Thursday, July 26, 2018

From Ian:

David Horovitz: Hamas, the murderous neighbor that demands Israel give it the gun
A few years ago, an awful new neighbor moved in next door. An ex-murderer, unreformed.

Life became a nightmare. He claimed we were on his land. We weren’t. There’d been a dispute before he arrived, but we’d actually conceded.

He vowed alternately to force us out of the neighborhood and to kill us. He told anyone who’d listen that we had no right to be here and that he hated us. Unbelievably, some of the other neighbors supported him.

There were fights at the fence. We were scared to go outside. Life became a nightmare.

He tried to get a gun. He had friends who we knew would give him one. He said that if we didn’t let him get the gun, he’d keep on harassing and attacking us.

So we said okay. We let him get the gun. He killed us.

That ridiculous story is essentially the tale of what’s going on between Hamas and Israel. Except for the last part. That’s not going to happen.
David Singer: David Singer: Trump exposes UN hypocrisy on PLO, Hamas and Israel
President Trump has challenged United Nations (UN) member States to put their money where their mouths are in a hard-hitting speech delivered by US Permanent Representative to the UN – Ambassador Nikki Haley – at a UN Security Council Open Debate on the Middle East on 24 July.

Following Trump’s dressing down of NATO – Haley attacked UN member States who are full of words but short on money when it comes to supporting the Palestinian Arabs.

Haley did not mince her words:
Here at the UN, thousands of miles away from Palestinians who do have real needs, there is no end to the speeches on their behalf. Country after country claims solidarity with the Palestinian people. If those words were useful in the schools, the hospitals, and the streets of their communities, the Palestinian people would not be facing the desperate conditions we are discussing here today. Talk is cheap.

No group of countries is more generous with their words than the Palestinians’ Arab neighbors, and other OIC [Organisation of Islamic Cooperation – ed.]member states. But all of the words spoken here in New York do not feed, clothe, or educate a single Palestinian child. All they do is get the international community riled up.

Haley used members’ contributions to UNRWA to prove her case:
Last year, Iran’s contribution to UNRWA was zero. Algeria’s contribution to UNRWA was zero. Tunisia’s contribution to UNRWA was zero.

Other countries did provide some funding. Pakistan gave $20,000. Egypt gave $20,000. Oman gave $668,000.

Haley did not spare non-Arab and non-Islamic countries from similar naming and shaming:
Other countries talk a big game about the Palestinian cause. In 2017, China provided $350,000 to UNRWA. Russia provided two million dollars to UNWRA.

Haley contrasted America’s generosity:
Last year … the United States gave 364 million dollars… And that’s on top of what the American people give annually to the Palestinians in bilateral assistance. That is another 300 million dollars just last year, and it averages to more than a quarter of a billion dollars every year since 1993.

Israel Should Seek More from Hamas Than a Return to the Status Quo Ante
The fighting between Israel and Hamas has not yet abated, but it’s possible that this round of conflict is coming to an end. Yet even if Israel succeeds in deterring Hamas from further attacks, writes Amos Yadlin, the result will be what he calls an “asymmetric strategic tie.”

Hamas has been able to erode the Israeli deterrence that was established since Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, to breach the calm that prevailed in [Israel’s] south, and to try to define new “equations” and rules of engagement. To be sure, Hamas did not plan the March of Return or the kite- and balloon-based arson attacks, but it found in them attractive tactics and turned them into two central operational efforts. . . .

Israel has undoubtedly scored impressive achievements: its borders were not breached and its citizens were not harmed. Hamas weapons factories, training camps, and storage facilities were wiped out by the air force. Yet Hamas still has a sense of achievement. It has once again put the Gaza issue—both its humanitarian and political aspects—on the international agenda, damaged Israel’s image, undermined the sense of security among the Israeli population in the communities near the Gaza border, and challenged Israeli sovereignty in the Gaza environs.

In order to break this ongoing tie, Israel must adopt a proactive rather than a reactive strategy. It must take an approach designed to change the reality and not sanctify the status quo. . . . [First], efforts can and must be made to promote more modest understandings, namely, a limited hudna [Arabic for a temporary truce]. A fundamental condition for such an arrangement is a total halt of terror from Gaza and the return of Israeli civilians and bodies of the fallen soldiers held by Hamas. . . .

Hamas Ups The Ante By Recruiting Hundreds Of Children For Friday Protest
While organizers claim the youth will not be allowed to approach the border, past installments of the “March of Return” have descended into violence

Hamas appears intent on upping the ante amid ongoing tensions with Israel. With the sides on the cusp of war, whereby one small, even unintentional incident, might tip the scale in favor of full-blown conflict, Gaza’s rulers have decided to recruit hundreds of Palestinian children from across the enclave to take part in Friday’s installment of the so-called “March of Return” protests. The children will amass, along with potentially tens of thousands of other Gazans, near the Erez crossing point with Israel in order to denounce the “violation of their fundamental rights.”

