Friday, August 28, 2015

From Ian:

Slandering the US - PA demonizes its largest donor
The Palestinian Authority continues to demonize anyone who has an opinion different than their own. Even the United States, the largest donor to the PA, is subject to verbal attacks by PA leaders and its official media. Any statement or activity that the PA disagrees with can be used as the hook to insult even its biggest financial supporter.
When US presidential candidate Mike Huckabee visited Israel recently, he expressed support for Israel's right to the Land of Israel. He spoke about Jewish history in the land going back thousands of years. As Palestinian Media Watch has documented, the PA denies Jewish history in the Land of Israel and Jerusalem in order to deny Israel's right to exist.
Presidential candidate Huckabee's statements in support of the Jewish right to Israel were used by former editor-in-chief of the PA official daily, and now regular columnist, Hafez Al-Barghouti to demonize the US and its policies since America's founding:
"It is possible that the US is the biggest settlement country, since it was established on the ruins of the original inhabitants, wiped out millions of them, enslaved millions of Blacks, and today enslaves millions of Hispanics in the same manner." [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 20, 2015]
In the same article, Huckabee is likewise demonized as "inane creature... jellylike... wicked, despicable man... carry[ing] the genes of settlement and racism." Another Presidential candidate, Donald trump, was also demeaned as "aged teenager, the swindler and realtor, the billionaire, rabid."
Hamas Refuses Reconstruction Aid over 'Settlement' Origins
Gaza's "Economy Ministry" has successfully foiled an aid shipment of "settlement goods" through the Kerem Shalom crossing, it announced Friday.
The shipment included 204 multilock doors manufactured in Barkan, a Jewish industrial complex in Jewish areas of Judea-Samaria, all of which carried the Israeli company logo of lock manufacturer "Rav Bariach."
The doors had been labelled as being for the purpose of the reconstruction of Gaza - an issue which Palestinian Arab authorities have made into a public platform begging for more humanitarian aid.
But instead of gratefully accepting the offer, Hamas claimed the import "exploited the situation to sneak settlement goods into Gaza."
Hamas, which controls Gaza unrestricted by its pact with the Palestinian Authority (PA), sees Israel as the enemy, an illegal political entity - which it seeks to boycott. Nonetheless, it also demands that Israel open its border crossings and allow a steady flow of goods from the PA, and possibly from within Israel as well.
PreOccupied Territory: UNRWA Faces Pig Lipstick Shortage In Nazi Sympathizer Coverups (satire)
A spokesman for the United Nations agency that cares or Palestinian refugees issued an urgent call for international assistance Friday, saying that the organization is running short of materials with which to conceal or make cosmetic changes to the rampant phenomenon of teachers in its employ who openly call for terrorism against Jews and who sympathize with Nazi ideology.
Chris Gunness appealed to donors to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) to provide emergency funding toward lipstick for the the agency’s herds of swine, noting that the constant need to apply the cosmetics to the animals in order to make them look better has drained UNRWA’s stock, and they now require an infusion of at least $400 million to continue. He blamed right-wing organizations for the shortage, saying it would not be necessary to apply the lipstick to the pigs if not for the smear tactics of groups and individuals opposed to UNRWA’s work who insist on finding and publicizing Facebook images uploaded by teachers and principals at UNRWA schools.
“We have to waste valuable resources making all these cosmetic changes instead of investing in the students’ future,” lamented Gunness. “We ran out of band-aids two months ago, and have had to use more expensive measures such as pig lipstick. Warmongering bloggers such as Elder of Ziyon and troublemaking organizations such as UN Watch keep pointing out how UNRWA doesn’t follow its own guidelines or disciplinary procedures, forcing us to expend our limited resources on pretending those aren’t real teachers, that the offending schools have been closed, that somebody faked the alleged images, or that auditing and disciplinary procedures have actually taken place. They’ve put us in a very difficult position.”

