Monday, February 06, 2017

From Ian:

The Choices Palestinians Make
The notion that the Israeli pilot is the only one who has any responsibility for the child's death is simply false. A lot of bad choices were made — by Palestinians — prior to the death of the young child and Atef Abu Saif knows it; he just can't — or will not — address these choices, at least not in this text.
The reality that Saif will not confront in his book [The Drone Eats With Me] is that Hamas, the terrorist organization that controls the Gaza Strip, bears a huge measure of responsibility for the suffering he documents. Hamas has repeatedly started wars that it cannot win against a country that cannot afford to lose.
During these conflicts, it has launched rockets from schoolyards and has used hospitals as command centers for its leaders, putting civilians on both sides of the conflict at risk. When children are killed by Israeli strikes in Gaza, Hamas puts their bodies on display to demonize Israel, and writers such as Saif assist in this tactic.
During the war in 2008–2009, Hamas... used cement and other building materials allowed into the Gaza Strip—ostensibly for the benefit of Palestinian civilians—in order to construct tunnels that could penetrate Israel and serve as a means to kidnap Israeli soldiers and civilians.
During its 2012 fight with Israel, Hamas leaders declared that killing Jews is a religious obligation. Hamas promotes a genocidal organization that seeks Israel's destruction and yet Saif does not speak a word about this lethal ideology or actions before or during the 2014 war.
Honesty requires that the deaths of these Palestinian children serve to drive — not obstruct — the conversation toward Palestinian abilities and responsibility.
PMW: Germany signs sports agreement with terror promoting PA official Rajoub
Last week, the head of the German representation in Ramallah, Peter Beerwerth, signed “the first bilateral cooperation agreement” in sports between the PA and Germany with Jibril Rajoub, the president of the Supreme Council for Sport and Youth Affairs in the Palestinian Authority.
In its recent report The Rajoub File, Palestinian Media Watch documented that Jibril Rajoub is an outspoken supporter of Palestinian terror attacks against Israelis and prohibits peacebuilding sports activities between Palestinians and Israelis. During the latest wave of Palestinian attacks against Israelis, Rajoub congratulated terrorist murderers, telling them that: “You are ‎heroes and we bless you... you are a ‎crown on our heads.” When a friendly football match took place between 11-year-old Israeli and Palestinian boys after the Gaza War in 2014, Rajoub called it a “crime against humanity.”
In addition, the Palestinian Football Association, which will be the beneficiary of a German football expert paid for by Germany, supervises an annual sporting event named after arch-terrorist Abu Jihad. According to the Palestinian Authority’s own documentation, terrorist Abu Jihad was responsible for the murder of 125 people.
The official PA daily reported that the new agreement between Germany and the PA is the result of “meetings between Rajoub and senior officials of the sports sector in Germany,” and that the German Olympic Committee and the German Football Association at these meetings had “demonstrated a willingness to contribute to the development of many sports branches in Palestine.” [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 1, 2017]



Move the Embassy—for America's Sake
Little headway has been made in establishing a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, or even settling many of the intermediate challenges, since 1995. An American embassy move may, however, break the stalemate. The argument being made right now by the Palestinian Authority and several other Arab governments is that an American embassy relocation to even western Jerusalem would make peace impossible. But this is only true if the Palestinian Authority and those Arab governments actually oppose the two-state solution, because it is premised on a divided Jerusalem with the western portion under Israeli sovereignty. Therefore, a negative reaction to a U.S. embassy located in western Jerusalem is a sign that the Arab side is not serious about accepting a cornerstone of the peace process, and therefore suggests that the United States’ decades-long support for diplomacy may be misplaced because the Arab side does not intend to follow through on it.
The continuation of the Jerusalem Embassy Act waiver usage for the past 21 years has been a similar exercise in poor critical thinking and the victory of stubborn hope over educated reason. It has been based on four mistaken assumptions.
The first assumption is that American recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem creates a new “fact on the ground,” which it does not. American recognition is just that; it would not force the Palestinians or any other country to recognize it themselves. Nor would an American embassy in western Jerusalem create a city that is more united or divided than it is right now.
