Monday, July 01, 2019

From Ian:

PMW: Abbas’ advisor repeats PA antisemitic narrative
According to this narrative, Jews were unwanted in Europe - an European plot created a homeland for them in Palestine.

According to the Palestinian Authority’s historical revision, Jews have no connection to the Land of Israel. The reason there are any Jews in “Palestine” is because of a European plot to get rid of the unwanted Jews. This antisemitic part of the Palestinian narrative was repeated last week by PA Chairman Abbas’ advisor on Foreign Relations, Nabil Shaath, at a symposium in Iraq:

“Shaath presented the plotting role that the US has played throughout history in order to erase the Palestinian identity and right, beginning with the Balfour [Declaration] that would not have been issued without American support, and the European plot to settle the Jews who were unwanted in Europe in order to get rid of them, so that they created a homeland for them that would absorb them in Palestine.” [Al-Ayyam, June 26, 2019]

Palestinian Media Watch has exposed the antisemitic element of the PA narrative numerous times. Another of Abbas’ advisors, Mahmoud Al-Habbash, for example, has stated that Europe supported Zionism to get rid of the Jews:

Mahmoud Al-Habbash, Abbas' Advisor on Religious and Islamic Affairs: "After World War II ended, the colonialist states wanted to get rid of the presence of the Jews of Europe, who had a monopoly over the economy and capital. Therefore, they supported these claims and helped them establish their state on the land of Palestine at the expense of the Palestinian people, who are still suffering from this crime."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 24, 2018]
Jared Kushner’s Peace Proposal Would End the Palestinian Refugee Problem
The U.S. “Peace to Prosperity” plan, unveiled at the Bahrain conference last week, calls for putting $50 billion toward improving the economic situation of the Palestinians; of this, over half is to be disbursed in Gaza and the West Bank, while the remainder would be divided among Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt—to be spent on descendants of Palestinian refugees living in the first two countries, and Gazans resettled in the last. From this part of the plan, Raphael Bouchnik-Chen sees an attempt to integrate these Palestinians into the countries where they live, and end their anomalous status as permanent “refugees”:

The Trump administration is pursuing the goal of changing the Palestinian experience from that of a society of miserable “refugees” into that of a prosperous society. . . . Kushner’s concept has a historical precedent. On June 15, 1959, the UN secretary-general Dag Hammarskjold presented a resettlement initiative. Hammarskjold assumed there were means available for the absorption of the refugees into the economy of the Arab region, and asserted that the refugees would be beneficial to their host countries by providing the manpower necessary to those countries’ development. He proposed that the program be financed by oil revenues and international funds up to $2 billion.

In 1959, [the Arab League] claimed that acceptance of the UN secretary general’s plan, with no guarantees, would have been tantamount to giving up [Palestinians’] economic and political rights. The Arabs accused Hammarskjold of exceeding his legal limits, and faulted him for ignoring the fact that the economic issues were the result of the political conflict. Addressing the economic question also separated the refugee problem from the conflict as a whole, which, so it was argued, was one of nationhood.

Why a U.S.-Israel Alliance is a Terrible Idea
Beyond the political imperatives on both sides, the decisive question regarding a US-Israel defense treaty can be cast in terms of cost-benefit analysis. The various costs have been outlined above. As to the benefits, a formal alliance would not necessarily add to the key components vital to Israel's national security.

US military assistance, which indeed provides the IDF with key components of its build-up and maintenance, clearly constitutes an element in Israel's deterrence equation. But this rests upon the existing long-term (ten year) commitments of the Administration and upon annual congressional allocations – not upon any treaty. The weight and size of the assistance package is a function of US determination to help an ally, and not predicated upon the existence of a formal treaty document. Nor would such a document change hostile perceptions of Israel's immense base of support in the US as it is today.

A US-Israel defense treaty would also pose some diplomatic difficulties. A degree of formal distance between Jerusalem and Washington is useful in Israel's diplomatic interactions with many of the Third World countries that are suspicious of a superpower. In addition, under a defense treaty, Israel will be even less free to compete with the US military industries than it is today. As a formal ally, Jerusalem would be less likely to conduct effective diplomacy with Moscow, let alone host a tripartite US-Russia-Israel summit of national security advisors.