Temple Mount Attackers Bring 'Honor' to Muslims
In response to Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan's (Likud) call Monday to ban the Islamist organizations that routinely riot on the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, the leader of one such radical organization spoke out against the move.
Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the radical Islamic Movement in Israel, gave an interview to the Hamas paper Palestine, in which he said the entire Palestinian Arab society - both those with and without Israeli citizenship - needs to unite to "help" Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The Arab rioters who attack police and Jewish visitors on the Temple Mount on a regular basis symbolize the "honor" of the Muslim nation and the Arab world, according to Salah.
Salah just last month called to conquer the Temple Mount, saying, "we must go out against all these breaches until the occupation is removed."
Dr. Najah Bahirat, president of the Koran Academy at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, claimed in the Hamas paper that the Israeli authorities want to remove the "last defense" of the mosque as part of a plan to "Judaize" the Mount - which is the site of the First and Second Temple.
Watch: Muslims Terrorize Jewish Children on Temple Mount
Disturbing footage has surfaced Friday, of a band of Muslims terrifying preschool-age Jewish children on the Temple Mount.
Veiled and masked Muslim women are seen shouting so violently at the children that the Israel Police is forced to escort them along a wall - not the main path.
Despite regular harassment, rioting, and even assaults of non-Muslims on the Temple Mount, arrests of violent Muslim extremists are relatively rare.
In fact, Israeli authorities have submitted to the Jordanian Waqf's demands to ban all forms of non-Muslim worship on the Temple Mount - despite its status as the holiest site in Judaism - to the point of turning a blind eye to outright incitement.

PodCast: About Israel, the Big Questions
David Horovitz is one of the leading intellectuals and political analysts in all of Israel. That’s what Jay says at the top of this podcast. Later, Horovitz denies the intellectual part, but you can judge for yourself.
An Anglo-Israeli, born in London, Horovitz is the founding editor of the Times of Israel. He was the editor of the Jerusalem Post. He is the author of several books.
With him, Jay covers a lot of ground. Is Israel really under an existential threat? What about Obama’s deal with Iran? Do the Palestinians want to coexist? Why did you move to Israel? Do Israelis look askance at Jews who do not make that move? Can Israel tackle Iran militarily? What is the nature of the new European anti-Semitism? Same as the old? What about anti-Semitism on the Auld Sod, Britain? What do you make of Netanyahu? Have you become more conservative? What do you wish people, particularly Americans, could know?
Prager University - Political Science - Iran and the Bomb

Can the Iran Deal Be Strengthened to Deal With Its Aftermath?
The whole point of the deal isn’t really the effort to stop Iran’s nuclear program. As even most Democrats concede in moments of candor that has already failed. Having embarked on negotiations whose purpose was to end Iran’s nuclear program, Obama’s envoys returned with a pact that makes the Islamist state a threshold nuclear power almost immediately and a member of the nuclear bomb club as soon as it expires. What motivated the president wasn’t the nuclear question as it was a desire to help Iran “get right with the world.” Nothing about the agreement makes sense outside of a belief that what will ensue is a new détente between Tehran and the West.
But as even the Times’ analysis noted, Iran will become stronger and more powerful as a result of the deal making it less likely to respond to the kind of pressure and threats that Ross proposes. The deal doesn’t make American military pressure less likely so much as it ensures that it will be impossible to make such threats stick in the future. Or at least impossible so long as the U.S. is committed to the fiction of an entente with the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism with dreams of regional hegemony.
The president doesn’t worry much about what will happen in ten or 15 years because he actually believes that Iran will evolve into a moderate and friendly partner for the West during this period. But more sober observers understand that will ensue is merely the strengthening of a fanatical theocratic tyranny that is bent on Israel’s destruction and war, on the West as well as on moderate Arabs.
