Monday, January 27, 2020

From Ian:

Trump's peace plan: A presidential show of friendship and solidarity with Israel
Such a clear presidential display of friendship and solidarity with Israel can also help sway moderate Jewish voters to break with the Democrats and park their support with the 45th president.

Trump's decision to unveil the plan at this point is most likely designed to dominate the news cycle so that his impeachment trial gets less coverage.

But it would be wrong to accuse Trump of using the peace plan for domestic purposes only. Even if the timing may be a result of his own personal considerations, one cannot ignore the fact that it is the culmination of a long process that was launched in the very first days of his presidency.

In May 2017, Trump convened a summit of Arab leaders in Riyadh, laying the groundwork for a regional framework that he hopes will eventually serve as the backdrop for the Palestinian-Israeli peace deal.

He also took other steps, like the Bahrain workshop in June, when the administration unveiled the economic component of the peace plan as part of a larger effort to establish a mechanism to enhance the Palestinians' lives and help create a more stable Middle East.

Even if peace is still far off, Trump's vision will help cast him as a pro-active and assertive leader who is not afraid of thinking outside the box and does not feel tethered to the traditional US posture regarding this region.

Now we just have to wait and see what the actual impact of the plan is, both on American politics and on the region.
Col. Kemp: Britain should support Trump's peace plan
At a cost of 168,000 casualties, British Empire forces freed the land of Palestine from the malignant rule of the Ottoman Empire in a defensive campaign from 1915 to 1918. Had our troops not secured victory, the Turks would have maintained dominion over that land and there could never have been a Jewish state.

Yet the British government published a White Paper in May 1939 slamming the door on Jewish immigration into Palestine. Liberal Party MP James Rothschild observed at the time, "For the majority of the Jews who go to Palestine, it is a question of migration or of physical extinction."

We don't know how many Jews perished in the Holocaust who might have escaped to Palestine but it certainly runs into the hundreds of thousands. It is to Britain's eternal shame that our nation played a role in sending Jews to the Nazi ovens.

At the same time, had the British Army under General Montgomery not succeeded in halting Rommel at El-Alamein in 1942, the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin Al-Husseini, would have achieved his desire to see Jews herded into gas chambers in Palestine and across the Arab world.

A serving British general led the illegal Jordanian invasion of the newly declared State of Israel in 1948. Britain armed the Arab aggressors and denied munitions to Israel, even continuing to hold fighting-age Jews in Cyprus long after British forces had withdrawn from Palestine.

On Tuesday, President Trump will announce his proposals for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Predictably, Al-Husseini's successors in the Palestinian leadership have rejected it even before it's been published. Britain, which played such an important part in the re-creation of the Jewish state, yet also made too many disastrous missteps, should get behind the president's proposals, which represent the only realistic hope for long-term peace and stability between the two peoples.
The security significance of annexing the Jordan Valley
A bill that would apply sovereignty to the Jordan Valley is currently being pushed in the Knesset. Members of Knesset should support the initiative, as annexing the Jordan Valley will help bolster Israel’s security for the foreseeable future.

The Jordan Valley serves as Israel’s frontline of defense during conventional wars from any opposing attacks coming from the East. Israel has a width of about 9.3 miles at its narrowest from the Mediterranean to the Green Line, which would be nearly impossible to defend in the event of an invasion. However, Israel’s width from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River is on average around 40 miles, which provides Israel with the necessary strategic depth to withstand an attack.

Likewise, the inimitable geographical features of the Jordan Valley provide Israel with defensible borders. The Jordan Valley rises from an area that lies 1,300 feet below sea level to the eastern slopes of the West Bank mountain ridge, which at its highest point stands around 3,600 feet above sea level. The Jordan Valley thus creates a 4,000-foot topographical barrier that makes it difficult for an opposing army attacking from the East to traverse, especially with large artillery such as tanks. The Jordan Valley contains only five mountain passages, which makes it easy for Israel to defend.

Of equal importance is the IDF’s ability to thwart terrorist infiltrations and smuggling via the Jordan Valley. The Gaza-Jericho Agreement signed in 1994 by Israel and the PLO created a narrow strip along the border area between Egypt and Gaza that would be controlled by the IDF. The agreement designated this area as the “military installation area” but was referred to by the IDF as the “Philadelphi Route.” Palestinian organizations began to create smuggling tunnels underneath the Philadelphi Route, however, the IDF was able to identify the location of the tunnels along this strip of land and eliminate them.

Once Israel withdrew from Gaza, though, Israel was no longer able to send in forces to try to destroy these tunnels, so their number proliferated. Without the IDF patrolling the border area, Hamas and other terrorists were able to capitalize on this by significantly increasing the number of weapons they were able to import via the tunnels running underneath the Philadelphi Route.



