Monday, August 24, 2015

From Ian:

Rivlin: Our Right to Judea and Samaria is a Basic Fact
President Reuven Rivlin hosted this morning, (Monday,) the regional and municipal heads of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, including chairman of the Judea and Samaria Council, Avi Roeh.
President Rivlin welcomed the delegation to his residence and spoke of the recent wave of terror attacks in Judea and Samaria.
“This house is your house, the house of all the citizens of Israel," he began. "Over the past months, and especially over the last few days, the communities of Judea and Samaria have faced very serious terror attacks. And so especially at this time, this meeting is more crucial than ever."
"As always, the pioneers go before the camp," he continued. "It is they who encounter the most opposition and pay, along with the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces, the heaviest price."
"The settlements are at the forefront of the struggle, and the price paid by the settlers, is a painful price indeed."
Rivlin then encouraged the IDF to continue its work protecting the people of Israel.
Iran Deal Will Trigger Major War in Middle East
If someone had asked you a year ago what would be the most efficient way to cause a major war in the Middle East, you might well have said: Giving the mullahs in Iran the opportunity to get advanced conventional weapons, ICBMs, nuclear weapons and tens of billion of dollars to fund terrorist organizations and destabilize other countries in the region. You might have argued that a regime that does not hesitate to attack targets in Washington or Berlin might not be the most prudent one to shower with gigantic quantities of money and the deadliest weapons.
If one knows anything about the regime in Iran, it is difficult to understand how U.S. President Barack Obama's agreement with Iran could create anything other than chaos and war in the Middle East.
The content of the Iran nuclear agreement creates the perfect conditions for a major war in the Middle East -- one that could spread and start a major regional conflict.
Despite what President Obama likes to say, it is not true that the agreement "permanently prohibits Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon" or "cuts off all of Iran's pathways to a bomb". The agreement means that the U.S. has accepted that after 15 years, or sooner, Iran may build as many bombs as it likes.
The Islamic Republic of Iran, since its founding in 1979, has had an ideology that seeks to "export the Islamic revolution." The phrase is not just a catchword for the mullahs. They have done it in practice, if necessary by force. After coming to power in 1979, the leader of the revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, called on the Shi'ite Muslims in Iraq to revolt and establish an Islamic republic. The mullahs' effort to export the Islamic revolution to Iraq was one of the causes of the Iran-Iraq War, which lasted eight years and resulted in possibly a million deaths. Despite intense resistance from Arab countries, Khomeini's Islamic revolution has been successfully exported to Lebanon, Gaza, Yemen, Syria and Iraq.
A warning to Tehran
The swift Israeli reaction on Thursday and Friday to the launching of four rockets from Syria at the Galilee and Golan shows how deep is the Israeli intelligence penetration of Iran’s military. It was not the first time that precise and updated intelligence data enabled Israel to prevent terrorist attacks from Syria sponsored by Iran, or to execute attacks against Bashar Assad’s regime, or whatever is left of it.
The rocket launchings – which caused no casualties or damage to property, except sparking fires in open fields – didn’t surprise IDF Intelligence.
They were expecting some sort of an attack against Israel from the Syrian Golan and prepared themselves for the eventuality.
Israel’s response was gradual but fierce. First, Syrian Army positions were attacked with artillery and missiles. Later, a senior Israeli officer revealed sensitive intelligence information by naming a senior Iranian officer and holding him responsible for ordering the rocket attacks. He is Saad Ezadi, in charge of the Israeli desk in the Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The military source also said that, although the rockets were fired by members of the pro-Iranian Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, those who ordered it were the commanders of the Quds Force.
Revealing the name of such an important operative is unusual and is aimed at signaling to the Iranians that we know a great deal about them, so they had better watch out.
It was also good intelligence work that enabled the Israel Air Force on Friday to strike the car carrying four or five Islamic Jihad operatives who took part in firing the rockets the night before, hitting them some 15 kilometers inside Syria.
The Quds Force, led by the charismatic Maj.-Gen. Qassen Sulimanie, one of the most influential officials in Iran, already has a forward command post on the Syria side of the Golan. Its goal is to recruit local agents and terrorists who in return for cash would be ready to carry out terrorist attacks against Israel.

