Wednesday, July 03, 2019

From Ian:

JCPA: The Palestinian Authority Failed to Block the Bahrain Conference
The PA was unable to pressure Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan to stay away from the Manama workshop and failed to organize an effective Arab-Islamic rejectionist camp against it.

Moreover, while the delegation of Palestinian businessmen headed by Sheik Ashraf Jabari of Hebron went to the Bahrain conference despite the rage of the Palestinian Authority, only one of them was briefly arrested and interrogated. Even though most of them live in the PA territory, the PA only made threats against them while taking no practical measure to prevent them from going – even though the PA said that doing so was “national treason.”

Senior Fatah officials claim that the PA chairman feared to clash with Arab states that sent representatives to Bahrain. The PA’s difficult financial crisis, precipitated by the cutoff of American aid and PA’s refusal to accept tax revenues from Israel, is having its effect. Abbas is pinning his hopes on the Arab League’s fulfilling its promise to provide him with an economic safety net for a few months that will enable him to recover and prevent the PA’s collapse.

The officials say Abbas is trying to stall for time to concentrate on a political effort against the Deal of the Century in November, after the Israeli elections and close to the date when the political part of the American peace plan will be published.

Until then, Abbas will mount a diplomatic campaign to organize an international conference that will include representatives of Russia, China, and the European Union, which oppose the Deal of the Century.
David Friedman: Lessons from the Golan
In the aftermath of President Trump’s momentous proclamation of March 21, 2019, many rose to applaud while words of criticism emanated from the usual corners. But as the noise dissipated and the sun rose the next day, two new realities were beyond dispute: America’s stature in the world had risen and the security of its ally Israel had been enhanced.

Now, I look back at some of the lessons learned:

1. Foreign policy must evolve with changed circumstances. Many who criticized the president’s decision noted that Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, of blessed memory, negotiated with Syrian President Hafez Assad in 1994 to return portions of the Golan in exchange for peace and they urged that this failed process remain open.

But almost nothing about the circumstances that existed then are relevant today. In particular, the Syrian civil war, in which the Assad regime has murdered or displaced more than one million of its own people and became a client state of Iran, is a seminal event that cannot be ignored. By affirming Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, President Trump has sent a clear and moral message to the world that Syria has forfeited any legitimate claim to the Golan Heights.

2. Brains without courage make for a weak foreign policy. All presidents are smart. If they weren’t, they never would have attained their lofty positions. Past presidents all grasped the need for Israel to retain sovereignty over the Golan. But only President Trump had the courage to give practical effect to this undeniable truth. Courage matters.

3. Right makes might. Some have criticized the president’s decision as one of “might makes right” — a euphemism for the erroneous proposition that a nation as strong as the United States can pursue a policy devoid of any moral foundation. Here, exactly the opposite is true: The United States is stronger because it has acted justly.

The United States has sided with Israel, a nation that at great risk opened its border every night to provide emergency health care to Syria’s sick and wounded, and against the Syrian regime which has inflicted unspeakable trauma upon its own people.

PMW: PA salaries to terrorists rise by 11.8% in 2019 - amidst self-inflicted financial crisis
The Palestinian Authority has finally publicized its monthly financial expenditures for the first 5 months of 2019. They show that the PA has paid no less than 234,172,000 shekels (over $65 million), or, on average, 46,834,400 shekels/month in salaries to terrorist prisoners (including released prisoners) in spite of its self-imposed financial crisis.

Based on this monthly average, the PA expenditure on the “Pay-for-Slay” salaries to terrorist prisoners in 2019 should reach 562 million shekels, as compared to 502 million shekels in 2018. This amounts to 60 million shekels or a 11.8% rise in PA salaries to terrorist prisoners in 2019.

Since 2014, the PA Ministry of Finance had been publishing an annual anticipated budget in the first part of the year as well as monthly reports of actual expenditures in each budget category. Based on the monthly budgetary updates, Palestinian Media Watch exposed that the PA expenditure in 2018 on salaries to terrorist prisoners and released terrorist prisoners was no less than 502 million shekels.