That’s why if any Democrats are really worried about the post-deal future it is futile to talk of strengthening the deal. Obama has already made the nightmare scenario of a nuclear Iran a virtual certainty in the not-so-distant future. The only way to avoid it must start with a rejection of the deal and a return to a tough policy aimed at forcing Iran to accept restrictions that will not expire or let them cheat. That won’t be easy, but it has a much better chance of succeeding than a path that begins with the deal’s ratification and futile efforts to strengthen it. (h/t NormanF)
Coherence and Incoherence about the Iran Deal
If the President truly supports position three, as all of his public statements indicate, then he has embraced a fully incoherent stance. But perhaps the President and those among European and US foreign policy decision makers who support the deal understand full well that the JCPOA does pave the way to an Iranian bomb but have concluded that this outcome is preferable either to an intensification of economic sanctions or to a US military strike and its unforeseeable consequences — a position they are not willing to state publicly. If this is the case, then there is a further incoherence in the President’s position, namely supporting a deal that will in reality pave Iran’s path to the bomb while insisting in public that it will do just the opposite.
Or perhaps the President has embraced position two, outlined above — the one that accepts the inevitability of Iran getting the bomb but maintains that it can be contained. If the latter is true, the Iran deal becomes, for President Obama, another version of the policy of hope and change. It rests on a hope that the deal with this Iranian government will lead it to change and become a normal state that has left its ideological passions behind and that therefore can be deterred as previous nuclear weapons-possessing states have been.
Even if the President has privately adopted some variant of position two, it is unlikely that he would announce it publicly. After having told us for months that the deal will prevent an Iranian bomb, it is now politically impossible for him and his supporters to adopt that stance. To make a shift at this point would appear weak — and incoherent. But sticking with assertions that are undermined by the very text of the JCPOA is no less incoherent. Supporters of the agreement may continue to ignore, dismiss or insult the agreement’s critics.
If, however, the President can overcome Congressional opposition and the agreement is implemented, the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran will surely point to those elements of the text that can be used to effectively prevent enforcement of this agreement and will likely do so much sooner than fifteen years from now.
UN envoy: US will be isolated if Iran deal rejected
In an editorial published by Politico, Samantha Power argued that a “no” vote from Congress would make it more difficult for the United States to drum up support for sanctions and partner with like-minded countries to confront crises.
“If the United States rejects this deal, we would instantly isolate ourselves from countries that spent nearly two years working with American negotiators to hammer out its toughest provisions,” Power wrote in a piece posted late Wednesday.
“We would go from a situation in which Iran is isolated to one in which the United States is isolated.”
The US Congress is due to vote next month on whether to endorse the deal reached in July between Iran and six world powers — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.
Kirby: Parchin ‘A Conventional Military Site, Not a Nuclear Site’
In a briefing Thursday, State Department spokesperson John Kirby said that the Parchin base in Iran is not a nuclear site.
“It’s important to remember that when you’re talking about a site like Parchin you’re talking about a conventional military site, not a nuclear site,” he said.
Kirby added that Parchin would not face International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) “or other restrictions” on construction, “were they to occur.”
When asked why the Parchin base was included in the report if it was not a nuclear base, he referred reporters to the IAEA.
The IAEA report states that Iran may have extended its Parchin facility since May.
In addition, data given to the IAEA by member states suggests that the site might have been used for hydrodynamic experiments related to nuclear bomb detonations, according to Reuters.
Kirby: Parchin Not a Nuclear Site

New Parchin Construction Makes Iran Deal Supporters Look Even More Foolish
That’s why it ought to be absolutely essential that Parchin be visited by IAEA inspectors rather than outsourcing their work to the Iranians. This latest twist in the Parchin story removes even the fig leaf of credibility that might have attached to previous stands that rested on the notion that nothing was happening there.
The fact that the IAEA was forced to accept this humiliation is troubling because it reflects the administration’s lack of seriousness in finding answers about Iran’s past work on possible military dimensions of its nuclear program.
Though Secretary of State John Kerry assured Congress that the deal wouldn’t go forward without such knowledge, it appears now that this issue is being finessed in such a way as to pay lip service to it but not to actually find out the answers. And without those answers the calculations about how long it will take Iran to build a bomb, either during the course of the agreement by cheating, or immediately after it expires, are pure speculation.
