Thursday, June 04, 2020

From Ian:

The Real Palestinian Tragedy Remains Their Policy of All or Nothing
The U.S. peace plan offers a coherent, well-ordered worldview about how Israel can ensure calm regarding security issues, economic stability, and also a shared future and coexistence for Israelis and Palestinians living west of the Jordan River. In contrast to the past, this plan does not come with meaningless bombastic declarations about a historic breakthrough.

What it does is lay down the path for a long, slow, and exhausting journey in the right direction - a journey at the end of which both sides will realize some of their goals and be able to coexist in peace. It appears that this time, the Arab world and some of the Palestinians themselves aren't rushing to join Abbas' war for the umpteenth time.

The real Palestinian tragedy remains their policy of all or nothing. Their lack of ability to correctly read the map of the region, along with their inability to reach a compromise, have been hallmarks of the Palestinian movement. A compromise like this one might not fulfill everyone's dreams, but it could promote their interests much better than the path of violence to which the Palestinians still adhere. The Palestinians have tried violence countless times in the past, and every time, this path has brought disaster down upon their own heads. The writer is a lecturer in the Middle East History Department at Tel Aviv University.
The Abyss that Divides the Israeli Leadership from the PA Leadership
On June 1, 2001, as scores of Israeli teenagers went to the popular Dolphinarium nightclub on the Tel Aviv beach, a Palestinian terrorist blew himself up, murdering 21 kids and injuring over a hundred more. The Palestinian Authority declared the suicide bomber to be a "martyr."

Becoming a "martyr" represents the highest religious achievement that can be attained by a Muslim. His death is celebrated as a "wedding" in which the "martyr" marries 72 dark-eyed virgins in paradise. A video clip often broadcast on official PA TV declares that "Life is insignificant....God, grant us martyrdom."

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is directly responsible for paying monthly cash rewards to the families of dead terrorists and to imprisoned terrorists. In 2010, he approved a salary hike for terrorist prisoners including a 300% rise - from NIS 4,000 per month to NIS 12,000 per month - for prisoners who serve more than 30 years in prison for murder. In 2007, 2009 and 2013, Abbas approved a hike in the monthly allowances paid to the families of dead terrorists, including suicide bombers.

Raed Al-Houtari, who sent the suicide bomber to the Dolphinarium, was arrested in 2003 and sentenced to 22 consecutive life sentences. Al-Houtari has so far received $215,761, and he will continue to receive a monthly salary from the PA for the rest of his life because he is a mass murderer.

The PA leadership sanctifies death, murder and hatred. The Israeli leadership prioritizes life and is even willing to help those who hate us, as it did by granting a NIS 800 million loan to the PA during the coronavirus crisis.
Madness: Gantz Suspends Bennett’s Order Compelling PA Banks to Halt Terrorists’ Salaries
Israel has suspended the order forbidding PA banks through to process salary payments to security prisoners and the families of dead terrorists, Reshet Bet radio reported Thursday morning. The order, issued a month ago by the Commander of the Central Command, Gen. Nadav Padan, resulted in the banks freezing the accounts of terrorists and their families, a move which later exposed them to a wave of lawsuits.

And so a notice of the suspension of the order for 45 days was sent to the Palestinian Authority Wednesday night, following the decision of the Defense Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz. Defense establishment officials confirmed the news, saying that the decision had been made in light of the recommendation of various components in the defense establishment to re-examine the order and obtain a legal opinion on the significance of the order, in light of the sensitivity and tension on the ground.

Hard to believe? Not if you’re former Defense Minister and now member of the opposition Naftali Bennett, who slammed Gantz on his Facebook page Thursday morning:

Incomprehensible. This morning, Defense Minister Benny Gantz canceled an order preventing the payment of terrorist salaries. From this moment on, Palestinian banks are again allowed to transfer money to the murderers of Jews.
In move seen as ‘nearly suicidal,’ Abbas’s PA refuses tax transfers from Israel
The Palestinian Authority on Wednesday said it will no longer accept tax revenue transfers from Israel as it pushes to end coordination with Israel. In 2019, tax revenues transferred to the PA by Israel accounted for 60% of the Palestinian budget.

