Wednesday, February 27, 2019

From Ian:

Palestinians and the Disastrous Politics of Rage
Palestinian victimhood knows no reconciliation with Israel because central to identity politics is the conviction that permanent victim status must be maintained.

Palestinian identity politics hamstrings Palestinian aspirations for a better life. Grassroots criticism of the Palestinian leadership is disallowed because it threatens the collective Palestinian identity.

Failing to establish the institutions of a functioning state, Palestinian leaders turn to globetrotting in a look-busy-while-doing-nothing action plan of self-righteousness. They insist the world must come and save them.

Palestinians pluck the chords of European colonial guilt in order to receive generous aid, discouraging Palestinian self-agency and personal responsibility.

Palestinians routinely call for "days of rage," where the rage is an end in itself that fuels an identity predicated on victimhood.

The narrative of victimization loosens moral standards. When a Palestinian murders a Jew, it is explained and excused as "a natural outcome of the occupation." Ironically, Palestinians ignore just how racist their own narrative of victimization really is.

To maintain that any Israeli Jew is a fair target for murder simply because he is an Israeli Jew - is racist. To maintain that any Palestinian has license to murder simply because he is Palestinian - is racist.

Palestinian leaders will "keep the conversation going" about reconciliation interminably because of the capital they accrue with world leaders by doing so.

CAMERA Op-Ed: The Rise of Fatah, Fifty Years On
February 4, 2019 marked an important, albeit unheralded, date: the fiftieth anniversary of the ascension of Fatah in Palestinian politics. On Feb. 4, 1969, the movement’s founder, the Egyptian-born Yasser Arafat, was appointed chair of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). For most of the half century since, Fatah has dominated Palestinian affairs—with fateful consequences for the Middle East and beyond.

Arafat, his biographer Barry Rubin wrote, “succeeded at creating and remaining the leader of the globe’s longest-running revolutionary movement.” Yet both he and Fatah would also lead “his people into more disasters and defeats than any counterpart.”

It was a swift, but uneven, rise for both.

Arafat and about fifteen others founded Fatah on Oct. 10, 1959 in a private home in Kuwait. At the time, Arafat was an engineer working for Kuwait’s Department of Public Works. Most of his compatriots were young Palestinian students or workers employed in the country, which was then experiencing an oil boom and economic growth. They called themselves Harakat al-Tahrir al-Filastiniyya (Palestinian Liberation Movement), whose acronym reversed spells Fatah, which means “conquest.”

Arafat himself was deeply influenced by his time at King Fuad University in Cairo, where he received military training from Muslim Brotherhood members who were active on the campus. Arafat, Rubin records, would later seek “to play down his connections with the Brotherhood since it posed political problems” for him in future dealings with Arab nations that viewed the organization as a threat.

But the Muslim Brotherhood nevertheless influenced his ideology. Arafat and Fatah’s role models “did not come from Arab nationalist leaders or thinkers” like the Syrian or Iraqi Ba’athists or Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser, “but from the struggle of the early Muslims for whom only total victory over infidels and Crusaders was acceptable.” Indeed, as Rubin pointed out, Arafat’s chosen nom de guerre was Abu Ammar—in honor of a man the Palestinian leader described as “the first martyr of Islam.”
Caroline Glick vs. Donald Trump
Continuing his meet the candidate series, Gil Hoffman interviews New Right Knesset candidate and former Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick.

Two years after she was the keynote speaker at an influential pro-Trump rally in Jerusalem, Glick vows to “absolutely” be the opposition who stops the plan by pressuring Netanyahu to reject it.

She says she will be in the Knesset to prevent “the partition of Jerusalem and giving 90% of Judea and Samaria to terrorists,” because the plan is a “danger” and “antithetical to the US’s national security interests almost as much as it is to Israel’s.”

As a Knesset member, she promises to send that message to the Trump administration. Gil also reveals how he got the scoop on a rabbi who compared the views of an Israeli political party to Nazism.

