Wednesday, July 29, 2020

From Ian:

With Beinart Podcast, New York Times Pushes Zionism-Is-Racism Lie
The New York Times is doubling down on Peter Beinart’s plan to replace the Jewish state of Israel with a binational “Israel-Palestine.”

A Times op-ed by Beinart earlier this month called for eliminating the existing country of Israel and substituting instead something that Beinart calls “Israel-Palestine,” “a Jewish home that is also, equally, a Palestinian home” or “a Jewish home that is not a Jewish state.”

Now the Times is piling on with a podcast in which Beinart is given a half-hour of audio time to advocate what the Times podcast headline calls “The Case for a One-State Solution.” If President Donald Trump or a Republican senator had used the word “solution” in the same breath as a call to wipe Israel off the map, you can bet that it would be accused of dog-whistling echoes of the “Final Solution” faster than you can spell Jonathan Weisman, but here we are.

One gets a sense of where the Times podcast is headed not only from the introduction but from the scripted lead-in read by Times columnist Ross Douthat. “Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is now threatening formal annexation of strategic pieces of Palestinian territory, a move that signals comfort with permanent occupation,” Douthat intones. This is inaccurate and tendentious on so many levels it is hard to know where to begin. Start, though, with the Times assertion that this is “Palestinian territory.” That’s precisely what is in dispute, and in fact as recently as May 2020, the Times opinion section, after a complaint from the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis, corrected a subheadline that erroneously described the West Bank as “Palestinian territory.” In addition, it’s quite possible that annexation signals precisely discomfort with “permanent occupation.” Agree or disagree with annexation, the idea is that it would change the status of the annexed territories from “occupation” to lands in which Israeli law or sovereignty applies on a more permanent basis. Also, it’s not “Benjamin Netanyahu’s government,” but the democratically elected government of the people of Israel.

The podcast goes further downhill from there. Rather than really debating or challenging Beinart, the Times columnists egg him on. “Philosophically, I am completely right there with Peter,” Times columnist Michelle Goldberg says at one point, while nevertheless mildly expressing concern that the Beinart plan would “turn into a civil war.”
What Did This Anti-Israel Org Use a Holocaust Photo For?
In a new low, American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) exploit Jewish victims of the Holocaust by falsely portraying them as Palestinian. Let's set the record straight about AMP's anti-Semitism


Palestinian Activists at Human Rights Watch
In theory, the officials, researchers, and analysts working in the area of human rights are committed to unbiased, politically neutral reporting. In practice, these words often stand in sharp contrast to the activities and biased agendas of these institutions. This bias is characteristic of many major non-governmental organizations (NGOs) claiming human rights agendas. A prime example is Human Rights Watch, which exhibits a fundamental and consistent bias against Israel.
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Returning UN envoy: Israel won’t suffer for tight Trump ties
Israel’s returning ambassador to the United Nations affirmed the country’s bond with the Trump administration Tuesday, dismissing notions that Israel would pay a price for its tight ties to the divisive president should he be defeated in November.

In his first comprehensive interview since returning from the diplomatic posting, Danny Danon said he was relieved that the more progressive forces in the Democratic Party failed to secure the party’s nomination and claimed that Israel could prosper with either Trump or Joe Biden in the White House. When it comes to Israel, he says the country’s supporters in the US put their domestic politics aside.

“We have bipartisan support and we value and we cherish it,” he said, at a temporary office near his home in central Israel. “I spoke publicly against Mr. Bernie Sanders. But he wasn’t elected. Mr. Biden is a friend of Israel and he proved it over the years. So, yes, we hear those voices, the radical voices, but they’re not the majority in the Democratic Party.”

Dovish backers of Israel have accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of undermining traditional bipartisan support over the past decade. In 2012, he was seen as supporting Mitt Romney against then-President Barack Obama, and Netanyahu famously delivered a speech to Congress in 2015 railing against Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.

Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street, a liberal pro-Israel lobbying group in Washington that has close ties to the Democratic Party, said it would be a “huge mistake” for Israeli officials to expect that all of the clashes with Obama and cozying up to Trump will be forgotten if Biden is elected president.
Why Israeli Sovereignty Should Be Implemented in the West Bank
If we look at the current state of affairs in the West Bank, we find that Israeli “sovereignty” is devoid of meaning. The situation on the ground is utter chaos. The prevailing anarchy and accompanying complete loss of deterrence are apparent in many aspects:
- Under the cover of firecrackers, fired to celebrate various festivities (most recently passing matriculation exams), the Palestinians habitually shoot with light weapons at neighboring Israeli localities, while the Israeli authorities turn a blind eye to this dangerous criminal practice. This willful ignorance must stop on both the municipal and the national levels.
- Pirate incinerators operate intensively despite the determined efforts of the Environmental Protection Ministry and the Civil Administration. Incinerators are shut down and then reopen at the same location.
- The security fence is regularly breached in multiple locations. Along the roadsides, “central stations” spring up for Palestinian taxis and transporters that ferry infiltrators and illegal work seekers into Israel and back to the West Bank. This is often done right in front of IDF soldiers who stand aside and watch. There is little, after all, that they can do. How can a handful of soldiers handle hundreds of infiltrators at every point?
- West Bank checkpoints have become white elephants that mainly serve drivers who can’t get through the fence breaches. Gravest of all, they serve those transporting the thousands who stay in Israel illegally and infiltrate through the breaches.
- Illegal roads are being used and created, often just a stone’s throw from Jewish communities and the main transportation arteries serving Israelis and Palestinians. No one knows what is being transported on those roads.
- In every open space, including state land and lands of Jewish regional councils, the Palestinians plant thousands of dunams of olive trees that preclude Jewish construction, hinder IDF soldiers from providing security to Jewish residents of the area, and enable terrorists to potentially attack Israeli targets very easily. Former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad strove to take control of the open parts of Area C, which are officially under full Israeli control. Current PM Mohammad Shtayyeh is much more militant and supports terrorists and their families fearlessly and blatantly.
- At all hours of the day, the calls of the muezzins issue from powerful speakers. This is not always for purposes of prayer.
- Throughout the West Bank, there are countless archaeological relics of the area’s ancient Jewish history. Systematic acts of Palestinian vandalism and robbery (such as destroying mikvehs and stealing stones from olive presses) are steadily erasing these testaments to the millennial Jewish presence in the region.

This cannot go on. Israel should unequivocally enforce its authority in the territories under its control while laying out a clear and uncompromising penal code to address any acts of lawlessness.


Hamas Leader Haniyeh: We Were Offered $15 Billion to Accept the Deal of the Century But Declined It
Ismail Haniyeh, the Head of the Hamas Political Bureau, said in a July 26, 2020 interview on Lusail News (Qatar) that Israel has previously agreed to the establishment of an airport and seaport in the Gaza Strip in exchange for ceasefire, but that the Palestinian Authority and other Arab parties have blocked this from taking place under the pretext that it would constitute a separation between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. He said that under such an arrangement, Gaza would become like Singapore. He then claimed that a certain Arab country has offered as much as $15 billion for ports and economic projects in Gaza. Haniyeh explained, however, that Hamas completely rejected these offers because this would require it “to disband the military wings of the factions.” He said that Hamas is absolutely unwilling to relinquish its weapons, the resistance, Palestinian prisoners in Israel, or the Palestinian Right of Return. He also said that the Palestinians want an airport, a seaport, and other projects in Gaza because they are “entitled” to them. He emphasized that Hamas will not recognize the State of Israel, that Palestine must stretch from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, and that Jerusalem must be the capital of Palestine. He added that Hamas does not fear war, but that it is best to postpone it if possible.


Under fire for pro-Israel comments, South African chief justice cites the Bible
South Africa’s chief justice defended pro-Israel comments he made during an online conference last month for which he was heavily criticized by local politicians and pro-Palestinian activists, saying he was merely fulfilling his religious duties to advocate for peace and to “pray for Jerusalem.”

In an affidavit filed Monday with the South African Police Service, Mogoeng Mogoeng also argued that while judges are prohibited from pronouncing themselves on political controversies, this applied only to issues that are justiciable in the country and did not prevent him from commenting generally on foreign policy issues that will never reach South African courtrooms.

“My Biblical obligation to pray (ask God) for the peace of Jerusalem or not to hate or curse Israel cannot constitute a preference of Israel over Palestine,” he wrote.

Mogoeng said while he never commented on Zionism, his Christian faith motivates him to reject hatred and war and to embrace all nations and to promote peace. The chief justice went on to quote several verses from both the Old and the New Testament to underline his religious duty to seek peace and pray for the well-being of Israel, such as Exodus 17:15 and Hebrews 12:14.

He further noted that while he indeed expressed love for Israel, he also loves Palestinians, and said so explicitly during his controversial appearance at the online conference.

