Tuesday, June 20, 2017

From Ian:

PMW: Is PA planning to deceive the US and donor countries – AGAIN?
The Palestinian Authority is planning once again to hide its approximately $300 million a year in payments to terrorist prisoners and the families of so-called "Martyrs," by continuing to reward terror but in a different framework, according to some Palestinian sources.
The first time the PA did this was in 2014 when the PA closed the PA Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs, which had paid the terrorist salaries, yet continued the payments through the PLO Commission of Prisoners' Affairs. After Palestinian Media Watch exposed the PA's deception in The PA's Billion Dollar Fraud, by documenting the money transfers from the PA to the PLO, the PA law mandating salaries to terrorists has been repeatedly condemned by the US and countries in Europe.
Now, with increasing pressure by the US and other donor countries for the PA to stop rewarding terror, the PA is looking for a new way to both accept the international demands and yet at the same time continue paying terrorists, according to some Palestinian sources.
Hassan Asfour, a former PA minister and current associate of Muhammad Dahlan, political adversary of Mahmoud Abbas, explained it as follows:
"Abbas, despite his initial objection [to the US demand to stop prisoner salary payments], has begun to examine practical options to comply with the American demand in a way that will not lead to an explosion that might lead to his downfall and the downfall of their [Abbas' and US'] joint plan. Among these options that are being examined with special secrecy, is the option of transferring the prisoners' and Martyrs' salaries to a 'social insurance' body so that it will look as if it is 'humanitarian and social aid to needy families' and not 'monthly salaries to fighter families.'" [Fatah Voice, independent Palestinian news website, June 3, 2017]
Caroline Glick: Livni and dangers of peace theater
The homes of the terrorists who murdered Border Police officer Hadas Malka on Friday evening are now bedecked with Fatah flags and banners reading, “Our heroes.”
Far from condemning the terrorist attack, Palestinian Authority chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas and his comrades are condemning Israel. Its security forces, they allege obscenely, committed a “war crime” when they killed the three terrorists to stop their rampage.
The only reason that these actions are not enough to warrant the US and the rest of the West – not to mention the Israeli Left – treating Fatah/PLO as the terrorist group they are and have always been, is because doing so would require them to stop playacting at peace making.
And they couldn’t have that.
Instead, they mimic or recycle “peace process” lingo about “windows of opportunity,” and reincarnate failed peace processors.
In apparent bid to do the latter, last Friday Channel 10 first reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked MK Tzipi Livni to join his government with her Knesset faction and serve as his foreign minister.
While Likud denied the report, Livni claims Netanyahu made the offer through mediators that have been carrying out indirect negotiations between the two politicians.
Livni also has said that she rejected Netanyahu’s offer because she doesn’t believe he is willing to adopt her expansively pro-PLO positions.
Assuming that Livni is telling the truth and Likud’s denial is false, we need to ask why Netanyahu made the attempt.
Fathom Forum with Einat Wilf
Dr Einat Wilf served as an Intelligence Officer in the Israel Defense Forces and was member of the Israeli Parliament from 2010-2013 on behalf of the Labor and Independence parties.
In this video she will provides new thinking on the Peace Process, explaining how “constructive ambiguity” has prevented both sides from reaching a negotiated settlement, and arguing that the Israelis and Palestinians need to adopt a new strategy of “constructive specificity,” the idea of specifying in detail exactly what is required from each side if the process is to result in a ‘realistic’ peace, the excruciating compromises that are necessary, and bring the century-long conflict to an end.

ANALYSIS: Watershed Moment Arrives In Middle East Crisis As US Downs Syrian Plane And Iran Launches Missiles At Syria
The escalation between the Russian army and the U.S. military follows a series of incidents involving U.S. Special Forces in Syria and Russian-backed Iranian proxies in Syria over the past three weeks.
In this respect it is important to look at another groundbreaking military operation in Syria that also took place on Sunday and involved the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps.
The IRGC fired six Zolfaghar ballistic missiles into Syria from Iranian missile bases. In September the Iranians unveiled the Zolfaghar, a ballistic missile with a reach of 450 miles, with a banner saying Iran could destroy the Israeli cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa.
