Friday, September 21, 2018

From Ian:

Israel: Russia accepts our take on Syrian downing of plane, coordination goes on
“Improvements” may be made to the Israeli military’s coordination with Russia over its operations in Syria in light of the downing of a Russian spy plane earlier this week, a senior Israeli army official said Friday. For now, he stressed, the deconfliction mechanism used by the two countries to coordinate activities was continuing to function effectively.

The official said an Israeli military delegation had answered Russia’s questions over Monday’s incident, including debunking the false notion that the Israeli jets had hidden behind the Russian plane. Israel also clarified that its attack planes had left the area before the Syrians fired the missile that downed the Russian plane.

He also said Israel notified the Russians ahead of the strike, and not a minute before as Moscow had originally claimed. And he dismissed a pro-Hezbollah newspaper’s claim Friday that Russia had refused to accept Israel’s explanations over the incident, for which Israel firmly blames Syria.

On Thursday, an Israeli delegation led by Air Force chief Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin visited Moscow in order to brief Russian officials on Israel’s initial investigation of the incident, in which a Russian reconnaissance plane, with 15 crew members on board, was shot down by Syrian air defenses following an Israeli missile strike on a Syrian weapons facility on Monday night.

During their meetings in Moscow, Norkin’s delegation told their Russian counterparts that the Syrian military fired more than 20 anti-aircraft missiles in response to the Israeli attack — a comparatively large number for this type of scenario. Four Israeli F-16 fighter jets were said to have taken part in the airstrike.

In addition, the senior military officer said the majority of the surface-to-air missiles fired by the Syrians — including the missile that hit the Russian spy plane — were fired after the Israeli jets had left the area.

“Most of those 20 were fired while all of our planes were already in Israeli airspace and on their way to land. We proved how the Syrians’ reckless anti-air fire was the direct cause of hitting the Russian aircraft,” the officer said.
Syria fired missiles for 40 minutes after Israeli strike, hitting Russian plane
The Israeli report into the downing a Russian plane off the coast of Syria during an Israeli airstrike on Monday runs some 40 pages in English and Russian and shows that Syrian anti-aircraft batteries fired dozens of barrages indiscriminately for 40 minutes after the initial Israeli attack.

In a highly unusual move, the IDF acknowledged the airstrike and released some of the findings of its initial investigation, which concluded that Syrian air defense units fired without aiming and “did not bother to ensure that no Russian planes were in the air.”

The IDF’s initial findings were presented in recent days by top Israeli officials, including the head of its air force, Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin, to their Russian counterparts in Moscow, and both Israel and Russia said Syria, not Israel, was responsible for the downing of the plane, although Moscow has been publicly critical of Israel over the incident.

According to the Israeli report, initially publicized by the Ynet news site, the “deconfliction mechanism,” a coordination system between the IDF and Russian forces meant to prevent friendly fire incidents over Syria, followed the usual procedure before the strike, as it had done in more than 200 attacks over the past two years.

The report says Syria’s military then activated several anti-aircraft batteries deployed throughout the country, firing for over half an hour, long after the Israeli planes had returned to their base. The Syrians fired dozens of missiles of various types, including the SA-5, a large, advanced missile which downed an Israeli plane over the Galilee in February, Ynet reported.

The Israeli delegation pointed out to their Russian counterparts that the fundamental issue — one likely to repeat itself — is the change in Syrian behavior since it hit an Israeli F-16 fighter in February.

Witness says Ari Fuld’s killer deliberately targeted an American
A falafel shop worker who was saved by a mortally wounded Ari Fuld said Friday that the terrorist deliberately targeted the American-Israeli and had repeatedly sought out someone “who spoke English” before launching his stabbing spree.

Security camera footage from the Gush Etzion Junction shopping mall on Sunday shows Fuld, fatally wounded and with blood pouring down his back, chasing and shooting his attacker 17-year-old Khalil Jabarin.

Jabarin was running after his next target, Hila Peretz, a woman who worked in a local falafel store, when Fuld and another Israeli civilian opened fire, preventing the continuation of the attack and moderately injuring the terrorist.

Peretz, who served Jabarin a falafel shortly before the attack, told The Times of Israel on Friday that Jabarin had wanted to target an American. “After he came inside and ordered his falafel, he asked me two separate times if I spoke English,” recalled Peretz.