“To forbid the remarks I made about peace, landlessness, homelessness, poverty colonialism, etc. would mean that a Judge is not even allowed to say anything about apartheid on the basis that doing so would amount to getting involved in political controversy or activity. But, this cannot be correct,” he wrote.
Netanyahu tells world leaders Israel aiming to mass test for coronavirus
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu participated in a conference call with world leaders on Wednesday to discuss their responses to the novel coronavirus.

The call was hosted by Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and included the participation of Australian Prime minister Scott Morrison, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.

Netanyahu shared that Israel is testing as many as 30,000 people a day for SARS-CoV-2 and that “we will still be able to increase the quantity.” He said that Israel is working on an industrial-sized system that can mass test, and on a new method for rapid detection and isolation. “It is essential for us to contain the pandemic long-term.”

He also shared what Israel learned from the first peak of the pandemic: to limit gatherings to prevent infection.

The leaders agreed that it was necessary to maintain some restrictions in order to avoid a significant renewed outbreak.

The call took place on the same day that the Health Ministry announced that by mid next month it hopes to allow some foreign travelers into Israel, including from Austria, Cyprus and Greece.
Israel may allow quarantine-free travel from ‘green’ countries as of mid-August
Facing growing pressure to reopen Israel’s skies, health officials told the Knesset on Wednesday they were working on a plan to allow incoming flights without medical checks or quarantine requirements from “green” countries that would allow regular flights to resume beginning next month.

Incoming travelers from countries with low rates of coronavirus infections would be allowed free entry into Israel, Health Ministry Deputy Director General Itamar Grotto told the Knesset State Control Committee.

“Anyone flying in from a ‘green’ country won’t require two weeks of quarantine, period,” Grotto said.

The countries expected to be included on the list, according to a report on Channel 12 citing airline sources: Austria, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, South Korea, Lichtenstein, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland.

The new policy is slated to go into effect on August 16, he added, saying, “this requires a little more preparation, it can’t happen tomorrow morning. We will make every effort.”

Lawmakers and industry leaders said at the Wednesday morning meeting that entire industries faced collapse if flights were not restarted soon.
Hebrew University Study Shows Coronavirus Restrictions Might Be Working
New research from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem indicates that since the Israeli government reinstated bans on public gatherings approximately 10 days ago, the country is seeing a drop in the number of COVID-19 patients listed in moderate and serious condition, with another decrease expected over the next few days.

Additionally, the study indicates that the attack rate in Israel has dropped below 1, which means that corona carriers are infecting one person or fewer, and indicates that the spread of the virus is being checked.

Professor Yinon Ashkenazy of the Racah Institute of Physics, one of the authors of the report, said, “Our measurements, compiled from an analysis of the numbers of moderately and seriously ill patients, show a significant slowdown in the spread of the virus. Our conclusion is that the steps taken on July 17, including limiting the number of people allowed to gather to 10 in enclosed spaces and 20 outdoors, actually worked. The spread of the virus has been slowing for some time, and the conclusion from that is that it is possible to open [the economy], but there is no need to be severe. The existing restrictions have worked, and we need to think about how to live life in accordance with them.”

“The good thing is that we didn’t have to instate a full shutdown,” Ashkenazy said.

While the spread of the virus might be slowing, the number of Israelis testing positive continues to climb, with an all-time record of 2,062 tests coming back positive in the 24-hour period from midnight Monday to midnight Tuesday, the Corona National Information and Knowledge Center reported on Wednesday.

As of Wednesday morning, there were 33,377 active or symptomatic corona patients in Israel.

The number of COVID-19 patients listed in serious condition dropped for a second day, standing at 315 on Wednesday, 96 of whom were on ventilators. Another 155 patients were listed in moderate condition. The total number of corona patients hospitalized nationwide stood at 736, and as of early Wednesday, the death toll reached 486 since the start of the pandemic in Israel.
Minnesota Republican group posts meme comparing masks to yellow Star of David
A meme that compares the requirement to wear a mask during the coronavirus to the yellow Stars of David that Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust appeared on the Facebook page of a Republican organization in Minnesota.

The Facebook page of the Republican Party of Wabasha County, where the meme was posted over the weekend, was taken down by Monday evening, according to local reports. The organization told the state Republican Party that it had been hacked.

The meme shows an elderly man wearing a yellow Star of David badge pinned to his chest facing down a Nazi officer.

“Just put on the star and quit complaining, it’s really not that hard,” its caption said. “Just put on the mask and stop complaining.”

