Thursday, October 01, 2020

From Ian:

The UN must recalculate its route
In my capacity as a minister in various Israeli cabinets, I dealt extensively with the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. I have come to know firsthand the bias and decades-long anti-Israel sentiment in the United Nations.

But despite this, I decided to begin my U.N. ambassadorship with a clear determination to fight for Israel’s reputation, to get rid of the hatred toward Israel there and to make sure that an automatic majority against it is no longer a preordained fate. I believe that now, with Arab countries embracing peace with Israel as a boon and Iranian brutality being exposed on a daily basis, there is a fighting chance at achieving this goal.

As soon as I arrived in New York, I began working alongside our friends in the Trump administration to restore the U.N. sanctions on Iran that had been lifted following the 2015 nuclear deal. Tehran’s windfall due to the sanctions relief has armed its terrorist tentacles in Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Gaza and of course in Lebanon.

One would think that the United Nations, as an institution that has championed peace and security, would join the struggle against the largest terrorist regime in the world, which has continued to openly call for the annihilation of Israel. Unfortunately, the Security Council has chosen excuses over actions.

While Iran executes protesters, including wrestler Navid Afkari, a majority of Security Council members have shamefully refused to join the U.S.-led effort against Tehran, effectively choosing to reward such murderous action. There is no better proof for the disconnect between the theoretical ideas expressed by the U.N. Charter and their failed implementation in reality.
Merkel’s government is ‘undermining solidarity with Israel’
Germany has an anti-Israel bias at the United Nations, according to Uwe Becker, the commissioner to combat antisemitism in the German state of Hesse.

Following Germany’s abstention last week at the UN on an anti-Israel resolution, he told The Jerusalem Post: “Even in times of rapprochement between Israel and the Arab states, interested countries continue their smear theater at the United Nations and once again pillory the Jewish state. Now there must be an end to the ducking away. Germany’s abstention only strengthens Israel’s enemies at the UN and weakens the efforts for peace in the region.”

“I am very disappointed about Germany’s vote after a new resolution on the alleged violations of women’s rights by Israel,” said Becker, who is also president of the Germany-Israel Friendship Association.

“Germany is undermining solidarity with Israel if it does not finally take a clear and unequivocal stand at the United Nations against the politically staged permanent condemnation of Israel,” he added. “Neutrality is inappropriate when the moral verdict of guilt is passed on Israel.”

Becker is widely considered the most forceful German political advocate for the security of the State of Israel.

“Attitude and backbone are required, not passivity and diplomatic kowtowing,” he said. “If, at the end of a vote, Israel is the only country in the world accused of violating women’s rights, and countries decide to do so where women have virtually no rights, then the German side should finally wake up.”

Incoming Belgian government on collision course with Israel, local Jews say
Members of Belgium’s Jewish community this week expressed great concern at their country’s incoming government, saying some of its members are known for being extremely critical of Israel.

Even before the final cabinet lineup was set to be announced on Wednesday evening, friends of Israel familiar with the Belgian political scene predicted increased tensions with Jerusalem and the local Jewish community, pointing to what they said were several harsh Israel critics likely to be appointed to key positions in the government.

“Israel will find that this government will try to shut down all little dialogue left between both countries,” said Brussels-based Jenny Aharon, who advises Israeli officials and Jewish organizations on matters related to EU-Israel relations.

However, she added, the newly formed government, which will be sworn in by King Philippe on Thursday morning, “does not represent a Flemish majority. Therefore it would be inaccurate to consider its adopted anti-Israel policies as a sentiment shared by the Belgian people as a whole.”

Belgium is considered among Israel’s toughest critics in Europe, with Jerusalem and Brussels at odds over the Palestinian question.

In February, the Belgian ambassador in Tel Aviv was summoned to the Foreign Ministry for a dressing down over what Israeli officials called “a systematic campaign to demonize the Jewish state” after the country’s embassy to the United Nations invited a pro-Palestinian activist to address the Security Council.

To the Washington Post, Palestinians Can Only Be Victims
Hamas is a U.S.-designated terrorist group that calls for the genocide of Jews and the destruction of the Jewish state. Yet readers of a recent Washington Post dispatch wouldn’t have a clue about the group’s objectives. Instead, the Hazem Balousha’s Sept. 14, 2020 Post article omitted key context and facts and deprived Palestinians of independent agency.

