Wednesday, May 15, 2019

From Ian:

The Gaza Conundrum Israel has many options, none good
The IDF’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) currently facilitates the entry of thousands of truckloads of goods to enter the Gaza Strip every day, even as a military blockade remains in place to block dual-use materials and sophisticated weaponry from the Gaza Strip. In other words, Israel has two policies. One is to isolate Hamas, and the other is to allow services to be rendered to the Gazan people.

Israel, for the sake of calm, has even engaged with the Turks and the Qataris, despite both countries’ avowed anti-Zionism and support for Hamas. It has permitted them to provide funds and other assistance to the coastal enclave. Gaza’s suffering continues, however, because Hamas continues to divert funds for commando tunnels, rockets, and other tools of war. And under Hamas rule, there is not much political space to challenge these policies. Anti-Israel sentiment is the only permissible form of protest. This has only served to further radicalize a population that has for years been fed a steady diet of hate.

The Israelis since 2007, along with the Egyptians since 2013, have endeavored to reshape the political landscape in Gaza. This is the first and best choice from Israel’s perspective. But so far, they have failed. The viable alternatives to Hamas are the sclerotic Palestinian Authority, radical Salafi groups, and Iran-backed PIJ. There could be others, such as the supporters of Mohammed Dahlan, the former Gaza strongman who went into exile in the UAE after the Hamas military takeover in 2007. But we know little about Dahlan’s ability to organize politically, or whether Gaza would reject his transplanted leadership after so many years away, like an artificial heart.

The obvious alternative to all of this is re-occupation. This would be deeply unpopular in Israel. It’s unthinkable to many. Of course, the Israelis controlled Gaza from 1967 until 2005. The Israelis never coordinated their departure with Palestinian counterparts, and it looked as if they were pulling out under fire from Hamas rockets and other attacks. This perception contributed in part to the Hamas electoral victory in 2006. That election led to the political standoff that gave way to the civil war in which Hamas overtook the Gaza Strip in 2007.

Fourteen years after the Gaza withdrawal, the rockets are still falling. Twelve years after Hamas took power, the group remains entrenched. Eight years after the deployment of Iron Dome, the Israelis are arguably safer, but they are back where they’ve always been: on the Gaza border, mulling their next move.

Noah Rothman: Who Really Wants a War in the Middle East?
According to the intelligence that prompted this latest buildup of U.S. forces in the region, the only party that wants a conflict is the Iranian regime. Tehran’s objective “is to prod the United States into a miscalculation or overreaction,” the Times reported. American officials are reportedly aware that Iran’s objective is to force the U.S. to execute a limited strike on Iranian targets while avoiding an all-out ground campaign the regime would not survive, thereby whipping up anti-American sentiment and increases internal political cohesion now strained by economic hardship.

You don’t have to take the White House’s word for it. On Monday, the White House got the casus belli it is supposedly spoiling for. According to the U.S. assessment, Iran or its proxy forces were responsible for an assault on two Saudi oil tankers, a United Arab Emirates tanker, and a Norwegian-flagged vessel anchored in UAE waters. A team of Iranian-linked saboteurs allegedly used explosives to blow large holes in the hulls of these ships below the waterline, taking them out of commission and causing global oil prices to spike by 2 percent. The threat to international commerce and global maritime navigation posed by this attack is more than enough to justify a retaliatory response, but the Trump administration’s reaction has been restrained.

Those who accuse the Trump administration of engineering a military confrontation with Iran are asking you to ignore your own eyes and ears in service to their conspiracy theory. No president would disregard an imminent threat to U.S. interests and personnel. The attack on four ships in the UAE suggests that threat is real and urgent. It more than justifies the White House’s efforts to deter further provocations of the sort the West would have no choice but to respond to with proportionate force.

If there is to be war, it would mean the end of the administration’s efforts to undermine the Iranian regime from within—a prospect administration officials are telling anyone willing to listen that they want to avoid. It must be a source of frustration that so few of their critics seem to care. They much prefer a simpler narrative in which the tyrannical and terroristic Iranian regime is the victim—all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.
JCPA: The Real Catastrophe for the Palestinians
By all measurements, the situation of the Palestinians in the West Bank, and definitely in Israel, is much better than in any Arab country.

The essential fact is that there are Arab Knesset members. The Israeli Knesset is the only parliament in the world where there is a conspicuous and proud representation of Palestinian parliamentarians. They do not have such representation in Jordan or even in Ramallah or Gaza. Only beneath a picture of Theodore Herzl and the Israeli flag in the Israeli parliament can Palestinian parliamentarians speak and act freely – some Israelis complain too freely – and even in defiance.