The state of Minnesota has a mandatory mask ordinance in effect. On Saturday, a couple protested the ordinance by wearing Nazi swastika masks in a Walmart in Marshall. They were removed from the store and banned from entering any other Walmart facility for a year.

In response to the meme, the Jewish Community Action organization tweeted a screenshot of the meme and added: “Given that Minnesota rabbis recently spoke out in favor of a mask mandate, comparing that mandate to the Holocaust feels especially disgusting. We ask the @MNGOP to tell Wabasha Republicans to stop using imagery like this. It betrays a total lack of both empathy and education.
Rivlin condemns attacks on anti-Netanyahu protesters, warns of political murder
Following suspected far-right attacks on anti-Netanyahu protesters the previous night in Tel Aviv, President Reuven Rivlin warned Thursday against political violence.

“I want to say clearly, given the violent developments over the last day: the murder of a demonstrator who goes to protest in the State of Israel, or the murder of an Israeli prime minister, are not imaginary scenarios,” Rivlin said in a statement, referring to the 1983 killing of left-wing protester Emil Grunzweig by a right-wing activist at a Tel Aviv protest and the 1995 assassination of then-prime minister Yitzhak Rabin by an opponent of the Oslo peace process.

“Woe betide our democracy if brother takes up arms against brother,” he continued.

“Censure and condemnation have become cheap. Every denunciation is immediately attacked with questions of why a different event was not condemned, and its meaning is lost entirely.”

Several suspected far-right members attacked protesters late Tuesday as they took part in a demonstration outside the Tel Aviv home of Amir Ohana, the public security minister, who had been recorded pressuring police brass to step up enforcement against anti-Netanyahu demonstrators.

The attackers were seen hitting demonstrators with glass bottles, clubs and chairs and spraying them with mace. Organizers of the protest said five people were hospitalized, including two with stab wounds to their backs. Later reports said 10 were hospitalized.
Military holds off on releasing footage of failed assault by cell so as not to embarrass terror group, deliberately avoids killing operatives for similar reason
The Israel Defense Forces remained on high alert along the Lebanese border on Wednesday, believing that the Hezbollah terror group is planning to carry out an attack along the frontier in the coming days, following a tense night in which the military spotted suspects moving along the security fence separating an Israeli community from Lebanon.

Israeli aircraft filled the skies over northern Israel and southern Lebanon, according to residents on both sides of the border, apparently watching the region for signs of an imminent attack and preparing to respond to one. IDF combat intelligence units were deployed along the border, scanning the area with powerful cameras and other detection equipment.

On Tuesday, the IDF also sent advanced missile systems to the area, along with special forces units, in order to be able to respond forcefully if such an attack is carried out by the terror group. Hezbollah says it seeks revenge for one of its fighters who was killed in Syria, in an airstrike that was widely attributed to Israel.

The military anticipated Hezbollah would try to attack before or around the upcoming Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, which begins Thursday.

The military credits its heightened state of alertness with foiling an attempted attack by Hezbollah on Monday afternoon, in which a group of at least three armed terrorist operatives entered the Israeli-controlled area of Mount Dov, also known as Shebaa Farms, along the border.
IDF lookout describes how she spotted infiltrators in attack denied by Hezbollah
An Israel Defense Forces soldier who spotted a group of Hezbollah terrorists making their way across the border from Lebanon to carry out an attack that was later denied by the terror group, and then helped direct forces who chased the alleged attackers away, has described how proud she was of her role in the incident.

The soldier, a private serving in a lookout unit on the border who can only be identified in media by the Hebrew initial of her first name, “Samech,” uploaded a post to her Instagram account about the incident, Channel 13 news reported Tuesday.

“Who would have believed that I would thwart an incident like that,” Samech wrote. “The sense of pride and satisfaction is simply crazy. Protecting you from a distance — even if you don’t know it.”

The Hezbollah group apparently attempted to cross the border on Monday afternoon but were noticed by Samech, who raised the alert.

Her mother told the station that when her daughter sent a message that she was the lookout who stopped the infiltration, the family didn’t believe it.

“I thought she was playing a joke on us,” she said. “I asked her if she was telling the truth and she said ‘yes, it was me.'”

Haim Zuri, mayor of Kiryat Motzkin, the town where Samech lives, called her on Tuesday morning to tell her she has become “the darling of the city.”