Balousha, a Gaza-based freelancer who often collaborates with the Post, wrote the report, “Coronavirus lockdown steals Gazans’ last vestiges of normal life,” in the first-person. The dispatch opens with Balousha describing how “Adam and Karam, my two little sons were asleep but the sound of the bombing was very loud as Israeli jets targeted military sites.” It is highly unusual for Washington Post articles on the Israel-Islamist conflict to be written in first-person narrative—which by its very nature make the story more personal.

In fact, CAMERA was unable to find a recent example of the Post publishing a news report written by an Israeli in the first-person narrative. It wouldn’t be hard for the newspaper to locate a journalist living in an Israeli community that endures frequent Hamas rocket and terror attacks and have them author a news article on their experiences. But the paper has refrained from doing so—part of a long-standing pattern of providing frequent coverage of the trials and tribulations of Palestinians while simultaneously minimizing the difficulties that many Israelis face.

Narrative aside, there are larger problems with the Post’s report. It engages in a false equivalency between the terror group, Hamas, which indiscriminately launches rockets into the Jewish state, and the Israeli military’s targeted response. There is, of course, no reasonable comparison between a terror group seeking to murder civilians and a nation-state seeking to deter and prevent such attacks. Contra the Post’s claim, it is not a “constant cycle of escalation.”
Why Palestinian Unity Is a Pipe Dream
Still reeling from Israel’s normalization agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, Palestinian leaders have fallen back on their hoariest, least convincing talking point: national reunification. Fatah and Hamas, the dominant parties in the West Bank and Gaza, respectively, say they have agreed to hold a general election, the first in 15 years. This, they say, will allow them to form a united front in opposition to Israel.

There is virtually no chance any of it will actually happen. This latest proposal will almost certainly fade away, just like all previous promises. There was talk of national unity in 2011, and a Fatah-Hamas pact in 2014 to form a combined government—and that’s to name just two failures. There haven’t been legislative elections since Hamas’ 2006 upset win, and Fatah’s Mahmoud Abbas has ruled as president of the Palestinian Authority since his four-year term expired in 2009.

Neither Fatah nor Hamas has demonstrated any real interest in healing the fractured Palestinian body politic. Over the past decade, each has become well-entrenched in their own fiefdom, where it rules and consumes resources without effective opposition.

In the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority receives tens of millions of dollars in annual aid from the international community. (This, even after President Donald Trump ended American aid to Palestinians last year.) Although the PA stopped all dealings with Israel in protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans for annexation of large swathes of the West Bank, it can still lay claim to the taxes Israel collects on Palestinian imports and exports. With annexation off the table at least through 2024, the PA will find a way to resume dialogue and once again get the tax revenues.

Meanwhile, at Israel’s behest, Qatar regularly deliver bundles of cash to Gaza to meet payrolls and keep the economy afloat there.

Both sets of leaders can live with the current arrangements, despite the hardships they impose on the Palestinian population. If the Palestinian parties keep talking up the idea of national reconciliation, it is because, no matter how cynical and unconvincing, these performances are useful. The Palestinian public and their supporters around the world want unity, and promises of unity relieves some of the pressure on both parties. They also help to satisfy donors and the international community. For Fatah and Hamas, these promises are a substitute for having no governing policy at all.
How the Abraham Accords Are Making Iran Desperate
The north pincer is commonly referred to as the “Shiite Crescent,” stretching from the body across Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon to the Mediterranean Sea. It is both a “lid” on Iran’s primary enemies Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Israel, and a wedge between Sunni Turkey and the Sunni Arab States. The southern pincer stretches from the body through the Persian Gulf and under the Arabian Peninsula with a Houthi-led war on the Saudis from Yemen in the heel of the boot, and from there stretching Iran’s influence up the Red Sea along the coasts of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea, and Somalia — and about 18 miles across the Bab el-Mandeb Straits from the US base in Djibouti.

Attention has been rightly and happily focused on the Abraham Accords agreements between Israel, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates, witnessed by the United States and openly encouraged by other Gulf States and Arab countries. But those changes in the politics of the southern pincer make Iran more desperate and more determined to control the northern one.

But not without pushback. From someone.