PMW: PMW Special Report - PA Antisemitism: Jews must be fought for Allah on Behalf of All Humanity
Click here to read the full report as a PDF
Introduction

This week’s World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem on the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp by world leaders from 50 countries was a moving commemoration of the past but must now be translated into action for the future. If the victims are remembered and the survivors honored, but the world doesn’t implement the lessons that must be learned, we are inviting a recurrence of history’s worst horrors.

One fundamental lesson of the Holocaust is that the world must be vigilant to expose and eliminate all demonization that leads to justification of murder, whether directed against Jews or any other group. One of the great failures of the international community has been its tolerant attitude towards the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) systematic demonization of Jews, and Antisemitism is now endemic among Palestinians. According to an ADL Global 100 poll a few years ago the Palestinians are the most antisemitic people in the entire world. 93% of Palestinians believed that at least 6 of the 11 negative stereotypes tested were "probably true," higher than Iraq at 92% and Yemen at 88%. For example, 91% of Palestinians believe “Jews have too much power in the business world,” 72% believe “Jews think they are better than other people,” and 88% of Palestinians say “Jews have too much control over global affairs.”

The pervasive Palestinian Antisemitism is the direct result of the PA’s teachings. Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah Movement recently produced a propaganda video purportedly about Jewish history in Europe that it publicized on Fatah’s official Facebook page. It teaches that Jews see themselves as superior: “We [Jews] are a nation that is above the [other] nations… only we are people, and all the others are our animals,” and others as inferior: “Non-Jews... according to their worldview are snakes." The Jews, Fatah explained, “led the project to enslave humanity,” and allied with Nazis to burn Jews "to accumulate wealth." The Jews themselves established "ghettos in order to separate from other people out of arrogance and disgust for non-Jews." It was in the ghettos, the documentary further lied that the Jews schemed against the non-Jews, leading to European Antisemitism: "[Jews] were hated because of their racism and their filthy behavior." (All sources appear below.)

Significantly, Palestinian demonization of Jews as having brought Antisemitism upon themselves comes from the very top of the PA leadership. It was Mahmoud Abbas himself who explained to Palestinians why Europeans committed massacres of Jews “every 10 to 15 years” for centuries and eventually the Holocaust: “Why did this happen?... The hatred of the Jews is not due to their religion, but rather due to their social role... due to their social role that was connected to usury, and banks and so forth.” Thus Abbas confirmed the antisemites’ deception that Jews brought Antisemitism upon themselves.
Netanyahu Affiliated Reporter: Expect 2nd Balfour Declaration
Shimon Riklin, easily the most pro-Netanyahu reporter in Israel, who works for Channel 20, easily the most pro-Netanyahu media outlet anywhere, tweeted just before boarding the prime minister’s plane to Washington: “This is a historic visit and kind of a second Balfour Declaration for the Israeli settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria.”

Riklin, 57, who is known for his softball interviews with Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu, is probably the most likely reporter the prime minister would pick to leak information about the upcoming White House meeting which will discuss President Donald Trump’s peace plan, a.k.a. Deal of the Century.

His next tweet reads: “We just took off. A little less than 12 hours to Washington. Must say that Netanyahu seems very excited to me, unlike other flights. I wonder if history is really going to be made here. Because if not now, when? Promise to update as needed. Adieu.”

Finally, after having landed on the other side, Riklin tweeted: “Cautious optimism. The debate now is what to annex and not whether. The key points: public presidential support; the international response; the status of the Arabs (will receive permanent residency). The options (for annexation – DI): Jordan Valley; settlements; Ma’ale Adumim.”

Riklin concluded: “Tomorrow, Trump and Netanyahu will tighten the corners. And the day after tomorrow, expect a dramatic announcement, followed by a government decision. That’s the direction.”

Below is a Riklin tweet from the flight, showing him (center) in a group of reporters receiving an “eloquent and clear briefing” from Minister Yariv Levin (Likud).
Jason Greenblatt: Why the Palestinian leadership should not reject Trump’s peace plan
This is a piece written by two friends. We do not see eye-to-eye on the conflict and many of the issues related to the conflict. While each of us would have written this piece differently if we had written it alone, it represents a negotiated “opinion” piece to reflect the collective thoughts that we agree upon. After all, that is how progress, and peace, is made.

The Palestinian leadership is faced with a difficult and fateful decision regarding the unveiling of President Donald Trump’s peace plan for the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis.

Given the unfortunate cutting of ties by the Palestinian Authority from the Trump administration, and judging from the public statements made by some among the Palestinian leadership, it would not surprise anyone if the Palestinian Authority’s first reaction will be outright rejection of the plan without even reading it. And what of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad? One does not have to wonder what their likely reactions will be.

