Monday, July 16, 2018

From Ian:

PMW: Fatah: Teach children about Palestinian terror
Abbas' Fatah is encouraging Palestinian parents to teach their children about a terror bombing in which 15 Israelis were murdered and over 60 wounded in 1975.

In a post on Facebook, Fatah writes about the terror attack in which terrorist Ahmad Abu Sukkar filled a refrigerator with explosives and had it driven to the center of Jerusalem where it was detonated:
"Share so that our children will know about it."
Fatah for years has glorified this murderous attack as the "refrigerator operation."

Fatah also honored the terrorist himself by posting three photos of him:
Posted Text: "38 years since the refrigerator operation, which caused the death of 13 Israelis (sic., 15) in Jerusalem's markets
Share so that our children will know about it From the memory:
The refrigerator bomb operation, Jerusalem, 1975
The Palestinian National Liberation Movement - Fatah
The operation was carried out by Ahmad Jabarah Abu Sukkar, born in July 1936. He was taken captive long after the operation and sat in the Israeli prison for 27 years."
[Official Fatah Facebook page, July 5, 2018]
Seized archive shows Iran nuke project was larger than thought, had foreign help
The archive of Iranian nuclear documents seized by the Israeli Mossad from a Tehran warehouse in January shows that Iran’s program to build nuclear weapons “was almost certainly larger, more sophisticated and better organized” than was suspected, unnamed nuclear experts were quoted as saying in the New York Times on Sunday, after being shown selected documents from the haul by US reporters.

One of the Iranian documents specifies plans to build a first “batch of five weapons” and discusses sites for possible underground nuclear tests, the Times reported, after one of its reporters was given limited access to the haul last week, along with a reporter from the Washington Post, and another from the Wall Street Journal.

“None were built, possibly because the Iranians feared being caught, or because a campaign by American and Israeli intelligence agencies to sabotage the effort, with cyberattacks and disclosures of key facilities, took its toll,” said the Times.

“It’s quite good,” Robert Kelley, a nuclear engineer and former inspector for the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, told The Times dryly, after being shown some of the documents. “The papers show these guys were working on nuclear bombs.”

The documents also reinforce Israel’s contention that Iran remains determined to attain a nuclear weapons archive, despite its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal (the JCPOA), the US reporters noted.

The materials they were shown include documentation that names current Iranian President Hassan Rouhani as a member of the “Council for Advanced Technologies” that approved the rogue nuclear weapons program, the Washington Post said, and indicate “a supporting role by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, as well as the Quds Force.” Previously released documents indicate that the Iranian army was charged with overseeing the conversion of low-enriched uranium to weapons-grade fuel suitable for nuclear bombs.
NYTs [$]: How Israel Stole Iran's Nuclear Secrets
The Mossad agents moving in on a warehouse in a commercial district of Tehran on Jan. 31 knew they had exactly 6 hours and 29 minutes to disable the alarms, break through two doors, cut through dozens of giant safes and get out of the city with a half-ton of secret materials. When time was up, they fled for the border, hauling 50,000 pages and 163 compact discs of memos, videos and plans.

Last week, at the invitation of the Israeli government, three reporters were shown key documents from the trove. Many confirmed that Iran had worked in the past to systematically assemble everything it needed to produce atomic weapons. "The papers show these guys were working on nuclear bombs," said Robert Kelley, a nuclear engineer and former inspector for the International Atomic Energy Agency.

American and British intelligence officials, after comparing the documents to some they had previously obtained from spies and defectors, said they believed the trove was genuine.

The Iranian program to build a nuclear weapon was almost certainly larger, more sophisticated and better organized than most suspected in 2003, according to outside nuclear experts consulted by The Times. The documents detailed the challenges of integrating a nuclear weapon into a warhead for the Shahab-3, an Iranian missile.

Clearly, the Israelis had inside help. They had learned which of the 32 safes held the most important information. They studied the alarm system, so that it would appear to be working even though it would not alert anyone when the agents arrived.

Among the most fascinating elements are pictures taken inside key facilities in Iran, before the equipment was dismantled in anticipation of international inspections. One set of photos shows a giant metal chamber built to conduct high-explosive experiments, in a building at the Parchin military base near Tehran.