The second is that Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem means that it becomes a purely “Jewish” city. But Jerusalem has been a city open to all nations and faiths only when under Israeli control. It is, moreover, a city that hosts an Israeli government that includes a sizeable and influential bloc of democratically elected Arab parliamentarians, as well as an Arab justice on the Supreme Court who oversaw the 2014 national elections. An American embassy in western Jerusalem would not define the city as “Jewish” or “Arab,” nor would it force non-Jews out of the city in any way.
Trump Must Move the Embassy to Jerusalem Now
First, President Trump spoke in his inaugural address of the imperative of “eradicating from the face of the earth” radical Islamic terrorism. It would ill-serve his credibility and thus American interests to renege on a emphatic, explicit commitment to move the embassy in the face of terrorist threats as virtually the first act of his presidency.
Second, how are allies to put trust in American commitments that can be undone at the first hint of violence or intimidation? Retracting his commitment to move the embassy would appear to be the worst possible way for President Trump to tackle, as he has pledged to do, reversing the perception that America doesn’t stand by friends while being concessionary to violent enemies.
Third, Arab cooperation with Israel is grounded in strategy and self-interest: resisting Iran’s march to nuclear weapons. Whatever Arab leaders might fear, they are not about to jettison any cooperation they deem vital to their larger national interests.
Fourth, jihadist terrorists, dedicated to destroying or transforming America into a sharia-compliant state irrespective of Israel’s existence, have either planned or launched at least 91 attacks within the US since 9/11 (10 during 2016 alone). It’s unlikely that moving the embassy will engender attacks that would not otherwise be undertaken. But even if it did, the idea that US foreign policy is to be determined by the probability of resort to murderous force by terrorists is unworthy of a sovereign country, let alone a world power.
Fifth, this is especially so where such a move might be beneficial to peace. Far from harming peace prospects, a clear US policy that corrects an historic anomaly and unambiguously recognizes the reality of Jerusalem’s status as Israel’s capital by relocating the American embassy there might serve to dissipate the unrealistic Palestinian ambition that Israel can be detached from Jerusalem.
Deputy FM Hotovely: Consulates to follow US embassy to Jerusalem
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) welcomed the Israeli ambassadors stationed in Africa during the course of a conference of heads of delegations which is taking place in the ministry this week.
Hotovely heard about the challenges being faced by the heads of the African delegation, who suffer from budgetary problems in their efforts to conduct diplomatic campaigns with a small staff and limited funds.
Hotovely promised to investigate the matter in order to assist Israel's propaganda efforts in Africa.
She told the ambassadors that "we are in negotiations with the Treasury. A 100 million shekel addition is under discussion and there are also discussions about salaries for embassy employees. The Treasury understands the importance of the matter."
Hotovely added that "this is a special year in which we will mark fifty years since the reunification of Jerusalem. We must aspire to a movement of consulates towards Jerusalem after the US will move its embassy to Jerusalem."
Netanyahu meets May as UK eyes bolstered Israel ties post-Brexit
British Prime Minister Theresa May greeted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at No. 10 Downing on Monday afternoon, saying she was happy to welcome him as both countries commemorate 100 years since the 1917 Balfour Declaration.
Small pro- and anti-Israel demonstrations greeted Netanyahu there as well.
May, in brief remarks, said that Britain remains committed to a two-state solution.
Labour party head Jeremy Corbyn, who did not seek a meeting with Netanyahu during his 24-hour visit to London, has urged May to say that Britain stands “unequivocally behind the rights of the Palestinian people, along with the many who support them in Israel.”
May made clear in her comments that the two countries have many areas of cooperation. She also said she will discuss the situation in Syria and Iran with Netanyahu.
Netanyahu, who said before leaving Israel that standing up to increasing Iranian aggression in the region would be one of the main topics of discussion in London, praised US President Donald Trump for reinstating some sanctions on Iran, and said he expected other countries to do the same. He said Iran publicly threatens to destroy Israel, and is engaged in one provocation after another. The prime minister stressed that Israel has not given up on its yearning for peace, and will discuss that as well with May, saying that along with the current challenges in the region, there are also opportunities.