The missiles could also destroy the large U.S. base in Qatar, where more than 10.000 American troops are stationed. Qatar also is home to CENTCOM, the U.S. military command that oversees the war effort against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
On Monday an IRGC general signaled that the launch of the missiles was a message to the U.S. and to Saudi Arabia after President Donald Trump cobbled together a new American-Arab-Islamic alliance that would not only fight terrorism but Iran’s expansionism in the Middle East as well.
Gen. Ramazan Sharif of the IRGC told Iran’s state television in an interview that the missiles were not only targeting ISIS “takfiri” (apostate) targets in the area of the eastern Syrian town of Deir a-Zur but were a clear message to the U.S. and Saudi Arabia that Iran can hit the U.S. bases in the Gulf region as well as Riyadh.
“The Saudis and Americans are especially receivers of this message. Obviously and clearly, some reactionary countries of the region, especially Saudi Arabia, had announced that they are trying to bring insecurity into Iran,” Sharif said in a reference to the recent ISIS attacks on Iran which Tehran says were inspired by Wahhabism, the Islamist version of Islam that originated in Saudi Arabia.
Politico Notes Israel’s Security Challenges
A Politico report on a bipartisan group of political analysts, pundits and lobbyists visiting Israel provided readers with a look at some of the security challenges facing the Jewish state (“Israel trip calms D.C. tensions,” June 18, 2017).
Politico reporter Daniel Lippman noted that “a number of former to Trump campaign officials and prominent Democrats” went on a seven-day trip to Israel that was sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation and organized by American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) political director Rob Bassin.
A total of 16 U.S. former officials and political operatives met with Israeli government officials and business leaders and traveled the entire country.
Bill Burton, a former Obama administration deputy press secretary, told Politico that a “stark contrast” existed between the realities and environment that Israel faces on a day-to-day basis as opposed to those present in the U.S.
J. Toscano, a partner at the Democratic ad firm GMMB, observed:
“The fact that you can drive from one border line with an area that’s controlled by Hamas to another border line with a region that’s controlled by ISIS in the same time that you can drive from D.C. to New York really gives you a deep sense of the security challenge that the country faces and that the region faces.”
'Trump advisers don't understand Israel's fear of Palestinian state'
Former prime minister Ehud Barak has spoken to advisers to US president Donald Trump, who do not understand concerns in the Israeli government over the formation of a Palestinian state, Barak said in a speech on Monday night.
In a lengthy address to the group Commanders for Israel’s Security in Ramat Efal, Barak repeatedly criticized the policies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.
“The people close to Trump cannot fathom why the government of Israel explains to them that the formation of a tiny, demilitarized Palestinian state would be an existential threat to Israel,” he said.
Singling out Bayit Yehudi ministers Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked, Barak said the agenda of Netanyahu’s government is to keep all of the land in the West Bank and build in all of the isolated settlements.
Netanyahu assails Abbas in tweetstorm on eve of new US peace bid
Amid resurgent US peacemaking efforts and the arrival of two top Washington envoys to the region, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas Monday of lying that he wants peace and “poisoning” the minds of young Palestinians.
“Palestinian President Abbas tells the world that he educates Palestinian children for peace. That’s a lie,” Netanyahu tweeted in one of a series of angry tweets.
His outburst came as the PA named a new square in Jenin after “martyr” Khaled Nazzal, who the premier noted was “a Palestinian terrorist chief who planned the 1974 Maalot massacre in which Palestinian terrorists murdered 22 school children and 4 adults.”
Palestinian Media Watch reported on the naming of the square Monday, noting that Nazzal, a member of the Democratic Front for Liberation of Palestine, also planned a 1974 abduction in Beit She’an which ended in the killing of four hostages, and a 1984 shooting attack in Jerusalem in which one person was killed and 47 wounded.
Ground broken for first new West Bank settlement in 25 years
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Tuesday that ground had been broken for the construction of the first Israeli West Bank settlement in 25 years.
The new settlement, to be known as Amichai, is to accommodate residents of the illegal Amona outpost, which was evacuated in February in line with court orders because it was built on private Palestinian land.
“Today, ground works began, as I promised, for the establishment of the new community for the residents of Amona,” the prime minister tweeted.