JPost Editorial: Dealing with Iran
Since July 14, when the six nations of the world announced they had formulated an agreement with Iran on its nuclear weapons program, criticism of the deal’s many lacunas has been articulated in great detail.
The mullah regime was not required to fess up to its past transgressions as part of its march to develop a nuclear bomb; instead of neutralizing and dismantling the Iranian nuclear weapons project, as was originally promised, the US-led P5+1 have settled for freezing and inspecting it; the Iranians are being allowed to continue their research and development of ever-faster centrifuges, despite promises to the contrary. And the list of inadequacies goes on.
But in addition to the many holes in the Iranian nuclear deal itself, there are also a number of side-effects to the deal that have direct and severe implications for regional stability and Israel’s security.
One negative side-effect is an expected escalation in the North, the first signs of which could be witnessed last Thursday, when four rockets fired from Syria landed in Northern Galilee and the Golan Heights.
The IDF said the rocket fire was made possible with “Iranian money and intentions.”
Speaking during a visit to the IDF’s Northern Command headquarters last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that the deal, if finalized would enable the Islamic Republic to escalate tensions on Israel’s borders with Lebanon and Syria.
David Horovitz: Barak’s Iran bombshell sounds like a case of premature detonation
Yes, Israel, in Barak’s era as defense minister to Netanyahu, may have come close to striking at Iran, but ultimately its leaders chose not to. Not because of this inept chief of staff, that nervy minister, or, risibly, that awkwardly timed joint drill with the US. But because the insistent, determined will to go ahead and risk the potentially dire consequences was absent.
As Liberman noted on Channel 2 on Sunday night — masterfully managing to castigate both Barak for the leaks and Netanyahu for the hesitancy — when Menachem Begin decided he had to blow up Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor at Osiraq in 1981, he didn’t talk about it endlessly. Rather, “we woke up one morning, and the Iraqi reactor didn’t exist.”
Might a prime minister Liberman, who told The Times of Israel in a spectacularly withering interview just two months ago that Netanyahu is “all talk” when it comes to stopping Iran — have ordered the strike? I wonder. But Netanyahu and Barak, for all the defense minister’s attempts at revisionism, self-evidently opted not to do so. And now we all may discover whether they were weak-willed or wise.
Author says he leaked Iran tapes because Barak refused to play ball
One of the writers who conducted a series of interviews with former prime minister Ehud Barak in which he detailed near-strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities says the tapes were leaked to the media in a dispute over rights to the English version of his biography.
Ilan Kfir, co-author of a new Hebrew-language biography of Barak, said he and colleague Danny Dor decided to air the interviews after Barak backtracked on a pledge to give them the rights to the English-language version of the book.
Kfir said he and Dor have 100 hours of Barak on tape — which were recorded with his full consent — and that the leaked recordings already appear in text form in the soon-to-be-released Hebrew book, of which the parts relating to Iran have been proofread by Barak and authorized by the military censor.
The leaked tapes, detailing three times Israel ostensibly planned to strike Iran but refrained for various reasons, have rocked Israel’s political landscape since they were first aired by Channel 2 news Friday night after being cleared by the country’s military censor.
Iran is laughing at leaky Israel, says Liberman after new Barak tapes aired
Israel’s former foreign minister said Israel was becoming an international laughing stock and losing some of its deterrent capability because of ongoing leaks about aborted plans to strike at Iran and other classified conversations. The Iranians, he added, now ridicule what he called “hesitant” Israel’s talk of a military option.
Liberman, head of the opposition Yisrael Beytenu party, was speaking on Channel 2 after the TV station broadcast further recordings of ex-defense minister Ehud Barak criticizing the prime minister. On Friday, the same TV station aired excerpts of tapes in which Barak detailed ostensibly aborted plans to strike at Iran in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Barak, in the tapes, said he, Netanyahu and Liberman wanted to strike at Iran’s nuclear facilities, but were thwarted by domestic opposition.
Liberman said the leaks were costing Israel international credibility, losing it the trust of important partners who would not share sensitive intelligence information with it, and harming its deterrent capability. The country’s leaders are seen as “hesitant” and as “chatterboxes,” he said.
While castigating Barak for making the recordings, however, Liberman also took the opportunity to slam Netanyahu for talking endlessly about possible intervention in Iran while doing nothing.