Daphne Anson: "A Killer is Coming to Town" (videos)
In Old London Town, more public ventilating by the anti-Israel brigade.
First, in this video by our old mate Alex Seymour/Seymour Alexander:
Now, complete with an introduction invoking Holocaust Memorial Day, this venomous anti-Trump, anti-Netanyahu speech by bling-wearing socialist David Rosenberg, one of the Jewish Socialists associated with that odious Roll of Shame I blogged about earlier:
Hear that appreciative crowd roar!
Funny peculiar (not funny ha ha) that those who use sexism as a stick with which to beat Donald Trump, and who loudly affirm their opposition to"fascism," overlook the institutionalised misogyny of Islam and the threats to society posed by Islamofascism. Innit.
Balfour descendant touts 2-state solution, marking 1917 edict's centennial
The great-grandson of Lord Balfour expressed hope that a two-state solution could be achieved this year, as he conveyed pride in his family’s legacy, the centenary of which was celebrated at Limmud FSU in Windsor this weekend.
The Balfour Declaration, dated November 2, 1917, was sent by Lord Roddy Balfour’s great-grandfather, former British foreign secretary Arthur James Balfour, to Baron Lionel Walter Rothschild. It expressed Britain’s support for the establishment of a homeland for the Jewish people in Israel.
The text of the letter was incorporated into the Treaty of Sevres with the Ottoman Empire and the Mandate for Palestine.
“I am very honored to hear that an element of your symposium will be a commemoration of the Centenary of the Balfour Declaration,” Balfour said in a special message to the conference, which was read out during a festive gala on Saturday night.
An exhibition about the Balfour Declaration was displayed throughout the event (the first Limmud FSU ever to be held in Europe), which drew some 700 Russian-speaking Jews to the UK from more than 20 European countries for three days of intensive Jewish learning. (h/t Elder of Lobby)
UN peace envoy warns Israel of far-reaching consequences to outpost bill
The so-called Regulation Bill seeks to legalize several thousand West Bank settlement homes built illegally on private Palestinian property.
Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov said in a statement: “I am concerned by the scheduled vote on the so-called “Regularization Bill” [sic] as it would enable the continued use of privately-owned Palestinian land for Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.”
“If adopted into law, it will have far reaching legal consequences for Israel and greatly diminish the prospects for Arab-Israeli peace. The bill has been deemed unconstitutional by the Attorney General of Israel and is in contravention of international law.”
“I urge Israeli legislators to reconsider this move,” Mladenov said. He noted that “settlements are illegal under international law and, as outlined in the Middle East Quartet report, present one of the main impediments to peace.”
Can Trump Break the Russian-Iranian Alliance?
So far, Putin has succeeded in balancing Israeli and Sunni interests with its growing relationship with Iran. But it is unclear how long Putin can sustain this policy. Certainly, Putin did not hesitate to discount Israel’s interests when it came to selling S-300 weapons to Iran. Indeed, it is not in Israel’s interest for Putin to continue supporting Bashar al-Assad and thereby expand Iran’s influence in the Middle East. The Trump administration could encourage and support U.S. allies like Israel in order to make it more difficult for Putin to maintain his balance of good relations with all sides. It should also step up security cooperation with its allies to demonstrate that it is still committed to the region.
In the long term, Russia and Iran diverge somewhat on Syria. Iran perceives Syria as within its sphere of influence, which is not very different from how Putin views the former Soviet Union countries that he does not consider real states. Iran is interested in exacerbating sectarian divisions in Syria so that the Assad regime becomes an Iranian client-state with no independent decision-making. Iran is also closer to Assad himself than Putin, who simply wants Assad or someone else like him to ensure his interests in Syria. He cares more about how he can leverage Syria in his relations with the West than Syria itself. At the same time, Putin also increasingly perceives the Middle East as falling within the Russian sphere of influence, albeit differently than Iran. Historically, Moscow always looked for buffer zones out of its sense of insecurity, and this is precisely how it feels now.
