Thursday, February 21, 2019

From Ian:

Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians: "The Slap of the Century"
Under the current circumstances, when Arabs are being widely shamed and condemned for sitting in the same room with an Israeli prime minister, it is hard to see how the Trump administration will be able to convince Arab states and leaders to normalize their relations with Israel. Some of these Arab leaders may be privately telling US administration officials things they like to hear about peace and coexistence with Israel. The very same leaders, however, are fully aware of the opposite sentiments, not only in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but throughout the Arab world.

All that is left for the Trump administration to do is to try and persuade the Arab states to abandon the Palestinians, and to continue focusing on the regional threat from Iran. If the US completes its pullout from Syria, Iran will successfully complete its long-desired "land-bridge" to the Mediterranean through Yemen, Syria and Lebanon. This encirclement of the area will position Iran, via its proxies, to be the hegemon controlling the region, as it has clearly been trying to bring about. Russia, of course, is standing in the wings, thanks to the gift that then US President Barack Obama handed Putin in 2011 by pulling American troops out of Syria.

For decades now, not only Palestinian leaders but Arab ones as well, have been radicalizing their people against Israel. Using every available platform, including mosques, media outlets and United Nations organizations, these leaders, with the collaboration of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, have demonized Israel. They have poisoned the hearts and minds of their people with the hate that exists towards Israel all over the Arab world. To promote normalization with Israel, a leader must prepare his people for the possibility of peace with Israel. Meanwhile, Arab leaders are doing the exact opposite -- which is why some of them are currently being denounced as traitors and pawns in the hands of Israel and the US. It would be wise for President Trump's advisers, if they wish to grasp what is really going on in the Arab world, to listen to the voices of the Arab street.
U.S. envoy Friedman knocks Oslo, says hand open to Palestinian people
United States Ambassador to Israel David Friedman knocked the 1993 Oslo Accords and said his hand was open to the Palestinian people, when he spoke in Jerusalem on Thursday at a joint Israeli-Palestinian business forum sponsored by the Judea and Samaria Chamber of Commerce.

“To all the Palestinian friends who are here, the US is with you, the people of the US are with you, the President of the US is with you,” Friedman said.

He spoke of his support for the grassroots initiative that brings together settlers and Palestinian in the West Bank in joint business ventures, which was started last year.

“To my Israeli friends, I say the same. We are all with you, together to support you in new out-of-the-box thinking, to build a safe and more prosperous world for Israeli and Palestinians alike,” Friedman said.

The gathering comes at a time when there are no relations between the US and the Palestinian Authority. The US has cut most of its funding to the PA, and the PA in turn has rejected all US funding, including for humanitarian projects. In a climate with few opportunities for cooperation, Israeli-Palestinian public meetings are rare.

But on Thursday, Friedman’s comments made it seem as if settlers, who are often portrayed as a stumbling block to the peace process, are now leading the way in an arena with few opportunities for joint cooperation.

David Singer: Israel jettisons PLO as Negotiating Partner on Trump Peace Plan
Israel’s decision to withhold US$138 million dollars in tax revenues collected for the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) – equalling the estimated annual payments made to Palestinian Arabs (or their families) carrying out random and indiscriminate attacks against Israeli civilians – marks a watershed in Israel-PLO relations.

Israel’s action will see the PLO being finally jettisoned as a possible negotiating partner on President Trump’s long-delayed peace plan – deferred yet again until after the Israeli elections in April.

The release of the Trump plan could now be further postponed as the president continues his so far unsuccessful search to find other Arab negotiators willing to replace the PLO – which had already rejected having anything to do with Trump’s plan well before Israel’s latest decision.

The law authorising the freezing of these PLO funds was passed by the Israeli parliament in July 2018 – three months after similar legislation – the Taylor Force Act – passed by the US Congress – was signed into law by President Trump.

Israel’s Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked stressed the funds withheld would be used to pay “fat salaries to murderers who are in prison”.

Ceremony Marks 50th Anniversary of Notorious Hanging of Baghdad Jews
The 50th anniversary of the public hanging of nine Iraqi Jews and the subsequent killing and imprisonment of dozens more was marked by a ceremony held at the centuries-old Sephardi synagogue of Bevis Marks in the UK on Tuesday.

The 1969 Baghdad Hangings and ensuing violence loom large in the collective memory of Iraqi Jews, and are seen as the final straw that led to the near-total exodus of the ancient community, mostly to Britain and Israel.

