Saturday, October 15, 2016

From Ian:

The Little Jewish Village That Makes Obama Boil
Halfway to the sky sits a tiny village of little white houses that has attracted the ire of the White House.
The village of Amona with its small white houses and red roofs could easily be mistaken for some lost Italian village or a dusty California town. But the White House would not have “boiled in anger”, as one anonymous official claimed, over the doings of some Italian village.
There’s only one place on earth that makes Obama’s blood boil. It isn’t Iran or North Korea. It’s Israel.
Amona’s small scattering of houses have a fraction of the square footage of the White House. The 40 families living there in defiance of Islamic terrorists and left-wing lawfarers would hardly be noticeable if they all crowded into the White House foyer. And yet they’ve been condemned by the State Department in more virulent tones than most Muslim dictators.
What is it about this handful of Jews caught between heaven and earth that outrages so many?
That may be the great question of history. It will not be solved among the sheep pens and orchards, the little white houses of Amona and their inhabitants, who despite the rage of the big White House, continue to go to work each day, to raise their children and to worship in the way of their ancestors.
Think 'Shiloh'. Think 'Settler'. Think 'Horn'.
No, that headline is not a lede about me blowing a shofar here in Shiloh, Israel.

UN Watch: Historical revisionism: UNESCO adopts PLO’s Islamist resolution denying Jewish, Christian ties to Jerusalem
UN Watch condemned UNESCO’s “historical revisionism” after the agency’s 8-member Executive Board adopted an inflammatory and one-sided Palestinian-drafted resolution, submitted by the Islamic states, which erases Jewish and Christian ties to Jerusalem and casts doubt on the connection between Judaism and the ancient city’s Temple Mount and Western Wall. The vote was 24 in favor (including Iran and Sudan), 6 against (including USA, UK, Germany, Netherlands), 26 abstaining, and 2 absent.
At the same time, UN Watch said the inflammatory text’s failure to obtain a majority was a moral victory. The amount of countries abstaining increased by seven from the 17 who supported a similar text in April, with France, India, Argentina, Spain, Sweden, Sri Lanka, Guinea and Togo shifting their votes from yes to abstain.
The resolution was drafted by the Palestinians but officially submitted by Sudan’s genocidal regime together with human rights abusers Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, and Qatar.
Notable features of the text:
  • The resolution “decries,” “condemns,” “deplores” and “deprecates” a long list of alleged Israeli infringements of Palestinian rights. The text calls Israel “the Occupying Power.”
  • The text omits any mention of the hundreds of violent Palestinian attacks against Jews in Jerusalem, organized Palestinian attempts to terrorize Jews visiting Jewish holy sites in the city, or incitement to such attacks by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas

An archaeology lesson for UNESCO
The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Thursday adopted a biased and political resolution that disregards Judaism’s historic connection to the Temple Mount, casts doubts regarding the Jewish connection to the Western Wall, and protests against the Israel Antiquities Authority’s attempts to supervise construction work on and around the Temple Mount in order to preserve the antiquities and other archaeological data.
This is a purely political resolution that was formulated by Palestinian officials and that was accepted by UNESCO as is. It seeks only to preserve the heritage of Islam, and while this is important, UNESCO must not do this at the expense of Jewish and Christian heritage and culture. This resolution does not recognize the daily reality of Jerusalem or the Temple Mount, and its political agenda is in opposition to UNESCO’s own charter and mission to protect and promote science, culture, education and heritage.
The events in the past decades prove that Muslim authorities on the Temple Mount, who are officially under Jordanian auspices but in practice are controlled by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, have no concern for preserving even their own archaeological heritage, or advancing education, science, and culture at the site.
In 1999, the Muslim authorities excavated a gigantic pit in the south-eastern area of the Temple Mount using bulldozers and removing 400 truckloads of dirt. This was done without any archaeological control or supervision, and, consequently, we established the Temple Mount Sifting Project in order to save, preserve, and study the vast amount of archaeological artifacts that were buried in this soil and discarded. We retrieved hundreds of thousands of artifacts from this soil dating to the First and Second Jewish Temple periods and onwards, including Christian and Muslim era artifacts that were discarded.
As Unesco ignores Jewish history, read the facts
This article is a link to a document (pdf) that thoroughly explains how Unesco is ignoring history beause Jerusalem has been the Jewish nation's capital throughout history. Read and learn.
UNESCO chief to Livni: We will fight delegitimization of Israel
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova told MK Tzipi Livni that her organization would battle the delegitimization of Israel, as well as continue to promote Jewish heritage around the world and fight against Holocaust denial.