Truce or war: Hamas’s bipolar rule in Gaza
Several hundred Palestinians participated in clashes at the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip last Friday, the remnants of the so-called “March of Return” demonstrations, which at times advocated for Palestinian refugees’ return to their homes — in Israel, of course — and at other times pressed for breaking Israel’s “blockade” of Gaza. Hamas is putting considerable time, energy, and money into keeping up a presence at these demonstrations, even though the number of participants has been steadily decreasing.

As the clashes went ahead, thousands of Gaza residents went to the Gaza beach, simply to enjoy themselves on family outings, just like old times. Gaza’s coast is unsafe for bathing due to pollution, but many people went into the water anyway to cool off from the oppressive July heat — an attempt at normalcy in one of the least normal places in the region, or on Earth.

Gaza is a place where poverty, with its accompanying economic and humanitarian hardships, is only growing more severe — a place that gets only four hours of electricity per day followed by a 16-hour blackout. Ice cream and even cold water are in short supply because there is insufficient power to keep them cold. The generator-powered elevators in high-rise buildings only operate on the hour and are idle the rest of the time. Of the water that flows through the pipes only once every five days, approximately 97 percent is undrinkable. Almost every home in Gaza has a device for filtering and improving the water that comes from the faucets.

These are only small examples of the mad state of things in the Gaza Strip. Gaza’s bipolar nature is also evident in bigger issues: Hamas, the terror organization that controls Gaza and seeks Israel’s destruction, has been intermittently working in recent weeks to keep things relatively calm with the Jewish state, even amid periodic escalations of rocket fire and endless fire kites and incendiary balloons flown into and burning the fields of southern Israel. It has also been intermittently trying to reach a long-term cease-fire agreement with Israel, even as it continues to dig terror tunnels and produce long-range rockets.

While ever howling of “hardship” and “the blockade,” Hamas consistently chooses to spend its funds on its terror infrastructure rather than investing in the population. Examples of this abound, from the enormous budget of its military wing to its collection of money from Gaza’s residents to fund its ongoing military activity. A classic example is recent events at the Rafah border crossing.

Siphoning precious fuel

For some time, the Egyptians have been bringing through the Rafah crossing merchandise and products that they previously barred from entering Gaza, such as construction materials, fuels and other products. Approximately 30 million liters of diesel fuel, supposedly intended for Gaza’s power station, have been brought in since the beginning of the year. Hamas buys the diesel fuel from Egypt, but instead of using it all to fuel the station and produce more hours of electricity per day, it has been using some of the diesel fuel to make a profit.

Of the 30 million liters, 17.8 million were taken to Gaza’s power station. Another 12.2 million liters were either sold on the black market to those willing to pay the maximum price for it, or diverted for Hamas’s military purposes. Hamas makes a profit of NIS 2.5 on every liter of diesel fuel sold in Gaza.
JPost Editorial: Not managing the conflict
‘I am convinced from the depth of my heart and my best knowledge that this disengagement will strengthen Israel in its holding of the land necessary for our existence and will be blessed and recognized by those near and far, will reduce hatred, will break through boycotts and sieges and will promote us towards peace with the Palestinians and the rest of our neighbors.”

That is how then-prime minister Ariel Sharon presented his plan to disengage from Gaza in 2004.

Fourteen years later, we know things didn’t go the way Sharon predicted – to say the least. This weekend, Israel was struck by a barrage of hundreds of projectiles from Hamas-controlled Gaza. The IAF shot back, thus beginning a pattern we’ve seen again and again since Israel fully pulled out of Gaza in 2005, with peaks and valleys in the level of rocket-fire.

For the past three months, since the “Great March of Return” began, there has been a steady increase in attacks on Israel from Gaza, with thousands of dunams burned by incendiary kites and barrages of rockets followed by all-too-brief ceasefires. The residents of the Gaza envelope are once again running for shelter on a regular basis. There’s a sense of deja vu from the lead-up to past IDF operations in Gaza, and while it’s been four years since Operation Protective Edge, it seems inevitable that there will be another one.

There should be absolutely no doubt or wavering from the fact that Hamas, as the theocratic, authoritarian governing body in Gaza, is responsible for the violence against Israeli soldiers and civilians and the grievous conditions in which Gazans live.

However, that does not mean that the government should not be trying to come up with new ways to bring about a change. While most of the promises of the disengagement remain unfulfilled, that does not mean that Israelis should be doomed to living under rocket-fire and fighting the same mini-war every few years.

