Wednesday, August 28, 2019

From Ian:

Ruthie Blum: Israel, Iran and Trump: Behind the rhetoric
It is not likely that Netanyahu has anything to worry about where Trump is concerned, however.

In the first place, the American president said that he had no intention of lifting the sanctions. So, as was the case where his “buddy” in Pyongyang was concerned, no appeasement toward Rouhani is on the horizon.

Secondly, he was adamant that a precondition for any negotiations with Tehran would be its agreement to “no nuclear weapons and no ballistic missiles.”

Third, Rouhani replied by saying that he would not talk to Trump without a lifting of sanctions. The predictable impasse means that there will be no change in the status quo.

No, it’s not Netanyahu who needs to fear a flip-flopping Trump at this stage, but rather the Iranian people. It was they who were just sent a loud and clear message from the White House that the United States would not help them overthrow their evil regime, even indirectly.

It was “déjà vu all over again” for the population that was so brazenly abandoned by the Obama administration in favor of the world’s greatest terror-masters.

Let us hope that Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, is able to persuade his boss that Iranian weapons are only part of the battle. As he and Netanyahu are both keenly aware, without new leadership in Tehran – one not governed by a desire for global Shiite hegemony and jihadi fighters to carry it out – the West cannot rest.
David Singer: Saudi Arabia Jolts Jordan to Negotiate with Israel on Trump Plan
Abdul Hameed Al-Ghabin – “a Saudi writer and a political and tribal figure” – has challenged Jordan to negotiate with Israel on President Trump’s “deal of the century” – or risk losing control of the Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem currently vested in Jordan under the 1994 Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty and the Washington Declaration.

Al-Ghabin’s views have – significantly – been published by an Israeli newspaper. Saudi Arabia’s rulers have not condemned Al-Ghabin or disavowed his views – indicating that Al-Ghabin’s message could represent Saudi Arabia’s official position.
Al-Ghabin asserts:
“There is a major issue of contention: the future of the Palestinians and their right to self-determination. It is important and logical to us that Palestinians should have a state at the end of a peace process. However, anti-peace forces litter our region. An example of such a force is, sadly, the Kingdom of Jordan”.

Al-Ghabin asks:
“How can we achieve peace if the Palestinian people remain without a place to call home?”

Al-Ghabin’s answer will assuredly jolt Jordan – and the United Nations – out of their long running historical, geographical and demographical memory loss:
“The answer is simple: Jordan is already 78 per cent of historical Palestine. Jordanians of Palestinian origin constitute more than 80 percent of the population according to U.S. intelligence cables leaked in 2010. Jordan is essentially already the Palestinian Arab state. The only problem is, the king of Jordan refuses to acknowledge this.

Nonetheless, the world will eventually recognize Jordan as the address for Palestinian statehood—and perhaps sooner than we think. We don’t know if the Jordanian royal family will still be in power when Jordan officially becomes Palestine, but we do know that if the royal family leaves and the Palestinian majority takes over, Jordan will officially become their homeland and we Arabs won’t feel guilty normalizing relations with Israel as another regional state.”

The sting in the tail is Al-Ghabin’s warning that Jordan’s custodianship of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem – created under article 9(2) of the Israel- Jordan Peace Treaty – could be ended if Jordan does not play ball.

Al-Ghabin is ruthless in his criticism of Jordan’s monarch – King Abdullah:

Israel’s Sagi Muki takes gold at judo world championships
Israeli judoka Sagi Muki was named world champion Wednesday, taking the gold medal at the World Judo Championship finals in Tokyo, Japan, and becoming the first male Israeli athlete to receive the top prize.

Muki claimed the gold after defeating Belgium’s Matthias Casse in the finals of the men’s under-81 kilogram weight class.

An emotional Muki fell to the ground after winning, then got up and spread his arms wide to cheers from the audience.

The middleweight champion reached the finals after narrowly defeating Egyptian opponent Mohamed Abdelaal, who refused to shake his hand at the end of the match.