Last week brought (another) video of an explosion in Iran, said to be at the Padideh chemical company in the Eshtehard Industrial Zone in Karaj, west of Tehran. It follows a series of explosions including what locals in Qeshm Island said was an ammunition dump (the government said it was an earthquake); a power station at Isfahan; the Tondgooyan petrochemical plant; a gas storage tank complex near Mashhad; and, of course, at the Natanz nuclear facility.

And Iran’s position along the northern pincer is being eroded. Syria is a crucial piece, allowing Iran to reach its ally Hezbollah in Lebanon over land. At least three major airstrikes aimed at Iranian facilities in Syria occurred in September. The last effectively eliminated a missile production facility outside Aleppo, completely destroying one building and damaging another.

Israel doesn’t comment on things blowing up in either Iran or Syria, but acknowledges three red lines: no Iranian or Hezbollah bases near the Israeli border; no weapons that Israel considers “situation-changing” delivered by Iran to Hezbollah; and no use of non-conventional weapons. It has carefully and consistently maintained those lines while staying out of the Syrian civil war. The Trump administration helped by punishing Syria for its use of chemical weapons, and Russia has been willing to deconflict with the Israeli Air Force.
First Israeli-Lebanese talks in 30 years to be held on maritime dispute
For the first time in 30 years, Israel and Lebanon will hold direct talks on the resolution of their maritime border dispute.

The talks between the two otherwise hostile countries, with no diplomatic ties, will be mediated by the US and hosted by the Office of the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL).

Those negotiations over an 860 square kilometer area of the Mediterranean Sea near Israel's natural gas fields are scheduled to begin later this month in the southern Lebanese city of Naquora, near the country’s border with Israel at Rosh Hanikra.

Formal news of the pending negotiations is viewed as the latest Middle East success for the Trump administration, with regard to Israel's relations with its neighbors. It comes in the aftermath of two US brokered normalization deals between Israel and the Arab countries of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

“Today’s announcement is a vital step forward that serves the interests of Lebanon and Israel, of the region, and of the United States,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said. “Both countries requested that the United States participate as mediator and facilitator in the maritime discussions,” he added.
Steinitz: Gas development after Israel-Lebanon talks critical for Beirut
The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t stopped Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz from having a major international footprint.

In one week, Steinitz and his Egyptian counterpart established a new international organization dedicated to regional natural gas developments, the minister spoke with two of his counterparts in the United Arab Emirates for the first time and negotiated the terms for starting maritime border talks with Lebanon – which were officially finalized on Thursday.

“In the coming period we will have negotiations directly mediated by the US, so that once and for all we can sum up the historic dispute over the maritime border between Israel and Lebanon,” Steinitz told The Jerusalem Post of what will be the first direct negotiations between the countries in 30 years.

The minister expressed hope that the dispute over economic waters and natural gas in the Mediterranean will be resolved within a year, and expressed thanks to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs David Schenker for their efforts to make the negotiations happen.

Steinitz said the issue is important to Israel, because “we want to put the problem behind us,” but for Lebanon, “it’s even more important, because they need the gas. It’s critical for their economy.”

Lebanon is not the only case in which gas has been the impetus for major diplomatic developments between Israel and its neighbors.

Etihad Airways CEO Sees ‘Great Opportunity’ in Potential Israel-UAE Flights
The CEO of the United Arab Emirates’ second-largest airline says that his company is exploring the possibility of starting direct flights to Israel.

In an interview broadcast on Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways’ new podcast Altitudes, CEO Tony Douglas noted that the normalization accord signed by Israel and the UAE earlier this month “probably caught all of us with a surprise.”

“We’ve already been in dialogue and I see there’s nothing other than great opportunity to explore the means by which we can give a direct air corridor from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi,” he added.

“So, I’ll keep you posted,” Douglas pledged.
Flailing in the face of COVID-19, Israel is now on the brink of catastrophe
On Tuesday, Defense Minister Benny Gantz compared Israel’s response to the pandemic to its preparedness, or lack thereof, for the 1973 Yom Kippur War, saying that once again people are dying because the leadership was caught by surprise. “These days we are at war on a completely different battlefield,” Gantz said. “We must honestly admit that this time, too, we were caught unprepared. We have starved our excellent health system for years. We have not responded properly. This time, too, we will pay the price, and the price will be the heavy cost of life.” He added, however, that “this time also we will win, with everyone joining together.”

