Thursday, January 17, 2019

From Ian:

The Golan Heights Should Stay Israeli Forever
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly been lobbying the Trump administration on the idea of formally acknowledging Israel's 1981 annexation of the Golan Heights.

But whether Washington recognizes Israel's annexation or not, the Israelis are never withdrawing from the Golan Heights - conquered in the June 1967 war - nor should they.

Above all, the Golan does not require the control of a large hostile population, as the 27,000 Druze on the Golan Heights have accommodated themselves peacefully to Israel's rule.

The Golan Heights multiplies Israel's force in the event of a war, and is an unrivaled intelligence-gathering platform. From its posts atop the Golan Heights, the IDF can look and listen in on the valley below that leads to Damascus, only 45 miles away.

There is no question that holding onto the plateau is superior to withdrawing and the uncertainty of an agreement with the Syrian regime.

In the wake of the Syrian civil war, Iran and its expeditionary force, Hizbullah, are a threat to Israel's security. The Golan Heights is critical to keeping both from achieving their ends.

PMW: PA spends 6 times more on terrorists than on its own needy
In its 2017 budget, the Palestinian Authority allocated 550 million shekels to pay salaries to terrorist prisoners and released terrorist prisoners. The salaries paid to these recipients, among them murderers, ranged from 1,400 shekels/month to 12,000 shekels/month. The beneficiaries of these payments are no more than a few tens of thousands of Palestinians.

In contrast, the PA spent only 605 million to provide financial assistance to needy Palestinian families. According to the PA budget, the 118,000 needy families received payments ranging between 750 to 1,800 shekels/quarter.

Of the 605 million shekel expenditure, 515 million shekels was funded by the international community (165 million shekels by the European Union, and 350 million shekels by the World Bank). As such, the PA contributed only 90 million shekels of the 604 million shekel expenditure.

In other words, while the PA spent 550 million shekels of its budget a year to incentivize and reward terrorists no more the a few tens of thousands of terrorists, it spends only 90 million shekels to support its needy population. In comparison, the amount it spent on the needy equals only 16% of the amount the PA prefers to spend on rewards for terror and murder!

The PA's policy and practice of paying financial rewards to terrorists prisoners, released prisoners, and the families of so-called "Martyrs" (including the families of suicide bombers) and wounded has been the subject of widespread international condemnation and was also the subject of 2018 legislation in the US, The Netherlands, and Israel.

While the US and Dutch legislation limits their countries' annual aid to the PA, the Israeli legislation requires the Minister of Defense to compile an annual report of the PA's payments in the previous year and then present the report to Israel's Security cabinet. Once the report is approved, the Israeli Government will deduct the amount the PA spent to incentivize and reward terrorists from the taxes Israel collects and transfers to the PA. The first such report should be submitted in the coming days.
Expel international observers from Hebron - top minister to Netanyahu
Netanyahu must oust the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), thereby ending the mandate of the international observer force, Public Safety Minister Gilad Erdan said on Thursday.

He issued his call 14 days before his decision to renew the mandate of the organization that has operated in Hebron for 12 years was expected to be in, based on an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

TIPH has 13 local staff and 64 other members who come from contributing countries, such as: Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey.

They are tasked with monitoring compliance with the 1997 agreement that split the city, and handed 80% of it to the Palestinian Authority and with 20% of it maintained under Israeli control. TIPH produces reports and patrols the city to give Palestinians a sense of security.

Edran has given Netanyahu a secret police report with data to back up his assertion that the organization is anti-Israel rather than a neutral force, and is harmful to both the soldiers stationed in Hebron and the small Jewish community that lives there.

The report has never been published and its contents have not been disclosed.

The Myth of the Israel-Diaspora "Schism"
Yes and no. Since Israel’s earliest days, there has always been a minority of American Jews who are deeply troubled by some Israeli policies, or even uncomfortable with the very existence of a sovereign Jewish state.

