Thursday, July 04, 2019

From Ian:

Honest Reporting: Three Noes That Set the Mideast On Course of Conflict
While the world has pressed Israel for years to accept a land-for-peace formula, Dov Lipman explores the Arabs’ three noes in response to Israel’s peace offer immediately after the Six-Day War.

Demands from the international community that Israel remove its military and citizens from areas it took control of during the Six Day War ignore a simple fact: Immediately following the war, Israel was willing to do just that.

And the Arabs refused. With three noes.

In June 1967 the combined armies of Egypt, Syria and Jordan planned to attack Israel from the north, south and east. While Arab leaders made grandiose declarations regarding the imminent destruction of the Jewish state, Israelis prepared themselves for mass casualties and to fight for their lives.

Israel managed to defeat these massive armies in just six days, starting with a preemptive strike that destroyed the Egyptian air force on the ground. In just six days Israel not only fought off these armies but also won control of land which these countries previously held – the West Bank, (from Jordan), the Gaza Strip (from Egypt), the Golan Heights (from Syria), and the Sinai Desert (from Egypt).

Israel never had plans to gain control over these areas and immediately following the war was prepared to remove its forces from these regions in exchange for peace with its Arab neighbors. Moshe Dayan, Israel’s then minister of defense remarked that “Israel is waiting for a phone call from the Arabs.” Abba Eban, Israel’s foreign minister made an open declaration at “everything is negotiable.”
Rabbinate chiefs meet with heads of Ethiopian community to end violence
Israeli chief rabbis, rabbi Itzhak Yosef and rabbi Dabid Lau met with the chief rabbi to the Ethiopian community and heads of the Ethiopian community in Israel on Thursday to bring an end to the riots following the death of Solomon Tekah, who was killed by an off-duty police officer.

The rabbis claimed that members of the Ethiopian community have the right to demonstrate and that the discrimination against the community must not be brushed aside, and added that the police must show restraint and allow the protesters to demonstrate.

In exchange to working to calm the spirits around the police forces, the rabbis requested that the community heads promise to call upon the protesters to cease the violence and demonstrate in a lawful manner.

"We call upon the members of the Ethiopian community to hold their demonstrations peacefully, as well as call upon the police forces to show restraint towards the pained protesters," commented rabbi Yosef at the end of the meeting.

Rabbi Lau joined in with Yosef's comments and added that "We are all brothers and the correct way to settle the issues is in conversation while holding mutual respect."
‘Millions share your grief,’ Erdan tells family of slain Ethiopian-Israeli teen
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan on Thursday paid a condolence visit to the family of an Ethiopian-Israeli teenager who was shot dead by police, sparking widespread protests this week, and said the entire nation was grieving with them.

“Millions of citizens are sharing your grief,” Erdan told the parents of Solomon Tekah, 19, who was killed in Haifa on Sunday. “What happened with Solomon is sad and tragic, and I hope this is the last [such] case.

“No words can truly comfort you, but you should know that your pain and the pain over what happened to Solomon is the pain of us all,” he added, expressing condolences on his behalf and on behalf of the government.

Since Monday, protesters across Israel have blocked roads, burned tires and denounced what they say is systemic discrimination against the Ethiopian-Israeli community, after an off-duty police officer fatally shot Tekah. The demonstrations escalated after the funeral on Tuesday, and some protesters set vehicles on fire, overturned a police car and clashed with officers and others who tried to break through their makeshift roadblocks.

According to police, more than 110 officers were wounded in the clashes, including from stones and bottles hurled at them, and 136 protesters had been arrested for rioting.

Second ‘son of Hamas’ leaves terror group, exposing corruption, Turkish spy ring
It isn’t every day that a Hamas member turns his back on the terror organization, flies to Southeast Asia and decides to expose the corruption and inner workings of its operations in Turkey in an interview with an Israeli TV journalist.

It’s even more incredible when he’s the son of one of Hamas’s founding members. And it’s almost unthinkable when he’s the second of that founder’s sons to escape the clutches of the Islamist group and go public with his story.

According to an interview broadcast Wednesday on Israel’s Channel 12, that’s exactly what happened.