“I told him ‘no,’ and asked him what it was that he wanted.”

Jabarin did not answer, but the falafel shop worker was convinced that the questions were part of the 17-year-old’s effort to determine his first target.

“It was not as if he didn’t speak Hebrew and had been asking to speak English so he could make his order. We carried out our conversation in Hebrew,” she explained.

“There were other people in the area that he could have targeted first, but he chose Ari,” she said. “But them he didn’t target, he must have wanted an American.”

Israel to Deduct Money Sent to Family of Ari Fuld’s Murderer from Funds Transferred to Palestinian Authority
Israel will withhold the amount paid to Ari Fuld’s murderer from funds earmarked for transfer to the Palestinian Authority.

Fuld, a dual American-Israeli citizen, was stabbed in the back in the parking lot of a shopping center in the area of Gush Etzion near Jerusalem. He survived long enough to pursue his attacker and shoot him, preventing further casualties.

According to Israel’s Channel Two, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon announced the decision to withhold funds on Friday, saying that this would not be the end of his efforts. “I will look into additional ways to limit the economic activities of the terrorist’s family,” he said.

The Palestinian Authority regularly pays salaries to imprisoned terrorists and their families, as well as the families of terrorists killed while committing attacks. In its 2018 budget, the PA earmarked $355 million for such “pay to slay” payments.
More Aid for the Antisemite Abbas?
It was just four months ago that Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas delivered a speech that even critics of Israel acknowledged was antisemitic. Yet now, several Jewish ex-State Department officials are demanding that the US government give him $200 million.

Abbas’ disgraceful tirade took place on May 1. He said that the Jews in Europe provoked the Holocaust because of their “social function” as money lenders. He blamed Jews for communism, claiming that Josef Stalin was a secret Jew. He said that today’s Jews are not authentically Jewish, but are actually descendants from a medieval Turkish tribe. And he claimed that there were never any pogroms in Arab countries.

Note that this was not some drunken rant in a bar. Abbas delivered prepared remarks to an official session of the legislature of the Palestine Liberation Organization, of which he serves as chairman. (He is also chairman of the Palestinian Authority (PA) — in the 13th year of a four-year term, in addition to being the head of the Fatah party. Busy guy!)

Abbas’ address was so blatantly bigoted that even passionate supporters of the Palestinian cause acknowledged that he is an antisemite.

The New York Times, for example, reported that Abbas’ remarks were “laced with deeply anti-Semitic tropes.” Nickolay E. Mladenov, the United Nations’ special coordinator for the Middle East, said Abbas was “perpetuating conspiracy theories that fuel antisemitism.”

Americans for Peace Now charged that Abbas made “vile anti-Semitic statements.” J Street admitted that Abbas’ address “featured absurd anti-Semitic tropes and deeply offensive comments on the history of the Jewish people and Israel.”

But now that Abbas’ antisemitism has temporarily faded from the headlines, the Jewish ex-State Department crowd has returned to one of their favorite pastimes: demanding US money for this lunatic.
US: Why should we fund PA hospitals, when Abbas diverts money to pay terrorists?
The Trump administration on Thursday said that Palestinian plans to pay the family of a terrorist who killed an American-Israeli last week showed why the US was correct in cutting funding for East Jerusalem hospitals.

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said there was no reason for the US to fund the hospitals when it merely allowed the PA to free up money to support terrorists and their families.

“The United States government does not believe that it is responsible for paying for the hospital bills,” Nauert told reporters. “The Palestinian Authority is solely responsible for paying for the treatment of Palestinians in those hospitals. Historically, they have neglected to pay the bills at their hospital. Our funding in the past has generously shored them up.”

The PA, she went on to say, has “failed to prioritize paying its debts and has instead put money into funding these payments to the families of terrorists.”

The comments came after The Times of Israel reported Wednesday that the family of Khalil Jabarin, the 17-year-old terrorist who stabbed Imerican-born Israel Ari Fuld to death on Sunday, would be eligible for a monthly salary from the PA once the correct paperwork had been completed.

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman earlier on Thursday lambasted the PA for the stipends, saying such payments were “unconscionable” and said the PA’s practice of making payments to terrorists and their families was an obstacle to peace.