Immediately after the Israeli cabinet implemented Israel’s Anti “Pay for Slay” Law and started deducting from the 2019 tax income the amount PMW had shown that the PA spent in 2018 on salaries to the terrorist prisoners, the PA decided to disregard its donor countries’ demand of full financial transparency and hid all its budgetary data. In place of the monthly budget expenditure updates, the website of the PA Ministry of Finance carried a notice saying "Due to the contingency law and legal dependencies with the Israeli side, the financial reports were temporarily suspended." This note appeared for almost three months.



BOOM! Brave Miss Iraq Drops the Mic at UNHRC, Owns the Dictators
After Syria, Pakistan, Qatar & the PLO accused Israel of "grave violations of human rights," Miss Iraq Sarah Idan—recently named a UN Watch Ambassador for Peace—took the floor: "Two years ago, I represented Iraq at Miss Universe. I posted a photo with Miss Israel on social media. I was told to remove it and forced to denounce Israeli policies. I received death threats. Since then I can no longer return to my homeland. Why did the Iraqi government fail to condemn the threats, or allow my freedom of speech? The issue between Arabs and Israelis goes beyond policy disagreements. It’s deeply rooted in the belief systems taught in Muslim countries, which are anti-Semitic.


Good News from Bahrain Has Mahmoud Abbas Worried
While former diplomats, foreign-policy experts, and political commentators mainly disparaged last week’s conference in Manama on how to improve the economic situation of the Palestinians, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld—a professor of management who participated in the gathering and chaired one of the panels—sees reasons for optimism. He writes:

I attended virtually every second of the formal and informal elements of this event. I did not hear even passing anti-Zionist comments, as much as I would have expected them in an atmosphere where Israel’s historic critics outnumbered its allies. . . .

At this conference, the prominent Palestinian business leader Ashraf Jabari, who heads a large clan in Hebron, explained how he has advanced bonds with Jewish settlers—even creating a business association for Palestinian and settlement businesses to work collaboratively. As he said on Wednesday, “I have no problem working with Israel. It is time to move on.” Smiling and nodding as he spoke were not only a dozen fellow Palestinian leaders but also the dozen Israeli business leaders present, including the shipping magnate Shlomi Fogel. . . .

Since then, I’ve learned what he put at risk by being there and speaking out. Sadly, another member of the Palestinian delegation was arrested by the Palestinian Authority (PA) at a family event upon returning home; other delegation members saw their homes raided. “The Palestinian Authority does not want peace. They told the families of the businessmen that they are wanted [by police] for participating in the Bahrain workshop,” Jabari told the Jerusalem Post, adding that the workshop was “a big success and that’s why [PA President Mahmoud] Abbas is very worried.”
Clifford May: Palestinians' 'opportunity of the century'
Abba Eban, who was serving as his country’s foreign minister after Israel defended itself from Egypt, Syria, and Jordan in the Six-Day War, is said to have lamented that Palestinians “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

In Bahrain last week, Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser, struck a similar note. The plan he and Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt have been working on for the past two years, he said, should not be seen as “the deal of the century.” It should be seen instead as “the opportunity of the century.”

Virtually everyone ever involved in what is optimistically called the “peace process” has taken for granted that the primary goals of Palestinians – or at least those who lead them – are peace, prosperity and self-determination.

What if that’s wrong? What if the Palestinians – or at least those who lead them – really want something else? Would that not guarantee that “opportunities” offered by those seeking to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict will be missed – or, more precisely, dismissed?
Why Are Arab States Rejecting the Palestinian Cause?
Increasingly, Arab nations in the Middle East are distancing themselves from their Palestinian brothers. The half-century-old solidarity of Arab countries with the Palestinian cause has been diminished recently due to numerous factors.

One of the main factors has been the conduct of the Palestinian Authority and PLO. Add the recklessness and terrorist intransigence of the Hamas regime in Gaza, plus the realities of global economics and politics, and most Arab countries have decided that the creation of a Palestinian state can be back-burnered.

Another factor is the passing of pan-Arabism — a political and trans-national force in the 20th century, advocated by bygone leaders such as Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser. Its passing has been helped along by the so-called Arab Spring, which forced Middle East regimes from Tunisia to Iraq to focus on national self-preservation.

