Friday, November 17, 2017

From Ian:

Two injured, one seriously, in West Bank car ramming; terrorist shot
A Palestinian terrorist rammed his car into two people, seriously injuring one of them, before getting shot while trying to stab soldiers in the central West Bank on Friday morning, the army said.

The driver of the vehicle, a 17-year-old who was not immediately named, rammed his car into the first victim, a 70-year-old man, who sustained a light head wound, at the Efrat South junction, medics said.

He continued down the road to the nearby Gush Etzion Junction where he hit another Israeli man, 35, according to the Magen David Adom ambulance service.

The second victim was initially said to have been lightly-to-moderately wounded, but the hospital later said his condition was serious, with a brain injury.

The army said the driver then got out of his car with a knife and tried to stab soldiers.

“The soldiers responded by firing towards the attacker, resulting in his injury,” the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.
Palestinian Terrorist Had 'Big Smile on His Face,' Israeli Wounded in Gush Etzion Ramming Attack Recalls
Two Israeli civilians were wounded — one seriously — in a vehicular-ramming attack carried out by a Palestinian terrorist in the West Bank on Friday morning.

The assailant — a 17-year-old male from the city of Halhul, north of Hebron — was shot and detained by IDF soldiers at the Gush Etzion Junction after he left the van he was driving and tried to stab them.

The seriously wounded Israeli — 35-year-old Evven Ezer Holhering, a married father of six from Kiryat Arba — was transported to the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem with a head injury. His wife, Miriam, has asked the people of Israel to pray for her husband.

Holhering is a member of the Bnei Menashe community, a group of Indian Jews who believe they are descendants of one of the ancient ten lost tribes of Israel.

David Ramati — a 70-year-old Israeli man who was lightly wounded in the attack — told reporters the terrorist “had a big smile on his face” before running into to him on the side of Route 60, the main north-south thoroughfare in the West Bank.
IDF enforces closure on West Bank hometown of car-rammer
The Israeli army on Friday set up checkpoints around the West Bank town of Halhul, the home of a Palestinian terrorist who earlier in the day rammed his car into two people, seriously injuring one of them, the military said.

The family of the terrorist was also detained for questioning, the army said.

Just after 6:30 a.m., the 17-year-old barreled his car into the first victim, a 70-year-old man, who sustained a light head wound, at the Efrat South Junction.

From his hospital bed, the first victim, David Ramati, described seeing the Palestinian terrorist, “with a big smile on his face,” driving toward him at some 100 kilometers (60 miles) an hour. Ramati said he had a pistol and tried to shoot the 17-year-old driver, but he was hit by the car before he could.

The terrorist continued down the road to the nearby Gush Etzion Junction where he hit and seriously injured another Israeli man, 35, according to the Magen David Adom ambulance service.
Wife of seriously wounded terror victim urges prayers for his life
The seriously injured victim of Friday’s car-ramming terror attack was named as Even Ezer Holaring, 35, from the Bnei Menashe community, and his wife urged people to pray for the father of five.

Holaring was seriously wounded when he was hit by a car driven by a Palestinian terrorist early in the morning as he stood at the Gush Etzion Junction south of Jerusalem in the West Bank.

“I am the wife of Even Ezer who was wounded in the attack this morning,” his wife said in a short video from the hospital. “His condition is very serious and I am asking every one to pray for him, Even Ezer, the son of Malka,” she said.

Holaring was taken for surgery with a head wound, surgeons at the Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem in Jerusalem said.

“He suffered a head wound. He has an intracranial hemorrhage and will require brain surgery,” his doctor said. “He’s in serious condition, but he is stable.

Mordechai Kedar: The Arab Sunni world: Complete and utter chaos
The only conclusion Israel must reach from this sad state of affairs is as clear as the sunshine in an arid desert: There is no one to rely on in the fragmented, splintered Sunni Arab world which is incapable of uniting against the Iranian threat. The Arabs betray one another and some are tied to Iran with every fibre of their beings. Are they really going to be loyal to whatever agreement they make with the Jews? They may ask the Israelis to save them from the clutches of the Iranian monster, but after Israel does that at a high cost in its own sons and daughters, citizens, infrastructure and cities, that "Moderate Sunni Axis" will act towards us, exactly – and I mean exactly – as they did to the Iraqi Kurds after they shed the blood of over a thousand male and female fighters in order to rescue t he Arabs from ISIS. Remember – they threw them and their aspirations for independence straight into the dustbin of petty politics, interests, cynicism and treachery.

