harder for European as well as American firms to do business there. The leaders of the EU, meanwhile, seem determined to preserve economic ties with Tehran, and are considering various legal and financial measure to counter U.S. sanctions. Morgan Ortagus warns against these efforts:

What is lost on European governments, but not on business leaders, is that Iran has proved to be a difficult place to do business. After its 30 years of effectively being out of the mainstream of world economics, many emerging-market entrepreneurs were salivating to reach a new and potentially explosive untapped market. What European businesses have found instead is a lack of trust with their Iranian business counterparts, inability to get payments on time, and endless arguments over terms. Moreover, after the huge fines paid by European banks to American regulators during the Obama administration, many financial institutions and corporations were loath to enter the Iranian market in the first place. . . .

As lines are drawn in the sand, European governments must ask themselves: is anger at Trump for his tactics worth standing by a brutal regime which has been caught multiple times in the past six months planning attacks on European soil? That just this week tried to assassinate an Iranian dissident in Denmark? Is it worth deepening the wounds of the transatlantic alliance, in order to stand by an enemy of America?
Iranian Researcher Shams Al-Din Rahmani Denies The Holocaust, Says The Jews Control the Oil Industry


Iran accuses Israel of launching new cyber attack
Iran’s telecommunications minister accused Israel of a new cyberattack on the Islamic Republic, the same day that US sanctions (which were lifted by the 2015 nuclear deal ) were reimposed.

This comes days after Iran said it had neutralized a new version of the Stuxnet virus.

In a series of tweets, Telecommunication Minister Mohammad Javad Azeri Jahromi blamed Israel for the attack, saying it targeted Iran’s communications infrastructure and that Iran would sue for the cyberattack via international bodies.

“The Zionist regime, with its dark record of using cyber weapons such as Stuxnet computer virus, launched a cyberattack on Iran on Monday to harm the country’s communication infrastructures,” Jahromi said in a tweet on Monday, adding that “thanks to the vigilance of [Iranian] technical teams, it [Israel] returned empty-handed.”

According to Iran’s Tasnim news agency, Jahromi’s deputy Hamid Fattahi said that more details of the alleged Israeli cyber strikes would be made public in the coming days. Last week, General Gholam Reza Jalali, head of the military unit in charge of combating sabotage, said that President Hassan Rouhani’s cell phone had been tapped, and would be replaced with a more secure device.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Mossad Changes Iran Nuclear Password To “••••••••••••••” (satire)
Officials in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s atomic weapons development program found themselves locked out of the system governing the initiative this week after Israel’s secret intelligence agency neutralized the computerized security altered all the access codes to a series of black dots.

The latest Israeli intelligence coup and Iranian embarrassment occurred over the weekend, say Mossad sources, as part of an ongoing attempt to slow, disable, or otherwise stymie Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. Iran’s leadership has repeatedly called for Israel’s destruction.

A Mossad representative speaking on condition of anonymity under agency rules disclosed that months of intensive effort by the organization’s cyber-attack unit had yielded results when an agent procured a series of passwords to one of the regime’s most secure computer network. “They’ll be going mad, thinking they have the right passwords, when in fact the actual password is a bunch of black dots,” explained the agent. “We already have reports of scientists and other Iran nuclear program figures pulling their hair out, counting the dots, and swearing up and down. We even got a couple of video clips of it, and damn if that isn’t some of the most satisfying footage I’ve seen in my career.”
Palestinian tries to stab soldier in West Bank, is shot and lightly wounded
A Palestinian attempted to stab an Israeli soldier near the West Bank city of Hebron on Sunday and was shot by soldiers, the military said.

The IDF said the attempted stabbing took place at Elias Junction at the entrance to the Kiryat Arba settlement, and said it was investigating the incident.

Reports said the assailant was lightly injured, and has been taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

No Israeli troops or civilians were injured in the attempted attack.

Kiryat Arba is adjacent to the divided city of Hebron, where Palestinians live in close proximity to settlers who are guarded by Israeli troops. The flashpoint city, which is home to the Tomb of the Patriarchs, has been the scene of numerous stabbings and attempted stabbings in recent years.
Bill Authorizing Death Penalty for Palestinian Murderers Given OK by Netanyahu
A controversial bill that would execute Palestinian terrorists found guilty of murdering Israeli civilians or soldiers was given the support of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday.

The prime minister gave coalition party heads the go-ahead in a legislative agenda meeting, where he said opposition from Shin Bet security services and Israel Defense Forces’ officials should not prevent lawmakers from advancing the bill, which has been stalled since January.

Though Israel does allow for the death penalty, it was only used once—in 1962 for the execution of Nazi official Adolf Eichmann for his part in engineering the Holocaust.

The death penalty is technically available for certain cases of high treason, and in martial-law situations in Judea and Samaria, but the penalty requires the unanimous agreement of three judges and has never been handed down.

The new bill would allow a simple majority of judges on a panel to impose the death penalty.