Pakistan says it shot down two Indian air force jets, captured pilots
Pakistan’s military said Wednesday that it has two Indian pilots in custody, captured after the Pakistani air force shot down their plane on its side of the disputed region of Kashmir.

Earlier, a military spokesman said Pakistan had shot down two Indian Air Force planes in its airspace in Kashmir on Wednesday, with one of the planes coming down in Indian-held territory.

The military said the other Indian Air Force plane was downed on the Pakistani side of the Line of Control in Kashmir — a boundary separating the disputed Himalayan region between the nuclear armed neighbors.

The military’s spokesman, Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor, said one of the captured pilots was injured and was being treated in a military hospital. He did not elaborate on the pilot’s injuries. Ghafoor confirmed the second pilot is in custody.

He said the Indian pilots “are being treated well.” He made no mention of whether they would be returned to India.

Indian news reports said that airports in the Indian portion of Kashmir were closed to civilian traffic shortly after the air force jet crashed in the area.
India used Israeli arms for strike inside Pakistan — report
Israeli-made smart bombs were reportedly used by India in an airstrike on Pakistani jihadists across the volatile Kashmir border early Tuesday, in an attack that raised tensions between the two nuclear arch-rivals.

Indian Air Force planes bombed a militant camp inside Pakistani territory early Tuesday in retaliation for a suicide bombing in India-controlled Kashmir on February 14 that killed 40 Indian soldiers.

An Indian foreign ministry official claimed the strike in the town of Balakot killed “a very large number” of fighters of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militants India alleged were preparing more suicide attacks on India.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan rejected India’s claim, branding it “self serving, reckless and fictitious.”

Pakistan officials said that Indian warplanes did breach its airspace and drop a payload over Balakot in the country’s northwest, but said there was no damage or casualties.

The munitions used in the rare strike against targets deep inside Pakistan were Israeli-made SPICE 2000 smart bombs, the Indian news website The Week reported.

India’s ties with Israel have warmed in recent years, particularly in the area of military cooperation and weapons development, exchanging billions of dollars in defense contracts.
First pictures of Balakot terror camp out: US, UK, Israeli flags painted on stairs
A dossier released by intelligence agencies on today's Indian Air Force strike on terror camps in Pakistan has revealed interesting insights about the Balakot complex.

The Balakot terror camp was an important training centre for the Jaish-e-M and other terror organisations and it had several structures to accommodate terrorist trainees and facilities to train them.

Masood Azhar's relatives and cadres were trained at Balakot in advanced weapons and tactics and before the inception of JeM, the camp was also used by the Hizbul Mujahideen, the sources said.

The construction of the Balakot training centre was started in 2003-04 and Afghan war veterans, who have fought against Soviet Russia were recruited as trainers to provide military training to Pakistani youth.

The terror camp spreads over an area of around 6 acres in the forest of Balakot and has a capacity to hold more than 600 people.

Photos released by intelligence agencies show that amid the several features of the Balakot terror camp were staircases painted with the images of flags of US, UK and Israel -- countries considered to be the enemy by Islamic terrorist organisations.

Iran VP invited onto UNHRC panel, Hillel Neuer responds
When Yemen, Russia, Qatar, Turkey and other dictatorships told lies at the 2019 opening of the UN Human Rights Council — and when Iran's Vice-President was the only country delegate in the world invited to the dais to address a high-level panel — UN Watch's Hillel Neuer took the floor to call out the world body's perversion of its founding principles.

Anti-Semitism in Venezuela: Maduro Regime Traffics in Hateful Conspiracies
As the political crisis continues in Venezuela, the hardline regime of Nicolas Maduro, whose power is currently being challenged, is promoting hateful anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and allegations of Jewish or “Zionist” plots to take over the government.

As declared interim President Juan Guaidó – whose bid to take over the government is supported by more than 50 countries – challenges Maduro’s power, the resulting political, social and economic instability has created a ripe climate for conspiracy theories about Jews to flourish.