Ahead of the semi-final there were reports that Iran’s Saeid Mollaei, who had also advanced to the penultimate stage, could drop out if he were paired with Muki — although Iran was recently reported to end its longstanding ban on its athletes facing off with Israelis.

The matter was not tested, however, as Mollaei eventually fought, and lost to, Belgium’s Casse while Muki fought Abdelaal.

After the victory, Israel’s national anthem ‘Hatikvah’ was played at the medal ceremony as Muki and Israeli members of the audience sang along.

Muki’s win makes him the first male Israeli to be named world champion. In 2013 Yarden Jarbi won the World Judo Championship in Rio de Janeiro in the women’s under-63 kilogram weight class.

Abbas has missed the bus
It is not yet clear if Abbas will appoint new advisers in place of those who were fired.

Senior Fatah officials report that it is also not certain what Abbas’s announcement means for Mohammed Mustafa, who was Abbas’s economics adviser. Mustafa was also an adviser to Abbas and his two sons on business matters and is considered to be a very close associate of the Abbas family, knowing all of its financial secrets.

With this decision, Abbas is attempting to shake off his image as a corrupt leader, but he faces an uphill battle. The Palestinian public will not soon forget that he was the one who approved the unusual salary hike for Hamdallah and his ministers, breaking Palestinian law, to purchase their loyalty and a blind eye to his corruption and that of his two sons.

Abbas's associates claim the decision was the result of the harsh financial crisis suffered by the PA as the result of the cessation of US financial aid and the PA’s refusal to accept tax money collected for it by Israel.

Abbas wants to appear as if he is “tightening his belt” because the PA is heading toward a severe economic crisis, but his hasty decision shows he is under heavy pressure and confused. Anger on the Palestinian street continues to mount following recent events on the Temple Mount and in the Wadi al-Hummus neighborhood of eastern Jerusalem, where Israel razed illegal buildings. The heads of the Palestinian security forces believe that they are on the verge of an explosion that could also turn against the PA leadership.

When it comes to convincing Palestinian society he is not corrupt, however, Abbas has already missed the bus. He will go down in Palestinian history as a corrupt dictator who created dissent within Palestinian society and achieved nothing in the struggle against Israel.
New Poll: Palestinians Want All of Jerusalem, Prisoners Not as High a Priority as Widely Thought
A new poll published Monday revealed that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians in both the Gaza Strip and West Bank want control over all of Jerusalem, including its predominantly Jewish western half.

The poll conducted by the Palestine Center for Public Opinion and published by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy think thank found that half of respondents “strongly agree” with the statement, “We should demand Palestinian rule over all of Jerusalem, east and west, rather than agree to share or divide any part of it with Israel.” Another 25 to 30 percent agree “somewhat” with the idea.

The institute said these numbers “confirm results from a 2017 poll, which went unreported as an ‘outlier’ or statistical anomaly at the time.”

It also noted that “those percentages are about the same for the Palestinians of East Jerusalem, who work and travel freely in the mostly Jewish half of the city west of the 1967 frontier.”

Despite this seemingly extreme position, the poll also found that only a quarter of respondents wanted a new armed conflict with Israel, though two-thirds believed attacks on settlers and Israeli security forces were justified.
Israeli ambassador Danon to UN: Take action against Iran, Arab terrorists
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon sent two letters to the United Nations this week requesting immediate action against those who are attacking Israel.

On Wednesday, Danon filed a formal letter of complaint to the United Nations Security Council demanding action against Iran over its repeated attempts to attack Israel from Syria.

On Saturday, the IDF foiled an Iranian attack against Israel. This attempt was neither the “first nor the second major Iranian attack intended to escalate the security situation in the region, guided by Soleimani and the Quds Force,” Danon wrote.

He added that the Syrian regime knowingly allows its territory to be used by Iran and its proxies for terrorist activities, including armed attacks.