“After decades, I have the privilege to be the prime minister who is building a new community in Judea and Samaria.”
Judea and Samaria is the biblical term for the area also known as the West Bank, which was among the territories conquered by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War.
The new settlement — which will be located near the settlements of Shiloh and Eli, north of Ramallah — will be the first of its kind to be constructed since the Israeli-Palestinian Oslo peace accords were signed in 1993.
PA slams new settlement as effort to thwart Trump’s peace drive
The Palestinian Authority on Tuesday slammed Israel for breaking ground on a new West Bank settlement, saying the move was an attempt by Israel to scuttle efforts by US President Donald Trump to restart peace talks.
“This is a serious escalation, an attempt to thwart the efforts of the US administration and to frustrate the efforts of US President Donald Trump,” Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesperson for PA President Mahmoud Abbas, said in a statement posted on the official PA news site Wafa.
The new settlement, to be known as Amichai, is being built to rehouse residents of the illegal Amona outpost, which was evacuated in February in line with court orders because it was built on private Palestinian land.
The breaking of ground occurred just one day before senior White House adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner was set to arrive in Israel in an effort to advance peace efforts.
Haim Saban backs US bill on slashing funds to Palestinian Authority
Haim Saban, a major donor to the Democratic Party, is backing a bill that would slash funding to the Palestinian Authority unless it stops payments to Palestinians jailed for attacks on Israelis.
The participation of the Israeli-American entertainment mogul in the initiative of the lobbying affiliate of the Israeli-American Council is significant because Democrats have until now been reluctant to back the bill as it stands.
A statement Monday evening from the Israeli-American Coalition for Action said the campaign to pass the Taylor Force Act will draw on a “nationwide grassroots network of activists” and on the IASC’s “relationships with prominent Israeli-Americans and Jewish-Americans, including Sheldon Adelson, Shawn Evenhaim, Haim Saban and Adam Milstein — who have advocated for the legislation with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.”
Taylor Force was an American killed last year in a stabbing attack in Tel Aviv.
US Aircraft Carrier to Dock in Israeli Port of Haifa in July
The USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier will dock in Israel’s Haifa Bay next month for the first time in 17 years ahead of participating in military air campaigns against the Islamic State.
The nuclear-powered warship has a crew of about 5,700 sailors and 80 fighter jets. While it is docked, sailors will be granted shore leave and provided with dozens of buses to tour Haifa and travel to other Israeli cities of their choosing. The visit is expected to be a boon to the local Israeli economy.
Haifa was a base for the US Sixth Fleet in the 1980s and 90s, but in 2000 when the Second Intifada occurred the US Navy pulled out.
The US Embassy in Tel Aviv has not confirmed reports that the naval vessel will dock in Haifa for four days beginning July 1.
According to the Pentagon, the 1100-foot nuclear-powered carrier was relocated to the eastern Mediterranean Sea from the Arabian Gulf in May. The aircraft carrier deployed from Norfolk, Va. January 21 as part of Operation Inherent Resolve to combat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Seeking Saudi friends, Israel must still bridge gulf with Palestinians
Against the background of the Gulf states’ 70-year-old boycott of Israel — Jerusalem formally still considers Saudi Arabia an enemy state and prohibits its citizens from entering the country — such baby steps would be nothing short of a revolution.
Even before the London Times report, US President Donald Trump had for weeks fanned speculation over a larger regional deal that would include the pragmatic Sunni camp, as has Netanyahu.
“Many nations are changing their attitudes toward Israel very rapidly. And I have to say that nowhere, nowhere, is this happening so dramatically and so rapidly than in the Arab world,” Netanyahu said earlier this month during a conference in West Africa. “Many Arab countries no longer see Israel as their enemy. They see Israel as their ally, I would even say, their indispensable ally in the fight against terrorism and in seizing the future of technology and innovation.”
But it’s a long leap from seeing Israel as a counter-terror ally to opening an Israeli Embassy in the middle of Riyadh, especially with the Palestinian issue unresolved and the Jewish state openly criticized throughout the Arab world, moderate or not.
Several analysts focusing on Arab-Israel relations said the Saudis and other Gulf states will insist on working with Jerusalem behind closed doors, refusing to formalize ties until the Palestinian problem has been solved.
