Monday, August 27, 2018

From Ian:

Ron Prosor: UNRWA is not the solution
It seems quite a few officials at IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv are concerned by reports that the United States plans to cut funding to the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees and revoke its mandate to operate in the West Bank.

It is high time these officials realize that UNRWA – the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East – is not the solution, but the problem. It is hard to believe that in Israel, of all places, these officials claim to be in favor of finding a solution to the seven-decade-long refugee problem, but when push comes to shove, it seems the timing is never right.

Established for the exclusive benefit of Palestinian refugees, UNRWA has, instead of resolving the problem, done everything in its power to perpetuate it. Instead of peace and coexistence, it teaches hatred and incitement. Instead of fighting terrorist organizations, it collaborates with them. As someone who has worked toward UNRWA'S closure for years, I am glad Washington finally gets it and I hope the people at IDF headquarters will soon come to their senses.

According to media reports, the White House is determined to solve this persistent problem and plans to take the necessary steps, including ending the Palestinians' unique ability to inherit refugee status, and recognizing 500,000 Palestinian refugees instead of the 5 million UNRWA purports to serve.

While it is in Israel's long-term interest that UNRWA be closed, in practice the defense establishment acts as the agency's representative. Following the media reports, it took less than 24 hours for the fear-mongering to begin, with officials arguing that ending UNRWA's operations in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip would result in Israel being made to bear the burden of providing the education, health and welfare services for which the agency is currently responsible.

What could happen if US rejects Palestinian 'right of return'?
David Bedein, head of Center Near East Policy Research, says implications of perpetual 'refugee' status more serious than just wasted money.

Bolton: US to Cut Its Funding to UN Human Rights Council
US National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Thursday that the United States plans to cut its funding to the United Nations Human Rights Council, which the US withdrew from in June due to the body’s anti-Israel bias.

“We are going to de-fund the Human Rights Council,” Bolton, a former US ambassador to the United Nations, told the Associated Press.

As the UNHRC’s largest donor, the US contributes 22% of the council’s budget. However, it does not contribute directly; instead, the funds are taken from the overall US payment to the United Nations.

“We’ll calculate 22% of the Human Rights Council and the High Commissioner’s budget, and our remittances to the UN for this budget year will be less 22% of those costs, and we’ll say specifically that’s what we’re doing,” said Bolton. “We expect that impact to occur on the Human Rights Council.”

The UNHRC was founded in 2006 to advocate for human rights globally. However, its constant double standard and demonization of Israel has frustrated American leadership, among other moves like allowing countries, such as Venezuela, which violate human rights, to be members of the UN body. Last May, it passed five resolutions against Israel, which is not a member of the council.

The Great Middle Eastern War of 2019
Neither Iran nor Israel seems to want to go to war, but the former is willing to risk provoking Israel and the latter is determined to prevent a dangerous buildup of Iranian capabilities in Syria. Thus, write Nadav Ben Hour and Michael Eisenstadt, there are several possible scenarios that could lead to a war between Jerusalem and Tehran (and/or its proxies). After outlining various ways such a conflict could play out, the authors venture some predictions:

Israel’s next northern war will be far more wide-ranging than prior conflicts. Israel may start with an intense air campaign to counter the threat of enemy rocket and missile forces and militias, but effectively dealing with this threat will require large-scale ground operations. Israel’s enemies will not be satisfied only with launching rockets and missiles at Israeli military facilities, population centers, and critical infrastructure, but they will try to use ground forces to infiltrate Israeli lines and to capture Israeli villages and small military outposts. They will also likely employ cyberwarfare in support of conventional military operations (for instance, to disrupt Israeli missile defenses), and perhaps against critical infrastructure, to achieve strategic effects.

In past conflicts with [Tehran’s proxy] Hizballah, Israel focused on the organization’s military forces, its leadership, military specialists, and elements of the Lebanese infrastructure that facilitated its operations. In the next northern war, the dilemma of whether to prioritize action against immediate threats or enemy centers of gravity and critical enablers will be acute. . . .