When Zuri noted that she must have been on alert at the time, Samech responded: “In my job you have to be alert all the time.”
Qatari diplomat allegedly covered up Hezbollah terror funding - exclusive
Qatar’s ambassador to Belgium aided a German public relations agency in a complex cover-up of the Gulf state’s financing of the Hezbollah, a security contractor who claims to have worked for Western intelligence services has told The Jerusalem Post.

According to the contractor, who has been identified in the German press as “Jason G.” and has spoken extensively to The Post, Qatar’s Ambassador to Belgium Abdulrahman bin Mohammed Sulaiman Al-Khulaifi allegedly sought to negotiate an agreement to pay Jason G., 750,000 euros to remain silent about Qatar’s reported role in funding Hezbollah. Al-Khulaifi previously served as ambassador to Berlin from 2009 to 2016.

“I never intended to receive the settlement. It was always the intention to draw out who the financiers for Hezbollah were in Qatar and which Qataris were giving them protection,” Jason told the Post.

“Jason G.” said he uses the alias to avoid possible retaliation by the Qatari regime. He told the German press this week that he had written a dossier regarding Qatar’s alleged support of Hezbollah. The Post was able to review sections of a comprehensive dossier organized by Jason, outlining Qatar’s alleged finance of weapons for the Lebanese Shi’ite movement. German intelligence has reportedly authenticated the veracity of the dossier.

Jason has been at the center of three bombshell German media reports in recent weeks about Qatar’s terror finance of Hezbollah, and its use of the powerful WMP public relations agency to reportedly accept a large cash payment to erase Doha’s fingerprints in providing material military aid to Hezbollah.
PreOccupiedTerritory: After Retreat, Hezbollah Invites Corbyn To Proclaim They ‘Won the Argument’ (satire)
The Shiite militia that exerts de facto control of Lebanese politics on behalf of its Iranian masters asked the disgraced former leader of Britain’s Labour Party to help with the aftermath of a failed raid on Israel’s Golan Heights two days ago, in the hope that he will argue that, just as the party he helmed met ignominious electoral defeat but, he insisted, won the argument with Boris Johnson’s otherwise victorious Tory Party, Hezbollah may have suffered casualties and embarrassed itself in an incompetent attempt to avenge a previous humiliation at the hands of the IDF last week, but they did win the argument.

A Hezbollah squad of 3-5 men crossed into Israeli territory on Monday, according to Israeli military reports, only to come under small arms, tank, and artillery fire from the IDF. No Israeli casualties resulted from the incident, whereas Hezbollah has moved from an initial acknowledgement of the failed assault – in which it also insisted it suffered no losses – to an insistence that it conducted no such operation, and that Israel must still await retaliation for the killing of one of the group’s members in a strike last week. To shore up confidence among its loyal base in Lebanon, however, the organization invited MK Jeremy Corbyn to reassure its supporters that whatever my have happened Monday, Hezbollah delivered a compelling, convincing, and rhetorically triumphant argument against the Zionists.

“He’ll do that thing he does,” predicted Hezbollah spokesman Tawqin Awtama-Touhous. “It’s not coincidental that Mr. Corbyn called us and Hamas his ‘friends’ a number of years ago. Friends share more than ideology – in fact friends don’t have to share ideology; they share something else, something less tangible. In this case, while we see eye-to-eye with him and his political associates, something deeper unites us: a solid commitment to a hopeless, pointless, hate-filled cause that allows us to blame someone else for our failures and shortcomings, with Judaeophobia to taste. We and our far-left allies in the UK and Europe share a profound attachment to unattainable, Utopian visions: they, of dismantling the systems that govern the West to make room for the inevitable paradise that would follow, and we, of dismantling the Jewish state to our south as part of the effort to dismantle the West as well, to make room for the inevitable Islamic paradise that will follow, as it already exists wherever Islam holds sway: the perfect, blissful countries of Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Gaza, et al.”
PMW: PA says Jewish history in Jerusalem is “fabricated,” “forged,” “delusional myths,” “lies,” “libels,” “legends,” and “stolen heritage”
The Palestinian Authority:
“[Israeli] plots are being woven against it [Jerusalem] to forge its identity”
“The stones in the ground are fabricated graves planted [by Israel] to prove… an ancient Israeli and Jewish presence”
“The greatest liar is [Israel]… stealing our heritage”
”[Jewish history is] delusional myths and the arrogance of power”
”They [Israel] imagine that by this brute force they can invent a [Jewish] history”
“Their so-called 'Temple' - the greatest crime and forgery in history"

This evening, the 9th of the Jewish month of Av, Jews commemorate the destruction of both Temples in Jerusalem, by Babylon in 586 BCE and by Rome in 70 CE.