Since 2005, Israel mostly responds to Hamas and Islamic Jihad’s attacks, hoping things don’t escalate too badly and putting more money into the lifesaving Iron Dome and rocket-proofing Gaza envelope buildings, without any apparent overarching plan or strategy.

IDF: Projectile launched at Israel falls short in the Gaza Strip
A projectile launched from Gaza in the direction of Israel fell short of the border in the Gaza Strip on Monday, hours after Israel struck Hamas positions in Gaza. The projectile, which set off rocket sirens in the town of Zikim near the border of the strip, reportedly caused two explosions to be heard.

The Israeli Air Force struck two Hamas positions in northern Gaza on Monday afternoon after Palestinians had launched incendiary balloons into southern Israel earlier in the day.

According to Palestinians sources the drone strike occurred near Beit Hanoun and left several wounded.

Scorched earth and international law
ONCE AGAIN, thousands of Israeli civilians, men, women and children, are living under daily threat and trauma.

Doing the only thing that can be done against the terrorism that seeks to instill fear and paralyze them, they work, shop, write exams, drop kids off at camp or school, doing their utmost to lead a semblance of normal life. In these heroic daily acts that should be understood and acknowledged as such, they are fighting terrorists by denying them the victory of instilling anxiety and dread. Hundreds of volunteers show their support by doing the only thing they can, showing up in solidarity and working with brave firefighters day and night, to minimize the damage and save what can be saved.

In defiant breach of international law, fires are ravaging Israel daily. It is noteworthy that this strategy of destroying the food and water supply of the civilian population in an area of conflict is banned under Article 54 of Protocol I of the 1977 Geneva Conventions. The relevant passage states: “It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove, or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies, and irrigation works, for the specific purpose of denying them for their sustenance value to the civilian population or to the adverse Party, whatever the motive, whether in order to starve out civilians, to cause them to move away, or for any other motive.”

The past few months have brought many civilians to the very area that is burning, along the Gaza border, for a gathering that highlights the unacceptable breach of international law and offers much the same clarity as to the enemy that Israel faces. Week after week, we gather to demand the return of the remains of Hadar Goldin, abducted and murdered by Hamas, the very same terrorist organization responsible for the implementation of the scorched-earth strategy. In a cynical abuse of the humanitarian ceasefire, under the auspices of the UN and brokered by the US in the “last blast from the warfare past” in the form of underground tunnels. In a cynical abuse of the understanding of the sanctity of life, and in violation of international law, they have been holding Goldin’s remains for four years. Week after week, en route to the gathering, the heartbreaking changeover from green to black can be seen, the demoralizing smoke in the air can be smelled. Week after week, we continue to go, recognizing the importance of standing together in solidarity, and of understanding and sensing reality.

For those who recognize the significance of international law in a world rife with conflict, that believe in the power of humanitarian law in a world plagued by human suffering, the smoke should not cloud our vision or dull our understanding. The message is loud and clear if you are willing to look and listen. It must serve as a call to action. Transcending politics, the recent rebirth and implementation of scorched-earth strategy clarifies that the struggle against the State of Israel has absolutely nothing to do with post- 1967 borders. It has absolutely nothing to do with “settlements” or “settlers” who can be removed to create a Palestinian state that will coexist with the Jewish state. Dusting off the scorchedearth practice sets ablaze a simple and clear message, which appeared on a terror balloon launched from Gaza stating, bluntly and simply: “Leave our land or there will be nothing green.” If international law is to have any meaning at all, it is imperative that individuals, societies and countries that cherish international law and value humanitarian law hold those in outright breach of it accountable.
NY Post Editorial: Why are greens silent over this ongoing ecological war?
Hamas’ recent tactic of launching fire kites and balloons over the border from Gaza marks something new: ecological war. Why aren’t the world’s greens screaming at this “assault on the planet”?

Since the end of March, Hamas-spurred terrorists have flown hundreds of Molotov cocktails and improvised firebombs into Israel, setting aflame thousands of acres of farmland, forests and nature preserves.

The damage to Israeli agriculture is said to be in the millions, and a drop in tourism dollars compounds that. The cost of fighting the fires, too, is enormous, not to mention the stress on locals.

But it’s not just an economic hit. Israel’s Environmental Protection Ministry fears that particulate matter from the fires may boost cancer and vision problems as well as respiratory illness.

The world regularly shrugs at such Israeli suffering. But what about the assault on Mother Nature? The fires are destroying nature preserves, killing some animals and destroying the food supply for others.