“Without some serious movement on the peace process there will be no qualitative change in relations with Saudi Arabia,” maintained Joshua Teitelbaum, a senior researcher at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.
Dismissing the anonymous sources quoted by the London Times, he argued that such articles serve Israel’s interests. “They attempt to demonstrate that the Palestinian game isn’t the only game in town. And it puts pressure on Abu Mazen,” he said, referring to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
The United Nations should ditch its anti-Israel bias
The U.N. should focus on achieving a breakthrough by fostering the conditions needed for genuine peace. Unfortunately, at present the message for peace is not competitive with the call to violence among Palestinians. This has led the Palestinian leadership to spin a cocoon of anti-Israeli rhetoric from which it has been unable to escape. In 2000, for example, Yasir Arafat reportedly declined Ehud Barak’s generous offer of a Palestinian state by saying that he did not intend to drink tea with assassinated Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. If Palestinian leaders are serious about peace, they will need to prepare their people to accept a peace deal. At the very least, the U.N. should press the Palestinians to revamp their educational curriculum. Israelis can only be expected to take risks for peace if they are confident in their own security, which, in turn, depends on Palestinians developing healthier perceptions of Israel.
Ironically, U.N. Resolution 2334 comes fifty years after the Six Days War, the generating events of which included the withdrawal of U.N. forces from the Sinai in the face of an Egyptian military buildup. Then, as now, Israel concluded that the U.N. is no substitute for self-reliance. Even so, Israelis remain keenly aware of their status as a small power whose dispute with the Palestinians is bound up in larger regional politics.
For five decades, the U.S.-Israeli strategic relationship has been a bedrock of both Israel’s security strategy and U.S. power projection into the region. Israelis, therefore, interpreted the U.S. abstention on U.N. Resolution 2334 as a particularly stinging parting shot from the Obama administration as it left power. To Israel’s relief, the Trump administration has reversed course, tightly embracing Israel while forging an agreement to limit settlement construction to existing built-up areas. Moreover, the Trump administration is leveraging flourishing contacts between Israel and its Sunni Arab neighbors, which is sure to have a salutary effect on the peace process. This so-called “outside-in” effect envisions improved ties between Israelis and Arabs slingshotting Israel into improved relations with the Palestinians. If executed cautiously and deliberately while pushing for Palestinian reform, such an approach holds promise for contributing to regional stability.
The past two decades since Oslo have shown the futility of negotiating a quick resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In the face of terrorism, Israelis have built walls and domes to defend themselves while waiting for Palestinian society to reform itself. The U.N. should dedicate itself to assisting Palestinians with that task, rather than issuing anti-Israeli screeds that work against the Trump administration’s search for peace.
World’s Democracies Snub Annual Israel-Bashing ‘Item 7’ Debate at UN Human Rights Council Geneva Gathering
The world’s democracies collectively snubbed the UN Human Rights Council’s annual condemnation of Israel in Geneva on Monday, when none of their representatives attended the council’s presentation and debate on “Item 7” — a permanent agenda item focused on the “Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.”
As was the case last year, the seats of all the democratic nations represented on the council were empty for the duration of the discussion, sparking protests from Arab countries.
The United States has never attended an Item 7 debate since the council was established in 2006 as a successor to the Commission on Human Rights. In an address to the council on June 6, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley charged that “Item 7 is a scandalous provision that must be removed.”
Hillel Neuer — executive director of the Geneva-based UN Watch NGO — told The Algemeiner that the non-attendance at Monday’s session signaled a “significant stand by the Western democracies against prejudice.”
Neuer added that he himself had taken part in the debate primarily to point out why the democratic countries were absent. “Hopefully, one day Item 7 will be removed,” he said.
In his speech before the council, Neuer observed that “the US, Canada, Australia, all European Union member states, Japan, and other established democracies have boycotted this debate.”
Watchdog Group Blasts UN Human Rights Council for Anti-Israel Session
U.N. Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer blasted the United Nations Human Rights Council on Monday for its session targeting Israel.
Member countries of the international body had the right to speak first. One-by-one, countries including Russia, Iran, and Turkey spoke out against Israel. They accused the Jewish state of illegally occupying Palestinian territories and committing human rights violations including genocide.