The fact that these conspiracy theories are emerging now is not surprising, given the country’s long history of leaders, including late President Hugo Chavez and his followers, scapegoating Israel and using Jews as a political tool. ADL has closely monitored the anti-Semitic rhetoric emanating from the government since 2006.

In the current crisis, Maduro and members of his government have invoked anti-Semitic tropes, including conspiracies of U.S. and “Zionist” control of Guaidó. Most recently, in a February 13 interview in al-Mayadeen, a Lebanese media outlet affiliated with Hezbollah, Maduro charged that Guaidó’s inner circle was full of CIA agents serving “American and Zionist” interests. He further indicated that Venezuela and his government remain closely aligned with the Palestinian cause.

Allegations and conspiracy theories of Jewish/Zionist intervention in the Venezuelan crisis are widely propagated by Maduro supporters. Here’s a sampling of such rhetoric from the first two months of 2019:

GOP lawmakers introduce bill recognizing Israeli sovereignty in Golan Heights
Republican members of Congress have introduced a bill that would recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

The bill has no Democratic cosponsors and has not received the backing of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee– nor of the Trump administration, which remained silent on the bill on Wednesday.

But Israeli officials in recent months have pushed for US recognition of sovereignty over the territory, which Israel seized from Syria in 1967, ever since US President Donald Trump took the step of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital one year ago.

Trump administration officials have privately asked their Israeli counterparts to quiet that lobbying campaign. But GOP members of Congress have now taken up the mantle, pushing forward with a bicameral bill despite Democratic control in the House.

Senators Ted Cruz of Texas, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin put forward the measure, stating: "The United States has been committed for over 40 years to ensuring Israel’s security from attacks emanating from across the Golan Heights. The threat Iran poses to America and Israel requires acknowledging the reality of Israel’s control over the territory as a matter of national security."
Travel ban should be issued against Israeli settlers- Palestinian FM
The international community should issue a travel ban against Israelis who live over the pre-1967 lines as part of an overall boycott of settlers and settlements, Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki told the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday.

There should be a “ban on direct and indirect dealings with the illegal settlements. Practical measures are necessary against settlers to prevent their access or transit through your esteemed countries,” Malki said. He spoke on the second day of the high level portion of the UNHRC’s 40th session, which opened on February 25 and ends on March 22.

During the session, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is expected to publish its controversial database of companies doing business with Israeli entities located over the pre-1967 lines in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

Israel has worked behind the scenes to delay and or thwart its publication.

“We call upon the High Commissioner to issue the database of the companies which are operating in the settlements,” Malki said.
David Singer: Israel Elections Should Send Clear Message to Trump, PLO, EU and UN
Israeli voters at the forthcoming elections on 9 April should be given the opportunity to send President Trump, the PLO, EU and UN a clear message on what they want to see happening in Judea Samaria and East Jerusalem (West Bank) and Gaza – the last 5 per cent of the territory comprised in the Mandate for Palestine where sovereignty remains unresolved between Jews and Arabs (“disputed territories”).

For this to happen - all political parties need to state in clear and unambiguous terms what their policies in relation to the disputed territories will be if they form part of the next Government.

The options and the choices are many – and include:
* Continuing to press for a negotiated “two-state solution” – the creation of an Arab State – in addition to Jordan – in all or part of the disputed territories
* Annexing all or part of the disputed territories
* Creating Jordanian enclaves in all or part of the disputed territories
* Maintaining the status quo without any further negotiations
* Redrawing the international borders between Israel, Jordan and Egypt

Co-head of the frontrunner Blue and White Party – Benny Gantz – needs to do better than stating:
“The main question is that of security. It [the Government] needs to ensure the State of Israel's security. Now, there's a question of interest here. We — and Netanyahu said this in his Bar-Ilan speech (a 2009 address in which the prime minister backed Palestinian statehood) — are not looking to control anyone else. We need to find a way in which we're not controlling other people.”