Israel's fate will be exactly the same once the Iranian threat has been routed from what is left of the destroyed, bankrupt, lost and divided Arab world. Israel must not pay a plugged nickel in the quest for peace with a world as fragmented as the Arab world. Not one square centimeter of land for a worthless piece of paper containing the word peace. Israel must ask the Arabs one single question: What are you giving us for our agreeing to making peace with you?

The answer is clear: Apart from poverty, hatred, treachery, neglect, cynicism and hypocrisy, the Arab world has nothing to offer Israel, because these are the only commodities it has. Sad, but true. These are Israel's neighbors, and when we Israelis, from our prime minister down to the last of our citizens, begin to understand this, we will be capable of dealing with our neighbors the way we should.
Israel’s alliances are of utmost importance
Recent developments in the Middle East are once again leading us to reexamine the ostensible alliances the State of Israel has made with moderate Sunni Arab states in the region in an effort to advance common interests and to strengthen its military might in the face of threats posed by radical Islamist entities.

What are the main obstacles that must be overcome in order for Israel to achieve an alliance, and how stable can such a pact actually be? Many critics claim that it’s not actually possible to establish an alliance with Muslim countries for the purpose of fighting against other Muslim countries.

The first modern expression of the extreme hatred between the Shi’ite and Sunni communities in the Middle East was the Iran- Iraq war of the 1980s. This centuries- old hatred reared its ugly head again in recent years with the rise of ISIS and its conquest of large sections of Iraq and Syria.

A number of wars over territory have erupted over the years as a result of this conflict. Iraq, which is mainly made up of Shi’ite Muslims, has made numerous attempts to wrest control of Sunni Persian Gulf states. And Iran, which is also mainly Shi’ite, has also made efforts to expand into Lebanon, Yemen, and Syria.

Another ongoing regional power conflict is between Shi’ite Iran and Sunni Turkey, in which both nations are vying for control over leadership of the Muslim world in the Middle East and the ultimate desire to create a Muslim caliphate there.

Over the years, many unexpected political, military and economic connections have been formed between the various countries.
Caroline Glick: Bannon and the anti-Israel establishment
Speaking at the Zionist Organization of America’s annual dinner, Steven Bannon, US President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist and current CEO of the Breitbart news website, said the US political establishment has “lowered the bar on what [pro-Israel] is supposed to be.”

Bannon invited the pro-Israel activists to join what he referred to as the “insurgency movement against the Republican establishment and against the permanent political class in Washington, DC.”

Bannon argued that it is because of the Republican establishment that then president Barack Obama was able to implement the nuclear deal with Iran.

Bannon is correct. Had a non-establishment senator such as Ted Cruz chaired the Senate Foreign Affairs committee in 2014 and 2015 instead of Senator Bob Corker, in accordance with the US constitution, Obama’s radical nuclear deal would have been treated like a treaty. It would have required the approval of two-thirds of the Senate and it would have gone down in flames.

Instead, Corker stood the Constitution on its head, co-sponsoring the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which required two-thirds of the Senate to reject the deal in order to block its implementation.

As for US financing of Palestinian terrorism, the blame lies mainly at the feet of the permanent political class – particularly the denizens of the State Department. (h/t Elder of Lobby)
An industry of lies
It's doubtful whether the blow to the NGO Breaking the Silence yesterday will change its conduct. The members of the group have never pretended to speak to Israeli society, only as a way of convincing it of the justice of their ideas.

Breaking the Silence has become an industry that creates European money from lies and falsehoods about the IDF and Israel. Under the protective cover of talking about "human rights" (which in practice means rights for everyone except Jews), the organization has indirectly helped international boycott activity against Israel and provided those who hate us and want us dead with a "moral" weapon. Most of Breaking the Silence's activity appeals to a captive global audience that doesn't know very much about the complicated reality here. When they hear "testimony" from Israelis who served in the military, their hatred of Israel and the Jewish people grows.