The “March of Return” demonstrations have been held for seventeen consecutive weeks along the Gaza Strip border and despite their ostensible non-violent purpose have invariably descended into chaos. More than 130 Palestinians have been killed, mainly by Israeli live-fire, with thousands more injured primarily as a result of tear gas inhalation.

“The protest organizers agreed that the children won’t break into the border,” Hani Masri, a Palestinian political analyst, told The Media Line. “I met with the [‘March of Return’] committee in Gaza a few days ago and we decided to avoid any cause of human loss.” Masri candidly noted that in previous marches Hamas urged participants to storm the border fence with a view to infiltrating Israel; however, by supposedly abandoning this tactic, Masri believes Israel will have a “limited” ability to harm the demonstrators.

“If Israel decides to target the children, despite the fact that they won’t come by the border, that is to be considered a bigger crime than the previous ones,” he emphasized. “The children’s struggle is no less important, but they are not mentally capable to deal with a potential brawl. We have the right to protest, with or without kids. The most important thing is to keep things peaceful.”
Under the cover of a children's protest: Sniper injures officer
An IDF officer was moderately injured in a shooting attack adjacent to the southern Gaza border on Wednesday evening, it has been cleared for publication.

The officer was evacuated to the Soroka Hospital in Be’er Sheva. Prof. Gilbert Sabag, director of the surgical department at the hospital, said that "the victim was evacuated to the trauma room with a penetrating bullet wound in the abdomen and chest. He and was transferred to an operating room and is listed in moderate condition.”

The Palestinian Arab sniper had fired at IDF troops under the cover of 20 children that were sent towards the border fence as decoy.

The IDF Spokesperson's Office reported that the IDF responded by firing artillery from tanks seven positions of the Hamas terrorist organization along the Gaza Strip.

At least three terrorists were killed and several wounded in the IDF's offensive.

The incident took place about 400 meters from the spot where Staff Sergeant Aviv Levi was killed by a Hamas sniper last Friday.

IsraellyCool: A Field Trip With The Mossad! Part I: The Environment
What we showed you was pretty much what you all know. Communities, farms, cities, businesses trying to thrive and trying to live normal lives all within firing range of anything the Hamas terror organization can turn into a weapon.

The Hamas tactics are clear. They have been clear to us for many years.
  1. They put their children in the fight (by force) in the hope that, in self-defense, our forces will kill one. Then parade the dead child to the blood hungry world media to distribute unquestioned.
  2. Use “unconventional” weapons that still do massive harm, millions of dollars of damage, cause mass trauma among children and death. When we are forced to respond, claim to the world how it’s just silly balloons against fighter jets.
  3. Deprive of their own civilian population of basic necessities like water and electricity and blame all their strife on “the Zionists”.
  4. Tunneling into Israeli villages with the purposes of committing mass terror attacks within communities and claim to the media they are “humanitarian tunnels”.
  5. Organize protests and hide among the protesters and commit violent and dangerous acts that threaten Israeli lives. When we are forced to stop it in order to protect ourselves and the environment, claim it was a “peace march”.
  6. Be as innovative as they can in creating new ways to cause destruction.
… among others.

We would like to share with you the very real effects these destructive, futile and hateful tactics have on real life.
Hamas goes on alert, vows revenge, as IDF kills 3 fighters after soldier shot
Hamas’s military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, announced Thursday morning that its forces were going on high alert, deploying at the highest readiness level in expectation of a possible full-blown war with Israel.

The announcement followed Wednesday night’s sniper fire from Gaza that moderately wounded an IDF officer near Kissufim, which was followed by retaliatory strikes by IDF tanks and planes that targeted multiple Hamas installations and left three members of the terror group dead.

The soldier injured by sniper fire from southern Gaza on Wednesday was rushed to Soroka hospital in Beersheba, where he underwent surgery for gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen, according to a hospital spokesperson. His condition was initially described as serious, but improved after the surgery. He is currently said to be in moderate condition.

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza said three Palestinians were killed in the Israeli strikes. It named them as 28-year-old Ahmad al-Basous, 29-year-old Abada Farawna and 27-year-old Muhammed al-Ara’er.

Hamas’ military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, later said the three were its members.

“Israel will pay in blood for its latest crimes,” the group said in a Thursday morning statement.
Hamas official urges killing of Zionist Jews, praises ‘peaceful’ Gaza protests
Fathi Hamad, a hardline Hamas official, on Thursday called on Muslims to kill Zionist Jews wherever they find them.