Bokova made the comments in a response to a letter that the Zionist Union lawmaker and former foreign minister sent ahead of Thursday’s UNESCO vote on a resolution that effectively rejects Jewish ties to Jerusalem’s holy sites.
UNESCO’s resolution, sponsored by several Arab countries, referred to the Temple Mount and Western Wall — Judaism’s holiest sites — only by their Muslim names, and condemned Israel as “the occupying power” for various actions taken in both places. Approved at UNESCO’s committee stage on Thursday, the resolution must still be validated by the Executive Board of UNESCO when it meets Tuesday, but the wording is unlikely to change.
In her initial letter sent on the eve of Thursday’s vote, Livni warned that the resolution could spark religious conflict and violations of the decades-long status quo at Jerusalem’s flashpoint holy sites.
Bokova’s response, which apparently came after the motion was passed, said that she herself recognizes the sanctity of the Temple Mount and the Western Wall to the Jewish people, and highlighted various UNESCO activities aimed at upholding Judaism’s connection to the land of Israel.
Top UNESCO official hopes to delay full vote on Jerusalem resolution
The head of UNESCO’s Executive Board, Michael Worbs, expressed hope Friday that a resolution by the cultural body effectively rejecting Jewish historical ties to Jerusalem holy sites would not go to a formal vote on Tuesday as expected, but would instead be deferred to give dialogue a chance.
The UNESCO resolution, sponsored by several Arab countries and passed Thursday in the committee stage, referred to the Temple Mount and Western Wall only by their Muslim names and condemned Israel as “the occupying power” for various actions taken in both places.
The resolution must still be validated by the Executive Board, but the contentious wording was not expected to change.
The 58 member states of the board normally follow the votes made at committee stage, but in this case Worbs said he hoped the vote would be postponed.
“We need more time and dialogue between the members of the board to reach a consensus,” he said.
“For 40 years, UNESCO has always managed to find consensual decisions on the Middle East,” he added. “But since autumn 2010 it has become more and more difficult.”
Top UNESCO official tells Israeli TV he’s ‘sorry’ about Jerusalem resolution
The chair of UNESCO’s Executive Board, Michael Worbs, said Friday he was sorry about the resolution ignoring Jewish ties to Jerusalem’s holy sites that was passed by UNESCO on Thursday and that is set to be approved by his executive board next week. “It’s very exceptional what happened yesterday, and I’m sorry for that,” Worbs told Israeli television.
Worbs, who had said earlier Friday that he hoped Tuesday’s scheduled Executive Board vote would be delayed, to allow more time for dialogue, told Israel’s Channel 10 television he would never deny Jewish and Christian ties to Jerusalem, and invoked the cultural body’s decades-old designation of the capital as a World Heritage Site. This designation trumps any recent conversations about the city, Worbs said, in a reference to Thursday’s UNESCO resolution that appeared to negate non-Muslim connections to Jerusalem’s holy sites.
Speaking from his office in Paris, Worbs told Channel 10 that when Jerusalem was declared a World Heritage Site, its importance to the three monotheistic religions was highlighted.
“I am very well aware of that [importance] and personally would never deny that,” Worbs said, referring to Jewish historical connection to the Old City of Jerusalem.
“I would also like to remind that Jerusalem, the Old City of Jerusalem and its walls were inscribed as a World Heritage Site of UNESCO by the World Heritage Committee in 1982, and at that time it was inscribed specifically as a site that has meaning for three religions,” Worbs said. This position, he said, supersedes any debate that the board has had recently.
US Christians Slam UNESCO Resolution, Say Denial of Jerusalem’s Jewish History Equals Rejection of City’s Christian Past as Well
A number of prominent leaders in the US Christian community expressed dismay on Friday over UNESCO’s approval yesterday of a resolution that distorts Jerusalem’s religious history.
Telling The Algemeiner that Christians were “gravely concerned” by the resolution, David Brog — the director of Christians United for Israel (CUFI) — said, “The places under discussion, namely the Temple Mount, play a central role not only to the Jewish faith but also to the Christian faith. This resolution largely ignores and fails to honor this deep and holy connection.”
Robert Nichols — the head of the Philos Project, a nonprofit group that “seeks to promote positive Christian engagement in the Middle East” — told The Algemeiner, “UNESCO’s decision to deny Jewish history is also a decision to deny Christian history. If the Jews don’t have a legacy on the Temple Mount, neither do Christians. And yet we know that our Messiah Jesus came to the Temple throughout his life to worship and pray to the God of Israel, as a Jew, six centuries before Muhammad was even born.”