The voices of the critics are amplified precisely because their perspective runs contrary to that of most American Jews. From the point of view of the news media, Jews supporting Israel is a boring dog-bites-man story; Jews denouncing Israel, however, is man-bites-dog. The Internet and 24-hour cable news have created new and faster ways for the minority to make itself heard.

But the notion that there is a substantial new split between American Jews and Israel, that relations are reaching “a breaking point,” as Weisman and others are claiming, is contradicted by years of public opinion polling.

Every year, the American Jewish Committee, in its annual survey of US Jewish public opinion, asks respondents how much they care about Israel. And every year, the results are the same.

For the past 20 years – whether Israel’s prime minister was Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert, or Benjamin Netanyahu; whether America’s president was Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, or Donald Trump – between 70% and 75% of American Jews have said they care “strongly” or “somewhat strongly” about Israel, and between 20% and 30% have said they feel “fairly distant” or “very distant” from Israel.

The number who feel “very” distant is always the smaller of the two, ranging from 2% to 13% (during the period from 1997 to 2018). The number who care “strongly” about Israel (as opposed to just “somewhat strongly”) has actually been increasing steadily over the years. It was in the 20s in 1997-2002, the 30s in almost every year from 2003 to 2015, and has reached the 40s each of the past three years.

A “great schism” between American Jews and Israel? Hardly. It’s loud, passionate, and interesting – but it’s a small fracture, the size of which has remained unchanged despite the latest well-publicized quarrels.
Despite demand to tone down ZOA remains zealous advocate for Jews/Israel
We are living in a time of increasingly unbridled antisemitism and Israel-hatred. Jewish lives are at risk. An onslaught of pro-BDS activity plagues our campuses and country. ZOA receives calls every week from Jewish students who have been physically and/or verbally attacked. Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) rallies call for throwing Jews off their college campuses, and even for killing Jews. Members of Congress publicly support BDS, remove Israel from their office maps, call for ending all aid to Israel, and accuse Jews and Israel supporters of dual loyalty. We’ve seen a rise in the media’s hostility to Israel. Tragically, a Trump-hating antisemite murdered 11 Jews while they were praying in a Pittsburgh shul. Jews have been physically attacked from New York to Los Angeles. Things are even worse in Europe. And in Israel, Arab stabbings and car-rammings and murders of innocent Jews continue. Moreover, frighteningly, antisemitism is more and more becoming mainstreamed.

Despite all this, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (the CoP) has now “warned” the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) to cease speaking out strongly and to stop strongly criticizing Jewish groups that promote actions and policies that ZOA views as dangerous to our Jewish brothers and sisters and our beloved State of Israel. With the serious issues facing Jews, is this what the CoP should be spending their time on?

The following pro-Israel ZOA actions led to the “warning” of the Conference of Presidents: ZOA spoke out against the Anti-Defamation League’s promotion and praise for anti-Israel groups such as Black Lives Matter and J Street. ZOA complained when the ADL legitimized virulent anti-Israel groups, including CAIR, ISNA, JVP and the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, which has called for Israel’s destruction, by co-signing multiple letters with them attacking pro-Israel friends. ZOA debunked ADL’s malicious letter to Congress and press releases condemning pro-Israel stalwarts, including Secretary of State Pompeo, Brigitte Gabriel, Frank Gaffney and the Canary Mission. ADL tried to derail Secretary Pompeo’s confirmation, and falsely accused these friends of the Jewish people of “Islamophobia,” racism and anti-Muslim bigotry. ZOA criticized HIAS and the National Council for Jewish Women (NCJW) for defending antisemite Linda Sarsour. ZOA opposed ADL’s, AJC’s and HIAS’s support for bringing into the US unvettable Syrian Muslims, who likely hate Jews and Israel. ZOA complained when the ADL fought against anti-BDS legislation.

Instead of criticizing and “warning” ZOA about our strong stances, the Conference of Presidents should be praising and joining ZOA in our critical fights to defend the Jewish people.
Why do anti-Zionist Jews ignore my Middle Eastern history?
In the name of free speech, the anti-Zionist Jewish movement IfNotNow – which vows that the current generation of young American Jews “will be the generation that ends our community’s support for the occupation” – criticizes the Democratic Party leadership for supporting bipartisan anti-BDS legislation.

