Tuesday, December 04, 2018

From Ian:

Daniel Pipes: Pushing for an Israeli Victory Is the Only Way to End the Conflict with the Palestinians
This perverse understanding of how wars end led Israel to make extraordinary blunders in the fifteen years after Oslo, for which it was punished by unremitting campaigns of delegitimization and violence, symbolized, respectively, by the Durban conference of 2001 and the Passover Massacre of 2002.

Such nonsense ended during Netanyahu's near-decade-long term as prime minister, but it has not yet been replaced by a sturdy vision of victory. Rather, Netanyahu has put out brush fires as they arose in Sinai, Gaza, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, Syria, and Lebanon. While agreeing with the concept of an Israeli victory when personally briefed, he has not spoken publicly about it.

Meanwhile, other leading figures in Israel have adopted this outlook. Former deputy chief of staff Uzi Dayan called on the army "to return to the path of victory." Former education and interior minister Gideon Sa'ar has stated that "The 'victory paradigm,' like Jabotinsky's 'Iron Wall' concept, assumes that an agreement may be possible in the future, but only after a clear and decisive Israeli victory ... The transition to the 'victory paradigm' is contingent upon abandoning the Oslo concept."

In this context, the statements by Lieberman and Bennett point to a change in thinking. Lieberman quit his position as defense minister out of frustration that a barrage by Hamas of 460 rockets and missiles against Israel was met with a ceasefire; he called instead for "a state of despair" to be imposed on the enemies of Israel. Complaining that "Israel stopped winning," Bennett demanded that the IDF "start winning again," and added that "When Israel wants to win, we can win." On rescinding his demand for the defense portfolio, Bennett emphasized that he stands ‎by Netanyahu "in the monumental task of ensuring that Israel is victorious ‎again."

Opponents of this paradigm then amusingly testified to the power of this idea of victory. Ma'ariv columnist Revital Amiran wrote that the victory the Israeli public most wants lies in such arenas as larger allocations for the elderly and unbearable traffic jams. Meretz leader Tamar Zandberg, replied to Bennett that for her, a victorious Israel means winning Emmy and Oscar nominations, guaranteeing equal health services, and spending more on education.

That victory and defeat have newly become a topic for debate in Israel constitutes a major step forward. As media figure Ayalet Mitsch correctly notes, "even left-leaning Israelis think it's time to win again." Thus does the push for an Israeli victory move forward.
Merkel urged EU countries not to move embassies to Jerusalem
Speaking from the European parliament, Sandell said, “What we have found out, something I heard for quite some time already, from central and eastern European countries that would have an inclination to move their embassy to Jerusalem, this is the natural thing for them to do, is that they have received phone calls from Berlin, from Angela Merkel, the chancellor. Basically, this cannot happen under any circumstances.”

"I have spoken to many Germans these last few days in Brussels," he said. "They are not aware of this, and all of them would be shocked that all of the countries in the European Union today would want to block an embassy move to Jerusalem, not only for your own country, but for other countries that have the conviction [that] this is the right thing to do, the only country to do would be Germany. This is a big shock."

He added that "this is something unprecedented. This is not the Germany we once knew. This is not the even Angela Merkel we once knew when she was elected.”

Sandell said many of Merkel’s telephone calls took place to European leaders in April when “many of the nations were seriously considering moving their embassies.”

Sandell said Merkel’s anti-Israel moves have to do with the Iran nuclear deal, which “has been very much supported by Germany [and] the German government.”



IDF uncovers Hezbollah tunnel, residents tell Post 'we heard digging'
The IDF on Tuesday uncovered the first cross-border Hezbollah tunnel from a home in the Lebanese village of Kfar Kila some 40 meters into Israeli territory outside the town of Metulla , the IDF Spokesperson's Unit announced in a statement Tuesday.

It was the first tunnel that the IDF said it had discovered as part of Operation Northern Shield launched to expose and destroy offensive cross-border tunnels built by the Lebanese Shiite terror group, a proxy of Iran, along the Lebanon border and into northern Israel.

According to the military, it took Hezbollah some two years to build the 600 foot long tunnel which had been dug through solid rock into Israel and built some 80 feet underground and was six feet wide and six feet tall, and had electrical and communication lines as well as ventilation.

“The digging of the cross-border attack tunnels that the IDF has discovered, before the attack tunnels became operational and posed an imminent threat to the safety of Israeli civilians, constitutes a flagrant and severe violation of Israeli sovereignty,” said IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis.
Preperations for 'Operation Northern Shield'

The objective of the operation is to neutralize all Hezbollah attack tunnels which have crossed into Israeli territory. The operation will take place all along the "Blue Line", the name for the international border between Israel and Lebanon and for the time being will be strictly within Israeli territory.

