Thursday, September 10, 2020

From Ian:

The Arab World Begins to Realize that Israel Is Not the Enemy
Israel-haters must not be very happy these days. All of a sudden, the big lie that nourished their anti-Zionist venom for so long is slipping away.

For more than 50 years, diplomatic geniuses kept telling the world that “the key to peace in the Middle East is to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” The convenient corollary was that the solution was all in Israel’s hands, which kept the Jewish state constantly on the receiving end of global condemnation.

This brilliant maneuver sought to camouflage the plain truth that the deepest ills of the region have absolutely nothing to do with Israel or the Palestinian conflict.

Consider just a few: centuries of conflict between Shiite and Sunni Muslims; brutal dictatorships that have led to general misery and despair; a predatory Iranian regime seeking domination of the region; civil wars in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen; the rise of terror groups like ISIS; and a gross absence of civil liberties that results in the routine jailing of dissidents.

When the Arab Spring erupted in 2011 and millions poured out onto the streets to demand those very liberties, many of us thought the big lie would be exposed. After all, what were these desperate protestors demanding if not the same rights, freedoms and opportunities that their Arab and Muslim brethren already enjoyed in Israel?

Turns out it took a little longer, about nine years.

One can’t overstate the paradigm shift represented by the decision of the United Arab Emirates to go public with its open relationship with Israel. Here is the dreaded Zionist enemy, the scapegoat exploited by countless dictators over the decades to distract from their own failures, being publicly legitimized and validated by a powerful Arab nation.

No wonder Israel-haters are unhappy. Their lie is crumbling. The Zionist state is suddenly turning into a source for solutions and hope rather than hatred.


Kushner: Our plan is bid to save 2-state solution; Israel was eating up the land
Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner said on Wednesday that the Trump administration’s peace plan is an attempt to “save the two state solution” because it stops Israel from further expanding its presence in the West Bank.

“The reality today is that a lot of this land is inhabited with Israelis,” Kushner told reporters during a phone briefing ahead of the White House signing next week of the Israel-UAE normalization deal.

During the call, Kushner, who was extolling the Trump administration’s efforts to reshape the Middle East, was asked about the Palestinians appearing to be left behind.

Kushner said the Trump plan presented in January this year was still on the table even though it had been rejected by the Palestinians, and that it provides them with their best hope of stopping continued Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank, which Israel captured in the 1967 Six Day War.

“What we did with our plan was we were trying to save the two-state solution, because… if we kept going with the status quo… ultimately, Israel would have eaten up all the land in the West Bank,” Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser specified. The comments mark some of the most specific the Trump administration has made at odds with Israel’s expanding settlement enterprise.

The US plan would grant the Palestinians a state with restricted sovereignty in Gaza and in most of the West Bank, with additional land swaps from inside Israel, while allowing Israel to annex some 30 percent of the West Bank including all its settlements and the Jordan Valley, and to keep nearly all of East Jerusalem.
Wake up! Wake up! A Palestinian state is on the way!
The fact that Defense Minister Benny Gantz is willing to hold a meeting of the planning and building committee in order to make 5000 housing units available in Judea and Samaria does nothing to reduce the concern over the establishment of a Palestinian state. There is no better way than a few building crumbs to silence and paralyze the residents of Judea and Samaria and the Right.

Another worrying item: The Prime Minister is still committed and bound to the paradigm of two states. He never denied it or expressed regret for the Bar Ilan speech. Even if he claims that it would be a “demilitarized” state, everyone knows that ultimately a demilitarized state is a state like all other states.

Does Israel gain anything from this political process? Is this really a win-win situation? Will Israel really have “peace in exchange for peace”? After all, the purpose of the Deal of the Century is the solution to the “Palestinian problem”, meaning, the establishment of a state for them. The American president sees this goal as an impressive achievement and proof to his people that he has the power to do what all the presidents before him could not do. President Trump seeks to prove his abilities as a deal-maker in the political sphere too. In the speech that he gave on the 28th of January, 2020, at the White House, President Trump made it clear that “Forging peace between Israelis and Palestinians may be the most difficult challenge of all. All prior administrations, from President Lyndon Johnson, have tried and bitterly failed. But I was not elected to do small things or shy away from big problems.”