The PA lacks an international port of entry, meaning all goods entering and exiting the West Bank must pass through Israel. According to the 1994 Paris Protocol, Israel is responsible for levying taxes on imports and exports before transferring the funds to the PA.

The PA's decision also calls into question a recent NIS 800 million loan by Israel to the PA to help it weather the financial damage of the coronavirus crisis.



Foreign Ministry Social Media Gurus See Major Change in Arab Attitudes Online: ‘Israel Is No Longer the Big Problem’
New digital diplomacy efforts are bearing considerable fruit on social media, three officials from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Digital Diplomacy Department said on Wednesday.

During an online briefing offered by the MFA, Head of Digital Diplomacy Yiftah Curiel, Director of New Media in Persian Sharona Avginsaz and Director of New Media in Arabic Yonathan Gonen described Israel’s use of digital diplomacy and its results.

Speaking on outreach to Iranians, Avginsaz said that the most important site was Instagram, which was the only major platform not banned by the Tehran regime. The MFA’s Persian-language Instagram page currently has 500,000 followers.

The channel, she said, was intended “to create a dialogue,” and the coronavirus pandemic and economic upheaval in Iran had led to much stronger Iranian engagement with the channel.

“They are writing to get information,” she said. “They see in Israel a source for credible information, even about corona.”

There are also “people who simply want to get out of Iran, people who are being persecuted for their political opinions,” Avginsaz added.

The majority of these followers are “opposed to the regime,” she said, “so as a byproduct of that, most of the responses we see to our posts, not all but most, are positive.”

Gonen noted that, because most Arab countries had no relations with Israel, “without social media, we couldn’t do things like this.”
Stop the ‘pay for slay’ payments and put the welfare of Israeli citizens first
The Israeli government just broke the cardinal rule of governance: “Salus populi suprema lex esto [the welfare of the people shall be the supreme law].”

This principle, attributed to Roman statesman and philosopher Cicero, should formulate the backbone of every decision, calculation and action by those who were democratically elected to represent the interests of the people.

Unfortunately, the Israeli government is attempting to transfer the full amount of taxes it accrues on behalf of the Palestinian Authority without deducting the amounts that the Palestinian leadership spends on supporting terrorists in prison and their families, in direct contravention of a law I wrote with MK Avi Dichter, which passed in 2018.

The bill that we authored directs the government to deduct the amount the Palestinian Authority pays out to convicted terrorists and their families from the taxes and tariffs Israel collects for the authority.

The so-called Palestinian martyrs’ fund pays far higher benefits to those involved in more serious and bloody attacks as an encouragement to cause the greatest number of casualties among Israelis by terrorists.

This is the quintessential encouragement of terror.
Minneapolis Cop Kills Unarmed Black Man; Palestinian Advocates Attack Jews
For all the allegations made by JVP, USCPR, Samidoun, the Democratic Socialists, Sarsour and so many others, no one has identified any actual Israeli training that encourages shooting or killing unarmed people of any kind. There is no evidence that the program has played any role in any deadly American police action.

The JVP report Ahmed relies on, for example, is incredibly thin on specifics. Instead, the report makes the sweeping claim that American police learn “an official policy of marking entire populations as suspect, a model that is in direct opposition to efforts to end the racial profiling that has long been constitutive of American policing.”

Yet, in nearly 20 years of an ADL program that works with police officials who are black, white, Latin, male, and female, not one participant has claimed the instruction came anywhere close to racism or advocated any kind of abuse.

A second organization, the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA), also runs an exchange program matching American police with their Israeli counterparts. JINSA director of Counterterrorism Programs and former assistant FBI director for counter-terrorism Steven L. Pomerantz wrote in 2018, “Programs like these do not provide military-style training to participants, nor do they encourage suppression of political rights and civil liberties.”

But a narrative doesn’t always need evidence to be effective. And some protesters seem to buy the narrative. A Los Angeles synagogue, Congregation Beth Israel, was defaced with “free Palestine” and “f*** Israel” spray-painted on its front wall.