Nevertheless, other tunnels may be destroyed within Lebanon.
IDF says 200-meter attack tunnel from Lebanon uncovered as operation launches
The Israeli military on Tuesday said it uncovered the “first of sure to be many” cross-border attack tunnels dug by the Lebanese Hezbollah terrorist group, this one from under a house in the Lebanese village of Kafr Kila, across from the Israeli town of Metulla.

This was the first tunnel that the Israel Defense Forces has said it discovered as part of a newly launched operation — Northern Shield — to find and destroy the offensive subterranean passages from Lebanon, which the army said are not yet operational and do not present an immediate threat to Israelis.

“At this time, having exposed the tunnel, IDF soldiers are conducting engineering and operational efforts before neutralizing it,” the army said in a statement.

Though for now the army’s activities are limited to the Israeli side of the Blue Line — the internationally recognized armistice line that acts as a de facto border between Israel and Lebanon — IDF Spokesperson Ronen Manelis indicated that other tunnels may be destroyed within Lebanon as well.

“We are prepared for all options, and the operation is only in its first day. The neutralizing of the tunnels will not necessarily take place within our territory,” he said.
IDF Launches Operation Northern Shield


Operation Northern Shield


Israel Launches Operation Northern Shield to Expose Hezbollah Terror Tunnels


JCPA: Hizbullah’s Operational Plan to Invade the Galilee through Underground Tunnels
One of the main lessons Hizbullah learned from the Second Lebanon War in 2006 was the necessity of changing the aims of its next war with Israel. The new goals included building up its defensive capabilities and developing methods of attack that would allow Hizbullah to fight the war within Israeli territory. Hizbullah’s military commander, Imad Mughniyeh, led this process of integrating these lessons. He asserted that during the next war, Hizbullah would invade the northern Israeli Galilee region and conquer it. Hizbullah set its sights on regions which have topographical superiority in comparison to Israel’s inferior topographical positions near the border.
Qassem Soleimani, Imad Mughniyeh, and Hassan Nasrallah

To achieve these goals, Mughniyah prepared an operational plan that he oversaw until his death in February 2008. After his death, Hizbullah special forces, known as the “Radwan Forces,” continued their training under the command of Mustafa Badr Al-Din until the revolt broke out in Syria in 2011.

The operational plan includes:
  • The training of Hizbullah special forces to take control of isolated Israeli communities along the northern border. In Hizbullah terminology, this is referred to as “the conquest of the Galilee.” (See JCPA article, November 2, 2011, here.)
  • The construction of tunnels infiltrating into Israeli territory, close to Israeli communities. The tunnels are intended for the movement of several hundred fighters, and not to abduct soldiers or civilians. The model that Mughniyah visualized was that of invasion tunnels from North Korea into South Korea, which his Iranian guides had studied intensively.
The Israeli dilemma in Lebanon
Still, Israeli decision-makers face a complex dilemma. Hezbollah is believed to be in ‎possession of 150,000 advanced projectiles – far ‎more advanced than anything Hamas has – and ‎Nasrallah repeatedly boasts they are capable of striking any target anywhere in Israel. ‎

Moreover, a strike in Lebanon is not akin to a ‎strike in Syria. With the Syrian civil war ‎practically over, Russian President Vladimir Putin ‎has emerged as the master of the Syrian domain, ‎meaning that while Jerusalem and Moscow may have ‎their conflict of interests, there is someone to ‎reason with if need be, and someone who can, to an ‎extent, curb the Iranians. ‎

Lebanon, on the other hand, is plagued by serious ‎political turmoil that sees Prime Minister Saad ‎Hariri (whose father, Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, was ‎assassinated by Hezbollah in 2005) and Nasrallah ‎constantly lock horns. ‎

Given Hezbollah's considerable political clout in ‎the Lebanese parliament, Nasrallah is the real ‎master of the Lebanese domain and there is no one ‎there who can stop him. ‎

This is why defense officials believe that an ‎Israeli operation in Lebanon – even a limited one – ‎would not necessarily meet a measured response by Hezbollah, making ‎the potential for a full-scale war, which would ‎expose the Israeli homefront to thousands of ‎missiles, far greater
Seth Frantzman: Operation Northern Shield comes amid rising Iranian, Hezbollah rhetoric
Iran launched a new warship and tested a ballistic missile in the days before Israel launched Operation Northern Shield. Hezbollah released a video threatening sites throughout Israel. In addition, tensions in Syria have risen after a mysterious air strike south of Damascus last Thursday. Hezbollah claimed its fighters were not hurt in that air strike.