Nichols went on to call it “mind-boggling” that “Christian-majority countries like Brazil and Mexico” would back the resolution. “It demonstrates just how far some Christians around the world have strayed from their origins,” he said. “Christianity is not a European or American religion — it is a Hebraic religion with roots in the land of Israel. Our faith only makes sense when it is moored in its original Jewish context.”
In response to a query from The Algemeiner, Darrell Bock — a senior research professor of New Testament studies at the Dallas Theological Seminary — said, “This resolution is misguided and ignores the history of the city. Jerusalem is a city with a shared history having a tender place in the hearts to those of many faiths. It does not belong to one faith and its importance owes much to both Jews and Christians. The United Nations should appreciate this shared element versus denying it.”
Former Israeli UNESCO Envoy: New Resolution Ignoring Jewish Ties to Jerusalem ‘Truly Scandalous’ But Will Have ‘No Real-World Impact’
UNESCO’s approval of a resolution that ignored the Jewish people’s ties with Jerusalem holy sites was “truly scandalous” but will have “absolutely no real-world impact,” a former Israeli ambassador to the global cultural body told The Algemeiner on Thursday.
David Kornbluth — who worked as an Israeli diplomat for more than three decades and served as Israel’s UNESCO envoy between 2005 and 2009 — said such resolutions have only two tangible effects — “putting off Israelis with UNESCO and the UN” and “inciting extremists among the Arabs to carry on with fairytale propaganda.”
“Unfortunately, UNESCO has gone the wrong way,” Kornbluth told The Algemeiner. “The Executive Board, which passed this resolution, has always been very problematic. But until a few years ago, it didn’t dare to attempt to do anything that was so counter-intuitive and so contrary to the facts.”
The resolution, Kornbluth emphasized, “doesn’t help the Palestinians in any way and it doesn’t help get peace negotiations going.”
Furthermore, he noted, “it pushes any possibility of ever reaching an agreement on matters like Jerusalem even further away.”
Palestinian FM rebukes UNESCO Chief
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki admonished UNESCO chief Irina Bokova on Friday for expressing her discontent with a resolution that ignores Jewish connections to the Temple Mount.
The draft measure approved on Friday by UNESCO member states refers to the site solely by its Islamic name, Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary).
“The director-general of UNESCO has overstepped the scope of her mandate by speaking out against a resolution adopted by the Executive Board of the organization,” Maliki said. “This unusual and unacceptable position is an affront to the sovereignty of the governing body of UNESCO. Further, Ms. Bokova’s declaration undermines the work and authority of the Executive Board and is hence completely unacceptable.”
Maliki added that Bokova decided to capitulate to Israeli pressure to block the resolution.
US, at UN, says Israel must choose between settlements or two-state solution
The United States on Friday called for immediate action to salvage the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the Security Council weighed its next steps to revive peace prospects.
US Deputy Ambassador David Pressman told an informal council meeting on Israeli settlements that the continued building of Jewish outposts on Palestinian land was “corrosive to the cause of peace.”
“We need to start implementing the two-state solution on the ground right now,” Pressman told the meeting organized by Angola, Egypt, Malaysia, Senegal and Venezuela.
During the session, the head of Israeli human rights group B’Tselem Hagai El-Ad told the council that Israel was creating facts on the ground in advance of any peace agreement with the Palestinians.
B’Tselem head urges Security Council to act now on settlements
The head of Israeli human rights group B’Tselem called Friday for the United Nations to take action against the Jewish state’s settlements, telling a special session of the Security Council that Israel was creating facts on the ground in advance of any peace agreement with the Palestinians.
The session was broadcast live on the UN website.
The NGO’s executive director, Hagai El-Ad, began his presentation to the Council at the UN headquarters in New York by airing two videos that he said illustrated life for Palestinians under Israeli occupation, and drew attention to what he called non-reported “regular” days under occupation.
He cited “invisible, bureaucratic daily violence” that dominates Palestinian life “from cradle to grave,” including Israeli control over entrance and exit from territories, and even farming rights.
“With every breath they take, Palestinians are breathing in occupation,” El-Ad told the session titled “Illegal Israeli Settlements: Obstacles to Peace and the Two-State Solution.” He claimed that “ever-present” settlers live in a first-world community “that exists only for them.”
