Monday, August 20, 2018

From Ian:

NY Post Editorial: Russians are now patrolling the Golan heights — and you can thank Barack Obama
Vladimir Putin’s troops are now patrolling the Golan Heights — and it’s actually the least-bad solution.

It’s the best available way to keep Iranian forces away from Israel’s border with Syria. But it also hinders Jerusalem’s ability to strike at those forces (and at various jihadis and others roaming the region) if necessary.

The Iranians and the Russians filled the vacuum left after the Obama administration pulled US troops out of Iraq and refused to send help to the rebels fighting against Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

Assad now looks likely to hold on, but as an Iranian puppet, with Putin gleefully playing Mideast power broker. Israel has no choice but to deal with Moscow to keep Tehran away.

The Nobel folks should look at rescinding former President Barack Obama’s Peace Prize.

Caroline Glick: Andrew Brunson Case Proves U.S.-Turkey Alliance Has Been Over for Years
Last year, in remarks relating to Brunson, Erdogan said, The (pastor) we have is on trial. Yours is not — he is living in Pennsylvania … You can give him right away.”

As he called Sunday for Turks to exchange their dollars for the rapidly collapsing Turkish lira to prove their patriotism, Erdogan addressed Trump angrily, saying, “We can only say ‘good-bye’ to anyone who sacrifices its strategic partnership and a half century alliance with a country of 81 million for the sake of relations with terror groups. You dare to sacrifice 81 million [in] Turkey for a priest who is linked to terror groups?”

But the truth of course is the opposite. Erdogan sacrificed his country’s half-century alliance with the U.S. to advance his jihadist beliefs and aspirations. Brunson’s captivity and the menacing threats Erdogan and his representatives keep voicing against him make clear that the long-held Turkish-U.S. alliance is a relic of a past era.

Trump is not walking away from an alliance. He is reconciling America’s Turkish policy with the reality of Turkish-U.S. relations.

Brunson’s life is in jeopardy. He is in danger because Turkey is a hostage-taking, jihadist tyranny that supports terror organizations and indoctrinates its people to hate Americans, Christians, Jews, Kurds, Yazidis, Alevis, and whomever else Erdogan decides to hate.

The safest way to save Brunson’s life is not to bow to Erdogan’s demands. It is by making the cost of taking Brunson’s life too great for even Erdogan to bear. You don’t do that by pretending away difficult realities. You do it by acknowledging and acting on them.

It is impossible to know how the current crisis in Turkish-U.S. relations will pan out. But what is clear enough is after stubbornly clinging to a policy based on refusing to read the writing on the walls in relation to Erdogan and his neo-Ottoman Turkey, Pastor Brunson’s persecution is forcing Washington finally to face the truth about Turkey, and adapt its policies to align with that truth.

Israeli troops come under fire along Gaza border; no injuries
An IDF patrol came under fire by a Palestinian gunman in the northern Gaza Strip on Monday morning, the army said.

The troops returned fire and hit the gunman.

There were no injuries among the Israeli soldiers, according to the military.

Army sources told the Ynet news site the gunman opened fire at the soldiers from close range, from a distance of 10-20 meters (30-60 feet) from the border fence. Soldiers fired back and hit the gunman, apparently killing him. His body lay near the fence on the Gazan side.

The military was checking his identity, and whether he was a member of the Hamas terror group.

On July 20, an IDF soldier, Staff Sgt. Aviv Levi, was killed by a Gaza sniper. A second sniper attack days later moderately wounded another Israeli soldier.
Defense minister: Israel’s ‘endgame’ in Gaza is the toppling of Hamas
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Sunday said the government’s “endgame” for Gaza was the toppling of its Hamas rulers to allow the Palestinian residents of the coastal enclave to enjoy the economic benefits of peace with Israel.

His comments came as Education Minister Naftali Bennett criticized the government for reportedly nearing a ceasefire deal with the terror group.