Secondly, Israel is the only country in the Middle East that absorbed refugees fully. It is not well known, but there are Palestinian refugees from the villages that were abandoned during the war, who were absorbed into other towns and villages in Israel. Israel has given them full citizenship, and they are citizens with equal rights who can vote for the Knesset. Jordan also granted Palestinians citizenship, but not complete. There is no statistical data on this, but most Jordanian citizens of Palestinian origin are not allowed to vote for the Jordanian parliament, which is far from representative of the true numbers of Palestinians among the population.

Finally, in these times, a real Nakba is taking place, but not in Israel.

Flawed BBC Documentary Proves Israeli Narrative Right
One Day in Gaza addresses all of these in context, giving people a platform to speak in their own words. It allowed Israeli Adele Raemer to show Israelis are “on edge” and anxious about Israel being invaded. The film demonstrates that some of the Palestinians involved in the protests were potentially violent and extremist, with one young protester sharing his thoughts from the night before the march: “We’re going in, we’ll cross the fence. We’re going in and we’ll give them hell,” and another who speaks openly about his fantasy to “rip a Jew’s head off.”

Israel has long held that the protesters acted as human shields for more violent elements, sometimes willingly. During the program, numerous women spoke and children openly admit their role in enabling terrorists and rioters to get closer to the border: “We line up like a human shield so the men could advance further,” says one Gazan woman. Another tells viewers that previously, “some of us distracted the Israelis with stones and Molotov Cocktails” before cutting the fence.

Similarly, the program showed a Hamas official admitting that, at one location at least, Israeli shooting only commenced as a direct response to armed Palestinians firing on IDF soldiers, finally laying to rest the myth that all of these Palestinian protesters were unarmed innocents and Israel had attacked without cause. Gazan interviewees also reveal that the demonstrations, which originally were grassroots were infiltrated and co-opted by the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists groups.

For all this, the program should be praised. However, it was not without its flaws.

Censoring Palestinian antisemitism
The film demonstrated that some of the Palestinians involved in the protests were potentially violent and extremist. A Gazan boy says “the revolutionary songs excite you, they encourage you… to rip a Jew’s head off.” However, instead of translating the Arabic word for Jew, ‘Yahud,’ accurately, the translation is inaccurately rendered, and replaced with a more sterile one – Israeli, thus minimizing antisemitism.
BBC Two’s ‘One Day in Gaza’ adheres to existing BBC practice
The BBC has responded to the criticism as follows:
“A BBC spokesperson said: “We sought expert advice on the translation before broadcast and we believe the translation of ‘Yehudi’ as ‘Israeli’ in this documentary is both accurate and true to the speakers’ intentions.””

As regular readers will know, the issue of the BBC translating the word ‘Yahud’ as ‘Israeli’ is far from new. When it arose in a report by Jon Donnison in 2013 the then BBC Trust responded to a complaint concerning the mistranslation with the ruling:
“that it was not the case that only a literal translation would have met audience expectation for due accuracy.

that no interpretation of the editorial guidelines requires content producers to make direct word-for-word translations without also taking account of relevant context.”

The issue arose again in July 2015 in a film made by Lyse Doucet.
“A BBC documentary has substituted the word “Israelis” for “Jews” in its translation of interviews with Palestinians, its maker has admitted. […]

The BBC’s chief international correspondent said that Gazan translators had advised her that Palestinian children interviewed on the programme who refer to “the Jews” actually meant Israelis.”

Later the same month, another programme translated the word ‘Yahud’ as ‘soldiers’ but complaints concerning both those programmes were dismissed and the 2013 ruling was cited.

Michael R. Pompeo and David Friedman: International Law Backs The Trump Golan Policy
President Trump's recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights is entirely consistent with UN Security Council Resolution 242 of 1967.

Resolution 242 calls on the parties to negotiate a just and lasting peace that recognizes the right of all countries, including Israel, to live "within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force."

It provides that Israel would withdraw from some - but not necessarily all - territory captured in 1967 in keeping with that objective.

Some of Israel's former enemies pursued peace in good faith, and Israel has withdrawn from more than 88% of the territory it captured in 1967.

Syria is a different story. In word and deed, Damascus has for 52 years rejected the negotiating framework of Resolution 242. It has maintained a state of war with Israel since 1948. It is a client of Iran and one of the most brutal regimes on earth.

