Thursday, September 22, 2016

From Ian:

IsraellyCool: Do Palestinians Deserve A State?
If you believe they deserve a state what qualities worthy of a reward do you believe they’ve shown over the last 100 years of attacking Jews and trying to prevent Jews from living in Israel? Are you rewarding reprehensible behaviour?
Which terrorist atrocity was it that finally convinced you they deserve a state?
Something old and classic like slaughtering school children in Ma’alot, hijacking aircraft or murdering olympic athletes? Or perhaps the wave of suicide bombings of restaurants, hotels, buses or queues of children waiting to party? Or something more recent, rockets indiscriminately fired at civilians, spraying passing cars with bullets or pulling out knives and trying to slash at the necks of infidels on streets all over Israel.
Which of these terrorist atrocities finally convinced you they deserve a state?
If you believe they deserve a state, they have bombed, stabbed and shot their way into your heart.
If you say out loud they deserve a state you are one of those encouraging them to do what they did this morning: send a 14-year-old child to stab a soldier with the inevitable result. One of our young people has to live with having shot their child. If you say they deserve a state, you helped create the conditions where sending a 14-year-old girl to die at the hands of the IDF is inevitable. Of course they do it: it’s a great strategy. It convinced YOU to say “they deserve a state”.
Or do you just think they should have a state despite a century of terror because if they got it they would stop doing all these terrible things? Do you think they would set aside their supremacist claims that all of Israel belongs to Allah and their repetitive Jihadi proclamations that they won’t stop killing Jews until all of the Jewish homeland falls, once again, under the command of Allah’s soldiers and everyone here bends knee and submits to Islam? Do you think they’d even apologise for all they’ve done if they were rewarded with a state?
But you think they deserve a state! Why stop now when they’ve successfully won over someone like you to their righteous cause?
JCPA: Observations on U.S.-Israel Relations
Few surprising headlines emerged from the meeting of President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on September 21, 2016, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. Reporters and commentators were almost disappointed that the two leaders had an amicable meeting where both sides spoke of the “unbreakable” bonds between their two countries and the generous American security assistance.
The differences over Israeli “settlements” in the West Bank and Jerusalem, a topic of exaggerated American concerns from the first days of President Obama’s first term, were mentioned in their publicly restrained statements. Undoubtedly, the issue was raised in the Obama-Netanyahu private talks. One minor difference of opinion that emerged was over the time the two leaders spent in each other’s company, with Israeli sources saying 75 minutes and American officials reducing the period to 35. Was it a U.S. official’s manner of diminishing the Israeli leader’s importance?
The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same
The settlement contretemps is reminiscent of a meeting between then-U.S. Secretary of State James Baker and then-Minister of Defense Moshe Arens in Israel in the early 1990s. “We really laid the settlements issue on the line,” a resolute, maybe even proud, aide to Baker told me at the time. When I asked Arens about the talks, he related that the settlement issue was barely raised.

PMW: Fatah cartoon:Jews are behind world terror
Fatah has posted a cartoon that shows a Jew with a large nose and wearing a kippah (Jewish skullcap), comfortably seated in an armchair with the Star of David on it. Using a remote control, the Jew sets off an explosion in the city below, viewing the destruction as if watching TV.
The cartoon expresses a libel often voiced by Palestinian leaders that Israel and Jews are responsible for world terror. It was posted on the official website of Fatah’s Mobilization and Organization Commission. [Sept. 20, 2016]
A similar cartoon was recently posted by another Fatah commission, as documented by Palestinian Media Watch. It showed a long-nosed Jew lighting a fuse to blow up a bomb. Inside the bomb, a Shi'ite Muslim and a Sunni Muslim are both lying atop bombs, lighting fuses to blow up one other. This cartoon expresses the libel that Jews/Israel seek to destroy the Muslim world, and that they are taking advantage of internal Muslim fighting to do so.