It seems that the “peace” process now being formulated for economic and commercial development has one result: the surrender of large parts of the Land of Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian state. Pinhas Inbari, a veteran journalist and commentator on Arab affairs, senior consultant and researcher for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, who writes books on the Palestinians, writes clearly on this topic: In his essay from Sep. 9, 2020 in “Zman Yisrael”: “After we have sobered up from the fake-annexation, the time has come to sober up from the fake “peace for peace”. “There is a problem with the Americans. They mean what they say. To understand the Trump plan, you just have to listen to the program manager Jared Kushner. They intend that a Palestinian state will arise in parts of the West Bank. The Palestinian state will bring Arab states into an agreement with Israel – the original Saudi plan but in reserve order. Not a state first and normalization later, but first normalization and then a Palestinian state”.

We must really ask the entire Rightwing camp: Aren’t we, with our paralysis, advancing the establishment of a Palestinian state? Are we, on the Right, at all aware of the tectonic change that is happening here? And what should our response be?

We are raising the alarm about the existential danger concealed in the political processes that are leading to the establishment of a Palestinian state in the heart of our Land. A majority of the people and a majority of the Likud ministers and right-wing members of Knesset oppose a Palestinian state and many have worked hard for sovereignty.

The agreements with the various countries must be done from strength and faith, without harming the Land of Israel! We have returned to our Land to dwell in it securely and for our concern for future generations.

A huge process might develop in our area if we act with the knowledge of our own spiritual, physical strength and our historic destiny. It is still possible! True leadership can bring about wonderful results in the world. When historic justice is done, the ethical side is strengthened and will act throughout the entire world.

It is now just before the Days of Awe, days of individual and collective rectification. “Today the world was conceived, today all the creatures of the world are judged”.
Israel Is a True Ally - It's Time We Remembered That
I have noted before that the UK has a Conservative government but a Labour foreign policy. Once Brexit has been completed, there will be no major issue in international affairs that divides the two parties. This is particularly the case when it comes to Israel. I am always bemused when some conspiracy-minded anti-Israel columnist or activist points to the number of Tory MPs who are members of Conservative Friends of Israel (CFOI), typically portrayed as a wielder of awesome institutional power and influence within the Tory party. They are a good bunch and throw a cracking conference booze-up, so I don’t want to beat up on them too much, but the reason they manage to sign up so many MPs is that their agenda is so anodyne. The only aspect of Conservative Friends of Israel that Labour Friends of Israel would object to (and vice versa) is the first word of its name.

If CFOI commanded one-tenth of the sway its demonisers insinuate, the UK’s embassy would be in Jerusalem, not Tel Aviv. The Conservative government would not refer to East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza as ‘Occupied Palestinian Territories’ and would not scold Israel for allowing Jews to live in Judea. Our UN delegation would not abstain on something as basic as extending the arms embargo on Iran, whose Supreme Leader has called for ‘eliminating Israel’. We would not have a prime minister who hits all the right rhetorical notes but remains wedded to the cobwebbed dogma of a world since passed.

There are many ways to be pro-Israel and it ought not to be confused with being on board with the political agenda of the Likud party, but it should involve a Tory government having a position substantively distinguishable from that of the European Commission and the UN Human Rights Council. Boris Johnson is, I believe, instinctively and sincerely sympathetic to Israel and the Jewish people but his policies do not reflect the warmth of his feelings. Maybe he believes his course is wise and right. Fair enough; people like me can bang on in hopes of changing the terms of debate and nudging him out of his wrongheadedness. However, it could as easily be that the Foreign Office, the world’s leading exporter of certainty and paternalism, has defeated another prime minister who would like to have his own foreign policy but doesn’t have the time or energy to challenge the rule of Sir Humphrey. The latter would reflect a fundamental weakness in the Prime Minister, and that is harder to remedy.

Whatever the reason, Boris Johnson is allowing the UK to become irrelevant in a Middle East that doesn’t work the way it used to but in which we still have strategic interests. If the Conservatives are friends of Israel, rather than polite acquaintances, the Prime Minister would, at a minimum, recognise its capital and put our embassy there.



Jonathan S. Tobin: More Than a Missed Opportunity for the Palestinians
If the Palestinians were more interested in advancing their interests than in reaffirming their ideological opposition to the legitimacy of a Jewish state — no matter where its borders are drawn — they could have bargained with Trump. They could have taken advantage of the offers of aid that Arab states were prepared to make in order to subsidize peace efforts. That might have given them a state, as well as a chance at a prosperous future.

But they were no more interested in peace in 2020 than they were in 2000, 2001, and 2008, when they rejected even more generous offers, or in any of the opportunities for peace they passed up over the years. Israeli statesman Abba Eban’s quip that the Palestinians “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity” has never been more relevant. The only difference between now and 1973 when Eban first spoke those words is that it is now Arab states that are saying it, not Israelis.