Thus, a defense treaty between Israel and the US would reflect noble sentiment; but beyond the statement of friendship, it is neither desirable nor practical. The treaty may be a lofty idea, but one that works well only if it remains theoretical.

The U.S. Middle East Plan Wins Its First Round
President Donald Trump’s senior advisor, and son-in-law, Jared Kushner has been working in secret with Middle East leaders for more than a year. This week, in Bahrain, he unveiled his plan, while I was in the room.

With high-security arrangements, and without official Israeli and Palestinian representatives, the “Peace To Prosperity Workshop” was held on Tuesday in Manama. It was Kushner’s attempt to secure buy-in from Arab leaders with a plan to supply $50 billion in development aid to the Palestinians—the largest amount ever proposed by the U.S. government. Surprisingly, it worked.

For decades, policymakers have focused on a largely political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; where to draw lines, who controls what land and so on. This approach brought us the Oslo Accords in the 1990s, where Palestinians were granted more than 90 percent of the land and water that they said they wanted, along with a security guarantee. Yasser Arafat ultimately rejected the plan; riots and demonstrations rocked the rest of the decade.

Kushner’s approach is fresh and unique. He starts from the premise that the Palestinians want peace, but, especially, the younger majority wants the hope for a better life: modern housing, safe and effective schools, rewarding jobs, peace, order and prosperity.

At the conference, former British prime minister Tony Blair essentially backed Kushner’s plan: a political agreement without an economic vision, and an international commitment to help Palestinians to improve their lives, will flounder and fail. While he stressed that he remains committed to a two-state solution, Blair said that it will only happen "when the economics and politics are right.”

Kushner’s great insight is that economic development should come first and shape the discussion for a political solution. His second insight is that a single “grand bargain” is not realistic; that an evolutionary and gradual approach that builds trust along with economic milestones is more likely to succeed.

Along with economic development, the Palestinians need effective government. This means trash collection and policing, safe hospitals and roads. It means transparency into government accounting and processes as well as accountability to Palestinian voters. Over time, this will bring forth a new generation of men and women, who are professional politicians and able bureaucrats, who can discuss complex issues with the Israelis and negotiate a viable political solution.
Trump: If No Israeli-Palestinian Deal During My Presidency 'It'll Never Happen'
President Donald Trump said Saturday there will never be a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict if a peace accord doesn’t happen while he is president, and added that his long-anticipated proposal has a “very good chance” of success.

“With me being president, if you don’t get that deal done it’ll never happen,” Trump said at a press briefing at the end of the G20 summit in Japan days after the U.S.-led economic peace workshop in Bahrain.

Despite the Palestinian boycott of his administration, he believes the Palestinians want peace, he said.

“I know they want to make a deal, but they want to be a little bit cute — and that is okay. I fully understand where they are coming from,” he said, adding that it “may very well be the toughest deal of all.”

“A lot of people think it can’t be made,” he said.

Trump said his decision to slash U.S. aid for the Palestinians was because they said “nasty things” about him.

“I ended that money because a year ago I heard they were saying nasty things and I said, ‘Wait a minute, we’re trying to make a deal, we’re trying to help them and they’re saying these nasty things, we’re not gonna pay,’” he said.

“If you’re not negotiating and don’t want to help make peace, we’re not gonna pay you. So let’s see what happens,” he added.
David Singer: Trump Should Champion Legal Migration from West Bank and Gaza
The “unsolvable political situation” in Gaza and the West Bank has been ongoing for the last 100 years.
Gaza and West Bank Arabs – currently forced to endure this political uncertainty – faced the following dire economic circumstances in 2018 according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics:

- Unemployment in Gaza reached 52 percent – an increase of almost eight percent since 2017
- Unemployment among young people in Gaza aged 15-29 was 69%.
- The unemployment rate in the West Bank was 17.6 percent

Gaza’s civilian population has paid a heavy price for the indiscriminate targeting of Israeli population centres with thousands of missiles and incendiary balloons.