Suheib Yousef — son of Hamas co-founder Sheikh Hassan Yousef, and brother of Mosab Yousef, who became know as the “Green Prince” for his efforts to help the Shin Bet thwart terror attacks — secretly left his post in Turkey and flew to an unnamed country in Asia.

He then got in touch with the Palestinian affairs correspondent for Israel’s Channel 12, Ohad Hemo, to tell his story.

Meeting at first in a mosque, Yousef, 38, described how he worked for Hamas’s “political branch” in Turkey, which was in reality an intelligence gathering operation. He was working for Hamas until a month ago, the TV channel said.

“Hamas operates security and military operations on Turkish soil under the cover of civil society,” said Yousef. “They have security centers from which they operate advanced listening equipment, to listen to people and (Palestinian) leaders in Ramallah.”
PMW: The Arab Spring was evil US plan “to destroy” the Arab states, say senior Fatah officials
Hundreds of thousands have been killed and many times that have become refugees in the civil strife that was once optimistically coined the "Arab Spring." In typical Palestinian fashion - which is to blame others for their own failures and those of the Arab world - Fatah officials are now renewing the libel that an evil US plot was behind all these Arab world tragedies. Two senior Fatah officials recently claimed that the Arab Spring, which started in 2010 as widespread civil uprisings against the totalitarian Arab regimes, was set in motion by the US in order to "destroy" and weaken the Arab states so they would "accept orders," and not side with the Palestinians.

Fatah Central Committee member Azzam Al- Ahmad claimed that Israel was also part of the plot:
"The attempts to spread terror in the Arab region under the cover of the so-called Arab Spring have proven that it was an Israel-American arid summer meant to destroy and divide the Arab states."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, June 15, 2019]

Fatah Revolutionary Council member Rifat Shanaah put the blame solely on the US:
"What was called the Arab Spring was really a destructive winter for the economic and social Arab reality, and an internal weakening of the internal ethnic unity and that which is connected to the religious streams. Of course, all of this was American and external handiwork, the goal of which was to destroy the Arab states so that all of them would be weak, accept orders, and not have advanced national positions to support the Palestinian cause."
[Official PA TV, Topic of the Day, June 25, 2019]

Mahmoud Abbas has likewise indicated that he holds the US responsible:
"The Arab Spring, which in my opinion is the Arab Autumn and the American Autumn, was imported to us, and reached us after we read the maps that the American newspapers circulated for the division of the Arab states."
[Official PA TV, Jan. 14, 2017]

MEMRI: 'Al-Quds' Editorial: Conditions Are Ripe For A New Intifada
The July 2, 2019 editorial of the Palestinian daily Al-Quds, based in East Jerusalem, titled "Our People Are on the Brink of a New Intifada," compared the current situation of the Palestinians with their situation before the first intifada in 1987 and the second intifada in 2000, stating that conditions are now ripe for the outbreak of a a new uprising. The editorial explained that the main reasons for this are Israel's policy, which is "burying" the chance for peace and the two-state solution; the backing Israel receives from the Trump administration, which encourages its increasingly extremist positions towards the Palestinians, and Israel's efforts to normalize its relations with Arab countries despite the absence of a solution to the conflict with the Palestinians. A new intifada, concluded the editorial, is the way to thwart all the conspiracies against the Palestinians, including the Trump administration's Deal of the Century, and to restore their cause to its former status.[1]

It should be noted that the July 3 editorial of the Palestinian Authority (PA) daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida stated that the Palestinian answer to the Deal of the Century would be popular resistance, to convey the message that the Palestinian will not give up their rights.[2]

The following are excerpts from the editorial.
"The Israeli occupation state believes that its policy against our people – manifested in daily violations in the form of raids, attacks, collective punishment, demolition of homes, seizure of land, assaults on the holy sites in Jerusalem and other acts that contravene the international laws and norms as well as the rights of human beings under occupation – will distract our people from its national struggle to restore its immutable rights, first and foremost among them the right of return, [the right] of self-determination and [the right] to an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital. [But] in contrast to what is believed by the occupation state, its apparatuses and its settlers, this policy only strengthens our people's resolve to continue on the path of national liberation and cleave to [its] national principles and to the achievements it has made over its years of struggle, that have been replete with great sacrifices by the martyred, injured and imprisoned.

