Tuesday, August 27, 2019

From Ian:

Benjamin Netanyahu: A Plan for Peace
Could an Old Israeli Plan for Peace be America’s New One. Is America about to adopt the Israeli prime minister’s 20-year-old plan for a durable settlement between Israel and the Palestinians?

Of late, a new “villain” was introduced into political discussions about the future of the Middle East. There are those who said that the responsibility for a thousand years of Middle Eastern obstinacy, radicalism, and fundamentalism has now been compressed into one person—namely, me. My critics contended that if only I had been less “obstructionist” in my policies, the convoluted and tortured conflicts of the Middle East would immediately and permanently have settled themselves.

While it is flattering for any person to be told that he wields so much power and influence, I am afraid that I must forgo the compliment. This is not false modesty. The problem of achieving a durable peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors is complicated enough. Yet it pales in comparison with the problem of achieving an overall peace in the region. Even after the attainment of peace treaties between Israel and its neighbors, any broader peace in the region will remain threatened by the destabilizing effects of Islamic fundamentalism and Iran and Iraq’s fervent ambition to arm themselves with ballistic missiles and atomic weapons. Let me first say categorically: It is possible for Israel to achieve peace with its Arab neighbors. But if this peace is to endure, it must be built on foundations of security, justice, and above all, truth. Truth has been the first casualty of the Arab campaign against Israel, and a peace built upon half-truths and distortions is one that will eventually be eroded and whittled away by the harsh political winds that blow in the Middle East. A real peace must take into account the true nature of this region, with its endemic antipathies, and offer realistic remedies to the fundamental problem between the Arab world and the Jewish state.

Fundamentally, the problem is not a matter of shifting this or that border by so many kilometers, but reaffirming the fact and right of Israel’s existence. The territorial issue is the linchpin of the negotiations that Israel must conduct with the Palestinian Authority, Syria, and Lebanon. Yet a territorial peace is hampered by the continuing concern that once territories are handed over to the Arab side, they will be used for future assaults to destroy the Jewish state. Many in the Arab world have still not had an irreversible change of heart when it comes to Israel’s existence, and if Israel becomes sufficiently weak the conditioned reflex of seeking our destruction would resurface. Ironically, the ceding of strategic territory to the Arabs might trigger this destructive process by convincing the Arab world that Israel has become vulnerable enough to attack.

That Israel’s existence was a bigger issue than the location of its borders was brought home to me in the first peace negotiations that I attended as a delegate to the Madrid Peace Conference in October 1991. In Madrid, the head of the Palestinian delegation delivered a flowery speech calling for the cession of major Israeli population centers to a new Palestinian state and the swamping of the rest of Israel with Arab refugees, while the Syrian foreign minister questioned whether the Jews, not being a nation, had a right to a state of their own in the first place. (And this at a peace conference!) Grievances over disputed lands and disputed waters, on which the conference sponsors hoped the participants would eventually focus their attention, receded into insignificance in the face of such a primal hostility toward Israel’s existence. This part of the conference served to underscore the words of Syria’s defense minister, Mustafa Tlas, who with customary bluntness had summed up the issue one year earlier: “The conflict between the Arab nation and Zionism is over existence, not borders.”

From the book A Durable Peace: Israel and its Place Among the Nations by Benjamin Netanyahu. Copyright © 2000 by Benjamin Netanyahu. Reprinted by permission of Grand Central Publishing, New York, NY. All rights reserved.
Why Have Israelis and Palestinians Failed to Make Peace
Israelis value security above all else, located as they are in a region filled with people, organizations, and governments that at best do not want them there and in many cases are actively trying to kill them.

In the quarter-century since the Oslo Accords, Israelis and Palestinians have failed to make peace. The responsibility for that failure belongs to the Palestinians.

The Palestinian entity in control of Gaza, the Islamic fundamentalist Hamas, says explicitly that it will never accept Jewish sovereignty and devotes its resources to terrorism against Israel.

Its putatively moderate counterpart in the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority headed by Mahmoud Abbas, has refused all offers to settle the conflict, which have included substantial territorial concessions.

The PA has never put forward a counteroffer of its own. It has done nothing to build the institutions of statehood other than deploying multiple police forces that repress political opposition. It has generated vile anti-Jewish propaganda that harks back to Europe in the 1930s and has sponsored the murder of Jews by publicly praising and paying the murderers. The Palestinians have thus clearly demonstrated that they are not "a partner for peace."