“It is imperative that the Security Council acknowledges Syria’s responsibility in this regard and hold it accountable,” Danon wrote.
UN peacekeeping patrol filmed coming under attack by Hezbollah in Lebanon
The United Nations Security Council is expected to renew the yearly mandate of its UNIFIL, its peacekeeping force in Lebanon, this week.

But exclusive video obtained by Fox News shows a peacekeeping patrol under attack by the U.S.-designated terrorist group Hezbollah. An intelligence source confirmed to Fox News the Iranian proxy force was behind the attack.

While the U.N. described the attack in a report, the video and the ensuing chaos following the ambush show how dangerous Hezbollah has made the situation for UNIFIL, or the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon.

The video shows groups of men block off the convoy with their cars. Once blocked off several men set upon the vehicles, trying to break in through the windows with hammers and stones.

At one stage, gasoline is poured over the second U.N. armored vehicle and then lit on fire. As it burns one peacekeeper leaves the vehicle while being accosted by the men. Another peacekeeper comes running out from behind the lead armored vehicle with his gun drawn, only to retreat. Another peacekeeper leaves the APV, surrendering his weapon to the terrorists. Men carrying automatic weapons can be seen during the melee.
Honduras to open Jerusalem trade office; Sara Netanyahu takes credit
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife on Tuesday announced that Honduras will open a diplomatic facility in Jerusalem next week and suggested she was responsible for making it happen.

“I’m happy to announce that on Sunday Honduras is opening a diplomatic mission in Jerusalem, a step on the way to an embassy,” Sara Netanyahu said in a Facebook live video with Culture Minister Miri Regev.

The Foreign Ministry confirmed in a statement that Honduras will establish a trade office with diplomatic status and that Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernández, accompanied by his wife, will arrive in Israel on Saturday night to participate in the opening ceremony.

The trade office is a first move toward “the future relocation of the Honduras embassy to Jerusalem,” the ministry said.

Sara Netanyahu claimed the development came after her government-funded trip last year to Guatemala, which neighbors Honduras.

“When I visited Guatemala I spoke with [First Lady] Patricia Morales and her husband the president, I asked them to operate vis-a-vis Honduras so it’ll move its embassy to Jerusalem,” she said.

Sara Netanyahu said that during the visit, which included official ceremonies, she attended a lunch party with Jimmy Morales and his wife.
The Murder of Rina Shnerb and the Fight for Israel’s Open Spaces
Last Friday, Palestinian terrorists detonated a bomb that killed seventeen-year-old Rina Shnerb, who was hiking with her family, and wounded her father and brother. The attack comes a few weeks after the murder of nineteen-year-old Dvir Sorek by Hamas operatives near a village bus stop. Gershon Hacohen comments:

From the Palestinian perspective, Jews can—perhaps—be permitted to exist in their urban high-rises and engage in their white-collar occupations in high-tech and commerce. That is the Jews’ place. The open spaces, on the other hand—the fields, springs, and pastures—these the Arabs must control. The former prime minister Ehud Barak used the phrase “villa in the jungle” to describe Israel’s existential experience, a metaphor worth examining. In their quest for security, the Jews exist in spaces surrounded by fences—a type of upscale, safe ghetto with boundaries they dare not cross.

On the face of it, the “villa in the jungle” metaphor [suggests] a modern high-tech-like outlook. . . . In practice, it is a direct continuation of the [centuries-old] diasporic Jewish experience of ghettoization, the Pale of Settlement, and denial of agricultural and farming opportunities that Zionism has sought to reverse.

For decades now, the Palestinians have understood the essence of their struggle better than the Jews have understood theirs. The purpose of the Zionist enterprise was clear long ago, and Israelis would be wise to re-embrace it: re-establishment of statehood and full sovereignty in the Jews’ ancestral homeland in its full scope. Not in a small, ghettoized, urban “villa in the jungle.”
Days after deadly West Bank bombing, father of slain teen released from hospital
Rabbi Eitan Shnerb, who was wounded in an explosion at a natural spring near the Dolev settlement that killed his teenage daughter on Friday, was released from the hospital on Wednesday.