Foreign governments have given the group over 10 million shekels in the past few years so it can keep providing more "testimonies" against our soldiers. The New Israel Fund has also donated millions to the organization, one of whose founders, Yehuda Shaul, said on one tour that "the settlers just poisoned the entire water system of the [Palestinian] village." His tongue "did not cling to the roof of his mouth." The lie was found to have no basis in reality. Now we discover that the group's spokesman, Dean Issacharoff, lied when he "testified" that when he was a soldier, he brutally beat a Palestinian man. "It never happened," that same Palestinian testified in court.
Education minister bans NGO Breaking the Silence from schools
Representatives of the NGO Breaking the Silence, which advocates against the IDF's presence in Palestinian territories, will not be allowed to meet with students in Israel's public schools, regardless of parents' wishes, Education Minister Naftali Bennett announced Thursday.

"Anyone who slanders IDF soldiers will not set foot inside a school," Bennett said.

"This is the decision and it stands. Today, anyone who attacked me for banning Breaking the Silence from schools understands that they have no place in the education of the next generation."

Breaking the Silence collects testimonies from IDF soldiers of reported Israeli military misconduct directed at Palestinians in the territories.

The director of the Northern District in the Education Ministry, Dr. Orna Simchon, has sent the parents of students at the experimental high school on Kibbutz Harduf in the Jezreel Valley a letter notifying them of the ministry's decision to ban the organization from schools.

Last week, 12th graders at the school were not allowed to meet with Breaking the Silence representatives as part of a seminar probing the Jewish-Arab conflict, although they were permitted to meet with Jewish settlers from Hebron, Israel Police commanders, Knesset members, and left-wing activists from other groups.

The ban angered the parents, who sent a strongly worded response to the supervisor of the Northern District.

"To the best of our knowledge, the NGO Breaking the Silence has not been outlawed. We are astonished and outraged over this infuriating decision and also the way in which it was made. The role of the Education Ministry is to encourage study and learning, not to censor," the parents wrote.
'Why is Israel subsidizing anti-IDF plays?'
MK Sharren Haskel (Likud) demanded that Education Minister Naftali Bennett to re-examine the subsidy given to young people before enlisting in the IDF to watch plays which often include anti-Israel propaganda.

An example of this phenomenon is the presentation by MK Haskel to Minister Bennett of the play "The Confession" by the Jaffa Theater. The play deals with the capture of the Arab village of Tantura during the 1948 War of Independence. The play addresses the controversy among several Israeli historians over the possibility that during the IDF soldiers may have massacred the residents of the village.

Minsiter Bennett instructed the director-general of the Education Ministry to to examine the complaint over the play earlier this week.

"There are other examples of plays and people invited to the theater and calling for a violent struggle against the State of Israel, praising martyrs and thus admiring them," MK Haskel said. "The Jaffa Theater is a controversial theater. Miri Regev dealt with the matter removed the Culture Minister's subsidy from this theater because of these claims. But we are still subsidizing through the Education Ministry tickets for young people before their army service, and thus this theater is receiving yet another subsidy."
A Marshall Plan for Gaza is a bad idea
Saudi Arabia and its allies in the Sunni moderate camp detest the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.

These countries fear Iranian encroachment. Better relations with these countries will not be served by a campaign to help Gaza. In short, aid to Hamas only strengthens the position of radical Islam throughout the Middle East.

Mr. Prime Minister, the Marshall Plan concept is misguided and counterproductive. Israel should adhere to its longstanding approach of using sticks and carrots in the Palestinian arena; a policy that has scored impressive successes over the years, although the balance is always delicate and fraught with uncertainty. While Israel is not interested in a humanitarian disaster in Gaza, the suggestion to importune for a Marshall Plan clearly undercuts the advantageous equilibrium between punishment and incentive.
Joint declaration calls on US to demand Palestinians recognize Jewish state
It’s a demand that has been made of the Palestinians by various Israeli leaders in the past, but an unprecedented Knesset-congressional joint declaration issued on Wednesday called on the US administration to demand that the Palestinians recognize the State of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people as a precondition to future talks.

The declaration, signed by members of the congressional Israel Victory Caucus and the Knesset Israel Victory Caucus, declares that “the primary obstacle to ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the near century of Palestinian rejectionism of the right of self-determination for the Jewish People”, and that, “only Palestinian acknowledgment of the Jewish People’s historic connection to the Land of Israel, and acceptance of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, will end the conflict.”

The Israel Victory Project is an initiative of the Philadelphia- based Middle East Forum, whose stated aim is to shift the paradigm to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by declaring Israeli victory.

The declaration was signed during a visit to Washington and New York by co-chairman of the Knesset Caucus Oded Forer (Yisrael Beytenu) and caucus member Avraham Neguise (Likud). The Israeli lawmakers met with their counterparts in the congressional caucus, from both sides of the aisle, as well as other senior US decision makers and opinion shapers, and Jewish and Christian leaders.