Instead, it’s a simple equation. The people trying to connect George Floyd’s killing to the world’s only Jewish state believe everything about Israel is bad. It’s no coincidence that some of the same people blaming Israel for the death of George Floyd were also behind the blood libel that Israel was deliberately spreading the coronavirus among Palestinians.


UN Resolution 242 For Dummies
​​​​​By July 1st, 2020, Israeli PM Netanyahu has promised to apply Israeli civil law to the areas in Judea/Samaria outlined by President Trump’s “Peace to Prosperity,” peace plan. Note it’s applying Israeli civil law, not a formal annexation (which will include a land swap). An annexation will happen after the Palestinians agree to make peace.

Roughly, the areas that will fall under Israeli civil law will include all Israeli communities on the west bank of the Jordan River along with some of the land surrounding them and the entire Jordan Valley. The final borders of the areas to be under Israeli law are still being worked out between Israel and the United States.

The EU, Jordan, and other countries are already complaining about the Israeli move. Some of them are pointing to UN Resolution 242, claiming that it states Israel has to withdraw to the pre-1967 borders, But that’s not what the Resolution says.

They claim that the wording of 242 calls for Israel to withdraw from “the” territories taken during the Six-Day War. The resolution actually says that ‘Israel should withdraw from territories’ taken during the war (no “the”). If it included that, “the” the resolution would mean all territories.

It was no accident “the” was left out. Diplomats are very exact in their language. During the negotiations to create resolution 242, Arab governments tried three times to have “the” inserted into the resolution, and their request was rejected. But, by repeating what they wanted the resolution to say all these years, the Arabs succeed in convincing many people to accept their distorted interpretation of 242.

However, if you read the statements of the drafters of the resolution there is no ambiguity about what they meant. Below are those statements by country and participant:
The Impact of the Proposed Palestinian State on US Interests
Supposedly, there is an astute, common-sense, and convenient approach to the Palestinian issue, which could resolve rough crises by bypassing the violent, intolerant, unpredictable, frustrating, and inconvenient features of the Middle East. But this approach subordinates the well-documented Palestinian track record to a presumptive future Palestinian track record.

Here is some of that Palestinian track record:

  • Collaboration with Nazi Germany. Mein Kampf is still read on the Palestinian street.
  • Close ties with the Muslim Brotherhood — the largest Islamic terror organization.
  • Systematic collaboration with the Soviet Bloc/Russia since the end of World War II. Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas was trained in Russia and got his PhD (“The Myth of the Jewish Holocaust”) there.
  • Since 1966, the Palestinian leadership has maintained close ties with North Korea. The Palestinian embassy is one of a mere 25 embassies in Pyongyang.
  • Systematic alliances with the anti-US Cuba and Venezuela.
  • An early supporter of Iran’s ayatollahs during their rise to power in 1979.
  • During the 1970s and 1980s, Palestinian terror organizations (led by Abbas’ Fatah and PLO) were a global epicenter of anti-US international terrorism, training terrorists from Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
  • On March 1, 1973, the PLO-controlled Black September organization murdered the US ambassador and deputy ambassador to Sudan, as well as the Belgian chargé d’affaires to Sudan.
  • Palestinian terrorism (1987-1991) and control (since the first Oslo Accord in 1993) of the Christian enclaves in Bethlehem, Beit Jallah, Beit Sahur, and Ramallah transformed these majority Christian communities into tiny minorities.
  • Palestinian terrorism and hate-education intensified dramatically in response to Israel’s dramatic concessions in 1993 (with Oslo), in 2000 (with then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s proposal to retreat to the 1949 ceasefire lines), and in 2005 (the disengagement from Gaza).
  • Anti-Israel Palestinian terrorism was not triggered by the 1967 Six-Day War. It has been an integral feature of the region since the 1920s. Abbas’ Fatah and PLO organizations were established in 1959 and 1964 with official charters and seals calling for the “liberation” of pre-1967 Israel. The “liberation” of pre-1967 Israel has been the core theme of the Palestinian education curriculum (K-12) and mosque incitement.
  • Palestinian leaders have excelled in the usage of the Islamic Taqqiyah (dissimulation), as evidenced by PLO chief Yasser Arafat, who enunciated peaceful statements — which made him a frequent visitor to the White House and a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize — while fueling unprecedented terrorism and promoting hate-education.
  • Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the other pro-US Arab regimes don’t forget and don’t forgive. They consider the proposed Palestinian state a potential rogue regime, threatening their survival.
  • During the 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty signing ceremony, Jordanian generals told their Israeli colleagues that a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River would doom the Hashemite regime east of the river.
  • Against the aforementioned data, a Palestinian state could expand the Russian, Chinese, Iranian, Turkish, and possibly North Korean foothold in the Middle East, including conceivable land, air, and sea access/bases.
  • The aforementioned data guarantees another anti-US vote at the United Nations.
  • Bearing in mind that leopards don’t change their spots — only their tactics — the proposed Palestinian state on the one hand, and American values and national-security interests on the other, constitutes a classic oxymoron.