“When we say all options are on the table, the Iranians ridicule us,” Liberman said.
Democrats, do you feel lucky (about the Iran deal)?
While the administration tells us that with the backing of the international community and Iran’s fear of sanctions and possible military action should it defy the JCPOA will keep it in line, combined these five stories raise a number of questions challenging those assertions.
Can the deal be effective?
Will the deal be verifiable?
How much international support can we garner if one of our partners is undermining us?
Does the United States have the will to enforce sanctions or to use any other means to ensure that Iran doesn’t cheat and to punish Iran if it does?
Does Iran fear the consequences of defying the United States?
It would be one thing if the United States showed that it will tolerate no deviations from the deal by Iran. But its behavior so far suggests that it would rather have a deal that Iran defies than to have no deal at all. Its efforts have been to defend the deal as it stands rather than to call Iran, or Russia for that matter, to account. In fact the administration has been a lot harder on its political critics—saying that the deal is in America’s national security interests (implying that opponents are hurting national security) or saying that killing the deal will bring war or hurt America economically—than it has been with Iran, a state that still considers the United States its main enemy, and its ally in mischief, Russia.
So if you’re a Democrat, even if you believe that this deal as written is better than any alternative, do you believe—with what you’ve seen in the past five weeks—the deal will be followed to the letter? In other words, will you be voting for the deal that Obama claims he made or for the deal that he is actually implementing that, in effect, demands nothing of Iran as it seeks to establish its hegemony across the Middle East?
Or as Sen. Robert Menendez (D – N.J.) asked last week, “Will your name be on Iran’s nuclear bomb?”
Future Risks of an Iran Nuclear Deal
As President Obama begins his three-week push to win approval of the Iran nuclear deal, he is confronting this political reality: His strongest argument in favor of passage has also become his greatest vulnerability.
Mr. Obama has been pressing the case that the sharp limits on how much nuclear fuel Iran can hold, how many centrifuges it can spin and what kind of technology it can acquire would make it extraordinarily difficult for Iran to race for the bomb over the next 15 years.
His problem is that most of the significant constraints on Tehran’s program lapse after 15 years — and, after that, Iran is free to produce uranium on an industrial scale.
“The chief reservation I have about the agreement is the fact that in 15 years they have a highly modern and internationally legitimized enrichment capability,” said Representative Adam B. Schiff, a California Democrat who supports the accord. “And that is a bitter pill to swallow.”
Even some of the most enthusiastic backers of the agreement, reached by six world powers with Iran, say they fear Mr. Obama has oversold some of the accord’s virtues as he asserts that it would “block” all pathways to a nuclear weapon.
A more accurate description is that the agreement is likely to delay Iran’s program for a decade and a half — just as sanctions and sabotage have slowed Iran in recent years. The administration’s case essentially is that the benefits over the next 15 years overwhelmingly justify the longer-term risks of what comes after.
Rouhani Channels Obama: Only “Warmongers” and “Zionists” Oppose Iran Deal
While giving a speech to commemorate Iran’s Defense Industry Day on Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani declared that the nuclear deal agreed upon by world powers (US, UK, China, France, Germany) and the regime in Tehran only faces opposition from “warmongers” and “Zionists.”
“By our own political power, we reached an agreement, which all countries around the world confirm,” he said. “Only the Zionist regime (Israel) and warmongers in the US are against it.”
Rouhani’s accusatory comments follow the same theme as the remarks uttered by President Obama in defense of the deal as of late.
He said earlier this month:
“Now, when I ran for president eight years ago as a candidate who had opposed the decision to go to war in Iraq, I said that America didn’t just have to end that war. We had to end the mindset that got us there in the first place. It was a mindset characterized by a preference for military action over diplomacy, a mindset that put a premium on unilateral U.S. action over the painstaking work of building international consensus, a mindset that exaggerated threats beyond what the intelligence supported.”
Obama, like Zarif, has also singled out Israel for its unified opposition to the deal. The President said earlier in August that “every nation in the world – with the exception of the Israeli government – has expressed support” for the accord.
Iran Warns Israel of ‘Crushing Response’ to Any Cyber-Attack Attempt
A senior Iranian official threatened a “crushing response” to any Israeli attempt to tamper technologically with its infrastructure, Iran’s semi-official state news agency Fars reported on Sunday.