He made the remark in a brief speech at a funeral at the Great Omari Mosque in Gaza City.

“O Muslims, wherever you find a Zionist Jew, you must kill him because that is an expression of your solidarity with the al-Aqsa Mosque and an expression of your solidarity with… your Jerusalem, your Palestine and… your people,” said Hamad, a member of the Hamas politburo.

Since its founding it the late 1980s, Hamas has blessed, encouraged, and orchestrated many lethal stabbings, shootings, suicide bombings and other types of attacks against Israelis.

Hamad praised what he termed the “peaceful” protest movement in the Gaza Strip, but — alluding to recent violence, which has stoked fears of another war — said armed factions in the coastal enclave were prepared to engage with Israel.
How the UK Media Downplay and Trivialize Hamas Terror
If the damage caused by incendiary devices is not conveyed to the readers, then how can they understand the gravity of Hamas’s actions, and indeed Israel’s need to respond?

If terrorists seeking to destroy the UK were to set vast swathes of British farmland ablaze, then every newspaper in this country would devote their front pages to the attacks.

When Israel acted to bring an end to Hamas’s ongoing violence, Hamas responded with a massive barrage of rockets and mortars.

This fresh assault forms the third aspect of Hamas’s terror campaign that the media is playing down.

Newspapers are publishing headlines that make no mention of Hamas rockets at all. In recent weeks, those rockets have destroyed infrastructure, with one missile landing in a kindergarten shortly before children were due to arrive. Last weekend, a house was hit and four people were taken to hospital. A synagogue was also struck.

The Guardian’s headline Israel makes ‘most painful Hamas strike’ since 2014 ignores Hamas’s aggression completely, as does the BBC with its headline Israel deals ‘hardest blow’ to Hamas since 2014 Gaza war.

If these three key aspects of Hamas’s terrorism — infiltration attempts, arson attacks, and rockets and mortars — were reported on clearly and consistently, then readers would have a far more balanced and accurate understanding of the current conflict.
Red lines, on the ground and in the air
Israel's position regarding the return of the Syrian army to the Golan Heights was made clear to all the relevant parties. It insists on strictly upholding the 1974 armistice and will have a zero-tolerance policy toward any violation of the agreement. In this context, downing the Syrian jet on Tuesday could be viewed as a reminder of Israel's determination to preserve its red lines on the Golan at all costs.

The issue is that even if the Syrian army adheres to honoring the armistice agreement – Israel's main problem was and remains the presence of Iranian forces in Syria. Although an official Russian source on Tuesday denied that Israel had rejected Moscow's offer to keep the Iranians 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the Israeli border, everyone understands that this offer isn't satisfactory. It will enable the Iranians to continue solidifying their foothold in Syria and station long-range missiles on its soil, and it will not prevent pro-Iranian elements – for instance, Hezbollah and Shiite militias – from embedding themselves within the Syrian army and taking up positions on the other side of the border fence.

To be sure, Russian President Vladimir Putin is not a huge fan of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, but the Russians, as of now, are apparently unwilling to clash with the Iranians and demand their complete withdrawal from Syria. Under these circumstances, Israel's self-proclaimed commitment to keeping Iran out of Syria isn't a simple prospect nor is it easy to implement. A Gulf state newspaper with good access to Israeli sources reported on Tuesday that the IDF is ready to bomb the border crossings between Iran and Iraq, and between Iraq and Syria, to disrupt the "land corridor" of weapons transfers from Iran to Syria. This entire endeavor will be fraught with difficulties and dangers.

Syrian rockets found in the Sea of Galilee
Israel struck targets in Syria late Wednesday after two BM-21 “Grad” errant rockets launched by Islamic State as part of the internal fighting in Syria landed in the Sea of Galilee.

“The Israel Air Force struck the rocket launcher from which the two rockets were fired and by artillery toward the area from which the rockets were fired,” the IDF said.

“The IDF will act against any attempt to harm the sovereignty of the State of Israel and the security of its residents,” the statement continued.

The rockets were launched group as part of the internal fighting against the regime of Bashar Assad which in recent days has seen intense fighting near the the border with Israel’s Golan Heights.

The rockets were found by authorities after a three hour long search after local residents said that they saw an object fall into the water near the Gofra Beach. The rockets were not intercepted due to the fact that Israel’s aerial defense system is not fully hermetic..
Moscow thanks IDF for hitting launcher in Syria, says IS tried to provoke Israel
The Russian Defense Ministry said it thanked the Israeli army for destroying an Islamic State missile launcher that fired two rockets Wednesday that landed in the Sea of Galilee.

While Israel’s assessment was that the rockets were a case of errant fire in the conflict between Assad regime forces and Islamic State jihadists, Moscow contended that the rockets were fired deliberately by Islamic State at Israel in a bid to draw the Jewish state into the conflict, and have Israel open fire on Syrian regime targets.