Shnerb’s 17-year old daughter Rina was killed in the terror bombing in the West Bank, and his son, Dvir, was injured.

“I said I will continue to spread light for Rina and over the last few days it’s unbelievable how much light has been spread,” the Walla news site quoted Shnerb as saying. “I told Rina during the attack ‘I won’t ever leave you.’ I knew she was dead, but I said that we will continue to spread light for her.”

Thanking his doctors at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital, who he said were engaged in “holy work” as were Israel’s security services, who were working “to catch the killers,” the rabbi called for greater unity among Jews and an increased commitment to Torah.

Shnerb’s son Dvir remains hospitalized but is “progressing very, very nicely,” he said.
MEMRI: Senior Saudi Journalist 'Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed: Israel's Attacks On Iran's Proxies In Syria, Iraq And Lebanon Play A Huge Role In The Struggle Against This Country; Relentless Pressure On Iran May Bring About Its Defeat
Following the recent Israeli attack on Iranian operatives in Syria who were planning an attack against it, and two other attacks attributed to Israel, against Hizbullah in Lebanon and Al-Hashd Al-Sha'bi in Iraq, senior Saudi journalist 'Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed, formerly the editor-in-chief of the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat and currently the head of the editorial board of Saudi Arabia's Al-Arabiya TV and Al-Hadath TV,[1] published an article in which he welcomed these attacks. Describing them as "an important political and military development unprecedented in its scope and its daring," Al-Rahsed stressed that these operations played an enormous role in the struggle against Iran and its allies. He also called Israel a major regional player in the international effort to besiege Iran economically, financially and militarily, who manages to embarrass Iran in the international and domestic arena. He ended by stating that defeating Iran is possible if the pressure on it is maintained.

The following are excerpts from his article:[2]
"Within a 24-hour period Israel attacked three countries [by targeting] 'Aqraba, south of Damascus [in Syria], the Iraqi city of Al-Qaim on the Syrian border, and the Southern Dahia in the Lebanese capital [of Beirut]. Although these were limited attacks using the weapon of drones, this is nevertheless an important political and military development unprecedented in its scope and its daring. While Israeli drones are flying through the skies to target Iran, American satellites are tracking Iranian vessels, including oil tankers, impeding their movement across the seas and monitoring the harbors where they anchor. And this is in addition to the expansion of the lists of individuals and companies that have been hit with sanctions for maintaining business ties with Iran.

"Those who claim that the escalation of Israeli [military action] has to do with the [upcoming Israeli] election and is manufactured by [Israeli Prime Minister] Binyamin Netanyahu as part of his bid for reelection, [I say that] this may be one of the motivations behind the three recent attacks, [but not the only motivation]. As a matter of fact, the Israeli presence in the battle arenas is part of its regional strategy, based on intensive attacks on Iran and its militias on Syrian and Iraqi soil, which began over a year ago. These actions have positioned Tel Aviv as a regional player that is no longer viewed [only] in the framework of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but in a wider framework.
The Beirut Attack: What Really Happened
We will likely never know the whole story about what happened in Beirut early on Sunday morning, but one thing is for sure: if the explosive drones were Israeli, it was an operation on a level not seen in years.

Israel is staying mum on the reports coming out of Lebanon, as they tend to do. So that leaves the public to rely on stories spun by the IDF’s enemy Hezbollah, and social media.

So let’s go with what we know: Just hours after the Israel Air Force took out an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force cell led by two Hezbollah operatives planning an explosive drone attack against Israel, two DIJ drones appeared in the skies over Dahiyeh. One crashed after being pelted by rocks while the other exploded, wounding three people and causing significant damage to Hezbollah’s media office.

According to Hezbollah, the two drones carried 5.5 kilos of C4 each and were on a “suicide mission” and not reconnaissance or civilian.