After the countries spoke, non-governmental organizations were recognized to speak to the body. Most of these groups also condemned Israel.
Neuer was one of the few voices to speak in Israel's defense and took his chance to castigate the body, accusing it of being anti-Semitic.
"As I look around the room, I note for the record that as Oman, Lebanon, and others complain, the United States, Canada, Australia, all European Union member states, Japan, and other established democracies have boycotted this debate," Neuer said. "I have stayed to explain why."
"The democracies are absent to protest prejudice because this is the only agenda item that singles out one specific state, the Jewish state, for differential and discriminatory treatment," Neuer said. "Not Syria, not Sudan, not North Korea is treated this way."
UN Watch Blasts UN Human Rights Council for Anti-Israel Session

UN chief to name new Libya envoy after Palestinian candidate blocked by US
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was set to name a former Lebanese culture minister as new UN envoy to Libya, ending an unusually contentious four-month search that followed US rejection of his first suggestion.
Guterres on Friday officially put forward Ghassan Salame, a professor of International Relations and Conflict Resolution at Sciences-Po in Paris, according to a letter seen by Reuters on Saturday. Diplomats said objections were unlikely and the UN Security Council will greenlight the appointment on Tuesday.
The council must agree by consensus on the appointment of special envoys. Traditionally, the UN chief informally discusses candidates with the 15-member body to ensure agreement before officially proposing a name.
The search for a successor to Martin Kobler, a German diplomat who has served as the UN representative in Libya since November 2015, began in February when Guterres proposed former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad for the job.
'Attacks on Israel prove UNHRC's entrenched political bias'
Jerusalem-based watchdog group NGO Monitor is accusing the U.N. Human Rights Council of deception and bias for its decision to compile a "blacklist" of companies from or with ties to Israel that operate beyond the Green Line, with the aim of declaring them illegal.
At the council's headquarters in Geneva on Monday, members of the watchdog group were set to argue the move by the UNHRC unfairly singles out Israel, while ignoring other conflict zones around the world where international companies are free to do business.
The decision to blacklist the Israeli companies, an initiative prompted by the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, reportedly aims to bar the presence of any Israeli company beyond the Green Line. If adopted, the list could outlaw even private security firms that protect Israelis in Judea and Samaria from terrorist organizations.
According to NGO Monitor, the blacklist began as a list of all the businesses that operate in Israel, which was then narrowed down to businesses that operate in Judea and Samaria and east Jerusalem. The list includes businesses such as banks and high-tech companies that do not have a physical presence in those areas, but that nevertheless provide services to residents in the disputed areas.
IDF: Knife-wielding Palestinian attacks Israeli troops, is shot dead
A Palestinian assailant was shot dead by Israeli troops as he attempted to stab them next to a pop-up military checkpoint north of Jerusalem on Tuesday, the army said.
The Palestinian man approached the soldiers during a security check along the road between the Jewish settlement of Adam and the Palestinian city of Qalandiya in the central West Bank. When he tried to stab them, the Israeli force “responded with gunfire,” the army said.
The alleged assailant died of his wounds, the army added. The Palestinian Health Ministry later identified him as Bahaa Samir al-Harbawi, 23, from al-Azariya, a village near Jerusalem.
No Israeli soldiers were reported injured in the attempt.
The incident comes days after a trio of Palestinian men carried out an attack in the Old City of Jerusalem and killed a Border Police officer, 23-year-old Hadas Malka.
US envoy Greenblatt bemoans ‘intolerable’ violence that killed border guard
One of US President Donald Trump’s envoys charged with spearheading new Israeli-Palestinian peace talks decried the murder of an Israeli border guard in a terror attack outside Jerusalem’s Old City last Friday.
Staff Sgt. Hadas Malka, 23, was stabbed to death by a Palestinian assailant. Four others were injured in the coordinated attack by three West Bank Palestinians, all whom were killed.
“She was murdered by terrorists,” Jason Greenblatt wrote on Twitter Monday. “This violence is intolerable!”