Hamas and the PLO – still fighting between themselves for control of the Johnny-come-lately “Palestinian people” – seem extremely unlikely to allow the respective constituencies they have ruled for the last 12 years to have any say in the future political and economic direction of Gaza and the West Bank.

US$16.5 billion proposed for projects in Jordan and Egypt – coupled with Trumps’ US$6.5 billion unexpended in Gaza – constitute a humanitarian lifeline for Gazan and West Bank Arabs to migrate and enjoy far better lives than they currently have.

If Gazan and West Bank Arabs cannot vote in election booths – then Trump should help them vote with their feet.

Israeli Spymaster Says ‘One-Time’ Chance for Peace With Arabs Sharing Iran Worries
Israel and US-aligned Arab countries have what might be a unique chance to forge a regional peace deal given their shared worries about Iran, the chief of Israel’s Mossad spy service said on Monday.

In a rare public appearance, Joseph (Yossi) Cohen said his agency had formed a task force designed to spot peacemaking opportunities in a region where only two Arab states, Egypt and Jordan, have full ties with Israel.

“The Mossad today espies a rare opportunity, perhaps for the first time in Middle East history, to arrive at a regional understanding that would lead to a comprehensive peace accord,” he told the Herzliya Conference, an annual international security forum near Tel Aviv.

“Common interests, the fight against rivals such as Iran and Jihadist terrorism, the close relations with the White House and channels of communication with the Kremlin all combine to create what might be a one-time window of opportunity,” Cohen said.
Minister Katz visits Abu Dhabi: A 'significant step' in Israel-Arab relations
Foreign Minister Israel Katz took part in a UN meeting on the environment in Abu Dhabi on Monday, the Foreign Ministry announced, just days after Israelis – including journalists – openly visited Bahrain for a US-sponsored conference there.

According to a Foreign Ministry statement, Katz met with a senior United Arab Emirates official.

"I am excited to stand here in Abu Dhabi and to represent the interests of the State of Israel vis-à-vis the Arab Gulf states,” Katz said. “This is a significant step up in the relations between Israel and the states in the region.

This was Katz's second public visit to a Persian Gulf country in eight months: in November, as Transportation Minister, he attended a transportation conference in Oman.

During Katz's meeting with the UAE official, the Foreign Ministry statement said, the relationship between Israel and the UAE was discussed, as were regional issues, including the need to deal with the threat of a nuclear Iran, that country’s ballistic missile development and its support for terrorists in the region.

The statement said that Katz and his UAE interlocutor also discussed developing ties between the two countries in the spheres of high technology, energy, agriculture and water management.
Hebron businessman who attended Bahrain: I'm afraid for my life
A Palestinian businessman from Hebron who participated in last week’s US-led “Prosperity to Peace” conference in Bahrain said on Monday that he’s been forced to flee his home after Palestinian Authority security officers tried to arrest him.

Ashraf Ghanem, 45, owner of a furniture company in Hebron, was one of 13 Palestinian businessmen who attended the conference as representatives of a group called the Palestinian Business Network.

The group was headed by Ashraf Jabari, another businessman who belongs to one of Hebron’s large clans.

The PA had called on Palestinians and Arabs to boycott the conference on the pretext that it was part of the US administration's scheme to "liquidate" the Palestinian cause.

“I’m afraid for my life,” Ghanem said in an interview with The Jerusalem Post. “I can’t go back to my home.”

On Friday night, some 50 officers belonging to the PA’s General Intelligence Service raided Ghanem’s home in an attempt to arrest him for participating in the Bahrain workshop.
Erdogan says ‘out of question’ to support US Palestinian plan
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said it was “out of the question” for Turkey to support the US economic plan for Palestinians, in comments published on Monday.

The White House plan revealed last week calls for $50 billion in investment over 10 years in the Palestinian territories and their Arab neighbors.