While Hezbollah and the Lebanese Armed Forces quickly blamed Israel for the attack, many in Jerusalem blamed Iran. If Iran couldn’t launch their killer drone attack against northern Israel from Syria, why not try from Lebanon? Unlikely.

These DIJ drones are not able to fly too far from their operators on the ground, a few kilometers at best. That would mean that their operators were on the ground in Hezbollah’s stronghold. Such an operation may have risked not only the Israeli assets being captured by the Shi’ite group or LAF, but an all-out war between the two enemy countries.

Could the assets not have done something else? Instead of explosive drones, perhaps a car-bombing or assassination by gunmen with silencers?
Hezbollah No. 2 threatens Israel with ‘surprise’ retaliation in ‘coming days’
The deputy leader of Iran-backed Lebanese terror group Hezbollah on Tuesday night warned that his movement would deliver a “surprise” response in the coming days to a series of alleged Israeli raids.

Tensions between Hezbollah and Israel have skyrocketed since Saturday night, when two of the group’s members were killed in an Israeli strike in Syria, and drones crashed in a Hezbollah stronghold in Beirut, in an incident also blamed on Israel. On Monday, Lebanon claimed Israeli drones attacked a Palestinian base in the country’s east.

Israel took credit for the Syria raid, but has not commented on the other strikes. The model of drone used in the Beirut attack has raised considerable questions about their provenance, with analysts suggesting they could be Iranian.

The target of the drone attack in Beirut was an expensive and rare industrial mixing machine used in the creation of solid fuel, and the raid set back the terror group’s plans to develop long-range precision missiles by at least a year, according to Hebrew media reports late Tuesday.
How Israel Impeded Hezbollah's Missile Production Program
Israel reportedly delayed Hezbollah's missile pogram by a year, but how did the country's military successfully do it? Former Israeli missile program organization chief Uzi Rubin analyzes.

IDF names Iranian general as mastermind of thwarted drone attack plot
Launching new Persian-language social media accounts, the Israel Defense Forces on Tuesday identified an Iranian general as the mastermind behind a thwarted drone attack against Israel from Syria.

The army said Javad Ghafari, a brigadier general in the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, oversees Iranian forces in Syria and is in charge of Tehran’s efforts to establish a military presence in the country.

“Tens of thousands of Shiites from various nations are operating under Ghafari in Syria,” the IDF said in a statement.

The army said Ghafari was in charge of a cell in Syria that planned to fly explosives-laden drones at Israeli territory, which the IDF thwarted over the weekend.

The statement was the first released by the IDF’s new Persian-language social media channels. The military said its newly launched Instagram, Twitter and Telegram channels were “official information platforms designed for an Iranian audience.”

With virtual reality, Israeli soldiers train in simulated terror tunnels
An Israeli soldier carefully eyes the narrow, damp tunnel carved from surrounding rock through a tightly strapped black headset.

He is not in one of the attack tunnels built by Lebanon-based terror group Hezbollah under the border with Israel, but one of a new generation of soldiers using virtual and augmented reality to train.

In a small computer-lined room, T., a 20-year-old member of Yahalom, or Diamond — the special operations unit of the army’s combat engineering corps — simulates an advance along the narrow passage.

His head sweeps from side to side and up and down, while his hands probe walls invisible to the onlooker.

“We see everything, even falling drops of water,” says the soldier, who cannot be named for security reasons.

“I really feel like I’m there,” he tells AFP. “I feel the humidity, the sense of being stifled.”

The headset displays every detail of the virtual tunnel — a reconstruction of one of several subterranean infiltrations uncovered by the army — allowing instructors to guide T. in real time.
The IDF's Training Simulation Tunnels
With Hezbollah and Hamas both burrowing underground to try and infiltrate Israel, the IDF is preparing its troops for tunnel warfare with VR goggles and replica tunnels in training facilities. Our Ariel Levin-Waldman has the story.