In the last year, as the Syrian civil war has wound down and the Syrian regime, backed by Iran and Russia, has largely defeated the Syrian rebels, Iran’s influence has grown. Iran has constructed a corridor of influence stretching from Tehran via Baghdad to Damascus and Beirut. This “road to the sea” enabled Iran to funnel weapons to Syria and its Hezbollah ally.

The IDF revealed in September that it had carried out more than 200 air strikes against Iran in the last year and a half. One of those strikes led to the downing of a Russian IL-20 in September, when Syrian air defense S-200s mistakenly shot down the Russian plane in Latakia while trying to defend against an attack.

Then Russia deployed the S-300 air defense system to Syria and has been training Syrians to use it. The Institute for the Study of War warned on November 30 that Russia’s air defense network was expanding in Syria.

The overall picture in Syria and Lebanon is of increasing Iranian activity, especially amid the Syrian regime’s attempt to consolidate its control. It has consolidated that control in southern Syria in the last six months after defeating the Syrian rebels near Quneitra and returning to the border.

As with the S-300, Russia has played a role there as well. Russia sent military police to the southern Quneitra area in Syria as the UN re-deployed along the ceasefire line. This was supposed to calm the north, and show that the regime was willing to return to the pre-2011 quiet.

In the last two months since the downing of the IL-20 and the deployment of the S-300, there has been relative calm. But Hezbollah has continued its rhetoric of threats. In addition, Iran has continued its activity.
Of course Hezbollah was tunneling under the border. Why wouldn’t it?
The IDF’s announcement Tuesday morning of an operation against Hezbollah attack tunnels from Lebanese territory into Israel is not necessarily a clear indication of an escalation with the Shiite terror group. Except that an examination of the breadth of regional developments, including these tunnels and in particular Hezbollah’s Iran-backed factories for precision rockets, prompts a worrying conclusion: The next war between Israel and Hezbollah is already at the door.

Hezbollah, in the wake of the dwindling civil war in Syria, is a stronger organization than it was before the violence erupted there seven years ago. True, it suffered major losses, with about 2,000 of its fighters killed and four times that number wounded, as it battled against rebels on behalf of the Assad regime. But on the battlefield, Israel is now facing a more dangerous enemy, trained and practiced from a prolonged ground war.

The Lebanon-based terror group has began rehabilitating its abilities against Israel in a number of ways. First, in rocketry. Hezbollah had a vast number of rockets before the Syrian civil war erupted, although most of them were not accurate. Now, under Iranian guidance in Syria and Lebanon, it is working to change that.

The factories for producing accurate missiles that Hezbollah is working to establish, with the assistance of Iran’s Republican Guards Corps, will give the Shiite terror organization impressive capabilities to damage Israeli infrastructure, both military and civilian — the kind of damage that will make the 2006 conflict, when it last battled Israel and rained down rockets on the north of the country, look like a walk in the park.

At the same time, Hezbollah is busy enlisting fresh fighters, training them, and equipping them with Iranian weapons and money.

In addition, the organization is engaged in setting up a military infrastructure on the Syrian Golan Heights, under the noses of, and with the agreement of, Syrian authorities, yet ignored by Russia.
Northern Shield reveals security 'secrets' hinted at by Netanyahu
At these times, Netanyahu said, without elaboration, “leadership is standing up to criticism, when you know secret and sensitive things that you can not share with the people of Israel, and in this case with the residents of the south.”

Referring to mounting criticism to his decision to go for a ceasefire with Hamas, rather than embark on a much larger military campaign, Netanyahu said that he was aware of the criticism. “But together with the heads of the security branches, I see the whole security picture, which I cannot share with the public. Were that I would be able to share with Israel's citizens everything that I know, but when it comes to security, there is more hidden than revealed,” he said.

Netanyahu repeated his I-know-things-that-you-don't-know theme during his statement to the nation four days later, when he explained why he was not heading for early elections even after Avigdor Liberman resigned as defense minister over the Gaza policy.

“A large part of the criticism is a result of not being able – for understandable reasons – to present to you everything in full seen by the chief of staff, IDF generals, head of the Shabak [Israel Security Agency], head of the Mossad, and me – we just can't present it. Therefore you see only part of a wider campaign that we are still in the middle of, and which I must complete in order to bring full security to the residents of the south and to all the residents of Israel.”

Not always, Netanyahu said, “are things seen clearly at the moment.”