“If the Zionist regime dares to launch a cyber attack on Iran, we will surely respond to it,” Mahmoud Vaezi, Iranian Communications and Information Technology Minister, said.
He claimed that Iran didn’t need to launch cyber attacks against other countries, but warned, “If our country comes under such an attack, Iran will adopt a totally different policy.”
Vaezi’s comments come in the wake of an announcement made earlier this month by Brigadier General Gholam Reza Jalili, the head of Iran’s Civil Defense Organization, that the country had designed a new threat-assessment command-and-control system, which includes establishing defenses against cyber attacks.
British FM: No Guarantee Iran Won't Build Nuclear Weapons
In an apparent admission, Hammond acknowledged there are no guarantees the Islamic regime won't seek nuclear weapons in the future, but said "you have to make a judgement."
"My judgement is that whatever Iran has or hasn't been doing in the past, the regime, the Iranian people, have come to the conclusion that pursuing, or being believed to pursue, an illegal military nuclear program just imposes too great a cost on Iran," he claimed.
Not isolating Iran via the deal, which gives it hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief, is "the best bet for the future," he added.
British FM Says Iran Sanctions Could Be Lifted Next Spring
Hammond allegedly said during his meeting with the Iranian president that the UK is “ready to improve its relations with Iran to the ambassador level,” British sources said.
Hammond told Reuters on Monday, “We could be talking as early as next spring to start to see sanctions lifting off.” He added that an endorsement of the nuclear deal by the U.S. Congress could come as early as mid-October.
Nevertheless, he told the BBC in an interview that there are still points of disagreement on important issues.
“We should tread carefully,” Hammond said. “There’s a deep legacy of distrust on both sides and we have major areas where we have very substantial policy differences.”
UK's Hammond in Tehran: Iran has shown more nuanced approach than in past to Israel conflict
While the historic step marks an easing of tense relations between the Islamic Republic and Western powers, Hammond said there was still disagreement on major issues.
"We should tread carefully. There's a deep legacy of distrust on both sides and we have major areas where we have very substantial policy differences," he told the BBC shortly before a scheduled meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
He said that while both countries agreed on the need to tackle jihadist group Islamic State, there were disagreements on human rights issues.
Hammond said the current Iranian government had displayed a more nuanced approach than its predecessor to a long-running conflict with Israel, adding that Tehran would be judged on its actions, not its words.
"What we're looking for is behavior from Iran, not only towards Israel but towards other players in the region, that slowly rebuilds their sense that Iran is not a threat to them," he said.
Iran’s ayatollahs will never be friends of the UK
Here we go again: another British foreign secretary in Iran with the hopeful expectation of forging closer ties with the ayatollahs. Ever since Iran’s Islamic revolution in 1979, the holy grail of British foreign policy has been to reach out to the moderates in Tehran, thereby isolating the hardliners.
Back in the Eighties when, thanks to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, British hostages such as Terry Waite and John McCarthy spent five or so years chained to radiators in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, Sir Geoffrey Howe, our then foreign secretary, frequently told me that the hostage crisis could be resolved if only we could establish a working relationship with the moderates in Tehran. But for all our entreaties, the hardliners won the day, and the hostages were eventually released when the ayatollahs deemed them to be surplus to their agenda.
More recently, in 2003, New Labour’s Jack Straw believed he had identified a similar moderate tendency in Iran’s political establishment, during the presidency of Mohammad Khatami. This, of course, was in the aftermath of the Iraq War, when the ayatollahs feared – not unduly – that they might be next on President George W Bush’s hit list.
The overthrow of Saddam Hussein certainly had a salutary effect on Tehran, which quickly suspended work on the nuclear weapons research programme that had made enormous strides under Khatami’s leadership. But the Straw initiative came to nothing, and the West’s reward was the election two years later of arguably Iran’s most divisive president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
So has anything changed in the past decade in this elaborate game of diplomatic cat and mouse? Well, to judge by Iran’s actions since the Obama administration’s controversial nuclear deal was signed with Tehran earlier in the summer, the omens are hardly encouraging.