Is Gantz talking about the Arab populations in the disputed territories? 95 per cent of the Arab population in Judea and Samaria is under PLO control. 100 per cent of Gaza’s Arabs-only population is under Hamas control. East Jerusalem Arabs are under Israel’s control.

Gantz must articulate his plan for ending what he sees as Israel’s control of other people.
Jared Kushner Interview on U.S. Peace Plan
"We've focused on the following four principles that we've used in which to create the plan. The first principle is to have freedom. We want people to be able to have the freedom of opportunity, the freedom of religion, the freedom to worship, regardless of your faith. Respect: we want all people to have dignity and to respect each other.

Opportunity: we want people to be able to better their lives and not allow their grandfather's conflict to hijack their children's future. And the final one is security."

"We've focused on...what's holding back the Palestinian people from achieving their full potential and what's holding back the Israeli people from being able to properly integrate with the whole region."

"Every time there is a terror attack in the West Bank, the people who are the most fearful are the 160,000 workers who cross over into Israel every day because they don't want their flow restricted. All the terror attacks from Gaza have eliminated a lot of the workers coming from Gaza into Israel where they would work and get along and do very well."
Gabbay reveals regional Mideast peace plan
Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay, who avoided the diplomatic issue until his party fell in the polls, outlined a new diplomatic plan of his party on Wednesday at a press conference at the party’s Tel Aviv headquarters.

The plan calls for a regional solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict with relatively moderate Arab countries and the creation of a demilitarized Palestinian state. The plan was purposely announced after US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner revealed details of the plan that he has been working on for the president.

“The Trump plan will be the central diplomatic challenge before the new government that will be formed after the election,” Gabbay said. “This timing is an opportunity to talk about our views and our plan for the most important issues for the future and security of the State of Israel.”

Gabbay’s plan is called “Paths to Separation.” He said that it is intended to reverse the direction Israel has been heading in under right-wing governments.

“As long as we continue implementing the vision of [New Right leader Naftali] Bennett and building outside the settlement blocs, we are making the problem worse and unilaterally undermining and preventing separation. To stop this dangerous pattern, we promise to have the government define its settlement blocs and stop building outside of them immediately after the next government is formed.”
Bennett accuses Trump of ‘planning a Palestinian state right over our heads’
New Right chair Naftali Bennett launched a direct assault on Donald Trump Wednesday morning, accusing the US president of “planning a Palestinian state right over our heads,” and calling on him to release his closely guarded Middle East peace plan before Israel’s April elections.

‎‏”We all know the ‘deal of the century’ will be launched right after the Israeli elections, but we, the Israelis, are in the dark about the plan itself,” Bennett said in English-language comments during an address at a conference for local government in Tel Aviv.

While calling Trump “a true friend to Israel,” Bennett added that “friends do not keep secrets one from another.” The comment could be seen as a thinly veiled swipe at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has held talks with administration officials regarding Trump’s proposal, and whose Likud party is vying for the same voters Bennett’s New Right is aiming to win.

“It seems that everybody is in the loop, planning the Palestinian state right over our heads: the Americans, the Saudi prince, the Palestinians, the Jordanian king — even Erdogan of Turkey, blatant anti-Semite! Even he’s in the loop!” Bennett charged. “Everybody’s in the picture. Everybody but us, the people of Israel.”

In a wry parody of Moses’s biblical demand that Pharaoh release the Israelites from slavery, Bennett declared: “President Trump, let my people know.”
Dershowitz: Indicting PM would open Pandora's box
A decision to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on corruption charges in Case 2,000 would "endanger democracy and freedom of the press," Professor Alan Dershowitz wrote in an open letter to Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit on Tuesday.

Dershowitz, one of the most prominent Jewish lawyers in the United States and in the world, posted the letter on his Twitter page.

"Such charges would open up a Pandora's box out of which would flow a parade of horribles: Every government official – legislators, judges, prosecutors, police offices, administrators – who sought positive coverage in the media, and then did anything that helped the media, would have to be investigated," Dershowitz wrote.