The Palestinians think they still have some allies. The European Union may be irrelevant to Middle East security issues, yet it can still help subsidize the corruption in Ramallah. And Palestinians can always turn to Iran and perhaps to Qatar, which has helped bankroll Hamas in the Gaza Strip. But a drift towards the radicals will only further damage a cause that most of the Arab world now recognizes is hopelessly out of touch with reality and modernity.

The question now is whether the US presidential election will lead to a return to policies that have long enabled Palestinian rejectionism. There’s little doubt that Biden’s foreign policy team will be staffed by those who cling to the myth that Palestinians want a state alongside Israel, rather than one instead of it. Yet even the most dedicated believers in pressure on Israel to make suicidal concessions must now recognize that the Palestinians are incapable of making peace. Palestinian national identity is still inextricably tied to a futile war on Zionism in which they must concede defeat.

It remains to be seen if Democrats are as stuck in the past as the Palestinians. If American voters give them the chance, will they be so blinded by hatred of Trump that they will try to wreck the progress that he has achieved? If so, Arabs and Israelis, as well as the Palestinians who know their leaders are failing them, will be the ones to pay the price of such folly.
The Palestinian people deserve better than their current leaders – opinion
It is becoming increasingly obvious to the world at large that a peaceful, productive, flourishing Middle East is not only possible, but within grasp. Steps are being taken, plans are being made to achieve a bright new future for the region. The Palestinian people could share in that prosperity, but their path forward is being blocked by their leaders – all of them, right across the Palestinian political spectrum.

It is clear that the Palestinian leadership simply cannot shake itself free of old worn out aspirations, no matter how unrealistic they obviously are in the here and now. Unfortunately for the Palestinian men and women in the street, their leaders have no appetite for normalization or for peace. Encouraging economic growth, fostering industry and business, improving health and social provision, raising the living standards of its citizens – all have been subordinated to the objective shared by them all, which is to gain control of the whole of what used to be Mandatory Palestine, eliminating or neutering Israel in the process.

The rejectionist Hamas organization and like-minded extremist bodies make no bones about it. They take their lead from the pronouncement by Yasser Arafat back in 1970: “Our basic aim is to liberate the land from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.... The Palestinian revolution’s basic concern is the uprooting of the Zionist entity from our land and liberating it.”

Where Hamas and the Palestinian Authority differ, and differ fundamentally, is about the most effective way to achieve their common purpose. That disagreement is so basic it has ensured the two main Palestinian political groups have remained at each other’s throats for decades. Recent reports of a reconciliation are likely to prove as illusory as the scores of previous such efforts. Hamas wants to replace Fatah and control the West Bank.

As for its policy toward Israel, Hamas believes that the only appropriate way to achieve its desired outcome is through terror and the armed struggle. Any pause in the battle – such as the agreement just reached on ending the tit-for-tat attacks on each other – must be of limited duration and represent a tactical advantage.
The Mouse that Roared —PA/PLO style
The PA threatens the world

They are not kidding around this time. This time the PA/PLO really means business…like “The Mouse that Roared.”

As the world trembles (or so he thinks), he speaks…big talk, small man.

No more Mr. Nice Guy, says PA/PLO spokesman Saeb Erekat, fuming, as he gravelly threatens to cut ties with any nation that establishes friendship with Israel.

Those would perhaps be Kosovo and Bahrain-- and which could be the start of something big, as more and more previously reluctant countries are getting in line behind the UAE.

The United Arab Emirates heralded a real peace by coming around to formally extend diplomatic relations with the Jewish State. Good news, right? Nope.

After years of drawing sympathy and riches from the well of self-pity, done, kaput, the same old story won’t sell. The world has finally caught on and had enough.

Nothing could be worse for the PA/PLO…which suddenly finds itself out in the cold.
There is other business to attend…besides the morning cup of grievances being dished by Mahmoud Abbas, and now Saeb Erekat, and that whole crowd.

The world, at least part of it, has grown tired of your intifadas, your days of rage, your incitements, your terrorism, and all of which is meant to prove what?

That you are a civilized people?
Palestinians: 'Our Arab brothers have abandoned us'
Palestinians have reacted with outrage and deep disappointment to the Arab League’s refusal to condemn the normalization agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

The refusal of the Arab League foreign ministers to endorse a Palestinian draft resolution against the Israel-UAE agreement will pave the way for other Arab states to establish relations with Israel, Palestinian officials cautioned.

The officials denied a report that suggested that the Palestinians were considering withdrawing from the Arab League in protest of its attitude towards the Palestinians.