We are hopeful that many Palestinians will see the advantages of counting to 10 before officially reacting to the proposed peace plan and the vision it contains for both Palestinians and Israelis.

Here are six reasons why the Palestinian leadership should review the plan, study it and systematically outline its objections to it – and then propose realistic, implementable amendments to the plan for consideration. The plan is an invitation to both sides for serious engagement.
The unnoticed speech in which the US envoy to Israel revealed contours of a peace deal
Friedman is one of the key architects of the US administration’s approach toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — together with US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner — but he declined to address any questions about the peace plan.

More of an activist than a diplomat, Friedman is usually not known for being coy about his views. Indeed, in a largely unnoticed, but very telling speech earlier this month he did reveal some of the thinking behind the administration’s peace plan.

Addressing the pro-settlement Kohelet Policy Forum’s celebration of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s November 18 declaration about the legality of Israel’s settlements, Friedman hinted at the likely contours of the proposal, which, according various reports, will recognize Israel’s sovereign rights over all of Jerusalem and large parts of the West Bank, but also include a provision for Palestinian statehood, if several conditions are met.

More specifically, the proposal is said to give Israel a green light to annex the Jordan Valley and possibly many, if not all, settlements.

In his speech, Friedman not only acknowledged that more than two million Palestinians live in the area, which he consistently refers to by its biblical name, Judea and Samaria. Perhaps surprisingly, he referred to these Palestinians as “indigenous,” thus refusing to endorse the talking point of many Israelis on the right who consider the Palestinian presence illegitimate and want to encourage their emigration.

Indeed, by calling Palestinians “indigenous” to this land, Friedman was implying that they, too, have rights to it.

In another hint at the deal’s parameters, the US top diplomat expressed his wish for Palestinians to “live in dignity, in peace, and with independence, pride and opportunity.” Independence, not autonomy.
Trump plan would see Palestinian state on up to 70% of West Bank, reports say
The Trump administration’s peace plan would curb Israeli settlement growth, initially hand Israelis and Palestinians about one-third of the West Bank each, recognize a Palestinian state in the Palestinian-held areas, and set in place a four-year “preparation period” during which Palestinians would — so Washington hopes — come around to the plan and possibly negotiate control of the remainder of the territory.

At least, that is what several Hebrew-language media outlets were reporting on Sunday, just a day or two before US President Donald Trump is expected to unveil the long-awaited plan to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his rival MK Benny Gantz, who are in Washington this week.

The Israeli outlets offered no source for the information, but the fact that it was handed to several Hebrew-language outlets and no American ones suggested the source may have been Israeli.

The White House was said to be aware that the Palestinians will reject the plan outright, and, indeed, Palestinian leaders declared their opposition in no uncertain terms on Sunday.

Sunday’s reports were the latest in a spate of sometimes contradictory reports in Hebrew media purporting to detail the content of the plan. On Thursday, for instance, Channel 12 TV reported that the plan provides for full Israeli sovereignty throughout Jerusalem, for Israel to annex all West Bank settlements, and for no significant “return” to Israel of Palestinian refugees, Israeli TV reported Thursday night.
Michael Oren: Every time Palestinians were offered peace they said 'no'
Former Israeli Ambassador to the United States and former MK and deputy minister for diplomacy Michael Oren spoke to Fox News on Sunday ahead of US President Donald Trump's meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz. Both Israeli leaders are expected to speak with the president about his Middle East peace plan, the "Deal of the Century."

"It's a new day and this peace plan is aimed at really two customers, if you will: the Israeli public and the moderate Arab Sunni world, specially the Gulf states," Oren told Fox News. "And so far, the reactions have been very good."

He said that the heads of Israel's "major parties" are "engaged" in the process, referring to Gantz and Netanyahu's respective meetings with Trump. Oren added, "in the Arab world, this president's administration has a tremendous amount of street credit for its strong stance against Iran, pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal – very strong credit."

With Israeli elections just over a month away, some have questioned the timing of Trump's plan, but Oren insisted that "we can't lose track and lose sight of the big picture," which he defined as support in Israel, despite rising political tensions as the country approaches its third election.

"You have a huge chunk of the Israeli public, even the radical right so far, saying that they're very supportive of this peace initiative – that is unprecedented,' Oren said. "Back in the 90s, during the Oslo years, during the Clinton years, this country was divided bitterly over the peace process, now we're united around this peace process and this is a historic moment."

When speaking to Fox News, Oren also praised the Trump administration as the "friendliest" since the establishment of the State of Israel. He commended the administration's recognition of Jerusalem and the Golan heights, its pulling out of the nuclear deal with Iran and its assassination of IRGC commander Qasem Soleimani.