The Palestinians, hoping to create a state on land in which they have no national or political ancient history, feel threatened by the more than 3000 years of Jewish history which is thoroughly documented. Thousands of archaeological finds, including coins, stamps, Hebrew inscriptions and more, many of which go back to the First Temple period, all are testimony to the thriving Jewish history in the land. Accordingly, denial of Jewish history in the land of Israel and especially in Jerusalem is a central component of PA national - political ideology. It is expressed regularly by PA leader Mahmoud Abbas himself as well as other senior PA officials.

Recently the PA produced a TV filler of Abbas again denying Israel’s history in Jerusalem saying Palestinans must “confront the [Israeli] plots that are being woven against it to forge its identity and to change its character.” While Abbas’ voice is heard, images of Jews visiting the Temple Mount are shown:

Official PA TV Live filler with audio from one of PA Chairman Abbas’ speeches

Shouts: Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!

Abbas: “We are here today – with our nation, our peoples, and all of the Muslims and Christians in our region and the world behind us – in order to save Jerusalem and defend it, and to confront the plots that are being woven against it to forge its identity (image of ultra-Orthodox Jews visiting the Temple Mount –Ed.) and to change its character (image of an ultra-Orthodox Jew reciting prayers at the Western Wall –Ed.), especially after these recent American decisions that violate international law and provoke the sensibilities of all the Muslims and Christians.”

[Official PA TV Live, June 27, 2020]

The PA is constantly reinforcing the libel that Jews have no history in the Land of Israel in general, and in Jerusalem in particular. To explain the thousands of artifacts that are witness to the rich Jewish history, the PA therefore claims that Israel is inventing this history, using various means, including the “fabricating and planting” of fake graves to claim a Jewish presence.


Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians: Accept Western Funds, Vote for Jihad
The Palestinians were extremely happy to accept the billions of dollars from Western donors. Yet when the Palestinians headed to the ballot boxes to cast their votes in the 2006 election, they did not choose Palestinian candidates who talked about peace with Israel. Instead, the majority of the Palestinians knowingly and proudly voted for the Hamas candidates who promised them that they would never recognize Israel's right to exist and would continue to engage in Jihad (holy war) until the "liberation of all Palestine, from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river."

The donors should have understood in 2006 that their dollars and euros do nothing to shape hearts and minds, and that the only way to create a change is through education -- education for peace and tolerance and not education for Jihad, terrorism and anti-Israel brainwashing.

It is important to note that Hamas and many Palestinians are nothing but honest about their deadly intentions. They are straightforwardly saying: "We refuse, utterly and unequivocally, to change our policies or abandon our weapons for the sake of your money. If you think you can bribe us into changing our behavior because that is what you in the West so often do, sorry, it will not work."

Meanwhile, Palestinians will continue to take money from the West, if the West is foolish enough to keep giving it -- perhaps the Europeans want the Arabs to finish the job that Hitler started? -- but the next time Palestinians head to the ballot box, Western donors can expect them once again to vote for jihad.
Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tweets ‘Nile is Ours,’ Drawing Ire of Egypt and the U.S.
While the world focuses on the COVID pandemic and China’s shenanigans, a potential conflict has been brewing between Ethiopia and Egypt involving the waters of the Blue Nile.

This month, Ethiopia completed the initial filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), a nearly $5 billion hydroelectricity project. The country plans to fill the rest of the dam over the next five years, a prospect that worries downstream Egypt, which depends on the Nile for freshwater.

Egypt is preparing for a fresh round of negotiations on GERD after the African Union demanded that Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia formulate a binding agreement on the dam that includes the issue of future development on the Blue Nile river.
During a call-in on Ahmed Moussa’s TV show “Ala Massoulity” (On My Responsibility) on the privately-owned satellite channel Sada al-Balad, Spokesperson for the Egyptian Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources, Mohamed al-Sebaie, said that the date for the start of the new round of negotiations will be determined soon.

Sebaie indicated that the legal points regarding filling the dam are still disputed. He stressed that water is not a luxury for Egypt but rather an existential issue and a matter of life, and that Egypt will not cede its water rights.
MEMRI: On Facebook, Syrian Opposition Page Reports Iran Backs Digging Of Tunnels In Syria To Protect Missiles, Weapons Depots, Reveals Presence Of Iranian, Afghan, Iraqi Fighters
On July 17, 2020, Eye of the Euphrates, a Syrian opposition Facebook page, published a report claiming that Iran and its allied Shi'ite militias are digging tunnels and trenches in the city of Al-Bukamal and in the town Al-Mayadin in Deir Al-Zour Governorate, designed with the purpose of protecting missiles and weapons depots.[1] In the post, the page also included a short video and maps of the digging sites along the Syria-Iraq border.