“Every attempt at negotiations with the Palestinians without demanding that they recognize Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people will fail,” Forer said. “Together with members of Congress from both parties, we call on the American administration to demand from the Palestinians to recognize the State of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people as a precondition to future talks.
Forty years after Sadat visit, Egyptian-Israeli peace faces uncertain future
At first glance, relations between Israel and Egypt seem quite solid forty years after President Anwar Sadat's historic visit to Jerusalem.

It was on November 19, 1977 that Sadat stunned the world by visiting Jerusalem and breaking the psychological barrier produced by three decades that were marked by wars and belligerency. In his speech to the Knesset, the Egyptian leader declared: "Sincerely I tell you we welcome you among us with full security and safety."

But he also stressed that peace would require Israel to withdraw from all of the territories captured in 1967 and to accept Palestinian statehood. "Any talk about permanent peace based on justice and any move to ensure our coexistence in peace and security in this part of the world would become meaningless while you occupy Arab territories by force of arms."

Today, despite the continuation of Israeli military control in the West Bank, security and governmental ties are unprecedentedly close. Both countries are keen to see Islamic State's insurgency in Sinai routed and they are reportedly working together towards that end. Both view Hamas in the Gaza Strip as a threat. Both are keen to counter Iranian influence in the region.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has an open line to President Abdul-Fatah al-Sisi, while, according to Ben Gurion University Egypt specialist Yoram Meital, Israel lobbies in Washington on Sisi's behalf, urging US decision makers against decreasing aid to Egypt over its alleged human rights violations.

"During the past two years relations have been a kind of honeymoon,"Meital says.
South Korean Candidate Defeats Iranian Frontrunner in Key UNESCO Election Contest
South Korea’s ambassador to UNESCO — the cultural, scientific and educational agency of the United Nations — was elected on Thursday as chairman of the Executive Board, in a vote many observers believe would be won by an Iranian candidate.

Lee Byoung-hyun won the ballot of the 57-member Executive Board by 32 votes against 25 for Iranian Ambassador Ahmad Jalali. The Iranian defeat on Thursday followed October’s blow to Qatar’s hopes of winning the post of UNESCO director-general. In that race, French candidate Audrey Azoulay defeated Hamad Bin Abdulaziz Al-Kawari following a contest in which the Qatari was similarly regarded as the leading contender.

Israel welcomed the Iranian defeat. Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama-Hacohen, paid tribute to “Western efforts, especially by the US and Israel, to create competition for the Iranians and to stop Tehran’s control of the Executive Committee.” These efforts “took place mainly behind the scenes and today had an impressive success,” the ambassador said.

Shimon Samuels — international affairs director for the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), a US-based Jewish organization with observer status at UNESCO — said that the vote “also mirrored the growing fear among Sunni Muslim countries of Shia Iran’s imperialist threats to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and beyond.”

Last month, the SWC protested Iran’s candidacy in a letter to outgoing UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, pointing out that the Tehran regime was lobbying for recognition of the ancient city of Dezful as a UNESCO heritage site. A prison in the same city is alleged to be the location of a massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in 1988 directed by Mahmoud Alavi, who is now Iran’s minister of intelligence, the SWC said.
Despite Trump's objections, Congress passes Israeli missile defense aid using wartime funds
Congress appears to have bucked the Trump administration this week by passing hundreds of millions of dollars in missile defense aid for Israel likely using funds historically reserved for current US wartime operations.

The White House made clear over the summer that it was not opposed to the amount of aid proposed by Congress for Israel, but rather the vehicle for its delivery– an unprecedented use of dollars typically saved for US military readiness. On Thursday, Congress approved the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act to include $705 million for US-Israel missile defense cooperation, including $588 million over President Donald Trump's proposed budget.

The House has proposed for the first time tapping the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) budget for this aid increase– a fund that is effectively uncapped by the Budget Control Act and has become a loophole through which Congress and the Pentagon get around budget cuts ever since sequestration (a legal procedure in which automatic spending cuts are triggered if the federal budget exceeds a set limit) hit defense programs hard in 2013.

In July, a National Security Council spokesperson told The Jerusalem Post that "misuse" of OCO funds for any purpose but US wartime readiness was a "slippery slope" down which no party should slide for any reason.
‘Where future trends start:’ Israel, NATO states share urban warfare insights
Representatives from 12 NATO countries recently visited Israel to take part in a first-of-its-kind conference on the challenges of urban warfare and combat in populated areas.