Leftist MK: By going to UN, B’Tselem helps ‘demonization of Israel’
Zionist Union Knesset member Itzik Shmuli on Saturday criticized Israeli human rights group B’Tselem for attacking Israeli settlements at the UN, saying the move was “unhelpful” and helped promote the “demonization of Israel.”
B’Tselem executive director Hagai El-Ad had on Friday called for the UN to take action against the Jewish state’s settlements, telling a special session of the Security Council that Israel was creating facts on the ground in advance of any peace agreement with the Palestinians.
But Shmuli told Channel 2 News the “rush to biased UN institutions is unhelpful, as it does not advance a solution here in the Middle East [and] it mostly advances the libel and demonization of Israel.”
He also said such action was “unwise,” because “here in Israel it hurts chiefly those who wish to promote an agreement and who wish to separate from the Palestinians.”
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon had also slammed B’Tselem for taking part in the forum, citing Thursday’s passage of a resolution by UNESCO that rejects Jewish ties to Jerusalem’s holy sites.
“After anti-Israel forces approved a resolution intending to sever the historical bond between the Jewish people and Jerusalem, Israeli organizations chose to slander and besmirch Israel’s good name at an event organized by the Palestinian delegation,” Danon said in a statement. “It is unfortunate that Israeli organizations have joined the Palestinian attempts to wage diplomatic terror against Israel at the UN.”
Di Natale attacks Peres
Australia - The leader of the Greens Senator Richard Di Natale has told the Australian senate his views of the political life of Shimon Peres, a former Israeli president who died recently at 93.
Di Natale said: “Leaving aside the astonishing hypocrisy of the coalition, who have consistently denied leave on foreign policy motions and yet seek to introduce one today, it is important to put on the record that Shimon Peres has been described as an architect of Israel’s nuclear weapons program, which to this day remains outside the scrutiny of the International Atomic Energy Agency; that he was the father of the settler movement, which involves the confiscation of large swathes of Palestinian land; and that in 1996 he oversaw Operation Grapes of Wrath, which involved the death of 154 civilians in Lebanon and involved the shelling of a United Nations compound, which killed 106 sheltering civilians. While he was awarded a Nobel peace prize in 1994, members of that committee have expressed regret that the prize could not be recalled on the basis of the actions that followed.”
Federal Labor MP Michael Danby has slammed Di Natale’s remarks saying: “Yesterday in the Senate, the leader of the green political party Richard Di Natale, to his shame, denigrated the recently deceased President of Israel, Shimon Peres. Danby said “the Green Party boss again showed his total insensitivity and his hatred of a Jewish State”
“It was unprecedented for the head of a political party to attack the recently deceased head of state who was known for values of peace and reconciliation with which the fake Green party ostensibly identifies.” Di Natale’s attack on Peres came after a non-partisan resolution in the senate lauding Peres’ lifetime achievements. The Green Party’s hypocrisy in criticizing Shimon Peres shows once again why any Australian Jewish citizen cannot support that extremist political party that singles out Israel for disdain. Not a word about Peres’ moves for reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinian, his support for a two state solution and his futuristic moves to engage Israel with the Arab world through technology and science were even noted by the deeply ignorant leader of the Australian Green Party that has long left environmentalism behind as its main concern and replaced it with extremist attacks on Israel and the West. Danby said “Di Natale attacked Peres’ role 50 years ago in Israel acquiring nuclear technology – a failsafe for the Jewish State given the near extermination of the Jewish people during the Shoah which was understood by most reasonable people.” In his Senate attack Di Natalie cited other partisans who said Peres’ noble peace prize should have been cancelled because of a military operation in Lebanon when he was leader just after Rabin’s murder.
Danby said, “None of the green party had made such violent denunciations over the hundreds of thousands of civilians murdered in Syria, again emphasising their blinded hypocrisy.” He continued, “This small rotten speech is an insight into the mentality of this group and shows yet again why it was so important to defeat them in Melbourne Ports and elsewhere at the recent election
Iran demands halt in arms sales to Israel citing 'humanitarian law'
Iran on Saturday demanded that all arms sales to Israel and Saudi Arabia be halted immediately based on "humanitarian law" during a meeting at the United Nations, according to Iranian state news agency PressTV.
“We are deeply concerned about the destabilizing repercussions of the continual entry and export of such weaponry into the region, especially into Saudi Arabia and the Zionist regime of Israel," said Iran's Deputy permanent representative at the UN Gholam-Hossein Dehqani.
Dehqani added that Israel was "engaged in aggression and violation against other countries and in flouting their commitments to international humanitarian laws."