Russia is a key actor in Syria and could be a key factor in a future war. Will Moscow stand aside, or will it constrain Israel’s ability to strike pro-regime forces in Syria, to prevent the unraveling of the Assad regime’s post-2015 civil-war gains? And will Washington remain militarily uninvolved—beyond perhaps augmenting Israeli missile defenses—or will it play a more active role, seeing this as an opportunity to strike a blow against Iran and thereby advance its goal of undermining the latter’s influence in the region?
US Aid, Palestinian Wakaha
For the past 9 months, the Palestinian leaders have been waging a massive and unprecedented campaign of incitement and abuse against Trump and his administration. This campaign began immediately after Trump announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December 2017, and the campaign is continuing to this day as a reply to the US decision to slash $200 million from the American financial aid to the Palestinians.

Significantly, the PA and its leaders were the ones who initiated the crisis with the US administration. Their dissatisfaction with Trump's announcement on Jerusalem may be understandable, but they chose to take their protest to an extreme by boycotting the US administration and waging a smear campaign against Trump and his "Jewish advisors and envoys."

It is clear that the Palestinian boycott of the US administration did not include receiving funds from the Americans. One the one hand, the Palestinians have been boycotting and badmouthing US administration officials. On the other hand, Abbas and his representatives are now crying that the US administration is slashing $200 million of its financial aid to the Palestinians. If this isn't cheek in its finest form, what is?

The Arabic word for cheek, by the way, is wakaha. Were Abbas to behave in the same manner towards an Arab country for cutting financial aid to the Palestinians, he would have been accused by his Arab brothers of displaying wakaha at its best. Abbas, however, would think ten times before he uttered a bad word against any Arab country.

The Palestinians are basically telling the Americans: We have the right to condemn you every day, to burn your flags and photos of your president, to incite against you, to launch weekly protests against you, to accuse you of being under the "influence of the Jewish and Zionist lobby" and, at the same time, we have the right to continue receiving US taxpayer money.
Canadian opposition party recognizes Jerusalem
Delegates from the Conservative party of Canada, the country’s opposition party, approved during its policy convention over the weekend a resolution recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel.

The resolution, which received overwhelming support, endorses the moving of Canada's embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem if the Conservative party wins the general elections in 2019 and heads the next government.

Earlier this year, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer said his party would follow the U.S. lead and recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The Conservatives held power from 2006 until 2015 but were toppled by the Liberals in a general election that year.

The current liberal government, headed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, did not support the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
The Nation-State Law and revival of UN ‘Zionism-is-racism’ libel
Israel’s recently passed Nation-State Law has sparked criticism, controversy and confusion. Israelis across the political spectrum – including the “hawkish” Education Minister Naftali Bennett – have criticized the law’s insufficient language regarding Israel’s patriotic Druze and Circassian citizens. The legislation’s final draft could have more clearly reflected the Jewish state’s bedrock principles of democracy, freedom and equality that are firmly rooted in Israel’s Declaration of Independence and Basic Laws. Both of these anchor the new Nation-State Law and protect all Israelis equally in civil, social, economic and religious matters regardless of race, religion or creed.

Confusion and controversy surrounding the legislation have clouded the larger national security context. The law was passed as a response to a spate of resurgent, dangerous ideological threats against Israel’s existence as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Palestine Liberation Organization chairman Mahmoud Abbas, in concert with Israeli Arab Members of Knesset, have for years denounced the law due to their shared historic, immutable, ideological denunciation of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

Palestinian and Arab denunciation of Israel as a Jewish and democratic nation-state is a de facto continuation of the United Nations’ libelous Resolution 3379, known unofficially as the “Zionism-is-racism resolution,” approved in 1975 and repealed in 1991.