Israel and Hamas reached a ceasefire Saturday after rockets from Gaza prompted Israeli air strikes. And Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the agreement would not permit continued “terrorism by incendiary kites and balloons.” Whether Hamas reins in the kite-fliers, though, remains to be seen.
IDF strikes 2 Hamas posts in Gaza as firefighters tackle balloon blazes
Israeli aircraft struck a pair of Hamas observation posts in the Gaza Strip on Monday, with the military saying incendiary balloons were launched from nearby earlier that day, sparking fires in Israel.

“The strike was carried out in response to the fire terror being led by the Hamas terror organization against Israel’s citizens and sovereignty,” the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.

It was not immediately clear if any Palestinians were injured in the airstrike.

Some time after the Israeli attack, the army said a rocket was launched towards Israel from the north of the Strip, but apparently fell inside the Palestinian enclave.

Meanwhile Israeli firefighting crews battled a number of blazes in the border region sparked by flaming airborne devices flown in from Gaza.
Video reveals Gaza 'playground' is a Hamas abductions training site
A new video released on Sunday showed Hamas terrorists training to abduct IDF soldiers at a location in Gaza that Hamas claimed was "a children's playground."

The Israeli Air Force bombed the Hamas training site last week in retaliation for a cross-border grenade attack that left an IDF officer moderately wounded.

The video was shared by IDF Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rokon on the unit's Facebook page in Arabic.

"You can see clearly," Rokon wrote, "Hamas terrorists training in the yard of the same building that was bombed. … Yesterday it was alleged that this building was an innocent civilian building, but the truth is … military training that mimics the abduction of an Israeli soldier."

EU ambassador: 'Unacceptable' to fire against civilians
European Union Ambassador to Israel Emanuele Giaufret on Saturday night responded to the barrage of rockets fired from Gaza into Israeli territory.

In a tweet, Giaufret wrote, "Following reports of rockets fired to southern Israel from Gaza. Indiscriminate firing against civilian targets is unacceptable. Very concerned for the situation, and the possibility of further escalation. Need to restore calm and step back from the brink."

Since Friday, Gaza terrorists have fired over 180 rockets at Israeli territory. At least 20 of these were shot down by Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system, and at least 73 others landed in open fields.

However, rockets also landed in a Sderot street, near a synagogue, in a family's home, and on a playground. Four Israelis were injured in the attacks.
PLO official: Israel killing Palestinian children
Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi on Sunday accused Israel of “deliberately targeting and killing Palestinian children”.

Her comments came after two teens were killed when a half-constructed high rise they were in was hit by an Israeli missile launched after a barrage of rockets were launched from Gaza into Israel.

The IDF said the building was being used by Hamas for military training.

In addition, Gazan officials claim another teenager was shot and killed by Israeli forces as he participated in the violent riots along the Gaza border on Friday.

"Israel is deliberately targeting and killing Palestinian children. Such a brutal and criminal campaign against the people of Gaza is allowed to persist by the international community's inaction and American collusion with the military occupation. The targeting of public places and playgrounds constitutes a war crime and violates international law and international humanitarian law,” said Ashrawi in a statement quoted by the Wafa news agency.

“As long as the world remains silent, Israel's systematic campaign of brutalizing and terrorizing innocent Palestinians will only continue,” she charged.
Haniyeh: Lift the 'siege' or the escalation will continue
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh on Sunday warned Israel of further escalation unless the “siege” on Gaza is lifted.

Haniyeh spoke at the funeral of the two teenagers killed in an IDF airstrike in Gaza and was quoted by Yediot Aharonot.

"Let the enemy end its aggression first and then the resistance will stop," Haniyeh said in a eulogy for two teens who were killed when a half-constructed high rise they were in was hit by an Israeli missile launched after a barrage of rockets were launched from Gaza into Israel.

The IDF said that the building was being used by Hamas for military training.

"We are on the road to victory, the issue of Palestine, Jerusalem and Gaza is still on the top of our agenda. The solution to the situation in Gaza is to lift the siege. The Palestinian people do not believe in promises about projects. The people want to see real results that will bring an end to this siege,” said Haniyeh, according to Yediot Aharonot.

"The weekly marches will continue until we’ve reached all of our goals, first and foremost: lifting the siege on Gaza. We’ll continue to march until the right of return is realized. We will not give up on returning to all the land of Palestine,” he vowed.