The comments were made during the UN's annual Disarmament and International Security Committee meeting at the world body's headquarters in New York, Press TV added.
The Iranian diplomat also urged action in disarming Israel of its alleged nuclear arsenal, claiming that “the most dangerous weapons are in the hands of the most dangerous regime in the Middle East."
"The Zionist regime has recurrently perpetrated violations, occupation, genocide, and terrorist activities; and nuclear weapons in the hands of such a regime constitutes the most dangerous threat to NPT signatories in the Middle East,” he added.
As per policy, Israel neither confirms nor denies it is in possession of nuclear weapons.
Border Police officer lightly wounded in stabbing attack near Jerusalem
An Israel Border Police officer was lightly wounded in a suspected terrorist knifing attack Saturday morning in the village of Har Adar in the West Bank.
The suspect in the incident reportedly fled the scene following the attack.
Israel Security Forces have opened an investigation and are combing the area for suspects.
The border guard was given aid on the scene and then evacuated to nearby Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem for further treatment.
According to a police statement, the officer was wounded while on patrol near the security fence in the northern West Bank town located approximately 12 miles away from Jerusalem.
The attacker, the report stated, ambushed the officer while laying in wait in a nearby bush.
Gaza, Egypt border opens for two days, reportedly for VIPS
The Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt opened on Saturday, according to Palestinian news outlet Ma'an. The gate was set to be open for two days.
Gaza's Ministry of Interior reportedly said that Egypt informed Gaza it would open Saturday just this past Thursday. The gate was set to be open for humanitarian cases as well as what was described as "stranded people."
The New Arab contradicted the reports stating that the gate was in fact being opened to allow VIP's in Gaza to attend a conference in Egypt sponsored by the government.
Among those reportedly crossing were MP's and other political figures as well as academics.
According to al-Ahram the newspaper of the Egpytian government, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi ordered the gate be opened for humanitarian cases.
The gate was last opened for five days in late June and early July according to a July 17 report by Gisha, an Israeli NGO and legal action center dedicated to freedom of movement.
During that time, 4,581 people crossed the border with 2,961 exits from Gaza to Egypt and 1,620 entries from Egypt to Gaza. Exits were only permitted to medical patients, students registered for studies in third countries, foreign passport holders and individuals with residency status abroad, or “special coordination.”
Russia’s Return to the Middle East, and What It Means for Israel
Above all, writes Yaakov Amidror, Moscow’s intervention in Syria, along with its cultivation of closer diplomatic ties with Cairo and Tehran, is aimed at restoring Russian influence to what it was at the height of the cold war, and ultimately at supplanting the U.S. as the dominant force in the region. While Israel continues to make the best of a bad situation, the horizon is not bright:
Israel . . . has some major disagreements with Russia, especially after the sale of sophisticated weapons to Iran and Syria and the transfer of many weapons systems to Hizballah. [However], Russia’s willingness to tolerate Israel Air Force operations over Syria reflects a certain understanding of Jerusalem’s position. In a way the tacit permission it grants to Israeli operations to stop the arms transfers legitimizes those operations.
Overall, in its relationship with Russia, Israel is realistic. It tries to understand what can be achieved (for example, a lengthy delay in supplying Iran with the S-300 surface-to-air missile system) and what cannot be achieved (for example, the outright cancellation of the sale of the S-300 missile system).
Israel understands that it cannot stop cooperation among Iran, Hizballah, and Syria in the war against the [anti-Assad] rebels. Israel has been able, however, to establish a conflict-prevention mechanism to prevent any incidents that could occur if Israel and Russia were to operate in the same area without reliable communication.
'We won't allow Iran to control Syria'
Yoav Gallant, construction minister and former head of Shayetet 13 naval commandos, says Iran is the greatest threat to Israel • When it comes to the Palestinians, he says both sides have to compromise, but Israel will never withdraw to the 1967 borders.
Yom Kippur, 1973. Yoav Gallant, a 10th grader from Ramat Gan, is sitting in the synagogue.
"I remember the moment," he tells Israel Hayom. "The adults got up and left. Later, we heard that the war had started."
The high schooler, who would eventually command the elite Shayetet 13 naval commando unit and go on to serve as a major general in the General Staff, and who is currently housing and construction minister and sits on the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet, belongs to the generation of leaders that did not fight in that war, but lived through it and was affected by it.
"I was a kid during the [1967] Six-Day War. I remember the look my parents exchanged during that war -- it was a look of fear. In the Yom Kippur War, I saw a different look on their faces, one of astonishment.