“Since the withdrawal [from Gaza in 2005] the Israeli public has been asking itself and the security cabinet a single question — what will be with the Gaza Strip in the end,” Liberman posted on Facebook. “Is there a solution? What is our endgame for the Gaza Strip — an area of some 365 square kilometers (140 square miles) with about two million inhabitants, one of the most overcrowded places in the world.”

He explained his goal was to “remove the Hamas terror group from power, or force it to change its approach, i.e., recognize Israel’s right to exist and accept the principle of rebuilding in exchange for demilitarization.”
Seth Frantzman: Liberman: Abbas trying to drag Israel into war with Gaza
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman accused Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas of trying to drag Israel into a confrontation with Hamas so it can retake control of Gaza.

“Abu Mazen knows that he is not capable of overthrowing the Hamas regime by force, he understands that Hamas will not transfer control over the Gaza Strip and therefore is trying to drag us into confrontation with Hamas in the Gaza Strip,” Liberman said Monday in an interview with Radio 101.5’s Mendy Rizel.

According to Liberman, Hamas is not prepared to reconcile with Fatah and to transfer control of the coastal enclave to Abbas and the Palestinian Authority.

“So we are the ones who will bring down Hamas and hand over power to them? Of course, this is not the first time [Abbas] has tried this strategy, and therefore here, too, one has to manage wisely and understand the whole picture,” he said.
Qatar seeks role in negotiations between Israel and Hamas
Qatar has been seeking to play a relevant role in Israel’s Gaza policy amid the crisis with Hamas that has unfolded over the last six months. But those efforts have been frustrated as Qatar is isolated by Washington’s drive for a “deal of the century” and Doha’s own disputes with its Gulf neighbors. Recent cease-fire discussions, however, may now bring Qatar back into the group of countries that are working to avoid another conflict between Jerusalem and Gaza.

Channel 10 reported last week that in June, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman met in Cyprus with Qatar’s Gaza envoy, Mohammed Al-Emadi. At the top of Qatar’s list of concerns was the humanitarian issue, in which Qatar has taken a key interest for a decade. Doha could provide up to $350 million as part of a new deal to keep the peace between Israel and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Since 2014, it has already provided around $800 million.

On Thursday, another report said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Egyptian intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Abbas Kamel. The complex discussions between Israel and Egypt, Hamas and Egypt, the US and Qatar, and – at least in the background – between Israel and Qatar, are the backdrop to the current attempt to create a long-term cease-fire with Hamas.

In July, Al-Emadi told Al Jazeera that Qatar was discussing a fiveor 10-year cease-fire with Israel by passing messages to Hamas and the US.

“The Egyptians are indeed involved,” he said. “However, the problem is the Egyptians are not trusted by Hamas. This is because more than a year ago, the Egyptians made many promises to Hamas to achieve reconciliation with Fatah, among other things, but they did not deliver on their promises.”
Terrorist released in Shalit deal found with knife near Adam
A terrorist released within the context of the 2011 "Shalit deal" was arrested last night by police after a knife was found on his person near the Binyamin community of Adam, 0404 reported.

The Shalit deal saw the release of over 1,000 terrorists, 280 of which were serving life sentences for terrorism, from Israeli prisons in exchange for the release of soldier Gilad Shalit, who had been kidnapped by Hamas terrorists in 2006. Many of the terrorists released in the deal were later rearrested for continuing after their release to carry out terror attacks, including those in which Israelis were murdered.

According to the report, the terrorist asserted during his interrogation that the knife he was carrying was a new knife that he had obtained for private use, not for an attack.

Police told 0404 that the suspect was released following his interrogation.
Mixed Reactions Among Palestinians To Abbas’ Call For ‘Popular Resistance’
Palestinian Authority leaders tell Palestinians that this form of resistance has proved efficient in fighting Israeli ‘occupation’ on the ground

The Palestinian leadership appears to be changing tactics in its effort to establish a state along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. At a closed-door meeting this weekend of the Central Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called for an increase in “popular resistance,” which he described as having its own value in “fighting the Israeli occupation.”