"It is a scientific principle that increased pressure results in an explosion. For this reason, this ongoing hostile policy of oppression will lead only to a deepening of the hostility between the two sides and will create conditions for an explosion that can come at any moment. The occupation state and others will not be able to control when [this explosion] begins and how it unfolds. The Palestinian people alone will decide when it begins and ends, and it will end only when [the Palestinians'] national goals are attained, just as [we saw in] the Intifada of the Stones in 1987 and the Al-Aqsa Intifada of 2000, which broke out following the occupation's attacks and violations against our people and the PA, and against the PLO, our sole legitimate representative.

An Israeli Victory on the Pilgrimage Road in Jerusalem
The “Pilgrimage Road” in east Jerusalem was dedicated on June 30, 2019, with senior representatives of the Trump administration attending. This is a pivotal event in establishing Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem.

Israeli policy needs to be unambiguous in this area. A firm stand will show the Palestinian Authority and Jordan that Israel does not intend to relinquish its sovereignty over the Temple Mount and east Jerusalem.

The Pilgrimage tunnel dedication ceremony is a significant victory for Israel in the battle for sovereignty over east Jerusalem. This victory comes after Israel’s bitter loss to the Palestinians during the Gate of Mercy/Shaar HaRachamim/Bab el Rahma crisis when the Palestinians seized control over the Gate of Mercy chamber on the Temple Mount.

The Pilgrimage Road leads from the Silwan Valley of ​​east Jerusalem (the City of David) to the foot of the Temple Mount. Jason Greenblatt, Donald Trump’s Middle East special envoy, and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman attended the dedication ceremony. Their participation symbolizes Israel’s sovereignty over east Jerusalem.

The participation of two senior American representatives in a ceremony attended by Israeli ministers underscores Trump’s continued commitment to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. It is now over a year since President Trump declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel. The Trump administration did not back down, in spite of Palestinian protests and the objection of Arab and Islamic countries.
Islamic forum attacks Israel over Jerusalem tunnel ceremony
An international body of Muslim nations has condemned the opening of an Israeli tunnel that runs beneath a Palestinian neighborhood in east Jerusalem.

On Sunday, US and Israeli officials attended the opening ceremony of a 2,000-year-old underground route, known as the "Pilgrimage Road," which led to the Jewish temple, where Al-Aqsa Mosque is now located. During the event, US Ambassador David Friedman symbolically sledgehammered through a ceremonial cardboard wall to unveil the “pilgrimage road.”

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation on Wednesday called it a “bold and irresponsible move” that seeks “to alter the historic and legal status” of east Jerusalem. The OIC reiterated its position that east Jerusalem was occupied Palestinian territory.
Most Palestinians back boycott of Bahrain meet, say statehood trumps prosperity
An overwhelming majority of Palestinians support the Ramallah-based Palestinian leadership’s decision to boycott the US-led economic workshop in Bahrain last week and say statehood is more important than a vibrant economy, a poll published on Wednesday found.

Seventy-nine percent of Palestinians said they supported the Palestinian Authority’s decision to not send a representative to Bahrain for the June 25-26 workshop, while 15% stated that they oppose it, according to the survey by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research.

The conference in Bahrain focused on the economic portion of the American administration’s plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and was accompanied by a plan to pump $50 billion into the West Bank, Gaza Strip and neighboring Arab countries.

But the Palestinian leadership refused to engage with the summit, asserting that it was undermining its aspirations for statehood by putting a financial plan ahead of a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Most Palestinian businessmen invited to the conference boycotted the event, along with a number of Arab states, at Ramallah’s urging, and several cities in the West Bank, Gaza and elsewhere saw protests against the workshop.
Palestinian businessmen deem Bahrain conference a success, despite tussle with PA
Despite multiple raids and a detainment made by the Palestinian Authority against participants of the “Peace to Prosperity” economic workshop in Manama, Bahrain, Ashraf Al-Ghanem says that he will remain strong and courageous. Al-Ghanem is the CEO of Al-Ghanem Furniture Company and a participant in last week’s workshop, making him a target of Palestinian Authority arrests.