This theme, in that speech, was supplemented by another, which was no less mystifying: the country is in the midst of a complicated security situation that may necessitate “sacrifices.”
Bolton: US ‘strongly supports’ anti-tunnel operation in Israel’s north
US National Security Adviser John Bolton on Tuesday expressed “strong support” for Israel’s operation against Hezbollah attack tunnels crossing the Lebanese border, saying Washington backed Jerusalem’s “efforts to defend its sovereignty.”

In a tweet, Bolton called on the Iranian-backed Lebanese terror group to stop digging tunnels into Israel and refrain from responding to the operation.

He also called on Iran and “all of its agents” to cease “provocations” that threaten the Jewish state’s security.

The Israel Defense Forces launched early Tuesday a large-scale operation to destroy cross-border attack tunnels constructed by the Shiite terrorist organization.
IDF warns Hezbollah, Lebanese army to stay away from border tunnels
The Israel Defense Forces on Tuesday issued a stern warning to members of the Hezbollah terror group and the Lebanese army to stay away from any tunnels dug under the Lebanese border and into Israel as the IDF launched a major operation to destroy the passageways.

In a message directed at elements of Hezbollah and the Lebanese army, the IDF said it “advises them to stay away from any offensive [tunnel] dug from Lebanese territory into Israeli territory.”

The message was posted by Lt. Col. Avichay Adraee, the IDF spokesman for Arabic media.

“You have been warned,” the tweet cautioned.

IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus announced earlier the launch of Operation Northern Shield, saying “a number of tunnels” have penetrated Israeli territory and forces were working on the Israeli side of the frontier to destroy them.

The army said the operation was taking place in Israeli territory, though spokesman Ronen Manelis, asked by Army Radio whether forces planned on crossing the border fence with Lebanon, said the campaign would expand in the coming days.
Lebanon, UN indicate border remaining calm, as Hezbollah mocks anti-tunnel drive
The Hezbollah terror group accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of launching a military operation along the Lebanese border in order to distract from his domestic woes, as officials on both sides of the fence indicated they would keep a lid on tensions but were preparing for the possibility of escalating hostilities.

The Lebanese Armed Forces went on high alert in southern Lebanon after the Israel army launched an operation Tuesday to find and destroy tunnels it said cross under the frontier and into its territory, a security official told the Lebanese al-Nahar news outlet Tuesday.

A Lebanese military official told The Associated Press that Lebanese troops and military intelligence agents, along with UN peacekeepers deployed in southern Lebanon, were observing the border. On its Twitter account the Lebanese army said its forces were “closely” following developments and were “totally prepared to confront any sudden occurrence.”

UN peacekeepers said they increased patrols on the Lebanese-Israeli border. “The overall situation in UNIFIL’s area of operation remains calm,” Joumana Sayegh, a spokeswoman for the UN mission which monitors the border region, said in a statement.

“UNIFIL is working with all interlocutors in order to maintain the overall stability,” she said.

Al-Nahar quoted Hezbollah propaganda outfit War Media as saying that Lebanese border villages were not preparing for a wider outbreak of hostilities.
MEMRI: Hamas Representative In Lebanon Ali Baraka: Our Missiles In Gaza 'Can Reach Every Spot In Palestine' As Can 'The Missiles Of The Resistance In Lebanon'; Iran's Financial Support 'Is The Basis' For The 'Steadfastness Of The Resistance In Gaza'
During a November 23 interview on Al-Nujaba TV (Iraq), Hamas's representative in Lebanon Ali Baraka said that Hamas has missiles that can strike anywhere in Israel, and that it is working to increase the missiles' range, accuracy, and destructive power. He said that Syria has not supported Hamas since 2011 and that he hopes that Iraq will support Hamas in the future. Baraka added that Hizbullah has been providing Hamas with logistical support, political aid, and expertise. He also explained that Iran's financial support is the "basis for the steadfastness of the resistance in Gaza," and that Iran was the only country that helped Hamas recover from the war in 2014. He also said that Hizbullah's willingness to fight Israel in the Galilee is an indication that it considers the liberation of Palestine to be a central cause.

To view the clip of Ali Baraka on MEMRI TV, click here or below.