'They won't break us,' residents of Gaza-adjacent communities say
A day after a spike in cross-border violence over the weekend, which sent residents of Israel's western Negev running to bomb shelters as dozens of projectiles were fired from Gaza, the locals are steadfast. They have faith in the IDF's deterrent capabilities and welcome the cease-fire agreement struck Saturday evening, but they are skeptical that the current calm will last.

Over the last three months, Palestinian demonstrators have launched hundreds of kites and balloons carrying firebombs across the border into Israel, sparking more than 1,000 fires in border-adjacent Israeli communities. The residents feel helpless to fight this new type of terrorism, and accuse the government of doing too little to stop it.

Kinneret Rosenfeld of Sderot, a neighbor of the Buchris family, whose home was hit by a Qassam rocket over the weekend, said Sunday that "we must demonstrate strength because our strength gives strength to everyone in the country. It's unpleasant and scary to raise children in an atmosphere like this, but they won't break us."

The Hamas terrorist group fired more than 200 rockets and mortars from Gaza at Israel, injuring three.

In retaliation, Israel bombed Hamas militant targets, killing two youths.

Guess which half of this exchange was totally omitted by the ABC in its weekend TV report?

You'd assume from that report that Israel just decided out of the blue to bomb peaceful Palestinians.

And guess which angle -the Hamas aggression or Israel's response - was given most attention in the ABC's AM report today:

Devastated family members have attended the funerals for two Palestinian boys killed in an Israeli air strike at the weekend.

The mother of one of the boys told reporters they were playing on the roof of an unfinished building, when it was hit by an Israeli missile.

A fragile truce is in place between Israel and Hamas militants, but the Israeli Prime Minister is warning his country's army will respond to any more provocations.

I have long warned Australian Jews that the Left is no longer their natural ally, if indeed it ever was. While Jewish groups and Jewish intellectuals leave the ABC in the hands of the Left, they leave their community and Israel badly exposed.
Why qualify these attacks as “reportedly” emanating from Gaza when there is no doubt about the rockets’ origin? As AFP reported the same day that the photographs were taken, Hamas even acknowledged that it was responsible for the rocket attacks (“Israel says hits Hamas with biggest strikes since 2014 war,” July 14).

Notably, in these AFP captions and others, Israeli air strikes on Hamas targets in Gaza aren’t similarly identified as “reportedly” originating from Israel’s army. Indeed, the very same captions clearly identify Israel as responsible for air strikes (“Israel unleashed its biggest air strikes,”) while obscuring Palestinian responsibility for the rocket attacks (“rockets – [as opposed to Palestinians] – targeted Israel”) and even cast doubt on their origin (“reportedly fired the Gaza Strip”).

CAMERA pointed out the inconsistency and unfounded use of the term “reportedly,” and AFP editors commendably deleted the qualification from the captions.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Insanity Is Expecting The World To Care This Time That Hamas Shot First By Albert Einstein (satire)
I never said the original quote, you know. It first appeared in a 1983 mystery novel by Rita Mae Brown, attributed to a nonexistent Jane Fulton. But since in the popular mind I mouthed those words, let’s run with it. It’s as fine an example as any other of the phenomenon in question, however: the world has made up its mind that anything Israel does is bad, and therefore elides, excuses, or chooses not to notice what provoked those “bad” actions.

Specious as the attribution to yours truly may be, it rings true. Genocidal antisemites have been targeting Jews for violence much longer than Hamas has existed, and the world barely whispers its objections except for the eighteen seconds or so each day when opposing murderous ideologies is in fashion, or when stating such opposition provides political advantage. The hue and cry emerging from Twitter, official Israeli press statements, and other partisans over Hamas firing rockets and mortar shells at Israeli towns give the impression that they expect the world to care this time. It never has. It’s insane to think otherwise.

Mainstream outlets such as the BBC certainly haven’t change the tone of their coverage, for example. A cursory check of their headlines over the last several months indicates no awareness that the rocket and mortar fire they see fit to mention as an afterthought in their story about Israel striking targets in Gaza has been taking place continually that whole time. All the tweets, press statements, and blog tirades during that period changed nothing, just as Jews objecting to being subject to violence never changes anything. It’s when we defend ourselves that they decide to notice.
Putin: Trump stressed Israel's national security
Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that US President stressed Israel's national security during their meeting in Helsinki Monday.

According to Putin, Trump "paid particular attention" to Israel's security needs during their discussions on Syria.