The Trump administration could emphasize to Putin that Russian and Iranian interests in Syria are bound to clash in the future, and therefore an alliance with Iran can only go so far. But most of all, the U.S. needs to be present in the region and regain its leadership position. Putin preys on weakness and has perceived the U.S. as weak for years. He stepped into a vacuum in the Middle East, especially in Syria, that was created by America’s absence. By taking an active role in the region, the U.S. would limit Putin’s influence, including his alliance with Iran.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Obama, Kerry Wonder Why Falcons Didn’t Try To Use ‘Soft Power’ (satire)
Former President Barack Obama and his Secretary of State John Kerry voiced puzzlement today at the Atlanta Falcons’ decision to employ outright force in yesterday’s Super Bowl, when the successes of the “soft power” model offered by the previous administration was so evident. Had the Falcons done so, noted both men, they might have prevailed over the New England Patriots.
Obama and Kerry spoke separately to reporters last night following New England’s 34-28 come-from-behind victory over the Falcons in Houston. Both expressed regret for Atlanta’s team and asserted that had they followed the former administration’s approach to conflict – namely, avoiding it at all costs – the game could have ended with a victory for the AFC team.
Obama pointed specifically to his achievements in staying out of direct conflict with Russia over the latter’s invasion and annexation of Ukrainian territory. “At no point did you see American troops at risk of confrontation with Russian forces, either in Ukraine or in Syria,” noted the former president, on whose watch Russia remained free to entrench itself deeper in Ukraine as it pleased, and to establish a foothold in the Middle East that had theretofore been denied it by sixty consecutive years of American policy.
Kerry, for his part, invoked his triumphant diplomacy surrounding the Iran nuclear deal, which kept US forces out of harm’s way, except when Iran took US Navy personnel hostage and forced the administration to ransom them for hundreds of millions of dollars in cash that was then used to fund terrorism and a Shia takeover of Syria. “Soft power is critical, sometimes more so than hard power,” explained the former top diplomat. “You can’t go putting your armed forces in harm’s way. That’s not what they train for. It was a mistake to let our sailors provoke Iran like that, aggressively manning their craft and fulfilling their mission. Soft power is all about the indirect approach.”
Israel Air Force strikes three more Hamas targets after rocket attack
The IDF fired artillery shells towards several Hamas targets Monday in response to earlier gunfire targeting forces working on the Gaza border fence near Kissufim.
According to Palestinian reports,the IDF fired at two Hamas positions east of Deir El-Balah in the central Gaza Strip
Earlier the Israel Air Force struck several Hamas targets in the northern Gaza Strip after earlier rocket fire struck Israel from the Hamas-run enclave, the army stated. The airstrikes, which hit three Hamas targets in northern Gaza, came after the IDF fired tank rounds at Hamas targets in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahyia.
According to the Hamas-affiliated Palestinian Information Center, a woman in her seventies was wounded in the airstrikes and taken to hospitals. Eyewitnesses added that the bombardment caused damage to surrounding buildings and injured a number of sheep.
Palestinian Information Center had reported earlier that there had been no damage or injuries after “the Zionist occupation’s tanks on Monday fired two shells at Palestinian resistance locations in the northern Gaza Strip.”
PM vows no tolerance for Gaza rocket attacks, as tensions ramp up
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would not tolerate a “drizzle” of rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip, as tensions escalated in the volatile coastal enclave on Monday.
Earlier in the day, Israeli aircraft and tanks pounded Hamas targets in the Strip in response to a rocket launched at Israel’s southern coast and gunshots fired at IDF troops.
“My policy is to respond strongly to any rocket fire,” Netanyahu said from London, where he’s on a state visit. “We are firm in this response.”
In total, the Israel Defense Forces struck five Hamas positions in Gaza, including a naval base near the city of Jabaliya.
In the latest incident on Monday afternoon, an IDF tank shelled a Hamas site in the central Strip after troops reported they came under fire along the security fence near the Israeli Kissufim community.
'Hamas cell planned terror attacks at synagogue, train station in Israel'
Israeli security authorities have uncovered a Hamas cell that planned to carry out terror attacks in the West Bank and within Israel, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) announced Monday after the details of the case were cleared for publication.