"The 12th graders handled the emergency economy headquarters that operated between Jabotinsky and Bialik streets, across from the Rama movie theater. The 10th and 11th graders, including me, were their assistants. We got up in the morning, went to work at the Tana Noga [dairy], distributed eggs in the afternoon, and in the evening we'd go to Tel Hashomer to help load ammunition onto trucks. We felt like we were part of the war effort and very important. Bit by bit, after a week or two, we started to hear rumors of casualties. Names we knew, people who'd been [a few years] ahead of us in the youth movements, in the Scouts. That's how I learned that my good friend Shimon's brother had been killed. That's what I remember from the Yom Kippur War.
Assad: There's no contradiction between Israel and ISIS
Syria’s President, Bashar Al-Assad, claimed on Thursday that there is “no contradiction” between Israel and jihadist groups such as the Islamic State (ISIS).
Assad was speaking in an interview with the Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda and was responding to a question regarding Israel and ISIS.
“For me, it’s a very strange thing,” the interviewer said, according to an English transcript provided by the Syrian news agency SANA. “ISIS, with their ideology, never threaten Israel, and Israel never threaten[s] ISIS. It’s like some kind of agreement about – maybe not on friendship – but neutrality. Why, you think, it’s like this? And what’s the role of Israel in this war?”
Assad replied by claiming that all the “terrorist groups” which operate in his country are supported by Israel. The Assad regime uses the term “terrorist groups” to define all of Assad’s opponents, including both moderate, Western-backed rebels and jihadist groups like ISIS.
“Not only ISIS, of course, or Daesh, not only Al-Nusra; anyone, any terrorist who holds a machinegun and started killing and destroying in Syria was supported by Israel, either indirectly through the logistical support on the frontier, or sometimes by direct intervention by Israel against Syria in different areas in Syria,” he said, according to SANA.
“Why? Because Israel is our enemy, because they occupy our lands, and they look at Syria as [an] enemy of course, and for them they think if they undermine the position of Syria and make it weaker as a whole, as society, as army, as state, that will prevent Israel from moving toward peace, and the price of peace is to give back the Golan Heights to Syria,” continued the Syrian President.
Hezbollah’s Women Aren’t Happy
When her 27-year-old son died in Syria, Rima felt more furious than sad. Unfortunately, she could not say out loud what she wanted to say. He was sent to fight in Syria, without her approval, and without receiving proper training. She wanted to blame someone—mainly those who had talked him into joining the fighters in Syria—but she couldn’t. Her community had hailed his death as a sacrifice—a martyrdom.
When Hezbollah officials visited her after she lost her son, she swallowed her words while listening to them going on and on about the role of Sayyeda Zaynab—the granddaughter of Prophet Mohammad and daughter of Imam Ali, one of the few survivors of the Karbala battle during which her brother Hussein was killed. For Shiites, Sayyeda Zaynab symbolizes pure grief, justice, and the fight for good against evil. For Lebanese Shiites, mainly those who support Hezbollah, Sayyeda Zaynab has another role: as a key justification for why Hezbollah is in Syria; the fighters are there to protect her shrine in Damascus.
Rima listened silently to Hezbollah’s officials, but she only wanted them to leave. She didn’t feel the strength and resilience usually associated with Sayyeda Zaynab and the mothers of martyrs. She felt drained and empty. They told her that she had now been elevated to the status of a martyr’s mother, and that Sayyeda Zaynab would be looking after her.
Is this title going to secure her future? Not really. She will get her compensation, some benefits, and will then be forgotten, like thousands of other mothers who’ve lost their sons in battle. Her son will be transformed from the living boy of her memories into a timeworn poster on one of Dahiyeh’s shabby walls, and she will return to her life of struggle to make ends meet.
Rima is originally from the south of Lebanon. She moved to Dahiyeh with her family during Lebanon’s civil war, married early, did not finish school, and took care of her five children. Her husband works as a taxi driver and barely makes enough money to feed his family. Her only hope is to see her children have better lives. Now one of them is dead, and her younger son is eager to join the fight in Syria, to avenge his brother’s death but also to make money, now that his brother’s salary is gone.
JCPA: Iranian Missiles in Houthi Hands Threaten Freedom of Navigation in Red Sea
Iran Fills the American Vacuum
A solution in Yemen appears distant. International interest in the conflict is almost nonexistent, especially in light of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria. The departure from Yemen of most of the American Special Forces left a vacuum; it has been filled by Iran and the terror organizations Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Islamic State, which is active in southern Yemen. From time to time, unmanned American drones fire missiles at these groups, but they remain active in the absence of international concern. Significantly, the UAE is playing a central role in the Arab coalition in Yemen. Along with its forces’ military activity, mainly against AQAP near the port cities of Al-Mukalla and Aden in southern Yemen, the UAE provides extensive humanitarian aid to the residents of the area as part of the struggle against terror. The UAE is also trying to get the tribes in the area to support the Yemeni central government, which is important to shore up.