‘ICC may not be equipped to rule on war crimes’
With a recent B’Tselem report declaring that the IDF legal division is whitewashing its soldiers’ war crimes, and with the International Criminal Court Prosecutor’s Office likely due to visit Israel soon, former IDF International Law Division Commander Col. (res.) Pnina Sharvit-Baruch has expressed deep concerns about the ICC.
Sharvit-Baruch is one of Israel’s most decorated military law experts, having served in the International Law Division from 1989 to 2003, and having headed it from 2003 to 2009, which included deciding the legality of targeting during the 2008-9 Gaza War (she was on maternity leave during the 2006 Second Lebanon War).
After retiring, she eventually moved on to head the INSS’s department dealing with national security and law.
She has been hosting conferences with top law of war experts from around the world and publishing influential articles and newsletters on some of the hottest dilemmas confronting the IDF – though she is wary of the press due to some past negative experiences.
ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has been preliminarily examining alleged 2014 Gaza war crimes by Israel and the Palestinians since January 2015, but has not decided yet whether to order a full criminal investigation.
Regarding Bensouda, Sharvit- Baruch told The Jerusalem Post in a rare and extended interview, “I am very concerned. You would expect...the ICC, which deals mainly with war crimes and crimes against humanity, to have expertise in international humanitarian law, but also to include people who have an understanding from a practical point of view – [military law] practitioners.
After almost 8 years, Obama’s view of Israel no less unsettled
Throughout his presidency, Barack Obama has had a turbulent relationship with Israel. Just two months after he took office, Benjamin Netanyahu assumed the Israeli prime ministership, which initiated an irrefutable ideological misalignment that emerged between the two and never quite receded.
There was Obama, the Democratic American president of the Rooseveltian variety, and there was Netanyahu, the Republican-esque Likud Israeli prime minister of the Churchillian mentality. And from that paradigm arose seven years of disputes and, on numerous occasions, highly public clashes.
There was, of course, the battle over how to curtail Iran’s nuclear weapons program. But the one issue that has had the most lasting resonance for the president — that which he publicly emphasized at the very beginning of his presidency and now toward the very end — is that of settlements.
Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly this week, President Obama devoted a mere 37 words to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and used that rhetorical real estate to highlight what he sees as the failures of both parties to reach an accord.
“Surely Israelis and Palestinians will be better off if Palestinians reject incitement and recognize the legitimacy of Israel,” he said here Tuesday, in his final address before the world body. “But Israel must recognize that it cannot permanently occupy and settle Palestinian land. We all have to do better.”
Compare that with what he said in his first address at this forum in 2009: “We continue to call on Palestinians to end incitement against Israel, and we continue to emphasize that America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements.”
In final meeting with PM, Obama says two-state solution must be kept alive
US President Barack Obama said Wednesday he wants to ensure that efforts for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be kept alive beyond his presidency, as he met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for likely the last time before he leaves the White House in January.
Speaking in front of the press before their meeting at a hotel in Manhattan, the two leaders broadcast an extremely friendly vibe, sweeping under the rug years of a famously testy relationship.
But along with the smiles, Obama indicated that in their private talks he would push Netanyahu on ways to get back to the negotiating table with the Palestinians and curbing settlement activity in the West Bank.
Senior US officials said the private part of the meeting lasted a little over half an hour and Obama was more pointed, raising “profound US concerns” that settlement-building was eroding prospects for peace.
Mr. President: The Israeli settlements are legal
From US President Barack Obama to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, state leaders at the United Nations General Assembly aren’t missing an opportunity to condemn the Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria, or what they call “illegal Israeli settlements.” However, the term “illegal Israeli settlements” is outdated, incorrect and irrelevant.
Since Israel liberated Judea and Samaria (commonly termed the West Bank) half a century ago, the international community hasn’t missed an opportunity to condemn her presence there, but that doesn’t make it illegal. Israel was forced into a war of survival and captured its historical highlands, which were legally ownerless at the time. The land wasn’t taken from another nation that had legal rights to it. In fact, no other nation on earth has more right to Judea than the people of Judah, aka the Jews.