They call for boycotting speeches by Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, citing his “racist” remarks on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

They initiated a campaign urging young Jews to ask questions about the “occupation” on their Taglit-Birthright Israel trips, and then to extend their visits in Israel so that they can go on anti-Israel tours.

Yet while they rant about the injustices of the so-called occupation, claiming that American Jews care deeply about “oppressed” peoples, IfNotNow members and other like-minded anti-Zionist Jewish activists have absolutely nothing to say about the oppression experienced by their Jewish brethren in the Arab world. They ignore my story.

Anti-Zionist Jews prefer to invoke the Palestinian “Nakba” – Arabic for the “catastrophe” that was the State of Israel’s establishment, accompanied by more than 700,000 Arabs fleeing their homes (or as the Palestinian narrative alleges, getting expelled from their homes) during the 1948 war. But as a Moroccan Jew who was compelled to immigrate to Israel when I was nine years old, I grew up in the shadow of the Jewish Nakba. During this Nakba, more than 850,000 Jews were forced to flee the Arab world. Jews from Arab countries arrived in Israel as refugees with no more than the clothes on their backs. Nonetheless, rather than identify with their own people, anti-Zionist Jews lament the plight of Palestinian refugees.

While Morocco did not expel its Jews like countries such as Egypt and Iraq did, Moroccan Jews still suffered from an intense wave of antisemitism from the moment French rule was declining, until the day my family left the country. In the 1950s, a wave of terror attacks targeted the Jewish community. It was just as bloody as the Second Intifada. While there was a decrease in anti-Jewish terror attacks after Morocco attained independence, Jews still feared for their future.
David Singer: Trump Plan for Israel-Jordan-Egypt Negotiations Hits Brick Wall
Bolton had seen General Jim Mattis resign as Secretary of Defence in December. Since 2013 Mattis had strongly supported the two-state solution – the creation of an additional Arab state between Israel and Jordan – contemplated by both the Oslo Accords and President Bush’s 2003 Roadmap, and unsuccessfully pushed for eight years by President Obama and his Secretaries for State – Hillary Clinton and John Kerry.

Bolton’s opposing opinion held since 2009 was reconfirmed to Eric Shawn on 21 January 2018:
“I hope at some point the Administration recognizes and perhaps it is already quietly – that the two-state solution isn’t going anywhere. If anything I would say to King Abdullah of Jordan – “Be prepared to reassert Jordanian sovereignty over part of the West Bank – negotiate with Israel”. I think that’s a far better outcome than the continued pursuit of a mythical – I believe – unattainable viable Palestinian state”

Twelve months down the track Bolton’s Jordan approach has seemingly prevailed – especially after Friedman’s assertion last September:
“Since 1994, the United States has thrown more than $10 billion in humanitarian aid to the Palestinians. Without minimizing the importance of medical treatment and quality education for children — and we don’t minimize that, not even for a minute — we found that these expenditures were bringing the region no closer to peace or stability, not even by a millimetre. To spend hard-earned taxpayer dollars to fund stipends to terrorists and their families, to expend funds to perpetuate rather than to mitigate refugee status, and to finance hate-filled textbooks — I ask you, how does that provide value to the United States or the region?

Friedman’s “wordsmithing and smoothing” comment indicates that Jordan and Egypt could be holding out for further American financial and security guarantees before agreeing to negotiate with Israel.

Trump’s legendary negotiating skills – and patience – are being seriously tested.

White House: Israel TV story on peace plan not accurate, speculation not helpful
The Trump administration on Wednesday dismissed as “inaccurate” an Israeli TV report that said its forthcoming peace plan would offer Palestinians a state in most of the West Bank, with parts of East Jerusalem as its capital.

Channel 13 reported hours earlier that a “senior American” official had said Trump’s peace proposal would provide for Jerusalem to be divided, with Israel maintaining sovereignty in west Jerusalem, parts of east Jerusalem and the “holy basin,” including the Old City and its immediate environs. However, it added that the “holy basin” area would be “jointly run” with the Palestinians, Jordan and possibly other countries.