“The Palestinian Prisoner Affairs Commission has confirmed that the family of the terrorist who murdered Ari Fuld is ‘eligible to receive a monthly salary’ as compensation for his incarceration,” Friedman tweeted. “This practice is unconscionable and must stop if there is to be any hope for peace.”
White House sends warning shot to Palestinians over ‘pay for slay’
The Trump administration is warning the Palestinian Authority that severe US aid cuts to Ramallah may be in the offing unless it ends its compensation program for the families of murderers and terrorists convicted by Israel.

Responding to reports that the family of the killer of Ari Fuld, an American citizen, would receive official compensation for the terrorist act, a White House official noted that recent congressional legislation compels the administration to “restrict the use of Economic Support Funds that directly benefit the Palestinian Authority” unless the State Department “certifies that the PA has taken steps to end the practice of providing payments to individuals, and families of individuals, who committed acts of terrorism.”

“As we’ve seen from today’s announcement by the Palestinian Prisoner Affairs Commission with respect to the terrorist who killed Ari Fuld, the practice continues,” said Edgar Vasquez, a White House spokesman. “This is unconscionable and must stop if there is to be any hope for peace.”

Vasquez said the administration “strongly supports” the bill signed into law in March of this year, called the Taylor Force Act, named after the US Army veteran and Vanderbilt graduate student killed in a terrorist attack in Jaffa in 2016. The law would halt funding the PA– except for three exceptions– unless the State Department reports an end to the payment scheme.

“The United States condemns the Palestinian Authority’s payments to terrorists and their families,” Vasquez stated. “We strongly oppose any program that incentivizes acts of violence and terrorism. We continue to demand that the Palestinian Authority stop payments related to perpetrators of political violence.”
UN official: Palestinian glorification of Fuld terror attack reprehensible
A top UN official issued a rare condemnation against Palestinian glorification of terror attacks against Israelis during a UN Security Council briefing in New York on Thursday.

UN Special Coordinator to the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov included this week’s terror attack at the Gush Etzion junction that claimed the life of Israeli-American Ari Fuld in his monthly report to the council.

“It is reprehensible that Hamas and other Palestinian factions chose to glorify this attack,” Mladenov said condemning Palestinian incitement against Jews and Israelis.

“Hamas leaders continued to incite violence, with one senior official speaking of “cleansing Palestine of the filth of Jews,” and threatening to decapitate Israeli leaders,” Mladenov reported.

“Fatah’s official social media pages continued to glorify perpetrators of previous attacks against Israelis and failed to condemn terror attacks against civilians.

“Some religious leaders and officials made inflammatory statements, accusing Israel of plotting to destroy the al-Aqsa Mosque and denying Jewish historic and religious connection to Jerusalem,” Mladenov said.
Has the State Department Finally Given up on Its Palestinian Fantasies?
This year’s Israel section is much shorter (2267 words) than last year’s (3799 words), mostly because such uncritical praise for Abbas has been deleted. The 2016 CRT applauded Abbas for “his commitment to nonviolence, recognition of the State of Israel, and pursuit of an independent Palestinian state through peaceful means.” It somehow found that the “PA has taken significant steps during President Abbas’ tenure (2005 to date) to ensure that official institutions in the West Bank under its control do not create or disseminate content that incites violence.” It also laughably asserted that “Explicit calls for violence against Israelis, direct exhortations against Jews, and categorical denials by the PA of the possibility of peace with Israel are rare and the leadership does not generally tolerate it.”

Not one of these foolish and false claims appears in the 2017 CRT, except the line about how “Abbas maintained a public commitment to non-violence.” Maybe someone will correct that next year.

Last year’s CRT guilelessly explained that “the PA provided financial packages to Palestinian security prisoners released from Israeli prisons in an effort to reintegrate them into society and prevent recruitment by hostile political factions.” Not only has that passage been deleted, but in its place, this year’s CRT acknowledges that “The PA and PLO continued to provide ‘martyr payments’ to the families of Palestinian individuals killed carrying out a terrorist act.”

Unfortunately, the report fails to list important events from the year it analyzes. There is no mention of the “ Days of Rage” protests initiated by the PA in July 2017 after Israel installed cameras and metal detectors at the Temple Mount following the murder of two police officers there. Nor is there mention of the Fatah Central Committee’s call for Days of Rage in December 2017 to protest the U.S. embassy’s move to Jerusalem.