PMW: PA agrees to take money from Israel, but lies to save face
Months after intentionally plunging the Palestinian economy into financial crisis, the PA has finally agreed to accept 2 billion shekels from Israel. (Aug. 28, 2019)

Months after intentionally plunging the Palestinian economy into financial crisis, the Palestinian Authority has finally agreed to accept two billion shekels from Israel. In order to justify the move to its domestic audience, the PA had to invent an alternative reality, assuming that its population and potentially even the international community would never know the truth.

When Israel implemented its Anti-“Pay for Slay” Law in February 2019 and started deducting from the tax revenues Israel collects and transfers to the PA, 41 million shekels/month amounting to 502 million shekels/year, which is the amount the PA admitted it had spent in 2018 to pay salaries to terrorist prisoners and released terrorists, the PA responded by refusing to accept all the remaining tax revenues. Since making that decision, hundreds of millions of shekels that Israel has collected and was willing to transfer to the PA have been sitting in Israel’s coffers, just waiting for the PA to accept them.

At the time, the PA claimed that accepting the deducted funds would be equivalent to accepting that the arrested Palestinians are terrorists and that the move would have “ominous political consequences, and it will have legal implications for us as an authority, and on the banking sector, and on the beneficiaries and such.”

Now the PA has suddenly agreed to accept two billion shekels from Israel. While making the announcement, PA Civil Affairs Minister Hussein Al-Sheikh, already sowed the seeds of the PA’s alternative reality claiming that the funds were received “after exhausting negotiations” and that the PA would be importing petroleum “without the “blu” tax retroactively for the past 7 months.”
Palestinians: Why Allow Facts to Get in the Way?
Why are the details about Rina Shnerb's hometown and her age worth mentioning? Because the Palestinian media has again engaged in a campaign of fabrications and lies to justify the terror attack and the murder of an innocent Jewish teenager.

The Palestinian media, however, does not feel comfortable reporting the facts about the terror attack. In the eyes of Palestinian new editors and journalists, Rina was a "settler" and a "soldier." By using such terms, the Palestinians are trying to create the impression that she was not an innocent teenager, but a Jew who lived in a settlement and was even serving in the IDF.

Finally, it is important to note that many Palestinian media outlets and officials continue to refer to Israel as "occupied Palestine." They see zero difference between a Jew living in the West Bank and a Jew living inside Israel. For them, all Jews are settlers and colonizers, and all cities inside Israel -- Tel Aviv, Haifa, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Eilat, as well as Lod, the hometown of Rina -- are "occupied." In the eyes of Palestinians, in fact all of Israel is "occupied" and a "settlement."

When Palestinian terrorists fired three rockets at Sderot on August 25, Palestinian media outlets reported that Sderot is a "settlement." In case anyone had doubts, Sderot is an Israeli city in the Negev Desert, not a "settlement." By using the term "settlement," the Palestinians are again trying to create the impression that a city it is a legitimate target for rocket attacks because it is an "illegal settlement."
Anti-LGBT Discrimination Is Now Official PA Policy
After Palestinian LGBT organization al-Qaws announced that it had held a gathering in the West Bank city of Nablus earlier this month to discuss gender pluralism in the city, the group was banned by the Palestinian Authority (PA).

The PA said that the group’s activities were “contrary to the values of Palestinian society” and threatened to arrest its members. Not content with that, the PA proceeded to ban all activities designed to promote LGBT rights in its territory.

And anti-gay prejudice is nothing new in the region.

According to a 2013 Pew survey, for example, in Egypt and the Palestinian territories, over 90 percent of the population considers homosexuality unacceptable. But with this latest ban, the Palestinian LGBT community has lost the very small margin of hope they still maintained that they would not be officially classified as criminals — as they are in many Muslim countries (in a few, homosexuality carries the death penalty).

The champions of the “intersectional” fight against Israeli “oppression,” such as US Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), have remained strangely silent regarding this development, and about the persecution of gays in the Muslim world generally. Nor, it would appear, have they ever heard of the many other forms of oppression common in the Muslim world — for instance, against women.
Hamas makes mass arrests in Gaza following killing of 3 policemen said by IS
Hamas has declared a state of emergency and on Wednesday morning began arresting supporters of Islamic State and other Salafist organizations in the Gaza Strip en masse, hours after three policemen were killed in a series of blasts in the coastal enclave, according to Palestinian reports.