For that to happen, we need a simplified equation: The public needs to focus on avoiding large gatherings, especially indoors; maintaining social distancing; wearing masks. And the government needs to organize strategically — to present a cogent, coherent path to battling the contagion and enabling a gradual emergence from lockdown, including by expediting the crucial task, belatedly handed to the IDF, of setting up efficient tracking and tracing procedures to rapidly halt chains of contagion.

It ought to go without saying — but it evidently does not — that it is not for our dozens of ministers to argue for days about the specifics of this route ahead, but rather the strategy should be formulated by a team of experts from all relevant fields, with the recommendations then presented for responsible cabinet debate and approval.

Our daily new cases have risen from around 1,000 three months ago, to 2,000 two months ago, on up through 3,000 to 4,000 and, of late, to as high as 7,000, 8,000 and, on Thursday, some 9,000. Our death toll has leapt from 1,000 to 1,500 in a mere three weeks. Such statistics are profoundly troubling. But they are not exponential. Not yet.

The contagion rates, serious case numbers and death toll will become exponential, however, if our ministers, from Netanyahu on down, don’t put aside personal and partisan interest, and urgently commission, approve and explain a cogent strategy to minimize COVID’s devastation. And if law enforcement doesn’t focus on ensuring all sectors of the Israeli populace heed the key restrictions. And if the public — all of the public — doesn’t internalize, to quote the beleaguered Health Ministry chief Levy, that we are “almost at the point of no return.”
Hospitals to add 1,500 beds amid overload; 15% of virus tests return positive
The Health Ministry announced on Wednesday that the positive rate of coronavirus tests reached a record high of 15%, as a senior official reportedly told hospitals there would be 1,500 extra beds added nationwide by mid-October.

Test numbers have been lower this week due to Yom Kippur, slowly climbing to 34,352 on Tuesday, compared to some 50,000-60,000 daily tests over the past week. On Wednesday, 15 percent of tests came back positive, according to the Health Ministry.

There were 4,953 new coronavirus cases diagnosed on Tuesday, the relatively low number presumably a reflection of the fact that testing levels were very low on Monday.

The ministry said there were 810 serious COVID-19 patients, with 205 on ventilators.

Additionally, there were 293 patients in moderate condition and the ministry said the total number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients stood at 1,589.

Israel has had a total of 239,806 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic, with 65,149 active cases.

A report in August by experts at the Weizmann Institute of Science predicted that hospitals would only be able to handle up to 800 serious patients. Israel crossed that threshold on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday said that the country should be prepared for 1,500 serious patients by Thursday but it was unclear why the sudden spike was expected.
Ultra-Orthodox Israelis 2.5 times more likely to test positive, virus czar says
Ultra-Orthodox Israelis are 2.5 times more likely to test positive for the coronavirus, the government’s COVID-19 czar, Ronni Gamzu, reportedly told ministers during Wednesday’s coronavirus cabinet meeting.

Roughly 28.6 percent of virus tests administered in Haredi communities returned a positive result in recent days, compared to 13.4% of the tests from Arab communities and 11.9% of the tests in the rest of the country, data Gamzu presented to ministers showed, according to Channel 12.

The rising and disproportionate number of cases among the Haredi public come amid growing criticism of the religious minority for not adhering to government guidelines.

One of the factors that is believed to have led to the latest outbreak was the reopening of yeshivot, or religious seminaries, to tens of thousands of students in mid-August. Indeed, figures cited by Channel 12 Wednesday showed that the majority of cases in ultra-Orthodox towns were among young men between the ages of 17 and 24, followed by their younger peers between the ages of 10 and 16.

Health officials in cooperation with senior rabbis of the ultra-Orthodox community had sought to prevent an outbreak, formulating a plan that saw some 25,000 yeshiva students spend the High Holidays together in isolated “capsules,” or pods.
Five serious COVID patients recover after experimental Israeli treatment
Israeli immunotherapy company Enlivex Therapeutics said Thursday that five COVID-19 patients in severe to critical condition recovered from the disease within days after receiving its experimental treatment.

The patients were administered the company’s Allocetra treatment in a clinical trial at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital.