Trump to tell Israelis they have 6 weeks to get peace plan moving — report
US President Donald Trump will reportedly tell Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White chief Benny Gantz that they have until the Knesset elections to work on the administration’s long-awaited peace plan, potentially throwing the high stakes diplomatic gambit into Israel’s domestic political stew.

According to a report by the Reuters news agency, citing a US official, Trump will not announce details of the plan until after he receives buy-in from both Netanyahu and Gantz so that it does not lose any momentum.

According to the unnamed official, Trump will tell the two, “You have six weeks to get this [plan] going, if you want it.”

It is unclear what either side could accomplish in even jump-starting talks based on the deal with neither having the confidence of the nation until the March 2 election. However, a number of politicians have expressed fears that releasing the plan before the vote will turn it into a political football as electoral campaigns ramp up.

The last year has seen Netanyahu and Gantz facing off in successive elections for almost a year, with neither side able to form a majority government.

Both Netanyahu and Gantz are scheduled to meet with Trump, separately and privately, in the White House on Monday.
Jordan will not impede the US peace plan
Jordan has been a strategic partner of Israel for many years, even before the 1994 peace treaty the two nations inked. The main reason for this is the common enemy - the Palestinian national movement.

Israel and Jordan share various common interests, including support for American presence in the region, opposing to pan-Arab and pan-Islamic nationalist movements and, of course, fighting the rise of radical Islam, Sunni or Shiite. Amman also sees eye to eye with Jerusalem on the issue of the Iranian threat.

Israel assists Jordan deterring extremists from threatening it, while Israel, for its part, sees Jordan as a buffer state between it and the extremist entities east of the kingdom.

Jordan is certainly not interested in a neighboring political entity that could develop another Hamas-controlled Gaza. The Israeli military control of the Joran Valley is convenient for Jordan, as it protects Amman from the west. This was also the case when Israel ruled the Jordan Valley exclusively before the second phase of the Oslo Accords was implemented in 1995, which defined this area as Area C.

It should be noted that Jordan did not use Israel's control over the unified Jerusalem as a pretext not to sign a peace deal – all it asked for was to retain its position as the custodian of the holy Muslim places on the Temple Mount.
Palestinian Authority PM calls on world to boycott Trump peace plan
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh on Monday urged international powers to boycott US President Donald Trump’s “peace plan” which they see as biased toward Israel.

“This a plan to protect Trump from impeachment and protect (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu from prison. It is not a Middle East peace plan,” Shtayyeh told a cabinet meeting.

“This plan gives Israel sovereignty over Palestinian territory,” he said.

Trump is expected to unveil his peace plan for the Middle East after hosting Netanyahu and his political rival Benny Gantz in Washington Monday and Tuesday.

It comes as Trump is facing an impeachment trial in the Senate while Netanyahu, who is facing indictment over corruption allegations, will contest an election next month which Gantz is hoping to win.

“We call on the international community to not be partners in this because it contravenes international law,” Shtayyeh told the Palestinian cabinet.

“The rights of the Palestinian people are not for sale.”
Palestinians Threaten to Pull Out of Oslo Over Trump Peace Plan
Palestinian Authority officials on Sunday threatened to withdraw from key provisions of the Oslo Accords in protest against the US administration’s Middle East peace plan.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told AFP that the US initiative would turn Israel’s “temporary occupation into a permanent occupation,” and that the PA reserved the right “to withdraw from the Interim Agreement” should US President Donald Trump unveil his plan. Also known as Oslo II, the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip is a key component of the Oslo accords.

Also on Sunday, the PA Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Trump’s peace plan, which is also known as the “deal of the century,” is “the plot of the century to liquidate the Palestinian cause.”

The comments were made as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his main political rival Blue and White leader Benny Gantz separately headed to Washington for meetings with Trump ahead of the unveiling of the peace plan, currently set for Tuesday.

The Palestinian leadership was not invited by the White House, having already rejected the initiative after the United States recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in Dec. 2017.

On Saturday, Erekat said the Trump plan would go down in history as the “fraud of the century” if it denied that Israel was an “occupying force.”
Palestinian factions call ‘day of rage’ on day of Trump peace plan
Palestinian factions on Sunday called for a “day of rage” for the day US President Donald Trump releases his long-awaited plan for Mideast peace.

Parts of the plan are expected to be publicized during separate meetings in Washington this week between Trump, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz.

Palestinians often mark “days of rage” by initiating clashes with IDF soldiers in the West Bank and Israeli policemen in east Jerusalem.

The latest call for a “day of rage” came as the Palestinian Authority continued to threaten that Trump’s upcoming plan, also known as the “Deal of the Century,” would ignite mass protests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

PA officials have also hinted that the Palestinian leadership may renounce all signed agreements with Israel and halt security coordination
between the Palestinians and Israel in the West Bank.
ISIS: We need to conquer Israeli settlements, start targeting Jews
ISIS spokesman Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraishi sent a recorded message to all the organization's operatives, mainly those in Sinai and Syria, to begin conquering Israeli settlements, multiple reports confirmed on Monday.