More ominously than its passage 43 years ago, the Zionism-is-racism resolution’s slanderous denunciation of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state continues to enjoy growing support and legitimacy in Western circles in 2018. These threats taken together underscore the importance of passing the Nation-State Law.

The PLO, in close strategic partnership with Israeli Arab parliamentarians, has denounced Israel’s Nation-State Law precisely because it reaffirms Israel’s majority character as a Jewish and democratic state. Jewish sovereignty is an anathema both to PLO and Hamas ideologies and Israeli Arab MK worldviews, whether communist, nationalist or Islamic.

The international community, and even some Diaspora Jewish leaders, have overlooked or neglected this ideological challenge to Israel’s existence.
Arab MKs and Palestinians jointly seek to censure Israel at U.N.
Parliamentarians from the Joint List have joined forces with the Palestinian Authority to seek United Nations censure of the Jewish State, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN in New York Danny Danon charged on Sunday.

“The Palestinian delegation, in cooperation with Knesset members from the Arab parties, is planning steps aimed at smearing Israel and damaging its image through incitement and lies,” Danon said.

He spoke after Joint List MK Aida Touma-Sliman met last week with UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo in New York to seek support for her party’s battle against the newly approved Nation-State Law.

The legislation’s supporters say that it shores up Israel’s identity as a Jewish state, while its opponents hold that it is racist and discriminates against the country’s minorities.

The Palestinian Authority already stated that it is likely to act against Israel at the UN General Assembly. Among the measures it is weighing is a text that would call for Israel’s ouster from the UN. It is presumed that the US would block such a move at the UN Security Council, which has final say on the matter.

Danon, however, complained to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein about the actions of the Arab parliamentarians, stating that it was part of a wider series of steps they have taken against the state.
Exhibit featuring Israeli victims of terrorism on display at UN
The United Nations marked its first International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism last Tuesday, after the U.N. General Assembly designated Aug. 21 as a date to honor and support victims and survivors of terrorism around the world.

To accompany the remembrance day, the U.N. is hosting a month-long exhibition of interviews and documentaries highlighting international solidarity with victims of terrorism.

As part of this, Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon has curated an exhibition commemorating Israeli terror victims, which will be on display for more than a week at U.N. headquarters in New York.

The exhibition includes the names and images of Israelis murdered in terrorist attacks since 2017, along with personal descriptions of each victim, written by family members or close friends.

"The international community must demand that [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] stop transferring salaries to murderers," Danon said, referring to the stipends paid by the PA to jailed terrorists or to families of slain terrorists.
Netanyahu in Lithuania: Israel Has Saved Many European Lives
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during a visit to the Choral Synagogue in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Sunday:

"I want to thank you [Lithuanian Foreign Minister] Linas [Linkevicius] for standing up for Israel and the truth in European forums, for telling your colleagues the service that Israel performs in saving so many European lives by our resourceful and brave intelligence people. We have saved so many European lives in so many countries. Israel in many ways is the defender of Europe and it's time that Europe understood this."

"Yesterday my wife Sara and I walked through the streets of the Jewish ghetto of Vilna....We saw the ruins of some of the 100 Jewish synagogues. We saw the barricade where Yechiel Scheinbaum and his brave colleagues fought to the deaths the Nazi oppressors. We saw Jewish resistance in the heart of the ghetto."

"And we saw the courtyards where Jews were assembled before being crated off to Ponar where they were shot by Lithuanian collaborators and the Nazis and then thrown into the death pits. We saw all this. I saw their pictures on the walls of the ghetto. I heard their stories. I wanted to tell them: We are here. We are back. We are alive. Am Yisrael Chai."

"For the Jewish people, what has changed in these 75 years? Not the attempts to destroy us. They're still [trying] to destroy us. Iran says so openly. Hamas says so openly and others. What has changed is our ability to defend ourselves by ourselves. We are no longer defenseless. We are no longer helpless. We are a power that controls our own destiny with the State of Israel and the army of Israel."