The Eye of the Euphrates Facebook post began by revealing that a secret tunnel network is being dug by Iran in Al-Bukamal and Al-Mayadin in Deir Al-Zour Governorate.

"Following in the footsteps of Da'ish [i.e. the Islamic State or ISIS], the Iranian militias began a large-scale [project of] digging tunnels in the areas under their control in the city of Deir Al-Zour, after airstrikes on their headquarters had increased," the page said.
New US Sanctions Target Assad’s Son, Syrian Army Unit
The United States on Wednesday imposed fresh sanctions aimed at depriving the Syrian government of funds, and warned that Washington would blacklist anyone doing business with President Bashar al-Assad’s government until he supports a negotiated end to the country’s nearly decade-long war.

Among the 14 blacklisted Wednesday were Assad’s son, Hafez, a Syrian businessman and nine entities a senior US official accused of helping to fund the Syrian government’s “campaign of terror,” as well as the Syrian Arab Army’s First Division unit, among others.

“The steady drumbeat of designations on persons and entities that support the Assad regime will continue until the regime and its associates cease obstructing a peaceful political resolution of the conflict” as called for by the UN Security Council, a senior US official told reporters.

The sanctions, imposed under the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act and other measures, come as the Syrian leader grapples with a deepening economic crisis after a decade of war.

It marks the second round of sanctions imposed by the Washington under the Caesar Act, which aims to deter “bad actors who continue to aid and finance the Assad regime’s atrocities against the Syrian people while simply enriching themselves.”

“It is time for Assad’s needless, brutal war to end.  This, above all, is what our sanctions campaign is meant to bring about,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.


Ruthie Blum: A Unified Reminder of the Iranian Threat
In a rare moment of unity, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz addressed the nation together on Monday night. Hours earlier, the shaky coalition partners — whose agreement stipulates a rotation of the premiership in November 2021 — engaged in a proverbial battle over the budget. If one is not passed by August 25, less than a month from now, the Knesset will dissolve automatically, and new elections will be held.

But the issue of whether to pass the one-year budget that Netanyahu is seeking or the two-year budget on which Gantz is insisting was not the subject of their joint announcement, which they delivered live on prime-time television.

No, the focus of the Netanyahu-Gantz press conference was on a fight of a more literal nature — one involving external enemies, not internecine strife. Earlier in the day, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) had thwarted the infiltration of Hezbollah terrorists into the country via Lebanon. Had the border breach not been detected and countered, any number of Israeli soldiers and civilians could have been wounded, kidnapped, or killed.

The message that Netanyahu and Gantz conveyed, each in turn, had a double aim: to reassure the Israeli public that the government and the army are in control of the situation, and to warn Tehran and its proxies — housed by Beirut and abetted by Damascus — that Jerusalem is willing and able to deal them a crushing blow.

Ironically, this jolt back to Israel’s pre-pandemic reality served as a refreshing break from the incessant coverage of the coronavirus, economic crisis, and nationwide protests.

“Israel will continue to take action against Iran’s efforts to entrench militarily in our region,” Netanyahu began, apparently in a veiled reference to a series of recent “unexplained” and “mysterious” explosions at power plants and industrial facilities across the Islamic Republic.
Iran: Jordan Assisted U.S. in Harassing Iranian Passenger Plan
Mahan Air claimed that two American combat aircraft harassed the Iranian plane twice, the first time in the Al-Tanf area in Syria near the border with Jordan, and the second time near the Syria-Lebanon border. A spokesman for the U.S. Central Command said the jets “conducted a standard visual inspection of the Iranian passenger plane in a routine fashion and from a safe distance.” The spokesman added that the Mahan plane’s flight path could have posed a danger to the U.S. Special Forces base at Tanf, Syria.

Relations between Iran and Jordan are correct, and the accusation against Jordan by some Iranian sources of helping the United States to harass Iranian planes and being involved in Soleimani’s assassination is unusual. Jordan also supports Gulf States’ regional security policies and stands in line with their defense against Iranian attempts to interfere with the Gulf States’ internal issues.