Above all, however, is the quest of non-Arab, non-Sunni Iran to extend its brutal sphere of influence into the heart of the Arab world, which has necessitated a reevaluation of Arab national priorities. Resolving the Palestinian issue is irrelevant to addressing this threat. In fact, because Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza (as well as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria) are in Iran’s pocket, any Palestinian progress at Israel’s expense would boost Iran’s penetration of the Middle East.
MEMRI: Saudi Intellectual: The Palestinians Forfeited An Important Opportunity By Boycotting Bahrain Economic Workshop
In a series of tweets, Saudi intellectual, writer, and journalist Turki Al-Hamad criticized the Palestinians following their boycott of the recent Prosperity to Peace economic workshop in Bahrain that focused on the economic dimensions of the U.S.-led Middle East peace plan known as the "Deal of the Century." Al-Hamad wrote that by refusing to attend the workshop, the Palestinians had forfeited a significant opportunity to advance their cause. The slogans of the past 70 years, he added, have yielded no results, so there is need for a new approach, such as the one represented by the economic plan outlined at the conference. He also hinted that there are elements that benefit from perpetuating the existing situation, and that the Palestinian problem will not be solved unless they are neutralized.

It should be mentioned that this is not the first time Al-Hamad has blasted Palestinian policies. In November 2017 he posted a series of tweets that enraged many on Twitter – including one stating said that the Palestinian issue no longer interested him, because it was now nothing but "a source of income for some people and a false stamp of legitimacy for the activities of others."[1] Also, he tweeted in May 2018: "Let them call [me] pro-Zionist. Zionism is better for my country than the Arab nationalism that has caused us losses."[2]

The following are some of Turki Al-Hamad's recent tweets:
The Palestinians Have Worked Themselves Into An Impasse And Are Forfeiting A Significant Opportunity

On June 26, 2019, Al-Hamad tweeted: "I think the Palestinians are forfeiting a significant opportunity by rejecting the initiative [presented at] the Manama [Bahrain] conference. This will become yet another in a long series of opportunities that have been missed over more than 70 years. Naturally, there will be talk about conspiracies and about selling out the Palestinian cause, [but] that is [precisely] what has caused us to get caught up in an endless ideological loop. It's time to cut out [of this loop]..."[3]
‘2-state solution’ isn’t best for either side
“The two-state solution,” as America and Israel define it, calls for “two states for two peoples” – for Israel and a new Palestinian-Arab state, sharing the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. The Palestinian Authority has expressly rejected “two states” in this sense, demanding a “right of return” to Israel for millions of descendants of Arabs who left Israel in 1948.

Reservations to this idea also exist on the Jewish side. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu again recently stated that Israel will not cede security control of the Jordan Valley along the Jordan River border with Jordan and calls for any such state to be demilitarized.

Among the alternatives proposed by some Israelis is “the Jordan option,” frequently phrased as “Jordan is Palestine.” It’s not popular, to be sure – not with Jordan’s king, with fellow Sunni Arab states or with Israel, which sees Jordan as one of its few relatively non-belligerent neighbors, or with the United States, which sees it as relatively pro-West.

But this assumes that the status quo in Jordan is stable and would not be dangerously jeopardized if “the two-state solution” were, in fact, to come to pass.

The assumption is shaky. Jordan’s kings were enthroned by colonial Britain after World War I in the east-of-the-Jordan-River piece of the Palestine Mandate piece of the old Ottoman Empire. And its population already comprises a large majority of Palestinian Arabs (more than 70%).

From Israel’s perspective, a worst-case scenario – a “Palestinian” state extending from easternmost Jordan westward to the Judea-Samaria hill country overlooking Israel’s narrow coastal plain – would be realized. Moreover, Jordan is deathly afraid of having a “Palestinian-Arab” state on its border in the “West Bank/Judea-Samaria” and views it as an unstable threat.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham: One-state solution is dangerous
A one-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is dangerous, a leading Republican senator said in Jerusalem on Tuesday as he swore his allegiance to a two-state resolution.

“A one-state solution, is not sustainable. It is crazy. It will not work,” Sen. Lindsey Graham said at a press conference at the King David Hotel. He spoke at a time when many on the Israeli Right are speculating that US President Donald Trump’s peace plan might not include a Palestinian state.

But Graham, who is a strong supporter of Israel, and who stands behind the US Embassy move to Jerusalem and Golan sovereignty, said that only a two-state outcome would guarantee a peaceful future.

“The goal is to find an acceptable two-state solution,” he said.