"The Missiles Of The Resistance In Gaza Can Reach Every Spot In Palestine"

Ali Baraka: "The resistance was preparing to shell Tel Aviv, so the enemy..."
Host: "Do you have the ability to shell Tel Aviv?"
Ali Baraka: "Of course. We shelled Tel Aviv in 2012 and again in 2014. This is not the first time we would be shelling Tel Aviv. We have the ability to shell even farther than Tel Aviv. In 2012, we shelled Tel Aviv, which is 80 km away. Then in 2014, we shelled Haifa, which is 160 km away. Now, we are capable of shelling farther than Haifa."
Host: "How far?"
Ali Baraka: "All of Palestine. The missiles of the resistance in Gaza can reach every spot in Palestine. This is in addition to the missiles of the resistance in Lebanon."
Host: "To that extent?"
Ali Baraka: "Of course. The resistance has advanced. The Palestinian resistance has advanced and has diversified its capabilities."
Host: "Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said: 'We had the honor to send Kornet missiles to Palestine.'"
BBC News omits crucial background from report on IDF operation
As we see the BBC’s portrayal of the commencement of the Second Lebanon war erases the fact that in addition to the cross border raid that sparked the conflict, Hizballah simultaneously fired missiles at Israeli civilian communities. We also see that – as usual – the BBC cites Lebanese casualty figures that are devoid of any mention of Hizballah combatants.

While the Lebanese authorities did not differentiate between civilians and combatants during the 2006 war, Lebanese officials nevertheless reported even before the conflict was over that some 500 of the dead were Hizballah personnel and UN officials gave similar figures while Israeli estimates stand at around 600 (with 450 identified by name: see page 55 here).

The most glaring omission, however, in all versions of this BBC report is the obviously highly relevant topic of the UN Security Council resolutions relating to southern Lebanon and the UN force which is supposed to oversee the implementation of those resolutions.
Standing With Saudi Arabia
Justice, or some form of justice, will be done. But let’s be clear, the president adds: Those pushing us to destabilize the kingdom or even compromise the alliance because of the murder of one of that kingdom’s own citizens are being reckless, or worse.

Here, the president again remains zeroed in on the U.S. strategic priority in the region: We are in the middle of a campaign against Iran, the lead state sponsor of terrorism. The Saudis “have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran.” The United States has just imposed sanctions on Iran. Those sanctions target Tehran’s oil exports. A stable Saudi Arabia is critical for maintaining (or even increasing) its output levels, thereby keeping oil prices down—something as important to the average American as it is to the global economy and the success of sanctions on Iran’s oil business. “Saudi Arabia is the largest oil producing nation in the world,” Trump explained. “They have worked closely with us and have been very responsive to my requests to keeping oil prices at reasonable levels—so important for the world.”

Furthermore, he adds, making sure the Iranians don’t get to establish a base on the Red Sea is a critical interest not just to us, but also to our regional allies, namely Israel. “The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region,” he stated.

In other words, there is an American alliance system in the region. It includes Saudi Arabia and Israel. On the other side is Iran. Again, the first principle of a sound foreign policy: discerning friends from foes.

The question of whether America sides with Iran or with Saudi Arabia is not a beauty contest between two distasteful Middle Eastern theocracies, neither one of which is particularly attractive by Western standards. The question is not which is more or less palatable, the repressive Islamic Republic of Iran which hangs gay teenagers from cranes in the streets, or the austere House of Saud, where thieves get their hands cut off in the public square. This was the dishonest tactic that President Obama and his administration and surrogates used when trying to sell his decision not to intervene against Iran’s clients in Syria. “There are no good guys,” the mantra went. “We don’t take sides in a religious war between Shiites and Sunnis”—all the while making clear that for Obama and his party, Iran was the preferable partner.

President Trump does away with all that nonsense in this statement, by putting U.S. interests first: “As President of the United States I intend to ensure that, in a very dangerous world, America is pursuing its national interests and vigorously contesting countries that wish to do us harm.”

In both its style and its substance, Trump’s declaration of first principles is an unusually clear-minded, straightforward, and potentially significant document in the annals of American foreign policy, and a much-needed corrective to two decades of dishonesty and obfuscation.
Michael Fabricant: It’s time for Britain to follow Trump’s lead on Israel
It has now been a year since US President Donald Trump’s announcement that the United States would be moving its embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing it as the capital of Israel.

Over the past 12 months, the US has not only carried through this commitment, but it has also withdrawn from the notoriously anti-Israel UN Human Rights Council.

Sadly, the bold decisive steps taken in Washington have not been repeated in London.

In June, I raised the issue of the Human Rights Council in the House of Commons. While the government has been content to admit the Council’s flaws, it has so far opted against further action, with then-Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson stating, “We are committed to working to strengthen the council from within.”

The problem with this approach, of course, is that the Council has proven time and time again to be beyond any kind of meaningful reform.