“Popular resistance is the suitable form given the current situation of a complete closure of the political horizon,” Hassan Faraj, a member of the PLO’s Revolutionary Committee, told The Media Line. “This form of resistance around the world has proven its efficiency in teaching the occupier a lesson and exposing its crimes to the whole world.”

Palestinians, he added, must have deep faith in what popular resistance can achieve on the ground. “This resistance requires full participation and a united combat platform that defines the type of relations that can be maintained with the enemy and what can take shape after the resistance phase is complete,” Faraj said. “Ending the Israeli occupation with popular resistance doesn’t require a specific time frame. It’s an ongoing process aimed at the paralysis of the occupation and its settlers.”

Responding to these statements, a Palestinian activist who requested anonymity told The Media Line that “popular resistance would not aid the Palestinian cause.”

“Popular resistance is being pushed by the leadership now, which demonstrates the pity the PA has for itself,” he contended, adding that Ramallah has been engaged in formulating U.S. President Donald Trump’s yet-unveiled peace plan, known as the “deal of the century.”

“The PA leadership is taking part in devising the American proposal that will strip many Palestinians of their refugee status and will be the death of the two-state solution,” the activist claimed.
Without a deal, Israel will end up with 'Mohammad' as PM
Israel is in danger of losing its Jewish majority and character as a Jewish state if no peace deal is reached between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Jordan’s King Abdullah II recently told President Donald Trump, Israeli media reported Sunday night.

In response, Trump replied that in the absence of a final status agreement, Israel would likely have an Arab prime minister.

According to a report by Channel 10 Sunday evening, the discussion took place during President Trump’s meeting with King Abdullah at the White House on June 25th.

The comments were made in private, but were shared by King Abdullah with France’s Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves le Drian earlier this month, Channel 10 claimed.

The report was confirmed, Channel 10 said, by US and Israeli officials.

“Many young Palestinians no longer want two states,” King Abdullah is quoted as telling President Trump during the White House meeting. “They want one state with equal rights. The result would be Israel losing its Jewish character.”

President Trump said, somewhat jokingly the report claimed, that “there’s logic in that.”

“In a few years Israel will have a prime minister named Muhammad.”

The president also told the Hashemite monarch that his administration was best suited for achieving a final status agreement between Israel and the PA.
Bolton: U.S.'s highest priority is Iran never getting nuclear capabilities
The United States is working with European countries to convince them of the need to take stronger steps against the Iranian nuclear weapons program, US National Security Advisor John Bolton said Monday.

Bolton was speaking at the Prime Minister's Office prior to a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his second meeting since arriving in Israel Sunday.

“I think it is of the highest importance for the United States that Iran never get nuclear weapons capabilities,” Bolton said.

“This is why President Trump withdrew from the wretched Iran nuclear deal. This is why he has imposed economic sanctions. This is why we are working with our friends in Europe to convince them of the need to take stronger steps against Iranian nuclear weapons,” he said.

This is also, Bolton added, the reason why we “continuously worry about Iran's role as the central banker for international terrorism, this is why we worry about Iran's belligerent military activity in Iran, in Syria, with Hezbollah in Lebanon, and in Yemen.”

Bolton, who is in Israel through Wednesday on his first visit to the country since taking office in April, said that all of the regional threats he mentioned were also “global threats that pose a risk of international terrorism, especially terrorists' possible use of weapons of mass destruction.”
In victory for Israel, ICC says call for 'Palestinian victims' not binding
In response to Israel's objections, the management of the International Criminal Court in The Hague has taken a step back from its unprecedented anti-Israel decision a month ago to actively seek out Palestinian victims of alleged Israeli war crimes.

In a press release issued in July, three ICC judges ‎‎– Peter Kovacs, Marc Perrin de Brichambaut, and ‎Reine Adelaide Sophie Alapini-Gansou – urged alleged ‎victims to step forward by Dec. 14.‎

The three judges, members of the ‎pretrial chamber dealing with Palestinian allegations of Israeli war crimes, ordered the ICC's ‎Registry "to establish, as soon as practicable, a ‎system of public information and outreach activities ‎for the benefit of the victims and affected ‎communities in the situation in Palestine." ‎

Israel voiced strong objections to the one-sided initiative.