While he told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that he feared for his life, by Tuesday, Al-Ghanem said, “I feel stronger than yesterday.”

His home was one of four raided and damaged by the Palestinian Authority in Hebron this week. Another Bahrain workshop participant and Hebron businessman, Salah Abu Mayala, detained for “betrayal” and released by the PA after receiving a threatening letter from the US embassy.

According to Al-Ghanem, PA security forces also attempted to arrest him as they raided his home. “They came on a Friday at 10 p.m.,” he explained at a Jerusalem press conference. “I was not far from home when a Palestinian officer called from my brother’s phone, saying that I was wanted for participation in the Bahrain workshop. They remained at my home for three hours, confiscated personal materials, my ID card, passport and credit cards.”

After hearing of the raid, Al-Ghanem called Ashraf Jabari, head of the 15-person Palestinian delegation to Bahrain, as well as part of the Palestinian Businessmen Forum in Hebron.
Tough on Israel, fond of Iran: Jerusalem wary of incoming EU foreign policy czar
Israeli officials are warily following the changing of the guard at the European Union, where someone who has recently floated the idea of unilateral recognition of Palestinian statehood and has expressed strong support for Iran was tapped to be its next foreign policy chief.

On Tuesday, the European Council nominated Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell Fontelles, a member of the country’s ruling Socialist Workers’ Party, as the EU’s top diplomat.

German Defense Minister Ursula Von der Leyen, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right CDU party, was also picked as the new president of the European Commission, one of the union’s key decision-making bodies, in a surprise decision.

The Council made two other important nominations, though they will likely have a much smaller impact on EU-Israel relations: Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel was tapped to head the Council itself, and current International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde was nominated to preside over the European Central Bank.

Since all appointments have yet to be confirmed by the European Parliament, Israel did not publicly comment on the matter. But officials in Jerusalem are seeing the reshuffle as a mixed bag at best.
In UNHRC Speech, Ex-Miss Iraq Sarah Idan Blasts Antisemitism, ‘Biased’ Media Coverage Against Israel
Former Miss Iraq Sarah Idan criticized media bias against Israel and antisemitism taught in Muslim countries while speaking at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, recently.

Idan, recently named an Ambassador for Peace by the monitoring NGO UN Watch, began her speech at the UNHRC on June 26 by recalling the death threats she received after posting on social media a photo with Miss Israel, Adar Gandelsman, at the 2017 Miss Universe pageant. The Iraqi government ordered her to take down a photo and denounce Israel, both of which she refused to do. Since then she has not been able to return to her homeland, she said.

“Why did the Iraqi government fail to condemn the threats, or allow my freedom of speech?” the 29-year-old asked. “The issue between Arabs and Israelis goes beyond policy disagreements. It’s deeply rooted in the belief systems taught in Muslim countries, which are antisemitic.”

Idan spoke at the UNHRC after representatives from Syria, Pakistan, Qatar, the Palestine Liberation Organization and Venezuela accused Israel of “grave violations of human rights” and “state terrorism.”

Idan said hatred and intolerance were reinforced by “biased media,” adding, “When I watched the news last month, why did they never report that the Hamas terrorist organization fired nearly 700 rockets at Israeli civilians in one weekend or that Hamas used Palestinians in Gaza as human shields? Why do they never condemn Hamas for initiating the attacks? Instead, they only show those killed by the response, in self-defense, and blame Israel.”

Israeli Diplomat Chosen to Lead UN Committee for Budget and Administration
In another encouraging sign of Israel’s growing integration into the United Nations system, an Israeli diplomat was on Thursday appointed as Special Rapporteur of the global body’s budgeting and administration committee.

A statement from the Israeli mission to the UN in New York announced that Yaron Wax was chosen to serve as Rapporteur of the Fifth Committee and representative of Western European and Others Group (WEOG) of the UN during the upcoming 74th General Assembly.