Sabah Zubeida, head of the S&P Sephardi Community, called the event “the beginning of the end” for Iraq’s Jews and a “terrifying time, in which Jews were the easiest target.”

The Jewish News reported that Zubeida opened the Bevis Marks ceremony by lighting a candle in memory of his own father.

Rabbi Joseph Dweck, himself of Iraqi descent, told the congregation that “Iraq, particularly, was one of the richest and most fertile areas in the world for Jewish growth, scholarship, and creativity.”

Reminding the audience that “for the Jewish people a millennium is yesterday,” Dweck noted that “Jewish houses of study stood in Babylonia for 600 years” in what is now modern Iraq.

He spoke in memory of “the glory and grandeur that was Jewish life in that country.”
How Some 1,800 Jewish Children Escaped Iran to Brooklyn during the Revolution
In 1978, as the revolution that overthrew the shah of Iran was beginning, Chabad-Lubavitch Ḥasidim launched Operation Exodus, in which they brought hundreds of Persian Jewish children to their enclave in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights. Dovid Margolin explains how this came about:

This unlikely story of rescue began the late 1970s, when an Italian-born Chabad yeshiva student named Hertzel Illulian was studying in New York. His parents were successful Persian Jewish immigrants . . . and he had grown up in comfort in Milan. [As a teenager], Illulian became more religious and eventually came to New York to study at the Lubavitch yeshiva there. . . . Illulian dreamed of traveling to his ancestral homeland, Iran, to try to [missionize to the Jewish community there]. Iran was safe; he spoke Farsi—it was a good match. In . . . the summer of 1978, Illulian [met with] Sholem-Ber Hecht, then the rabbi of the Sephardic Jewish Congregation in Queens [and] broached the idea of their going to Iran together. Hecht was intrigued. . . .

The details were then worked out, and both Illulian and Hecht raised the funds needed to cover the trip. “Our original intention was to establish a liaison with the community there, and then to see if it made sense to send an official emissary there,” says Hecht. They landed in Tehran on a calm day in August of 1978. Revolutions and refugees were the last thing on their minds. . . .

While Hecht and Illulian had come to what was still a stable Iran, street demonstrations against the shah had already begun. . . . Hecht recalls sitting in the home of the Tehran rabbi Netanel Ben-Haim after Shabbat had ended and seeing the television screen flash images of street demonstrations turned violent. The sudden violence frightened the Jewish community. Whereas the Chabad rabbis had hoped perhaps to meet a handful of Jewish boys who would be interested in coming to America to study in yeshiva, by the second week of their trip Iranian parents began approaching them about the possibility of sending their children with them. . . . In October, during the intermediary days of the holiday of Sukkot, Illulian returned to Tehran alone, this time armed with I-20 visa applications.
Study: Polish norms helped Nazis wipe out local Jewry
Large parts of the Polish population during the Holocaust believed helping Jews went against their local norms, a new study from the Polish Academy of Sciences shows.

The academy, a state-run institution, focused on a period beginning in 1942 that saw an intense effort on the part of the Nazi occupiers to wipe out Jewish ghettos across Poland.

The study compares the fates of Jews who managed to escape the ghettos during that period and reveals that those who tried to seek shelter in urban areas were less likely to survive, compared to Jews who escaped to the country, who had a much better chance of staying alive.

According to the scholars, this can be explained by the norms that were prevalent among Poles in urban ares.

"Poles who chose to save Jews were essentially violating the unwritten norms of their community," the scholars wrote.

The new publication comes amid renewed tension between Israel and Poland over the issue of Polish complicity in Nazi atocities during the Holocaust.
Yisrael Medad: "From the Breasts of the Youth": Poland 1922
In November 1922, Gabriel Narotuwicz was elected President of the Polish Republic. He was eventually assassinated a mere five days later, accused among other claims that he was too sympathetic to the Jews..

On the background of the remarks of Acting Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz, quoting Yitzhak Shamir, "that Poles 'suckle anti-Semitism with their mothers' milk'” it is historically necessary to note this:
From the breasts of the youth a spontaneous call went forth: ‘We don’t want this kind of president! We don’t know him! Down with the Jews!’ This chant echoed through the streets of Warsaw and spontaneously a march was formed. (p. 2 of this doctorate)

As explained there
When the Bloc’s votes tipped the scale in favor of Narutowicz, the candidate of the left, a violent and fiercely anti-Semitic campaign was orchestrated against the new president. It was waged jointly by the National Democratic press, parliamentary deputies, and demonstrators in the street, all of which claimed that only a “Polish majority” had the 2 right to elect the president of Poland.
Clifford D. May: Just another Arab-Israeli get-together
The last time Israelis and Arabs got together to discuss Middle Eastern peace and security was nearly 30 years ago. Conventional wisdom held that the Madrid conference of 1991 was a huge success. Conventional wisdom proved wrong.