By affirming Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights, the president has afforded Israel the only secure and recognized boundary that can exist under the circumstances - the objective of Resolution 242.
Saudi paper urges Palestinians to consider Trump peace plan
The editor-in-chief of a Saudi newspaper on Wednesday urged Palestinians to keep an open mind toward a Mideast plan being devised by President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner.

Faisal Abbas wrote in the Arab News on Wednesday that while the cards have been stacked against the Palestinians, Kushner’s plan just may reverse the situation and make peace more possible.

The Trump administration has not shared details on the plan and has consistently dismissed reported leaks as mere speculation that are both inaccurate and misleading. U.S. officials have recently indicated the plan will likely be released only after June 10.

The Saudi paper’s column ran as Palestinians hold protests to mark the 71st anniversary of the “nakba,” or “catastrophe,” which commemorates displacement of some Palestinians during the war that led to Israel’s creation.
Giving Hamas More Territory Won’t Bring Peace, or Cure Gaza’s Woes
Over the past few years, voices inside Israel have floated the idea of convincing Egypt to relinquish a strip of land on the western coast of the Sinai that could be joined to Gaza in order to create a geographically and economically viable Palestinian state. Notable among such Israelis is Benjamin Anthony, the head of a prominent organization of veterans of the Second Lebanon War. Anthony has succeeded in persuading a number of retired IDF officers to endorse this plan, which he has dubbed the New State Solution (NSS). But, argue Gregg Roman and Cynthia Farahat, the plan has little chance of succeeding:

The failed Oslo process showed that granting land to an undefeated enemy of Israel leads only to more violence if rejectionist incitement is allowed to flourish at the societal level. Why would a greater Gazan state fare any better? Because, the proponents say, what Palestinians really need is breathing space. . . . Instead of land-locked, resource-poor holdings in dreary old Judea and Samaria, the Palestinians would get “miles of beautiful, Mediterranean coastline . . . no less inviting than that of Tel-Aviv.” . . .

But that’s the Oslo Accords repackaged: give Palestinians self-rule with international aid to spur economic development, and soon the ranks of extremists will dwindle. If that were true, we wouldn’t be where we are today. It isn’t lack of space or resources that keeps most Palestinians poor; it’s bad governance and the rejectionism that sustains it. . . . The proposed state, which would be “fully sovereign . . . with the freedom to defend itself,” is sure to be dominated by Islamists, and its establishment likely would fuel Islamism among Palestinians in the West Bank, who would be granted absentee citizenship, residency rights where they presently reside, and little else. . .

All of this is academic, however, because there’s no evidence that President Sisi (or any other conceivable Egyptian ruler) would be willing to donate a major chunk of Sinai—hallowed ground for which thousands of Egyptian soldiers died fighting.

Granting more land to Hamas will not change the vision of many Palestinians to eradicate Israel; it will energize the Islamists.
European Union to Review Palestinian Textbooks for Incitement to Hatred, Violence
The European Union will review whether Palestinian Authority textbooks promote hatred and violence, the bloc’s foreign policy chief said late last month.

The “comprehensive” academic study will “be carried out by an independent and internationally recognised research institute,” with plans to begin at an unspecified date this spring, Federica Mogherini announced in an April 24 statement.

Its Terms of Reference were “currently being prepared with a view to identifying possible incitement to hatred and violence and any possible lack of compliance” with peace and tolerance standards laid out by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), she added. “Necessary funds have been reserved in the 2019 budget.”

“Incitement to violence is fundamentally incompatible with advancing a peaceful two-state solution and is greatly exacerbating mistrust between the communities,” Mogherini noted.

The PA has faced continued criticism over its educational curriculum, with the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), a Jerusalem-based watchdog, campaigning on the issue among European lawmakers. A 2018 report by the group found that grade 1-12 PA textbooks routinely describe Israel as the “Zionist Occupation,” refer to UN-recognized Israeli territory as Palestinian, and in some cases praise acts of Palestinian violence against civilians.
Ruthie Blum: A particularly happy anniversary
One year ago, on May 14, 2018, the United States officially relocated its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Although the move could be viewed as merely the fulfillment of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, which also recognized Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel, it was received by supporters and opponents alike with amazement.

Three previous administrations – those of U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama – had opted to invoke and repeatedly renew the law’s six-month waiver of application on “national security” grounds.