It is the second time the terrorist group sent a recorded message since the death of its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in October.

In the recording, Quiraishi said that despite what the US and other countries may have thought of as the end for the terrorist organization with the death of al-Baghdadi, "we are still here, and we are ready to start a 'new stage' – hitting Israeli targets."

The message called on the operatives to begin targeting Jewish communities and markets, and to turn the conquered territories into fields of weapons and rocket experiments.

Furthermore, the message also called on all Muslims worldwide to thwart US President Donald Trump's "peace plan," and added that "The Muslims who live in Palestine... will be at the forefront of the fight against the Jews [and] foiling the 'Deal of the Century.'

"Today we have begun a new phase in our struggle with you. Our eyes now look towards Jerusalem."
Iran’s Rouhani Calls for Unity, Accuses Trump of Exploiting Rift
Iranians should not allow US President Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” approach to harm national unity ahead of parliamentary elections, President Hassan Rouhani said in a speech, lashing out at hardliners over mass disqualification of candidates.

Iran’s clerical rulers face challenges in keeping the economy afloat under increasingly tough US sanctions imposed by Washington after it withdrew in 2018 from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers. Vital oil exports have been slashed.

“We should not let Trump succeed in creating gaps between the establishment and people … We should remain united … Don’t turn your back on (Feb. 21) elections. Let’s have a high turn out,” said Rouhani in a speech broadcast live on his official website.

“We should not let Trump and those terrorists in the White House isolate Iran.”

Iran’s hardline Guardians Council, which vets all election candidates, has disqualified about 9,000 of the 14,000 who registered to run in the elections. Moderates say in most cities they have no candidates to enter the race.

“This parliamentary election is a very important election … I have written letters to relevant authorities to resolve the issue of disqualifications,” said Rouhani.

“You (hardliners) claim that you will win the election. That is fine, but just let the election be a competitive one.”
Abbas said to refuse to take phone call from Trump
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reportedly refused to take a phone call from US President Donald Trump ahead of the White House’s expected release of a Mideast peace plan rejected by Ramallah as one-sided in favor of Israel.

The report by the state-run Turkish Anadolu Agency on Monday came ahead of separate meetings that Trump is slated to hold with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White chief Benny Gantz in Washington, DC to discuss the US administration’s plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“There were attempts by Trump to hold a phone call with Abbas, but the latter refused,” a high-ranking Palestinian official, who was not named, told Anadolu, adding that the attempted calls took place in the past couple of days.

Trump said last Thursday that he would likely release the long-awaited US plan this week. He said there had been some contact with the Palestinians over the issue and would be more.

PA Social Affairs Minister Ahmad Majdalani confirmed the Anadolu report to the Gaza-based Dunia al-Watan news site, stating that Abbas recently “refused a phone call from Trump.”






Cyberattacks Targeted World Leaders' Planes as They Flew into Israel
As Israel hosted dozens of world leaders last week for the World Holocaust Forum, the country’s cyber defense system fended off hundreds of cyberattacks targeting the country’s international airport and the planes of the world leaders.

Citing officials from the Airports Authority Cyber Division, Channel 12 reported Sunday that at least 800 distinct cyberattacks targeted Israeli aviation on Thursday while world leaders, including US Vice President Mike Pence and Russian President Vladimir Putin, were landing in the country.

All the attacks were successfully beaten back, officials said.

The attackers came from Iran, China, North Korea, Russia, and Poland, the report said.

The attacks “were directed at the airport and the planes,” the report said, “and were aimed at disrupting the flight paths of more than 60 planes carrying heads of state, kings and presidents.”

Officials said Israel was prepared for the onslaught because security preparations for the high-level diplomatic gathering included planning for just such attacks.
Russian pardon commission recommends to release Naama Issachar
The Moscow region pardon commission discussing the case of Israeli-American Naama Issachar recommended that she be pardoned and released, Russian media reported on Monday.

The commission forwarded its recommendation to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who now holds the ball on her case.

"Naama, her relatives and lawyers hope that President Putin will make the decision to pardon Naama Issachar as soon as possible, in accordance with his constitutional authority," Issachar's defense team said.

Issachar officially requested a pardon on Sunday in hopes that it would lead to her release from a Russian jail, where she is serving a 7.5-year sentence for cannabis possession.

During his trip to Israel last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin personally told Issachar’s mother Yaffa that her daughter would be freed.
Shin Bet security service busts two Israeli citizens in Hamas spy ring
The Shin Bet security service said Monday it foiled a Hamas spy ring operating in central Israel, arresting two Israeli citizens earlier this month who allegedly provided the terror group with details about Israeli security facilities and other intelligence information.