“If you believe in a democratic, secure Israel [and] you absorb the Palestinians, they will eventually demographically outvote the Jewish state. So that does not work, if you believe in a democratic Jewish state like I do,” Graham said.

“If you absorb the Palestinians and they do not vote, that goes back to the days of apartheid, and no one is going to do that,” he added.

“I will not invest a dime in a one-state solution. It is folly. It is dangerous... The goal is to find an acceptable two-state solution, that realizes that Israel is never going to do the Gaza thing all over again,” Graham said.
When Will Britain Recognize Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel?
British Home Secretary Sajid Javid traveled to Jerusalem and visited the Western Wall on Monday. His visit was especially noteworthy because the UK does not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and in fact doesn't recognize it as even being inside Israel. East Jerusalem, runs the UK position, is "part of the Occupied Palestinian Territories."

In many ways, Javid's visit is a positive step forward in UK relations with a reliable ally that we have seldom treated as such. Since issuing the Balfour Declaration in 1917, the UK has more often been a hindrance than a help to Zionism, from the White Paper to an institutionally hostile foreign policy apparatus.

That this son of a Pakistani Muslim immigrant is showing leadership after a century of British error on the Jewish return to their ancestral homeland says something encouraging about the country we have become.

As the UK heads for the EU exit, it will need all the friends it can get, but there is just one friendly nation whose seat of government the UK refuses to recognize and in whose capital it demurs from locating its embassy.

Recognizing Israel's capital and relocating our embassy there would go some way to righting the historical wrong of dividing up the Jewish people's homeland and barring them from escaping there in their darkest hour.

Recognizing a united Jerusalem as the capital of Israel would concentrate Palestinian minds, too. There are no disincentives for a Palestinian Authority that believes it can wait until a fully-formed state, with east Jerusalem as its capital, falls into its lap.

The UK's acceptance of Israel's capital would underscore the risks of rejectionism. The more the Palestinians say No, the less there might be to say Yes to.
Trump ‘very fond’ of Abbas, but calls reaction to conference 'hysterical'
The Palestinian leadership's reaction to the Bahrain economic workshop was “hysterical and erratic and not particularly constructive,” US senior official Jared Kushner said on Wednesday in a post-Bahrain workshop conference call.

He said that as early as next week the US will present the next steps in its peace plan as a follow-up to the “Peace to Prosperity” conference held last week in Bahrain.

“They looked very foolish by trying to fight this,” Kushner said during the call geared for Arab journalists, adding that the Palestinian leadership made a “strategic mistake” by boycotting the conference. “Palestinians are starting to see that Israel is not responsible for their problems, it’s their leaders.”

Kushner said that at a certain time the Palestinian leadership “will have to step up at some point and show that they want their people to live better lives.”

At the same time, he said, “I have a lot of respect for President Abbas, he’s devoted his life to making peace, he’s suffered some setbacks along the way. I believe in his heart he wants to make peace, and that we can give him an opportunity to try to achieve that.”

Kushner added that US President Donald Trump likes Abbas personally and that the “door is always open” for the Palesitnian leadership.
MEMRI: Fatah Revolutionary Council Member And Columnist For Palestinian Authority Daily: Trump Is A New Hitler Bringing Destruction Upon The World
In his June 30, 2019 column in the Palestinian Authority (PA) daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Fatah Revolutionary Council member Muwaffaq Matar responded to statements made by U.S. President Donald Trump at a press conference one day previously, at which he announced his decision to cut aid to the Palestinians because of the the "hostility" of their leadership towards his administration and its refusal to renew negotiations with Israel. Accusing Trump of racism and arrogance, Matar described him as "a new Hitler who brings destruction upon the world and undermines the very foundations of the balance among states and among peoples." He emphasized that the Palestinians can neither be bribed with financial aid nor intimidated with threats to stop it, and noted that Trump must not be surprised at the attitude of the Palestinian leadership towards him after he has reneged on U.S. commitments to the Palestinians and repeatedly harmed them and their cause.

This column by Muwaffaq Matar is part of the hostile rhetoric in the PA press towards Trump, which includes comparisons of his foreign policy to that of Nazi Germany.[1]

The following are excerpts from Matar's column:[2]
"How does this man [Trump] think? [His] notion of exclusive control, his view of the other as inferior, and his racism and arrogance amount to a democratically-elected dictatorship, [and] turn him into a new Hitler who brings destruction upon the world and undermines the very foundations of the balance among states and among peoples.