“It is out of the question for us to approach this issue positively,” Erdogan told journalists aboard his plane returning from the G-20 summit in Japan, according to pro-government daily Yeni Safak.

Listing a slew of projects to develop roads, border crossings, power generation and tourism, the US framework sets an optimistic goal of creating a million Palestinian jobs.

US President Donald Trump’s administration has, however, hinted that its political plan — due later in the year — will not mention a Palestinian state, abandoning longstanding US policy.

The Palestinian Authority and its rival Hamas have both denounced the economic initiative, saying it amounts to a bid by the Trump administration to buy off their aspirations for an independent state.
West Bank mayor renames street to protest Bahrain hosting US-led economic summit
A mayor in the West Bank decided over the weekend to rename a street in his town to protest Bahrain’s hosting of a US-led economic workshop last week.

Ibrahim Abu Zahra, the mayor of Yatta, a town south of Hebron, announced that he decided to change Bahrain Street in his municipality to Marzouq al-Ghanim Street.

Ghanim, the speaker of the Kuwaiti National Assembly, is an outspoken critic of Israel and ardent supporter of the Palestinians.

The conference in Bahrain focused on the economic portion of the American administration’s peace plan, which proposes billions of dollars of investment in infrastructure projects in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and neighboring Arab countries.
JPost Editorial: Jerusalem’s heart
The ancient and the new are inextricably intertwined in Jerusalem, and this was more pronounced than ever at Sunday’s exciting unveiling of “Pilgrimage Road” in the City of David.

Jerusalem Post editor-in-chief Yaakov Katz exclusively revealed in this past weekend’s Magazine the plans to open – to tourists and pilgrims – a 250-meter excavated section of the ancient route that connected the Shiloah Pool to the Temple Mount.

Pilgrimage Road, as it has become known, goes from the Shiloah Pool to Robinson’s Arch, next to the Western Wall, the last remaining outer wall of the Temple compound. Ascending in a pure state after their dip in the Shiloah Pool, the pilgrims would walk this route to ascend to the Temple itself.

Archaeologists believe this was the path used by millions of Jews three times a year when performing the commandment of going up to the Temple to bring sacrifices on Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot.

As Doron Spielman, vice president of the Ir David Foundation (Elad), told Katz, almost all Jewish pilgrims would have used this road, and it is almost certain that Jesus walked on it during the Second Temple period.

Spielman showed Katz how the path had been worn smooth by the sandals of tens of millions of people treading that route over the course of hundreds of years two millennia ago, until the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE.

Ahead of the inauguration, which Special Envoy Jason Greenblatt and US Ambassador David Friedman attended, Friedman told Katz: “The City of David brings truth and science to a debate that has been marred for too long by myths and deceptions. Its findings, in most cases by secular archaeologists, bring an end to the baseless efforts to deny the historical fact of Jerusalem’s ancient connection to the Jewish people.”
US Envoys on Hand as Israel Digs Down in Eastern Jerusalem
US envoys attended the inauguration of a Jewish heritage site in eastern Jerusalem on Sunday, signaling support for Israel’s hold over parts of the city that Palestinians want for a future state.

Palestinians — who view the heritage project and Jewish settlement activities in the Silwan district as moves by Israel to further cement control over areas it captured in the 1967 Six Day War — called the US presence at the event a hostile act.

Two of Trump’s top Middle East advisers — peace envoy Jason Greenblatt and Ambassador to Israel David Friedman — came to the opening of an excavated road that archaeologists say was used by Jewish pilgrims to Jerusalem two millennia ago.

The “Pilgrims’ Road” site is part of the City of David, an open-air Jewish archaeological attraction open to the public and built within the eastern Jerusalem district of Silwan.

Jerusalem Square inaugurated in Paris despite pro-Palestinian protests
Despite a pro-Palestinian demonstration, the “Place de Jérusalem” plaza was inaugurated in Paris, at the initiative of Mayor Anne Hidalgo.

“In this sad period of recrudesce of racist and antisemitic acts, recalling the ties that unite the city of Paris and the Jewish community is essential,” Hidalgo wrote to the president of the Central Consistory of France, Joel Mergui. The Consistory is the body that represents French Jewry in matters of religion.