But this is about more than Parchin. This process sets the tone for the implementation of the deal that is already far from the rigorous inspection process we were promised. The 24-day warning period was not only not the “anytime, anywhere” inspections that was expected to be part of the deal. It also sets down a template that gives Iran a veto power over personal inspections at its military sites. Anyone who thinks that Iran won’t do their best to obstruct inspections knows nothing about the regime. And anyone who thinks President Obama or a Democratic successor would be prepared to pull the plug on the deal know nothing about them or their lust for détente with a rabidly anti-Semitic, terror-supporting regime.
It is not clear at this point whether any of the remaining undecided votes in the House or Senate can be influenced by the facts about the deal. Political pressure from the White House and left wing groups appears to count more for wavering Democrats than their obligations toward U.S. security. Few of them actually believe the deal is any good. All know that it failed to meet the administration’s own objectives. But the Parchin construction adds on to the concerns that the text of the side deal raised. Iran is being allowed to get away with murder in an inspections process that is a joke. If lawmakers don’t take this into consideration when they vote on the deal, the same will be able to be said of their approach to a life and death issue.
Former IAEA Official: Parchin Inspection Regime Departs “Significantly” from Accepted Practice
Iran’s role in inspecting its military facility and suspected nuclear site at Parchin, which was detailed in a recently leaked draft of a side agreement between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Islamic Republic, departs “significantly from well-established and proven safeguards practices,” according to an analysis by Olli Heinonen, the former deputy director-general of the IAEA, that was published this week.
Much of the current concerns arise from the reported arrangements worked out between the IAEA and Iran in the side documents to address PMD issues. If the reporting is accurate, these procedures appear to be risky, departing significantly from well-established and proven safeguards practices. At a broader level, if verification standards have been diluted for Parchin (or elsewhere) and limits imposed, the ramification is significant as it will affect the IAEA’s ability to draw definitive conclusions with the requisite level of assurances and without undue hampering of the verification process.
According to Heinonen, the dilution of the verification regime at Parchin, which is crucial for establishing the extent of Iran’s past nuclear work and detecting any future illicit activities, is particularly significant given that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) will allow Iran to remain “a nuclear threshold state with a breakout time of about a year for the first ten years if the JCPOA is fully implemented.”
JCPA: Amb. Alan Baker: Vital Points on the Iran Deal: Major Flaws and Positive Elements
The nuclear agreement with the main world powers will enable Iran safely, legally, and without economic hardships or changes in its rogue policies, to overcome the main obstacles on its way to possessing a nuclear weapons arsenal and becoming a regional hegemonic power.
The agreement will legally provide Iran with the capability to shorten the time required to produce such an arsenal within the next 10-15 years (including the production of fissile material, weaponization, acquiring delivery systems, and improved military capabilities to protect the military nuclear program), so that it would be practically impossible to stop it.
This is in exchange for a questionable and barely verifiable Iranian commitment to avoid producing arms and some limited restrictions on its nuclear program for 10-15 years.
Reliance on Iran’s open reaffirmation in the agreement that it will not seek, develop, or acquire nuclear weapons is untrustworthy and even naïve, given Iran’s past record of concealing its nuclear activities, its periodic declarations of hostility vis-à-vis the U.S. and Israel, and its regime’s messianic aspirations.
In short, the agreement unilaterally and unconditionally grants Iran everything it has been seeking without any viable quid-pro-quo from Iran to the international community.
Above all, it should be obvious that no possible sympathetic statement by the U.S. Administration, or even military or other compensation, could logically stand against paving the route to a nuclear arsenal by a state that repeatedly declares its commitment to obliterate Israel.
Fmr. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and USMC Gen. Charles C. Krulak The better alternative to the Iran deal
Advocates of the nuclear deal with Iran have argued that rejecting it will result in war, a nuclear Iran and even a nose-diving dollar. Most important, even while acknowledging the fundamental flaws in the agreement, supporters lament that there is no alternative.