In June 2017, a few months after he assumed office, U.S. President Donald Trump also signed the six-month waiver, which he renewed after recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December. In Feb. 2018, however, he announced that the embassy would finally be relocated.

That he kept this promise was shocking in and of itself, particularly to Israelis, who had grown accustomed to eight long years of a hostile Obama White House.

The timing of the embassy inauguration ceremony, which coincided with Israel’s 70th birthday, was also of great significance in that it was the Trump administration’s way of demonstrating its unapologetic pro-Israel stance.
PM hails 'indispensable alliance' with US at event marking one-year to embassy move
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed Israel’s ties with the United States at an event marking the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Embassy’s relocation to Jerusalem, Tuesday.

Netanyahu applauded U.S. President Donald Trump for his “historic’ decision, while criticizing the international community for not recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman also hailed Trump’s decision to move the embassy, while dismissing any connection between border violence in the Gaza Strip and the inauguration of the embassy in Jerusalem last year.

“Of course there was violence that day in Gaza, but there had been violence a month before that in Gaza, and it had nothing to do with the opening of the embassy. It had to do with relations between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas,” Friedman said.

“We have done something that hasn’t been [seen] for a really long time. We have created a new shrine in the ancient city of Jerusalem, and we’re extremely proud of it,” the he said.
Netanyahu on One-Year Anniversary of US Embassy Move
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed Israel's ties with the United States in Tuesday, marking the one-year anniversary of the US embassy move to Jerusalem. Netanyahu applauded Trump for his "historic' decision, but lashed out at the international community for not recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital. US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, also hailed Trump's decision to move the embassy, while dismissing any connection between border violence in Gaza and the inauguration of the embassy in Jerusalem last year.

Trump hails anniversary of embassy relocation to Jerusalem
One year after the United States moved its embassy to Jerusalem, President Donald Trump heralded the decision as a sign of the strong US-Israel relationship.

Trump referenced the anniversary in a tweet Tuesday, calling it “a proud reminder of our strong relationship with Israel and of the importance of keeping a promise and standing for the truth.”

Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6, 2017 and moved the embassy into the building formerly housing the US consulate in Jerusalem on May 14, 2018. The move was timed to coincide with the English anniversary of Israel’s founding in 1948.

The decision to move the embassy, and what Trump says was a bargain-basement price he got for the building, is a fixture at his campaign rallies, where it has proven popular with his evangelical Christian base.

The Jerusalem municipality marked the date by projecting Israeli and American flags onto the walls of the Old City.
Embassy is a ‘new shrine’ in ancient Jerusalem, US envoy says on 1st anniversary
Israel is on God’s side, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said Tuesday at an event celebrating the one-year anniversary of the US embassy’s opening in Jerusalem, which he described as a “new shrine” that deeply moved tourists to flock to en masse.

“Israel has one secret weapon that not too many countries have: Israel is on the side of God. And we don’t underestimate that,” Friedman said at the gala event in the capital attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“We have done something that has not been in quite some time: We have created a new shrine in the ancient city of Jerusalem, and we’re extremely proud of it,” he told a capacity crowd in the ballroom of the David Citadel hotel.

“What I get perhaps the greatest satisfaction from is not watching people coming in to change their passports or get their visas or engage in diplomatic or commercial issues. But what I really get a kick out of are the tourists who come to visit the embassy,” Friedman said.
Did Trump's Jerusalem Embassy Move Help Peace Prospects?
Trump moved the embassy under the pretense that the Palestinians had to recognize 'a reality' — one which dictates that the city belongs to Israel. Did this move help advance the peace process in the long run? Mitvim Institute Director of Development Gayle Meyers and Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security founder Eran Lerman debate.

PA files 'indictment' in ICC against U.S. over embassy move
The Palestinian Authority said on Wednesday that it has filed an “indictment” with the International Criminal Court in the Hague against the US for moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The “indictment” was submitted to the court by PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki on the first anniversary of the embassy relocation.

“One year after the (US President Donald) Trump administration carried out its provocative and illegal action, the State of Palestine continues to seek justice and accountability through the tools and mechanisms available to law-abiding and respecting States within the international system, Malki said in a statement published by the PA’s official news agency Wafa.

“The State of Palestine will continue to employ all available legal and diplomatic tools to defend the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people against all illegal acts of aggression and shall not surrender to political bullying and extortion.”