"Donald Trump surely never anticipated that, of all the presidents and kings in the region, [Palestinian] President Mahmoud 'Abbas would be the one to stand up to him and, armed with the weapon of international law and legitimacy, defend his people's historic rights and its cultural and political principles. This Trump, who strides arrogantly upon the earth, thinks that the Palestinian state – its soil, people and leadership – is [just another] banana republic in the Middle East. U.S. President Donald Trump thinks he can bribe the Palestinian people's national leadership and turn the economic aid into a weapon with which to intimidate the PLO. Perhaps he listened to the whisperings of the human devils who surround him in the White House, [who convinced him] that exerting economic and media pressure on the President of the Palestinian people would surely cause him, the commander of the Palestinian national liberation [movement] Mahmoud 'Abbas Abu Mazen, to surrender and to come to [Trump], obedient and subservient, and accept the Deal of the Century.
At US Independence Day Party in Jerusalem, Israel’s Netanyahu Says He Will Keep ‘Open Mind’ on Trump Peace Plan
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday attended an American Independence Day celebration hosted by US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem.

“A few days ago, David and Tammy (Friedman’s wife) and Jason Greenblatt and my wife Sara went to a place that is the wellspring of our existence,” Netanyahu remarked. “They went to a place that leads from the Siloam pool to Har Habayit where our ancestors celebrated the various festivals of Jerusalem and where the last Jews fighting the Romans, fighting this greatest power on earth, submitted and where Jewish independence was extinguished.”

“Well we’re back, and we’re back standing for the truth, for our history, for our rights and it’s wonderful to have the greatest power on earth not opposing the Jewish state but supporting the Jewish state,” he went on to say. “What a twist.”

Referring to the Palestinian Authority’s decision to boycott the US-organized economic workshop in Bahrain last week, Netanyahu noted, “The worst thing you can do in a speech is repeat a cliché. I’m going to repeat a cliché. The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. They just did another one. Again the Palestinian leadership held the prosperity of their own people hostage to their ideology against Israel.”


German gov't contractor: IDF 'executes' peaceful Palestinian protesters
An antisemitic talk has been delivered by Petra Schöning, a representative of the human rights organization Amnesty International, who does work for the German government’s development agency GIZ. The incident follows a series of antisemitic incidents in both organizations.

The speaking event, titled “Politics and Day-to-Day Life: Perspectives on the West Bank and Gaza,” was hosted recently by the Episcopal Academy in the German city of Aachen, where Schöning is a regular presenter.

During her lecture, Schöning made various untrue statements designed to demonize the State of Israel in an antisemitic fashion. Among other things, she said that “Israel is not a democracy.” The audience responded to the talk during Q&A, questioning Israel’s right to exist and expressing support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Schöning responded with approval of these comments.

Another blatantly false assertion she made was that "the Israeli culture minister prohibited a book." She was likely referring to All the Rivers by Israeli writer Dorit Rabinyan, a novel about the love affair between an Israeli women and a Palestinian man. Although the book was excluded from the curriculum of Israeli high schools in 2015, it was never prohibited or censored in Israel, and the Israeli public has always been free to purchase, read and discuss it.

Schöning asserted that Israeli soldiers “execute” peaceful Palestinian participants during their weekly “March of Return” protests at the border between Israel and Gaza.
Iran atomic archive stealers, Hezbollah tunnel-busters win security prize
President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday awarded Israel’s top security prize to the Mossad agents behind the operation to steal Iran’s nuclear archive last year, along with teams from the Israel Defense Forces, Shin Bet security service and defense industries, each for their own contribution in the past year to the country’s protection.

The award, which is named for the commander of Israel’s pre-state Hagana militia Eliyahu Golomb, was presented to the IDF project that located and destroyed a number of cross-border attack tunnels dug by the Hezbollah terror group from southern Lebanon into Israel.

A Shin Bet technology unit that developed an advanced algorithm to “detect hostile activities and prevent serious damage to the security of the state” also received the prize, along with a team from the Rafael and Elbit defense contractors, the Israeli Air Force and the Defense Ministry that developed an advanced air-to-ground missile, known in Hebrew as Barad Kal, meaning “light hail,” or more commonly the SPICE 1000.