Trump envoy visits family of Hadas Malka
Jason Greenblatt, President Trump's Middle East envoy, arrived in Israel Sunday and paid a visit to the family of Hadas Malka, the border policewoman who was killed in Friday's Jerusalem twin terror attack.
A message from the US government on the visit read, "Jason Greenblatt, the president's special representative on international negotiation, visited the family of border policewoman MSgt. Hadas Malka, sitting shiva for their daughter. Malka was murdered by terrorists in an attack near the Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem. Greenblatt expressed his condolences on behalf of the Trump administration. Such incidents underscore why it is vital to realize President Trump's vision of a Middle East free of the threats of terrorism and extremism."
Greenblatt arrived in Israel on Sunday for a visit focused on meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leadership. The visit was originally supposed to take place several days ago, but the Americans decided to postpone until after Ramadan. However, the meeting was urgently rescheduled following Friday's terror attack and the controversy swirling around the Qalqilya Plan.
Macron meets Jordan's king, condemns deadly Jerusalem attack
French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed Jordan's King Abdullah in Paris on Monday.
Macron and King Abdullah discussed Israel and the Palestinian territories, and the French president condemned an attack on Friday by three Palestinians who killed an Israeli policewoman as well as "continuing settlement expansion."
On Saturday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for the Palestinian Authority as well as the whole world to publicly speak out against Friday night's terror attack that resulted in the death of 23-year-old Border Police officer Hadas Malka.
Fatah's Official Facebook Page: One Of The Perpetrators Of The Damascus Gate Attack Is Our Man
So far, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has not condemned the June 16, 2017 attack at Damascus Gate in which Israeli Border Police officer Hadas Malka was stabbed to death and four other Israelis were wounded. The PA dailies have focused on reporting on the measures Israel has taken against Palestinians following the attack, and on depicting the presence of the Israeli security forces at the Al-Aqsa mosque plaza as terrorism. It should be noted that it is not clear which organizations the attackers were affiliated with. Both the Islamic State (ISIS) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) have claimed responsibility for the attack in their respective media. Fatah, for its part, condemned the deaths of the three attackers, while completely ignoring the circumstances of the attack, and published bereavement notices for the perpetrators on its official Facebook accounts. A Fatah Deir Abu Mash'al Facebook post claims that the terrorist, Osama Ahmad 'Atta, belonged to Fatah. Similarly, the official Fatah website even published a clarification from 'Atta's relatives, saying that he belonged to Fatah.
The following is a review of the reactions to the attack from the Palestinian Authority and Fatah:
Headline in the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida: Martyrdom Of Three Young Men And The Death Of A Female Soldier Of The Occupation
The day after the attack, the front-page headline of the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida read: "Martyrdom Of Three Young Men And The Death Of A Female Soldier Of The Occupation – Deir Abu Mash'al Under Tight Siege." The sub-headline read: "Fatah condemns the crime of the Occupation and demands international protection for our people." The report itself stated that the PA Health Ministry had announced that three young men were martyred when they were shot by the Occupation forces at Damascus Gate, Jerusalem.
Israel Facilitates Palestinian Prayer on Temple Mount

Egypt said to ease Gaza power crisis with emergency fuel supply
Egypt will provide hundreds of tons of fuel oil for the Gaza Strip’s only power station, a measure expected to ease the ongoing electricity crisis in the Palestinian enclave, local media reported Tuesday.
The Safa news agency, which is close to Hamas, citing an unnamed official, said that 500 tons of fuel a day will be trucked through the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza, enough to bring the power station back on-line.
The power station was expected to return to operation by Wednesday, however, even at full capacity it cannot supply all of Gaza’s electricity needs.
Trucks will be able to enter Gaza even if the Rafa crossing is closed to other traffic, the official said. The report did not say how the cost of the fuel would be covered. Earlier this month a Hamas delegation traveled to Cairo for talks with Egyptian officials.
Last week Arab media reported that Egypt offered Hamas more freedom at its border and much-needed electricity in exchange for the terror group agreeing to a list of security requests that included, among other things a demand that Hamas hand over 17 men wanted by Cairo on terrorism charges, the cessation of weapons smuggling into the Sinai Peninsula, and information on the movement of militants into Gaza via underground tunnels, the London-based Arabic daily Asharq al-Awsat reported.