The three terrorists, Mamduach Yunis, 24 of Ar'ara, and brothers Hassan, 23, and Muhammed Zida'at, 25, from Bnei Naim Village near Hebron, were all indicted for the plot in the Haifa District Court on Monday.
The indictment filed by the Haifa District Attorney's Office charged them with conspiracy to commit a felony, participation in and membership in a terror organization, contact with a foreign agent, illegally crossing into Israel and various weapons offenses. Yunis was also charged with aiding an enemy in time of war.
The cell, which received instructions from Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip through Facebook, planned shooting attacks, the planting of explosive devices and kidnappings in the Hebron area.
In addition, the cell gathered intelligence on a number of sites for potential attacks within Israel, including an Afula bus station, a military base near Kfar Kara, the Binyamina Train Station and a synagogue in Zichron Yaakov. The members of the cell were familiar with the locations from their time working in Israeli illegally, the Shin Bet stated.
Police seize funds transferred to terrorists' families by Hamas, arrest 14
Two weeks after Palestinian leadership announced it would allocate life stipends to the family members of a terrorist who killed four soldiers last month, police announced the confiscation of over NIS 200,000 provided by Hamas to the families of seven other terrorists.
The Sunday night raid, carried out by Police and Border Police forces, targeted the homes of 14 suspects from east Jerusalem’s flashpoint neighborhoods Jabl Mukaber, Shuafat refugee camp, Ras-Almud and A-Tur.
According to police, all the suspects received compensation from Hamas following deadly attacks carried out, or planned by, terrorists in the capital dating back to 1994.
The unidentified family members arrested are related to the following terrorists: Gasan Abu Jamil, who carried out the 2014 Har Nof synagogue attack, killing five; Ramdan and Fami Mashahra, who helped support and plan the murders of 19 Israelis in Gilo in 2002; Ayman Abbasi and Wisam Farg, who died in riots in Ras al-Amud in 2015; Imad Abbasi, imprisoned for involvement in unspecified terrorism; Hassan Nabi, who murdered Nachshon Waxman in 1994; and Imad Shaer, imprisoned for planning an attempted 2013 kidnapping.
Joint Arab List MK calls to free terrorist who killed Israeli soldier
MK Jamal Zahalka (Joint Arab List) has published a post on his Facebook page calling for improved prison conditions and even the release of convicted terrorist Walid Daka, who murdered IDF Cpl. Moshe Tamam in 1984.
On Thursday, Zahalka took part in a demonstration in support of Daka in Jaffa. A day later, he published the post, which read: "A demonstration in Jaffa in support of the release of prisoner Walid Daka, who was placed in solitary confinement, putting him at risk because of his medical condition. No to isolation. Freedom for Walid Daka. Freedom for prisoners of liberty."
Daka was sentenced to life in prison for Tamam's kidnapping and murder. In prison, Daka became active in the Balad Arab political party while Zahalka was chairman of the party. Daka is also one of the prisoners to whom MK Bassel Ghattas allegedly smuggled cellular phones.
Hezbollah targeted Israeli diplomats in Brazil in 1989, declassified files show
The terrorist group Hezbollah sent operatives to Brazil in order to commit attacks on diplomatic representatives of Israel, according to previously classified documents.
Latin America’s largest nation was targeted by the Lebanese terrorist group at least twice, most recently in 1989, reported the Correio Braziliense newspaper on Saturday. Hezbollah operatives planned to kidnap Israeli diplomats in both the capital city of Brasilia and in Sao Paulo. The information had been restricted to the military and top-level officials in Brazil and Israel until last month, and has now been made public.
In 1976, an alert was sent by the Israeli government to all its diplomatic missions and Brazil’s armed forces beefed up security at the Israeli Embassy.
In 1989, there is a comprehensive and detailed report, including names and photographs of suspects and original telegrams exchanged between Israel and Brazil. In the midst of the investigation, Brazilian federal police officers found that one of the alleged terrorists was in the country.