In Case 2,000, Netanyahu allegedly supported a law that would curtail Israel Hayom to gain fairer coverage from its competitor Yedioth Ahronoth in a deal struck with its publisher Arnon "Noni" Mozes. Netanyahu ultimately voted against the law, leaving prosecutors to deal with possible motives but no real evidence.
Netanyahu in Moscow tells Putin Israel will continue hitting Iran in Syria
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russian President Vladimir Putin that Israel will continue to take action against Iran in Syria, in the first significant meeting between the two since a major spat developed over a downed spy plane last year.

“The greatest threat to stability and security in the region comes from Iran and its proxies,” Netanyahu said. “We are determined to continue our aggressive activity against Iran, which calls for our destruction, and against its attempts to establish itself militarily in Syria.”

Israel and Russia have been at odds since September, when Syrian air defenses shot down a Russian reconnaissance plane while aiming at an Israeli jet that was targeting an alleged Iranian installation. The incident, which Moscow blamed Israel for, threatened to hamper Israel’s air campaign against Iranian entrenchment in Syria.

Netanyhau had credited his close ties with Putin for the success of a system allowing Israel to carry out strikes in Syria without becoming entangled with Russia, which is allied with Syria’s President Bashar Assad, but those ties reportedly took a hit in the wake of the spy plane incident.

On Wednesday, Netanyahu again credited the system in place between Israel and Russia.

“I have counted 11 meetings between us since September 2016,” Netanyahu told Putin at the start of the meeting. “The direct link between us is the deconfliction mechanism that prevented conflict between our armies and contributed to security and stability in the region.”
Soldier critically hurt in shooting moved to rehab, still unconscious
A soldier critically injured in a West Bank shooting attack in December was transferred to a rehabilitation center Wednesday, but remains unconscious, a health official said.

Netanal Felber suffered severe gunshot wounds to his head during the attack by a Palestinian gunman at a bus stop near the Givat Assaf settlement outpost on December 13.

He was rushed to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem, where he underwent surgery and has been treated ever since. Currently stable, he will now undergo rehabilitation treatment, though it remains unclear if he will regain consciousness, a hospital spokesperson said.

Felber’s family moved to Israel from the United States over a decade ago.

Two other soldiers were killed in the attack. Several people were injured, and most have since recovered.

In the attack, a Palestinian terrorist opened fire at the bus stop near Givat Assaf, killing two soldiers who have been identified as Staff Sgt. Yovel Mor Yosef, 20, and Sgt. Yosef Cohen, 19.
Shin Bet arrests Zakariya Zubeidi, 'symbol of the Intifada'
Several Palestinians, including the former commander of Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade were arrested Wednesday morning on suspicion of involvement in severe and recent terror activity, Israel’s Shin Bet security agency said.

Zakariya Zubeidi and Tarek Barguth, an attorney from East Jerusalem with a blue identity card, were arrested in a joint IDF, Shin Bet and Israel Police operation and transferred to the Shin Bet for further questioning.

According to a report by Channel 13, Zubeidi was arrested in his home north of the West Bank city of Ramallah.

While Zubeidi, who was once considered a "symbol of the Intifada,” renounced militancy over a decade ago, according to the report by Channel 13 he was arrested following intelligence that he was planning a serious attack in the West Bank.

Zubeidi was awarded clemency by Israel after he agreed to give up arms

In a 2009 interview with Palestinian Maan News, Zubeidi said that Palestinian resistance could coexists alongside negotiating with Israel, saying that “this resistance is not defined yet. It could be armed resistance and it could be peaceful resistance.”

In 2012, Zubeidi was arrested by the Palestinian Authority, being accused of “collaboration” with Israel and killing Israeli Arab filmmaker Juliano Mar-Khamis. Zubeidi denied the charges and said that he was tortured and kept under inhumane conditions in the PA's prison in Jericho.
IDF probe of Gaza riots reveals nearly 1,500 rockets fired since March 30
The IDF has released a document detailing the year-long Great March of Return protests along the Gaza border, including new details that have not been previously released.