Assuring the Palestinians that they will pay no price - indeed that they will continue to receive generous Western political and financial support - for their unyielding and indeed violent refusal to accept the legitimacy and permanence of a Jewish state in the Middle East has helped to perpetuate the conflict.

Israel Thrives: Does Israel Need US Weaponry?
Israel has given to the US much to offset the foreign aid that has allowed Israel to maintain its security edge. And, of course, we appreciate that help and assistance. But, what about the future? I think over the next few years Israel will do its best not to be put in the situation that it was in during the last war in Gaza. Where a president Obama could hold Israel hostage by not allowing them to resupply smart weapons from storage facilities right here in Israel.

The agreement was that in payment for the US storing the tools of war in Israel, Israel would be able to re-arm without asking permission. Going back on that agreement was a surprise for Israel, and taught us a lesson. The lesson is, don't put your best pardner into the position where he can deny you the weapons you need to survive. Recently I read that in preparations for the next war Israel has been manufacturing, and storing bombs, missiles, ammunition, and more so that we don't put ourselves at risk. It is reported that we have 10 times the stored weapons that we had during the 2006 war in Lebanon. In the future, Israel will be less and less dependent upon the largess of the US and foreign aid. I think that we will, however, go into joint venture deals where weapons systems will be developed jointly. The US may supply the bulk of the financing, while Israel supplies the brain power, and real time testing under combat situations.

All of the above says loudly that Israel will be more like a co-equal with the US rather than a small nation dependent on the largess of a larger big brother. Never again will we be put in the position where a mission to destroy a target has to be canceled because we felt compelled to tell the US our plans. And, the US called the target to warn him. This was done by Obama, the leader of our so called greatest allie. We know that Obama isn't unique, there will be another one sometime in the future. For that reason we are more self-reliant than ever and will continue to be so.

PMW: Bombing murder of 17-year-old followed Fatah call for return to terror
The terrorist bombing that killed 17-year-old Rina Shnerb on Friday came less than a week after a senior Fatah official called for Fatah's military wing to resume terrorist bombings.

Fatah Movement Revolutionary Council member Hatem Abd Al-Qader demanded that "military activity of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades be renewed," arguing that their activities "constituted a source of pain for the Israeli army at the start of the Al-Aqsa Intifada." The Intifada - the 5-year PA terror campaign in which more than 1,100 Israelis were murdered - was characterized by numerous bombings, in particular suicide bombings.

Noting that terror acts are already being carried out from the Gaza Strip, which are being launched by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Abd Al-Qader stated that Fatah likewise is "obligated" to "return to the armed struggle," the PA euphemism for terror. He explained that this must be directed by the Palestinian leadership - "from the top down":
"He emphasized that the nature of the activity in the Gaza Strip is military par-excellence, and that this obligates the Fatah Movement to officially return to the option of armed struggle...
Abd Al-Qader noted that the Sixth Fatah General Conference [in 2009] confirmed the right to resist in all forms, including armed struggle, and did not limit the resistance to a certain type. He also said that he does not believe in popular resistance in the current form, because it must come from the top down and not from the bottom up."

[Donia Al-Watan, independent Palestinian news agency, Aug. 18, 2019]

The fact that what Israeli authorities say was a complex bombing attack at the Danny Spring last week was carried out less than a week after Abd Al-Qader's call for violence and terror shows that Palestinians are already expanding the scope of their terror to include bombings. For a number of years Palestinian terror has been characterized by shootings, stabbings, Molotov cocktails, and car rammings.

But Abd Al-Qader is not a solitary voice in the PA calling for and supporting terror attacks against Israelis. As Palestinian Media Watch has documented for years, PA leaders promote and glorify terrorists and their attacks. For example, Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki honored the family of Omar Abu Laila who stabbed and murdered two Israelis, and wished for them that "Allah reward them." PA Chairman Abbas' deputy in Fatah, Mahmoud Al-Aloul, glorified the same murderer, encouraging other young Palestinians to be like him by stating that "there are thousands" like him.
Lutherans Ask US to Subsidize Terror-Supporting Palestinian Authority
Earlier this month, the Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) passed a resolution that calls on the US government to subsidize the Palestinian Authority (PA) as it pays salaries to murderers and terrorists serving time in Israeli jails.