“First we thought that the United Arab Emirates was the only country that had stabbed us in the back,” a senior Palestinian official in Ramallah told The Jerusalem Post. “On Wednesday, we saw how several other Arab countries have betrayed the Palestinian people and the Palestinian issue. This is a black day in the history of the Palestinians and Arabs.”

Emirati Professor of Political Science Abdul Haleq Abdullah, commenting on the failure of the Palestinians to convince the Arab League to condemn the UAE, wrote on Twitter: “The Palestinian delegation found itself rejected at the Arab League meeting, which dropped a Palestinian draft resolution condemning the UAE-Israel peace agreement. This is happening for the first time in the history of the Arab League due to the stupidity of the corrupt Palestinian leadership.”
'Implications of PA's collapse may not be as dramatic as assumed'
The prospect of the Palestinian Authority imploding should not concern Israel as much as it does, a new study by the Bithonistim security and defense forum, presented to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week, concluded.

Netanyahu had asked the forum's top members, including former head of the IDF Intelligence Directorate's Research Division Brig. Gen. (ret.) Yossi Kuperwasser, to study the reification the PA's potential economic collapse would have for Israel in a meeting they held about two months ago.

The study was compiled while Israel was still debating how to extend sovereignty to parts of Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley under the US's Middle East peace plan, a move which Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas warned would render the PA null and void.

Kuperwasser found that while "it is in Israel's best interest that the Palestinian Authority remain intact, its dissolution in part on in full will present alternatives that are not must worse."

Kuperwasser presented five scenarios should the Ramallah-based government implode: the termination of all PA activity; a suspension of PA activity; the transfer of government to local elements; a succession struggle in the post-Abbas era, and a takeover of the West Bank by Hamas – the terrorist group that usurped control of the Gaza Strip from Fatah in 2007 in a military coup.

Chances of any of the scenarios coming true are low, the former MI chief said in his report.

Instead, Kuperwasser believes that even if the PA announced a termination of all its activities, "Domestic and international pressure – by the Europeans and the Democrats in the US, as well as by the pragmatic Arab states – would push it to resume its rule."
JPost Editorial: Netanyahu should meet with Biden during his trip to the US
In 2012, during his visit to the UN in September, Netanyahu – widely, albeit inaccurately, accused of stumping for Republican candidate Mitt Romney – spoke by phone with Romney and then president Barack Obama.

Obama, with whom Netanyahu had a rocky relationship, actually turned down a Netanyahu request for a meeting at that time. The prime minister had met Romney two months earlier in Jerusalem.

The last time an Israeli prime minister did not meet with both US presidential candidates during an election year was in 2004, when Ariel Sharon met with George W. Bush, but during that same visit to the US, he snubbed John Kerry, the Democratic candidate.

As Kerry later went on to become a secretary of state who was very critical of Israel, one could justifiably ask about Sharon’s cold shoulder: “How did that work out?”

Netanyahu, it is obvious to all, likes Trump, has a very good relationship with him and is grateful for what the president has done for Israel. But Netanyahu must look beyond November and do what is in Israel’s best interests.

And what is in Israel’s best interests – even if not in Trump’s – is for the prime minister to meet Biden to demonstrate in the most tangible way possible that Israel is not, and does not want to become a partisan wedge issue.
Coronavirus restrictions complicate coverage of UAE-Israel peace event
When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives in Washington to participate in the historic ceremony formalizing ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates next week, the reporters following him will be subject to a severe set of restrictions aimed at minimizing exposure to potential coronaviruses carriers.

The visit will be as short as possible, with the prime minister's plane departing back to Israel immediately after the signing ceremony on Tuesday. All those who join Netanyahu on his flight from Israel to the US will have to prove that they had tested negative to the virus before being allowed to board, and they will have to be spaced out in the cabin and wear a facemask all through the flight.

The traveling press was also told they would have to lodge at the hotel where Netanyahu will stay and will be banned from leaving it, essentially becoming a capsule.

The ceremony is scheduled to take place Tuesday at noon at the White House, with President Donald Trump presiding over the event. Netanyahu, the UAE foreign minister, and various other dignitaries will be in attendance.
Kushner says Saudi Arabia, Bahrain to allow all Israeli flights to use airspace
Saudi Arabia and Bahrain will allow all flights to and from Israel to use their airspace in a significant change of policy, senior White House adviser Jared Kushner said Wednesday.

The two Gulf countries agreed last week to open their skies to Israeli flights to the United Arab Emirates following the announcement of the normalization deal between Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi.