Since its inception in 2006, the Council has not only failed to promote human rights, but even indirectly aids the worst abusers allowing them to cover up their crimes. Currently, 47 member states serve on the Council, and all are elected onto it by the UN General Assembly.
Fatah: Hamas is not a terrorist group
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction is opposed to an American proposal to condemn Hamas at the United Nations General Assembly, Osama Qawassmeh, a spokesman for the group, said on Sunday.

The UN General Assembly is scheduled to vote on Tuesday on a US-drafted resolution that would condemn Hamas for firing rockets at Israel and demand an end to the violence. If adopted, the resolution would be the first of its kind taken by the General Assembly against Hamas. All 28 European Union countries have agreed to support the resolution.

Qawassmeh, who is also a member of the Fatah “Revolutionary Council,” said that Fatah was totally opposed to American and Israeli efforts to brand Hamas with the terrorism label.

“We will fight to defeat this resolution despite Hamas’s effort to undermine the legitimacy of the Palestinian Authority,” he said. “We will stand against all hostile efforts to condemn Hamas at the United Nations.”
Abbas, in first meeting since J’lem embassy move, says he’s ‘counting on’ Pope
The Vatican expressed concern over the status of Jerusalem on Monday as Pope Francis and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held their first meeting since the United States stirred international anxiety by moving its embassy there.

The two embraced and kissed on the cheek as the pontiff welcomed Abbas to a library in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace for a private, 20-minute meeting.

"Particular attention was reserved for the status of Jerusalem, underlining the importance of recognizing and preserving its identity and the universal value of the holy City for the three Abrahamic religions," a Vatican statement said, referring to Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

U.S. President Donald Trump outraged the Arab world last year when he reversed decades of policy by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and put Washington's embassy there. It was opened in May.

Palestinians, with broad international backing, want east Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent state, while Israel views the whole city its "united and eternal" capital.

The Vatican expressed concern last year at Trump's move, saying the city's "status quo" should be respected. Francis has called for all to honor U.N. resolutions on the city.


Israel thanks UN, Egypt for help reaching ceasefire with
Hamas

Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer thanked the UN, Egypt, and Qatar for their assistance in reaching a ceasefire with the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza.

"The Government of Israel thanks the UN’s Mladenov, Egypt and Qatar for their efforts to improve the situation in Gaza and hopes that a long term agreement can be reached that will both maintain Israel’s security and enable Gaza’s development," Dermer said.

Israel and Hamas reached a ceasefire agreement after Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza launched about 500 rockets and mortars at southern Israel.
Israeli Forces Kill Palestinian Man in West Bank Clash
Israeli forces killed a Palestinian man during a clash in the West Bank on Tuesday, Palestinian officials said.

The Israeli military said its troops opened fire during what it described as a violent riot. It did not mention any casualties.

The official Palestinian news agency WAFA said Israeli forces entered the town of Tulkarm and raided several houses and that a crowd gathered in the area.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said that while troops were operating there, “a violent riot was instigated in which dozens of Palestinians hurled rocks.”

“Troops responded with riot dispersal means and later on with live fire,” said the spokeswoman.

Palestinian health officials said a 22-year-old was killed after being shot in the head.
Ministry to pull recognition of Al-Quds University over incitement
Following an Israel Hayom inquiry, the Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services Ministry said it would no longer recognize bachelor's degrees in social work from Al-Quds University because of its incitement of terrorism.

Thousands of Palestinians and east Jerusalem residents study at Al-Quds University, which has campuses in the capital as well as in Palestinian Authority-controlled areas. The institution has been repeatedly accused of being a hotbed for incitement against Israel and a vehicle for undermining Israeli sovereignty through Hamas-affiliated student groups.

In the past, many perpetrators of Palestinian terrorist attacks turned out to have been students there.

A document recently obtained by Israel Hayom suggests that, in light of a dire shortage of social workers in east Jerusalem, the Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services Ministry decided to recognize the university's diplomas in social work.

The document, signed by Labor Minister Haim Katz, states that "pursuant to my authority under law and following consultation with the Council on Social Work, I have decided to recognize this foreign school and its degree for social work for accreditation purposes."
Hamas Official Mahmoud Al-Zahar Visits Nelson Mandela's Prison Cell
A Hamas delegation visited Nelson Mandela's prison cell in South Africa. In a short video recorded during the visit, Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Zahar compared Mandela's cell to Israeli prison cells. He said that Allah had decided that Mandela would get out of prison in the same way that He decided that the Palestinian prisoners will get out of prison and drive out the occupation. He also said that spending time in prison cells is a way to get closer to Allah, and encouraged Palestinians prisoners that they will eventually rule their country like Mandela did. The video was uploaded to the Internet on December 1, 2018.