In response to an Israel Hayom inquiry, the court confirmed in a statement Sunday that "representatives of the court recently received representatives of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the latter's request."

The statement said the Israeli representatives conveyed their views on the July 13 decision on outreach to the victims, but "no document was filed with the court in relation to that matter."

The statement, signed by the court's Public Affairs Unit, stressed that Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda was not in any way bound by the decision.
Russia says U.S. refusal to rebuild Syria a ploy to slow refugee return
Russia will help Lebanon return refugees to neighboring Syria, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday, accusing the United States of impeding the general repatriation process by declining to assist in Syria's reconstruction.

Lavrov also called on opposition groups in the rebel-held Syrian province of Idlib to distance themselves from the Nusra Front group, formerly the local branch of al Qaeda.

The province was hit by a wave of air strikes and shelling earlier this month, in a possible prelude to a government offensive to regain control.

"We agreed that Lebanon should not be the subject of foreign interference, a pawn in geopolitical games, or a hostage of the Syrian crisis and its negative consequences such as the problem of Syrian refugees," Lavrov said after talks with his visiting Lebanese counterpart, Gebran Bassil.

According to the U.N.’s refugee agency, nearly 5.5 million Syrians have fled abroad to escape the country's war.

Lebanon hosts more than 1 million Syrian refugees, equal to more than a quarter of its population, and Bassil told reporters Beirut saw no reason for refugees to remain on its territory.

Lavrov accused Washington of being interested in rebuilding only parts of Syria where the opposition to Russia's ally, President Bashar al-Assad, was active.
Flourishing Trade Between Israel and Arab States ‘a Glimpse’ of Hopeful Future, Says Think Tank Led by Former UK PM Tony Blair
Far from being targeted for “boycotts, divestment and sanctions,” Israel’s trade with its Middle Eastern neighbors is in fact blossoming, a new report from a leading British think tank said on Friday.

Total Israeli exports of goods and services to MENA markets in 2016 are estimated at about $7 billion, and total Israeli imports from Middle Eastern markets in 2016 are estimated at a roughly similar magnitude,” the report — entitled “Assessing Israel’s Trade with its Arab Neighbors” and published by the London-based Institute for Global Change, founded by former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair — noted.

The report spotlighted what it called “the growing dependence of the Palestinian economy on Israel in recent years.”

“In 2016, Israel was the source of some 60 per cent of Palestinian recorded imports of goods and the destination of 85 per cent of Palestinian recorded exports of goods,” the report said. “Moreover, the number of Palestinian laborers employed in Israel increased significantly from 40,000 in 2002 to 130,000 in 2016.”

Arguing that there was a strong economic interest in a final peace settlement, the report argued that to “support a future independent and economically viable state, the Palestinian economy must be allowed to grow and develop beyond Israel.” It also pointed to potential economic benefits for Israel, arguing that “without a final status agreement with the Palestinians, Israel’s overall security-related costs will remain at a relatively high level of close to 15 per cent of GDP.”
Daphne Anson: In Australia, Claims of Bigotry, Blackballing & a Baklava
As seen at left, and below, in very recent Tweets, Lebanese-born New South Wales Labor MP Shaoquett Moselbane is a vigorous pro-Palestinian proponent.

In March 2013, Mr Moselmane sparked outrage when he gave, inside that chamber, what Dan Goldberg writing in Haaretz described as "a firebrand speech ... a vituperative tirade" alleging that the creation of Israel was a “corruption of justice,” that Gaza is “the world's largest open-air prison camp,” and that Israel ran “torture camps” in southern Lebanon.

Continued Goldberg:

'Moselmane also accused Israel of “massive violations of human rights,” saying: “If there was ever a group in need of protection from war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing, it is the Palestinians.”