According to the agency, the two men — Rami Amoudi, 30, and Rajab Daka, 34 — were recruited by the Gaza-based terror group in October 2019 and tasked with filming security installations in central Israel, including “military bases, police stations and Iron Dome battery placements.”

The Shin Bet said Daka was also asked to provide the precise locations of where rockets launched from Gaza had landed during the recent bouts of fighting, apparently to help the terror group improve its accuracy.

“Hamas is continuing to cynically exploit the Erez Crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel to promote terror in Israel,” the Shin Bet said, referring to the pedestrian border crossing.

Both Amoudi and Daka are originally from the Gaza Strip, but were able to move to Israel as they have Israeli mothers.
PMW: Here's what hate looks like: PA Antisemitism on PA TV
Children learn poems of hate and adults are taught Jews endanger humanity and therefore Allah must “kill them one by one - do not leave even one.”

Yesterday, eve of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, Palestinian Media Watch released a special report on Palestinian Authority Antisemitism, detailing the different components of PA antisemitic ideology:
- The PA teaches that Jews think they are superior to others, but are in fact are inferior.
- The PA teaches that Jews are Satan’s partner spreading evil in the world and that evil is inherent in Jewish genes.
- PA Antisemitism blames Jews for all bad in the world;
- PA conclusion: It is natural that the Jews be hated and in fact, Jews brought Antisemitism on themselves throughout history, including the Holocaust.
Ultimately, the PA teaches, the killing of Jews is Allah’s will and their extermination is necessary so all of humanity can live in peace.

The following is a compilation of the antisemitic statements in the short video, that were all broadcast on either official PA TV or Fatah’s official Facebook page:


Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinian Elections: How Abbas and Europe Are Trying to Blame Israel
The last time there were Palestinian elections, Hamas won in a landslide. Even if Israel does agree to allow Arab residents of Jerusalem to take part in the Palestinian elections, Abbas will undoubtedly find another excuse to continue his policy of foot-dragging.

Abbas and his senior officials in Ramallah have, in fact, turned the PA into a private fiefdom. They have no functioning parliament, no free media, and no open debate. The only people Abbas consults with are his "yes-men" who appear to agree with every word he says. This is how Abbas likes matters, and he obviously sees no reason why Palestinians should waste money and energies on new elections as long as they have him as president for life.

As long as Abbas can use the issue of the elections to denounce Israel, why not do so? His friends in the European Union would be more than happy to join him in skewering Israel for not allowing Palestinian elections (if that turned out to be the case). Many EU representatives are Abbas's useful idiots, gladly parroting his every anti-Israel pronouncement.
PA Forces Arrest Cell Targeting Their Intelligence Chief
Palestinian Authority security forces have arrested a group of Fatah members suspected of plotting an attack on the head of the PA's General Intelligence Service, Majed Faraj, and his family, Palestinian and Israeli sources said.

The suspects are thought to be linked to Tawfiq Tirawi, Faraj's predecessor, who has been an outspoken critic of PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

Faraj, an Abbas supporter who took over as head of PA intelligence in 2008, is regarded as a possible successor to the 84-year-old Fatah leader.
A Long-Term Understanding with Hamas?
In recent months, what has been transpiring on the ground between Israel and Hamas is far from the hoped-for long-term understanding. In the past few days, Hamas once again became an instigator of violence, launching incendiary balloons across the border to demonstrate its dissatisfaction with the pace of the talks.

Three key issues must be included in any real agreement: Hamas must agree to end its military actions including those in the West Bank; Hamas must assume complete control of all rogue factions in Gaza; and the bodies of two fallen Israeli soldiers and two Israeli civilians believed held by Hamas in Gaza must be released.

The biggest challenge for Hamas will be exerting authority over other factions, but that is the most crucial aspect that must be agreed on before a long-term understanding can be reached.
Hamas refit IDF drone, used it against Israeli forces last year — report
The Hamas terror group last year recovered a fallen Israel Defense Forces drone and used it to attack an Israeli tank, according to a report on Monday.

The IDF has used small multi-rotor drones during the March of the Return protests on the Gaza border, which began as weekly demonstrations in March 2018. The army has used small drones to drop tear gas on Gaza protesters and has experimented with using them to counter arson balloons and kites flown from the Strip.

The Ynet news site reported Monday that the incident involved a DJI Matrice 600 drone that was used by the IDF and had fallen in the Strip sometime before the attack incident. The small multi-rotor drone should not be confused with the larger, fixed wing drones the IDF and other armies use for long-range operations.