This year’s report also lacks the simple candor of earlier assessments, like the 2005 assertion that the PA’s “counterterrorism efforts fell far short of U.S. expectations” and the 2004 alert that “President Abbas’ public condemnation of terrorist acts was not matched by decisive security operations.”

The movement of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, the de-funding of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine, and the closing of the PLO mission in Washington, D.C., all demonstrate an awareness that Abbas and his allies are unworthy of the trust they gained through the Oslo Accords. The 2017 Country Reports on Terrorism suggests that the State Department is finally reconsidering its failed investment in the Palestinian Authority.
Ex-aide to Jimmy Carter named head of UN probe into Gaza clashes
The United Nations Human Rights Council on Thursday announced that Santiago Canton of Argentina will head the agency’s probe into the clashes at the Gaza border this summer.

Santiago is replacing David Crane, who last month quit as head of the panel. He cited “personal reasons” for his surprising withdrawal, though he reportedly felt compelled to leave after it emerged that he had previously advised the Israeli government.

Canton, currently the secretary of human rights for the province of Buenos Aires, has focused his long career on human rights abuses in Latin America. He was the director of RFK Partners for Human Rights at the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights and the executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Earlier in his career, he served as political assistant to former US president Jimmy Carter in democratic development programs in countries in Latin America.

He also worked alongside former Canadian justice minister Irwin Cotler, a prominent human rights advocate, on a 2018 Organization of American States panel studying possible crimes against humanity committed by Venezuela.

Canton will preside over the three-member “Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

The other members are Sara Hossain, a Bangladeshi lawyer educated in the UK, and Kaari Betty Murungi, a lawyer and human rights activist from Kenya.

The Foreign Ministry on Thursday declined to comment on Canton’s appointment. Officials in Jerusalem are unlikely to cooperate with the probe, which they have rejected from its very inception.
Robert Malley and Aaron David Miller: Reinventing the U.S. Approach to the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict
The objective of the Trump administration is to fundamentally reframe the U.S. understanding of, and policy toward, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, shifting the focus toward Palestinians' material, economic concerns while downplaying their political and national ones.

The Palestinian state the U.S. has been ready to contemplate always came with caveats galore, so that its attributes were significantly less than those habitually associated with statehood. Limitations on its sovereignty tended to include lack of control over its airspace, demilitarization, restrictions on the parties with which it could enter into alliances, and acceptance of Israel's right to intervene when it deemed it necessary. As for the return of refugees, the U.S. viewed it more as a matter of paying lip service than of implementing a right.

The Trump team believes that past U.S. administrations inflicted grievous harm by humoring Palestinian mythologies, refraining from calling out the Palestinian leadership, and displaying boundless (albeit fruitless) creativity in seeking to accommodate their political demands, and that those illusory ideological constructs have stood in the way of a realistic, practical resolution to the conflict.

Yet the administration's view is predicated on illusory notions - that the Palestinian people are more moderate than their leaders, and that their true preoccupations are bread, butter, and normalcy, as opposed to statehood, Jerusalem, or the fate of the refugees.

The current Palestinian leadership focuses on historical grievances not in spite of popular opinion, but because of it. Abbas lost legitimacy with his people largely because he is viewed as overly compliant, not excessively militant.

Robert Malley is President of the International Crisis Group. Aaron David Miller, Vice-President of the Woodrow Wilson Center, served as a State Department analyst, adviser and negotiator in Republican and Democratic administrations.
Netanyahu and Trump to meet at UN confab, White House confirms
The White House on Thursday confirmed that US President Donald Trump would meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next week on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

The meeting was first announced by Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon in August. Danon told Israeli Radio at the time that Iran and the effects of the new US sanctions against the regime would top the agenda.

The meeting is scheduled to take place on September 26, a White House official said.

Netanyahu and Trump last met on March 5 in Washington, but have spoken several times on the phone since.

The Prime Minister’s Office has not released any information on Netanyahu’s planned meetings on the sidelines of the annual event.