Over half a million Israelis currently live in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem. This is an irreversible fact. No Israeli government could feasibly ethnically cleanse hundreds of thousands of men, women and children from their homes, schools and businesses. These are not makeshift forts as the word “settlement” indicates, rather they are established towns and cities with shopping malls, high-rise buildings, factories and a large university.
The main legal argument used against Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria is that it violates the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states that an occupying power may not forcefully transfer a population into occupied territory. This was a provision written in the shadow of World War II and the Holocaust, intended to protect innocent civilians from extermination, slave labor or colonization during time of war. The Six Day War ended five decades ago, and the Jordanians have subsequently waived all rights to the land – which they didn’t have a legal right to occupy in the first place. Israel didn’t forcefully transfer anybody. Approximately one tenth of Israel’s population currently resides in over 200 communities and neighborhoods across Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem, out of personal choice.
UN swan songs
Two international leaders delivered their final addresses to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, summing up their views on the state of the world and hopes for the world body after each one’s term ends. UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon focused on the urgent need to halt the Syrian civil war, while US President Barak Obama depicted the three forces arrayed against world progress as religious fundamentalism, aggressive nationalism and crude populism.
But while Ban made brief mention of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he managed to ignore the proverbial elephant in the General Assembly room: terrorism. Instead, he once again blamed Israel for “denying Palestinians their freedom and rightful future.”
Ban lamented the missed opportunity for peace allegedly caused by Jewish settlers. “It pains me that this past decade has been lost to peace. Ten years lost to illegal settlement expansion. Ten years lost to intra-Palestinian divide, growing polarization and hopelessness,” he said, adding that West Bank settlements are “obstacles to progress.”
Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon criticized some of Ban’s comments, charging that “the real madness is of the UN’s...Instead of slamming the incitement and the terrorism [on the part of Palestinians], instead of bringing [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] to the negotiating table, the secretary-general has chosen once again to attack Israel,” he said in a statement, adding that this is a “crazy obsession regarding Israel and it must stop.
Netanyahu’s High Stakes Gamble
In his speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Obama seemed more interested in justifying his past actions and making implicit criticisms of Donald Trump than in starting new initiatives. He dismissed the Israel-Palestinian conflict in one sentence in which he deprecated Palestinian incitement and refusal to recognize Israel’s legitimacy while also declaring that Israel couldn’t permanently occupy “Palestinian land.”
Leaving aside the misleading nature of the second half of that statement, the speech’s pro-forma mention of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute might have been a signal that he has finally learned his lesson and won’t make another doomed attempt to force a peace that the Palestinians aren’t interested in achieving.
If so, then perhaps Netanyahu’s willingness to give way on some parts of the military aid deal was part of an effort to avoid further antagonizing Obama prior to the window of vulnerability Israel will face between the November election and the inauguration of a new president. While he may be confident that the next president will not be as interested in antagonizing Israel, Netanyahu also couldn’t be sure whether either Trump or Clinton would be as forthcoming on aid. He may also believe that Congress will never accept Obama’s restrictions and that any concessions on future efforts to get more than the amounts stated would, as Graham predicted, not hold up.
Counting on either Obama’s benevolence or Obama’s having the wisdom to acknowledge that pressure on the Israelis won’t bring peace may be a slender reed on which to rest a nation’s security. Yet if Netanyahu can make it to January 20, 2017, without Obama allowing a UN resolution on Palestinian independence to pass the Security Council or one that would impose terms on Israel that undermine both its rights and negotiating position, that will be an immense victory for the Jewish state. But if, despite Netanyahu’s conciliatory actions in accepting a military aid package with serious problems, Obama goes ahead and stabs Israel in the back at the UN, then the effort to appease the president will have proved to be a costly failure for which Israel will pay dearly in the coming years.