“For this reason, your proposal for devoting a square to Jerusalem in the capital seems very sensible, also in order to remember the friendship and the unity between the city of Paris and the State of Israel,” she added.

Upon the approval of Hidalgo’s proposal, Danielle Simonnet from the far-left party La France Insoumise proposed an amendment, requesting that the street sign reads “Place de Jérusalem – with the wish that it becomes the future capital of two states.”

Simonnet’s proposal was rejected, which sparked a large protest from pro-Palestinian associations.

Dozens of people protested against the move, including the Association France Palestine Solidarité, which invited supporters to join the demonstration under the name “No to the confiscation of Jerusalem!”

Why was British minister Sajid Javid's visit to the Old City a big deal?
British Home Secretary Sajid Javid visited the Holy sites in the Old City of Jerusalem on Monday, and the different statements put out by the Government Press Office and the British Consulate-General in Jerusalem provided a study in how what you see depends on where you stand.

The GPO statement, headlined “Home Secretary of Great Britain at Western Wall,” said Javid visited the Western Wall as part of his visit to Israel.

Javid is considered one of Israel's strongest supporters inside the Conservative Party. He is the son of Pakistani Muslim immigrants who is married to a Christian wife with whom he honeymooned in Israel. He finished fourth in the recent Tory leadership race.

“This visit by Britain’s Home Secretary follows 19 years in which no senior minister of the British government has visited Jerusalem or the Western Wall.,” the GPO statement said.

According to this statement, Javid was greeted by the Director of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, Mordechai (Suli) Eliav, and said that “his father believed deeply in the connection between Jews and Muslims, and that his brother visited the Western Wall as a child, and that his father and entire family were very excited about the pictures from here.”
15 said killed, 9 of them foreigners, as Israel strikes Iranian sites in Syria
At least 15 people were killed, including six civilians, during strikes on Iranian targets in Syria in the predawn hours of Monday morning, according to a Syrian war monitor.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based group, said it was not immediately clear if the six civilians, among them an infant, were killed by the attacks themselves, which were attributed to Israel, by Syria’s anti-aircraft fire, or by some other secondary explosion.

The other nine people killed were said to have been members of pro-Iranian militias, some of them foreign nationals.

The Observatory said Israel launched strikes both from the air and sea, targeting Iranian-linked bases near Homs and at least 10 targets near Damascus, including a base where Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps forces are headquartered and a weapons research center.

Israel did not comment on the attack — one of the most extensive series of strikes in several months, coming less than a week after a trilateral summit with Russia and the United States concerning Tehran’s activities and military presence in the region.
Did Israel's latest strike prove Russian-made s-300 ineffective?
Airstrikes were reported in the early hours of Monday near Damascus and Homs, according to Syrian media. Syria has blamed Israel for the airstrikes. The airstrikes occurred just hours after satellite images from ImageSat International showed four Russian S-300 missile defense systems near Masyaf, not far from where the airstrikes occurred.

The S-300 was supplied to Syria by Russia in the fall of 2018 after an Israeli airstrike in Latakia led to Syrian air defense downing a Russian plane with an S-200. The weapon system was supplied by Russia as a message to Israel after Moscow condemned Israel for its airstrikes, which it said had led to the Syrian mistake and the downing of the plane.

However, over the last nine months, the system has not been declared operational. Things changed on June 30, when photos showed four of the S-300s and a deployed radar system. The radar has a detection range of several hundred kilometers and the missiles can allegedly intercept targets up to 200 km. away. The Masyaf area where the missiles were set up is only a few dozen kilometers from an area Syria said was hit by an airstrike on Monday morning.