The three subjects in severe condition were released from the hospital 5.5 days after receiving the treatment, and the two patients in critical condition were released after 8.5 days. They all tested negative for the coronavirus when they were released, the company said.

“There were no reported severe adverse events relating to the administration of AllocetraTM in the patients, and the therapy was well-tolerated,” it said in a statement.

Therapeutics are usually given to patients in moderate condition, and Enlivex hopes its therapy could become a treatment for more serious cases, the company said.

Allocetra treats the over-response of the immune system and inflammatory response that is sometimes seen in COVID-19 patients, called a cytokine storm. The phenomenon can cause severe immune system attacks on the body’s own organs, causing organ failure and sometimes death.

Cytokine storms are difficult to treat because they are complex responses involving multiple biological systems reacting, and interacting, at the same time. Cytokines are proteins used in cell signaling that summon immune cells during an immune response.
Uruguay FM removes senior official from office after vote against Israel at UN
Uruguay backed resolution accusing Israel of 'systematic violations' of Palestinians' rights

Uruguay's Foreign Minister Francisco Bustillo removed Pablo Sader, Foreign Ministry Director-General, from his office Tuesday following a vote at UN cast against Israel by mistake, Algemeiner reported Wednesday.

He was replaced with Fernando López Fabregat, Bustillo's chief of staff and former ambassador to Finland.

Earlier, on September 14, the UN Economic and Social Council was voting on a resolution that claimed Israel was engaged in "systematic violations" of the Palestinians' rights, which adversely affected the Palestinian women and girls.

It also claimed that the Israeli "occupation" was a major hurdle for Palestinian women seeking to exercise their rights.

Uruguay was one of the 43 member states that backed the resolution -- a move that Bustillo later dismissed as a "circumstantial error," as cited by the report.

He vowed that in the votes to follow, Uruguay will be guided by its long-running policy of supporting Israel. (h/t Zvi)
Two Armed Palestinians Arrested After Crossing Into Israel From Gaza
Two armed Palestinians were arrested Thursday after crossing into Israel from the Gaza Strip, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) report.

According to the army, the two suspects breached the security barrier in Gaza’s north. They threw a hand grenade at the IDF troops who arrived on the scene after spotting the suspects infiltrating Israeli territory.

However, the explosive was inactive and failed to blow up. The Israeli forces responded with fire at the two suspects and apprehended both.

The security forces found an additional grenade — also an inactive one — a knife and a metal cutter on the suspects, who are now being interrogated. No IDF casualties were reported in the incident.

Just hours before the failed infiltration, another Palestinian was arrested after trying to infiltrate Israel from Gaza. The suspect did not carry any weapons.

US Army receives 1st of 2 Iron Dome batteries, doesn’t plan to buy more
The United States received its first of two Iron Dome batteries from Israel on Wednesday just over a year after signing a purchase agreement, the Defense Ministry said, though the American military will likely not buy additional systems going forward.

“These batteries will be employed in the defense of US troops against a variety of ballistic and aerial threats,” the ministry said.

The US and Israel signed an agreement for the purchase of the two batteries — each of which include a launcher and missiles made by Rafael Advanced Systems Ltd., a radar array made by the ELTA defense contractor, and a command-and-control center developed by the mPrest firm — last August, with initial plans to buy both two more units and to consider deeper integration of the Israeli air defense system.

In March, however, the US Army indicated it was scrapping — or at least freezing — its purchase of the two additional batteries and the further incorporation of the Iron Dome into its aerial defenses.

Though the deal appears to have stalled, Rafael continues to meet with US officials about the matter, a spokesman for the company said Wednesday, stressing that no final decision had been made on the deal.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who recently returned from a trip to Washington, hailed the sale as proof of close cooperation between the US and Israel.
On 20th Anniversary, Media Minimize Intifada’s Impact on Israelis
If you don’t understand Israel’s experience during the Second Intifada, a multi-year a wave of Palestinian terror attacks that began 20 years ago this month, you can’t understand the state of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict today.