The bill was authored by Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu Party, but has also been backed by Education Minister Naftali Bennett, chairman of the Jewish Home party.
Israel cautioned against deducting 'martyr payments' from PA taxes
U.N. Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov and European officials have reportedly warned Israel that the Palestinian Authority could collapse if Israel implements a law to deduct stipends paid to terrorists from the tax revenue Israel collects on the PA's behalf.

Diplomatic officials relayed messages to Jerusalem saying that implementing the law would bring the PA, already in a dire financial situation, to its "breaking point" and could cause a complete "system failure."

The officials said the PA already has a $1 billion deficit, and if the law is implemented, donor countries would stop paying for the PA's daily operations and instead would fund humanitarian projects.

While foreign officials have decided to raise their concerns with Jerusalem, they are not pressuring Israel at this time.

The so-called terrorist payments law was enacted six months ago. It stipulates that at the beginning of every calendar year, Israel's defense minister must report to the cabinet the total amount paid by the PA to terrorists imprisoned in Israel and their families, after which the minister must withhold that amount from the tax revenues Israel collects for the PA. The funds are to be deposited in a trust until the Palestinians stop using them to encourage terrorism.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Car crash victim's body refused pre-burial prayers for land sale to Jews
The family of Ala' Qirresh, one of the seven east Jerusalem residents killed in Sunday's road accident on Route 90, denied on Monday that their son had been involved in any real estate transactions with Jews.

The denial came after angry residents of east Jerusalem refused to hold a funeral for Qirresh on the pretext that he had been involved in the sale of an Arab-owned house to Jews.

Several residents prevented the victim's family from bringing his body to the al-Aqsa Mosque for pre-burial prayers, eyewitnesses said. The residents claimed that Qirresh was a "traitor" who was involved in a real estate transaction with Jews.

According to the eyewitnesses, a fist-fight erupted at the entrance to the Temple Mount between members of Qirresh's family and a group of young men who tried to stop them from bringing the body into the mosque.
Hezbollah in America: ‘Unit 910’ Exposed in Court Proceedings
Brooklyn-based Ali Kourani faces trial for multiple charges related to his work as a double agent for the U.S.-designated terrorist group Hezbollah; specifically for its “External Security Organization” known as “Unit 910.” Kourani’s federal trial is tentatively set for March 2019.

As a card-carrying, read-in intelligence operative for Hezbollah’s noxious foreign terrorism wing, Ali Kourani was expected to do far more than videotape a Manhattan armory and gather names of Jewish businessmen from LinkedIn to knock off one day (as reported in Part I of this series). He was expected to keep his killing skills sharp.

In Part I, I revealed part of what Kourani -- a U.S.-educated engineer with an MBA -- told FBI agents in a series of confessionary interviews about his alleged double life with Hezbollah’s foreign terrorist service Unit 910. He said it recruited him to become a U.S.-based asset in 2008 during a visit to Lebanon, where his extended family clan was deeply enmeshed with the group (this included two brothers and his father, who once illegally entered the U.S. through the U.S.-Mexico border).

Kourani allegedly told of how, at just the time he qualified for U.S. citizenship in 2008, he received some initial cloak-and-dagger tradecraft training and was sent to his new homeland, America, with his first easy assignments. He was to apply for U.S. citizenship so he could get a cherished U.S. passport, videotape an armory and FBI office, and gather names of local Jewish businessmen or high-ranking Israeli Defense Forces veterans worth killing. He also sent back to Lebanon intelligence about how passengers disembark from planes at John F. Kennedy International Airport, how U.S. Customs officers screen and collect luggage, and the locations of security personnel, cameras, and magnetometers.

But much more was to come after he achieved citizenship in 2009, and he would need to prepare.

Kourani told the FBI he understood that in the event of war with Israel, he could be called home to fight; that this was expected of all Unit 910 agents throughout the United States, Canada, in Latin America, and across the globe. Kourani believed he and many of the others were overseen by a ranking Hezbollah handler in Lebanon known only as “Fadi.” In July 2011, according to the court records, Fadi summoned Kourani to the homeland for more and better weapons training.
In wake of Khashoggi killing, Saudi rights record comes under UN spotlight
Countries will gather at the UN in Geneva Monday to review the rights record of Saudi Arabia, as it faces a torrent of international condemnation over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The half-day public debate before the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva comes just over a month after the royal insider-turned-critic was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Turkey’s chief prosecutor confirmed for the first time last Wednesday that Khashoggi was strangled as soon as he entered the consulate on October 2 as part of a planned hit, and his body was then dismembered and destroyed.

The murder has placed strain on Saudi Arabia’s relationship with the United States and other western countries and has tarnished the image of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler.

Monday’s so-called Universal Periodic Review — which all 193 UN countries must undergo approximately every four years — is likely to also focus on Saudi Arabia’s role in Yemen’s brutal civil war.

Saudi Arabia and its allies intervened in the war in 2015 to bolster Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi after the Iran-backed rebels took over the capital Sanaa.

According to the World Health Organization, nearly 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict, and a UN panel of experts has accused both the Huthis and the Saudi-led coalition of acts that could amount to war crimes.




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