A telegram sent by the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to security forces on Aug. 16, 1989, warns that a Hezbollah terrorist is “on the way to entering the country to commit an attempt against that diplomatic mission and its members.” In the same message, the ministry warns about the presence of “another terrorist” on Brazilian soil, according to the newspaper.
Israel offers Gaza relief in return for captives, soldiers’ remains
Israel has informed various international bodies that it intends to put into motion a series of measures that will improve the economic situation in the Gaza Strip, on condition that Hamas return three Israeli civilians and the remains of two IDF soldiers that it is holding, a senior Israeli defense official told The Times of Israel.
The ideas were conveyed by international officials to the Hamas leadership in the Strip, which showed interest in the economic steps.
Sources in Hamas, the Palestinian terror group that rules Gaza, confirmed that the group had spoken to international officials and agreed to the various plans presented by Israel. They were under the impression, they said, that the offer only required them to uphold the ceasefire with Israel.
Hamas is believed to be holding hostage three Israeli men who crossed into Gaza of their own accord, Avraham Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, as well as Juma Ibrahim Abu Ghanima, whose presence in Gaza is unconfirmed. It also holds the bodies of IDF soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, who the army determined were killed in action in the 2014 Gaza war.
Seth J. Frantzman: Iran’s ayatollahs stay up all night wondering, what’s next
Never has Iran sought to export its policy as much as it has in the past few years. It has exploited the rise of Islamic State (ISIS) and the breakdown of countries to embolden its friends. It has also actively recruited tens of thousands of Shi’ite volunteers from places like Afghanistan, many of them misled through false promises or threats, to lay down their lives for Assad. And it has not rolled back its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
The Trump administration’s focus on Iran’s role in the region, rather than grandstanding about the nuclear issue, is a welcome departure from misleading policies of the past. The nuclear program was never as important as understanding the overall Iranian policy in the region and the world. Most importantly the comments of Flynn, Mattis and Trump have caused the Iranian regime to worry about what comes next. Iran relies on studying its enemies and knowing how they will retaliate.
For instance Hezbollah involvement in Syria has not resulted in destabilization of Lebanon. It knows the West fears conflict, and it carefully studies how US diplomats such as former secretary of state John Kerry respond to the crossing of “red lines.” But Trump’s team is a nightmare for Tehran.
Just as Richard Nixon sought to employ the notion that Nixon was “crazy” to encourage the Vietnamese to respect US threats, it is to the US advantage to be unpredictable. But that hasn’t stopped Iran. The missile test in late January was designed to see what kind of blowback there would be.
Now Iran’s “good cop, bad cop” claim of hardliner “bogeymen” has conjured up hardliners in Washington who don’t accept the regime’s narrative. Maybe a real “bad cop” will have to sink a few Iranian attack boats in the Gulf to show Tehran the US means business. Either way, the ayatollahs, who have gotten used to bluster and burning US flags, won’t be sleeping as well in the near future. Perhaps at long last the US will begin to support efforts, including supporting rights for domestic groups such as Kurds, Baloch and others, to confront the regime.
Iran and Its Appeasers Are Terrified of US Policy Shifts
Following recent tensions between the Trump administration and Iran, discussions are escalating over future White House policy vis-à-vis the mullahs in Tehran.
The United States had previously adopted an approach pivoting on engagement, and to a further extent, appeasement. Advocates argued such rapprochement would encourage a deal aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program and tame this regime’s meddling in foreign countries, its support for terrorism and domestic crackdown.
Eight years under the Obama administration, emboldening Iran throughout the Middle East and at home — where it continues to engage in severe human rights violations — proved how such a policy was nothing but a dismal failure. Such a record has made crystal clear the necessity for a major Washington policy shift where Tehran is concerned.
The reaction of the Trump administration to Iran’s January 29 ballistic missile test illustrates the stark contrast between the current White House and its predecessor. The prospect of such a major shift in Washington has raised significant concerns among members of the Iranian regime, Iran-appeasement policy advocates and Tehran’s lobbyists. They are engaged in different efforts to undermine this new tough stance, labeling it “pro-war.”