Will the US foreign and national-security establishments keep Ellis’ advice in mind and remember that the “best predictor of future behavior is past behavior”?
Netanyahu ally says Israel hasn’t adopted Trump plan, only parts of it
A senior member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party said Thursday that the Israeli government has not adopted US President Donald Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian peace, indicating that Jerusalem could be planning to accept only the parts that favor Israel, such as annexation of areas of the West Bank, and not others, such as the recognition of a future Palestinian state.

“We didn’t announce that we’re adopting the Trump plan, but rather parts of it, including the part that lets us extend Israeli law to settlements and the Jordan Valley,” Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz told Army Radio, amid growing complaints on the right against the founding of a Palestinian state, which under the proposal would come after Israel is allowed to annex portions of the West Bank.

“This is the best peace plan for us that the United States has ever put on the table,” he said in response to the criticism. “For us to say that we won’t take the sovereignty because it doesn’t give us everything is foolishness. To say that Trump is no friend of Israel is doubly foolish. It is very unwise and could lead to the squandering of a historic opportunity.”

“Of course, as long as the Palestinians don’t accept the plan and won’t even negotiate on its basis, we are definitely not endorsing it ahead of time — not all of its parts,” Steinitz said.
Settler leader says annexation plan like being forced to eat cake at gunpoint
A top settler leader on Thursday compared the pressure from Washington and Jerusalem to accept the Trump administration’s peace plan to being force-fed cake on pain of severe bodily harm.

Jordan Valley Regional Council head David Elhayani has been leading settler opposition to the US plan, which includes annexation of wide swaths of the West Bank but leaves open the possibility of a Palestinian state.

Speaking to Army Radio a day after being rebuked by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for speaking out against the plan, Elhayani said he had no choice but to warn Israel about what he sees as a dangerous proposal.

“If someone comes to me with a cake while holding a gun to my head will I just take some cake and then say goodbye?” he said. “My duty is to save us from the existential threats.”

Elhayani, who chairs the Yesha umbrella council of settlement mayors, rebuffed accusations that he was being ungrateful to Washington as it offers to recognize sovereignty, telling the station he was concerned not just for the safety of Israeli settlements in the Jordan Valley or other areas of the West Bank, but for the safety of all of Israel’s citizens.

His comments have prompted some other settler leaders to call for his resignation, Channel 13 reported, with an internal WhatsApp group of settler chiefs featuring several bitter criticisms of his comments and accusations that he was “humiliating” the settlers.
Abbas the Real Winner as Netanyahu and Settlers Clash over Sovereignty (Nobody Mention ‘Annexation’)
Semantics matter in the war over the future of the 1967 liberated territories, which has been more or less stagnant for 53 years (unlike eastern Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and Gaza, where real decisions have been made on the ground).

In countless interviews and publications, the leaders of the Yamina party, rejected by the majority of its settler constituents and desperate for a comeback, are refusing to use the term “annexation” when it comes to the future of Judea and Samaria, insisting instead on “sovereignty.”