The reason that Philip Hammond finds himself in Tehran today to officiate at the re-opening of the British Embassy is the expectation that, now the long-standing crisis over Iran’s nuclear deal has been resolved, there is the genuine prospect of improved relations between Iran and the West.
‘Death to England’ graffiti still on view as UK embassy reopens in Iran
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif welcomed the reopening of the embassy Sunday, saying it showed Iran’s regional and global significance.
“The world has realized Iran’s constructive role in the region and the globe,” state TV quoted Zarif as saying. “Of course, we have differences with some European countries but that can be negotiated through interaction, with open eyes and a realistic approach.”
But Zarif apparently declined to concede an Iranian role in the closure of the embassy. “We did not close the British embassy, they did it themselves,” he said, according to the Tasnim news agency.
Hammond arrived in Tehran on Sunday for the ceremony and to hold talks with Iranian officials. The trip marked the first time a British foreign secretary has visited Tehran since 2003.
Iranians Protest 'Illegal' UK Embassy Reopening
Not everyone in Iran is enthused about the reopening of the British embassy in Tehran, however.
Fars reported Saturday that a number of Iranian university student groups as well as politicians slammed the move as "irrational."
One student group, the Office for Consolidating Unity, said in a statement that "the British embassy's record shows nothing but support for spying operations, organization of street unrests (sic) and assassination of Iranian scientists."
"Reopening the British embassy in Iran would be a counterrevolutionary, illegal and irrational move," chimed in Hossein Shahbazi, Secretary of the University Students Justice-Seeking Movement.
"The parliament's ratified law says that the British Embassy should not be reopened unless Britain changes its behavior," he added.
Iran rules out diplomatic ties with ‘illogical’ US
Amid the fanfare of Britain reopening its embassy in Tehran after four years, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Sunday it was too early for a similar advance in ties with the US because of the country’s “illogical attitude,” Reuters reported.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the British mission, Zarif said “the situation is different with the US,” and that “there needs to be a change in that kind of attitude and behavior on the part of the US.”
The US embassy in Tehran was sacked in 1979 starting a hostage crisis that lasted for 444 days and diplomatic ties between the two countries have been severed every since.
Harry Reid backs Iran nuclear deal
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada announced his support for the Iran nuclear deal Sunday and promised to do "everything in my power to ensure that it stands."
"One of the most important national security challenges of our generation is stopping Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, a goal that is critical to the national security of the United States, the State of Israel and the world. After years of study and months of careful review of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and its predecessor agreement, I support this agreement because I believe it is the best path to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon," Reid said in a statement.
Reid had pledged a thoughtful review process when the deal was unveiled in full in July but didn't announce his full support until he gave an interview with the Washington Post Sunday. Later, he sent out a lengthy statement detailing the reasons he supports the agreement. He is the 27th Democrat to publicly announce support.
Jewish Comedian Jackie Mason Calls Hollywood Jews that Back Iran Deal 'Morons'
“We are united in saying that the negotiated deal on balance is good, that any available alternatives are worse, and that Congress killing the deal would be a tragic mistake,” wrote 98 Hollywood Jews in L.A.’s edition of the Jewish Journal a few weeks ago.
Legendary comedian Jackie Mason appeared on talk radio host Aaron Klein’s show this weekend where he criticized the large group of Hollywood entertainers backing the lran deal as shills of President Obama.
“They don’t know this deal from a piece of strawberry shortcake,” he said. “You could bet your life they didn’t read the deal… They support anything Barack Obama says or wants. If he said tomorrow, ‘We should invade Turkey,’ they say, ‘There’s a good idea.'”
Mason adds:
They couldn’t care less. All they know is that he wants it so they want it also.
The truth of the matter is that when it comes to anything serious of any kind, they become morons.
I shouldn’t say this because it’s an insult to the morons.
Abbas: Iran is 'Our Neighbor, a Sister Nation'
Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas confirmed that he would soon be traveling to Iran. After announcing over the weekend that he would resign as chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the octogenarian Abbas said that while he would definitely travel to Iran, no date for the visit has yet been set.
Based on his remarks, the visit can't come soon enough for Abbas. “Iran is a neighbor, a sister nation,” he said at a press conference announcing the visit. “Our relations with Iran were not good in the past, but we do have an embassy there and they recognize us.”