“While I respect @BarakRavid, his report on Israel’s Ch. 13 is not accurate,” tweeted Jason Greenblatt, the White House special envoy for Mideast peace, referring to the reporter who broke the story. “Speculation about the content of the plan is not helpful. Very few people on the planet know what is in it.”

Immediately after the TV report aired, right-wing politicians in Israel protested any US-brokered Israeli-Palestinian deal that would provide the Palestinians with a state. The report said the proposal would offer a Palestinian state in 85-90 percent of the West Bank, with major settlement blocs to be annexed by Israel, along various so-called land swaps.

The New Right party, founded last month in the wake of Israel’s move to early elections in April, said it would not be part of a government that would agree to a two-state solution with Palestinians.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinian Authority rejects Trump peace plan revealed in Israeli report
The Palestinian Authority said on Wednesday that "any peace plan that does not include an independent Palestinian state - with all of East Jerusalem as its capital - on the 1967 borders, is destined to fail."

The PA was responding to a report on Channel 13 News that claimed that US President Donald Trump's "deal of the century" will include a Palestinian state on 85% - 90% of the West Bank and some parts of east Jerusalem.

Nabil Abu Rudaineh, spokesman for the PA presidency in Ramallah, said that the "rumors and leaks about the deal of the century, as well as ongoing attempts to find regional and international parties that would cooperate with this plan, are failed attempts that will reach a dead end."

Any proposals pertaining to the political process, he said, should be based on international resolutions and the principle of the two-state solution.‭‮

The report, based on a source who took part in a briefing in Washington on the plan by a senior American official, said it calls for the annexation of the large settlements and the evacuation of settlement outposts deemed illegal under Israeli law.

Regarding Jerusalem, the report stated that the city would be divided, with west Jerusalem and some areas of east Jerusalem the capital of Israel, and east Jerusalem – including most of the Arab neighborhoods – the capital of a Palestinian state.

Somali Islamist Terror Group Claims Deadly Nairobi Atrocity Was Response to ‘Desecration’ of Jerusalem by ‘Zionist Jews’
The Somali Islamist terror group that carried out Tuesday’s attack on a hotel complex in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi has issued a fresh statement declaring that the atrocity was directed against “Zionist Jews.”

The assault claimed the lives of 14 people, including US citizen Jason Spindler — a survivor of the Sept. 11, 2001 Al-Qaeda atrocity in New York.

On Tuesday night, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that security forces had regained control of the complex, with all the terrorists “eliminated” in the process.

Wednesday’s statement from the Somalia-based Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen (more commonly known as “Al-Shabaab”), an affiliate of Al-Qaeda, stated that it had carried out the Nairobi attack as “a response to the witless remarks of US President Donald Trump and his declaration of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) as the capital of Israel.”

The statement accused Trump of having granted “the Zionist Jews the approval to desecrate the sanctity of one of Islam’s holiest sites with their filth and vile policies of ethnic cleansing without considering the suffering of the millions of Muslims languishing under the throes of the Zionist occupation for decades.”

Headlined “Jerusalem Will Never Be Judaized,” the statement was published on Al-Shabaab’s channel on the social media platform Telegram, and subsequently translated by the Washington, DC-based Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). Al-Shabaab claimed to have killed more than 50 “unbelievers” in Nairobi, adding that the attack was carried out “in accordance with the guidelines of Ayman al-Zawahiri in targeting Western and Zionist interests worldwide and in support of our Muslim families in Palestine.” Al-Zawahiri has led Al-Qaeda since the killing of its founder, Osama bin Laden, by US special forces in May 2011.
Jewish American who survived 9/11 among 21 killed in Nairobi attack
Jason Spindler, an American Jewish man who was among the 21 people killed in an attack on a luxury hotel complex in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, was a consultant who survived the 9/11 attacks, and specialized in emerging economies.