MK Bezalel Smotrich explained that annexation means you take the areas in question from their rightful owner, while sovereignty is applying Israeli law to areas that are by rights yours. It’s not accurate, since you can annex what is your own (eastern Jerusalem, for instance) and apply sovereignty to what isn’t.

Popular Kan 11 pundit Guy Zohar on Wednesday night assembled all the many times in which Yamina leaders Naftali Bennett, Ayelet Shaked and, of course, Bezalel Smotrich used “annexation” in media appearances and the country laughed at their expense. Here, have a laugh (the Hebrew is relatively easy):

At some point during the tortured year of three consecutive elections from Israel has just emerged, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised that if he is elected, his first act in office – having failed to do it for more than 10 years in office – would be to “apply Israeli law” (see? There’s even a third way to say “annexation”) to the Jordan valley and the settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria.

As an aside, we were told that the esteemed Professor Avi Bell says that “applying Israeli law” is the only accurate term to precisely describe what Netanyahu plans to do.
WaPo: UN Envoy: "There Is No Middle East Peace Process"
Bulgarian-born Nickolay Mladenov, the UN special coordinator for Middle East peace, said in an interview:

"The title on my business card is completely wrong. I mean, there is no Middle East peace process. Most of our work now is preventive diplomacy, preventing war."

Political relations between Israel and the Palestinians are stalled. The Palestinian leadership refuses to meet with U.S. officials. Israelis are suspicious of European motives, and other potential intermediaries, like the Russians, are focused elsewhere.
Meretz chairman warns against Trump ‘apartheid’ plan in West Bank protest tour
The leader of the left-wing Meretz party, Nitzan Horowitz, on Thursday warned against the government’s imminent plan to annex large parts of the West Bank, asserting that the move envisioned by the Trump peace plan would turn Israel into an apartheid state.

Speaking to reporters during a Meretz-organized protest tour in the Jordan Valley, Horowitz held up a provisional map of the Trump plan and said, “This is an apartheid map. It reminds me of South Africa.”

The remarks, a denunciations of the Trump plan from the left, came hours after a prominent settler leader said the proposal proves Trump is “not a friend” of Israel, and another said West Bank mayors were prepared to “blow it up” if they were not kept in the loop regarding its details.

Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Hebrew media that Israel would not apply its sovereignty over Palestinian towns located in the middle of areas it plans to annex, nor would it grant citizenship to those residents.

The premier has vowed to begin carrying out the controversial measure on July 1 and almost certainly will have the backing of a majority in the Knesset.

In a conversation with The Times of Israel, Horowitz dismissed the notion that those Palestinian enclaves would be able to maintain any semblance of independence or autonomy when surrounded by territory that they are barred from accessing.

“In South Africa they claimed that the Bantustan also enjoyed independence. Come on,” he said, comparing the Palestinian enclaves envisioned by the Trump plan to the territories designated for blacks by the white-dominated South Africa government.

“[Enacting] sovereignty without [granting Palestinians] citizenship is apartheid,” Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg told reporters during the tour.
JCPA: Palestinians in a Quandary How to React to Possible Israeli Territorial Action
Israel’s declared intention to apply sovereignty over some territories in Judea and Samaria is provoking a storm in the Palestinian Authority and Jordan, and to a lesser extent in other Arab states. The question before us is what might happen on the Palestinian side if Israel does indeed take the step to annex or apply sovereignty over parts of the West Bank.

The Palestinian Authority has already announced the cessation of security coordination. However, my discussions with Palestinian sources indicates that coordination continues in alternative ways, and IDF forces continue to operate in the PA’s territories with the knowledge of Palestinian security forces.

As long as Jordan’s border crossings are in Israel’s hands, the Palestinian Authority cannot detach itself from the security coordination with Israel. Without such cooperation, the PA’s heads will not be able to cross over to Jordan, and that would sever their ties with the Arab world.

A Return to Violence?
Is the implied threat to renew terrorism realistic? No.

Arafat launched the second intifada when he had logistical support in Jordan, and beyond there, also in Syria, Sudan, and Iran. Today’s Jordan is not Jordan from back then, and Jordanian security forces are now blocking Palestinian terrorist activity from being launched from their territory.

The Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood with ties to the Royal Palace is also opposed to “Hamasification” within Jordan, and it is careful not to arm itself or allow any branch to follow Hamas’ footsteps.
Fatah leader calls for peaceful protests to foil annexation
Jibril Rajoub, a senior official with the Palestinian ruling Fatah faction, on Thursday called for peaceful protests in the West Bank in response to Israel’s intention to extend its sovereignty to parts of the West Bank.

Rajoub’s appeal came as Fatah leaders held another meeting in Ramallah to discuss ways of responding to the Israeli plan. At the meeting, the officials focused on the Palestinian diplomatic efforts to rally the world against the plan.

“We consider the peaceful popular resistance as our strategic option at this stage,” Rajoub said, adding that Fatah would organize and lead the protests.

Rajoub’s statements stand in contrast to threats made by some Palestinian officials, who were quoted as saying that the Palestinian Authority security forces would not stop Palestinians from engaging in violent clashes with the IDF, if and when the Israeli plan is implemented.

His statements are seen by some Palestinians as a message to Israel that the PA is not interested in an all-out confrontation that could lead to a new uprising.
French envoy: We’re not making threats, but annexation will have consequences
France does not mean to threaten Israel, but a move to unilaterally annex parts of the West Bank would be considered a “serious” violation of international law and would inevitably have negative consequences for bilateral relations, Paris’s ambassador in Tel Aviv said in an interview.

“There are violations of international law of different degrees of severity, and an annexation of the Jordan Valley and the settlements would be considered a serious one,” Eric Danon told The Times of Israel. “This qualification implies that there would be consequences, as it would not be considered ‘serious’ otherwise.”

In an hour-and-a-half long interview conducted via Zoom, Danon also explained why Paris is not currently considering blacklisting Hezbollah, and how he surprisingly became his country’s first Jewish ambassador to Israel, defying longstanding French diplomatic dogma that said that Jews should never represent Paris in the Jewish state due to dual loyalty concerns.

France, like most European countries, has been very outspoken in its opposition to an Israeli annexation. On April 23, French Ambassador to the United Nations Nicolas de Rivière told the Security Council that such a move would “constitute a blatant violation of international law,” could “not pass unchallenged and shall not be overlooked in our relationship with Israel.”

Many observers understood this wording to imply a stern warning, including of possible sanctions against Israel. But Danon said his colleague’s statement should not be read as a menace.


Is Trudeau's denouncing of Israel about his Security Council seat bid?
The problem with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s campaign to win a temporary, two-year seat on the United Nations Security Council is the things he has to say in Canada’s name to win.

Thus it was no surprise that as the vote by the UN General Assembly on whether Canada will win one of two available seats in competition with Norway and Ireland approaches, Trudeau has started, predictably, to denounce Israel.

In a strange condemnation of Israel on Tuesday during his daily appearance outside his official residence — while simultaneously criticizing China as if they are equal threats to global peace and security — Trudeau said Canada “deplores” its proposed annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank.

The prime minister said he’s made it clear to Israel’s leaders that its actions, “are going to delay any prospect of lasting peace in the Middle East.”

This perpetuates the myth that Arab and Muslim nations, who are forever warring against each other, would magically beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks, were in not for absence of an independent and viable Palestinian state living in peace beside a secure Israel.

That’s what any reasonable person wants. But anyone who knows history knows it is a devious canard for Trudeau to suggest a Palestinian state will bring “lasting” peace to the Mideast.
PreOccupiedTerritory: You’re Not Allowed Double Standards But We Are By Europe
Perhaps we need to explain an important point that you fail to understand, a point that undergirds the framework of our international funding and policy, especially regarding the Middle East: we, the European Union, enjoy the freedom to demand certain behaviors of Israel in the name of “justice,” “even-handedness,” and other values, while we make few or no demands of far worse actors than Israel, at the same time criticizing Israel for what we deem unjust discrimination. The apply-a-single-standard rule applies to you, not to us.