Hamas personnel recovered the drone, repaired the damage and managed to operate it, the report said.
How will a Hezbollah-backed government affect the State of Israel?
Mendi Safadi, who heads the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights, noted, “Two arenas have reached a boiling point recently,” both in Iraq and Lebanon. According to recent media reports, Hezbollah and its allies have agreed to the formation of a new government in Lebanon under Prime Minister Hassan Diab. However, although this is supposed to be a government of technocrats that will determine the future of Lebanon, the pivotal role that Hezbollah played in forming this government undermines its credibility. This in turn adversely affects the Iraqi protesters' struggle and Israel’s security interests, as it means Hezbollah is now further entrenched within Lebanon.

However, it looks as though the Lebanese people will not accept this situation silently.

“The Lebanese protests have been high profile in recent days and there have been unprecedented roadblocks, which includes a violent clash with Security Forces that responded harshly to the protesters,” Safadi noted. “It appears that we are facing a turnaround to a degree that persists as the demonstrators continue on the path to a civil war, which is a point they are trying to avoid so long as the protesters demands are met, but Hezbollah will not relinquish control and neither will its main allies Michael Aoun and Jubran Basil. This is where a collision is inevitable.”

“It is important to note that Hezbollah has not yet taken its supporters to the street to suppress the protests and what we have seen to date has been very limited activity,” Safadi stressed. “But as soon as he loses control, Nasrallah will deliver a speech in order to rally his forces to the street. In such a situation, the military is expected to back the demonstrators and so will the Druze and the supporters of Samir Geagea, but the question remains, which side will Hariri take, given that recently his position was juxtaposed with that of Hezbollah and he colluded with their interests, thus renouncing his commitment to the Saudi government?”


How can someone like Nasrallah have any influence in Iraq, especially when he can’t leave his bunker and travel there?
It should be emphasized that Hariri and his Future Movement are not part of this new Lebanese government. Neither is the anti-Hezbollah Christian Lebanese Forces Party and the Progressive Socialist Party of Druze leader Walid Jumblatt. Such a reality significantly undermines the new government, which is why the protesters have not left the Lebanese streets.
Trump Admin Reconsidering U.S. Aid to Hezbollah-Controlled Lebanon.html
An internal divide in the Trump administration over American aid to Lebanon is reaching a breaking point as Lebanon forms a government controlled by the Iranian-backed terror group Hezbollah, according to sources familiar with the matter who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.

The State Department's concession to Congress that it would commit to halting financial aid to Lebanon if U.S. taxpayer dollars go to Hezbollah is now being brought to the forefront. That guarantee from the State Department is fueling a growing push to freeze all aid in light of Hezbollah's unprecedented takeover of the Lebanese government, sources confirmed.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), who has led a battle on Capitol Hill against unconditional assistance to Lebanon, recently wrenched promises from the administration to halt the aid if it is shown Hezbollah is the beneficiary, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

David Rutz breaks down the most important news about the enemies of freedom, here and around the world, in this comprehensive morning newsletter.

Internal administration battles over both economic and military assistance recently spilled into the public. The administration released hundreds of millions of dollars to Lebanon in late December over the objections of Trump loyalists in the National Security Council and State Department, who feared the money is directly aiding Hezbollah and its allies embedded in the Lebanese government, sources confirmed.
Rockets said to hit near US embassy in Iraq capital
A volley of rockets landed near the US embassy in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad on Sunday, two security sources told AFP, in the latest unclaimed attack on American installations in the country.

AFP reporters heard loud thuds emanating from the western bank of the Tigris, where the US embassy and most other foreign diplomatic missions are located.

One security source said three Katyusha rockets hit near the high-security compound while another said as many as five struck the area.

ater Iraq’s security forces said in a statement that five rockets hit the high-security Green Zone with no casualties. It did not mention the US embassy.

The rocket fire comes two days after thousands massed in Baghdad in response to a call by populist cleric Moqtada Sadr for a rally to demand the ouster of US troops from Iraq.

America’s military presence has been a hot-button issue in Iraq since a US strike killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and a top Iraqi commander outside Baghdad airport on January 3.

Last month, pro-Iranian protesters breached the outer wall of the the US embassy and burned property inside.
IRGC encourages Basij mobilization amid 'US, Israel threats' to Quds Force
The IRGC’s chief Maj.-Gen. Hossein Salami ordered the mobilization of Basij units as he claimed Israel and the US have threatened the new Quds Force commander Esmail Ghaani.

“The Zionists and Americans know that if their commanders threaten us then none of their commanders will ever find a safe place either,” he said according to Iranian media. He claimed that the US and Israel had threatened to assassinate IRGC commanders and threatened retaliation as he also ordered Basij militia elements mobilized.

"The US assassination of Qasem Soleimani is part of the regimes of terror,” he said, claiming that the US and Israel resort to assassinations when their other policies to deny Iran “peaceful nuclear technology” had failed. His speech was quoted at length by Tasnim media in Tehran.
His speech appears to come in reaction to US special envoy for Iran Brian Hook allegedly threatening the new IRGC Quds Force commander.