Iranian attempts to operate in Jordanian territory against Israel in the intelligence realm have met with limited success in the face of counterintelligence actions by Israel and Jordan, who fear Iranian attempts to undermine the Kingdom. Iran sees Jordan as a potential front line against Israel, considering Jordan’s long border with Israel and the ability to surround Israel. A year ago, Israel announced that it arrested a Jordanian citizen recruited by Iranian intelligence and sent to Israel to establish a network of agents and informers through ties with Israeli and Palestinian businessmen. The Jordanian citizen received his instructions from Iranian intelligence personnel in Syria and Lebanon.
Iran fires ballistic missiles from underground for 1st time, during major drill
Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard launched underground ballistic missiles for the first time, as part of an exercise involving a mock-up aircraft carrier in the Strait of Hormuz, state television reported Wednesday.

It was the latest barrage in a drill that the previous day saw two American bases temporarily go on alert over the launches.

Drone footage captured by the Guard showed two missiles blasting out from covered positions in what appeared to be a desert plateau in central Iran, with debris flying up in the air in their wake.

The launches took place on Wednesday, said Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the Guard’s aerospace division. He told state television it was first time the Guard had done this, though the paramilitary force is known to have vast underground bases hiding its ballistic missile arsenal.

Separately, drones targeted the bridge of the fake aircraft carrier, according to the state TV report. The broadcaster did not immediately air footage of the launches or the drone attack, nor did it identify the missiles used in the drill.

However, the drill clearly meant to send a message to the United States.

A semiofficial news agency close to the Guard published a graphic overnight that photoshopped the image of an American carrier into the shape of a casket with a set of crosshairs on it, with a caption quoting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei pledging to seek revenge for the US drone strike that killed a top Iranian general in January.




MEMRI: Turkey's Religious Affairs Minister Bears Sword, Praises Turkish Conquerors In Sermon In Hagia Sophia Mosque
In a July 10, 2020 decree, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan converted the Hagia Sophia from a museum into a mosque and placed it under the authority of the country's Ministry of Religious Affairs.[1]On July 24, Friday prayers were held for the first time in 86 years in the Hagia Sophia Mosque's main space. Before the prayers were performed, President Erdoğan recited verses from the Quran.[2] Diyanet minister Ali Erbaş went to the minbar ("pulpit") bearing a sword and gave a sermon that, among other things, praised several Turkish conquerors, including Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, who conquered Istanbul in 1453, and Sultan Alparslan, who won the 1071 Battle of Manzikert, which opened Asia Minor to Turkish settlement.[3]

Diyanet minister Ali Erbaş holding a sword, in the Ottoman tradition, as he gives the sermon in the Hagia Sophia.

Regarding the sword, he later told journalists: "This is a tradition in mosques that are a symbol of conquest. For 481 years without interruption, [imams] went with a sword [to the minbar]. Inshallah, we will continue this tradition from now on."[4] The period from the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul in 1453 to the conversion of the Hagia Sophia from a mosque into a museum in 1934 lasted 481 years.

An implied condemnation in the sermon of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, secular founder of the Republic of Turkey, has provoked strong reactions from the country's secularists. Meral Akşener, leader of a smaller opposition party, the İYİ party, said: "In history there has never been someone who was an enemy to Atatürk and a friend of the Turks. Shame on you."[5] Aytun Çıray, who is deputy party leader for the İYİ party, has filed a criminal complaint against Erbaş.[6] The Bar Associations Union of Turkey called on Erbaş to resign, saying: "History will not forgive those who attack Atatürk and the republic from their seats in which they sit due to the republic."[7] Opposition CHP parliamentary group leader Özgür Özel said: "Ali Erbaş, I swear that you will pay the price for sitting in that chair and reading out a damnation of Atatürk."[8] The Atatürk Thought Association announced it was suing Erbaş.[9]

Following are excerpts from the sermon:
"Greetings To Sultan Alparslan... Greetings To Mehmed The Conqueror"

Diyanet Minister Ali Erbaş said in his sermon: "Today is the day that once again the sounds of 'Allah is the Greatest,' 'There is no god but Allah,' and blessings on the prophet echo in the domes of the Hagia Sophia, and the calls to prayer rise up from its minarets."

Citing a hadith about Constantinople, now Istanbul, he said: "Blessings and peace be on Muhammad, who, by saying: 'Constantinople will definitely be conquered. How great is the commander who conquers it and how great is that soldier!' gave the good news of the conquest." He also prayed for blessings on Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari, a companion of Muhammad who died during the first Arab siege of Constantinople, which lasted from 674 to 678.



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