Proponents of the resolution, which was passed by the assembly “en banc” (without any debate, along with a number of other resolutions), would likely say that it does not ask the US government to directly subsidize the Palestinian Authority — but instead, calls on Congress to send millions of dollars to Augusta Victoria Hospital (AVH) in East Jerusalem.

Only a grinch could say no to such a thing. Giving money to a hospital is a good thing, right?

The problem is that AVH needs US money because the PA hasn’t been able to pay its bills to the facility.

According to ELCA documents, the Palestinian Authority owes a total of $95 million to a network of six hospitals in East Jerusalem, of which Augusta Victoria is a part. It’s a big deal, because many Palestinians rely on AVH for treatment of chronic illnesses.

A fact-sheet produced by the ELCA states that the hospital “offers specialized care not available in other hospitals in the West Bank and Gaza, including radiation therapy for cancer patients and pediatric hemodialysis” and that “approximately 30 percent of the cancer patients treated at AVH are from Gaza.”

Abandoning East Jerusalem would undermine both its residents and Zionism
Fifty-two years ago, following the Six-Day War, Israel took control of the eastern part of this city. After annexing additional Arab villages to the north and south, it created what we know today as East Jerusalem, where approximately 200,000 Jews and 300,000 Arabs live.

While Israel became the sovereign ruler of these territories, it did not fully integrate East Jerusalem and its Arab residents. A short stroll in the Arab neighborhoods today reveals a dire picture of decades-long neglect and lack of investment by the majority of Israel’s governments: garbage piling up on the streets, residential buildings in disarray, broken sidewalks, playgrounds nowhere to be seen. This neglect, combined with a lack of law enforcement that allows crime and terrorism to breed, intensifies the feeling of insecurity among both Jews and Arabs.

Some argue, in light of the continuous turmoil in eastern Jerusalem, that it would be in Israel’s best interest to wash its hands of this part of the city. A few policymakers have even gone so far as to propose separating from certain hostile neighborhoods and handing them over to the Palestinian Authority. They all base their claims on supposedly Zionist grounds: to ensure that the State of Israel, and its capital in particular, remain predominantly Jewish and secure.

In truth, however, repudiating our responsibilities in East Jerusalem defeats Israel’s Zionist purpose and is incompatible with its national interests. Instead of giving up on East Jerusalem, the Israeli government should work to integrate its Arab population and help this community flourish.
Gazan terrorists fire mortar shells at Israel; IDF retaliates with airstrike
Palestinian terrorists fired four mortar shells at Israel from the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, with one of them landing inside Israeli territory, the army said.

In response, an Israeli aircraft bombed a Hamas observation post east of Juhor ad-Dik in the central Gaza Strip, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

No injuries were reported on either side.

The military said one of the shells cleared the border and struck an open field in Israeli territory, causing no damage. Three appeared to have landed inside Gaza.

The shell that hit Israel triggered rocket alert sirens in the area where the mortar landed, the army said.

The volley came amid a flurry of rocket attacks and mutual threats between Israel and terror groups in the Gaza Strip. Israel has accused the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad of being behind the recent violence from the enclave.

Senior Egyptian intelligence officials invited Hamas leaders to Cairo for talks aimed at restoring calm and a delegation led by two top Hamas members was slated to leave Gaza late on Monday, according to Israel’s Kan public broadcaster.

A delegation from the Islamic Jihad is expected to head to Cairo in the coming days as well.
Hezbollah and Lebanese allies are building a case for war – analysis
Hezbollah and its allies are building a case for war and Lebanon’s media and other officials are fueling the tensions with assertions that drones that crashed in Beirut carried bombs. Whether or not the drones carried C4 explosives or that their aim was to carry out a bombing or target an individual is not particularly important because what matters is the calculations going on beneath the surface in Lebanon.

Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun by inferring that the incident marks a kind of “declaration of war” ups the rhetoric and the chances that a green light has been given to Hezbollah to retaliate. The main issue Hezbollah has faced in the past, since Israel’s withdrawal in 2000, is to try to create a legitimate reason for maintaining a massive armed group within a functioning state. It has been able to keep its arsenal, not only because no one can disarm it, but also through claiming it is part of a “resistance” that “defends” Lebanon. As such it claimed after 2000 that it must recover the “Sheba farms” or “Mount Dov” area on the border, a disputed territory with Israel and Syria. Suddenly, a tiny area became the reason for Hezbollah’s existence. This was all a veneer for the real reason of Hezbollah’s existence, which is that as an Iranian proxy and ally which wants the group to continue stockpiling its weapons and building up its infrastructure along Israel’s border to threaten Israel.