“Israel is a prominent member of the Committee and active in the development and provision of medical assistance to UN peacekeepers,” the statement said.

“The appointment comes after the historic precedent set by Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon, when he was elected in 2016 to serve as Chairman of the UN Legal Committee, becoming the first Israeli to head a UN permanent committee,” it continued.

Amb. Danon congratulated Wax, saying “Yaron’s election to the senior position joins the many achievements we have reached in recent years and demonstrates an expression of trust in Israel from dozens of countries around the world.”
Palestinian-American lawmaker Justin Amash quits GOP
Michigan lawmaker Justin Amash, the first person of Palestinian descent to serve in the US Congress, said he is quitting the Republican Party and has grown disenchanted with America’s two-party system.

According to CNN, Amash may seek the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination.

In an op-ed in the Washington Post, Amash cited the “hyperpartisan environment” in Washington as his reason for leaving the party, announcing, “Today, I am declaring my independence.”

“Modern politics is trapped in a partisan death spiral, but there is an escape,” he wrote. “Most Americans are not rigidly partisan and do not feel well represented by either of the two major parties. In fact, the parties have become more partisan in part because they are catering to fewer people, as Americans are rejecting party affiliation in record numbers.
British Protests, Violence Mark 243 Years Since Expulsion from American Colonies (satire)
As Americans celebrate the 243rd anniversary of its independence with barbeques, parties and fireworks, rage in the United Kingdom set in as the British mark what they called the “Proper Mess,” British for ‘catastrophe‘. Peaceful protests against the United States’ independence turned violent, as clashes broke out between NATO troops and protesters demanding a “right of return” to the U.S. mainland.

Riots were held in London, Manchester and other major cities, as British citizens protested their expulsion from what they termed “Occupied Western England.” Many of the protesters consider themselves refugees, as their ancestors were British officials forcibly expelled from the colonies nearly 250 years ago.

“My parents, grandparents, and great-great-great grandparents may have lived in London, but my heart will always be in Philadelphia,” said Rupert Chesselwit, whose ancestors were expelled in 1776. “Baltimore and Charleston are as much a part of England as Birmingham, Leeds, and Northern Ireland.”
IAF struck many Iranian weapons trucks in Sinai headed for Gaza - report
Israeli Air Force jets struck various weapon trucks headed to the Gaza Strip from Sinai between November and May, i24 news reported. The shipments included Iranian missiles meant for Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

In addition to these operations, Egypt confiscated large sums of money meant to be smuggled into the Gaza Strip and the Gaza factions reduced further shipments.

An Islamist insurgency in the desolate, thinly populated Sinai Peninsula has increased in violence and pace since the Egyptian military toppled President Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013.

Egyptian president Abdel Fateh al-Sisi has waged extensive military operations against Islamic State terrorists in Sinai, who despite their small size in the peninsula, is considered by many to be one of the most effective ISIS franchises outside Syria and Iraq, and have carried out numerous deadly attacks on Egyptian security forces.

Israel has a 240-kilometer border with the restive Sinai Peninsula, and Cairo and Jerusalem have been reported to have been closely cooperating in the fight against terrorists since Sisi rose to power.
Explained: IDF Strikes on Iranian Missile-Smuggling Efforts
A new report surfaced that Israel had been launching strikes in the North Sinai to take out Iranian efforts to smuggle rockets into Gaza. Our Daniel Tsemach explains.

Netanyahu: Israel preparing for wide-scale campaign in Gaza
Israel wants to restore calm to the South, but at the same time is preparing for a wide-scale military campaign inside the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday.

Netanyahu’s comments came after he convened a security cabinet meeting at the IDF Gaza Division headquarters to discuss the situation in the Strip, followed by a meeting with local and regional council heads, some of whom left the meeting in protest.

“Our policy is clear: we want to restore the calm, but at the same time we are preparing for a large-scale military operation, if such an action is required,” Netanyahu said. “Those are my instructions to the army.”