In fact, none of the catastrophic predictions is accurate —and there is a better way.
There is sufficient time to renegotiate a better deal, strong incentives for the Iranians and the Europeans to do so, and clear precedents for arms control agreements being sent back by Congress and improved.
While a Congressional vote of disapproval would keep most sanctions in place, under the agreement as currently written, they would not be waived for six to twelve months in any event—giving all concerned ample time to continue negotiations.
With a solid agreement so tantalizingly close, there are also strong incentives for everyone to return to the process.
Those incentives derive, in part, from the sanctions architecture President Obama helped devise. If Congress rejects the current agreement, banks worldwide will face a simple choice—do business in dollars and with America, or do business with Iran. They will not be able to do both.
Poof goes the Big Enchilada
Just in case there was any doubt as to what U.S. President Barack Obama is up to, Professor Andrew Bacevich of Boston University has laid it out for us in a series of recent articles.
Obama's nuclear deal with Iran is meant to reboot and redirect the entire vector of American Middle East policy: to retreat from Pax Americana and allow Iran to take its rightful place as a major regional power.
For decades, two tenets have informed U.S. policy in the Middle East. The first is that U.S. interests there are best served by the position of unquestioned American pre-eminence. The second is that military might holds the key to maintaining that dominant position. (In this context, Israel has been an important U.S. regional ally).
This approach is what Bacevich calls the "Big Enchilada" -- the America-as-top-dog approach that Obama is seeking to overturn.
Obama rejects this notion, since he essentially views America's preponderance in world affairs as arrogant and sinful. He feels that American "bullying" has brought about disastrous results.
Most telling was Obama's infamous lament in 2010 about America as "a dominant military superpower, whether we like it or not." In other words, he really doesn't like it at all. No statement could be more revealing of Obama's disgust for American global leadership.
Iranians, Israel-Haters Dominate Pro-Nuke Deal 'Experts' Letter
The National Iranian American Council organized the letter signed by seventy-three “international scholars” who favor the treaty—no, the deal—no, the deal with secret asides—no, the run-around Congress—no, President Obama’s cynical fait accompli—between Iran and America.
Unsurprisingly, nearly 50% of the signatories (at least 45%) have Iranian names. Well, Iranians can be scholars, can’t they? Yes they can—but they can also have families who are being held hostage or forced to live both in fear and in poverty in Iran. I doubt that the anticipated 150 billion dollars of released sanctions will find its way into the hands of many worthy civilians. More likely, it will fund the Iranian mullahs’ mad obsession with exterminating Israel and attacking America—and of continuing a fourteen centuries-old religious war with Sunni Muslims.
Aside from the very obvious radically left, anti-Israel activists like Peter Beinart, founder of J Street (which masquerades as pro-Israel and pro-peace), there are some real scholars among the signatories. They have advanced degrees, teach at Ivy League institutions, and have published many books on a variety of subjects. Here, I am thinking of University of California’s Reza Aslan, MIT’s Noam Chomsky, Columbia’s Hamid Dabashi, Georgetown’s John Esposito, Columbia’s Rashid Khalidi, University of Chicago’s John Mearsheimer, and Harvard’s Stephen Walt.
US Court Rules Terror Victims May Sue Iranian Bank for $17.6 Million in Damages
A federal appeals court ruled that victims of Iran-backed terror may sue Bank Melli, a commercial bank owned by the Iranian regime, for $17.6 million in damages, the San Francisco Chronicle reported yesterday.