Authorities did not formally name Spindler as one of the victims, but his mother Sarah and brother Jonathan confirmed his death on Facebook and to several US media outlets.

“It’s with a heavy heart that I have to report that my brother, Jason Spindler, passed this morning during a terror attack in Nairobi,” Jonathan wrote on Facebook, in comments visible only to his friends.

“Jason was a survivor of 9-11 and a fighter. I am sure he gave them hell!”

A local Chabad house in the Kenyan capital confirmed that Spindler was a member of the Jewish community.

“At Chabad of Kenya we’re sure that Jason will forever remain in our broken hearts,” the group said in a Facebook post.
PM Netanyahu to make historic visit to Chad next week
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to depart for Chad on Sunday.

Recently, Israel and the Muslim-majority African country have bolstered bilateral ties.

In late November, Chadian President Idriss Déby became the country's first leader to make an official visit to Israel since the state's founding. During his historic visit, Déby announced Chad would move to renew bilateral ties with Israel, which were severed in 1972.

Also during his visit, Déby said his country, an Arab League member, could assist in helping Israel renew diplomatic ties with Sudan.

Déby noted that "the world is changing before our eyes. Crises and wars we knew are changing as well. We don't wish them on today's generation or future generations. There's a time for war and a time for peace. Our message is global to all leaders. Chad doesn't presume to speak for black Africa. Chad comes to renew bilateral diplomatic relations.

He said that "if Chad can be a facilitator, Chad will not hesitate."
40 UN ambassadors to visit Israel on Holocaust Remembrance Day
Memorial ceremonies will be held across the world to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27. As part of the United Nations' commemoration of the day, born of a U.N. resolution initiated by Israeli diplomat Roni Adam in 2005, Israel's Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Dannon will lead a delegation of 40 ambassadors from the U.N. on a trip to Israel.

Among those set to take part in the delegation are ambassadors from the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Hungary, Panama and South Sudan.

Prior to their five-day Israel visit, the ambassadors will visit Poland to learn about the Holocaust and hold a memorial ceremony at the death camps.

While in Israel, the diplomats are expected to meet with President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other senior government officials. The delegation will visit Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and take a helicopter tour of Israel's northern front and its borders with Syria and Lebanon. While in Israel's north, the envoys will view one of the cross-border terror tunnels dug under the Israel-Lebanon border by Hezbollah.

Danon, who as Israel's U.N. envoy has brought a number of diplomatic delegations to Israel, told Israel Hayom that "this type of delegation does a great deal to promote Israel in the international arena. The ambassadors see from up close the beauty and uniqueness of our country alongside the challenges and regional complexities and return to the U.N. with a positive perspective toward Israel."
Israeli student killed in Australia was on video call with sister when attacked
An Israeli student has been killed in a late-night attack in Australia while she was speaking on the phone with her sister, police said Thursday.

The body of 21-year-old Aiia Maasarwe was found early Wednesday near the campus of the Melbourne university where she was studying. Maasarwe was from the northern Israel town of Baqa al-Gharbiya.

Her uncle, Rame Maasarwe, told the Guardian she was on a video call with her sister at the time of the attack.

“Her sister was on the phone with her, she was on FaceTime, and she heard what happened,” he said. “The phone has fallen down, but she heard the voices over the phone.”

Police appealed to the public for help tracking down the killer.

“This was an horrendous, horrific attack inflicted on a completely innocent young woman who was a visitor to our city,” Detective Inspector Andrew Stamper told reporters in Melbourne Thursday.
Lebanon says it captured American man suspected of infiltrating from Israel
The Lebanese military on Thursday said it captured an American man suspected of entering Lebanon from Israel through a hole in the security fence earlier in the week.

The man, identified by Lebanon as Colin Emery Doyle, was being questioned by intelligence officers of the Lebanese Armed Forces. Lebanese media reported that he appeared to be mentally unstable.

The Hezbollah terrorist group’s media department distributed a photograph of the suspect, showing a red-haired man who appears to be in his 20s standing in a clothing shop, where he was arrested.