PreOccupiedTerritory: Despite BDS, Hamas Still Supplying Targets To IDF (satire)
Activists working toward the economic, political, and cultural isolation of the Jewish State voiced frustration today that the Palestinian movement governing the Gaza Strip continues to defy the boycott call by providing numerous facilities, personnel, materiel, and other objects or locations for Israel to hit with artillery or rockets.

The movement calling itself BDS – for Boycott, Divest, Sanctions – has for more than a decade striven to convince, dupe, or browbeat prominent individuals and organizations to disengage with Israel and Jewish Israelis, with the aim of compromising the security, economy, and legitimacy of the Jewish State. a continual sticking point, however, occurs with some regularity on the subject of Palestinian observance of such a boycott: as the ostensible cause for the existence of BDS against Israel in the first place, they nevertheless consume Israeli products in large quantities, find employment in Israel and Israeli ventures, attend Israeli educational institutions, and sell agricultural and other goods in the Israeli market. Activists display understanding of these Palestinian decisions, which they believe stem from lack of other options and not disagreement with the movement, but admit confusion at the phenomenon of Palestinian leadership in the Gaza Strip supplying targets to the Israeli military, the very entity with the most direct involvement in implementing the policies that BDS exists to oppose: preservation and protection of Jewish sovereignty.
MEMRI: Iranian President Rohani: 'We Are Willing To Protect The Interests Of The Saudi People With All Our Capabilities Against the Terrorists And The Superpowers – Just As We Hastened To Help The Iraqi, Syrian, Afghan, And Yemeni Peoples... We Are [Your] Brothers And We Stand Alongside You'; 'There Is A Cancerous Growth In The Region Called The Zionist Regime'
In a November 24, 2018 speech at the 32nd International Islamic Unity Conference in Tehran, Iranian President Hassan Rohani called on the Islamic world, Sunni and Shi'ite alike, to unite against the enemies of Islam, that is, the West, particularly the U.S., Israel, and the Saudi regime that carries out their dictates. Rohani, who is perceived as moderate and conciliatory by the West, laid out his vision – i.e. the vision of the Islamic Revolutionary regime in Iran – that advocates the destruction of the State of Israel, that he says has no right to exist.

In light of Tehran's political and economic straits, and against the backdrop of the volatile open Tehran-Riyadh struggle, the Iranian leadership is attempting to underline the religious/ideological element that is shared, in its opinion, by Shi'ites and Sunnis – namely the hostility to Israel and the U.S – and on this basis to call for unity of the Islamic world. Furthermore, in accordance with the ideology of Iran's Islamic Revolution, Rohani is going over the Saudi leaders' heads to address the people, conveying revolutionary-Shi'ite messages in the name of Islamic unity.

In his speech, Rohani delineated, in accordance with the revolutionary-Shi'ite vision, the forces of good in the world – Shi'ite Islam and supporters of the Islamic resistance in the Iranian revolutionary spirit – and the forces of evil – the West, led by the U.S., Israel, and the Saudi regime that pretends to be religious and Islamic but that is collaborating with the U.S. and Israel, and accused the U.S. of attempting to enslave the peoples of the region. Rohani stated that there are two ways Muslims can face these forces of evil: they can either surrender to them and betray Islam, or they can resist them with all their might.
Iran vows to increase missile range despite looming UN meet
Ahead of a UN Security Council meeting concerning Iran’s weekend test of a nuclear-capable missile, Tehran’s air force chief adopted a defiant tone Tuesday, insisting his country would continue to increase the range of its missiles.

“One of our most important programs is increasing the range of missiles and ammunition,” Brigadier General Aziz Nasirzadeh told the state-linked Fars news agency in comments reported by Reuters.

“We don’t see any limitations for ourselves in this field,” he added.

The UN Security Council will meet behind closed doors on Tuesday at the request of France and Britain after they accused Iran of test-firing a medium-range nuclear-capable missile on Saturday, diplomats said.

The United States said the missile launch was a violation of a UN resolution that endorsed the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, from which Washington has withdrawn.

That resolution calls on Iran to refrain from testing missiles capable of carrying a nuclear weapon.
US Calls on Europe to Slap Sanctions on Iran for Recent Missile Testing
The United States urged Europe on Monday to impose sanctions on Iran amid testing of a ballistic missile last week by the regime.

“We would like to see the European Union [impose] sanctions that target Iran’s missile program,” said Brian Hook, senior policy adviser to the US Secretary of State and special envoy for Iran.