The bloody half-decade that followed Palestinian rejection of a peace plan in 2000 – a traumatic era in which Jewish civilians were hunted, targeted, and killed on buses, in restaurants, and at dance clubs – shattered Israeli dreams that peace was forthcoming, simply matter of offering Palestinians statehood. It convinced the country that peace depended less on Israeli compromise and more on a change of mindset among Palestinian leaders who clung to the dream of eliminating the Jewish state. And it underscored for Israelis that the lives of their children depend, if not on an agreement with the Palestinians, then on a unilateral separation coupled with effective security measures.

When Israelis think of the terror wave, they remember the Park Hotel on the Mediterranean coast, where in 2002 a Palestinian entered a dining hall packed with Jews celebrating Passover and murdered 30 civilians, most of them elderly; the massacre of 21 people, a majority of them teenage girls, waiting to enter the Dolphinarium dance club in Tel Aviv; and the ruins of the Sbarro pizzeria, which was packed with children when it was selected as the target of a Palestinian suicide bomber, who killed 15 civilians.

The intifada, to Israelis, means the bombing of Bus 2. Buses 6 and 12. Bus 14a. Bus 16. Bus 19. Bus 20. Bus 32a. Bus 37. Buses 189. Bus 823. Bus 830. And too many numbers in between.

But that experience is largely missing in what media coverage there was of the anniversary of the violence.

Instead of helping readers understand how these and other horrific Palestinian attacks indelibly scarred Israelis, some media outlets seemed more interested in marking the anniversary of the intifada with yet another lopsided recitation of the Palestinian narrative of the conflict.
20 Years Since 2nd Intifada: Remembering Malka Chana Roth, Victim of Sbarra Sucide Attack 20 Years Since 2nd Intifada: Ex-IDF General on 'Palestinian Betrayal' Tel Aviv Mike's Place Bombing: Tragedy, Heroism and Resilience Fatah Member Claims 'Third Intifada is Knocking at the Door' PreOccupiedTerritory: Hamas Ask What Point Of Sukkah If Not To Keep Weapons Near Kids (satire)
Members of the militant Islamist group that rules this coastal Mediterranean territory voiced puzzlement today upon discovering that the numerous temporary huts Jews construct for an upcoming weeklong festival serve no purpose related to the movement’s favorite pastime of stowing explosives and armaments in proximity to noncombatants.

Senior and mid-level figures within the Hamas organization expressed confusion Thursday when informed that Jews eat their meals and often sleep in the sukkah, but do not, as the Hamas culture might expect, use the makeshift structure to stockpile guns, grenades, incendiaries, or related materiel.

“What are they for, then?” wondered incendiary-balloon-launching squad commander Ibrahim al-Mustaqim. “You’ve got the whole family together in one little space, and you don’t exploit that crowded situation to turn the wife, kids, and sisters into human shields? What kind of warped thinking is that?”

“At least place the hut somewhere near a military position so the family becomes collateral damage that you can use in propaganda to induce international rage,” demanded supply officer Mustafa Massiqr. “It’s just a waste to put all that effort into building something and then neglect to use it for the purpose that everything is supposed to serve.”
PMW: Abbas’ latest joke: Appoint terrorists to fight terror
In a revealing interview, the Director of the Palestinian Authority-funded ‎Commission of Prisoners and Released Prisoners’ Affairs, Qadri Abu Bakr, made ‎three exceptional revelations – all of which are relevant for the PA’s foreign donors. ‎They show what the PA prioritizes spending its money on, and ultimately, what ‎purposes the foreign donors are helping to fund.‎

Since Palestinian Media Watch exposed the PA’s terror reward payments, many ‎countries who donate funds to the PA earmark their donations for specific ‎purposes, such as the payment of the salaries of civil servants. According to Abu ‎Bakr, the PA’s latest exercise in deception is to recruit released terrorists - to whom ‎the PA pays salaries for doing nothing - to fulfill ostensibly legitimate PA positions, ‎and thereby deceive the world into funding the PA’s outrageous terror reward ‎program. Most outrageously, it appears that the PA is going to integrate the released ‎terrorists into positions in the PA security forces - the very same forces tasked with ‎fighting terrorism.‎

During the interview, Abu Bakr admitted that there are 7,000 - 8,000 released ‎terrorist prisoners who receive a monthly salary from the PA for doing nothing! ‎ ‎“A prisoner is released from prison and receives a released prisoner’s ‎salary, without working and without doing anything… We have 7,000-8,000 ‎released prisoners who are receiving a salary like this.”‎ [Facebook page of the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, Sept. 7, 2020]‎