The visit was suggested, he said, by a member of the PLO Executive. “He had spoken to the Iranians about improving relations with Tehran, and given the new agreement on Iran's nuclear program with Western countries, the time was right for the visit. “What's important to us is that the Middle East be free of nuclear weapons and that there be peace and stability in the region.”
Last week, a senior PA official told China's Xinhua news agency that Abbas would visit Iran, but Tehran denied that report. Iran had no comment on Abbas's statement Sunday.
The ties between the PA and Iran declined over the past 10 years in the view of Iran's support for groups which oppose the PA, such as Hamas with which Iran has had close ties.

On GPS: Lessons from a Jewish journalist's trip to Iran
Fareed asks Larry Cohler-Esses, a Jewish journalist just back from Iran, about life for Jews there given Iranian leaders' rhetoric on Israel.

Source: Israel Believes Assad Has No Control of Situation on Golan Border
Israel believes Syrian President Bashar Assad has become so embroiled in civil war, he does not have the capacity to prevent terrorist groups on the country’s border with Israel from provoking the Jewish state, such as last week’s rocket attacks deep into northern Israeli territory, diplomatic officials told The Algemeiner.
This admission, spoken by a diplomat on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the security situation in northern Israel at present, came on the heels of Israel’s accusation that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp — in charge of maintaining and spreading the Islamic Revolution — had ordered Palestinian Islamic Jihad to fire four rockets at the Israeli Golan Heights. The assault was followed by a stinging overnight Israeli air campaign that killed five and struck more than a dozen targets.
The flare-up of violence at the Israeli border with Syria — a long-quiet front that has grown increasingly restive as terrorist groups, anti-government rebels, Hezbollah and Syrian forces confront each other amid the Syrian civil war — also came as the Israeli military conducted a series of training exercises over the past couple of weeks simulating a limited ground incursion into Syria, apparently in response to a potential massive rocket attack by terrorists at the border.
The Israeli military also staged a response to chemical attacks, realizing that some groups near Israel may have gotten a hold of such weapons, but military officials said the likelihood of terrorists using chemical warfare was low.
Toward a WMD-capable Islamic State?
Recently, The Wall Street Journal reported that Islamic State (IS) used chemical weapons (CW), most probably mustard gas, against Kurdish forces in Iraq. Mustard gas, a blister agent, is not as deadly as nerve agent CWs, and the alleged was not even on a tactical level. Yet if true, this incident would suggest a critical turning point for the IS threat in the Middle East.
More than WMD terrorism
The CW allegations about IS cannot be simply reduced to a case of WMD terrorism.
Clearly, IS is a political-military entity, which could be categorized as a “proto-state” with revolutionary jihadi-Salafist doctrinal references. It poses an existential threat to nearly all state actors and societies in the region, including the two democracies NATO -member Turkey and Israel, as well as Shi’ite theocracy Iran and the GCC monarchies.
Without a doubt, such a political-military terrorist entity needs ultimate security assurances – enter strategic weapons.
The military-strategic culture in the Middle East tends to see strategic weapons as means of compensating for conventional-military shortcomings, ensuring regime security through deterrence.
This paved the ground for Ba’athist Syria’s chemical and biological weapons (CBW) programs, Saddam Hussein’s pursuit of all kinds of WMDs and their delivery means, as well as Iran’s ballistic missile proliferation and nuclear program.
Counter-Terrorism Bureau warns of threats to Israelis and Jews from ISIS, Iran
The Iran Deal has not altered the potential threats posed by Shi'ite terror groups to Israelis abroad, the head of the National Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau said Monday.
During a briefing with reporters ahead of the upcoming High Holy Days – one of the busiest times of the year for Israeli vacationers - head of the counter terror bureau, Eitan Ben-David said that "the Shi'ite terror campaign continues and we can't say that because of any deal signed with Iran that the threat has diminished." He added that that Iran's capabilities as a "terror state" to fund and execute terror attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets aboard has not changed since the deal was signed last month.
Ben-David said the list of travel warnings has not changed since last year at the High Holy Days, even with a series of geo-political changes in the region and beyond.