The Warsaw conference, by contrast, has been derided by "progressives," Obama administration loyalists and, of course, spokesmen and apologists for the Islamic republic. In an editorial, The New York Times called it an "anti-mullah pep rally" and a "bellicose bashing." Perhaps those appraisals will turn out to have been off the mark, too.

"People in the Middle East have suffered a lot because they have stuck to the past," Yusuf bin Alawi, Oman's minister responsible for foreign affairs, observed in Warsaw. "Now we say, this is a new era, for the future."

In a region where history and historical grievances have consistently impeded progress, not remaining "stuck to the past" would represent the most significant change of all.

Cruz, Grassley: Hezbollah terrorists could use Venezuela connections to sneak over southern border
Republican Sens. Ted Cruz and Chuck Grassley have asked top national security officials to brief lawmakers following Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's pronouncement that Hezbollah terrorists have active cells in Venezuela and could use connections in Central America to enter the United States via the southern border.

The Texas and Iowa senators said Wednesday they asked Pompeo, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, and FBI Director Christopher Wray to inform them of the extent to which terrorists may be trying to enter illegally at the U.S.-Mexico border and what they're doing to prevent it.

"This information is extremely troubling," Cruz and Grassley wrote in the letter. "Effective border security not only addresses the ongoing problem of illegal immigration, but also prevents the cross-border movement of Special Interest Aliens (SIAs) and known or suspected terrorists (K/STs). SIAs are a broad category of individuals who pose a security threat to our homeland. The spectrum of K/STs and SIAs located in Venezuela may include not only Hezbollah terrorists, but also agents of Cuba, Iran, Russia and China."

They cited a 2017 Politico report that found the Obama administration was aware of Hezbollah's presence in the Western Hemisphere.

Elizabeth Warren Mocks Friendship Between Trump And Netanyahu
Vietor prompted the nastiness by asking, “When I look at Israel, I look at Bibi Netanyahu putting up campaign signs that feature big photos of him and President Trump. This weekend, he released a TV ad attacking his opponent, Benny Gantz, accusing him of colluding with Obama behind his back, and it had this like, grainy, darkened image of Obama, and I’m just wondering does it worry you that such a close ally has fully aligned with one political party, the Republican Party?”

Warren responded, “Yes, that’s what I was talking about, the difference between the administrations. Yes, and honestly, I don’t think this is good for Israel. I mean, I think this is terrible for Israel and that that’s the direction he’s going. Of course, also remember, he’s under investigation, others in his administration, in his family —“

Vietor mocked, “Are we talking about Netanyahu or Trump?”

Warren pretended seriousness: “Oh, I’m sorry, which one were we talking about? Yeah, sentence applies in both places, doesn’t it? But I think that is part of the point; Trump is not forever and neither is Netanyahu.”

Trump is not under investigation.

Why Israel should even consider aligning itself with the Democratic Party, which harbors open-Semites such as Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-NY) is anyone’s guess; why Israel should consider the same party that pushed for the Iran nuclear deal, which Warren also voted for, a deal which did nothing to stop Iran’s existential threat to the Jewish state and in fact, may well have expedited it, is anyone’s guess.
Klein: Eight Bernie Sanders Anti-Israel Outrages
Throwing his hat into the 2020 presidential ring, Sen. Bernie Sanders’ troubling views on the Jewish state and his uninformed and false anti-Israel statements are sure to take center stage as the presidential race heats up.

Below, in no particular order, are eight examples of Sanders’ anti-Israel views or ties.

1 – Sanders says the U.S. should “rethink” military aid to Israel.
Speaking to The Intercept in September 2017, Sanders was asked whether he would, as the publication phrased the question, ever “consider voting to reduce U.S. aid to Israel — worth at least $3bn per annum — or U.S. arms sales to the Israeli military.” Sanders gave a response that ended with, “So the answer is yes.”

He explained that he would rework U.S. military aid to ensure that Israel, one of the most energy efficient and environmentally-conscious countries in the world, would “work with other countries on environmental issues.” And he said that he would help rebuild Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas.