The GA’s high-level General Debate will begin on September 25, coinciding with the Jewish Sukkot holiday. Netanyahu is due in New York during the holiday’s intermediary days, and will address world leaders on Thursday September 27.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ speech at the gathering is also scheduled for Thursday morning, shortly before the Israeli leader’s, though no Abbas meeting with Trump is scheduled.
Trump Admin Pressed to Deny Palestinian President Entry to U.S.
The Trump administration is being pressured to prevent Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas from entering the United States to participate in the upcoming United Nations General Assembly, a platform Abbas routinely uses to bash Israel and foment violence against it, according to a letter sent to the Trump administration and viewed by the Washington Free Beacon.

Palestinian Media Watch, or PMW, an advocacy organization that tracks anti-Semitism and calls for terrorism in the Palestinian media, is petitioning the White House, State, and Treasury Departments to deny Abbas entry to America under new federal statutes barring international terrorist leaders from traveling to the United States.

The pressure campaign—which is being met with passivity in the State Department—comes on the heels of the passage of new legislation cracking down on the Palestinian government's use of American aid dollars to pay the salaries of convicted terrorists and their families.

That law, known as the Taylor Force Act, was approved by President Trump and recently implemented. Since that time, the Trump administration has frozen millions in aid dollars to the Palestinian government, frozen its bank accounts, and booted its top officials from the United States.
'US mediating between Abbas' opponent in effort to bypass PA'
The United States seeks to bypass the Palestinian ‎Authority's refusal to engage in the Middle East ‎peace process by mediating between Arab leaders ‎and Palestinian officials who oppose Ramallah's ‎policies, the Al-Khaleej Online website reported ‎Thursday.‎

Relations between Washington and Ramallah have been ‎‎particularly strained since U.S. President Donald ‎Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital last December and subsequently moved the U.S. ‎Embassy there in May. The move outraged Palestinians, who envision parts of Jerusalem as the future capital of a Palestinian state. ‎

Palestinian ‎Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has ‎since refused ‎to engage with any of Trump's Middle ‎East envoys, saying that the U.S. bias in favor of Israel ‎proves ‎it cannot act as an impartial mediator in ‎‎regional peace talks.‎

The Trump administration has since taken other steps ‎against the Palestinian Authority, including ‎suspending its sizable contribution to the U.N. aid ‎agency assisting Palestinian refugees and shuttering ‎the Palestine Liberation Organization's mission in ‎Washington. ‎‎

According to the United Arab Emirates-based Alkhaleej Online, the ‎U.S. has recently sponsored a series of secret ‎meetings in Abu Dhabi in an attempt to promote a ‎long-term cease-fire agreement between Israel and ‎Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip.‎
Qatar pushed Gaza deal before May violence, but its proposal never reached PM
Qatar made an attempt to send Israel a proposal to calm the situation in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip ahead of the May flareup in violence, but its plan did not reach Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu due to procedural reasons, Channel 10 reported Thursday.

Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani sent a letter with the Qatari proposal via two close confidants of his, French Jewish businessman Philippe Solomon and Rabbi Avraham Moyal, who in turn approached Israel’s then-ambassador to UNESCO in Paris, Carmel Shama-Hacohen.

The letter presented a proposal to help prevent an expected surge in violence in Gaza surrounding the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem.

“The Qatari foreign minister put forward a package deal that would have included US, Israel and Egyptian involvement. He claimed the deal had already been accepted by senior Hamas figures including Ismail Haniyeh,” Shama-Hacohen told Channel 10.

Qatar is close to Hamas, but recently has been at odds with other Arab nations including Saudi Arabia. Israel has long-preferred to use Egypt as a mediator with Hamas.
At UN, 8 European countries urge Israel not to demolish Palestinian village
Eight European countries at the United Nations, including five Security Council members, on Thursday called on Israel to reverse its decision to demolish a Palestinian village in the West Bank, saying it would torpedo chances for peace.

Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Belgium, Poland, and the Netherlands warned that the demolition of the village of Khan al-Ahmar “would be very serious and would severely threaten the viability of the two-state solution and undermine prospects for peace.”

“We therefore call upon the Israeli authorities to reconsider their decision to demolish Khan al-Ahmar,” the countries said in a joint statement released ahead of a council meeting on the Middle East.

Israel says Khan al-Ahmar, a hamlet of corrugated shacks east of Jerusalem, was illegally built and has offered to resettle residents 12 kilometers (7 miles) away.