Next, Abu Bakr admitted that despite the deep financial crisis the PA has put itself ‎in, and their appeals to the world for assistance to deal with the effects of the Covid-‎‎19 pandemic, the PA continues to pay salaries to terrorists. He even put his own job ‎on the line should the terrorist salaries not be paid: ‎

Palestinians continue to incite terrorism and violence in school curriculum, says watchdog group
A Palestinian student in fourth grade opens his math book and is asked to count the number of martyrs in Palestinian uprisings based on an accompanying photograph of raised coffins at a mass funeral. A reading exercise with the letter “h” (hāʾ, ه) for first-graders includes the word shahid (“martyr”), placed in a list of other words that include hujum (“attack”) and harab (“run away”).

These are just some of the real examples taken from Palestinian textbooks used to teach children in schools run by the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA, according to a recent study by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se).

IMPACT-se, a research and policy institute that analyzes schoolbooks and curricula through UNESCO-derived standards of peace and tolerance, has released an updated report on the new Palestinian school curriculum taught in P.A. and UNRWA schools in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem for the 2020-21 academic year and published in September 2020. The problem, according to the organization, is that these textbooks incite to terrorism and violence.

IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff said “it is disastrous that over 1 million Palestinian children are condemned to yet another year of sitting in P.A. and UNRWA schoolrooms being fed hate and incitement on a daily basis.”
Republicans Push Far-Reaching Sanctions on Hezbollah and Its Allies
Congressional Republicans are preparing a package of new sanctions on the Iranian-backed terror group Hezbollah, an effort they told the Washington Free Beacon will cut off the group's access to key funding sources.

The new legislation, which the Free Beacon has obtained, will have far-reaching implications for financial institutions and senior government officials in Lebanon, Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua—areas where Hezbollah has an active and well-funded presence. The legislation would designate key territories in Lebanon as sources of terror financing, a designation that will freeze Hezbollah-friendly banks out of the international financial system.

The bill would enact the toughest Hezbollah sanctions Congress has ever proposed, said Rep. Joe Wilson (R., S.C.), chair of the House Republican Study Committee's Foreign Affairs and National Security Task Force. "By cutting off banks in areas under the terror group's control from the international financial system, this bill will go a long way towards drying up the Iranian terror proxy’s resources to conduct murderous attacks against the U.S. and our allies."

The legislation comes as U.S. aid to Lebanon has reemerged as a flashpoint after a massive explosion decimated the capital city of Beirut. While the United States and other western nations have committed aid dollars to help Lebanon rebuild, critics have warned that Hezbollah, which largely controls the Lebanese government, will likely steal much of the money.

While the legislation is unlikely to pass a Democratic-controlled House in a hotly contested election year, it showcases the GOP’s heightened concerns about Hezbollah and its deepening foothold in Latin America.

Dubbed the Hezbollah Money Laundering Prevention Act of 2020, the legislation would require the Treasury Department to determine whether certain areas of Lebanon qualify as jurisdictions of "primary money laundering concern." This designation would allow the U.S. government to implement wide-ranging sanctions on government officials and banks aiding Hezbollah.
Special Report: Nasrallah has over a $ billion stashed outside Lebanon
For years now Nasrallah has been preparing for a “doomsday” scenario according to which he will be forced to flee and vanish. According to Information received from various sources, the money set aside to pull off this disappearing act originates from a somewhat embarrassing fraud that involves diverting large amounts of money to accounts abroad, transferred to his close family. According to various estimation, Nasrallah managed to set aside funds in various accounts outside of Lebanon estimated at 1.6 billion USD.

The sources of the money diverted by this scheme are diversified. Some are funneled directly from Hezbollah’s budget or from the organization’s various financiers and businesses. Some from Iranian sources.

But, the most outrageous aspect of this scheme is that some of the funds are stolen directly from the Lebanese state. Yes, Nasrallah is taking money that belongs to the Lebanese people and pocketing it. The money is diverted by Hezbollah-affiliated politicians through committees in parliament that Hezbollah presides. After the funds are diverted from the committee’s, it is transferred outside of Lebanon rendering them almost impossible to track.