According to the Russian ministry, the IDF strike that hit the launcher Wednesday apparently also killed a number of IS fighters.

On Thursday, Israeli police sappers and naval divers were carrying out searches in the sea to find and identify the two projectiles. Beaches on the eastern shore of the lake were closed to bathers.

Eyewitnesses told Hadashot news that they saw the projectiles land in the water — one of them exploding, and the other not.
Trump team preparing economic plan as part of Mideast peace proposal
A long-awaited Middle East peace plan from the Trump administration will include what the White House is calling a robust economic plan to help resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an official has said.

US President Donald Trump's envoys are also working on the most detailed set of proposals to date for the overall plan, the White House official said in a briefing with reporters on Monday.

The plan thus far has no release date. Trump had hoped to reveal it early this year but his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving the embassy there, reversing decades of US policy, inflamed tensions in the region.

The Palestinians have said that they have lost faith in the Trump administration to act as a fair mediator and have boycotted the process since last December’s Jerusalem announcement.

The White House has offered few details on a peace plan that has drawn widespread skepticism even before its unveiling.
Netanyahu says 'no' to Russia
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has said no to an official proposal by Russia to convene a summit meeting in Moscow in which Netanyahu, Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Russian President Vladimir Putin would have taken part.

Two years ago, Netanyahu rejected a similar Russian proposal, despite Abbas' agreement to take part in such a meeting. At the same time, however, the political establishment said that Abbas only agreed to the meeting as long as it was theoretical and there was no possibility of carrying it out.

The proposal was presented to Netanyahu during his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov this week. Lavrov told Netanyahu that recently President Putin had met with Abbas and heard from him explicit agreement to such a summit meeting.

Netanyahu explained to Lavrov that he would have been happy to hold such a meeting, but it would not meet with the approval of the American administration, which are working on its peace plan. He made it clear that Israel wanted to take advantage of the American mediation channel between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs before turning to other channels.
US Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Counter Use of Human Shields by Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad
US lawmakers introduced a bipartisan bill on Tuesday to counter the use of human shields by terrorist groups, including Hamas, Hezbollah, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The STOP Using Human Shields Act — brought forward by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) — would impose sanctions on terrorist organizations and others who have used “civilians or protected property to deliberately cause casualties or shield lawful targets from attack.”

It would also commit the US representative at the UN Security Council to advance a resolution placing multilateral sanctions on terrorist groups that use human shields, while requiring the UN to track the practice and member states to take steps against those who employ it.

Among these identified groups is Lebanon-based Hezbollah, which during its 2006 conflict with Israel “purposefully used civilians in an effort to shield themselves against attacks by Israeli forces,” the bill noted.

The Iranian proxy was further accused of willfully endangering non-combatants “by storing weapons inside civilian homes and launching attacks from firing positions in areas of dense civilian population, often in or near homes, schools, mosques or hospitals, in order to shield such positions from attack.”
Newly-Introduced Bill Would Further Restrict US Funding of UN Palestinian Refugee Agency
New legislation introduced in Congress this week would ensure US funds contributed to the Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA go toward the resettlement of Palestinians displaced by the war of 1948, and not their descendants – who now number 5.3 million people.

The UNRWA Reform and Refugee Support Act (H.R. 6451) is “long-overdue, common-sense legislation,” Republican Congressman Doug Lamborn of Colorado, the sponsor or the bill, said in a statement.

“We must return UNRWA to its original framework and address this false narrative of an inflated refugee population, which has made a mockery of both those who are true refugees around the world and those who are truly living in deplorable conditions throughout the region,” Lamborn declared.

“This is an important first step to help Palestinians who are truly in need,” he added. “Palestinians in Gaza are not refugees; they are a population suffering under the Hamas terror regime, whose leaders take aid money and instead of building schools and hospitals, build terror tunnels and send rockets hidden under UNRWA schools in Gaza into kindergartens in Israel. The United States should continue to help these and other needy populations around the world through already-established, appropriately identified humanitarian programs.”

In January, the Trump administration announced it would withhold $65 million in UNRWA funding “for future consideration.”
PMW: PA body language analysis: Trump is like a "rebuked student"; Abbas has "political prowess," at Putin meetings, according to PA daily
Comparison of body language in official PA daily editorial

"Abbas in his full political prowess... and the Russian president listening with attention and obvious respect"

"Abbas... is glowing... as a statesman, a leader of a national liberation movement, and an international fighter for truth, justice, and peace"

"Trump is very embarrassed, with his head almost bowed, a concerned and vague look on his face, and pursed lips, while his hands are trying to fit together in a way that will save him from the moment of concern that is seen in his eyes... Russian President Putin is looking into the distance with his head raised, without relating to his counterpart, as if he is telling the entire world: Where is the US at today with this president!"