Obama 'naive and messianic' towards Israel, minister says
Just one day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's meeting with US President Barack Obama at the UN, in which Netanyahu thanked Obama for the signing of a $38 billion military aid package, Israeli cabinet minister Tzachi Hanegbi on Thursday panned the US president as "naive and messianic" towards Israel.
The Likud minister, who was appointed a minister without portfolio earlier in the year, said that there had been an "improvement" in Obama's stance towards the Jewish State in his second term, however he said that the president was "not acting as the world's strongest man, but as an employee of the Clinton campaign."
He also predicted that both Netanyahu and Obama were pleased to be rid of one another, despite the smiles on show for the cameras in New York.
The meeting between the two premiers is expected to be the final face-to-face parley before the end of Obama's second and final term in office.
Recounting the meeting, a senior White House official said the two men “never papered over their differences.” He said Obama reiterated the profound US concerns about the “corrosive effect” the settlements are having on the prospects of two states.
Analysis: Putting Obama' s 31 words on Israel-Palestinians in perspective
US President Barack Obama on Tuesday delivered his final address as president to the United Nations General Assembly.
The speech – punctuated by some of Obama’s rhetorical flourishes – was a sweeping review of the globe by a man who has been at the center of the world’s drama over the last eight years, and is just about to exit stage left. It took about 48 minutes to deliver, included some of his signature oratorical flourishes, and contained some 5,600 words.
Thirty-one of those words dealt with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Thirty- one.
Compare that to previous addresses Obama gave to the UN.
In September 2009, flush in the belief that he possessed the formula to push through dramatic change in the Middle East, Obama devoted 521 words to this conflict. A year later, in 2010, he devoted nearly 1,100 words – or more than a fourth of his entire speech – to the Israeli- Palestinian situation.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Praises President Obama’s ‘Terrific’ Golf Game
President Barack Obama met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York City during the United Nations summit, one of the last meetings the two leaders will have with Obama as president.
As the pair exchanged diplomatic pleasantries, Netanyahu praised Obama’s “terrific golf game” and invited him to play golf at a course near his home in Israel.
“I want you to know Barack that you will always be a welcome guest in Israel,” he said.
“We’ll set up a tee time,” Obama replied.
Obama noted that the United States had “concerns” about Israeli settlement activity, and urged the country to seek peace with it’s Palestinian neighbors.
“Obviously I’m only going to be president for another three months,” he acknowledged.
Obama’s Parting Shot at Israel
Obama’s last address before the UN General Assembly was typically and predictably condescending, hypocritical, disingenuous and vainglorious. He used the opportunity to perform some electioneering and take a swipe at Donald Trump. “Today, a nation ringed by walls would only imprison itself,” he said in a not too subtle reference to Trump’s promised plans to secure the southern border with the construction of a wall and restrict immigration from high-risk countries.
France, a NATO ally that has partnered with the U.S. to combat the Taliban in Afghanistan and Islamic extremism in Mali, was also derided. Though he did not mention France by name, he criticized “liberal societies” for their “opposition to women who choose to cover themselves.” This of course was a veiled reference French laws banning Burkas and Burkinis, items of Islamic clothing that are oppressive to and denigrate women.
Of course, Obama made no mention of the Paris and Nice massacres. Nor did he note that as a result of Muslim violence, 70 percent of Europe’s Jews won’t be attending synagogue during the Jewish High-Holy Days. Obama did of course heap praise on Indonesia, a Muslim nation that discriminates against minorities and the LGBT community, still maintains so-called “blasphemy” laws, and imposes draconian Sharia law in some districts. This year, a 60-year old Christian-Indonesian woman was given 28 lashes for selling alcohol. This is the model nation that the president touts before the world community.
The vainglorious president also took the opportunity to tout his disastrous Iran deal, noting that the United States “resolved the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomacy.” Obama, however, failed to note that he inked the worst deal in U.S. diplomatic history and likely the worst deal since the 1938 Munich Accord. He also omitted the fact that the infusion of $150 billion into Iran’s anemic economy will enable the mullahs to continue to sow misery throughout the region.