The first Muslim ever elected to the NSW parliament added this: “I salute the [Lebanese] resistance. Imagine what the response would have been in 1941 or 1942 if we had condemned resistance against Nazi Germany. Guns would have been blazing at us for not resisting Nazi Germany. In Lebanon the resistance was able to force the Israelis out.”

Moselmane was supported by fellow Labor MP Linda Voltz and by Greens MP David Shoebridge, both known for anti-Israel activism.

During the past week Mr Moselmane has sparked outrage again.

Reported political editor Andrew Clennel in The Australian (14 August):

'The first Muslim MP in the NSW parliament has sparked a row overnight, refusing entry to a respected Jewish leader to a Labor Party multicultural launch.

Upper House MP Shaoquett Moselmane refused entry to Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff at the launch of the Labor Union Multicultural Action Committee launch last night saying, according to Mr Alhadeff, that he was not a Labor Party member before offering him a baklava on the way out.

The baklava was declined.
Spanish police treating Barcelona would-be stabbing as terror attack
Spanish officers on Monday shot dead an Algerian man who tried to attack them with a knife at a police station while shouting “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest), police said.

Barcelona police said they are treating the attack as a terrorist incident.

“We are treating it as a terrorist attack. The officer used his gun to save his own life,” Rafel Comes, a commissioner with the Catalan regional police, told a news conference in Cornella de Llobregat where the attack took place.

But he said police have found no evidence linking the incident to last year’s terror attacks in Barcelona and nearby Cambrils, which killed 16 people.

“An investigation has been launched following the events that occurred this morning at our police station in Cornella in order to clarify the reasons for the attack,” Catalonia regional police said in a statement.
Trending on Twitter: #AskHamas
In 2015, the Gaza-based Palestinian terror group Hamas announced that it would invite users on social media, particularly those in the West, to ask questions in the run-up to a key European Union court hearing that will determine whether it would recognize Hamas as a terrorist organization.

The campaign was launched under the hashtag #AskHamas. Within hours, it became a trending Twitter topic in the United States, with social media users flooding their feeds with sarcastic questions that were definitely not what Hamas had in mind.

Twitter users used the #AskHamas campaign to mock the Islamic terror group, commenting on the murder of innocent civilians in terror attacks, the presence of Palestinian children at rallies together with gunmen wearing suicide bomber vests, and the luxurious living conditions of Hamas leadership compared to the poverty of the Gaza population.

In the past day or two, #AskHamas has been trending again in the Twittersphere. Twitter users, who have been hearing quite a lot about Hamas in the news lately can't seem to refrain from asking more sarcastic questions, which are unfortunately still quite relevant in 2018.

When Hamas originally began its campaign, it promised responses from their leaders; it called it, “Truth from the mouth of the horse.” But apparently the "mouth of the horse" is selective about which questions it answers.
IsraellyCool: Palestinians Rehash a Cancerous Lie
Anti-Israel propaganda Facebook page Gaza Now makes the following claim:

This is not new; the same claim was made back in July 2016:

In February 2017, the following was reported:
Palestinian Ministry of Health official statistics revealed that the rate of cancer patients in Palestine reached 83.8 per one 100 thousand persons, 83.9 cases per 100 thousand persons in Gaza and 83.8 cases per 100 thousand persons in the West Bank.

Now let’s compare Gaza’s cancer rate of 83.9 per 100,00 against that of countries around the world.

83.9 is actually relatively low according to this data, and less than a third of Israel’s cancer rate!

In other words, this is yet another lie, damn lie, and the statistics prove it.
In Jerusalem, Bolton and Netanyahu blast ‘wretched,’ ‘disastrous’ Iran deal
US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser on Monday bemoaned the “wretched” Iranian nuclear deal in his talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, as the senior US aide and Israeli premier called for stepped-up global pressure on Tehran to curb its military activities.

Ahead of a day of discussions between Israeli and American security officials, John Bolton told Netanyahu that the United States sees the “highest importance” in preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and that’s why Trump withdrew from the deal negotiated by the Obama administration and was reapplying stiff sanctions.