Hezbollah doesn’t keep secret its regional ambitions. It fought in the Syrian civil war, it has contact with Shi’ite militias in Iraq, it talks about the Houthis in Yemen as if they are a part of its strategy. It shows images of Al-Aqsa as if it is the main champion of the Palestinian case against US President Donald Trump’s Deal of the Century. At every juncture its role is regional and global. Two small drones, one of which apparently caught on video was far from clandestine, sounding more like a flying washing machine on spin cycle, are merely Hezbollah’s icing on the cake justifying its “right” to respond. This is lip service because Israel uncovered Hezbollah tunnels in December 2018 which showed Hezbollah as having violated the 2006 UN Resolution 1701. So, Aoun says that the drone incident also violates the resolution. This is to create a legal pretext and cover should hostilities begin. Hezbollah and its allies in Lebanon, including President Aoun, are thus already creating the context for the post-war scenario.
Netanyahu warns Hezbollah, Lebanon to calm down, be careful amid attack fears
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Hezbollah terror chief Hassan Nasrallah to “calm down” Tuesday, as Israel braced for a possible retaliation from the Lebanese group in the north despite reported efforts by the US to cool tensions between Beirut and Jerusalem.

“I heard Nasrallah’s speech. I suggest he calm down,” Netanyahu said at a ceremony in Jerusalem.

In a fiery speech Sunday, Nasrallah vowed to exact revenge on the Jewish state following an Israeli strike against a weapons storage facility in Syria on Saturday night that left Hezbollah fighters dead. Israel has also been blamed for the apparent explosion or crash of two drones in a Hezbollah-controlled area of Beirut and an air raid on a Palestinian camp deep inside Lebanon.

Israel said the strike inside Syria had thwarted a plot by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps to launch explosives-laden drones into Israel, overseen by powerful Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, who heads the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’s expeditionary Quds Force.

“[Nasrallah] knows full well that Israel knows how to defend itself well and pay back its enemies in kind. I want to tell him and Lebanon, which hosts this organization that is trying to destroy us, and I say this to Qassem Soleimani: Be careful what you say and be more careful what you do.”
World Must ‘Act Immediately’ to Stop Iranian Attacks Against Israel, Netanyahu Says
The world must take action to stop Iranian aggression against Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday, against a backdrop of recent security incidents in the Middle East that have raised regional tensions.

“Iran is operating on a broad front to carry out murderous terrorist attacks against the State of Israel,” Netanyahu stated. “Israel will continue to defend its security however that may be necessary.”

“I call on the international community to act immediately so that Iran halts these attacks,” he added.

IAF air strikes in Syria on Saturday night thwarted what Jerusalem said was an Iranian plot to strike sites in northern Israeli with explosive-laden drones.

Last Thursday, Netanyahu hinted of possible Israeli involvement in the recent destruction of Iran-linked weapons depots in Iraq.

And most recently, early Monday morning, the Israeli military reportedly hit targets in Lebanon tied to an Iran-backed Palestinian terror group, the PFLP-GC.

Netanyahu spoke with US Vice President Mike Pence by telephone on Monday. Later, Pence tweeted, “The United States fully supports Israel’s right to defend itself from imminent threats. Under President @realDonaldTrump, America will always stand with Israel!”

Gaza terror groups will join Hezbollah-Israel war - report
The Palestinian terror groups in the Gaza Strip will join any confrontation between Israel and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terror group, the Lebanese satellite television station Al-Mayadeen reported on Tuesday.

The Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Mayadeen quoted an unnamed source in the “Palestinian resistance” in the Gaza Strip as saying: “If war breaks out with Hezbollah, we will be at the front line.”

The source, who was described as a leader of the “Palestinian resistance,” said that Israel “must read the message of our support for the resistance in Lebanon.”

Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Gaza-based groups have condemned Israel’s recent airstrikes in Syrian and Lebanon and voiced support for Hezbollah.
Beirut UAV raid, blamed on Israel, said to hit Hezbollah precision missile parts
A drone attack on a Hezbollah stronghold in Beirut early Sunday that was attributed to Israel targeted the Lebanese terror group’s precision missile project, the British Times newspaper reported Tuesday.