"As far as Syria is concerned the task of establishing peace and reconciliation in this country could be the first showcase example of successful joint work," Putin said, adding that he and Trump agreed that Israel's border with Syria should be secured according to the terms of the 1974 UN ceasefire agreement.

The assurances come as the Assad regime, with Russian backing, has engaged in an offensive against rebels in southwestern Syria, bringing the Syrian army closer to the demilitarized zone on the border with Israel.
Khaled Abu Toameh: ‘Give peace a chance,’ U.N. envoy tells Palestinians
UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov appealed to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Sunday to halt rocket and mortar attacks on Israel. He also called on Palestinians to stop launching incendiary kites toward Israel.

Mladenov, who played a key role in reaching Saturday’s ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip, made his appeal during a news conference in Gaza City.

“I have to appeal to all Palestinians in Gaza,” Mladenov said. “I have to appeal to all parents of children in Gaza today to step back and keep the protests peaceful.”

The UN representative was referring to the ongoing weekly protests along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, which Palestinians call the “March of Return.”

“I appeal to the Palestinian factions to not provoke incidents at the fence, to stop firing rockets and mortars, to stop the incendiary kites and to give peace a chance,” Mladenov said.
Hebron observer recalled after slapping Jewish boy
The legal counsel for the observer organization group the Temporary International Presence in Hebron was ordered to leave Israel after slapping a 10-year-old boy in Hebron.

The incident occurred on Wednesday when the Swiss observer joined a tour of the area of Hebron inhabited by Jewish settlers led by the left-wing Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence. The slap across the child’s face was captured on video. It is not known what precipitated the man’s attack on the young boy.

The TIPH observer was recalled by the Swiss government, Switzerland’s ambassador to Israel, Jean-Daniel Ruch, said in a letter of apology to the leaders of the Jewish community of Hebron.

“Though this was no doubt preceded by some provocation on the side of the settlers — the action of this TIPH member is totally unacceptable. It is expected from our TIPH members that they keep their nerves in any circumstances,” Ruch wrote in the letter that was posted on Twitter by Uri Karzen, the director of Hebron’s Jewish community.
Argentina freezes assets of suspected Hezbollah fundraising network
In a first, Argentina’s government has targeted a Hezbollah fundraising network in the northern Triple Frontier with Brazil and Paraguay.

The Financial Information Unit of the Argentine Republic investigated possible criminal actions by Lebanese citizens living in Argentina who could be involved in money laundering and financing terrorist acts.

Hezbollah has been linked to the 1992 attack on the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, which killed 29, and the 1994 attack on the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires that killed 85.

The unit investigated the Barakat Group, also known as the Barakat Clan, a criminal organization linked to Hezbollah, which operates in the area known as the “Triple border” made up of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, led by Assad Ahmad Barakat.
Report: Turkish citizen deported by Israel, returns to Turkey
Turkish citizen Ebru Ozkan, who was arrested in Israel on June 11, is going back home after being deported by the Israeli authorities, reports Turkish news agency Anadolu Sunday night.

Anadolu also stated that the arrest was "groundless" and that the information came from a "Presidential aide".
Ebru Ozkan, 27, was arrested by police at Ben-Gurion Airport on June 11 and transferred to authorities on suspicion of endangering state security and for contacting terrorist organizations.

Exiled Turkish reporter Abdullah Bozkurt stated on social media that Turkish President Recep Erdogan called Ozkan to offer her his best wishes after her release.

Despite being a Turkish national and not a resident of the West Bank, Ozkan was tried in the Samaria Military Court because her alleged crimes impacted that regionm the Jerusalem Post reported in early July.

The indictment, obtained by the Post, stated that Hamas operative Abd al-tif Sada allegedly guided her about smuggling items for Hamas through airport security, advising her to place the items in her checked luggage and not in her carry- on.

The Israeli authorities claimed that Ozkan was fully aware she was aiding members of the Hamas, which is a terrorist group.
Argentine soccer star to Abbas: I am a Palestinian
Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday met former Argentine soccer star Diego Maradona, who expressed his solidarity with Abbas, reported Yediot Aharonot.

In a short conversation, Maradona reportedly said to Abbas that he sympathizes with the plight of the Palestinian people, as the two embraced each other in a brief hug.

"I am a Palestinian. This man wants peace in Palestine. President Abbas has a country and has a right,” Maradona was quoted as having wrote on his Instagram account.