However, Kushner told reporters, in a briefing ahead of a planned White House signing of the deal next week, that this would now include any and all Israeli flights to and from the East.

“They agreed to open their airspace not just to flights from Israel to the United Arab Emirates and back, but to all eastward travel,” Kushner said. “So when people make requests, they’ll grant those requests. That will save people a lot of time. That knocks down a barrier that’s been up for 72 years.”

Israeli airlines had been at a significant disadvantage in the past, being forced to take a detour of several hours skirting the Gulf and Iran on flights to the Far East. Saudi Arabia last year allowed Air India flights to Israel to use their airspace, but not El Al flights on the same route.

Allowing the use of Saudi and Bahraini airspace makes direct flights between Tel Aviv and the Emirates viable by cutting flying time from some seven hours to only three and a half hours.
Islam in the Service of Peace: Religious Aspects of the Israel-UAE Accord
Over the last decade, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has striven to disseminate a religious-political doctrine that defines peace as an Islamic value. It poses this stance as an ideological alternative to the radical concepts of political Islam advocated by the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafi-jihadist forces. These efforts also contribute to the UAE's international image as a stronghold of religious freedom, pluralism, and multiculturalism.

In 2016, the UAE founded a government ministry for promoting tolerance and declared 2019 a Year of Tolerance, during which it hosted a summit between the Pope and Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of al-Azhar University and the leading religious authority in the Sunni Muslim world. Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah, chairman of the Emirates Fatwa Council, the country's supreme religious authority, noted that "the Islamic sharia abounds in many examples of such cases of reconciliations and peacemaking in accordance with the public good and circumstances." Supporters of the agreement with Israel quote the Qur'an to show Islam's preference for peace, such as, "if they are inclined to peace, make peace with them" (Qur'an 8:61).

Jerusalem Mufti Muhammad Hussein ruled that pilgrims from the UAE would not be allowed to pray in the al-Aqsa Mosque. In response, Dr. Abbas Shoman, former Secretary-General of the Egyptian al-Azhar Council of Senior Scholars, denounced the ban, stating that he knew of no precedent in Islamic law preventing people from praying at any mosque whatsoever because of the political stance of a native country. Shoman wondered why the Palestinians did not bar citizens from Turkey and Qatar from praying in al-Aqsa when their countries had conducted normal relations with Israel for many years.
Viral video of 'confused' Serbian president is not what it seems
The video went viral immediately after the leaders of Serbia and Kosovo signed their agreements with the US in the Oval Office last week.

US President Donald Trump says: “Serbia is committed to opening a commercial office in Jerusalem this month and moving its embassy in July. That’s fantastic! That’s a very big thing – we appreciate it very much.”

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić starts paging through the agreement on the table before him, looks off to his side, and then pushes his hair to the side, in what appears to be an expression of discomfort.

Many interpreted that reaction to mean that Vučić didn’t know he was supposed to be moving the embassy to Jerusalem and had been blindsided by Trump.

Vučić’s reaction was actually to the July date Trump mentioned for the embassy opening, which seemed far off, considering that Serbia plans to open its trade office this month.

Sources close to Vučić pointed out on Thursday that the Serbian president had already announced at the AIPAC Policy Conference in March that his country would open a trade office in Jerusalem, and the intention had been to take a first step toward opening an embassy in Israel’s capital.
Sheba Hospital, UAE’s APEX set for joint innovation hub in Gulf
Healthcare innovation will soon be accelerated in the United Arab Emirates, after the country’s APEX National Investment signed a memorandum of understanding with Sheba Medical Center to promote a range of healthcare solutions in the region.

“We believe that the agreement between APEX National Investment and Sheba will change the dynamics of healthcare and innovation in the UAE and act as a harbinger of ‘peace and prosperity’ in the Gulf region and beyond, where hope knows no boundaries,” said Prof. Yitshak Kreiss, director-general of Sheba.

“We see this as a bridge for peace not only between Israel and the UAE,” Eyal Zimlichman, deputy director-general, chief medical officer and chief innovation officer at Sheba, told The Jerusalem Post. “This will be an ‘ARC’ that will serve not only the UAE but the whole region, and the hope is that this opens up new avenues to work with our neighbors that we don’t currently have ties with.”

“It is fitting that the first significant partnership between Israel and the UAE is in healthcare,” US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said. “The Abraham Accords are already making the Middle East safer and more prosperous.”

The agreement, known as the “ARC Gulf” initiative, will highlight a physical hub, a specialized team, leading start-ups, comprehensive data infrastructure and an expansive network needed to springboard innovation in the region and beyond.