The need to engage enemies embedded in urban combat zones, megacities (metropolitan areas with more than 10 million inhabitants) and other populated regions is a challenge that is set to become increasingly prevalent for security forces around the world. Israel has amassed significant experience in this area, experts say.

“From Operation Defensive Shield in 2002 (launched to extinguish a wave of Palestinian suicide bombings and shootings in Israeli cities), the IDF’s operations have been focused in built-up village and city areas,” Dr. Eitan Shamir, former head of the National Security Doctrine Department in Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry, told

“The IDF set up one of the most advanced facilities of its kind in the world at the Tzelim Ground Forces Training Center,” Shamir said, referring to a mock Palestinian village used for Israeli military training. “American units and others have asked to come and train in it. I personally have heard senior American officers say they do not have a facility like the Israeli one, which was built after many lessons and experience.”

Organizers of Israel’s urban warfare conference, which took place from Nov. 5-8, echo this sentiment.

“Israel is a lab, where many things happen, and where future trends start,” an IDF colonel who heads a department in the military’s Strategic Planning Branch told

The conference enabled Israel to transmit the complexities and dilemmas it faces when dealing with enemies that operate out of civilian areas, he added.
Ein al Hilweh and Umm Jamal: Facts on the ground
Recently, various media outlets published news and editorial pieces about the Civil Administration’s intention to enforce “delimitation orders” on two Palestinian Beduin encampments in the Jordan Valley. Under the blazing headline “Stop the Evictions,” an editorial in Haaretz unleashed a full-scale attack, notifying readers in Israel and around the world that the State of Israel is planning to evict hundreds of unfortunate Palestinian Beduin, victims of recurring “illegal, unjustified and dangerous” Israeli actions, from two villages in Israel’s Jordan Valley – Ein al Hilweh and Umm Jamal.

Zehava Gal-On, who tweeted about it yesterday, told her readers that these villages “have been there for decades” and that they “are situated on private, Arab-owned land.” Yesterday, The Jerusalem Post’s Tova Lazaroff addressed the issue, as well.

Although Lazaroff’s article correctly described the “Palestinian Beduin villages” of Umm Jamal and Ein al Hilweh as illegal, that’s more or less where the factuality ends. Quoting attorney Tawfiq Jabareen, who represents these illegal encampments, Lazaroff repeated his patently false statement that “some of the families came 30 years ago from the South Hebron Hills and others were here before 1967.”

In fact, aerial photos taken as recently as 2004 show that there was no village – Beduin, Palestinian, or any other kind – in this area; aerial photos going back to 1999 debunk Jabareen’s claims altogether. At most, in certain seasons there were tents in the area, constructed for temporary shelter by the nomadic shepherds who passed through with their flocks. This hardly constitutes ownership, settlement, or historic claims to land.
PA presents anti-Israel propaganda to students from Denmark
A Palestinian Authority (PA) official, Walid Assaf, who heads the “committee to fight the security fence and the settlements”, met on Tuesday with a delegation of students from Denmark and briefed them on the political situation and the reality on the ground.

The Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that during the meeting, which took place in Ramallah, Assaf accused Israel of "Judaizing the territories."

He also accused Israel of “stealing” natural resources, cutting off Palestinian areas from one another, building the "racist" separation fence, isolating Al-Quds (Jerusalem -ed.) and imposing restrictions on freedom of religious worship.

Assaf described Israel's policy as colonialist and claimed that this policy is manifested in demolitions of homes and Bedouin communities, and the forced expulsion of Palestinian residents from Susiya and Umm al-Khir in the south to the Jordan Valley in the north.

He asked the foreign students to convey the message about the suffering of the Palestinian people and to support their positions.

The student delegation also watched films explaining the alleged Israeli "harassment" of the Palestinians and the policy of "executions" of young Palestinians during the Intifada, the demolition of homes and the expulsion of residents.
The Problem of Funding Palestinian Education
For Palestinians, Dalal Mughrabi is a legend — a heroine — celebrated for having killed 38 Israelis (including 13 children) in a 1978 massacre along Israel’s Coastal Highway.