Abbas, according to the report, complimented Maradona and presented him with a gift in the form of a painting of a dove carrying an olive branch and olive oil.

Abbas was in Moscow on Sunday for the World Cup 2018 final. On Saturday he held a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Maradona has been vocally anti-Israel, and has in the past urged the establishment of a Palestinian state.

In 2012, he said he was “the number one fan of the Palestinian people” and in 2014 was said to be considering coaching the Palestinian Arab soccer team.
Up to 22 killed, including 9 Iranians, in Syria strike blamed on Israel – report
Syrian rebel forces claimed that 22 people, including nine Iranians, were killed in an overnight strike in northern Syria blamed on Israel, the Qatar-based al-Jazeera network reported Monday.

The figure, which could not be confirmed, was much higher than an earlier report of nine deaths provided by a Syrian watchdog group.

The al-Jazeera report did not cite its sources or give any further details.

Syrian state media has accused Israel of carrying out the bombing of a military position in Aleppo province late Sunday, in what would be a rare Israeli attack so far north in the war-ravaged country.

“The Israeli missiles targeted an Iranian Revolutionary Guard center, near the Neyrab military airport,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor.
Syria claims to capture key hilltop position overlooking Golan Heights
Syrian rebels and government forces clashed over a reconnaissance point near the frontier with Israel, a monitoring group said Monday, as the government pressed forward with military operations in the country’s southwest.

Government forces bombed villages and rebel positions around Tel al-Haara, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the war through a network of on-the-ground activists.

Syrian state media said government forces seized the hill, but the Observatory said an al-Qaeda linked faction fighting alongside rebels ambushed troops there, forcing them to retreat. Twelve of the government forces were killed, said the Observatory.

Tel al-Haara overlooks the Golan Heights, which Israel seized from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War, and was the site of a Syrian reconnaissance base until opposition forces seized it in 2014 in the ongoing civil war.

Since June 19, government forces have seized towns and villages from rebels in southwest Syria, at the borders with Israel and Jordan, and recaptured the city of Daraa, the birthplace of the 2011 revolt against President Bashar Assad.
How America Can Combat Iran and Put Russia in a Corner in Syria
The future of Syria will no doubt figure in talks today between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. So long as the former does not promise a complete and immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops, the main question is whether American forces should remain in Syria after mopping-up operations against Islamic State and, if they do remain, what goals they should pursue. Katherine Bauer, Soner Cagaptay, Patrick Clawson, Michael Eisenstadt, James F. Jeffrey, Barbara Leaf, Matthew Levitt, Dennis Ross, and Robert Satloff lay out the case for an activist policy to counter Iran in Syria with the aid of Israel. They write:

Sanctions and a no-fly/no-drive zone in northeast Syria would prevent Assad-regime and Iranian forces from charging in, which would infuriate local Sunnis and spur the regeneration of Islamic State (IS). Such a zone, coupled with sanctions, would impose costs on the Assad regime by denying it the money and income needed to ensure control and to maintain the patronage networks that underpin its power. This would in turn create financial burdens for Iran and Russia in their effort to keep Bashar al-Assad afloat, just as Tehran’s ability to pay for such support will be diminished by the U.S. policy of maximum pressure. . . .

In terms of Iran, [however,] the Trump administration’s preferred approach of imposing severe economic sanctions will not in itself be sufficient to compel Tehran to change course on Syria or the region. If the administration is seriously committed to the twelve objectives outlined in Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s May 21 address, countering Iran in Syria is essential. . . .

Moscow has maintained a partnership with Tehran for years built on common antipathy to the United States and fear of Sunni extremism, but it does not necessarily share all of Iran’s goals regarding Syria and Israel. The United States has had little success exploiting that divergence because Russia and Iran share the important common objective of shrinking U.S. influence in the area. Russia wants the United States to accept it as a great power, so Moscow has been eager for talks with Washington about Syria’s future. But this does not mean Russia has the will or ability to do anything that actually restrains Iran. . . .

The actor best positioned to drive a wedge between Iran and Russia is Israel, because it can confront the Russians with a choice they do not want to make: either rein in Iran’s aggressive stance or face the imposition of costs on Assad for his deference to Iran—or, in extremis, a war between Israel on the one hand and Iran and Hizballah on the other. . . . The United States should make clear to Israel, and Russia, that it has no objections to an active Israeli policy of preventing Iran from establishing a permanent military presence in Syria.
Khamenei lashes ‘satanic’ US peace plan, vows to destroy ‘fabricated’ Israel
The head of Iran’s theocratic regime, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, took to Twitter on Monday to denounce the Trump administration’s expected peace plan as a “satanic and vicious plot” and promise that the “fabricated Zionist regime will be eradicated.”