Iran: Uranium shipment will give us 60% more than pre-deal
Iran’s nuclear chief said it would have 60 percent more stockpiled uranium than it did prior to its landmark 2015 agreement with world powers after a shipment expected later this week.
Ali Akbar Salehi was quoted by the semi-official Fars news agency on Sunday as saying that Iran would receive a final batch of 149 tons of natural uranium by Tuesday, in addition to 210 tons already delivered since early 2016.
The huge shipment of natural uranium from Russia was to compensate it for exporting tons of reactor coolant, diplomats said earlier this month, in a move approved by the outgoing US administration and other governments seeking to keep Tehran committed to a landmark nuclear pact.
Uranium can be enriched to levels ranging from reactor fuel or medical and research purposes to the core of an atomic bomb. Iran says it has no interest in such weapons and its activities are being closely monitored under the nuclear pact to make sure they remain peaceful.
JPost Editorial: Iranian reset
Should the Iranians abandon the deal, it would be their fault. America could then orchestrate a renewal of paralyzing sanctions against Iran and, eventually, perhaps, renegotiate a better agreement.
There are a number of high-profile supporters of a two-track strategy that combines strict enforcement of the existing agreement (that would lead Iran to abandon it) with a new round of negotiations with the Islamic Republic. Former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman has come out in favor as has former US ambassador to the UN Mark Wallace.
Israel also has an important role to play. First, we must share intelligence information with the US that can help in following Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Also, Israel should push to make sure that Iran and Hezbollah do not remain in Syria, on Israel’s border. The positive relations between the US and Russia can help Israel make its case.
Ultimately, weakening Iran and preventing it from asserting its influence in the region is a US interest as much as it is an Israeli one.
In contrast to the rather chaotic beginning to the Trump era in many spheres, the American reset in its relations with Iran is a welcomed development.
When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Trump next week in Washington, he should encourage this policy shift and provide support and assistance where relevant.
Iranian missile can hit Tel Aviv in just 7 minutes, official threatens
A senior Iranian official warned Saturday that if the United States launches a military strike against Iran, the Islamic republic would swiftly retaliate against Israel.
"If the enemy chooses to shoot a missile in Iran's direction, Tel Aviv will go up in flames from an Iranian missile before the [enemy's] missile hits its target. This is not just a slogan, as only seven minutes are needed for an Iranian missile to hit Tel Aviv," Mojtaba Zonour, member of Iran's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, boasted.
The Iranian lawmaker's remarks were the latest in the escalating rhetoric coming out of the Islamic republic.
Iran's semi-official Fars News Agency quoted Zonour as saying that 36 American bases in the Middle East are in the range of Iranian missiles, saying, "These points are all within the range of Iran's missile systems and they will be razed to the ground if the enemy makes a mistake."
He further threatened that "if the U.S. does something stupid, we will wipe out the American 5th Fleet in Bahrain."
The (Unintentionally) Positive Consequences of Iran’s Illicit Missile Tests
I will admit that this sounds perverse, but Iran’s recent ballistic missile test was welcome in one important sense. Let me explain.
Just more than a fortnight into President Donald Trump’s administration, America and the world have been bombarded with all sorts of crises, to the extent that it feels as if two years of history has been packed into two weeks. Relations with Mexico are at their lowest ebb in more than a century. The administration continues to exasperate, most likely intentionally, European heads of state with its on again, off again comments about the long-term health of the European Union and NATO. Trump even boasted of yelling at Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, leader of the stalwart U.S. ally Australia, over a previous agreement reached with the Obama administration concerning the fate of a handful of refugees.
And then along came Iran with its firing of a ballistic missile Jan. 29, in open defiance of the nuclear deal its signed with the Obama administration and other Western governments, which urges Iran not to develop ballistic missiles until the eighth year of the deal kicks in. That was quickly followed by reports that Iran had test-fired a cruise missile, the Sumar, which is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and has a potential range of 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles), meaning that it is well within reach of Israel and the European continent.
If we needed a salutary reminder that some threats should be ranked above others, then the Islamist regime in Tehran provided one. Dismissing American concerns with a cheap swipe at Trump’s “Muslim travel ban”—whatever else it may be, it is not that—Iran deployed Defense Minister Hossein Deghan, who also holds the rank of brigadier-general in the terrorist Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), to present the missile activities as a routine defensive measure.