Although foreign nations normally can’t be sued in U.S. courts, their immunity does not cover harm caused by state-sponsored terrorism. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said the terrorism exception allows four groups of victims to sue the Iranian-owned Bank Melli for money held by Visa, whose credit cards the bank started accepting in 1991. …
The $17.6 million that the bank claimed in fees from Visa was frozen in 2007 as part of U.S. government sanctions against Iran for its alleged nuclear weapons program. The Obama administration’s recent agreement with Iran would require the Mideast nation to renounce nuclear weapons development and submit to inspections in exchange for future lifting of the sanctions. It does not affect Wednesday’s ruling. …
Lawyers for Bank Melli argued that it should not be held responsible for harm caused to the plaintiffs because it was not a party to the suits against Iran and because the federal law allowing seizure of frozen funds was not passed until 2008 and should not apply retroactively. The appeals court disagreed.
Maloney Becomes Latest Democratic Rep to Oppose Iran Deal: ‘It’s a Matter of Conscience’
Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) became the latest Democratic representative to oppose President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, announcing her opposition on Wednesday.
“I am concerned that, even if Iran complies with the restraints spelled out throughout the life of the agreement, the deal does not block Iran from eventually acquiring nuclear weapons,” wrote Maloney on her official website, after telling the New York Daily News that she was voting against the deal “as a matter of conscience.”
Maloney cited the usual list of concerns among opponents of the deal: that it immediately gives Iran’s leaders access to some $50 billion; that it relaxes weapons sanctions against Iran, including ballistic missiles sanctions in five and then eight years; that in 13-15 years, Iran will be a legitimate nuclear threshold state; and that Iran will have 24 days before it has to allow nuclear inspectors access to undeclared but suspicious nuclear sites.
She also expressed concerns that Iran will be able to boost its support for terrorist proxies, such as Hezbollah and Hamas, the macabre government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, who announced this week they had fired Scud missiles into Saudi Arabia.
Iranian State Media Calls Irish Deal Opponent 'a Jew'
The Iranian state-run PressTV on Friday reported that "Jewish Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney" of New York had become the 14th Democrat in the House of Representatives to announce her opposition to the Iranian nuclear deal.
While noting a member of Congress's heritage could of its own appear to be an anti-Semitic attempt to delegitimize the legislator's reasoned opposition by claiming narrow bias, there's an even larger problem with the claim - Maloney, as her name should have suggested, isn't Jewish.
Although she has been a strong supporter of Israel, Maloney is herself an Irish American and a Presbytarian Christian. She even is a member of the Ad Hoc Congressional Committee for Irish Affairs.
But that didn't stop PressTV from running the blaring headline: "Jewish House Democrat will reject Iran nuclear agreement."
Swiss envoy: Invest in Iran, ‘a pole of stability’
Switzerland’s Ambassador to Iran Giulio Haas on Thursday urged a conference of Swiss businessmen in Zurich to invest in the Islamic Republic as its markets reopened after years of sanctions, calling it a “pole of stability” in the Middle East, Reuters reported.
European politicians and industry have flocked to Iran in recent weeks, after a breakthrough agreement on its nuclear program included an end to the crippling sanctions that saw Western business shy away en masse.
Haas said his almost two-year stint in Tehran has made him certain that the West is about to change its view of Iran as an aggressor.
“Iran at the moment is most probably the pole of stability in a very, very unsafe region,” he said. “Iran seems still for a lot of people to be bearded, elderly gentlemen with turbans. You see them, but you see not a lot of them, especially when you’re dealing with business.”
Swiss exports to Iran have fallen by more than half to less than 400 million Swiss francs ($415 million) since 2008, due to sanctions, Reuters reported.
Switzerland regrets cartoon showing doves defecating on Netanyahu
Switzerland expressed regret on Friday after its ambassador to Iran displayed a cartoon depicting two doves defecating on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's head, at an event promoting Iranian business opportunities.
Ambassador Giulio Haas showed the image during a speech to hundreds of Swiss and Iranian business people at a Zurich hotel on Thursday.
The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) said the "questionable cartoon" was used without its knowledge. "The FDFA regrets the use of this cartoon and considers it tasteless," it said in a statement.
Haas' address came as Europeans race back to Iran, whose markets and major reserves of oil and gas will be much easier to tap once sanctions are lifted under a global deal struck last month.