“After continuous search operations a LAF intelligence patrol was able to find the American citizen ‘Colin Emery’ hiding in one of the alleys in the city of Tyre,” the Lebanese Armed Forces said in a statement.

A photograph of Doyle’s passport was also published in Lebanese media.

The coastal city of Tyre is located some 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the border town of Aita al-Shaab, where he is believed to have entered Lebanon from Israel.

He was arrested while trying to purchase clothes, Lebanese media reported.

“He was arrested over suspicions of entering on 15/01/2019 from the Occupied Palestinian Territories (Israel) to Lebanese territories. Investigation is underway with the competent justice department,” the LAF said.
'McJesus' to be removed from Haifa museum over protest
After nearly a week of protests over a work of art on display at the Haifa Museum of Art that the local Christian community deems "offensive," the museum has agreed to remove "McJesus," by Finnish artist Janei Leionen.

The piece has been on display since August as part of an exhibit on consumer culture titled "Sacred Goods." It portrays Ronald McDonald crucified in the manner of Jesus on a wooden cross.

Christians also described other artwork in the exhibit as offensive, but only "McJesus" will be taken down.

Haifa Mayor Einat Kalisch-Rotem said in a message she posted to Facebook that she had decided to respect the sensitivities of the Christian public and church leaders in Israel and have the piece removed from display in the museum, which receives funding from the Haifa Municipality.

"We believe in freedom of expression as one of the foundations of democracy. We regret any distress caused to the Christian community in Haifa and the physical violence that followed. We thank the church heads and Christian priests in Haifa for holding dialogue and for their desire to build bridges and make an effort to reach a solution," Kalisch-Rotem wrote.
B'Tselem says 290 Palestinians killed by IDF fire in 2018
Israeli security forces killed 290 Palestinians, including 55 minors, in 2018 the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem announced on Thursday.

According to the report, 254 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip, 34 in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and two within Israel.

In the Gaza Strip, two of the casualties were women and 47 were minors. According to B’Tselem, the large majority of the Palestinians (149) killed by IDF fire “did not take part in hostilities,” while 90 did and another 15 the NGO said it did not know whether they had taken part in hostilities or not.

Another two Palestinians, one of them a 17 year-old, were killed after the crossed the security fence from the Hamas-run coastal enclave into southern Israel. While B’Tselem said that they had not taken part in hostilities, they did not specify when or under what circumstances they crossed the security fence.

“These incidents are a direct result of Israel’s reckless open-fire policy, authorized by the government and the top military command, and backed by the judicial system. As long as Israel adheres to this policy, despite its predictable outcomes, the casualties will continue to amass,” the group said.

Thousands of Gazans protest along the security fence on a weekly basis taking part in Great Return March demonstrations which began on March 30th, calling for an end of the 12 year long Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.

UNWRA employee created PFLP symbol
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine were some of the most sadistic terrorists at a time when sadism was all the rage in the killers who were attacking Israel. I just saw that the person who designed their logo was an UNWRA employee from Jerusalem called Vladimir Tamari:

Mona had contacts with the PFLP, and had the idea to change the Fa of the logo to the Arabic letter Jeem for Jabha i.e. Front. This I implemented using the distinctive curved Jeem from AlQuds. Mona took the logo suggestion to Ghassan Kanafani, the spokesman for the PFLP. Kanafani the famed Palestinian novelist, was also a gifted amateur artist and he immediately understood the impact of the symbol and had it adopted by the group, after changing the square format to a circle. People in the movement liked the logo and the years and decades passed as it appeared in all sorts of posters, flags, wall graffiti everywhere in and outside Palestine.

“He expressed regret for what he calls some serious mistakes made in the name of Palestine, such as the targeting of innocent civilians. In a spirit of disillusionment I left Beirut for good, and emigrated to Japan where I limited my activities for Palestine to designing posters, giving talks, and the like, devoting myself to my art and inventions.

He clearly still couldn’t bring himself to call those “mistakes” what they really were; murder.