"This is what the Jewish state means - the ability of Jews to defend themselves. With this newfound capacity of self-defense, we've built an extraordinary state in such a short time....We have an example - much maligned in the world but nevertheless shining as a beacon - of what a free people can do once they are given the opportunity to control their destiny."
At Vilnius synagogue, Netanyahu warns Jews are still under threat
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Jews were still at risk even decades after the Holocaust, as he wrapped up a groundbreaking visit to Lithuania, a Baltic state once home to his forefathers.

“For the Jewish people, what has changed in these 75 years? Not the attempts to destroy us, they still seek to destroy us,” Netanyahu told around 300 Lithuanian Jews gathered in Vilnius’s Choral Synagogue.

The prime minister identified what he termed new existential threats facing the Jews, with Iran and the Hamas terror group which runs the Gaza Strip being among them.

“What has changed is our ability to defend ourselves by ourselves… This is a magnificent change of history,” added Netanyahu, who is the first-ever Israeli premier to visit Lithuania, a Baltic EU state.

Pre-war Lithuania was home to a thriving Jewish community of more than 200,000 people, with Vilnius a hub of learning known as the “Jerusalem of the North.”

But around 195,000 were murdered at the hands of the Nazis and local collaborators under the 1941-44 German occupation, nearly the entire Jewish population.
Lithuania Admits Its Citizens Murdered Jews During the Holocaust
The government of Lithuania has officially accepted responsibility for the mass murder of Jews carried out by Lithuanian citizens during the Holocaust, according to a document obtained by Israel Hayom.

The document states that 95% of the Jews in Lithuania at the time of the Holocaust were killed, and calls the deaths “a great tragedy for the Lithuanian state and society.”

“It is regrettable that Lithuanian civilians were personally involved in the mass killings organized by the Nazis,” the document reads.

The document was written and disseminated ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s historic visit to Lithuania last week, the first by an Israeli prime minister, and in response to criticism by Jewish organizations such as the Simon Wiesenthal Center that Lithuania sweeps the murder of Jews by its citizens under the rug.

Dr. Efraim Zuroff, head of the Israeli office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said that “Lithuania never imprisoned the murderers of Jews who took part in the revolt against the Soviet Union.”

Israeli Ambassador to Lithuania Amir Maimon, however, has said that the current government was working to commemorate the Holocaust and taking steps in the right direction.
Israel buys precision rocket arsenal to 'cover entire region'
The Defense Ministry announced Monday it had signed ‎a deal worth hundreds of millions of shekels with ‎Israel Military Industries for the development and ‎acquisition of advanced precision rockets.‎

‎"This precision fire capability significantly ‎improves the IDF's capabilities and allows for ‎accurate strikes in remote launches, at immediate ‎availability and at lower costs compared to other ‎combat systems," the Defense Ministry said in a ‎statement.‎

The new rockets will include advanced technological ‎systems suitable for ‎modern battlefields. ‎

The procurement follows a directive by Defense ‎Minister Avigdor Lieberman to equip the IDF with an ‎array of advanced rockets and missiles covering a ‎range of 30-150 kilometers (18-93 miles). ‎

‎"We are forging ahead with our plan to set up an ‎array of precision rockets and missiles. Some of ‎them are already in production and some have entered ‎their last research and development stages," ‎Lieberman said Monday.‎

‎"We are acquiring and developing high-precision ‎‎fire systems that will enable us to ‎bolster the IDF's offensive capabilities. In a few ‎years, the IDF will be able to cover every point in ‎the region, be it near or far."
'Jews have no right to pray on Temple Mount'
The national and Islamic forces in the Ramallah district, the supreme coordinating body of the Palestinian Arab organizations, are calling for the establishment of a “popular defense committee” to protect Palestinian Arabs from what they described as "daily settler attacks” in Palestinian villages and cities and to "oppose them by all means possible."