PLO: Most Arab States Have Stopped Paying Us
Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), revealed Tuesday that most Arab countries have stopped paying their dues towards the Palestinian budget, Al-Khaleej Online reported.

Ahead of a meeting of foreign ministers of the Arab League countries, he called on Arab states "to carry out the resolutions of the successive meetings of the Arab League related to the financial safety network for Palestine."
Palestinian Families in West Bank Are Buying Guns
The Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights issued a warning Aug. 23 about an armament race among Palestinian families in the West Bank, provoked by "their feeling of insecurity."

Only the Palestinian security apparatus is allowed to own arms in the West Bank, according to the Oslo Accords.

Nevertheless, Ammar Duweik, director general of the Independent Commission, said, "Weapons are widely spreading among families in the areas under the control of the Palestinian Authority and under the protection of influential PA or Fatah figures."

Since the beginning of 2020, there have been family feuds in the West Bank during which arms were widely used, resulting in deaths and injuries.


FDD: Hamas Prioritizes Terrorism Over COVID-19 Outbreak in Gaza
Gaza hospitals have the ability to care for only 350 COVID-19 cases, meaning that the spread of the virus could easily overrun Gaza’s healthcare system. In an interview on Palestinian television in early April, Hamas leader Yahya al-Sinwar threatened to “stop the breathing of six million Israelis” if Gaza did not receive sufficient ventilators to treat sick Palestinians.

An August 3 statement by the office of Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas’ politburo, signaled the movement’s intent to continue to commit acts of terrorism against Israel in the long term. Haniyeh explained that “comprehensive resistance is a cornerstone of the future strategy, and it must be in all its forms and colors, with the military [al-Qassam Brigades] at the forefront,” the statement said.

Yet Hamas could receive the critically needed assistance by reaching a long-term truce with Israel. In early January, UN Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Jamie McGoldrick visited Gaza in an effort to mediate an agreement. However, McGoldrick’s efforts failed, leading to a resumption of cross-border attacks by Hamas, including a thwarted attempt in February to place an explosive device at the Gaza border, aimed at killing Israeli soldiers.

Moreover, in the first days of the COVID-19 outbreak in August, Hamas and other Palestinian factions continued arson attacks against communities in southern Israel after ordering a lockdown of the Gaza Strip. The continuation of the attacks demonstrated Hamas’ willingness to allow its operatives to carry out acts of terrorism despite an outbreak of COVID-19.

Hamas’ latest refusal to agree to a long-term truce with Israel in exchange for international assistance to combat COVID-19 provides clear proof that the terrorist group does not plan to ease up on its ill-intentions. As a result, the ceasefire will likely be short-lived.


PMW: Hamas glorifies suicide bombings, promises imprisoned terrorists will get “reward” from Allah
Hamas continues to be unwavering in its hate of Israel and its desire to destroy it entirely. Not surprisingly, a filler on Hamas TV expressed support and joy over suicide bombings in Israel, and taught that imprisoned terrorists and murderers will also – just like the suicide bomber - be rewarded for their actions by Allah.

In the filler, actors portraying imprisoned Palestinian terrorists cheer “the worst suicide bombing in Tel Aviv” as the news of it is broadcast on Israeli TV. But in the midst of their rejoicing and shouts of “Allahu Akbar” – “Allah is greatest” – one prisoner is crying. While he weeps over the missed opportunity to carry out the attack with the suicide bomber as he had planned, a fellow terrorist assures him that he too will be rewarded for his actions by Allah:

Israeli TV news: “There are 19 killed and dozens wounded in the worst suicide bombing.”
Prisoner Hassan: “An operation (i.e., terror attack)? In Tel Aviv?”
Prisoners: “Allahu Akbar (i.e., “Allah is greatest”)! Allahu Akbar and praise Allah!”
Hassan: “Rafat? Why are you crying?”
Prisoner Rafat: “This is the guy I told you about (i.e., the suicide bomber). I wanted to carry out the operation with him.”
Hassan: “Be strong, and Allah willing, your being here [in prison] is no less than [what he did]. Allah willing, you are destined for reward.”
Rafat: “Allah willing.”

[Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), Aug. 29, 2020]


Palestinian Media Watch reported last week on one day of Hamas hate and terror messages, which included calls for “death to Israel.”








JCPA: Turkish Hyper-Activity Reverberates Throughout the Middle East
In recent months, Turkey has increased its efforts to enhance its position as a regional power following in the path of the Ottoman Empire, adopting daring measures that border on megalomania at home, in the region, and internationally.