Israel’s Netanyahu Praises US Pullout From Iran Nuclear Deal as ‘Most Important Thing’ to Occur in Middle East in Past Year
US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal was the “most important thing that happened in the last year” in the Middle East, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asserted on Wednesday.

Trump’s move — announced in May – “caused a tailspin in Iran’s economy,” the Israeli leader told a visiting American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) delegation at a meeting in Jerusalem.

“What the nuclear deal did was fuel Iran’s coffers, and from these coffers, they put it right into Syria, right into Hezbollah, right into Hamas,” Netanyahu said.

“The second most dramatic thing that happened,” he added, “is our military activity in Syria to deprive Iran from basing itself militarily against us in Syria.”

On Tuesday, at the installation ceremony of new IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, the prime minister warned Iran over its presence in Syria, telling it to “get out of there quickly” or face further Israeli military action.

This threat was dismissed by the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on Wednesday as a “joke.”

Iran “will keep all its military and revolutionary advisers and its weapons in Syria,” Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari was quoted as saying by the semi-official ISNA news agency.

American anchor for Iranian TV arrested on visit to US
A prominent American anchorwoman on Iranian state television has been arrested by the FBI during a visit to the U.S., the broadcaster reported Wednesday, and her son said she was being held in a prison, apparently as a material witness.

Marzieh Hashemi, who worked for Press TV's English-language service, was detained in St. Louis, where she had filmed a Black Lives Matter documentary after visiting relatives in the New Orleans area. She was then taken to Washington, according to her elder son, Hossein Hashemi.

The FBI said in an email that it had no comment on the arrest of the woman who was born Melanie Franklin in New Orleans and has worked for Iran's state television network for 25 years.

Hossein Hashemi said his mother lives in Tehran and comes back to this country about once a year to see her family, usually scheduling documentary work somewhere in the U.S., as well.

"We still have no idea what's going on," said Hashemi, a research fellow at the University of Colorado who was interviewed by phone from Washington. He also said he and his siblings had been subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury.

Canadian Sheikh Younus Kathrada Responds to MEMRI TV Clip: I Stand by My Statements about Christmas
On January 5, 2019, Canadian cleric Younus Kathrada uploaded to the Muslim Youth of Victoria Facebook page a video in which he responded to the media backlash that followed a MEMERI TV video documenting a recent sermon of his in which he said that saying “Merry Christmas” is worse than murder and adultery (see MEMRI TV Clip No. 6906) . Sheikh Kathrada said that he never has and never will encourage violence, and he criticized an opinion article written for Postmedia by Licia Corbella, whom he referred to as "this moron, this imbecile, this sad excuse for a human being.” Sheikh Kathrada further said that he stands by his statement that Muslims should be offended when people worship Jesus or refer to him as the son of God, but that this does not necessitate violence. He further criticized the media for wanting to make Muslims look like savages and said that since a proper Islamic state – which he said does not exist today – would punish murder, adultery, and other severe crimes by things such as death and amputation, his remarks cannot be taken to mean that he encourages these behaviors. He concluded by saying: “I’m not your lap dog and I’m not your puppet. So good luck next time.”

ISIS Abandons Jihad After Seeing Gillette Ad on Toxic Masculinity (satire)
Islamic State fighters announced plans to lay down their arms Tuesday after an ad by the shaving product brand Gillette convinced them their efforts to re-establish the Caliphate were the result of toxic masculinity.

“I never thought twice about decapitating human rights workers, blowing up Shiite mosques or keeping young Yazidi girls as sex slaves, because I was always told that was just the way guys were supposed to act,” said former Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who since quitting jihad has taken up knitting. “But when I saw that Gillette ad, I thought, ‘Am I really being the best I can be?’”

The ad, which takes on bullying and sexual harassment, led ISIS leader Abu Ali al-Anbari to call off the execution by stoning of a woman accused of exposing her ankles in public.

“If I kill this woman based on patriarchal standards of modesty, then am I any better than the guys catcalling in the ad?” said al-Anbari. “I am done slaying infidels, and am now going to focus on my poetry.

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