The Great March of Return protests began on March 30th and has seen thousands of Gazans violently demonstrating along the security fence with Israel, demanding an end to the 12-year long blockade.

According to the military, over a half million people have attended the protests since they began, with the number of Palestinians congregating at points along the border between several thousand to 45,000 each day. The rioters are provided with electricity, free wireless Internet and network connections, as well as food and drink by Hamas.

During the violent protests, Gazans have been burning tires and hurling stones and marbles as well as throwing of grenades and improvised explosive devices (including military-grade explosives) toward IDF troops. Ball bearings and other projectiles have also been hurled by protesters, often by using high-velocity slingshots.

In addition, mines and booby-trapped explosive devices with delayed detonation devices are also laid along the fence during the riots under the cover of smoke and crowds and “pose a direct threat to the lives and safety of IDF forces operating in the border area,” the military said.
IDF Wraps Up Major Surprise Exercise Simulating Gaza War With Hamas
A major surprise IDF exercise that simulated a war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip came to an end on Tuesday.

The Hebrew news site Mako reported that the exercise involved infantry, armor, artillery, communications and intelligence units, as well as the air force. The exercise emphasized movement between multiple fronts, army readiness and ability, and coordination between different military branches.

The maneuvers simulated combat conditions in urban areas, night operations, and coordination between armored personnel carriers, tanks, and infantry.

The exercise did not come completely out of the blue, as it is traditional for new IDF chiefs of staff to call a surprise exercise during their early months in office to demonstrate continuity of military readiness. Current IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi assumed the office on Jan. 15.
Israel to dramatically shorten East Jerusalemites’ path to citizenship – report
Israel is reportedly moving to make it easier for Arab residents of East Jerusalem to receive citizenship, aiming to shorten the process from the current four-six years at best, to one year.

Since Israel captured East Jerusalem during the Six Day War in 1967 and subsequently claimed sovereignty there, it has formally offered residents living in that area the option to apply for Israeli citizenship. Until around a decade ago, very few did, as the vast majority identified, and still do identify, as Palestinian.

Recent years, however, have seen a surge in the number of East Jerusalemites seeking Israeli citizenship, but the majority of those applications have yet to be processed.

The process of naturalization for East Jerusalemites, when successful, takes an average of more than four years, and often as many as six. Just to receive an appointment to begin the process takes up to three years.
PA TV: “Our Martyrs and prisoners are the source of our glory and pride”
TRANSCRIPT: Official PA TV newsreader: "Our Martyrs and prisoners are the source of our glory and pride. They are more honorable than all of us… This was said by… President Mahmoud Abbas: 'If we have only one penny left, we will give it to the families of the Martyrs and the prisoners.'" [Official PA TV, News, Feb. 18, 2019] The PA TV newsreader responded to a decision by the Israeli Parliament on Feb. 17, 2019 to implement the deduction law:

PA minister: “We won’t… accept any partial amount of the tax money” if Israel deducts from it
TRANSCRIPT: PA Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Riyad Al-Malki: "It was agreed yesterday in a meeting with His Honor the President [Abbas] to send an official message to the Israeli side, according to which we will not agree to accept any partial amount of the tax money that is to be officially transferred to the Palestinian side. This message has been conveyed to the Israeli side in a clear manner." [Official PA TV, News, Feb. 21, 2019]

PA Minister of Finance explains pay cuts: Terrorists keep a full salary, but others must sacrifice
Press conference by PA Minister of Foreign Affairs Al-Malki and PA Minister of Finance Bishara PA Minister of Finance Shukri Bishara: :Our leadership’s decision is that if [Israel] deducts [even] a penny we will not accept the tax money... [The public employees receiving] 2,000 [shekels] are secure 100%. [Those receiving] an additional 1,000 [will be paid] at a rate of 60%-70%... Those who will sacrifice in this equation are those whose salaries are higher. We want to preserve the lower salaries. We will have a single standard for the whole society. The private sector – at the least we will not stop its solvency. The pensioners – we will protect their pensions 100%. The prisoners and released prisoners – 100%. Those are the instructions of the President and the leadership – and we will not disappoint them on this matter. We do not want to delude you, we [stand] before difficulties." [Official PA TV, Feb. 21, 2019]