Thus, for example, we provide extensive financial backing to NGOs in Israel with the aim of keeping as many illegal immigrants within Israel’s borders and prevent the deportation of such infiltrators back to their countries of origin long after those countries have ceased to pose any serious threat to returning citizens. We know if those work-seeking migrants cannot find livelihood in Israel, before long they will try to reach Europe instead, and that would be unacceptable and unsustainable. But we love open borders!

Take economic sanctions, as well. Europe will do all in its power to dilute or circumvent restrictions on trade and currency transfer with the Islamic Republic of Iran, which has repeatedly threatened a genocide of the world’s only Jewish state, and which continues to oppress women, homosexuals, non-Muslims, and various other populations. But woe betide Israel if it dares defend itself against a hostile population whose leadership has vowed for a century to eliminate Jewish sovereignty in the ancestral Jewish homeland! We will impose sanctions on Israeli products in a heartbeat for such actions. If we can get our bureaucracy in order for such a measure, that is. It’s difficult enough as it is to get all the funding properly approved for terrorist groups fronting as human rights NGOs.
Italian judge orders seizure of Hezbollah-linked neo-fascist CasaPound HQ
An Italian judge has ordered police to seize the headquarters of a far-right group in central Rome, authorities said on Thursday, in a move hailed as a victory by the city's mayor Virgina Raggi from the anti-establishment 5 Star Movement.

Successive administrations have tried for years to evacuate the building occupied by CasaPound, a group that espouses a neo-fascist ideology and that has gained increasing visibility across Italy during the economic downturn of recent years.

The order to seize the building, issued on the 76th anniversary of Rome's liberation from Nazi occupation by U.S. troops in World War II, has not yet been carried out, but Raggi said it represented a symbolic victory.

"Today we celebrate the 76th anniversary of the liberation of Rome from Nazi-fascist occupation," she wrote on Facebook, thanking magistrates for issuing the order.

The seizure order is based on an investigation into the rightist group on charges of illegal occupation of property, the police said in a statement.
Michael Doran: Pursuing Hezbollah in Europe.
Ron Prosor explains how he and his team persuaded Germany to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.


JPost Editorial: Amid debates over annexation, the Negev experiences lawlessnes
As the government debates whether to extend Israeli law to the Jordan Valley and settlements in Judea and Samaria, a video went viral on social media on Tuesday showing that the Jewish state is having trouble enforcing Israeli law in land that is already part of Israel – the Negev.

That’s right, the Negev, that large tract of land that is already recognized by the world as an integral part of the State of Israel.

In one of the videos, an army jeep in hot pursuit of thieves trying to steal from the training ground at IDF’s Tze’elim base is surrounded by a number of vehicles apparently in cahoots with the thieves, and forced off the road. An IDF officer is surrounded after getting out of the jeep, and an angry exchange takes place, during which another officer – feeling his life was threatened – fired a bullet into the air.

The videos brought onto everyone’s cell phone and laptop a problem that people who live in towns and agricultural communities in the Negev, as well as IDF soldiers training at Tze’elim and other bases in the South, know all too well: utter lawlessness. And this in a geographic region where no one contests which law is applicable, or under whose sovereignty it rests.

Gangs – which according to local officials are well organized and made up primarily of Negev Bedouin – regularly steal from IDF bases and from agricultural areas.
Israeli security forces foil stabbing attack in central Israel
Israeli security guards at the Hashmonaim crossing near the city of Modi’in, in central Israel, arrested a Palestinian man on Wednesday for allegedly trying to carry out a stabbing attack.

The guards, embedded with the Defense Ministry’s Border Crossings Authority, spotted the suspect “suspiciously walking in the direction of the crossing,” the ministry said in a statement.

“The guards ordered him to stop, at which point the suspect threw a knife on the ground and was arrested. There were no casualties,” the ministry added.

Recent weeks have seen an uptick in violent incidents as tensions between Jerusalem and Ramallah have increased over Israel’s plan to apply sovereignty to large parts of Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley.