Trump, Cruz to hold joint event to blast Iran deal
GOP presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are expected to headline a Capitol Hill rally against President Barack Obama’s proposed nuclear agreement with Iran, both candidates confirmed Thursday.
Trump, the Republican front-runner by far, announced the event during a 45-minute speech in South Carolina. Cruz aides said the Texas senator extended the invitation to the billionaire developer ahead of Congress’ vote on the accord in mid-September.
Cruz’s campaign statement said the event is sponsored by Tea Party Patriots, the Center for Security Policy and the Zionist Organization of America. The Cruz campaign did not immediately offer other details, including the event date.
Dear, Mr. President
Our readers—both supporters and detractors of the Iran nuclear deal—want answers from Barack Obama. Here are the points they hope he addresses in his speech to the American Jewish community today.
Last week, Tablet asked readers and friends what they want to hear from President Obama in his live webcast to the Jewish community on Friday afternoon. We received many responses. Below are the ones we’ve chosen to republish. They’re written by:
Yishai Schwartz, Anne Roiphe, Peter Jacobson, Robin Freed, Sohrab Ahmari, Rabbi Elliott Kleinman, Dr. Jeffrey Lewis, Richard A. Rohan, Thane Rosenbaum, Barbara Zasloff, Matthew Fishbane, Annice Grinberg, Michal Kepon, Arthur Elstein, Jonathan Greenblatt, Allan Leicht, Shadi Hamid.
News Agency Reports Failure of Impending S-300 Missile Deal Between Russia and Iran
A senior Iranian official said his country and Russia have not been successful in finalizing a widely contested sale of advanced S-300 missile systems due to a disagreement over the sale price, Israel’s NRG reported on Thursday citing the Turkish Anadolu news agency.
According to the report, the Iranian official, in Moscow for an international aviation and aerospace exhibit, said, “Though there are no legal obstacles [to the sale], the two sides failed to agree on a price, so the deal was not completed.”
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, a Russian news agency reported that the deal hit a snag over a different issue.
According to a report in Russia’s state-run TASS news agency, the two countries are unable to agree on how to proceed regarding a lawsuit filed by Iran over Russia’s failure to deliver on an earlier 2007 contract to deliver the systems.
Family of missing soldier slams 'Hamas lies' broadcast on Al Jazeera
The family of 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin slammed a report on Al Jazeera on Thursday, alleging that the IDF recovered the body of a terrorist instead of their son during Operation Protective Edge.
In a statement on Friday, the family said that the body part recovered during the August 1, 2014 attack was indeed that of their son.
"Hamas's lies are being heard again and being given a stage on Al Jazeera," they said. "We see the security establishment as the only one to trust for reliable information. We call for increased pressure on Hamas to return Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin."
In addition to 2nd Lt. Goldin, Hamas still holds the remains of Staff Sergeant Oron Shaul, who was killed in Gaza City’s Shejaiya neighborhood, a Hamas stronghold, last summer.
In the Thursday interview, a masked Kassam Brigades commander said that the IDF accidentally recovered the body of Walid Tufik Massoud, the terrorist who killed Goldin, saying that Massoud was wearing an IDF uniform at the time.
The interview was conducted as part of Al Jazeera's "Black Box" series and claims to shed new light on the attack in which 2nd Lt. Goldin was taken and Maj. Benaya Sarel and Staff Sergeant Liel Gidoni were killed.
One Rocket a Month Since Hamas 'Ceasefire'
This Thursday marked a full year since a ceasefire was sealed between Israel and the Hamas terrorist organization last August 27, bringing Operation Protective Edge to a close - but the ceasefire has been anything but quiet.
Gaza terrorists marked a year since the end of Hamas's third terror war seeking to destroy Israel by firing a rocket on Wednesday night, giving an ironic edge to the anniversary of the "ceasefire." The IDF responded by hitting a Hamas weapons manufacturing site.