This shows that airstrikes targeted an area right under the nose of the S-300. If the system was operational, as some reports indicated, then why were airstrikes able to take place so close to the system? This also raises questions as to whether the airstrikes show that Syria’s air defense is still ineffective and whether they were designed to send this message. In the past, airstrikes were reduced following the anger in September from the Russian aircraft downing. In addition, Israel and Russia have held frequent discussions about Syria, and on Israel’s concerns about Iranian entrenchment.
Errant Anti-Aircraft Missile Launched by Syria in Response to Israeli Strike Lands on Cyprus
An errant missile struck Cyprus early on Monday, skimming the densely-populated capital Nicosia and crashing on a mountainside in what authorities described as a spillover from strikes between Israel and Syria.

The explosion occurred around 1 a.m. (2200 GMT Sunday) in the region of Tashkent, also known as Vouno, some 20 kilometers (12 miles) northeast of Nicosia, with the impact starting a fire and heard for miles around.

There were no casualties. But it caused widespread concern on both sides of the ethnically-split island and brought calls for warring parties to respect their neighbors’ safety.

An Israeli air strike was underway against Syria at the time. Syrian state media said the Syrian air defenses had fired in response.

“It is understood that a missile fired from Syria fell here by accident, as a result of being fired in an uncontrolled way by batteries … in response to the intense attacks yesterday evening by Israel,” Kudret Ozersay, the Turkish Cypriot foreign minister, told a news conference.

“Based on our initial assessment, it is the remains of a missile which is known as S-200 in the Russian system and SA-5 in the NATO system,” he added.
Israel-Qatar Relations: Raising Questions of Trust
While Israel-Qatar relations have looked more positive over the last few years, Israeli trust in Qatar’s efforts as a peace broker with the Palestinians should still be a concern. Shlomi Eldar, a columnist for Al-Monitor’s Israel Pulse, brings up an important consideration:

In other words, is this a case of honest Qatari pragmatism, or is it all part of a game so that Qatar can get a foothold in Gaza and the West Bank before it shows its true face? Opinions on all these matters are divided.

Qatari ties with Iran and Hamas, two parties that have expressed a desire to erase Israel from the map, may be red flags for where Doha’s true motives lie. This should at least incentivize Israel to tread carefully in the relationship. In addition, Qatar’s last two decades of flip-flopping on Israel makes it difficult for Israel to put its faith in the Emirate.

On the other hand, Qatari pragmatism should not be discounted. Its independent foreign policy clearly shows the aim to rise in regional influence and act as a neutral conflict mediator.

Although a lot is left up to debate, the current relationship is, for the most part, mutually beneficial. For Israel, Qatar’s funds to Gaza can help decrease instability and social unrest there as well as aid poor Palestinian residents. For Qatar, the relationship with Israel helps to promote regional independence and maintain ties with the United States, a key military and economic partnership that allows the country to navigate around the Arab Quartet blockade.

As Qatar’s aid to Gaza continues, it is evident that the state is walking a tightrope between Israel, Hamas, the Arab states, and Iran. Doha’s relationship with Israel has been on and off, resetting only when it becomes beneficial to both countries. Qatar’s current unwillingness to commit to a side makes fixed, normalized Israel-Qatar relations seem a long way off.
Only 5% of Palestinians and 6% of Lebanese accept gay relationships
A survey published for BBC News Arabic reveals shocking rates of homophobia across the Middle East and North Africa.

The study was conducted by the Arab Barometer research network on June 24, during LGBT Pride month. The BBC wrote, “Acceptance of homosexuality varies but is low or extremely low across the region. In Lebanon, despite having a reputation for being more socially liberal than its neighbors, the figure is 6%.”

The study wrote that a mere 5% of Palestinians from the West Bank accepted same-sex relations. Palestinians in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip were not surveyed.

Algerians scored the highest number of acceptance of gay relations with 26%. Morocco followed with 21% and Sudan with 17%. Tunisia tied Jordan with 7%. Palestinians harbored the most intolerance toward gay relations.

According to the BBC, “More than 25,000 people were interviewed for the survey across 10 countries and the Palestinian territories between late 2018 and spring 2019.”

Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians: "Hamas Is Not Afraid of Elections"
Abbas is now embarking on a risky move by expressing his readiness to hold new parliamentary and presidential elections.