On September 5, Israel’s Supreme Court upheld an order to raze the village on grounds that it was built without the proper permits.
Fmr. Khan Yunis Mayor: Unless Siege Is Lifted, Missiles Will Be Launched at Tel Aviv, TLV Airport
During an interview on the Baladna TV network from Gaza, former Mayor of Khan Yunis Dr. Fayez Abu Shamala said: "Unless the siege is lifted through tahdiya [a ceasefire period,] Gaza will go for an all-out confrontation with the Israelis, with missiles on Tel Aviv and on Ben Gurion airport… Settlements will be occupied, and all the settlers will be taken captive." He said that Israel will "feel pain" and will be surprised by Gaza's military capabilities. Dr. Shamala and the interviewer praised Khalil Jabarin, the Palestinian youth who stabbed and killed Israeli citizen Ari Fuld on September 16, 2018, as well as other Palestinians from the West Bank who had carried out similar attacks. Dr. Shamala said that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is the "obstacle impeding our development as Palestinians," and added that if Abbas is replaced, Fatah will return to the armed struggle. The interview was posted online on September 17, 2018.

Spain 'ready to recognize Palestinian state'
Spain’s Foreign Minister on Thursday said his country is ready to recognize a Palestinian state.

Even if the European Union fails to reach a unanimous decision on the matter, Spain is willing to go the distance on its own, Minister Josep Borrell told a conference of EU leaders in Austria, according to i24news.

Individual recognition by Spain of “Palestine” is “on the table”, Borrell told the conference, adding that he would initiate an “intensive” process to establish a consensus on the matter, as EU policy is unclear concerning unilateral recognition.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) says there are 139 countries that have recognized “Palestine”.

Several European countries have in recent years recognized the state of “Palestine”, but these were symbolic moves that have little, if any, actual diplomatic effect.

Spain was one of those countries, having in 2014 adopting a non-binding motion calling on the government to recognize a Palestinian state in coordination with any similar move by the European Union.

Last November, PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas urged Spain to recognize the “state of Palestine” in accordance with the recommendation of the local parliament.
'Real possibility Israel will recognize Catalonia as a state'
Spanish recognition of Palestinian “statehood” may well prompt Israel to do the same for Catalonia, a prominent Madrid-based lobby group for the Jewish state said.

The head of the ACOM group, Angel Mas, issued the warning last week in an op-ed for the ABC daily. It came amid reports — which were confirmed Thursday by Spanish Foreign Minister Minister Josep Borrell — that Spain is pushing for recognition of what is called the “State of Palestine” by the European Union and will recognize it regardless of the bloc’s position.

But if that happens, Mas wrote, “there is a real possibility that Israel will decide to recognize Catalonia as a state.”

Catalonian separatism plunged Spain into a major crisis in October. Federal police clashed with voters over an illegal referendum on independence and the region’s parliament in Barcelona passed a motion declaring independence from Spain despite the federal government’s warning to desist. Madrid dissolved the regional government in a bid to block secession.
Kosovo will open embassy in Jerusalem if recognized, president says
Kosovo's President Hashim Thaci said that if Israel recognized Kosovo, Kosovo would open an embassy in Jerusalem, Kosova Press media outlet reported.

Located in the Balkan Peninsula, the Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared itself independent from Serbia in 2008. With a majority ethnic Albanian Muslim population, it remains the subject of territorial dispute between the two countries. In 2013, the two governments established the Brussels Agreement, mediated by the European Union, for normalizing their relations. Kosovo's President Thaci took part in the negotiations.

Israel, however, has not recognized Kosovo as a sovereign state. It has cultural ties and trade with Kosovo, but the position on Kosovo is based on Israel's unwillingness to encourage unilateral declarations of independence. The US and 23 out of 28 EU member states have recognized Kosovo's independence.

“If Kosovo were recognized by Israel, I would open the Kosovo embassy in Jerusalem,” Thaci said to Vizion Plus in Albania, Kosova Press reported. Kosovo's President added that, in relation to President Trump's decision to transfer the US embassy to Jerusalem, Kosovo would never vote against US interests.