As of today, out of 193 countries in the world, there are 27 which the Israeli authorities have posted a travel warning for, as well as 6 countries considered enemy states - Syria, Iraq (including Kurdistan), Iran, Lebanon, Yemen and Saudi Arabia where Israeli citizens are banned from visiting. There are also 8 separate warnings on specific regions of countries, such as Kashmir in India or Chechnya in Russia, where Israelis are advised to not visit and/or to leave immediately, even though the wider country is not under any sort of warning.
Is Duma Village the Most Flammable in Palestine?
Palestinian Authority media reported that late Sunday night a fire broke out in a house belonging to a member of the Dawabsha family in the village of Duma, not far from Ramallah. According to early reports, some family members were injured in the fire, but later reports said there were no injuries. Also, early Arab reports blamed the fire on Jewish settlers, but after a while the head of the Duma village council, Abdul Salam Dawabsha, announced the fire started due to a malfunctioning electric system.
However, local residents told NRG that they found a Molotov cocktail inside the burnt Dawabsha house, and suggested the house—located at the center of the village, just like the other two Dawabsha burnt houses were—had been set on fire as the result of an internal conflict. The same locals noted that, contrary to the previous fire, this house was left without Hebrew graffiti smeared on the walls.
This raises the question, posed so far only by “extremist” Jews, as to whether the previous arson, where a baby and later his father—of the same Dawabsha clan—were killed, may also have been the result of internal fighting.
So far, the only evidence separating the two incidents is the fact that someone was inspired to write graffiti in Hebrew on the walls of one of the two burnt houses in the first case. To date, Israel’s internal security force has been unable to establish any connection at all between the Duma village arson and Jewish suspects, other than the fact that there exists a segment of the settler community in Judea and Samaria who dislike Arabs.
IDF Soldiers Foil Firebomb Attack Near Efrat
IDF soldiers stopped a terrorist attack in Judea on Sunday night on Highway 60, just outside of the Jewish community of Efrat, about five minutes south of Jerusalem.
Two Palestinian Authority Arabs were caught by the soldiers as they were preparing to hurl firebombs (Molotov cocktails) at an IDF outpost located outside the Jewish community.
The suspects were turned over to security forces for interrogation.
'Israel funding anti-ISIS fight by importing Kurdish oil'
Israel has imported around 75% of its oil in recent months from the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, the British Financial Times newspaper reported on Sunday.
The report called the Israeli oil purchases "a vital source of funds" for the Kurdish fight against the Islamic State group. Other major purchasers of Kurdish oil include Italy, France and Greece.
The Kurdish oil trade is conducted through prepaid deals brokered by international companies, such as Vitol and Trafigura.
According to shipping data, trading sources and satellite tanker tracking cited by the report, Israeli refineries and oil companies imported more than 19 million barrels of Kurdish oil between the beginning of May and August 11 this year, a total worth around $1 billion based on international prices during that period.
The report said the sales to Israel represented "another fissure" between the Erbil-based Kurdistan Regional Government and the federal government in Baghdad. The Iraqi government does not recognize Israel and has no official ties with it.
Erdan calls to outlaw radical Muslim groups on Temple Mount that harass Jews
Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan wrote a potentially groundbreaking letter on Monday urging Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon to outlaw two groups of Muslim radicals who go to the Temple Mount on a daily basis to harass and intimidate Jewish visitors.
The groups in question, called “Morabiton” and “Morabitat,” are respectively comprised of hundreds of male and female Islamic fundamentalists who are compensated by the Islamic Movement to harangue Jews who enter the contested compound.
“These organizations keep track of Jewish visits to the Temple Mount, and shout at, incite and block the visitors to the mountain,” Erdan wrote in the letter, which included support from the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and police.
“Their aim is to limit Jews wishing to visit the Temple Mount through violence and intimidation, and I will do everything I can to stop the activities of these dangerous organizations that violate the balance on the Temple Mount.”
Border Police Who Eliminated Terrorists Honored
Acting Police Commissioner Bentzi Sau awarded certificates of appreciation to four members of the Border Police Monday, for eliminating terrorists who attacked them in two recent incidents in Samaria.
The ceremony was held at a meeting of the Police's top command staff.
Two weeks ago, a Palestinian terrorist reached Tapuah Junction in Samaria and began speaking to a team of policemen who were carrying out routine checks. He suddenly drew a knife and began stabbing one of the policemen in his back.