Hook addressed the press on his way to a summit of top NATO officials in Brussels.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is scheduled to meet with leaders from Germany, France and the United Kingdom, all of whom were part of the negotiations behind the 2015 Iran nuclear accord, which the US withdrew from in May.

“This is a continuing discussion that the secretary has had with his E3 counterparts about Iran’s missile testing and missile proliferation and regional aggression,” said Hook. “I believe that we are making progress toward getting a proposal tabled in Brussels that would designate the individuals and the entities that are facilitating Iran’s missile program.”

“It is a grave and escalating threat, and nations around the world—not just Europe—need to do everything they can to be targeting Iran’s missile program,” he added.
Iran’s Rouhani renews threat to blockade Gulf oil shipments
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani struck a defiant stance against US sanctions on Tuesday, renewing his threat to cut off international oil sales from the Gulf.

“America should know… it is not capable of preventing the export of Iran’s oil,” Rouhani said at a televised rally in Semnan province.

“If it ever tries to do so… no oil will be exported from the Persian Gulf,” he added.

Since the 1980s, Iran has said repeatedly it would blockade the Gulf in response to international pressure but has never carried out the threat.

Washington has reimposed sanctions, including an oil embargo, since withdrawing from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers in May.

It has vowed to reduce Iran’s oil sales to zero, but has granted temporary waivers to eight countries.
Report: Iran Using Hit Squads to Intimidate Independent Iraqis
Hit squads sent by Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)-Quds Force have been targeting Iraqis seeking to distance their country from the Islamic Republic, The Daily Telegraph reported last week.

The hit squads, said to have been ordered by Quds Force Commander General Qassem Soleimani, have been charged with “intimidating Iraqi opponents of Iranian interference in Iraqi politics,” according to the report.

The failure of Tehran-backed candidates to garner enough support in this past May’s elections prompted Iran to assert its influence more aggressively.

Iran had backed Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who had been a reliable ally, during the campaign. In order to improve its odds, Tehran also backed a second pro-Iran candidate, Hadi al-Amiri, for prime minister. Neither candidate received enough votes to form a government.

When neither candidate prevailed, Soleimani sent hit squads to Iraq “to silence Iraqi critics of Iranian attempts to determine Iraq’s political destiny,” British security officials explained to The Daily Telegraph.

Adel Shaker El-Tamimi, an ally of former Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, was killed by the Quds Force in September. In addition to working towards healing Sunni-Shi’ite rifts in Iraq, El-Tamimi also sought to improved ties with Arab states such as Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
Families Of Americans Detained In Iran Are Asking Trump To Revoke The Visas Of Top Iranian Officials' Kids
Multiple families of U.S. citizens currently imprisoned in Iran are urging President Donald Trump and his administration to pull the visas of children of top Iranian officials, according to a Monday report.

The Trump administration has yet to take action on such requests, NBC News reported, leaving the families feeling more hopeless on the fate of their loved ones in an endeavor the administration once put at the top of its list.

At least four American citizens and one legal U.S. resident are currently imprisoned in Iran, and a few family members have reportedly given members of Congress a list of Iranian nationals living in the U.S., family friends told NBC News.

The list alleges to have relatives of top Iranian officials on it as well as a few of President Hassan Rouhani’s.

When Trump was a candidate, he tweeted that such detainments and imprisonments wouldn’t happen if he got elected.

“I’m at a loss why this administration would be so soft on the regime knowing full well it is these very senior officials targeting innocent Americans for persecution,” Nadim Zakka, whose father Nizar is a U.S. legal resident and is imprisoned in Iran, told NBC News.

“Surely the least we could do is deny their family members the benefits of living and working in our great country,” Zakka added.
Anti-Semitism: The Fast Track in Turkey to a Government Career?
"King Mohammed VI of Morocco made a breakthrough in the Muslim world and told the world press that 'education has the power to fight ugly phenomena such as discrimination, racism and anti-Semitism.'" — Mois Gabay, Şalom.

"What about the fact that... an awakening about Israel and Jews is on the rise in many other majority-Muslim countries." — Mois Gabay, Şalom.

"The government should immediately recognize anti-Semitism as a hate crime and impose penal sanctions on the perpetrators." — Işıl Demirel, an anthropologist from Turkey; Avlaremoz.

Demirel's suggestion would make perfect sense in a free and genuinely democratic society. But in a country where the president, his advisers and MPs regularly and proudly spit out hatred not only against Jews, but also against other minorities, how is anti-Semitism to be dealt with when demonizing Jews or Israel seems to serve as a fast track to a career in government?




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