In the predawn hours of Sunday morning, two copter-style drones crashed in the Dahiyeh neighborhood of Beirut, an area of the city known to house Hezbollah members and offices.

One of the unmanned aerial vehicles was reportedly brought down by teenagers who pelted it with rocks. It was recovered by Hezbollah and taken away for study. The other drone exploded while still in the air, causing damage, according to Lebanese officials.

Hezbollah has claimed that its media offices were damaged by the blast.

However, according to the Times, the explosion set fire to two crates that held materials for a Hezbollah program to turn its stock of simple rockets into precision-guided missiles — a project that is of deep concern to Israel as it would significantly increase the threat posed by these projectiles.

One of the crates contained a “computerized control” unit and the other held a specialized industrial mixer that is used to make solid-state fuel, the Times reported, providing no source for the information.
US backs Iraqi action against ‘external actors’ after alleged Israeli strikes
The US Defense Department appeared to distance itself from recent attacks against Shiite militia bases in Iraq attributed to Israel, backing Baghdad’s sovereignty and promising to cooperate with Iraqi investigations.

Baghdad has fumed over a series of mysterious attacks on the Iran-backed Popular Mobilizations Forces recently, which have been attributed to Israel with tacit US support.

“We support Iraqi sovereignty and have repeatedly spoken out against any potential actions by external actors inciting violence in Iraq,” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan R. Hoffman said in a statement late Monday.

“The government of Iraq has the right to control their own internal security and protect their democracy.”

Earlier Monday, a powerful bloc in Iraq’s parliament called for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq after the wave of airstrikes blamed on Israel targeted Iran-backed militias in the country.
Appearing to back Israel, Bahrain says strikes on Iran targets ‘self defense’
Bahrain’s foreign minister appeared to back Israel on Monday after it reportedly struck at Iranian and Iran-backed militias’ installations in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon in recent days.

Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa’s comment came after Lebanese President Michel Aoun and an Iran-backed powerful Iraqi paramilitary force on Monday both said that the respective strikes on their countries had been a “declaration of war” by Israel.

On Twitter, Khalifa said: “Iran is the one who has declared a war on us, with its Revolutionary Guards Corps, its Lebanese party [Hezbollah in Lebanon], its Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq, its Houthi arm in Yemen and others.

“So one who strikes and destroys the piles of their ammunition is not to blame. That is self-defense,” he added.

Khalifa also tweeted a picture of Article 51 of Chapter 7 in the United Nations Charter and said it “very clearly affirms the right of states to self-defense against any threat or aggression.”

IDF limiting traffic along Lebanon border in response to rising tensions
The IDF began limiting traffic on roads along the Lebanese border over fears of retaliation by Hezbollah as tensions remain high following alleged Israeli attacks.

“In light of an operational status assessment, it was decided that the movement of certain military vehicles on several roads would be possible only on the basis of individual approval and in accordance with the situational assessment of the situation,” the IDF said in a statement given to The Jerusalem Post.

The order was given by the military to all units in the area on Tuesday morning, restricting travel between 0-5 kilometers from the border and ordering all troops to carry weapons and wear protective equipment should their request to drive on the border roads be approved.

The army’s Northern Command has been on high alert since Saturday night after the Israeli Air Force carried out strikes against a cell belonging to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force in Syria which planned to launch armed drones to attack targets in northern Israel.
The Iranian Threat on Israel's Lebanon Border
Israel has been determined to stop Iranian entrenchment is Syria, but it is an Iranian-backed foe in Lebanon that Israel must grapple with the most. Our Emily Rose has the story.

How Should Israel Confront Iranian Militias on its Borders?
Israel appears to be facing numerous threats on its borders, all backed by Iran — Israel's regional nemesis. How should Israel confront them? former IDF combat intel deputy Miri Eisin analyzes.