"Trump looks like a student after a rebuke from a teacher, and his embarrassment, which is seen in his angry facial features, is like the embarrassment of one who made a mistake and was unable to find an excuse!"
Obama Administration Knowingly Funded a Designated al-Qaeda Affiliate
Whoever approved this grant to ISRA either failed to check the government’s database of designated groups or did so and then chose to disregard it. Both explanations are alarming. And neither answer explains how ISRA acquired a DUNS number.

Most important: Now we know that the government deliberately chose to transfer at least $115,000 to ISRA after confirming that it was on the terror-designation list. In other words, an al-Qaeda front received taxpayers’ money with the apparent complicity of public officials.

It is no secret that the Obama administration sought to downplay the threat of Islamism, and even to coopt some Islamist movements to promote its agenda. In its foreign policy, the administration expressed support for Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt, while domestically, the White House invited Islamists to design the government’s Countering Violent Extremism program. It is difficult to argue that these efforts were the product of anything but great naïveté and political dogma. Is it possible that this combination extended to deliberately funding an al-Qaeda affiliate?

Congress must investigate this question and, more broadly, where USAID is sending taxpayers’ money, for ISRA might not be the only example. The House’s Foreign Affairs, Oversight, and Financial Services Committees, along with the Senate Finance Committee, must examine how a designated group came to qualify for government monies, why OFAC and the State Department authorized the transfer of funds after learning of ISRA’s terror ties, and which bureaucrat or political appointee was responsible for this mess.

Asked to comment, current State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert told National Review: “As this occurred under the prior Administration, the current Secretary of the State, Secretary of Treasury, and USAID Administrator had no involvement in decisions surrounding this award or subsequent license.”

The American people need to know how their dollars funded an al-Qaeda affiliate. They need to know how deep this problem runs. (h/t dabney)
MEMRI: Iranian Sources: Obama Administration Granted Green Cards, U.S. Citizenship To Senior Iranian Regime Officials
On July 3, 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that the Obama administration had given U.S. citizenship to 2,500 Iranians, among them government officials, as part of understandings in the bilateral nuclear talks. The issue of U.S. citizenship for Iranians was reported on in the past by Iranian elements on both sides of the Iranian political spectrum.

In February 2016, against the backdrop of the Trump administration's preventing citizens from certain Muslim countries, including Iran, from entering the U.S., the reformist website reported that then-Secretary of State John Kerry had ordered green cards issued to 2,800 Iranian, Iraqi, and Syrian citizens – among them, it said, senior Iranian regime officials and associates of the government of Iranian President Hassan Rohani. Amadnews added that according to its sources, this was done so that the Iranian officials would be able to control the Iranian assets that were frozen in the U.S.

In June 2018, Mojtaba Zolnour, head of the Nuclear Committee of the Majlis National Security Committee, who is known for his criticism of Iran's pragmatic camp and of the Rohani government, demanded an investigation to determine who among the 2,500 Iranians he said had been granted U.S. citizenship were associates and relatives of associates of the Rohani government.

It should be noted that in 2015, Secretary of State Kerry promised Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif that U.S. immigration laws passed by the Obama administration in 2011 preventing anyone who had visited Iran from entering the country, among them businessmen, would not be negatively impacted by the laws and would receive special waivers to enter the country. See Kerry's letter to Foreign Minister Zarif as published by the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), Sec. Kerry Letter to Zarif Regarding Visa Waiver Reform; see also the letter by members of Congress to Kerry and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson expressing "deep concern" over this move.
Israeli captive’s family sent Hamas a video pleading for his release
Avera Mengistu’s mother plead with Hamas to release her son in a video the family successfully sent to his Gaza captors two years ago with the help of Physicians for Human Rights.

The family released the video on Wednesday night as part of their campaign to free Avera, 29, who has been held in Gaza for the last four years.

Physicians for Human Rights said they were informed by sources that Hamas received the video and that Avera had seen it, but that they could not corroborate if the latter was true.

“I have been crying day and night,” Mengistu’s mother Ager-nesh said in Amharic on the video. Her words were translated into Hebrew and Arabic text.

“I want to see him,” Agernesh said, as she sat on a blue sofa.

Avera, who suffers from a mental-health disorder is believed to have wandered into Gaza by accident in September 2014. Physicians for Human Rights also passed documents to Hamas attesting to illness.
U.N. body refuses to urge Hamas to release Israeli captives in Gaza
A United Nations body rejected an Israeli text that called on Hamas to release the Israeli captives and the bodies of its soldiers held in Gaza.