Bolton has been a strident critic of the nuclear deal and has pushed for greater pressure on Tehran to ensure it halts its support for terror groups in the Mideast and stops development of ballistic missiles. A former ambassador to the United Nations under president George W. Bush, Bolton is a longtime hawkish advocate for Israel.

Bolton said Washington was working to convince European allies “of the need to take stronger steps against the Iranian nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program.”

Netanyahu agreed the deal was “disastrous” and called Trump’s decision to drop out historic. He repeated his oft-used refrain that “the nuclear deal did not block Iran’s path to the bomb, it paved Iran’s path to an entire nuclear arsenal.”
Iran tells EU to speed up efforts to save nuclear deal
Iran urged Europe on Monday to speed up efforts to salvage a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers that US President Donald Trump abandoned in May, saying French oil group Total has formally pulled out a major gas project.

Efforts by the remaining signatories - EU members Britain, France and Germany plus China and Russia - to avoid the agreement's collapse are struggling as Washington has said any firms dealing with Teheran will be barred from doing business in the United States.

"Europeans and other signatories of the deal have been trying to save the deal ... but the process has been slow. It should be accelerated," Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said. "Iran relies mainly on its own capabilities to overcome America's new sanctions," he told a news conference broadcast on state TV.

European states have been scrambling to ensure Iran gets enough economic benefits to persuade it to stay in the deal, which Trump said was "deeply flawed."

Washington imposed new sanctions on Iran in August, targeting its trade in gold and other precious metals, purchases of US dollars and its car industry.
Iranian Economy - Where Does the Money Go?
Iranians protesting against the Iranian regime, following the severe economic crisis which the country is facing, are probably wondering - where does all that money go? Here are some of the answers

Iranians rage against elites’ nepotism, corruption in social media campaign
Amid growing public unrest over their country’s economic difficulties, increasingly angry Iranians are shining a spotlight on the nepotism and corruption they believe is prevalent among the nation’s elite.

A recent social media campaign, under the hashtag #where_is_your_kid, has been calling on members of government and other officials to give details on their children’s education and employment.

Photos of the country’s “Aghazadeh,” or rich kids, living apparently opulent and extravagant lives and attending glitzy events, have incensed Iranians, amid reports that many are enjoying privileges not available to others, and winning high-paying state jobs not justified by their credentials or experience.

“Are they reaping the fruit of their own effort or eating from our riches? Are they appointed on merit?” one person quoted by Bloomberg tweeted.

According to The Telegraph, Mahmoud Bahmani, a former governor of Iran’s Central Bank, has joined the critics, telling Iranian press over 5,000 such “rich kids” live outside Iran.

“Together they have $148 billion in their bank accounts,” he said, “which is more than Iran’s foreign currency reserves. We need to know what are they up to in those foreign countries when only 300 of them are registered as university students.”

Social media users have also expressed outrage over photos of the lavish wedding of the son of Iran’s ambassador to Denmark.
France’s Total gas giant has officially left Iran, oil minister says
French energy giant Total has officially quit its multi-billion-dollar gas project in Iran, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on Monday, following the reimposition of US sanctions.

“Total has officially left the agreement for the development of phase 11 of South Pars (gas field). It has been more than two months that it announced that it would leave the contract,” he told parliament’s news agency ICANA.

Zanganeh also appeared before parliament to underline the dire state of Iran’s oil and gas facilities, which he said were “worn out” and in need of renovation that Iran could not afford.

The United States said in May that it was abandoning the 2015 nuclear deal and reimposing sanctions on Iran in two phases in August and November.

The second phase will target Iran’s oil industry.

The other parties to the nuclear deal — Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia — have vowed to stay in the accord but their companies risk huge penalties if they keep doing business in Iran.