A few local council heads most affected by the violence who were invited to the meeting did not attend, with Gadi Yarkoni and Ofir Liebstein, heads of the Eshkol and Sha’ar Hanegev regional councils, walking out when they saw that there were a number of other local and regional heads from the South in attendance.
Israeli City Names Local Square After Trump
Israel's central city of Petah Tikvah honored President Trump ahead of July 4th celebrations in the U.S. by naming a local square after him. It's the second time this has been done in Israel in the last six weeks. Our Ellie Hochenberg reports.

Abbas, PA Economy Minister, ‘Ready to Sever All Ties with Israel’
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday announced that he is ready to sever all ties with Israel if it continues to refuse to honor its agreements, WAFA reported.

Abbas was speaking to reporters at his Ramallah Muqata headquarters.

“If Israel does not abide by the agreements, we are going to cancel them all,” Abbas said in response to a question about reports that the Palestinian Authority may collapse under its financial troubles. Those troubles have resulted from the PA’s refusal to accept Israel’s withholding of millions of dollars in clearance revenues to offset the salaries paid to terrorists behind bars. Abbas decided back in February that it’s all or nothing, and now, like the nice reporter said, the PA is collapsing.

“If [Israel] continues in not honoring them,” Abbas threatened, “we will cancel all the agreements between us no matter what will happen.”

Meanwhile, PA Economy Minister Khaled Al-Assaily on Monday told Voice of Palestine radio that the PA will begin to take practical steps to free itself from economic dependence on Israel. According to Al-Assaily, the PA plans to set up a solar energy system to reduce dependence on Israel’s electricity company; encourage the consumption of Palestinian products; and continue to reduce referrals to hospitals in Israel.
U.S. Designates Chief of Hezbollah’s Intelligence Unit as a “Global Terrorist”
The United States announced on Tuesday that it has identified Husain Ali Hazzima, a senior Hezbollah operative, as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT).

In a statement, the U.S. Department of State said that Hazzima is the chief of Hezbollah Unit 200, which is the intelligence branch of the Iranian-sponsored terrorist organization. The Lebanon-based group was designated by the United States as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 1997, and as a SDGT in 2001.

“Terrorist designations expose and isolate organizations and individuals, and deny them access to the U.S. financial system,” the department said.

Meanwhile, a new intelligence assessment released by the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia revealed on Thursday that the number of Hezbollah operatives rose in the country in 2018, Benjamin Weinthal reported in the Jerusalem Post.

Hezbollah’s aim “of annihilation of the state of Israel and the establishment of ‘Islamic rule’ over Jerusalem remain unchanged to this day,” the report said.

The assessment also noted that, “In order to achieve these goals Hezbollah also uses terrorist means. For years it [Hezbollah] has been responsible for attacks in northern Israel, posing a direct threat to the state of Israel.”
Increasingly Belligerent Iran Poses Dilemma for Israel
At the annual Herzliya Conference, experts discussed the nature of the conflict between Iran and Israel.

Mark Dubowitz, CEO of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, supported the U.S. "maximum pressure" campaign. "Do we want to confront a weakened Iran or a stronger Iran?...It's always good to weaken your enemy, not strengthen them."

Ariel Levite, former deputy director general of the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission, said, "There was an illusion that the JCPOA [nuclear deal] would pave the way for positive dynamics with Iran. It has done exactly the opposite." Levite added, "In the haste to get an agreement in 2015, very serious shortcuts were made, which ultimately produced a very problematic agreement and a very flawed implementation of it thereafter."

Levite noted that Iran already appears comfortable with acting aggressive and confrontational - and that's without a nuclear umbrella. Imagine what they would do if they have the nuclear umbrella, he said.

Former Israeli national security adviser Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror was asked whether Israel should prepare for a strike on Iran. He replied, "The clear answer, 'yes.' Israel cannot be in a situation in which Iranians will absorb the ability to manufacture nuclear military capability, and Israel cannot stop it....We cannot put our future in the hands of any other state....At the end of the day, if the Iranians cross the red line and we are in a situation in which tomorrow will be too late, we will have to act."