Israel introduced the one line text into a wide ranging resolution condemning Israel's actions against the Palestinians that was approved Tuesday in New York by the 54-member UN Economic and Social Council.

The resolution — which passed 45-2 — made no reference to Hamas or Palestinian violence against Israel.

The one line amendment Israel introduced called “for the immediate release of the civilians and soldiers being held in Gaza by Hamas.”

Only five countries voted in favor of the Israeli amendment on Hamas: The United States, Canada, Colombia, Mexico and Uruguay. Another 18 countries opposed the call to free Israeli captives.
President Rivlin thanks Serbia over Holocaust restitution law
President Reuven Rivlin praised Serbia for passing a law that allows for the restitution to the Jewish community of heirless and unclaimed Jewish property seized during the Holocaust.

Reuven Rivlin said Thursday after talks with Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic that the 2016 bill should serve as a model for other countries.

Thousands of Serbian Jews perished during Nazi occupation of the Balkan country during World War II.

Rivlin has arrived in Serbia from neighboring Croatia where he met with top officials and visited the site of a WWII concentration camp run by a pro-Nazi puppet regime where tens of thousands of Jews, Serbs and Roma were killed.

Croatian state TV has quoted Rivlin as saying that facing up to crimes of the past is a moral obligation for any society.
Meet Israel's newest representatives in Africa
"Israel is coming back to Africa" - now even more than ever, as five young Israeli diplomats are set to begin their first diplomatic postings in Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya & Senegal. Meet Daniel, Eyal, Simon, Or & Hila - Israel's newest representatives in Africa!

Report: Paris turns into Mossad's playground
Paris has become a center of operations for Israel's Mossad intelligence agency, according to an article published this week in French newspaper Le Monde.

The article, titled "The Mossad's shadow hovers over Paris," cites senior French intelligence officials, one of whom claimed that "The city is the Mossad's playground. The Chinese and the Russians may be our enemies, but let us not forget the Israelis and the Americans are also conducting themselves with great aggression."

"Our ability to respond to their actions is limited because they rush to use the 'diplomatic card' and complain to the French prime minister and president's offices," the French intelligence official vented.

"France's hands are tied" since it depends on Israel "in many sensitive issues," he said. The French, he added, were "also limited in our ability to prevent some elements in the Jewish community in France from aiding them (the Mossad) with planning and logistics."

One operation the French intelligence officials say was led from Paris was the assassination of Hamas senior official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied it was behind al-Mabhouh's assassination.
Hebron Jewish Community Calls on Netanyahu to Throw Out International Observers
Following the release of security-camera footage showing a member of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) observer mission slashing the tires on the car of a local Jewish resident of Hebron, the leaders of the Hebron Jewish community called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to throw TIPH out of the country.

While this event took place nearly a year ago and was only released to the press on Tuesday, a second video capturing footage of an incident from just several weeks ago documents another member of TIPH on a tour of Hebron led by the Breaking the Silence organization, slapping a local 10-year-old Jewish boy. As a result the observer, a Swiss national, was asked to leave the country by Israel’s Foreign Ministry.

Netanyahu did, in fact, demand on Tuesday that the head of TIPH report to the Foreign Ministry for clarifications about the incident, but Hebron leaders say a meeting isn’t enough.

A statement by the group calls on the prime minister (who also serves as Israel’s foreign minister) “to inform TIPH, that their mandate has ended, and they should be expelled from the country.”

The statement added, “Hebron has no place for a provocative hostile group whose actions disturb the peace and harm the well-being of the residents of Hebron. The ‘temporary’ mandate of this force must end.”
Cartoonist axed for ‘Animal Farm’ pigs drawing of Netanyahu and colleagues
A veteran Israeli cartoonist was cut loose on Tuesday from the magazine he worked at for nearly three decades over an illustration portraying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud lawmakers as pigs from George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.”

The cartoon by Avi Katz drew on a photo of Netanyahu and members of his Likud party snapping a selfie at the Knesset following the passage of the so-called Jewish State law last week.

The legislation, which defines Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, has had a mixed reception, with some critics decrying it as discriminatory toward the country’s non-Jewish citizens.

Alluding to the law, Katz’s drawing — in which all the figures have the heads of pigs — includes Orwell’s quote “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”
Ahed Tamimi to be freed Sunday after serving time for hitting soldier
Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi, who was sentenced to eight-months in prison after being filmed slapping and shoving IDF soldiers outside her home in the West Bank village of Nebi Saleh late last year, is slated to be released from prison on Sunday.

A spokesman for the Israel Prisons Service told The Times of Israel Wednesday that the 17-year-old will be released along with her mother Nariman on Sunday.