But when Belgium funded a school for Palestinian children in 2013, it didn’t expect the institution to be named in Mughrabi’s honor. Thus, when officials learned last month that the former ‘Beit Awwa Basic Girls School’ in Hebron had been renamed to celebrate the Lebanese terrorist, the Belgians immediately froze all funding to the Palestinian Authority’s educational projects.

In response, the school, whose logo depicts a map eliminating Israel, wrote on its Facebook page: “The name of Dalal is engraved in our hearts and will remain engraved in our minds.”

Belgium planned to fund ten more schools in the coming three years, The Algemeiner reported. Those projects would have come in addition to the 20 schools that the country has already helped build in the Palestinian territories, through a €71.6 million, four-year support package set up in 2011.

Belgium’s national contribution to the Palestinian Authority (PA) government comes on top of the EU’s general support, which in 2016 came to €291.1 million. Most of those funds are distributed through PEGASE, an EU initiative established in 2008 to provide direct funding to the PA, enabling it to pay out pensions, civil servant salaries and basic public services.

Belgium is not alone: in 2017, the UK pledged £25 million to cover the salaries of PA employees in the West Bank. And, according to a Mail on Sunday report, several schools funded by the UK are also named for terrorists.
German banks close accounts for Marxist-Leninist Party with ties to Palestinian terrorists
The Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany announced on Thursday that the Deutsche Bank and the Postbank shut down all of the party's bank accounts in Germany.

The anti-Israel Marxist-Leninist Party has been engulfed in an election scandal alleging it campaigned during the federal election with The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)--an EU and US designated terrorist organization.

In a statement released on its German-language website, Gabi Fechtner, the Marxist-Leninist Party (MLPD) chairwoman, said the termination of the accounts "is a massive attack on the management of the MLPD." She added that that the closure of the accounts "means a new high point in the criminalization campaign against the MLPD and a politically motivated bank boycott."

The Marxist-Leninist Party lashed out at The Jerusalem Post for its investigative series on the party's connection with the PFLP prior to the September, 24 federal election.

The party, which adheres to the line of the late Soviet Union dictator Josef Stalin, wrote that negative press coverage is related to its support for the "Palestinian liberation struggle." The Marxist-Leninist Party campaigned on a joint list with the PFLP and its supporters, according to German media reports.
U.S. Military Aid Fueling Hezbollah's Next War Against Israel
U.S. officials have become increasingly concerned that American military aid to the Lebanese army is arming the Iranian-backed terror group Hezbollah, which has been amassing a large cache of advanced arms on Israel's border, according to multiple current and former U.S. officials who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.

Following the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who fled the country and disclosed that Hezbollah controls the entirety of Lebanon, the U.S. government has continued its support for the Lebanese military, which multiple sources say has long been under the thumb of Hezbollah militants.

The ongoing policy is said to be fueling diplomatic tensions between the United States and Israel, which has found itself allied with Saudi Arabia as the American government advances a host of policies that have contributed to Iran's regional dominance, including in Iraq and Syria.

The Trump administration's State Department is coming under increased pressure from lawmakers and other foreign policy insiders to halt all military aid to Lebanon in light of Hariri's resignation and new evidence that Hezbollah is benefiting from the American arms and aid.

Multiple U.S. officials and other national security insiders who spoke to the Free Beacon about the situation criticized the Trump administration for continuing a host of policies that they say have emboldened Iran's grip on the region, including in Syria and Iraq, where U.S. arms have recently been detected going to Iranian-backed militia groups.
Saudi Arabia calls on Hezbollah to disarm, threatens its ouster from Lebanon
Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Thursday called on the Hezbollah terrorist organization to disarm, warning the group that regional efforts were underway to oust them from the Lebanese government.

At a press conference in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, al-Jubeir denounced Hezbollah as “a tool of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards” and “a first-class terrorist organization used by Iran to destabilize Lebanon and the region.”

“Hezbollah has kidnapped the Lebanese system,” he said.

Al-Jubeir added that “consultations and coordination between peace-loving countries and Lebanon-loving countries are underway to try to find a way that would restore sovereignty to Lebanon and reduce the negative action which Hezbollah is conducting in Lebanon.”

The minister’s remarks came as the kingdom rejected accusations that Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri was being detained in Riyadh following his shock resignation earlier this month.
Iraqi forces recapture last Islamic State-held town
Iraqi forces captured the border town of Rawa, the last remaining town under Islamic State control, on Friday, signalling the complete defeat of the group's self-proclaimed caliphate.