Mahmoud al-Habbash, a top adviser to Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, warned on Wednesday that hostilities could erupt if Israel moves ahead with the plan.
Israeli forces, armed Lebanese troops square off in rare confrontation
Israeli soldiers and a pair of tanks squared off against armed Lebanese troops on Tuesday while operating along the border between the countries.

The Israeli forces crossed the security fence near Kibbutz Misgav Am, but remained on the Israeli side of the so-called Blue Line, an unofficial but internationally recognized border. The security fence along the border is in many areas located some distance into Israeli territory.

This appeared to be the first time that Israeli tanks crossed the fence since the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

According to Channel 12 news, this was meant to serve as a show of control over the Israeli enclave on the other side of the barrier.

The network later aired video showing the tanks moving back toward the fence.

In response to the crossing, a number of Lebanese troops armed with rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers arrived at the scene, standing several meters from the tanks.

Peacekeepers from the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) also came to the area to act as mediators and prevent violence.


How America Can Avoid a War of Attrition with Iran
A CBW-style campaign would require a sustained confrontation with Iran and its proxies at a time when American voters and many elected officials want to focus on “ending endless wars.” While true peace is always far preferable to war, a war cannot end if one side pretends it is over while the other continues fighting. The United States is discovering that right now in Afghanistan and learned a similar lesson after its rushed withdrawal from Iraq in 2011 facilitated the rise of the Islamic State.

The Islamic Republic of Iran wants to drag the United States into a war of attrition, in which Tehran has a decisive advantage because the United States cannot or will not move beyond its passive and reactive posture. While there is no simple solution to contain Iran’s influence in Iraq, confronting Iran requires a campaign that takes the initiative away from Tehran and continuously raises the cost of its destabilizing actions.

However, if the United States learns from Israel’s experience with CBW, this can be a surgical campaign that does not necessarily require a greater commitment of ground troops. Rather, it will engage the enemy remotely mainly through air raids, drones, and precision weapons. This requires augmenting the intensity of the American reaction and allocating more resources to the processing of actionable intelligence—yet fewer boots on the ground. The duration of this campaign would depend on how long it takes for Iran to get the message and deescalate.

What is clear is that the current U.S. approach to deterring attacks by Iranian proxies is not working. If nothing changes, then Iran and its militia will likely weather the U.S. maximum pressure campaign and solidify its regional presence. However, if Washington prudently increases proportional kinetic measures, solidifies economic pressure, and employs a vigorous political campaign, it may be able, in time, to erode the Islamic Republic’s creeping expansion.
US Navy veteran leaves Iran after scientist returned to Tehran
US Navy veteran Michael White has been freed and left Iran nearly two years after his arrest, his mother said Thursday, following the US release of an Iranian scientist.

“I am blessed to announce that the nightmare is over, and my son is safely on his way home,” Joanne White said in a statement.

The release comes one day after an Iranian scientist, Sirous Asgari, returned home. He was arrested during an academic visit in 2016 and accused of stealing trade secrets but was cleared last year by a US court.

US officials had insisted that Asgari was not part of a swap, an assertion sure to come into question with White’s release.

White, who had served 13 years in the US Navy, was arrested in July 2018 in the northeastern city of Mashhad after visiting a woman whom he had reportedly met online.

He was sentenced the following year to at least 10 years in prison on charges that he insulted Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and posted anti-regime remarks on social media under a pseudonym.

In March, as Iran was being hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, White had been transferred into the custody of Switzerland, which handles US interests in Tehran in the absence of diplomatic relations.
Iran's New Terror Network in Latin America
The recent upsurge in Iranian activity in Venezuela certainly needs to be taken seriously by the Trump administration if Tehran is to be prevented from strengthening its terrorist activities on America's southern flank.

To date Mr Trump, having last year threatened to launch military action in support of Juan Guaido, the country's charismatic opposition leader, now appears to have backed away from any further entanglement with Caracas, a move that might explain Washington's disinclination to act over Iran's recent oil shipments.

But that could change if, as now seems likely, the White House comes to realise that Iran's real intention is to expand its terrorist network in Latin America rather than simply offering economic help to another rogue regime.






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