Egypt kills 12 ISIS-linked militants in Sinai air strike
Egyptian jets bombed a gathering site of Sinai-based Islamist militants, killing 12 and destroying several four-wheel-drive vehicles, the military said on Tuesday.
An Islamist insurgency in the rugged, thinly populated Sinai Peninsula has gained pace since the military overthrew President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's oldest Islamist movement, in 2013 after mass protests against his rule.
The air strikes "resulted in the killing of 12 highly dangerous ... leaders of Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis," the military said in a statement. It did not say when the aerial bombing took place.
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, Egypt's most active militant group, swore allegiance to Islamic State in 2014 and adopted the name Sinai Province. It is blamed for the killing of hundreds of soldiers and policemen in attacks since then. The group has turned its guns on Egyptian Christians in recent months, killing around 100 in bombings at Coptic churches.
The UN helps Assad rebuild, as he continues the carnage
As the Syria regime of Bashar Assad grinds out a piecemeal victory in ravaged areas of resistance, the United Nations faces a new challenge: how, and with whom, it will help the regime rebuild -- and in the process might further help to consolidate Assad’s sway.
Among other things, Fox News has learned, such recovery work has already involved local cooperation between one U.N. organization, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and a charity placed on a U.S. sanctions list last month for its close ties to Assad’s militias and to the dictator’s crony billionaire cousin, Rami Makhlouf, who was also sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury much earlier.
According to an internal U.N. document examined by Fox News, the small-scale project involved little more than assistance last year, with funding from Kuwait, to revive a number of local handmade carpet cooperatives, using funding from Kuwait, “in cooperation with local communities and Al Bustan NGO.”
That appeared to be a reference to the Al Bustan Charity organization, an entity sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury on May 16, 2017. Treasury declared at the time, “Makhlouf created a vast private network of miitias and security-linked institutions through al-Bustan, a prominent organization recruiting and mobilizing individuals to support and augment Syrian military forces.”
Indeed the role of Al Bustan, in supporting and orchestrating Assad’s militia forces, had been common knowledge for years.
Israeli sources: Iran missile strike a ‘flop,’ with most missing target
Iran’s much-vaunted missile strike on Islamic State targets in Syria late Sunday was a flop, with six of the seven medium-range missiles it fired failing to hit their target, Israeli sources said Monday.
Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard, a paramilitary force in charge of the country’s missile program, said it launched six Zolfaghar ballistic missiles from the western provinces of Kermanshah and Kurdistan. The missiles flew over Iraq before striking what the Guard called an Islamic State command center and suicide car bomb operation in Deir el-Zour, according to Tehran. The Fars semi-state news agency quoted sources saying at least 360 terrorists were killed.
But sources quoted in Hebrew media on Monday evening said three of what they said were the seven ballistic missiles didn’t even make it as far as Syria, falling to earth in Iraq, and only one of the seven landed in its intended target, an Islamic State base in Syria’s mostly IS-held Deir Ezzor province. Another of the seven landed hundreds of yards away, in the city of Mayadin.
“If the Iranians were trying to show their capabilities and to signal to Israel and to the Americans that these missiles are operational, the result was rather different,” Channel 2 analyst Ehud Yaari said. It was “a flop,” said Ya’ari. “A failure.” Still, he added dryly, “it photographed well.”
Saudi Arabia says it captured 3 Iranians attempting attack
Saudi Arabia said on Monday that it captured three Iranian Revolutionary Guards aboard an explosive-laden boat heading to an oil platform in the Gulf, further ratcheting up tensions in the region.
Iran said the three people detained were fishermen.
The Saudi statement came three days after it said the incident occurred in the Marjan oil field, and two days after Iran accused the Saudis of shooting one of its fishermen in the Gulf waters which divide their two countries.
Relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran were already strained but escalated after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other allies cut ties with Qatar two weeks ago.
They accuse Doha of supporting extremist groups, including some backed by Iran, “that aim to destabilize the region.”
Last week, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called for a permanent mechanism in the Gulf to resolve crises like the diplomatic and economic isolation of Qatar.
The three guards “are now being questioned by Saudi authorities,” the information and culture ministry said in its statement.

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