The two are expected to be released at the Jabara checkpoint near the Palestinian city of Tulkarem. They are then planning to hold a press conference at the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, which is slated for demolition by Israeli forces.

Ahed’s father Bassem declined to comment beyond saying he was eagerly awaiting his wife and daughter’s release.

Since their arrests days after the December 15 incident, Ahed and Nariman have remained in the Hasharon Prison in central Israel. Their sentence, handed down in March, have included time already served. The teen’s cousin Nour was also indicted for her involvement in the quarrel, but she was released in January as the charges against her were less severe.

Under the terms of the plea bargain, Ahed admitted to the aggravated assault of an IDF soldier, incitement to violence and disrupting soldiers on two other occasions.

How the U.S. Can Respond to Iranian Threats
Some 35% of the world's seaborne oil travels via the Strait of Hormuz. When Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani talk about shutting down the strait, they mean it. We know that Iran has detailed plans to close the strait. It would use widespread mining; swarms of small, ultrafast patrol boats; shore-based cruise missiles; manned aircraft; and diesel submarines.

Just as Iran has detailed plans to close the strait, the U.S. has contingency plans to respond and reopen it. Our Navy would attack Iranian ships attempting to lay mines; strike land-based air and cruise missile sites within range of the strait; sink Iranian diesel subs at their piers; and potentially launch punishing strikes against broader targets inside Iran.

An aggressive overall strategy toward Iran would include enhanced surveillance and intelligence-gathering (especially in concert with Israel); stronger missile defenses for key U.S. bases in the region; encouraging the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council and Israel to cooperate more intensely on intelligence-sharing and missile defense; more use of offensive cyber to preempt Iranian options; and getting our European allies "on side" in the tougher sanctions regime.
EU Appeasers Continue to Feed the Iranian Tiger
Despite clear evidence that Iranian embassies in Europe are now used as terrorist bomb factories, EU lawmakers on July 5 approved plans for the European Investment Bank to do business with the regime in Iran in a bid to keep the 2015 nuclear deal alive. The EU appeasers seem to think that if you keep throwing steaks to the tiger it will become a vegetarian. Iran is trying to bully and cajole the EU into making up any shortfall caused by renewed sanctions and Europe seems happy to comply.

The foiled Iranian bomb attack planned for the Iranian opposition rally near Paris on June 30, which would have killed and maimed EU citizens, should send shock waves across the EU. Iranian embassies should immediately be closed across the EU and their diplomatic staff expelled. Europe must show that we support the Iranian people in their ongoing uprising and their bid to end the tyranny that they have suffered for four decades.
MEMRI: Saudi Ambassador To The U.S. Khalid Bin Salman: 'Iran's Malign Behavior Must Be Confronted, Not Appeased' Like Nazi Germany's In The 1930s
In an opinion piece published July 23, 2018 in the Saudi English-language daily Arab News, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States, Khalid bin Salman, called on the international community to adopt a unified and comprehensive strategy to confront the destabilizing behavior of the Iranian regime. Noting similarities between the situation today and the situation that prevailed before the outbreak of World War II, he urged the world "not to approach Iran with the sort of appeasement policies that failed so miserably to halt Nazi Germany’s rise to power," such as the Munich agreement of 1938. Today, just like then, circumstances – including economic crises, extreme political polarization between right and left, and international inaction – have created a situation where a rogue regime is allowed to "run roughshod over the international order, stoking conflict beyond its borders and arming the extremists who do its bidding in pursuit of regional domination," he wrote.

Bin Salman stated that the threat posed by Iran is "at the core of its regime," for the Iranian constitution calls "for spreading the ideological mission of jihad" throughout the world, and since the founder of this regime, Ayatollah Khomeini, "exhorted his followers to conquer Muslim and non-Muslim land alike."

The Ambassador added that neither Iran's expansionism nor the world's indifference to it are new. For years, he said, Iran has been expanding its control and influence throughout the Middle East – in Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon – while the world stood by. In the Syria war, Iran extended military and economic support for the murderous Syrian regime, yet instead of punishing it the international community rewarded it with a seat at various Syria peace conferences. Iran has thus been allowed to conclude that there are no red lines, and that the world will never respond to its actions with anything but rebukes and condemnations.
Cotton to Iranian Protesters: ‘In Secretary Pompeo, You Have a Friend and You Have a Champion’
Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) told an audience at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Sunday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would stand with Iranian citizens dissatisfied with the Iranian regime.

"To my fellow citizens here tonight and to the brave Iranians who will also hear us," he said, "you should know that in Secretary Pompeo, you have a friend and you have a champion."

Iranian protesters have taken to the streets in recent months to express discontent with the current regime’s management of the economy and support of proxy terror organizations in the Middle East.