The ceremony was presided over by Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, IDF chief Aviv Kohavi and Defense Ministry Director-General Udi Adam.
Netanyahu Says Trump Knew in Advance of Israel’s Iran Archive Mission
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that he informed US President Donald Trump in advance of what Israel has described as a spy mission in Tehran last year to capture a secret Iranian nuclear archive.

Netanyahu said in April 2018 that Mossad operatives had spirited thousands of hidden documents out of Tehran that proved Iran had previously pursued a nuclear weapons program. Trump cited the Israeli findings in his decision, a month later, to quit a 2015 deal that had scaled down Iran’s nuclear project.

Iran denies ever seeking nuclear weapons and has accused Israel of faking the Tehran mission and documents trove.

Awarding an Israeli national security prize on Tuesday to the Mossad team credited with the so-called “Atomic Archive” capture, Netanyahu said he had discussed the planned operation with Trump when they met at the Davos forum in January 2018.
Shin Bet arrests Hamas explosive expert in Israel with humanitarian permit
Israel’s Shin Bet foiled a series of attempts by the military wing of Hamas to establish terror cells in the West Bank and arrested an explosives expert who entered Israel with a humanitarian permit for medical treatment.

The agency cleared for release on Wednesday that Hamas had attempted to establish terror cells in order to carry out simultaneous deadly attacks in Israel and had tried to smuggle in an individual who had been trained by the group for a year to set up a laboratory in the West Bank in order to manufacture explosive devices to be used in the attacks.

Fadi Abu al-Sabah, a 35 year-old resident of the Nuseirat refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, was arrested in Taibeh by the Shin Bet and the Israel Police on May 18, 2019.

According to the Shin Bet he was recruited to set up an explosive manufacturing laboratory in July 2018 by Ashraf Sabah, a 37-year-old Hamas activist from the Gaza Strip who had been released from prison in Israel in 2015 after serving 12 years in prison for his involvement in attacks against IDF forces along the Gaza Strip border and planning other terrorist attacks.
Hamas tests rockets, launches several towards the sea
A rocket alarm heard in the Gaza border communities area on Wednesday morning was eventually declared a false alarm by the IDF Spokesperson's Unit. Several rockets were reported to have been fired toward the sea, according to media reports.

Although no rocket was launched towards Israeli territory, it was revealed that shortly before the alarm was heard, Hamas tested several rockets by launching them towards the sea north of Gaza, according to Ynet.

On Monday morning, a similar event happened when a rocket alarm was heard in the Gaza border communities area and was also determined to be a false alarm.

Over the weekend, Israel reached an understanding with Hamas to stop the launching of incendiary balloons toward Israeli territory.

Ever since, there has been no reports of balloons flying over Israel, and these latest rockets launched toward the sea did not violate the agreements, thus the calm is maintained for now.
Palestinian soccer association postpones cup final after Israel blocks travel
The final of the Palestine Cup has been postponed after Israel denied Gaza-based players permits to travel, the Palestinian Football Association said on Wednesday.

The second leg of the final between Balata FC and Khadamat Rafah, the winners of the West Bank and Gaza leagues, respectively, was due to take place on Wednesday, PFA vice president Susan Shalabi told AFP.

Gaza-based team Khadamat Rafah requested travel permits to the West Bank for 35 people, but Israel granted just four, three of them to club officials, Shalabi said.

“The Israelis are very adamant in their refusal,” she added, saying they had cited security concerns they did not specify.

A Khadamat Rafah official told AFP the club was still waiting for final decisions and was hopeful of securing more permits in the coming days.

“We are ready at any moment. If we got the permits now, in 30 minutes we will be there,” Hodaifa Lafi told AFP. “The game has to go ahead.”


Increase of Hezbollah members in German state, says intel report
The intelligence agency for Germany’s most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia revealed on Thursday that the number of Hezbollah operatives rose in 2018.

According to the intelligence document reviewed by The Jerusalem Post, the number of Hezbollah operatives climbed from 105 in 2017 to 110 in 2018 in North Rhine-Westphalia.

The report wrote that “for more than 20 years, the Islamic Center (Imam-Mahdi-Zentrum) in Münster has been a platform and meeting place for Hezbollah supporters in North Rhine-Westphalia and western Germany. Other focal points: Essen/Bottrop, Dortmund and Bad Oeynhausen.”