Iranian scientist sentenced to death for espionage, contact with Israelis
Iranian national Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali, a professor at Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), has reportedly been charged with espionage and sentenced to death without trial or contact with legal council, according to Britain's The Independent.
Dr. Djalali was detained by security forces from the Ministry of Information in April of 2016 during a trip to visit family in Iran.
In an interview with Flemish newspaper De Morgen, Djalali's sister stated that he had "been forced to sign a confession, for which he will receive the death penalty. The Iranian government is calling it a matter of national security. They blame him for collaboration with scientists from foreign, enemy states."
Djalali's work as a scientist at the university included contact with colleagues from countries Iran considers hostile, such as Israel, Head of VUB's Research Group, Ives Hubloue, pointed out. Hubloue emphasized that the contacts were purely research related.
Flogging and Eye-Gouging Are Among Iran’s Medieval Punishments for ‘Morality’ Violations
Despite the many flaws in the nuclear deal with Iran, Tehran’s nuclear program has been curbed. Yet at what cost? As the new Trump administration realizes, the Islamic Republic is still a major violator of the human rights of its people.
The regime’s continued practice of “cruel and inhuman punishments, including floggings, amputations and forced blinding over the past year, exposes the authorities’ utterly brutal sense of justice,” Amnesty International reported, continuing to express concern over executions in Iran, all of which highlight how Iran’s so-called justice system, by legalizing such brutality, has no sense of humanity.
Well into the 21st century, such an aggressive approach vis-à-vis human dignity is quite appalling, to say the least, and deserves serious attention, as Iran continues to neglect, and violate, international prohibitions issued against torture and other abuse.
The regime’s so-called “laws” provide for flogging as punishment for 100 different “offences.” Many flogging victims are protesters under the age of 35, arrested for activities considered protected under internationally recognized rights for freedom of association, belief, expression and religion. Yet Iran is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), making it legally bound not to engage in “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
ISIS Thrilled Over Patriots Super Bowl Victory (satire)
Calling the suffering inflicted on the vast majority of Americans “a really nice surprise,” ISIS leaders were reportedly celebrating into the morning hours Monday after the hated New England Patriots’ stunning come-from-behind win in Super Bowl LI.
“Seeing the American infidels this angry without having to plan and execute an attack is just a really great way to start the workweek,” ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi said after a James White touchdown run sealed the game for New England in overtime. “I was afraid they’d never pull it off after falling so far behind, but clearly Allah was on Tom Brady’s side.”
At ISIS’s US headquarters in Bowling Green, terrorists were still giddy hours after the Pats win.
“We were thinking about launching a terror attack in a major US city sometime this week,” one ISIS leader admitted. “But now I think we’ll wait a while. We really want to let this sink in.”



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EoZ's Most Popular Posts Ever

Hasbys!

Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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The Jerusalem Report:"A seemingly indefatigable one-man operation, armed only with a computer, chutzpa and stamina."

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Atheist Jew:"Elder of Ziyon probably had the greatest impression on me..."
Soccer Dad: "He undertakes the important task of making sure that his readers learn from history."
AbbaGav: "A truly exceptional blog..."
Judeopundit: "[A] venerable blog-pioneer and beloved patriarchal figure...his blog is indispensable."
Oleh Musings: "The most comprehensive Zionist blog I have seen."
Carl in Jerusalem: "...probably the most under-recognized blog in the JBlogsphere as far as I am concerned."
Aussie Dave: "King of the auto-translation."
The Israel Situation:The Elder manages to write so many great, investigative posts that I am often looking to him for important news on the PalArab (his term for Palestinian Arab) side of things."
Tikun Olam: "Either you are carelessly ignorant or a willful liar and distorter of the truth. Either way, it makes you one mean SOB."
Mondoweiss commenter: "For virulent pro-Zionism (and plain straightforward lies of course) there is nothing much to beat it."
Didi Remez: "Leading wingnut"

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