First, there is a high probability that Hamas would win the parliamentary election again. One of the main reasons Hamas won the 2006 election was because of rampant financial and administrative corruption in the Palestinian Authority. That is evidently why Hamas chose to name its list Change and Reform -- to promise Palestinians an end to corruption.

In addition, many of the Fatah candidates suspected of involvement in corruption and mismanagement who ran in that election are still in power. It is safe to assume that Palestinians are not going to vote for the same Fatah list that includes the same people who were voted out because of their corruption.

Second, Abbas's initiative to hold new elections will be seen as an admission of his failure to remove Hamas from power in the Gaza Strip. Worse, the participation of Hamas in the new elections will legitimize the Islamist movement and enhance its role as a major player in the Palestinian arena.

In the past, Abbas and his officials have said that there can be no elections as long as Hamas officials refused to end their rule over the Gaza Strip. Abbas now seems to have dropped that condition.

Third, Abbas has no assurances that the election in the Gaza Strip would be conducted in a free and fair manner so long as Hamas remains in power. Given Hamas's ongoing, vicious crackdown on its political rivals, particularly Fatah, it is highly unlikely that Fatah candidates would feel safe openly to challenge the rulers of the Gaza Strip. Under the current circumstances, Hamas will not allow Fatah candidates to run election campaigns criticizing the Hamas regime and leaders.

An End to the Islamic Republic Should Be America’s Goal
At a press conference last week, President Trump stated that the U.S. is “not looking for regime change” in Tehran. Andrew McCarthy, while praising the substance of the administration’s Iran policy, argues that regime change—albeit not invasion or war—ought precisely to be Washington’s aim.

Regardless of our position on the matter, Iran has been at war with us for 40 years. If the adversary is determined to attack you, it is not in your power to avoid war by pronouncing that you do not desire it. You can practice restraint, and that might even be the right thing to do in some circumstances, but you can’t avoid a fight when the other guy is punching you. . . .

[T]he president says both that he wants to avoid war (i.e., the war Iran is already fighting) and that he will not tolerate Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. But how, then, is he planning to stop the mullahs from obtaining nukes? Let’s say Iran proceeds openly with weapons development but does not conduct any major attacks against American interests while doing so; how—given Trump’s determination to avoid war—is he planning to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power?

No one wants an all-out war with Iran. Americans have no interest in invading and occupying another Muslim country—least of all Iran. Its rich culture and sophisticated populace provide grounds for hope that we can have cordial relations with Iran in the future. But the current impediment to cordial relations, and the reason nuclear weapons would be intolerable, is the regime. It is one of the world’s most despicable governments, and it is incorrigibly anti-American.
Iran violates nuclear deal, exceeds 300 kg limit on enriched uranium
Iran's enriched uranium stockpile exceeded the 300 kg limit set by the nuclear deal on Monday, according to the Iranian Fars news agency. This constitutes a direction violation of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the nuclear pact the world superpowers reached with Iran in 2015.

An Iranian source told Fars on Monday that the International Atomic Energy Agency found that the enriched uranium exceeded the ceiling of 300 kg.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif confirmed that the Islamic Republic breached the nuclear deal by stockpiling over 300 kg of enriched uranium, according to ISNA.

Under the deal, Iran was prohibited from accumulating more than 300 kilograms of enriched uranium to the 3.67% level and from enriching uranium beyond that level, such as to the 20% level it had done before the deal.
Iran: Israel will be destroyed in 30 minutes if we are attacked
Israel will be destroyed in half an hour if the United States attacks Iran, a senior Iranian parliamentarian said on Monday, according to the semiofficial Mehr news agency.

Weeks of tensions culminated last month when US President Donald Trump's last-minute decision to call off planned strikes on Iran after Tehran downed a US drone. Washington also accused Iran of being behind the attacks on ships in the Gulf, which Tehran denies.