Hassan Nasrallah: We Will Confront Israeli Drones in Lebanon, Retaliate Against Israel
Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said in an August 25, 2019 address that aired on Al-Manar TV (Lebanon) that two Israeli drones entered and carried out an attack in the Mouawad neighborhood in Dahieh, South Beirut the previous night. He said that a two-meter-long reconnaissance drone was downed and subsequently captured by young men who threw stones at it while it was flying low between buildings on a reconnaissance run. He then said that a second drone arrived roughly two minutes later and attacked a house in the area, which he claimed had been a hang-out spot for young Hizbullah members, by crashing into it and exploding. Nasrallah said that there have been similar drone attacks taking place against the PMU in Iraq, and he claimed that these attacks have also been carried out by Israel. He announced that Hizbullah will do whatever it can to prevent such attacks from taking place in Lebanon and that Hizbullah will begin confronting Israeli drones in Lebanon's skies. Furthermore, Nasrallah warned that Israeli soldiers on the Israel-Lebanon border should "stand on a leg and a half" and wait for Hizbullah. In addition, he said that Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu will be holding the upcoming Israeli elections over the blood of Israelis since Israel's actions in the region are drawing fire towards Israel from Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinians. The audience chanted: "We respond to your call, oh Nasrallah!"

WATCH: IDF forces raid weapon manufacturing factory in West Bank
IDF forces raided a weapon manufacturing factory on Monday night and confiscated a lathe in Beit Likiya in West Bank.

In a joint effort, IDF forces, Shin Bet, Police and Border Police forces have arrested eight suspects for involvement in terrorist activities, civil terror and violent disturbances of civilian lives.

IDF forces raid a factory with a weapon manufacturing lathe in West BankAll of the suspects were taken for further investigation.

"The IDF will continue its campaign to detect illegal weapons in order to keep residents safe in the area," the IDF Spokesperson's Unit stated.
JCPA: Abbas Tries to Convince the Palestinian Public He’s Not Corrupt
With this recent decision, Mahmoud Abbas is attempting to shake off his image as a corrupt leader. It will be tough for him to fix the damage. The Palestinian public will not forget that he was the one who approved the unusual salary hike for Hamdallah and his ministers, breaking Palestinian law, to acquire their loyalty and so that they would turn a blind eye to his corruption and that of his two sons, which is well-known in the territories.

Abbas’ associates claim that the decision was the result of the harsh financial crisis suffered by the Palestinian Authority as the result of the cessation of U.S. financial aid and the Palestinian Authority’s refusal to accept tax money from Israel once Israel had deducted the sum paid out by the Palestinian Authority monthly to the families of shahids and terrorists sitting in Israeli jails.

The PA chairman wants to appear as if he is “tightening his belt” because the Palestinian Authority is heading toward a severe economic crisis.

Abbas’ hasty decision shows that he is under heavy pressure, as well as confused. The anger on the Palestinian street continues to mount following recent events on the Temple Mount and in the Wadi al-Hummus neighborhood where Israel razed illegal buildings. The heads of the Palestinian security forces believe that these areas are on the verge of an explosion that could also turn against the leadership of the Palestinian Authority.

Mahmoud Abbas will need to take serious steps to convince the Palestinian public that he is not corrupt. However, he has already missed the bus, and he will go down in Palestinian history as a corrupt dictator who created dissension within Palestinian society and never achieved anything in the struggle against Israel.
Report: Palestinian Economy Flourishing Despite PA Financial Crisis
The Palestinian private sector in the West Bank is thriving, according to a report published on Sunday by the Israeli financial daily Globes, despite the Palestinian Authority’s financial difficulties.

The Palestinian public sector is struggling because until last week the PA refused to receive taxes collected for it by Israel, due to Israel’s deductions of the sums paid by the PA to terrorists and their families. PA leader Mahmoud Abbas has cut salaries of senior PA officials and fired 20 out of 30 advisers, according to the report.

Israel transferred approximately half of the funds last week, amounting to some NIS 2 billion ($570 million).

The private sector, however, is thriving, for a variety of reasons, according to Globes.

Foreign investment and aid is still flowing into the Palestinian territories, according to the report, an in addition exports from the West Bank into Israel are growing. Many Israeli Arabs are also shopping in Palestinian areas in the West Bank.

Another reason for the good economy, according to Globes, is that 130,000 Palestinian workers are employed in Israel, making on average two and a half times the average salary in the territories.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Hamas Claims Credit For Burning Amazon With Incendiary Balloons (satire)
The Islamist movement governing the Gaza Strip that uses kites, helium balloons, and other low-tech conveyances to ignite brush fires and other conflagrations across the border in Israel boasted today that its capabilities have expanded to incinerating precious Brazilian rain forests as well.

A Hamas spokesman told reporters in Gaza City this morning that the wildfires raging in the Amazon Basin began when the movement’s operatives released a barrage of bomb-carrying balloons toward the region in an effort to expand resistance efforts. President Jair Bolsonaro has established close ties with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, making his country a legitimate target in Palestinian and Islamist eyes.