United Nations Equates Palestinian Terrorism With Israel’s Self-Defense
In a demonstration of moral equivalency madness, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov yesterday equated Palestinian terrorism with Israel’s defense against murderous Palestinian attacks.
Over the weekend, Israelis were targeted in six Palestinian terror attacks in Jerusalem and the West Bank, including three stabbings and a car-ramming attack. On Monday alone, Palestinians perpetrated four more terrorist attacks, including stabbings and attempted stabbings in Hebron and Herod’s Gate, which leads to Jerusalem’s Old City.
Yet the UN’s Mladenov seemingly cannot distinguish between victims of terrorism and aggressors.
In response to the spike in Palestinian terrorism, Mladenov called on “both sides” to “avoid escalation,” ignoring that one side is carrying out the attacks while the other is protecting itself.
“I reiterate the United Nations’ position that there can be no justification for terrorism and violence. I call upon authorities on both sides to take measures to preserve calm and avoid escalation, especially during the upcoming period of the Jewish High Holy Days,” Mladenov stated.
What exactly is Mlandenov requesting of Israel? That Israelis should allow themselves to be stabbed? That Israelis should not move out of the way the next time a Palestinian attempts to commit vehicular murder? That Israeli authorities should not act to stop terrorist incidents?
Arab states said ‘revising’ strategy against Israeli nuclear secrecy
Arab members of the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency will refrain this year from trying to pressure Israel into nuclear transparency until a revision of their strategy yields results, the Reuters news agency reported Wednesday.
Arab League Ambassador to the UN Wael Al Assad told Reuters that this will be the first time in three years that a resolution will not be submitted at the IAEA’s general conference, which meets in a week’s time.
The last time such a resolution succeeded was in 2009, but it did not force the UN to watch Israel’s nuclear activity any more closely, Reuters reported.
“We need to deal with this in a more results-oriented way,” Al Assad said. “We are not interested in resolutions that have no implementation mechanism.
“We need to seek other means and policies; we are now in a process of revision (until next March),” he told Reuters. He did not go into what changes were being considered.
In sign of thaw, Israel’s top diplomat meets S. African foreign minister
The director general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry met on Wednesday with the Foreign Minister of South Africa, who three years ago declared that officials from her country do not engage with Israel.
Dore Gold’s meeting with Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, who has been Pretoria’s minister of international relations and cooperation since 2009, took place at the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry confirmed the meeting took place but initially kept mum about its content. Gold tweeted a photo of him shaking hands with Nkoana-Mashabane, adding that he was “[e]xploring the ties between our nations.”
“We consider the very fact that this meeting was held an extraordinary achievement,” a senior Foreign Ministry official told The Times of Israel on Thursday.
During the meeting, Gold discussed the importance of South Africa-Israel relations, particularly in the context of Jerusalem’s renewed push to engage with all countries on the continent, the official added.
In 2013, Nkoana-Mashabane said that due to the Palestinians’ plight, South African officials refuse to engage with Israel.
“Ministers of South Africa do not visit Israel currently. Even the Jewish Board of Deputies that we engage with here, they know why our ministers are not going to Israel,” she said at the time.
Top EU lawyer says Hamas should be dropped from terror list
A top EU lawyer on Thursday said Islamist movement Hamas and Sri Lankan rebel group LTTE should be taken off the bloc’s terror list because procedural mistakes invalidated the decision to put them on it.
Advocate General Eleanor Sharpston of the European Court of Justice said Thursday that a European judicial body was correct to remove Hamas and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam from the list in 2014.
The European Union imposed travel bans and asset freezes against Hamas and the LTTE under 2001 rules. The groups subsequently contested being kept on the bloc’s terrorist black list.
The General Court, second to the ECJ, found in their favor in 2014 on the grounds the EU had based its decision on publicly available information, not on a finding by a competent authority.