The submission of the “indictment” to the international court, Malki said, “comes as a continuation of the proceedings initiated by the State of Palestine since 29 September 2018 when it filed an application to initiate action against the US. The court, as a result, set 15 May 2019 as the date to submit these pleadings by the State of Palestine and November 15, 2019 by the US.”
‘Nakba Day’ Party Counters Annual Anti-Israel Ceremony at Tel-Aviv University
Dozens of pro-Israel activists held a Nakba Day Party at Tel-Aviv University across from the annual “Nakba Day” ceremony held by Arab and far-Left students at the university.

“Nakba” means catastrophe in Arabic, which is how the Arabs (and Jews) who mark it believe describes the creation of a free Jewish homeland. Arabs in Israel and elsewhere mark the date of the declaration of Israel’s independence on the Gregorian calendar, starting on May 14 in the afternoon (it was a Friday) and continuing through the first day of Jewish freedom, May 15, 1948.

The pro-Israel party, organized by the Zionist organization Im Tirtzu, featured blaring Israeli music by DJ Asaf Hartal, a sea of blue and white flags, drums, and free drinks.

According to Im Tirtzu, the goal of the party was to celebrate the founding of the state of Israel and to call out the lies of the “Nakba.”

The activists also brought a 12-by-6-foot sign that read “Nakba Nonsense“ and distributed the book “The Jewish People’s Rights to the Land of Israel,” which details, predictably, the legal rights of the Jewish People to the Land of Israel.
Arab MKs use Nakba Day to speak out against Trump’s ‘deal of the century’
Arab politicians used the Palestinians’ annual day of commemoration of the displacement they claim preceded and followed the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948 to speak out against the Trump Administration’s peace plan.

The “deal of the century,” as it has been coined, is slated to be released in June.

“The Palestinians’ strongest weapon against the Trump plan is a two-letter word,” said MK Ahmad Tibi (Hadash-Ta’al), speaking at a Nakba Day event in Ramallah. “No.

“The same ‘no’ that every Palestinian child says,” he continued. “The same ‘no’ that the Palestinian president says, and the same ‘no’ that the Palestinian people say because they are without Jerusalem, without a state, without sovereignty and without the right of return.”

Tibi spoke alongside Palestinian Prime Minister Dr. Mohammad Shtayyeh.

“Neither international law nor Trump’s peace plan can invalidate the narrative and struggle of the Palestinian people for self-determination,” Tibi said.
Thousands of Palestinians mark ‘Nakba’ with Gaza protests, West Bank marches
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and West Bank participated in mass rallies on Wednesday marking the 71st anniversary of what they call the “Nakba” or “catastrophe” surrounding the establishment of Israel.

In Gaza, the IDF said at least 10,000 people flocked to the border between Israel and the coastal enclave at several locations. It said protests included rioting.

“The rioters are setting tires on fire and hurling rocks,” the army said. “A number of explosive devices have been hurled within the Gaza Strip, as well, and a number of attempts have been made to damage the security fence. IDF troops are responding with riot dispersal means.”

around 60 Palestinians in Gaza were wounded by Israeli security forces, the Hamas-run health ministry said in a message to reporters. They suffered “various wounds,” the ministry said.

Several balloon-borne incendiary devices landed in southern Israel, where they sparked at least nine blazes, according to area firefighters.
Gaza FAQ
It’s time to dispel the lies and get to the truth. As thousands of Gazans riot on Israel’s border fence and threaten the lives of Israeli civilians, we want to lay out the basics facts and explain what's really going on. If you care about the truth you'll take a few minutes to watch this video.

PMW: PA TV alienating even Israeli Arab children from Israel
The US "Deal of the Century" peace plan, which is about to be released, is built on the premise that the Palestinian Authority accepts Israel's existence, albeit not in the current borders. However, this is a false premise. The PA tells its own people, including its children and Israeli Arab children, that all of Israel is "occupied Palestine" and that Israel's existence should not be recognized in any borders.

Not sufficing with disseminating these messages to its own children, the PA TV children's program The Best Home is also trying to alienate Israeli Arab children from their own country Israel. The official PA TV host introduced an Israeli Arab boy who lives near Haifa as a resident of "occupied Palestinian lands," and cheered "Bravo" when the Israeli Arab boy said "there is no such thing as Israel" and that he was actively encouraging other Israeli Arab children to see Israel as "Palestinian."