"The Republic of Kosovo's ties with the US are excellent. I met with President Trump and his approach to us is the same as the previous president. The US supports Kosovo's future 100%," he added.
Netanyahu: Yom Kippur War Shows Importance of Preemptive Strike
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a memorial ceremony for fallen soldiers of the 1973 Yom Kippur War on Thursday that Israel had a responsibility to undertake all efforts to avoid war, but that a but warned it would act “with full force” if it is forced upon it by “those who seek to kill us, first and foremost by Iran.”

Iran, the prime minister noted, openly calls for Israel’s destruction. “It is our obligation to defend ourselves against this danger and we will continue to do so,” he said while delivering his remarks at the memorial ceremony held on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.

Netanyahu also spoke about a telegram from the Yom Kippur War that was posted on the Israel State Archives website on Monday, which was sent by the former head of the Mossad, Zvi Zamir, warning that war was imminent and suggesting a plan to prevent it.

“You all saw this week the urgent telegram written by Zvi Zamir hours before the war. This made clear in black and white the clear and immediate danger. Even the greatest skeptics should have acted accordingly,” Netanyahu asserted.

“The required decision to launch a preventative strike was the harder decision for the whole government because it could never have proven what would have happened if it had not acted. Israel should have delivered a preemptive strike,” Netanyahu continued.
IDF warns Gaza fishermen Hamas is exploiting them
Israel’s chief military liaison to the Palestinians released an Arabic-language Facebook video Friday warning Gazan fishermen they were being exploited by Hamas following a recent protest in which Palestinian boats sailed up to the maritime boundary between Israel and the coastal enclave.

Israel will “not ignore the provocations in the maritime area,” and will “act with resolve against those who disturb the peace,” Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rokon, the IDF’s coordinator of government activities in the territories (COGAT), says in the video.

The message comes in response to recent protests on the coast, in addition to the months-long riots and protests along the land border with Israel that began in March.

On Monday, thousands gathered on Gaza’s Mediterranean beach near the fence separating the territory from Israel. Some activists sailed in small fishing boats near the fence, flying the Palestinian flag. Israeli naval gunboats shot around the Palestinian boats.

Turning to Gazans in the video, Abu Rokon says he wishes to “present to you the full picture with regard to what is taking place on the beaches of Gaza.”
Jordan to Import 85 Percent of Its Natural Gas from Israel
Jordan’s imports of natural gas from Israel will be used for daily production of electricity and will not be stored, Amani Azzam, secretary general of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, said on Tuesday.

Under a deal between Jordan and Noble Energy, the Kingdom will import around 8.5 million cubic metres of natural gas from Israel every day, according to Azzam, who said the gas will be supplied through a pipeline.

Jordan’s daily needs of natural gas stand at about 9.9 million cubic metres, an official at the ministry said, adding that Jordan does not need to store the imported gas from Israel as it is currently storing imported liquefied gas from other sources in Aqaba.

In July, the government said work was under way to construct a 65-kilometre pipeline to transfer $10 billion worth of natural gas from Israel into Jordan for 15 years, with supplies expected to begin in 2020.

The pipeline, once completed, will be connected to the gas pipeline in Mafraq, and gas will later be distributed to the country’s power plants for electricity generation.

Work is also ongoing to build a pipeline on the Israeli side to transfer the gas to Jordan.

The 2016 deal was signed by Jordan’s electricity production arm, the National Electric Power Company and Noble Energy, a Houston-based company that holds the largest share in the Israeli Leviathan Gas Field.
MEMRI: Hizbullah Reveals Drones And Missile At 'Museum For Jihadi Tourism' In South Lebanon
In August 2018, for the first time, Hizbullah revealed drones and the short-range 75-kilometer Khaibar missile that it used during the July 2006 war with Israel. These are on display as part of a new exhibition held at the organization's "Museum for Jihadi Tourism" (also known as the "Mleeta Tourist Landmark") in Mleeta, South Lebanon, to mark 12 years since the war. Reports about these new exhibits and others were published in various Hizbullah media.

This document presents details from these reports.