In a statement at the time, the court explained the EU’s blacklisting of Hamas had been based on “factual imputations derived from the press and the internet” instead of “on acts examined and confirmed in decisions of competent authorities.”
Stating that the European Council, which placed Hamas on the terrorism list in 2001, “did not produce the obligatory judicial effects for the designation,” the court scrapped it but kept sanctions in place for another three months pending appeal.
The European Council of the 28 member states in turn appealed that finding.

EXCLUSIVE - Source: Hamas Drone Was Developed By Iran
The drone that Israel downed above the Gaza Strip on Tuesday was developed by Hamas’ Azz a-Din Al Qassam Brigades with Iranian know-how, a top Gaza militant with connections to Hamas told Breitbart Jerusalem.
Early on Tuesday, the Israel Air Force intercepted a drone that flew along the coastline. A spokesperson said it was shot down before it crossed into Israel, adding: “We will not allow any infringement of our airspace and will foil any attempt to do it.”
The drone is the fruit of a years-long project on which Hamas militants have been working in conjunction with Iranian experts, the source told Breitbart Jerusalem. In 2014, during the last Gaza conflict, Hamas tested a prototype and, following the ceasefire, showcased photos of Israeli outposts and military targets that were taken by it.
The vessel intercepted on Tuesday was an improved model on a pilot mission, the source said, adding that Hamas officials were taken aback by its quick discovery by the IAF.
He said that Hamas relies on drones as the basis of its future military actions, after Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system and its efforts to counter the threat posed by underground tunnels have stymied other attack methods.
The source said that barring a short hiatus during the height of the Syrian crisis, Iran has been deeply involved in developing the drones and training their operators. Training sessions, he said, took place in Iran, Malaysia and other places in the Middle East.
David Singer: Islamic State Crows as Russia and America Trade Blows
All UN Members would be obliged to make available to the Security Council, on its call, armed forces, assistance, and facilities, including rights of passage, necessary for the purpose of defeating Islamic State.
Only a UN-mandated military force led by a single commander-in-chief can ever hope to defeat Islamic State and end the threat to world peace that this evil organisation represents.
How many more horrendous incidents like these latest two have to occur before Russia and America agree to jointly initiate action in the Security Council to confront and eliminate Islamic State?
Resolving Syria’s horrific five year civil war cannot be achieved until Islamic State is comprehensively routed and driven out of Syria.
The name-calling and blame games being traded between Russia and America serve no purpose other than to prolong Islamic State’s existence and Syria’s suffering.
Wake up Russia and America.
Rocket fired from Syria wounds at least 6 in Turkey
At least six people were wounded in the Turkish town of Kilis after a rocket fired from Syria hit near a bazaar in the border village, which has a sizable population of Syrian refugees fleeing the war.
“We have six injured and five of them are in good health,” said the governor of Kilis province, Ismail Catakli, in a statement, according to the Turkish Anadolu news agency.
The majority of the victims, according to the Turkish daily Hurriyet, were children. All of them were Syrian nationals, Kilis Mayor Hasan Kara told CNN Turk.
The attack came from Syrian territory held by the Islamic State. The Turkish military targeted at least five of the terror group’s positions across the border in response to the projectile strike.
ISIS May Have Just Deployed Mustard Gas Against US and Iraqi Troops
On Tuesday, ISIS may have conducted a chemical weapons attack against US and Iraqi troops for the first time. The terror group is accused firing a shell full of mustard gas near a Qayarrah air base in Iraq where the anti-ISIS coalition was stationed.
US officials told CNN’s Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr Wednesday that an early investigation has revealed traces of "low purity" and "poorly weaponized” mustard agent. Samples of the substance are being sent to be analyzed at an off-site lab. The Department of Defense is waiting for the results of these tests before officially confirming the presence of mustard agent.
“US troops involved in the incident went through decontamination showers as a precaution,” reports Starr. “No troops have shown any symptoms of exposure, such as skin blistering. CNN has reported on previous instances where ISIS has fired rounds with mustard agents in Iraq and Syria.”