Last month, protesters chanted "Death to Palestine" and "Leave Syria, think of us." The regime has provided support for Bashar al-Assad’s efforts to retake control of Syria and for Hamas, the Islamist fundamentalist organization that governs the Gaza Strip.

The Washington Free Beacon reported last week that the Trump administration was divided over whether to sanction Iran’s chief propaganda network:
Newly-Formed Dissident Youth Coalition in Iran Urges US Support for Regime Change
A newly-formed group of young dissidents inside Iran has sent a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warning that any negotiations with the Islamic Republic’s leaders cannot be carried out in good faith.

“Mr Pompeo: Please take into consideration that any negotiations with the barbaric regime in Iran not only will delay the process of peace in the region, but also will give time to the murderous [Tehran] regime to create new terrorist cell groups for the complete destruction of the Middle East and North African regions,” the letter — dated July 21 and first published by Kayhan, an Iranian opposition newspaper based in London — stated.

“All we are asking your respectful government to do, is to continue to stand with us and support the voiceless people in Iran and to help us achieve our goals in reaching peace, prosperity, secularism, and most importantly, a free democratic Iran,” the letter asserted.

Pompeo delivered a major policy speech — titled “Supporting Iranian Voices” — on July 22, declaring his solidarity with Iranians opposed to the ruling Islamist regime, but still holding out the possibility of direct talks between Tehran and the US government.

The group behind the letter to Pompeo — the “Coalition of Iranian Youth Inside Iran” — described itself as a non-violent political campaign within Iran’s borders.
Iranian general warns Trump that ‘nation of martyrdom’ is waiting for him
A top Iranian general said his forces were ready if US President Donald Trump followed through on his warning that Iran would “suffer consequences” if Tehran threatened the United States.

Though Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday there was no need for him to “respond to any nonsensical comment,” Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who heads the elite Quds Force of Iran’s hardline paramilitary Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, said on Thursday that he had an obligation to reply.

“As a soldier, it is my duty to respond to Trump’s threats. If he wants to use the language of threat, he should talk to me, not to the president,” Reuters quoted him as saying, citing comments reported by the news website Young Journalists Club, which is affiliated with state-run television.

“Trump should know that we are a nation of martyrdom and that we await him,” Soleimani said. “We are ready to confront you.”

He called Trump a “gambler” and said, “You will start the war but we will end it.”

“Trump’s language is still the ethics of nightclubs and gambling halls,” he continued.
Saudis halt oil shipments through key strait after Yemen rebel attack
Saudi Arabia has temporarily halted all oil shipments through a key waterway after Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi rebels attacked two crude vessels, officials said on Wednesday.

“All oil shipments through Bab al-Mandab Strait have been suspended temporarily until… maritime transit through the area is safe,” Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said in a statement released by state media.

Two oil tankers operated by the Saudi shipping group Bahri, each with a two million barrels capacity, were attacked by Huthi rebels in the Red Sea, state giant Aramco said in a statement.

“One of the ships sustained minimal damage. No injuries nor oil spill have been reported,” Aramco said.

The oil giant said the decision to suspend shipments was “in the interest of the safety of ships and their crews and to avoid the risk of oil spill.”
Defying US sanctions threat, Turkey to maintain Iran ties
Turkey's president has argued against severing economic ties with Iran as the United States readies for sanctions.

Speaking in Ankara, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said it goes against the independence of states to cut ties with its "neighbor and strategic partner" because the U.S. demands it.

President Donald Trump announced in May that he would pull out of an international nuclear agreement reached in 2015, meant to curb Iran's controversial nuclear aspirations, and plans to reimpose sanctions. His administration threatened countries with sanctions if they do not cut off Iranian oil imports by early November.

Turkey imported 3 million tons of crude oil from Iran in the first four months of 2018, amounting to 55% of crude supplies and 27% of its total energy imports.
Israel Tells Turkey, “You Went Full Hitler, You Never Go Full Hitler” (satire)
Israel has rebuked Turkey for going “Full Hitler” way too early into an argument the two were conducting early Saturday evening.

The disagreement started, as it often has, over something Israel said it had heard Syria say about Turkey behind its back. “It was just your standard smack talk. You know, if you come over my border again I’m going to treat you like you were Armenian,” Israel commented.

“However, we think Turkey was further down the bottle of Raki than we appreciated because they started in on how it was ‘totally wack’ that we were in the European Song Contest. We always know when Turkey has had too much when they bring that up. I mean come on, over half their f#%king land mass is in Asia. Who are they to talk?”

Israel continued, “And then out of nowhere they were throwing around ‘Hitler’. We were like, woah, woah, woah….. I thought we were just having a friendly disagreement. And you went there?”

“We will however accept your accusation that we are the world’s ‘most Zionist’ state, I mean if not us, who?”

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