Total had already said it would be impossible to remain in Iran unless it received a specific waiver from Washington, which was not granted.
An Iranian Dream: "Why Can't I Dance?"
A Muslim mother in the sharia-ruled country of Iran, was talking about her 10-year-old daughter: "She asked me, 'Why can't I dance? We dance because we are happy. How can being happy be wrong? Why is dancing a crime?'" She spoke about the confusion in her daughter's eyes. "It is a question I don't know how to answer."

Her daughter's life had changed, she said, when she heard that a 19-year-old woman named Maedeh Hojabri had become the target of Iran's Islamist "morality" police. Her crime? Posting video clips of herself dancing on popular worldwide social media sites, like Instagram. The consequences for an act like that are severe. As has happened to other young women who posted video clips of themselves dancing, Hojabri was arrested, jailed without due process and without an opportunity to defend herself, and publicly shamed with a televised confession of her "crime."

Maedeh Hojabri, shown in this Instagram video screenshot committing the "crime" of dancing. For this, she was arrested by the Iranian police, jailed without due process and publicly shamed.

Hojabri's dancing videos on Instagram made her a popular figure on Instagram in Iran, and gained her hundreds of thousands of followers on the social media platform. Imagine, if she were living in the West, how she would be treated. She would likely have been considered talented, have had opportunities thrown at her, been invited on popular shows and be sponsored for radio and television programs.

But in a sharia-governed state such as the Islamic Republic of Iran, authorities consider people like Hojabri disgraced criminals. The irony is that it is many of the extremist leaders of her country -- a state sponsor of terrorism -- who should be regarded as criminals. These are the men who view Hojabri and others like her -- who simply wish to spread joy -- as an intolerable danger to their country.
Kindergarten under fire after parading children in niqabs, AK47s on Indonesian Independence Day
A kindergarten in Indonesia's East Java province has come under fire for dressing children in niqabs and having them carry fake assault rifles for a local Independence Day parade.

The pre-schoolers from the TK Kartika — a kindergarten located in an Indonesian military housing complex in Probolinggo — marched on the streets as part of the festivities.

Indonesia celebrated its 73rd Independence anniversary on Friday, marking the end of colonial rule with parades and displays of the national flag.

But over the weekend, footage of the children walking down a street during the celebrations wearing niqabs and carrying what appeared to be cardboard cut-outs of AK47 rifles went viral across the country.

In a local press conference on Saturday, the head of the school Yuliana Tungga Dewi apologised for the incident, according to a report from CNN Indonesia.

"We didn't mean any harm, nor did we have the intention to instil any sense of aggression in the children," she said.

Ms Dewi said the children's performance was not intended to show support for any radical religious groups, and was simply a show of faith.

Speaking to the local Indonesian media outlet Detik, Indonesia's Minister for Education and Culture Muhajir Effendy said he did not see anything wrong with the kindergarten's actions.

Spying Seagull—the new enemy of the Arab nation
Reseaches at Ramat Gan Safari attached a surveillance transmitter to a seagull's leg for research purposes and set it free. Unfortunately, the bird landed in Tripoli, where it was soon caught and transferred to the authorities on suspicion of spying for Israel.

How does a wounded gull becomes an Israeli spy? Ask the media outlets in Arab countries.

This story began a few months ago when a sick seagull discovered in Eilat was transferred to the veterinary hospital at Ramat Gan Safari. In April, the bird recovered and was released near Atlit, a small town located on the northern coast.

Before its release, researchers attached a GPS-based satellite transmitter onto the seagull's leg, in order to track the bird's migration route.

The gull arrived at Tripoli, Libya. Unfortunately,locals noticed the transmitter attached to its leg, and apparently transferred the bird to the authorities.

The authorities suspected that the seagull was part of an Israeli espionage plot, and Arab media outlets published pictures of the seagull with the transmitter alongside a caption accusing the bird of espionage: "engaged in spying for Israel."

The transmitter indicated that the bird was later transferred to a villa in Beirut, Lebanon. Apparently, the flapping bird had undergone a thorough examination there, perhaps by Hezbollah members.

On August 15, the GPS device stopped transmitting signals on its location, apparently because it had been neutralized. The seagull's fate remains unknown.

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