In a statement issued on Saturday, the national and Islamic forces condemned what they described as the Israeli attempts to change the status quo in the Al-Aqsa Mosque as a preparatory stage for dividing the use of the site between Muslims and Jews.

The statement emphasized that "there is no right for non-Muslims to pray at the site."

The statement also denounced the U.S. announcement that it is cutting more than $200 million in bilateral assistance to the Palestinian Authority (PA), describing the move as "insolent extortion," and noting that the national and Islamic forces "refuse to bargain for the right of our (Palestinian) people."

The national and Islamic forces called on the Palestinian Arab public to take part in the weekly demonstration this Tuesday outside the Red Cross headquarters in Ramallah, in support of terrorist prisoners who are holding a hunger strike and in protest against Israel’s withholding of tax funds to the PA as long as it continues to pay salaries to terrorists who attacked Israeli citizens.
Palestinian Leaders Threaten Jerusalem’s Arabs on Eve of Municipal Elections
Ten weeks before the local elections in Jerusalem on October 30, terrorist organizations are increasing the pressure on eastern Jerusalem residents to stay away from the voting booths and maintain the boycott of Jerusalem’s municipal elections, as in the past. While the pressure grows, surveys and some new, different voices reflect a desire among many Arab eastern Jerusalemites to participate in the elections. They seek to become part of the municipal establishment so that they can wield influence and channel budgets into services and infrastructure for Arab neighborhoods.

An open letter appeared in various Arab media outlets calling on Arab Jerusalemites to boycott the city’s municipal elections. It was translated for the first time on the Facebook page “View from East Jerusalem – 0202” under the heading: “The Islamic nationalist forces in Al-Quds the occupied capital.”

The letter states: “We regard anyone who takes part in the elections, supports them, or deals with them as someone who is cut off from the nation and will be seen as one of the mechanisms of the occupation and its helpers.” The letter further asserts: “Whoever takes part in the elections is a traitor who harms all the Palestinian values.”
PMW: Israel "is undermining the [PA] war on drugs"
The Palestinian Authority is suffering from the problem of drug use among Palestinians - and blaming Israel for it!

The most recent PA official to spread this libel is the head of the PA Preventive Security Force Muhannad Abu Ali. When fields were recently discovered near Jenin that were used for growing drugs, Ali said Israel is "responsible" for the growing of drugs and drug use among Palestinians:

"Head of the [PA] Preventive Security Force Muhannad Abu Ali said that the common factor in all of the growing fields that were discovered in the Jenin district is their connection to groups within the Green Line (i.e., Palestinian term for Israel; the Green Line is the ceasefire line between Israel and the neighboring Arab countries, 1949-1967)... Abu Ali held the occupation (i.e., Israel) responsible for the spread of much of these phenomena in the Palestinian society.'"
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 17, 2018]

For years, the PA has repeated the libel that Israel is encouraging drug use among young Palestinians in order to "destroy the next generation." Earlier this year, Palestinian Media Watch reported that the chief of the PA Police in Tulkarem accused Israel of being "the main cause of the spread of the [marijuana] nurseries and [its] distribution in Palestinian society." [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 23, 2018] and even PA leader Mahmoud Abbas has claimed that "Israel is exporting drugs to the Palestinians in frightening amounts." [Official PA TV, Jan. 14, 2018]
Targeted killings credited with convincing Hamas leaders to negotiate
The relative calm restored along the Gaza Strip border is being attributed to many factors, not least of which is that neither Israel nor Hamas currently are interested in the outbreak of full-blown war. In the interim, diplomats from the United Nations and Egypt are trying to devise a comprehensive long-term truce that would include a complete cessation of hostilities, the easing of restrictions and possibly the lifting of the blockade on Gaza and, eventually, a prisoner swap and the economic rehabilitation of the Palestinian enclave.

What went largely unnoticed amid months of fighting was a renewed threat by Israel to resume the targeted killing of Hamas leaders, a controversial tactic employed in the past. Some analysts believe the threat caused considerable fear among Hamas’ top brass and thus contributed to a reduction in tensions, whereas others maintain that the practice not only damages Israel’s international standing but also contravenes international law.