Another combat soldier, who stood next to the policeman who was stabbed, opened fire at the terrorist and killed him.
Less than 48 hours later, another terrorist reached the junction, which is permanently manned by Border Police. He turned to the warriors and said that he did not feel well. They told him to come closer and when he approached, he drew a knife and stabbed one of the policemen, wounding him lightly.
Lebanese 'Palestinian Camp' Embroiled in Faction Gunbattles
Palestinian Arab factions in Israel have long shown bloody rivalries, such as the long-standing one between Hamas and Fatah, but the factionalism and violence is just as common among Palestinian Arabs in Lebanon.
A "ceasefire" was agreed upon in a meeting on Sunday in Lebanon's largest Palestinian "refugee camp," Ain al-Hilweh, located in Lebanon's south, reports the Palestinian Arab Ma'an News Agency.
That ceasefire came after a day of serious clashes on Saturday, when three people were killed and no less than 18 others were wounded during a failed assassination attempt against Ashraf al-Armoushi, the Fatah security chief of the town.
The Jund al-Sham terrorist group reportedly tried to assassinate al-Armoushi; it is unclear if the group took part in the "ceasefire" talks, meaning the ceasefire may be one-sided in nature. Palestinian Authority (PA) ambassador to Lebanon Ashraf Dabbour was said to have taken part in the talks.
Security forces were deployed in Ain al-Hilweh to prevent renewed clashes.
Report: Hezbollah Recruiting Fatah Members to Attack Israel
Hezbollah is reportedly upping its attempts to recruit Palestinians living in Judea and Samaria to carry out attacks on its behalf, according to Palestinian Authority sources.
The Lebanon-based terrorist group is reportedly attempting to revive its terrorist network in the region by reaching out to disgruntled members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a terrorist group that functions as the armed wing of Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction.
During the Second Intifada Hezbollah, under instruction from Iran, recruited extensively among Fatah members, training and arming them to attack Israeli targets. Those efforts reached their height in 2004-2005, with tens of thousands of dollars being doled-out to recruits as an incentive to carry out attacks.
Since then the efforts largely petered out for a number of reasons, including Israel's intensive security operations and the PA's own crackdown to prevent challenges to its authority in Judea and Samaria. However, a PA security source told the Arabic Al-Masdar site Hezbollah recruitment attempts "never really disappeared," and in recent months had escalated significantly.
The Jumbotron to be Installed Atop the Temple Mount in Jerusalem (satire)
A journalist from The Mideast Beast using fake BBC press credentials has learned the gigantic-screen television system known as Jumbotron will be put in place atop Haram al-Sharif (also known as the Temple Mount) and used for lectures, sermons and hate speeches by the firebrand Palestinian cleric Issam Amira at Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The screen is designed to accommodate very large public venues, sports, concerts, and entertainment events including the Super Bowl, New Year’s Eve celebrations in Times Square and Miley Cyrus Twerking at the MTV awards (yuck!), and it is part of an unorthodox jihad recruitment plan.
“We want to attract new blood, so to speak, appeal to a younger hipper crowd of Millennials (Generation Y) and expand the cleric’s meager fan base beyond close family and friends on Facebook,” a senior Islamic Jihad recruiter told our correspondent. “The occasional poke and unanswered friend requests on social media aren’t going to cut it in today’s competitive recruitment environment.”
Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi will have a Jerusalem media presence when he hosts a reality program “The Big Daddy Baghdadi Show” from ISIS studios in Raqqa, Syria with 24/7 live news feeds to the Jumbotron with daily decapitations, stoning events, crucifixion contests, happy hour floggings and gay rooftop tossing.
Hebrew sign mistaken for Islamist banner in Louisiana
Startled residents of Gardner, Louisiana, alerted the sheriff last weekend over a black-and-white ‘welcome home’ sign in Hebrew that they thought bore a menacing Islamist message.
The Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office and local news station KALB “were contacted by several residents who were concerned about the signs and that they might have been terror messages written in Arabic,” KALB reported Friday.
The “mysterious” sign actually says “Welcome Home, Yamit,” in a boxy Hebrew scrawl, likely by a non-native Israeli or child.
“The sheriff’s office says not to worry, they are actually ‘welcome home’ signs written in Hebrew and not in anyway affiliated with ISIS,” KALB reported.


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