Official PA TV host: "Faisal lives in the occupied Palestinian lands in the Tamra area (i.e., in Israel, near Haifa)... On the school radio he broadcasts Palestinian songs and tries to spread the consciousness within him and his love for Palestine, to all the surrounding cities and villages. This is very nice, particularly when they [Israelis] are trying to keep that area Israeli, but the Palestinians there need to emphasize to everyone that this area is Palestinian..."
Israeli Arab boy Faisal: "I tell all the Palestinian children there and explain to them that there is no such thing as Israel... Israel can occupy Palestine, but it cannot occupy the Palestinian child's memory, because we are keeping Palestine in our hearts."
Host: "Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! Great job Faisal, thank you very much."
[Official PA TV, The Best Home, April 26, 2019]

Although the statements clearly contradict the PA statements to the international community, they are not unexpected, since denying Israel's right to exist is a basic tenet of the PA.

PA names mosque, square, and street after murderer of 2

Fatah election campaign embraces murderer of 2 at Birzeit University

MEMRI: Hamas Columnist And Former Haniya Advisor Slams Assad Regime For Failing To Respond To Israeli Attacks On Syria
On April 13, 2019, Syria's official news agency reported that Israeli planes had targeted a "military outpost" in the city of Masyaf in the Hama Governorate.[1] Syrian opposition websites reported that the targets were a site for developing Iranian medium-range missiles and headquarters of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and of Iran-backed militias.[2] Responding to this incident and to earlier Israeli strikes in Syria, Yousuf Rizka, a columnist for the Hamas-affiliated daily Filastin and former advisor to Hamas leader Isma'il Haniya, wrote an article titled "Cowards Do Not Make History," in which he castigated the Syrian regime and Iran for failing to retaliate against Israel for its strikes. He accused them, as well as Hizbullah, of leaving Syria unprotected and allowing Israel to do as it pleases in its territory and airspace.

It should be noted that this is not the first time Rizka has the Assad regime and its failure to confront Israel.[3]

The following are excerpts from Rizka's recent article:
"Several days ago, the Zionist navy targeted the Syrian [city of] Masyaf... The missiles struck military bases in Masyaf where Iranian Zilzal missiles are kept and upgraded... According to experts, this is the first time Israel has attacked Syrian bases from the sea. This may be due to [Israel's] concern that its planes might encounter Russian planes [above Syria]. It is also possible that Israel wants to humiliate the Syrians and the Iranians together, with Russian acquiescence. The missile attack went unanswered, and the results were as Israel intended them to be. The Syrians and Iranians gritted their teeth and refrained from reacting, as though the incident was inevitable or there was no possibility of responding. The [Syrians and Iranians] did not even [bother to] threaten in the media that retaliation would come at a time and place of their choosing.

"Why does Syria – which has been so cruel to the Syrian people in the recent years – remain silent? [Because] Israel is scary and frightening to deal with. Iran does not want a war with Israel on Syrian soil. [Furthermore,] Iran and Syria had no way of knowing how Russia would respond if they reacted to the deliberate Israeli attack, so they found no solution but to remain silent, swallow their pride and downplay the significance of the attack. Israel thus emerged victorious, saying to the two sides [the Syrians and Iranians]: If you repeat [your bad behavior], we will [strike] again, and nothing in Syria is safely outside the range of our planes and our navy. The Syrian Golan has become the Israeli Golan, or perhaps we should say 'the American-Israeli Golan' [a reference to U.S. President Trump's March 25, 2019 recognition of Israel's sovereignty over the Golan] – yet there has been no Syrian reaction to this momentous change. The Syrian [city of] Masyaf [was attacked]... yet Syria did not respond. What more can happen tomorrow?!

Iran Officially Begins Unlimited Production of Enriched Uranium, Heavy Water
Iran has officially ended its compliance with several commitments under the 2015 nuclear accord, an informed official in the country’s atomic energy body told local media channels on Wednesday.

The source from the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran told the semi-official ISNA news agency that the country has stopped “programs related to compliance with the ceiling for production of enriched uranium as well as the unlimited production of heavy water at the Arak facility.”

Under the nuclear accord, Iran had limits imposed on the quantities of uranium and heavy water it can produce, set at 300 kilograms and 130 tonnes, respectively. Moving forward, the official said, the Islamic Republic will no longer adhere to limitations regarding the production of enriched uranium and heavy water.

However, the official insisted that the change in policy doesn’t violate the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Iran notified China, Russia, France, Germany, and Britain of its decision to scrap some commitments under the nuclear accord, a year after the United States withdrew from the agreement and re-imposed sanctions.

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