Hamas Political Bureau Member: Schools Will Teach Gaza's Children How to Liberate Palestine
On February 19, 2019, Hamas Political Bureau member Fathi Hammad said that the Arab regimes that have normalized relations with Israel will be "buried in the trash heaps of history" alongside the Jews, who are Allah's enemies. He said that the children of Gaza will be taught how to liberate their land in the kindergartens, elementary schools, and he praised one million of Gaza's "children" for having "enrolled" in a national, Islamic, Jihadi, religious "course" that included "fence-breaking and confrontation." Hammad called on the youth of Palestine and Gaza to join the mujahideen and the Al-Quds and Al-Qassam Brigades. Of February 22, 2019, Hammad said that the Palestinians will cleanse Palestine of the filth of the Zionist enemy and that they will stop only at martyrdom and victory. He then joined a chant of: "With our souls and blood we will redeem you, oh Al-Aqsa!" Fathi's statements on both occasions were aired on Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas/Gaza).

MEMRI: Lebanese Daily 'Al-Akhbar' Responds To UK's Designation Of All Of Hizbullah – i.e. Its Political Wing Too – As Terrorist: Lebanon Is Hostile Territory For British Representatives, They Are Not Wanted Here
On February 25, 2019, the British government rescinded its previous distinction between Hizbullah's political and military wings and declared Hizbullah in its entirety a terrorist organization.[1] In 2001, Britain classified Hizbullah's external operations unit a terrorist organization, and in 2008 it did the same for Hizbullah's military wing.

One possible consequence of this move is that the Lebanese government, of which Hizbullah is a member, will be subject to British sanctions. However, Lebanese Prime Minister S'ad Al-Hariri, who heads the anti-Hizbullah March 14 Forces, sought to downplay the British decision's importance, stressing that Lebanon-UK relations must be preserved. He stated: "We believe that this [decision] pertains to Britain and not to Lebanon. What interests us is that our relations remain unharmed... We must build optimal relations with everyone. This is the foundation for Lebanon's future and for its [national] interest."[2]

In contrast, Hizbullah's Lebanese allies, who are part of the March 8 Forces, rejected Britain's decision. Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil emphasized that Lebanon would continue to support Hizbullah, stating: "Even if the entire world calls the resistance terrorism, it won't make the Lebanese see it as terrorism.. As long as the land is occupied, both the state institutions and the entire Lebanese people will continue to embrace the resistance." He added that Britain's move would not negatively impact Lebanon because "we are accustomed to this [situation] with other countries."[3] Additionally, Lebanese deputy parliamentary speaker Elie Ferzli, also of the March 8 Forces, rejected the decision: "Will we, the Lebanese, agree when the political wing of the resistance that liberated Lebanon from Israeli occupation and that continues to deter this enemy from attacking Lebanon is designated as terrorist?"[4]
JCPA: Iran’s President Rejects Foreign Minister Zarif’s Resignation
Rouhani also wrote that he was “completely aware of the pressures on the foreign ministry, the government, and even the president, who was elected by the people.” He added, “We will remain loyal until the end, just as we swore to Allah and the nation, and I am sure that we will manage to overcome this difficult stage with the help of Allah.”

Zarif had announced his resignation in a late-night Instagram post on February 25. The next day, the president’s chief of staff and the spokesman for the Foreign Ministry issued statements saying that Rouhani had rejected the decision.

The rejection of Zarif’s resignation and the backing he and his ministry received from the president do not necessarily foretell the turning of a new leaf in relations between the foreign ministry and the Revolutionary Guard and conservative elements. These influential players are continuing to promote the revolutionary agenda at home and in the international and regional arena. The foreign ministry, in particular, and the president’s office, in general, will continue with their rearguard battle against these elements until the next crisis.

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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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