A video with distinct nationalistic themes was recently broadcast by the Turkish Ministry of Information. The film is entitled, “The Red Apple [kizil elma],” which is a Turkish cultural concept describing Turkey’s ambition to achieve superpower status. Beyond the context of Turkey’s religious battles in Istanbul, the Turkish video also displays a troubling appetite for Jerusalem and Saudi Arabia’s holy sites in Mecca and Medina.

In the Persian Gulf, where Qatar is at odds with the Emirates and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Turkey has allied itself with Qatar. Some 5,000 Turkish soldiers are stationed in Qatar to help Doha protect itself and deter enemies.

Turkey also displays considerable hyper-activity in Palestinian and Israeli issues. Turkey stands in solidarity with Hamas, Turkey’s partner and protégé in the Muslim Brotherhood camp. Turkish citizenship and passports were granted to a “dozen” Hamas activists, including convicted terrorists.1

For the United States, Turkey’s military acquisitions present a problem. Erdoğan’s determination to acquire Russia’s advanced S-400 anti-aircraft missile system forced the United States to cancel a deal to supply F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft to Turkey.

Do not underestimate President Erdoğan’s ability to utilize Turkey’s strategic assets to advance his bold strategies. To prevent Erdoğan from provocations against Israel, it must be made clear to him the limits to the actions that Israel is willing to tolerate.
Turkish TV Series Conquers Muslim World
"Resurrection: Ertugrul" is a five-season Turkish TV series set in the 13th century, loosely based on the life of Ertugrul Ghazi, the father of Sultan Osman, who founded the Ottoman empire.

Ertugrul gallantly fights an array of pugnacious Crusaders, Templars, Byzantines and Mongols. Its positive depiction of Islamic rituals often includes words of wisdom from Ibn 'Arabi of Andalucia - one of the greatest Muslim philosophers.

Released in 2014, the TV series has been dubbed into six languages and broadcast in 72 countries, with an English subtitled version released on Netflix in 2017.

Turkey is now second to the U.S. in worldwide TV distribution, exporting nearly 150 series to more than 100 countries.
Huge fire rages at Beirut port, weeks after devastating explosion
A huge fire broke out Thursday at the Port of Beirut, sending up a thick column of black smoke and raising new panic among traumatized residents after last month’s catastrophic blast at the same site killed nearly 200 people.

It was unclear what caused the blaze at the facility, which was decimated by the August 4 explosion when nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate blew up and sent out a shock wave that caused widespread damage and was felt as far away as the island of Cyprus.

Dark smoke covered the capital on Thursday as army helicopters sprayed water over the orange flames leaping from the ground.

The Lebanese army said the fire started in the port’s duty-free zone at a warehouse with containers of tires, oil and other flammable materials.

Civil Defense chief Raymond Khattar said putting out the fire was taking longer because it was rubber and oil burning.
Another hellish fire ignites in Beirut – analysis
Lebanon has difficulty holding anyone accountable for anything. The former prime minister Rafic Hariri was murdered in 2005 by Hezbollah, but Hezbollah is now in parliament and helps control the presidency. A UN investigation accused four Hezbollah members of the killing and found one guilty. There shouldn’t have needed to be such a tribunal in the first place. A country should be able to investigate the killing of its own former prime minister in blast that killed 20. Similarly, the country should be able to secure the port, as its army receives millions in support for the US. But Lebanon can’t do these things and it requires some $93 billion now to be bailed out of an economic crisis that is also largely its own making.

Meanwhile, in Lebanon Hezbollah and Hamas members have been meeting, toasting their successes. Hamas held a parade at a Palestinian neighborhood. It hasn’t done anything to help clear rubble from the port. It parades with masses of armed men, some of the tens of thousands of illegal rifles in the hands of people in Lebanon, part of the 150,000 illegal rockets that Hezbollah stores in Lebanon. Even as Hamas and Hezbollah have been celebrating, while other Lebanese have been mourning their dead, the new fire rages in Beirut.

Commentators are incredulous and some people are fearful. However, videos show a mixed reaction. Some came to take selfies and video. Workers fled. The fire grew in intensity after around one in the afternoon, with black smoke, allegedly from tires, billowing into the sky.

Lebanese have reportedly been trying to leave the country. Reports indicate some have made it to Cyprus recently. But in nearby Greece this
week a massive refugee camp called Moria on Lesbos burned.

There has been a heat wave in the region. That has fanned flames. But incompetence and irresponsibility appears to have fanned the flames as well.