"If the US attacks us, only half an hour will remain of Israel's lifespan," Mojtaba Zolnour, the chairman of the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Committee said on Monday, according to Mehr.
Mossad head: Nuclear archive operation exposed 'big Iranian lie'
Mossad Director Yossi Cohen spoke about Iran at the Herzliya Conference on Monday, revealing details about the Israeli operation to secure the Iranian archive of material about its nuclear program that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed at a special press conference in April 2018.

"Hundreds of people spent months tracking many different individuals and did the inconceivable," Cohen said at the conference at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya.

"A lot of people in the Mossad were working on this for a long time. When the operation was at its height, after a number of sleepless nights, we received reports that there were [computer] discs and not only documents. We gave orders to bring them in, too, even though it made it more complicated.

"In total, [there were] 55,000 documents, pictures, and videos that helped expose the big Iranian lie. The operation proved that the impossible – the impossible and inconceivable – was conceivable," Cohen said.

"The operation changed the world's attitude toward Iran," Cohen added.
Iran sought in 2018 weapons proliferation technology for its nuclear program
Germany’s federal intelligence said on Thursday in its new report on security threats that Iran’s regime worked to obtain equipment for its nuclear program that could be used for weapons of mass destruction.

According to the 388-page report reviewed by The Jerusalem Post, which covers a range of security threats to Germany’s democracy, the intelligence document said the agency “was only able to identify isolated indications of Iran’s proliferation-related procurement attempts for its nuclear program compared with the previous year.”

“Such indications emerge when the methodological approach to the procurement of goods, their possible use also in a nuclear program and/or existing findings on the final recipient or the requesting body point to a potential proliferation-relevant procurement background,” the report said.

The intelligence report covered 2018 activities and defined proliferation as “the spreading of atomic, biological or chemical weapons of mass destruction or the use for their manufacture and corresponding products, as well as weapons carrier systems such as rockets and drones, including this know-how.”

According to the report’s definition, as well as other German intelligence documents examined by the Post, the Iranian regime’s activities meet the criteria of seeking to purchase technology that can be used for weapons of mass destruction.

Dore Gold: The True Reason Behind Iranian Escalation in the Persian Gulf
There is already a conventional wisdom emerging about what triggered the clash between the U.S. and Iran over the Strait of Hormuz, where 19 million barrels of oil flow per day. The main argument heard time and again is this: President Trump decided to pull out from the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, on May 8, 2018, and since that time, relations with the West have been steadily deteriorating. Iran, according to this logic, is trying to force Washington to reconsider its position on the nuclear agreement by carefully calibrating escalation that began this year with an Iranian attack on 4 tankers near Fujairah, an emirate belonging to the United Arab Emirates. Two of the tankers were Saudi Arabian. Iran is also trying to drive a wedge between the U.S. and its Western allies.

MEMRI: Debris of U.S. Drone Shown on Iranian TV, Pastries Passed Around Studio to Celebrate
On June 26, 2019, Iran's Channel 1 and Ofogh TV stations aired shows discussing Iran's June 20, 2019 downing of an American drone over the Strait of Hormuz. Mohsen Maghsoudi, a TV host on Channel 1, said that the "lion cubs" of Iran's air defense units shot down the American drone in a historical act of "revolutionary hunting," and he said that Iran had received divine assistance in order to "vanquish America's global hegemony." Maghsoudi showed debris from the fuselage of the drone, which he said the IRGC had lent to the station for the show, and he claimed that the drone had been an MQ-4C drone, although American authorities have said that the drone was an RQ-4A . The debris had "Death to America" written on it in Farsi. Maghsoudi then presented sweet pastries for the studio crew to eat in celebration of the Iranian success. Major Mohammad Ali Khodabaksh, an IRGC Aerospace Force expert on defense operations who was a guest on the show, said that Iran's ability to shoot down an American drone from an altitude of 50,000 feet is a message to the world that Iran can also shoot down F-35 and F-22 jets. In a broadcast on Ofogh TV, Tehran University professor Dr. Mohammad Sadegh Khoushki said that shooting down the drone stopped the Americans from launching a war against Iran since it caused them to realize that their military commanders' assessment that the U.S. could not win a war against Iran was correct.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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