Hizbullah's "Aerial Force" Displayed At The Mleeta Museum

Referring to the new exhibits presented at the museum, the head of Hizbullah's media department, 'Ali Daher, told the organization's news website Al-'Ahed that, until recently, the museum had displayed only old-generation drones, but now drones of several generations, which can carry out a variety of missions, are on display. The report stated that Hizbullah has a fleet of advanced drones stamped with the emblem of the organization's "aerial force," which first came into operational use during the July 2006 war, and includes Mirsad-1 and Mirsad-2 aircraft.[1] It added that the drones were used in the "operation for liberating Al-Juroud" in 2017,[2] and "took part in exposing the dens of the takfiris" (i.e., Salafi-jihadi organizations).[3]

Hizbullah's 75-km Khaibar Missile Displayed At The Mleeta Museum

On August 19, 2018, the Al-Ahed website reported that a Khaibar missile, of the type used by Hizbullah in the 2006 war to target Israel, was also on display at the museum. The exhibit was unveiled by Hizbullah Executive Council chairman Hashem Safi Al-Din, who said: "Our weapons are meant for defense and for repelling [the enemy]. It is not our custom to expose weapons we have not yet used." The Khaibar is a 333-mm missile with a range of 44-75 km, seven meters long and weighting 916 kg. A video produced by Hizbullah's Central Military Media, posted on the Al-Ahed website, stated that the resistance was displaying the Khaibar missile, "one of the surprises of the 2006 war", and that the exhibit was dedicated to the martyrs.[4]

American UN Envoy: Iran Violating Iraqi Sovereignty to Create Corridor ‘From Tehran to the Mediterranean’
Washington’s envoy to the United Nations accused Iran on Thursday of flagrantly violating Iraqi sovereignty in order to carve a corridor from Tehran to the Mediterranean coast.

Speaking at a meeting of the UN Security Council that also addressed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, US Ambassador Nikki Haley said, “if there is one country that is the source of conflict and instability in the Middle East — one country that merits a quarterly debate in the Security Council — that country is not Israel. It’s Iran.”

“It is difficult to name a conflict in the Middle East that does not have Iran’s fingerprints on it,” she added, accusing Tehran of trampling on the sovereignty of Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, and — in particular — Iraq.

“In the case of Iraq, their goal is to exploit uncertainty in order to create an Iranian controlled corridor for weapons and fighters from Tehran to the Mediterranean,” Haley argued.

She noted that the Islamic Republic — which supplies its proxies in Iraq with funds, training, and weapons — has in the last few months reportedly begun equipping them with ballistic missiles, and is “reportedly developing the capability for its proxy militias to produce their own missiles inside of Iraq.”

The ambassador condemned a recent missile attack launched by Iranian forces against the headquarters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran, which killed 11 people and constituted “Iran’s first direct military strike into Iraqi territory in over a decade.”

“This Iranian interference in the sovereignty of Iraq should be of great interest to the Security Council for many reasons, not least of which is because it occurs in clear defiance of Security Council resolutions,” Haley observed.
President Trump’s Iran Sanctions Working
When President Donald Trump announced in May that he would abandon the Obama-era nuclear pact with Iran and impose new sanctions on the terror-supporting state, the reaction from the Liberal Left was as one might expect—horror. Pronouncements of gloom and doom were prolific. Trump’s move was called “misguided” by Mr. Obama. Senator Bob Menendez, D-N.J called the action a risk to “US national security, recklessly upending foundational partnerships with key US allies in Europe and gambling with Israel's security.”

Predictions included: Oil prices would rise dramatically and crush the US economy, and/or the allies who continued to support the Iranian regime would maintain trade practices giving Iran a sense of security and entitlement. Its nuclear program would be resurrected (had it ever died), and the entire world would be at risk. (When was it not?)

To the horror of President Trump’s detractors, thus far, none of these dire predictions have come to pass. Instead, like rats leaving a sinking ship, other countries have bailed on the deal with Iran. Oil prices have seen little variation, a sign of the president’s success and one the Democrats in Congress don’t wish to concede.

I ask you: Why in heaven’s name should the United States obsess over providing sanction relief for Iran? It is a Fascist state and Ground Zero for world terror. It funds and fuels the revolution in Syria, the terrorist organization Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, the Mahdi Army in Iraq, and Shi’a extremists worldwide.
40 Years of Peace: Israel and Egypt
Celebrating the lasting peace between Israel and Egypt! In 1978, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin signed the 🕊 Camp David Accords. Since then, Israel 🇮🇱 and Egypt 🇪🇬 have maintained a lasting peace that we hope will continue for many years to come. The agreement set the precedent for future peace agreements with countries like Jordan. A historic and remarkable achievement that took great courage on both sides!

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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