“The Amazon became slated for destruction the moment Bolsonaro expressed support for the Zionist rapist usurpers,” declared Fawzi Barhoum. “People who wish to maintain their cherished natural wonders and resources had better consider that before they establish good relations with Jew- with Zionists. The mighty hand of Allah, through His chosen instrument Hamas, will strike against all those who dare contribute to the despoiling of Palestine and her destruction. We will exact that retribution by destroying her and all who get in the way.”
Trump: 'Don't Want Regime Change, But Iran Can't Have Nukes'
Trump addressed the press at the closing of the G7 summit. Regarding Iran, Trump reiterated that he was willing to negotiate a new deal, but the bottom line would be that Iran could not have nuclear weapons.

Israel alarmed by possible Trump-Rouhani talks, fears he’ll let Iran off hook
Israel is deeply worried by US President Donald Trump’s declared readiness in principle to meet in the near future with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, top ministers were quoted saying on Monday evening. The fear is that the US president will open a dialogue with Iran similar to the ongoing one he has with North Korea, taking pressure off Tehran.

To say that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is uncomfortable with the US president’s newly open-minded stance on Iran “is the understatement of the millennium,” Israel’s Channel 13 reported, quoting what it said were three senior cabinet ministers expressing profound concern that just as Trump has “gotten nowhere” with North Korea, while relieving the economic pressure on Pyongyang, the same would now happen with Iran.

“We have no interest in a negotiations between the United States and Iran,” the TV report quoted one minister saying, “but our capacity to influence and confront Trump is extremely limited.” This, the report went on, was because Trump has “bear-hugged” Netanyahu so tightly that going out against him is deemed impossible.
Barak calls potential Trump-Rouhani talks a ‘red light’ for all of Israel
Former prime minister Ehud Barak on Tuesday said US President Donald Trump’s potential rapprochement with Iran was a “red light” for Israel, and warned that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was overly dependent on the US president and made vulnerable by Trump’s erratic policies.

Trump declared Monday at the G7 talks in Biarritz, France, at a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron, that he would “certainly agree” to meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani soon under the “correct circumstances,” and that there was a “really good chance” this would happen.

“I think he’s going to want to meet. I think Iran wants to get this situation straightened out,” Trump added.

He also called Rouhani a “great negotiator,” and indicated he might be open to Iran being offered “a short-term line of credit or loan” to help its economy. “We’re talking about a letter of credit,” he specified. “It would be from numerous countries.” Tehran “may need some money to get over a very rough patch” caused by US economic sanctions, he explained.
Iran to further breach nuclear deal on September 6
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced on Tuesday that Tehran will further curb its adherence to the international agreement limiting its nuclear program next week unless it can reach an agreement with European powers before then.

“The third phase (of freezing nuclear obligations) will start on September 6,” Zarif told the German Sueddeutsche Zeitung in an interview published Tuesday, according to Iran’s Tasnim news agency.

Iran has accused the EU signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal — Britain, France and Germany — of failing to provide sufficient economic relief since US President Donald Trump pulled out of the accord last May and reimposed sanctions on Tehran.

Trump has faulted the agreement, which was also signed by China and Russia, for not addressing Iran’s ballistic missile program or support of terror proxy groups in the region.

Amid the growing bite of US sanctions, Iran has twice scaled back its commitment to the nuclear deal in recent months and increased its uranium enrichment levels beyond those permitted in the accord. In June the UN’s atomic watchdog did not explicitly state that the Islamic Republic is in compliance, the first time it has not done since the accord was inked.
Iran jails 2 for spying for Israel, including British dual national
Iran has sentenced two people, including a British dual national, to 10 years behind bars after convicting them of spying for Israel, the judiciary said on Tuesday.

The claim comes amid reports of a wave of Israeli strikes against Iranian targets and Iran-backed militias in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, and Israeli accusations that Iran had planned a kamikaze drone assault on northern towns.

Anousheh Ashouri, a woman with British and Iranian citizenship, was found guilty of feeding information to Israel’s Mossad spy agency and handed 10 years in jail, Iran’s judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said.

Ashouri had managed to “transmit a lot of information” to Israel, Esmaili said.