The issue gained widespread notoriety after the recent release of the book Rise and Kill First:The Secret History of Israel's Targeted Assassinations. In it, Ronen Bergman, a seasoned Israeli military and intelligence correspondent, estimated that Israel has undertaken more than 2,300 assassinations over the past 70 years.
Court rules state must allow Hamas relatives into Israel for cancer treatment
The High Court ruled Sunday that Israel must allow five women from Gaza who are purportedly close relatives of members of the Hamas terrorist group to travel to East Jerusalem for life-saving medical treatment.

The majority of the women were said to be suffering from cancer.

Israel has banned the relatives of Hamas members from entering Israel for medical treatment as part of an attempt to pressure the terrorist organization into returning the bodies of two Israeli soldiers it has held since the 2014 Gaza conflict, as well as two Israeli citizens who entered the Strip after that and are believed to be held by the group.

The state apparently originally suggested the women be treated abroad, but prosecutors argued this would be prohibitively expensive. The medical care the women require is not available in the West Bank, leaving two East Jerusalem hospitals as a possible alternatives.

The petition was originally submitted by seven women, but it was later confirmed that two of them were not related to terrorists.
Israel reopens Erez crossing with Gaza after period of relative calm
Israel reopened its only pedestrian crossing with the Gaza Strip on Monday, a week after shutting it over violence along the border with the Hamas-run enclave.

A spokesperson for the Israeli Defense Ministry unit that oversees the Erez crossing confirmed it had opened as planned on Monday morning.

On Sunday night, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said the crossing was being reopened due to “calm that has been maintained over the past week.”

Israel closed the crossing except to humanitarian cases on August 19, after another round of violent protests and clashes on the border.

An average of around 1,000 Gazans cross through Erez each day, mostly those in need of medical care but also businesspeople, students, and others, Israeli authorities say.

A second crossing with Israel, Kerem Shalom, is used for the transportation of goods. It was reopened by Israel on August 15 after it was closed on July 9 to everything but food and medical equipment, following weeks of violence along the border, including arson attacks.
Venezuela’s Economy So Terrible, Citizens Emigrating to Gaza (satire)
As the economic situation in Venezuela continues to worsen and other Latin American countries start to impose stricter visa entry rules on citizens attempting to leave, many Venezuelans are turning to Gaza as a place of refuge.

“So, while I’ve heard there are periodic rocket strikes and choking blockades imposed by Israel and Egypt, and that the territory is controlled by an authoritarian Islamist fundamentalist terror group, it still sounds like a bed of roses compared to what we’re going through here”, one Venezuelan refugee on the Ecuadorian border commented. “Like, yeah shit’s bad in Gaza but it’s no 60,000% inflation, and there’s a nice shopping mall there. Should be pretty chill, war aside.”

Meanwhile, Gaza’s leadership has spoken on their decision to welcome Venezuelan refugees. “It is with much pleasure that we open our borders to refugees in need. We just really care about humanitarianism”, said one spokesman for Hamas. “Also, these Venezuelans will be so desperate for money or food they’d be willing to do virtually anything, like we could recruit hundreds more into our ranks to destroy the Zionist enemy. They could do some tunnel digging or rocket building, or any one of a number of extracurricular activities we offer in the strip. And if they’re really inept, then at the very least, we get more human shields when the next war breaks out!”
Iran Says Claims Full Control of Gulf, Says US Navy Does Not Belong There
Iran has full control of the Gulf and the US Navy does not belong there, the head of the navy of Iran‘s Revolutionary Guards, General Alireza Tangsiri, was quoted by Tasnim news agency as saying on Monday.

Tehran has suggested it could take military action in the Gulf to block other countries’ oil exports in retaliation for US sanctions intended to halt its sales of crude. Washington maintains a fleet in the Gulf that protects oil shipping routes.