The Iran sanctions snapback in light of the Abraham Accord
The miraculous UAE-Israel agreement, brokered by President Trump’s administration and scheduled to be signed in Washington next week, is an outstanding achievement. So too is the Kosovo-Serbia agreement and the prospects for further peace agreements between Israel and other nations.

All these wonderful and historical events are occurring against the backdrop of the ominous threats posed by Iran’s inimical and autocratic regime. These include the flagrant and egregious violation of its commitments under the JCPOA and its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, as well as other malign activities, all glossed over by the West.

The response of the US under President Trump, in contrast to the prior administration and the ineffectiveness of the EU, may help explain why President Trump’s efforts at peacemaking have been successful, while these others failed.

Iran and the JCPOA
It is indisputable that Iran is not in compliance with the JCPOA. Whether the Iranian regime was clandestinely violating it all along, including hiding the Uranium metal disk used as a triggering device for a nuclear bomb, or this first occurred later may be a source of debate; but nevertheless, the fact remains that Iran is in non-compliance. Indeed, as the IAEA reported, Iran has already exceeded by ten times the enriched uranium limits under the JCPOA.

In response to Iran’s violations, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a notice to the UN Secretary General and president of the Security Council initiating the so-called snapback sanctions procedure, under UN Security Council Resolution 2231 of 2015.

Consider, in striking contrast, the impotent reaction of the EU. Britain, France and Germany formally accused Iran of violating the terms of the JCPOA and triggered the dispute resolution mechanism thereunder. In theory, this should have quickly led to their initiating a snapback, especially given the urgency of the situation. Instead, they have acted in concert with Iran to delay the process.

This reckless behavior and lack of support for the US’ effort to snapback is not only mystifying; it’s galling. As allies of the US and ostensibly guardians of non-proliferation under the Treaty, their pandering to the terrorist regime controlling Iran, while it continues to violate the Treaty with seeming impunity, is immoral and inexcusable.
Richard Goldberg: How Trump can enforce the snapback of UN sanctions on Iran
If a Russian or Chinese defense firm tries to sell weapons to Iran, that firm and all the supporting institutions involved in a transaction would face secondary U.S. sanctions. Sanctions would apply not just to new sales but also to maintenance and modernization of existing equipment. Banks, underwriters, shippers, ports, freight forwarders, and other logistics firms would have to choose: involvement in Russian and Chinese military sales or a cutoff from the U.S. financial system and market.

Congress inserted a similar provision in a 2017 sanctions law, but that legislation failed to address the broadest range of possible military-related transfers and potential sanctions to deter them. Trump has an opportunity to take this bipartisan legislation and greatly expand its impact.

For a firm like Rosoboronexport, Russia’s state organization in charge of defense exports, a designation under this executive order could disrupt billions of dollars in global sales. While Rosoboronexport is already blacklisted by the U.S. for its activities in Ukraine, secondary sanctions have not been enforced.

China, whose arms export industry has grown in recent years, would face the same risks. Beijing uses several state-owned enterprises — NORINCO, Aviation Industry Corporation of China, China Electronics Technology Group Corporation, and China South Industries Group Corporation — to sell military products.

Recent examples demonstrate that state-owned enterprises with global business behave just like other multinational corporations when it comes to U.S. sanctions compliance. China has gone to great lengths to distance its state-owned energy companies and banks from illicit oil transactions with Iran. Last November, a Russian state-owned nuclear fuel company suspended its work at an Iranian facility after U.S. sanctions were reinstated. Russian and Chinese diplomats can make all the speeches they want; their state-owned enterprises, nonetheless, typically make financially prudent decisions.

America may stand alone at the Security Council in recognizing the snapback of U.N. sanctions on Iran. But Trump can send a powerful message to a corrupt and dysfunctional multilateral system by unilaterally enforcing that snapback with the deterrent power of U.S. sanctions.
Iran building new centrifuge production site, state TV says
Iran said Tuesday it is building a sophisticated new building near its underground Natanz nuclear site, state TV reported.

The report quoted Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the country’s nuclear agency, as saying the new structure is being built in the wake of a July explosion that damaged a building that housed centrifuge machines.

“Regarding the evil action and sabotage that was carried out, it has been decided to establish a more modern, wider and more comprehensive hall to be constructed in the heart of the mountains around Natanz,” Salehi was quoted as saying.

Natanz hosts the country’s main uranium enrichment facility. In its long underground halls, centrifuges rapidly spin uranium hexafluoride gas to enrich uranium.

Salehi said construction of the new building “has already begun.”

On Sunday, Iran said it had found those who were involved in the alleged sabotage, but said details will be released later.




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