Sanders stated:
The U.S. funding plays a very important role, and I would love to see people in the Middle East sit down with the United States government and figure out how U.S. aid can bring people together, not just result in an arms war in that area. So I think there is extraordinary potential for the United States to help the Palestinian people rebuild Gaza and other areas. At the same time, demand that Israel, in their own interests in a way, work with other countries on environmental issues.

“So the answer is yes,” Sanders concluded with regard to the question about reducing U.S. aid to Israel.
Sweden To Deport Palestinian Migrant Synagogue Firebomber
The Supreme Court of Sweden has announced a new ruling that will see a Palestinian migrant who was found guilty of firebombing a Jewish synagogue in Gothenburg expelled from the country.

The ruling came against a 23-year-old Palestinian, identified as Feras Alnadim by online Swedish media, who had previously been sentenced for his participation in the synagogue attack that occurred in December of 2017, soon after U.S. President Donald Trump announced the U.S. embassy in Israel would be moving to Jerusalem SVT reports.

Initially, a district court ruled that the 23-year-old could not be deported back to the Gaza strip but that ruling was appealed with the argument that the 23-year-old may face persecution in his home country.

Now, following a report from the Swedish Migration Board, the Supreme Court has upheld the original ruling. The judgement claimed that there was no “reasonable reason” to assume Alnedim would “risk being punished with death or being subjected to bodily punishment, torture or other inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
Netanyahu’s Strongest Challengers Form Alliance in Israeli Election
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s strongest challengers in an election in April joined forces on Thursday, adding more potency to the centrist candidates’ bid to end the right-wing leader’s decade in power.

In anticipation of the announcement of a new alliance between former military chief Benny Gantz’ Resilience party and ex-Finance Minister Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid faction, Netanyahu engineered a merger of far-right parties on Wednesday that could help him build a governing coalition after the ballot.

Resilience, in a statement, said Gantz, Lapid and Moshe Ya’alon, a former defense minister, “decided to establish a joint list that will comprise the new Israeli ruling party.”

Gantz and Lapid, who met overnight, agreed on a “rotation for the prime minister’s post” in which Gantz would hold office for the first two-and-a-half years of a new government’s term before Lapid took over.

In their campaigns, both candidates have portrayed Netanyahu, who will become Israel‘s longest-serving prime minister this summer if he wins the April 9 ballot, as haughty with power and criminally corrupt.

But even as Netanyahu faces possible indictment in three corruption investigations, opinion polls have predicted his Likud party will take about 30 seats in the 120-member parliament, putting him on track to form a rightist coalition similar to the one he now heads.
Netanyahu Makes Deal With Far-Right Party Ahead of Israeli Election
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu forged an election alliance with a far-right party on Wednesday that could give followers of the late extremist Rabbi Meir Kahane a stronger voice in Israeli politics.

The deal, announced by Netanyahu’s Likud and the Jewish Home party, was aimed at solidifying a potential right-wing coalition after the April 9 parliamentary election.

Opinion polls predict Netanyahu’s Likud will win the most parliamentary seats and will be in a position to form a governing coalition of rightist and religious parties similar to the one he now heads.

But the surveys also show that a possible alliance between two of his strongest centrist opponents, former armed forces chief Benny Gantz, who leads the Resilience Party, and ex-Finance Minister Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid faction, could spark an upset.

Gantz and Lapid met on Wednesday, with speculation high they could strike a deal.

Moving to counter that prospective partnership, Netanyahu agreed to set aside two cabinet posts for Jewish Home on condition it agreed to a merger with the Jewish Power party, whose leaders have portrayed themselves as Kahane’s successors.

Jewish Home’s chairman said in a statement he accepted the deal after talks with Netanyahu and would ask the party’s central committee to ratify it later on Wednesday.
Why Palestinian Hatred Destroyed Tzipi Livni
This week, former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni announced that she was dropping out of politics. Livni came as close to being prime minister as you can get without actually having the job — more than once. But only a decade after leading her party to a first-place finish in the 2009 Knesset election, she is finally giving up.

Insiders described her as a difficult political partner. That’s the generally-accepted answer to the question of why, after being part of so many coalitions, she was left standing when the music stopped in the game of political musical chairs. Yet with a résumé that included a stint in the Mossad and service as a competent minister in charge of various departments, hers was an impressive career.