Also apparent in Yemen are the absence of the American player and the weakening of its overall policy in the Middle East. Not far from Yemen in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, Iranian fast boats continue to harass and provoke American warships, which operate without any appropriate response. Meanwhile, Iran continues to build its naval and missile power, with which it can project force in the Arabian Gulf and beyond to the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea – where Iranian ships are active as part of the war on pirates, but also as a signal to the United States that Iran views these areas as a natural zone of influence.
Iran views the maritime domain as an important channel for its influence. It enables it to protect its borders as it develops a special battle doctrine, “swarming,” to confront technologically superior (American) naval forces. It also enables Iran to ship aid to its proxies including the Houthis in Yemen, the Palestinian terror organizations, and Hizbullah.
The ongoing war in Yemen serves as a perfect venue for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN), IRGC missile forces, IRGC Quds forces, and Hizbullah to battle-test some of their new weapons against Iran’s enemies – Saudi Arabia and its Arab-coalition and its arch enemy, the “Great Satan,” the United States.
For Iran, Yemen is a perfect venue for such tests. Iran is preparing for future engagement with the U.S. Navy in the Persian Gulf where the IRGCN frequently provokes and sometimes humiliates American naval presence in the area. The Americans’ reaction to launching the missiles against its ships may change the dynamics. Playing the incident down will again play into Iranian propaganda and bolster Iran’s already overconfident and defiant stance.
America’s Hot Proxy War with Iran
So this was an act of war not just on the part of the Houthis but also on the part of the Iranians. Except the administration refuses to acknowledge that reality because to do so would cast doubt on the entire narrative of detente with Iran that was supposed to be brought about by the signing of an agreement freezing Iran’s nuclear program.
Blowing up three radar stations is a proportionate punishment but not one that inflicts any real damage on Iran. The mullahs continue unabated with their bid to establish a new Persian Empire sprawling from Tehran to Beirut. They continue to sponsor proxy forces in Iraq, Yemen, Syria, and Lebanon, among other places. And the U.S. still hasn’t come up with any effective response. Indeed, there is no reason to think that the White House even thinks a response is warranted, given Obama’s oft-stated desire to act as a neutral broker between anti-American Iran and pro-American Saudi Arabia.
It is this perceived tilt toward Iran and away from America’s traditional allies in the region (including Israel and Saudi Arabia) that has emboldened Tehran into thinking it can fire cruise missiles at American ships and get away with it.
What might a more appropriate response look like? There are many options–from targeting Iranian military facilities to targeting the air force of Iran’s Number 1 proxy, Bashar Assad. Sanctions could also be imposed to make Iran pay a greater cost for its support of terrorism.
But President Obama won’t order any such steps. He simply wants to run out the clock on his administration and leave office without any further military entanglement in the Middle East. That will leave for the next president—a job that Hillary Clinton now appears destined to occupy, after the implosion of the Trump campaign—to reestablish a measure of deterrence against adversaries such as Iran and Russia that are taking advantage of American weakness to make a power-grab in the Middle East and beyond.
Iran’s Plan: Conquer Aleppo, Gain Access to Mediterranean
Iran’s assistance in helping the Syrian government capture the rebel-held city of Aleppo, which has been subjected to air strikes that French President Francois Hollande has characterized as war crimes, is part of the Islamic Republic’s long-held strategy to build and control a land route to the Mediterranean Sea, The Guardian reported on Sunday.
Iranian proxy forces supporting the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, including the Iraqi Shiite militias known as popular mobilization forces, currently surround the eastern section of Aleppo and are preparing for an invasion.
Aleppo, The Guardian explained, “would be an important leg in the corridor [to the sea], which would run past two villages to the north that have historically been in Shia hands.” Iraqi and Syrian officials told The Guardian that the path would then go south to Homs, and from there to the port city of Latakia. More completely, the route “across Arab Iraq, through the Kurdish north, into Kurdish north-eastern Syria and through the battlefields north of Aleppo, where Iran and its allies are prevailing on the ground.”