Her sentence included the return of millions of euros she allegedly received from the Mossad.
IRGC Commander Gen. Salami: America Lacks Wisdom, Spiritual Leadership; It Is All Brawn, No Brains
IRGC Commander-in-Chief General Hossein Salami said in an address that aired on Ofogh TV (Iran) on August 24, 2019 that by saying that American leaders lack wisdom, the U.S. itself has admitted to being "all brawn and no brains." He said that the Americans act only with force and according to a philosophy of injustice, and he said that their lack of spiritual leadership, wisdom, and "charisma-based leadership" will lead to the erosion of America's power, to its gradual decline, and to its eventual extinction. General Salami also said that the Yemenis have been showing mercy to Saudi Arabia by not attacking Saudi cities, and he said that the Red Sea, the Strait of Hormuz, the Persian Gulf, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Bahrain have become a "scene for the halting and dismantling of the enemy." In addition, General Salami said that Iran's enemies have tried to undo Iran's influence by waging proxy and takfiri wars, but that Iran's influence instead expanded to the point that Iran itself cannot undo the influence of the Islamic Revolution.

MEMRI: Iran Unveils Bavar 373 Long-Range Air Defense System Reportedly Capable Of Simultaneously Engaging Six Targets, Launching 12 Missiles To Range Of Up To 250 KM
On August 22, 2019, IRINN TV (Iran) aired a report about the unveiling of the Iranian-made Bavar 373 long-range air defense system. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who was present at the unveiling, said that the Bavar 373 system is superior to the Russian S-300 system and that it competes with the S-400 system and the American Patriot system. The report said that the Bavar 373 system was designed for Iran's geographical conditions and that it can simultaneously engage six targets with 12 missiles at a range of up to 250 kilometers. Bavar 373's radar system reportedly has a range of 350 kilometers, and can be used "under any weather conditions, and even when the enemy is using chemical, biological, or even nuclear [weapons]... even if the heaviest jammers and electronic systems lock on to it." In addition, the report said that Bavar 373 can launch surface-to-air missiles such as the Sayyad-4 to an altitude of 27,000 meters. Iranian Defense Minister Amir Khatami said that Bavar 373 can be used against strategic and tactical fighter jets and bombers, as well as against stealth planes, cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, and other targets.

"This All-Iranian System Has A Range Of 300 Kilometers – It Can Cover From Low Altitudes Up To An Altitude Of Approximately 65 Kilometers"

Hassan Rouhani: "I hereby unveil the Bavar 373 all-Iranian long-range air defense system, and I order its incorporation in the country's air defense network, with Allah's blessing."
Anchor: "This all-Iranian system has a range of 300 kilometers. It can cover from low altitudes up to an altitude of approximately 65 kilometers. Iran joins four countries that have similar systems. The Bavar 373 long-range air defense system was built specifically for Iran's geographical conditions. It competes with similar Russian and American systems, like the S-300 and the Patriot, and it is better than those systems in some cases."
"This System Is Stronger Than The S-300 And Very Close To The S-400"

Hassan Rouhani: "If I were to compare it to the famous S-300 and S-400 systems, I'd say that it is not an S-300 – it doesn't have an 'S' at the beginning. Its number is neither 300 nor 400. Its number is between 300 and 400. It's 373. In any case, this system is stronger than the S-300 and very close to the S-400."
Iran Unveils Bavar 373 Long-Range Air Defense System Reportedly Capable of Engaging Six Targets

Iranian reporter with Zarif flees in Sweden, seeks asylum – report
Amir Tohid Fazel, a hardline Iranian journalist with ties to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, has refused to return to Iran and is requesting asylum in Sweden or Norway after accompanying Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on his tour of the Scandinavian region, Iranian newspaper Kayhan reported.

Fazel was political editor for Iran’s Moj news agency and had previously worked for the government-funded Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

Al Arabiya news agency quoted Moj’s editor-in-chief Amir Mortazavi telling Iranian news site Ensaf News that “[Fazel] was a political editor at the agency and was sent to Sweden with the Foreign Ministry." Mortazavi added that “he has not come to work since going to Sweden.”

Kayhan referred to Fazel as a traitor.

Over the weekend several Iranian news reporters wrote on Twitter that Fazel did not return to Iran and accused the reporter of taking advantage of Zarif and the Foreign Ministry for personal gain, Radio Farda reported.

Fazel cryptically responded on Twitter that, "Everyone can decide for himself. No one knows what happens in the future. Only the short-sighted will speak out of ignorance," without revealing his location.

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