But the explanation for her rise and fall ought to be of particular interest to American observers. If Livni’s political career fizzled, it’s because those Israelis who stake their claim to leadership on the basis of support from liberal Americans and an ability to negotiate with the Palestinians are always doomed to failure.

Livni was subjected to a lot of abuse for being an inveterate party switcher. She began in Likud, her family’s political home. Her parents were both members of the Etzel (Irgun Zvai Leumi) and her father, Eitan Livni, served three terms in the Knesset for Likud. He insisted that the symbol of the Irgun (a map of Israel that included the West Bank and Jordan) be engraved on his gravestone.
IDF strikes Hamas post in response to incendiary aerial devices launched from Gaza
An Israeli Air Force aircraft struck a Hamas outpost in the Gaza Strip Wednesday evening in response to several incendiary aerial devices launched from the coastal enclave towards southern Israel.

There were no injuries reported in the strike, which took place east of the el-Bureij refugee camp during the nightly riots along the Gaza-Israel security fence. The Palestinian WAFA news agency said that the drone targeted a motorcycle and a field in the central Gaza Strip, causing damage but no injuries.

Earlier on Wednesday, a balloon carrying an incendiary device started a fire in an agricultural area near the community of Kissufim after it landed in a field. The fire was small and was quickly put out by rescue services.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi on Wednesday visited the Gaza Division and met with the head of the Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Hertzi Halevi as well as head of the Gaza Division Brig.-Gen. Eliezer Toledano And other officers. Kochavi also toured several key points along the border and conducted a situational assessment with commanders in the area.

Also on Wednesday, another incendiary balloon exploded in the air over southern Israel.

Unprecedented visit to Gaza border, F-35 squadron by American Jewish VIPs
American Jewish leaders toured the Gaza border and viewed Israel’s new F-35 squadron on Wednesday as part of a first-hand look at security threats that the country is facing and the IDF’s readiness to confront them.

The tour was part of the 45th annual Conference of Presidents (COP) Leadership Mission to Israel, led by Chairman Arthur Stark and Executive Vice President and CEO Malcolm Hoenlein.

The group began with the first-ever visit by a foreign group to see construction on the barrier, where Israel is digging deep into the ground along its border with the Gaza Strip. Participants received a detailed briefing on the threat posed by Hamas tunnels that are dug to cross into Israel, and the methods being used to prevent this. They also watched some of the heavy machinery in action.

The Deputy Commander of the IDF’s Gaza Division gave the group a strategic overview at their headquarters near the border. He also spoke of the ongoing unrest at the border fence, explaining that more than half of the Palestinians killed since the violence began last May were Hamas members.

“This a war. This is not a riot. This is not the ‘yellow vests,’” he said, referring to the violent social protests taking place in France.
Is Hamas Really So Popular?
The shadow (and real) Hamas government has 51,000 military and civilian employees on its payroll, many of whom are beneficiaries of the $30 million in cash distributed in Gaza by Qatar. They were bound to show up at the commemoration, as they have been waiting since the spring to receive half their salaries. Hamas has not paid full salaries since early 2014, when Egypt closed down most of its smuggling tunnels.

There are, of course, far needier Gazans than Hamas employees; but Qatar’s financial support for Hamas has more to do with the organization’s bitter feud with the Palestinian Authority (and more broadly, Qatar’s own feud with Saudi Arabia and the UAE) than the desire to provide humanitarian support.

The crucial question is whether Hamas will privilege meeting the needs of its bureaucracy — and thus allow itself to be “tamed” to keep the peace — or stick to the path of aggression it renewed in April 2018 with the “March of Return” processions.

The answer probably lies somewhere in the middle, between Qatar — which wants a tamer but independent Hamas — and Iran, which wants bloodshed on Israel’s southern front. The problem for Hamas is that it needs money from both.
Dichter: As Hamas digs tunnels, they also dig their cemeteries
MK Avi Dichter (Likud), addressed American Jewish leaders about the situation on the Gaza border on Wednesday, saying that, "Hamas are building their underground tunnels, but they are also building their underground cemeteries."

Dichter, chairman of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, was one of the five members that addressed American Jewish participants at the 45th annual National Israel Leadership Mission on Wednesday.

Dichter referred to the rioting along the Gaza Strip border fence. “It looks as if it’s just riots by civilians,” he said, “but it’s not. We have to confront it. Once they cross, it’s going to be a very problematic situation.”

MK Omer Barlev (Labor), another member of the committee, acknowledged the problems in the Gaza Strip. “The worst enemy is the one who has nothing to lose and no hope,” he said. “That’s the situation in Gaza.”