All points along the route, including through parts of Kurdistan, are controlled by Iran or its proxies, not all of whom are “aware of the entirety of the project,” The Guardian explained. Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force, is credited with devising the route, which is now “coordinated by senior government and security officials in Tehran, Baghdad and Damascus, all of whom defer to” Soleimani.
Report: Russia Completes Delivery of S-300 Advanced Missile System to Iran
Russia has completed the delivery of S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran, RIA news agency quoted Russia's state arms export agency as saying on Thursday.
Russia's agreement to provide Iran with S-300 has sparked concern in Israel. Moscow canceled the contract to deliver S-300s to Iran in 2010 under pressure from the West.
Russian President Vladimir Putin lifted that self-imposed ban in April 2016, following an interim agreement that paved the way for last year's full nuclear deal.
Russia delivered the first parts of S-300, the missile tubes and radar equipment, to Iran in April 2016.
Paris regional council vows to strip funding from BDS promoters
A regional council in France that includes Paris passed a precedent-setting amendment that excludes funding from promoters of boycotts against Israel.
The council of the Ile-de-France region, where right-wing parties have a majority, adopted the amendment Thursday, the Le Monde Juif website reported the following day.
The report said the council’s president, Valérie Pécresse of the UMP party of former President Nicolas Sarkozy, led the vote in keeping with her campaign promises to pursue vigorous measures against the BDS movement – an acronym for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.
“In accordance with the law, I will not tolerate any form of boycotts against Israel in the Ile-de-France region,” she said while campaigning for the top executive political position of the region, which is home to most of France’s 500,000 Jews.
Robert Ejnes, deputy president of the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities, in a Twitter post congratulated the council for its amendment, whose final text was not yet published. Ariel Goldmann, another CRIF vice president, wrote on Twitter about the measure: “Thank you and bravo.”
Antisemitic graffiti found at the University of Toronto
Antisemitic swastika graffiti were found last week across six locations at the University of Toronto including on Medical Sciences Building signage at 1 King’s College Circle, on a bus shelter near the southwest corner of St. George Street and Harbord Street, on a signboard outside the Department of Sociology building at 725 Spadina Avenue and at the Department of Sociology building.
The university was informed and quickly removed the graffiti. Toronto Police have launched an investigation with no leads yet to the perpetrators.
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) and Hillel Ontario condemned the incidents. “We are deeply alarmed to hear of these disturbing incidents which appear to be deliberate acts of hate rather than matters of casual or thoughtless graffiti. The swastika is a symbol of violence against Jews and hostility toward Canada’s democratic values. No student, Jewish or otherwise, should be forced to see their campus desecrated this way,” said Berl Nadler, Co-chair of the CIJA Toronto Council.
“Jewish students at the University of Toronto have a right to feel safe on campus. This cowardly attempt at intimidation will not go unchallenged,” said Marc Newburgh, CEO of Hillel Ontario. “We expect that the University of Toronto administration will do everything in its power to ensure that campus remains a safe space for all Jewish students.”
Jewish brothers assaulted following Yom Kippur services in Brooklyn
Two brothers were verbally and physically assaulted on Wednesday as they were returning home from Yom Kippur services in Brooklyn, the New York Daily News citing polices sources reported.
The episode occurred late afternoon on Wednesday as the brothers were walking back the from Flatbush Park Jewish Center in Mill Basin.
Wearing yarmulkes and prayer shawls, the police said that three men, all white, shouted "fu**king Jews" at the brothers, ages 19 and 23, as they walked along the opposite direction on E. 66th St. by Strickland Ave., according to the Daily News.
The 23-year-old then turned around, stated "it's our holiday," and made contact with one of the men.
US students expelled over Facebook group on killing Jews, black people
Five high school students in Colorado were expelled for joining a “Nazi-themed” group on Facebook, which called for the “execution” of Jews and black people.
Quoting police in the city of Boulder, the Guardian said Friday that the five were among around 15 students who recently took part in the “4th Reich’s Official Group Chat,” in which participants talked about “killing all Jews and n*****s” and were urged to “recruit more members so they can complete their ‘mission.'”
Members of the group referred to themselves by “Nazi-themed nicknames,” such the Fuhrer and military ranks Gruppenfuhrer and Sturmbannführer. They also discussed “the final solution” — a reference to the Nazi plan to eradicate the Jewish people — making comments such as, “You can hang Jews on trees, shoot them right in the knees. Gas as many as you please.”
Regional Anti-Defamation League head Scott Levin attributed the incident to “hateful rhetoric going on in this country right now” that he said “has just empowered some teenagers,” the Guardian reported.

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