Naturally, this complicated scheme is carried out solely by those who are completely trusted by Hezbollah’s secretary general. Meaning those that are personally close to him such as family members or high-ranking figures in Hezbollah.
US blacklists more Syrians in fresh push for Assad to end war
The United States on Wednesday blacklisted what it called "key enablers" of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government, reinforcing efforts to push Damascus back to United Nations-led negotiations to end Syria's nearly decade-long civil war.

The United States imposed sanctions on 13 entities and six individuals, including the governor of the Central Bank of Syria, in a fresh round of sanctions aimed at cutting off revenue for Assad's government.

"The United States will continue to employ all of its tools and authorities to target the finances of anyone who profits from or facilitates the Assad regime's abuse of the Syrian people," US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo separately warned that the targeting of officials, commanders and "corrupt business leaders will not cease until the Assad regime and its enablers take irreversible steps to end their campaign of violence against the Syrian people and genuinely implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254."

A crackdown by Assad on protesters in 2011 led to the civil war, with Iran and Russia backing the government and the United States supporting the opposition.

Millions of people have fled Syria and millions more have been internally displaced.
JCPA: Saudi Arabia Uncovered a Terror Cell Trained in Iran by the Revolutionary Guards
On September 23, 2020, Saudi Arabia revealed a terrorist cell trained by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). A Saudi government spokesman said that ten operatives had been arrested, three of whom were trained in Iran, and the others had connections “in one way or another to them.” The security forces also discovered weapons and explosives caches. He added that the training, under the guidance of the IRGC, took place in Iran in 2017 for several weeks and included training in the preparation of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and individual training in weapons operation. Among other things, Saudi Arabia uncovered explosive bricks, electrical detonators, and rifles of various kinds – Kalashnikov, Heckler & Koch sniper rifles, and ammunition. [See the detailed list below.1] Bahrain also announced that it had foiled an attack on a diplomatic delegation in the kingdom by a cell whose members were trained by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. The Bahraini newspaper Akhbar al-Akhlij reported that the recently formed Qassem Soleimani Battalions planned to carry out attacks against security forces and public buildings in the kingdom.2

Preliminary analysis of the captured explosives and their pictures show that similar weapons systems linked to Iran have been documented in Yemen and Bahrain and a slightly different configuration in Iraq. It should be noted that IEDs similar to those seized by the Saudis in the latest case are also increasingly being used by the Houthis in Yemen, and some may have been smuggled from Yemen to Saudi Arabia over the past few years, as the Houthis sometimes conduct subversive military activity inside Saudi territory.

Among the items seized were initiation systems for radio-controlled improvised explosive devices (RCIEDs) and electric detonators and main charges in white cylinders. The sophisticated RCIED receivers were equipped with dual-tone multi-frequency (DTMF) components combined with Passive Infra-Red (PIR) sensors. Connectors comprise of two-pin plugs, and sockets were also visible.

Combined RC and PIR initiation systems are designed to provide remote initiation of the IED, in addition to PIR initiation, when the target enters the PIR sensor range. This combination of initiation systems provides an alternative means of initiation in the presence of electronic countermeasures (ECM) jamming the primary RC system, enabling the remotely-armed IED to be initiated by the PIR sensor. The two-pin electric plugs and sockets are well-known safety-arming connectors used by Lebanese Hizbullah.
Iranian terror in Bahrain to rise to stop deal with Israel – intel center
Iranian-sponsored terrorism in Bahrain is expected to increase to capsize the normalization trend with Israel, a new intelligence report obtained first by The Jerusalem Post said Thursday.

“Our estimate is that the deal could increase the motivation of Iran and of terror organizations in Bahrain, which it sponsors, to try to increase the public threat level, including to attack Bahrain’s rulers and to thwart implementation of the deal,” the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center report said.

The process of normalization with Israel could effectively spell the end of a relatively quiet three-year hiatus from problems between Bahrain’s Sunni minority rulers and the disempowered Shi’ite majority, it said.

Noting Bahrain’s September 20 announcement of busting a major terrorist cell, the Meir Amit Center said the spike in threats from Iran-affiliated terrorist groups may already be here.

Only days after Bahrain signed a declaration with Israel on September 15, signaling its intent to move toward full normalization, Manama said the terrorist cell had planned to attack Bahraini officials, security installations and economic centers.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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