He added that the short-term issue was the humanitarian crisis there. “There’s no question that we are drifting into war,” he proclaimed. “If you want Israel to be more secure, the situation of the Gazans should be better. It won’t necessarily bring peace, but it will make Israel more secure.”
IDF soldiers' accounts of Hamas war crimes to be submitted to ICC
Thirty-three testimonies of IDF combat soldiers were set to be submitted to the International Criminal Court in The Hague on Thursday as proof that Hamas terrorists carry out war crimes and use Palestinian civilians as human shields.

For months, members of the My Truth organization have collected testimonies from Israeli combat soldiers that paint a shocking picture of Hamas' activities in the Gaza Strip spanning from 2014 - the year when the Palestinian Authority became a party to the ICC's Rome Statute treaty - to 2018, when thousands of Gazans took part in the violent Hamas-organized "marches of return" on the border with Israel.

This will be the first time detailed testimonies from IDF soldiers who served in the field have been submitted to the ICC.

My Truth founder Avichai Shorshon said, "We've decided to move from defense to offense."

Israel Hayom has seen some of the testimonies, which seek to change the court's approach toward Israel.

The soldiers' testimonies describe how Palestinian children are used as human shields and ambulances are used to transport weapons, as well as other war crimes.

One soldier who fought in Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014 describes how "while running, I turn around and see a kid, who I believe was around 10 years old, tied up. It looked like the kids completely lacked self-awareness and stood [by] nonchalantly as shells and missiles fell in the background."

The soldier said, "It could be that Hamas tied him up at that spot because there was something very specific in that building."

Israeli satellite intel firm: Syrian S-300 air defenses ‘probably operational’
An Israeli satellite imagery analysis company on Tuesday said Syria’s powerful S-300 air defense system was “probably operational,” indicating potential threat to Israel’s largely aerial campaign against Iran in the country.

The firm, ImageSat International, based this assessment on multiple images of the anti-aircraft battery, which showed three of its four launchers in a raised position, signaling that they are likely ready to be used by the Syrian military.

“The images of the three erected launchers at various times in Syria indicate that they are probably operational,” the firm wrote on its website.

The fourth launcher, which has not been seen in the raised position, does not appear to be operational, according to ISI.
Iran says it cannot rule out possibility of war with Israel
Iran’s foreign minister accused Israel of “adventurism” with its campaign of airstrikes against Iranian targets in Syria, and said he could not rule out the possibility that they could lead to a war between the Mideast arch-foes.

Speaking to the German Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, Mohammad Javad Zarif said Israel constantly violated Syrian and Lebanese sovereignty, while Iran was in Syria at the invitation of the Assad government.

Israel has carried out dozens of airstrikes against Iranian targets in Syria in a bid to prevent Iran from entrenching itself in the country and transferring advanced weapons to the Hezbollah terror group in Lebanon.

Zarif said the Israeli strikes could lead to war.

“There is adventurism on Israel’s side, and adventurism is always dangerous,” Zarif told the newspaper in an interview to be published on Thursday, according to Reuters.
German president lauds Iran on revolution that seeks Israel's destruction
The president of Germany Frank Walter-Steinmeier sent a congratulatory telegram to Iran's mullah regime in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Islamic revolution in the name of federal republic's citizens.

Germany's largest paper Bild reported on Wednesday "On the 40th anniversary of that day, friendly greetings from Berlin arrived in Tehran by telegram: the President of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier (63), sends 'Congratulations' on the occasion of the national holiday, 'also in the name of my compatriots."'

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday that the center "condemns German President’s congratulations to the most dangerous regime in the world, who are religious bigots, who hang Gays, and threaten genocide against Israel--home to the largest Jewish community in the world. When will he condemn their Holocaust denial?"

The congratulatory note to a regime that seeks the destruction of the Jewish state and the United States of America has raised eyebrows and unleashed criticism on social media. The prominent German-Iranian dissident and public intellectual Nasrin Amirsedghi wrote on her Twitter feed that "Steinmeier congratulates the Terror-Mullahs."

Bild wrote "Mass executions and torture; the brutal persecution of women, minorities, and the opposition; the installation of an Islamist terror state that threatens to annihilate Israel, that covers the Middle East with its militias, and that denies the Holocaust. All of this started in Iran on 11 February, 1979, the day of the 'Islamic Revolution,' when the mullahs seized power in Tehran."

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