While this may be the first ISIS gas attack against US troops in the region, the terror group has used chemical weapons against its other enemies before.
U.S. Approves Aircraft Sales to Iran, Which Continues to Fly Troops, Arms to Syria
The United States Treasury Department has approved licenses for Boeing and Airbus to export planes to Iran, even as the Islamic Republic continues to fly troops and arms to Syria, Reuters reported Wednesday.
The granting of the licenses, according to Reuters, marks the elimination of a “key hurdle” allowing Iran Air, the national carrier, to purchase or lease 200 planes, allowing Tehran to “help modernize and expand the country’s elderly fleet, held together by smuggled or improvised parts after years of sanctions.” The payment process could still be difficult, as Iran is largely blocked from the international financial system due to ongoing concerns about its money laundering and terror financing.
Emanuele Ottolenghi, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, wrote in The Hill last week that Iran Air’s additional planes would likely be used to continue ferrying troops and arms to Syria in support of the Bashar al-Assad regime.
In one instance earlier this month, an Iran Air flight from Tehran to Damascus initially flew west instead of south in order to make a mysterious layover in the city of Abadan. Ottolenghi described Abadan as the “principal logistics hub for the [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] airlift in support of Syria’s loyalist armed forces and the Shiite militias.

Rouhani: Zionists pressuring US to violate Iran nuclear deal
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addressed the 71st session of the General Assembly of the United Nations on Thursday, and did not miss an opportunity to disparage Israel on the global stage.
Rouhani blamed "Zionist pressure groups" for continued sanctions and the seizure of Iranian assets, threatening that if the Washington does not follow through with its commitments under the nuclear agreement, it will lead to the discrediting of the US.
Accusing the US Supreme Court ruling which ordered the seizure of Iranian assets of "breaking the norms of international law," Rouhani continued to claim that Iran was growing stronger in the aftermath of the deal signed last year.
Rouhani, whose Islamic Republic sponsors Shi'ite militias accused of atrocities in Iraq and Syria, along with terror organization Hezbollah and the Assad regime, began his speech by invoking the 2001 September 11 attack in New York, before condemning the actions of various actors in the Middle East.
"Nobody imagined that this (September 11) would lead to a larger disaster leading to a devastating war in the Middle East and the spread of instability... sowing the seeds of borderless terrorism everywhere on earth," he said.
Obama threatens to veto two Iran-related bills
The White House threatened presidential vetoes for two Iran-related bills on Wednesday, citing the "perception" that their passage would impact a landmark nuclear accord reached between Iran and world powers last year.
One bill, the Iranian Leadership Asset Transparency Act, would have required the US government to publicly detail how Iran's leadership acquires and uses its assets. A second, titled the Prohibiting Future Ransom Payments to Iran Act, took aim at the sort of transfer of cash payments to Iran that has caused controversy in recent weeks.
The Obama administration expressed understanding for the first bill, but mocked the second as an "an ill-advised attempt to respond to a problem – so-called "ransom" payments to Iran – that does not exist, in a way that would undermine U.S. obligations and ultimately benefit Iran at the expense of the United States."
A massive cash transfer– timed alongside implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action last January, as well as the release of four American political prisoners in Iran– was meant to end a decades-old Hague tribunal settlement that the administration says would have cost the US far more than it paid should litigation have continued. But the administration also said the transfer– in bulks overnight in cargo planes– was used as "leverage" to ensure the release of Tehran's hostages.
The second bill, on Iranian asset reporting, would challenge the JCPOA itself.
"This bill's required public postings also may be perceived by Iran and likely our Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) partners as an attempt to undermine the fulfilment of our commitments, in turn impacting the continued viability of this diplomatic arrangement that peacefully and verifiably prevents Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon," a statement from the White House read.