Sima Shine, a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, said, "The international community should deal with [Iran]. I don't think Israel can take upon itself the solution." Amidror replied, "What do we do if they don't? The answer to that question should be very clear....Israel should be in the position to do the job....If all the good people in the world will not do it...we should do it."
The Folly of Reentering the Iran Nuclear Deal
Every Democrat running for president has said or heavily implied that they would reenter the nuclear deal, either before entering the race or during the campaign. Some, such as Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, have added a caveat that they would seek tougher conditions. But the leading candidates have all indicated that they would return to the original agreement.

A few of the candidates have alluded to the fact that, under the deal, the key restrictions on Iran's nuclear program expire over the next 12 years. Beginning in 2026, Tehran is free to enrich uranium using advanced centrifuges, which make the enrichment process much more efficient, and to install and operate more of its older models. In 2031, restrictions on the amount and level of enriched uranium that Iran can stockpile disappear—restrictions that Iran is already violating. These are the two key dates, after which Iran will be able to build as large of a nuclear program as it wants. And the best part: If the United States were in the deal, Iran could also enjoy relief from sanctions.

But there are several key expiration dates before then. In 2025, for example, the "snapback" provision, under which sanctions by the United Nations would be reimposed should Iran violate the deal, will end. New sanctions would require the U.N. Security Council to pass another resolution, which China or Russia would surely veto. Moreover, in 2023, Iran will have an easier time acquiring components and technology for its ballistic-missile program, the key for Tehran delivering nuclear bombs, with the lifting of a U.N. ban on assisting Iran's missile program.

Taken together, these dates show that, regardless of who is inaugurated in January 2021, the president will find the nuclear deal unsustainable over the next four years, as key clauses of the deal expire. And if the president during this time foolishly returns to the nuclear deal, imagine the situation they would hand to their successor, who, at that point, would only be able to stop or delay an Iranian nuclear bomb with military strikes. Of course at that point Iran would be better able to defend itself, with the U.N. ban on Iranian arms imports and exports set to expire in 2020 under the deal. Reentering the nuclear accord simply boxes in future presidents, giving them fewer options.

With Iran breaching the deal today and key provisions set to expire in a few years, it simply does not make sense for the United States to return to a dying agreement. Some Democrats at the debate said they wanted to renegotiate their way back into the accord. Well, like it or not, the best way to make that happen, to return to some kind of an agreement, is to follow the Trump administration's policy: to exert maximum pressure on the regime to force it back into negotiations, with the United States having greater leverage. Other options will lead down a predictably dangerous road of appeasing the Iranians to prevent a full-scale war that won't erupt if America shows strength and resolve—the opposite of what most Democratic candidates are proposing. So, looking at the big picture, the Democratic candidates can get an agreement. They just have to follow Trump's road to get there. Don't hold your breath.
Turkey accuses ‘Washington Post’ of “terrorist propaganda”
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu accused The Washington Post of “terrorist propaganda” on Thursday after the newspaper ran an oped by Kurdistan Workers Party senior leader Cemil Bayik.

Turkey has in the past sought to run oped by its own leaders and officials, but was outraged when an oped appeared this week titled ‘now is the moment for peace between Kurds and the Turkish state, let’s not waste it.” The newspaper has been critiqued in the past for publishing an oped by the head of the Houthi rebel group, a group that openly espouses antisemitism. It has also been critiqued by some Kurdish activists for running opeds by Turkish officials. Kurds are outraged by Turkey’s actions in eastern Turkey, in the Kurdish area of Afrin in northern Syria and also by Turkey’s airstrikes in northern Iraq.

This is part of a larger conflict between Turkey and the PKK that grew after a ceasefire broke down in 2015. Turkey sees the PKK as a terrorist organization with which it has fought for decades. In 1999 PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan was captured in Kenya in an operation by Turkish intelligence. The New York Times reported at the time that US officials assisted Turkey in its hunt for Ocalan, from Syria to Greece to Kenya. A ceasefire and changes in Turkey’s government appeared to lead to a opening to peace and increased role for a spectrum of Kurdish activists in Turkey in the 2000s. However things changed in 2015 as Turkey and the PKK both watched developments in Syria.

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