But Wednesday's attack was far from the first Gazan breach of the ceasefire.
A review of official IDF and Israel Security Agency (ISA) figures released by Channel 2 on Friday shows that no less than 12 rockets have been fired into Israeli sovereign territory from Gaza since the truce.
That figure doesn't include the many dozens of rockets fired at Israel that didn't make it over the security border, falling short within Gaza. Just earlier this month alone three such rockets fell in Gaza, landing short of their mark.
Beautifying Gaza with public art
Constantly on the lookout for new and innovative methods to kill Jews (er, Zionists), Hamas has twice dispatched “frogman” from Gaza to attack Israel, only to have their attempts foiled by the ever vigilant IDF.
This week, Hamas has unveiled some fine public art in Gaza to honor their sea-based terror squad. (Yes, the same Hamas that claims it lacks the resources to rebuild homes can somehow find resources and funds for art, military parades, and terror tunnels.)
The Hamas frogman sculpture joins other terror- themed art displays in the coastal enclave, including this poignant ode to the grad rocket, and this memorial to the blockade-running terrorist- wannabes from the Mavi Marmara
You can tell a lot about a society’s values from their public art.
Egypt Urges Renewed Religious Dialogue in Letter Written in Many Languages — Including Hebrew
Egyptian Minister of Religious Endowments Mohammad Mukhtar Jumaa issued a letter in Hebrew and 13 other languages calling for the renewal of religious dialogue, Saudi-owned pan-Arab news service Al Arabiya reported on Thursday.
The letter — in Arabic, English, French, Russian, German, Spanish, Chinese, Urdu, Swahili, Italian, Greek, Turkish, Farsi and Hebrew — was titled: “The culture of reflection and declaring intellectuals as apostates.”
In it, Jumaa said that those who profusely declare others to be apostates (takfir) lack both proper knowledge in Islamic law and common sense. Nor do they realize the multifaceted nature of faith, he said, when their version of Islamic renewal involves one part faith and 99 parts extremism.
He compared scholars working on the spread of Islamic renewal, while holding on to the basic tenets of tradition, with others who consider renewal, or even the very thought of it, to be heretical.
61% of girls between 15-17 underwent FGM: Survey
Minister of State for Population Hala Youssef announced the 2014 population survey results during the first ministerial committee meeting, to outline a national development plan for mothers and children in Egypt Thursday.
The survey tackled issues related to violence against children, child labour, child marriage, and female genital mutilation (FGM), amongst other societal issues.
The national survey showed that 61% of girls between 15 to 17 years of age underwent FGM during 2014, compared to 74% during 2008.
“This is the first time we have data on this smaller age group of girls, we always used to work on girls from 15 to 49 years old,” Randa Fakhr El-Din, director of the NGO Coalition Against FGM, told Daily News Egypt.
“The higher you go with age, the more cases you find of girls who have undergone FGM. So, since 2008, we have been targeting the young girls to save them from the potential risks of FGM,” she added.
Erdogan's Kurdish War Gamble Fails Spectacularly
Analysts revealed that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) launched an unofficial war on Kurdish forces last month as a ploy to make up for its historic failure in June elections - but new polls on Friday show Erdogan may have shot himself in the foot ahead of snap elections.
After an Islamic State (ISIS) suicide bombing against Kurdish activists in Turkey last month, several Kurdish militants conducted attacks on police, given that Turkey has cooperated with ISIS. Erdogan leaped on the events by launching a two-pronged crackdown against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), breaking off peace talks with the militant group and leaving hundreds dead, as well as a campaign against ISIS that has yet to truly materialize.
But a new poll by Gezici shows that despite the attempts to take on the Kurds after its failure in the last elections - particularly vis-a-vis a pro-Kurdish party - the Islamist AKP has only lost power since the June 7 elections even as the pro-Kurdish party gains support.
AKP currently has just 38.9% support, an even lower figure than the 40.7% it received in the election, reports Reuters.

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