The capture of the town marks the end of Islamic State's era of territorial rule over a so-called caliphate that it proclaimed in 2014 across vast swathes of Iraq and Syria.

Iraqi forces "liberated Rawa entirely, and raised the Iraqi flag over its buildings," Lieutenant General Abdul Ameer Rasheed Yarallah said in a statement from the Joint Operations Command.

Rawa borders Syria, whose army declared victory over the militants on Nov. 9, after seizing the last substantial town on the border with Iraq.

"With the liberation of Rawa we can say all the areas in which Daesh is present have been liberated," a military spokesman said, referring to Islamic State by an Arabic acronym.
Israel slams German promotion of trade forum with Iran
Israel’s embassy in Berlin on Wednesday issued a stinging condemnation of German Green Party politicians and federal agencies for jeopardizing Middle East and European security because of their roles in promoting trade with the Islamic Republic of Iran at a business forum in Frankfurt.

The embassy in Berlin told The Jerusalem Post by email: “Iran is the No.1 funder of terror in the world, including terror organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas, and is a destabilizing force in the region. Furthermore, Iran carries out missile tests that are not consistent with UN Security Council resolutions, and in doing so calls for the destruction of Israel. These missiles also have the capability of reaching Europe.”

The embassy added, “Iran should be the focus of severe nuclear monitoring given the international community’s lack of belief in its intentions. Iran is one of the primary abusers of human rights. The number of executions during the term of President [Hassan] Rouhani even surpassed previous leaders. Given this, it’s possible to understand our dissatisfaction from this forum and cooperation by European bodies.”

The 5th Banking and Business Forum Iran Europe, which runs from November 15-16 in Frankfurt, seeks to boost business with Iran and end financial restrictions against Tehran.

Tarek Al-Wazir, the Green Party economic minister for the state of Hesse where the forum is taking place, is slated to speak. The Green Party in the state of Hesse and the Economy Ministry declined to comment.
Time for Trump to hold Qatar accountable for funding terrorism
US President Donald Trump has called terrorism a “battle between good and evil,” a fight “between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life, and decent people of all religions who seek to protect it.” The president, along with fellow Republicans, frequently tries to paint Democrats as weak on terrorism.

Yet, when it comes to Qatar, a nation known to harbor terrorist leaders and to provide funding for terrorist activities, the Trump administration, which initially signaled a hard line toward the oil-rich nation, seems to have a soft spot.

While Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic ties with Qatar in June because of its support for terrorism, including for Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, the Trump administration instead has been cozying up. That’s despite those four nations having published a list of a dozen entities and 59 individuals who finance terrorist groups and are connected to, and even in, Qatar.

In March 2014, a senior US Treasury Department official called Qatar a “permissive jurisdiction” for illicit financing of terrorist groups in Syria, including ISIS and the al-Nusra Front.

Meanwhile, Qatar is growing closer to Iran, beyond the positive media coverage it gives that nation through the Qatari-owned Al-Jazeera network, and has been establishing energy, trade and security ties with a country whose officials frequently espouse the destruction of Israel.
Russia casts 10th UN veto on Syria action, blocking inquiry renewal
Russia cast its 10th veto on Thursday of United Nations Security Council action on Syria since the war began in 2011, blocking a US-drafted resolution to renew an international inquiry into who is to blame for chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

The mandate for the joint inquiry by the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which found the Syrian government used the banned nerve agent sarin in an April 4 attack, expires at midnight Thursday.

A resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the United States, France, Russia, Britain or China to be adopted. The US draft text received 11 votes in favor, while Russia and Bolivia voted against it and China and Egypt abstained.

The vote sparked a war of words between Russia and the United States in the council, just hours after White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said President Donald Trump believed he could work with Russian President Vladimir Putin on issues like Syria.
The story of a Jewish grandma born in Palestine
Meet Shulamit, she was born four years before the state of Israel declared independence. Her family lived in Kfar Shiloach, a village in East Jerusalem. Today most people only know Kfar Shiloach by it's Arabic name, Silwan, after an orchestrated campaign to remove any connection of the Jewish people to this area. Shulamit was born on a bus on the way to the Mount of Olives, once it became apparent that Shulamit's mother was going to give birth, the bus driver told the passengers to catch the next bus. Tragically the next bus was fire bombed by Arab terrorists and several people lost their lives. What Shulamit shares about the Arab neighbours she grew up with in Silwan will shock you.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.


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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 14 years and 30,000 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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