The 363-page intelligence report, which covers threats to the security of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, referenced the Lebanese terrorist entity Hezbollah 21 times.

Hezbollah has centers in Hamburg, Berlin and Münster, according to the report.

Hezbollah’s aim “of annihilation of the state of Israel and the establishment of ‘Islamic rule’ over Jerusalem remain unchanged to this day,” wrote the intelligence agents.

The intelligence agency noted that “in order to achieve these goals Hezbollah also uses terrorist means. For years it [Hezbollah] has been responsible for attacks in northern Israel, posing a direct threat to the state of Israel.”
MEMRI: Iranian National Security Official Mojtaba Zonnour: If America Attacks, We Will Destroy Israel Within 30 Minutes, Sink U.S. Aircraft Carrier Along With 7,000 Crew Members
Mojtaba Zonnour, the chairman of the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee of the Iranian Majlis, said in a June 30, 2019 interview on Al-Alam TV (Iran) that America has 36 military bases in the region, the closest of which is home to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet in Bahrain and the most remote being on Diego Garcia island in the Indian Ocean. He said that all these bases are within range of Iran's missiles. He claimed that Iran has "intelligence hegemony" that enables it to quickly detect any changes in these bases. Zonnour said that Israel will survive for less than 30 minutes if the U.S. attacks Iran and that the American aircraft carrier in the region that is supposed to intimidate Iran is actually an easy target because of its size. He further threatened that Iran will sink the aircraft carrier along with its 7,000-man crew if America attacks Iran.

36 American Bases 'Will Be Within Range of Our Missiles'

Mojtaba Zonnour stated: "We took action that created deterrence. America has 36 military bases in the region, in addition to the Zionist entity. The closest military base is the one in Bahrain, and it serves as home for the American [Navy’s] Fifth Fleet, which occupies one-quarter of Bahrain’s soil and all of its shores.

"The most remote American base is the one in Diego Garcia island in the Indian Ocean. Any of these American bases, close and far, will be within the range of our missiles."


Rouhani: Iran will increase uranium enrichment to whatever levels needed
Iran will increase its level of uranium enrichment after July 7 to whatever levels it needs beyond the 3.67% cap set in the landmark 2015 nuclear deal, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday, according to the IRIB news agency.

If the remaining signatories of the nuclear deal with world powers do not fulfill their promises, then the Arak nuclear reactor will return to its previous activities after July 7, Rouhani said.

The head of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards also said on Wednesday the enemy was worried about the prospect of war and was focused instead on an economic conflict, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.

Tensions between the United States and Iran have increased since Trump pulled Washington out of a nuclear deal last year and moved to bar all international sales of Iranian oil.

Last month the United States came as close as it has ever come to bombing Iran, when President Donald Trump aborted a retaliatory air strike minutes before impact. Trump said he decided the strike, to punish Iran for shooting down a drone, would have killed too many people.


PreOccupiedTerritory: With Iran Nuke On Way To Israel, EU Scolds Bibi For Whining Before Missile Hits (satire)
European leaders criticized Israel’s prime minister today for what they termed “irresponsible” and “warmongering” rhetoric after the premier spoke out against Tehran’s launch of an atomic warhead toward the Jewish State but before the weapon had detonated.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, French President Emanuel Macron, and UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn each issued condemnations this morning of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu after the latter took to the internet and airwaves to denounce Iran’s launch of a nuclear-tipped missile at his country. The three leaders joined numerous other senior and mid-level European Union officials in calling Netanyahu’s address a destabilizing move in an already-volatile region, and characterized his words as further evidence that neither he nor his Likud Party desires a peaceful resolution of any conflict.

“Mr. Netanyahu once again engages in warmongering,” stated Mogherini. “Not a single mushroom cloud has been sighted over Israel, but there he is, continuing to scapegoat Iran and to undermine hope for diplomatic channels to achieve a satisfactory outcome.”

“This is just plain irresponsible, but, unfortunately, rather in-character for the Israeli premier,” intoned Corbyn. “We have seen again and again how he agitates for war with my friends in Tehran and does not even wait until the nuclear warhead has exploded before he unleashes his verbal violence. I call on all lovers of peace in the international community to condemn Israel for this outburst.”




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