Tangsiri said Iran had full control of the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz that leads into it. Closing the strait would be the most direct way of blocking shipping.

“We can ensure the security of the Persian Gulf and there is no need for the presence of aliens like the US and the countries whose home is not in here,” he said in the quote, which appeared in English translation on Tasnim.

He added, “All the carriers and military and non-military ships will be controlled and there is full supervision over the Persian Gulf. Our presence in the region is physical and constant and night and day.”
Pro-Iran militias turn on Assad, try to establish land corridor to Mediterranean
A concerned Israel has been closely watching developments as pro-Iran Shiite militias have been observed fighting Syrian army forces on the border with Iraq several times over the last two weeks, in what has been described as a battle for one of Syria’s key strategic areas.

This marks the first time the two sides have been reported to be fighting, with fatalities and casualties on both sides, after years of cooperation as Iran supported Syrian President Bashar Assad in the country’s civil war.

The reports came from various media outlets in the eastern area of Al-Bukamal and from credible Syrian opposition websites.

The fighting is focused around the town of Al-Bukamal, next to the Al-Qa’im border crossing between Syria and Iraq, which is considered a key strategic point in securing trade between Iraq and Syria — and indirectly, between Iran and the Mediterranean Sea.

Al-Bukamal is located on the eastern border of the Deir Ezzor region, on the banks of the Euphrates River.

World Court Hears Iran Lawsuit to Have US Sanctions Lifted
Iranian lawyers asked the International Court of Justice on Monday to order the United States to lift sanctions imposed by the Trump administration against Tehran.

The presiding judge of the UN body informally known as the World Court began the hearing by calling on Washington to respect its outcome. During their decades of animosity, both the United States and Iran have ignored some rulings at the court.

The lawsuit filed with the ICJ says the US sanctions, which are damaging the already weak Iranian economy, violate terms of a little-known friendship treaty between the two countries.

“The US is publicly propagating a policy intended to damage as severely as possible Iran’s economy and Iranian national companies, and therefore inevitably Iranian nationals,” said Mohsen Mohebi, representing Iran, at the start of four days of oral hearings. “This policy is plainly in violation of the 1955 Treaty of Amity.”

He said Iran had sought a diplomatic solution to the countries’ dispute but was rejected.

The United States said in an initial written reaction displayed in court that it believes the ICJ has no jurisdiction in the case, and that Iran’s assertions fall outside the bounds of the treaty.
Iran's Rouhani asks Europe for guarantees on banking channels and oil
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Monday urged the remaining signatories to its 2015 nuclear agreement to act to save the pact, though France's leader called again for broader talks on Tehran's missile program and its role in the Middle East region.

In a phone call to French President Emmanuel Macron, Rouhani said Iran wanted the Europeans to give guarantees on banking channels and oil sales as well as in the field of insurance and transportation, according to the state-run Iranian news agency IRNA.

"Iran has acted upon all its promises in the nuclear agreement and, with attention to the one-sided withdrawal of America ... expects the remaining partners to operate their programs more quickly and transparently," Rouhani was quoted as saying.

Rouhani was speaking in the light of US sanctions re-imposed by Washington after President Donald Trump pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers in May.

Macron reiterated France's commitment to maintaining the accord, a remark aimed at soothing Tehran.
Egyptian TV Host: John McCain Orchestrated Terror, Chaos; World Better Off without Him
In an Alhadath Alyoum TV broadcast on August 26, Egyptian TV host Sayyed Ali referred to the recently deceased Senator John McCain as a terrorist and "orchestrator of chaos." He accused McCain of orchestrating the revolutions in Syria and in Egypt, and of supporting and training terrorist groups. He also said that McCain had supported the Muslim Brotherhood with the goal of realizing "Israel's dreams of becoming a religious state." A banner during the segment read: "John McCain, Enemy of the Arabs, Dies at the Age of 82."

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