Khamenei often lashes out at Israel and the US and has positioned Iran as a key supporter and funder of Palestinian terror groups.

“Everyone should know that the satanic and vicious plot that the U.S. has for #Palestine— calling it the Deal of Century— will never happen,” he tweeted on Monday. “To the dismay of the U.S. politicians, #Palestine will never forgotten and #AlQuds will remain the capital of Palestine and the first Qibla of Muslims.”

In a thread of five Twitter posts, he went on to vow Jerusalem would never be “given” to Israel: “The turbulent dream that Al-Quds would be given to the Zionists will never come true. The Palestinian nation will stand against it and Muslim nations will back the Palestinian nation, never letting that happen.”
Seth Frantzman: Mass protests sweep Iraq, target pro-Iran militias and parties
Across Iraq there is outrage at the government actions. “Iraqi government asks the protesters to be reasonable after they have stripped them of the simplest rights: Electricity, water, Internet, job opportunities – and 60% of Iraq’s oil is being exported from the poorest cities in the country,” Ali Al-Baroodi, a photographer in Mosul, tweeted on Sunday. There is talk that the protesters will make a new “Arab Spring” in Iraq.

Iraq is now in a state of emergency, with the government considering what will come next. Shifting forces from the north to the south and attempts to re-route electricity from Nineveh to Basra to placate demands are the few things left in Baghdad’s arsenal.

Protesters have sacked government offices, and have succeeded in closing the border with Kuwait and shutting down air travel at an airport. Pro-Iranian media speaks of “infiltrators,” claiming the protests are being stoked from abroad, including social media in Kuwait. But powerful indigenous voices, such as Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani have supported the demonstrators.

Notably silent on the unrest are Western officials, with the US and UK embassies not tweeting since July 10. No expressions of concern for the cutting of Internet or shooting of protesters. Demonstrators may see that as quiet support for Baghdad’s heavy-handed tactics. Lacking support from the West and blaming Iran for their economic problems, Iraqis face another potential round of violence in a country that has seen decades of war and conflict.
MEMRI: Jordanian Columnist: Recent Earthquakes In Region May Be Due To Testing Of Israeli Weapons Intended To Destroy Al-Aqsa, Church Of The Sepulcher
Following a series of low-magnitude earthquakes felt in Israel and neighboring countries in early July, Kamal Zakarneh, a columnist for the Jordanian daily Al-Dustour, wrote that the quakes may have been caused by the underground testing of nuclear or other weapons that Israel is developing. The weapons, he speculated further, may be intended to cause an artificial earthquake to topple Al-Aqsa, the Dome of the Rock and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.[1]

The following are excerpts from his column:
"Suddenly and quietly, the earthquakes in the northern part of the [Jordanian] kingdom stopped, and tremors are no longer emanating from the belly of the earth to rattle everything upon it. It's as if whatever was causing these tremors has moved to some other site, and is waiting for a different mission. The quakes, which were centered around the Sea of Galilee and its region and whose magnitude was around four on the Richter scale, raise many questions as to their cause, location and timing. They may have been caused by detonations carried out by the occupation army deep underground, beneath the Sea of Galilee, to test new weapons, such as small nuclear bombs with limited range, or else conventional weapons for use against the armies in the region, which the occupation state regards... as a threat, to some extent. Perhaps these [tests] are in preparation for carrying out an enormous crime against the Muslim and Christian holy sites in occupied Jerusalem, especially against the Al-Aqsa mosque, the Dome of the Rock and the Church of the Sepulcher, by causing an artificial earthquake beneath them to destroy them, in preparation for building the fake [Jewish] temple as part of the plan to Judaize Jerusalem.

"The occupation [state] cannot be trusted, for it plans, plots and eventually also destroys [its targets] in order to achieve political, geographical and Biblical aims. It does not hesitate to use all the entire arsenal of technology, knowledge and scientific [expertise] at its disposal in order to complete its expansionist plan while blaming nature [for the devastation it causes]. Nor will it be ashamed to ask for assistance from the countries of the region and the world in order to cover up its crimes and carry out its Judaization plan at their expense...

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