Iran parades missiles, threatens to 'turn Tel Aviv, Haifa into dust'
Iran marked the 36th anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war Wednesday, with a military parade showing off its latest ships and missiles and its leaders warning the United States "not to meddle" in the Persian Gulf.
The Tehran parade, marking the conflict that raged between 1980 and 1988, included marches by the Iranian armed forces, the Revolutionary Guards, and displayed long-range missiles, tanks, and the Russian-supplied S-300 surface-to-air missile defense system. At the port of Bandar Abbas on the Gulf, the Iranian navy showed off 500 vessels, as well as submarines and helicopters.
One of the trucks carrying the advanced missile systems had a banner on its side with a threat to Israel: "If the leaders of the Zionist regime make a mistake then the Islamic Republic will turn Tel Aviv and Haifa to dust," it read.
Gen. Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, Iran's military chief of staff, stated that the $38 million defense aid package the U.S. recently granted Israel only made the Islamic republic "more determined" to bolster its armed forces.
"The criminal move [by the U.S.] to sign a deal to present a supportive military package to the Zionist regime is a desperate attempt to protect the security vacuum of the regime. It makes us more determined to increase our military power," Iran's Fars news agency quoted Bagheri as saying.
Holocaust Museum to world leaders at UN: 'Confront Iran on Holocaust denial'
The US Holocaust Memorial Museum urged world leaders to press Iran’s leadership on its Holocaust denial during the UN General Assembly.
“We want to make sure that the upcoming discussion at the United Nations is informed by facts about official Iranian efforts to promote racism and extremism in the form of Holocaust denial,” Tad Stahnke, the director of the museum’s initiative against Holocaust denial, said Tuesday in a conference call with reporters as the General Assembly formally launched in New York.
Stahnke and Maziar Bahari, an Iranian filmmaker, cautioned against believing claims by reputed moderates like Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif that the government of Iran repudiates Holocaust denial.
They noted that the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, questioned the veracity of the Holocaust as recently as International Holocaust Remembrance Day in January.
They also noted the most recent Holocaust cartoon contest in May, and said Zarif and others played word games when they said there was no “government” involvement. There are two “governments” in Iran, they said, and while the formal government may avoid Holocaust denial, the “system” of semi- and quasi-governmental authorities, including the Revolutionary Guard, is steeped in it.
The Holocaust museum’s website includes pages exposing Iranian Holocaust denial and pages in Persian explaining the Holocaust.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Gulf States Consider Thaw With Israel, Maybe Importing Some Jewish Slaves (satire)
New strategic alignments and a growing appreciation of geopolitical realities around the Arabian Peninsula have sparked unprecedented discourse in several countries in the region on the subject of possible ties with Israel and a potential openness to a Jewish presence in those countries in the form of slave labor.
In Riyadh, Dubai, and other important cities near the Persian Gulf, the unchecked threat of Iranian ambitions and the realization that longtime nemesis Israel could serve as an ally against those ambitions and against the Islamic militarism plaguing the region have prompted political thinkers to reconsider the decades-old rejection of anything Israeli or Jewish. Key figures in the governments of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait have floated the idea in recent months of abandoning knee-jerk, across-the-board opposition to Israel, and in at least one case, an Israeli trade office was opened in one of the gulf states in an unofficial capacity. However, the trauma of a sudden reversal of seventy years’ bitter rejection of Israeli legitimacy keeps those governments from an overnight warming to Israel, and instead, officials are proposing a gradual process of reducing the animosity and isolation, through personal exposure of Arabs in those countries to Jews they have purchased as slaves.
“We’re going to have to take this slowly,” said a Saudi official speaking on condition of anonymity. “Two or three generations have been raised on a steady diet of Jew-hate in the service of anti-Israel policies, and people in this part of the world are not prepared to encounter any Jews, the very embodiment of everything Satanic in their minds. The key would be to introduce Jews into our countries in a non-threatening manner and let everyone get used to having them around, and then maybe take the next step and start viewing them as fully human. Or maybe not.”

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