The threats reveal Tehran’s fears that the US will not stop targeting their key officials and that the US has put Iran on the back foot in its plans for the region. Iran is now lashing out with threats, a usual regime response, because it does not yet have a serious ground response. In Baghdad, Iranian-backed militias were likely behind rockets that struck the US embassy compound on Sunday. The Iranian-backed groups rushed to say they had not fired the rockets, remembering that the last time their rockets killed an American the US launched airstrikes against five Kataib Hezbollah targets, killing dozen.

Salami also sought to beef up security at home by pushing the Basij militia to play a wider role in Iran and to mobilize against threats. The Basij is one of the arms of the IRGC, consisting of volunteers for a paramilitary unit that roughly translates as “mobilization,” similar to the “popular mobilization” units in Iraq or PMU that Iran backs. The organization plays a key role in Iran and in propping up the regime. It has also crushed dissent in the past. Now the regime, weakened by assassinations and under pressure economically, turns to this pillar. The Iranian r regime killed 1,500 protesters in November. A Basij member in Khuzestan was gunned down earlier this month when leaving his house.
MEMRI: Antisemitism In Iran – Part II: Supreme Leader Associate Mehdi Taeb In Lecture Series On The Jews: Your Greatest Sworn Enemy The Jews; If The Spearhead Is Aimed At The Jews, The World Will Be Freed
Introduction

In response to February 15, 2019 statements by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence at the Munich Security Conference, in which he accused Iran of Nazi-like antisemitism,[1] Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif explained the next day, in an interview with the German daily Der Spiegel, that Iran was not antisemitic, and that "Iran has always supported the Jews, we are only against Zionists. The Holocaust was a disaster."[2]

Disproving Zarif's statements are many antisemitic statements by figures at the very core of the Iranian regime. One of these figures is Mehdi Taeb, head of the Ammar Headquarters think tank that advises Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei,[3] a close associate of Khamenei himself, and the brother of the Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)'s intelligence chief Hossein Taeb.

This report will present antisemitic and anti-Zionist statements made by Taeb in a six-part lecture series in late 2018, and at the "Consultation and Clarification on Ways to Confront the Zionists" conference in 2019. For MEMRI clips and reports on Taeb, see the appendix to this report.

The Ammar Headquarters, which Mehdi Taeb heads, was established on February 11, 2011, on Iran's Islamic Revolution Day, following the 2009 Green Movement protests in Iran, in response to Khamenei's instruction to his loyalists in the political and cultural elite to prevent a recurrence of the protests. Aimed at strengthening absolute obedience to Khamenei and to the principle of the Rule of the Jurisprudent, its 15 members are for the most part senior regime officials and prominent theoreticians in hardline ideological circles. Taeb's deputy is Alireza Panahian, a senior official in Khamenei's office who heads Khamenei's think tanks in Iranian universities.[4] Other members are Saeed Ghasemi, former senior IRGC official and now a senior member in the hardline Iranian Hizbullah group,[5] and Hassan Abassi, IRGC theoretician and head of the IRGC's Doctrinal Center for National Security.[6]

The Ammar Headquarters members draw up strategies for monitoring and thwarting subversive anti-regime activity, both inside and outside the country, calling this activity "soft warfare." Deputy commander Panahian explained the role of the organization as "monitoring the fulfillment of Khamenei's demands, coordinating among the Islamic Revolution forces, overseeing the [regime's] organizational activity, monitoring the activity of the front that opposes the Islamic Revolution, identifying overt and covert enemy activity and enemy agents within Iran, and raising [public] awareness in the arena of internal developments."[7]
An Opportunity Not to be Missed after Soleimani Assassination
The final taboos need now to be lifted towards relations between Sunni pragmatic nations and Israel.

There is much that can be gained from this, whether it is arms sales, early warning radars or sharing Iron Dome technology. Sharing water technology, artificial intelligence research, and exploring joint ventures economic can follow as less kinetic forms of cooperation, but perhaps more important.

Each of these and many other possible partnerships will be another nail in the coffin of Iranian regional hegemony, which is in the interest of all.

For many years, perhaps even decades, Iran has been on the march in the region, setting up shop in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. It has moved forward in its goals with frightening ease and speed.

Let it not be mistaken, Soleimani's death is a big blow to Iran and its capabilities. He will not be easily replaced.

Nevertheless, an even bigger blow to Iran could result if its opponents use this opportunity to grow closer, coalesce and unite in the fight against the Islamic Republic. Such a union of forces is the nightmare scenario of the Ayatollahs and could lead to the first serious pushback it has had in the region in living memory.

This is an opportunity not to be missed.




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