An unnamed security source told the BBC that the two explosions that hit police checkpoints near Gaza City on Tuesday evening were the result of suicide bombings carried out by IS and that one of the attackers had previously been detained by Hamas.

Hamas, the Islamic terrorist organization that controls Gaza, has frequently come into conflict with supporters of more extreme jihadist organizations in the strip and recently undertook operations against members of IS. Last year, the group’s Sinai branch declared war on Hamas, terming the group and its supporters “apostates.”

Gaza’s Hamas-run interior ministry said the first explosion occurred next to a police checkpoint south of Gaza City.

“Two members of the police were martyred as a result of an explosion that took place near a police checkpoint at the Dahdouh intersection,” Hamas-run Interior Ministry spokesman Iyad al-Bozm said.
Who is Behind Bombings of Police in Gaza?
Three policemen were killed in the Gaza Strip in a series of suicide bombings at the hands of what are believed to be extremist Salafist groups. Hamas initially pointed the finger at Israel, but is not retracting the accusation. Our Jonathan Regev analyzes.

Iraqi Militia Leader: Israel Wants War in Region, Plans to Settle Palestinian Refugees in Iraq
Qais Khazali, the leader of the Iraqi Shiite militia Asa'ib Ahl Al-Haq, said in an August 26, 2019 show on Al-Ahd TV (Iraq) that he believes neither the U.S. nor Iran genuinely want war, but that Israel wants war because it acts in accordance with ideologies and prophecies that have their roots in the Torah. He claimed that Israel wants war because it sees "Babylon" as its greatest enemy, and he said that there are people inside the American government who are advancing this cause. Khazali also said that the U.S. has been focusing its humanitarian aid to Iraq in the Al-Anbar province because it has a plan to cut Al-Anbar away from Iraq and use it to shelter Palestinian refugees. In addition, Khazali claimed that there is a plan for war to break out between Iran and the U.S. before the end of President Trump's first term, and he said that recent Israeli attacks against camps belonging to the Iraqi PMU and Federal Police have been the first steps in this war.

JCPA: Iran and Hizbullah Prepare to Confront Israel in Response to Its Actions in Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq
Tensions between Iran and Israel have reached new heights after three events attributed to Israel – attacks on “killer drone” teams in Syria, a drone attack in Beirut, and repeated attacks on weapons in the warehouses of pro-Iran militias in Iraq.

The drone attack in Beirut reportedly destroyed a key component for producing high-grade propellant for precision solid-fueled missiles.

Hizbullah will do whatever it can to retaliate forcefully to Israel’s actions. The intention and desire exist, and the organization’s success in carrying out its reaction is dependent on Hizbullah’s operational capability.

The damage to Iranian interests on Iraqi territory bordering Iran have struck one of the central tenets of Iranian security, to conduct the campaign far away from the borders of Iran on the land axis that it has planned for transporting weapons to Syria and Lebanon.

The alleged Israeli attacks on Iranian assets led to an intense internal discussion within Iran around the ongoing lack of success – especially on the critical front facing Israel – to establish offensive capabilities and to hold a military grip along its border.

Hardline Iranian journalist: Israel “should not be surprised if in the coming days or nights anonymous pilotless aircraft will attack security, military, and nuclear targets of Israel or the port cities and major Zionist centers…. Israel should be prepared for the bitter and harsh news of the incursion and attacks by UAVs on Dimona, Haifa, and Tel Aviv.”

In these sensitive times, retaliation by Iran and/or Hizbullah may shut down any chances for a meeting between President Trump and his Iranian counterpart, President Rouhani.
Zarif invites Iranians to watch his TED talk on banned Youtube
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif invited Iranians in a post on his Instagram to watch a TED talk he gave at an independently organized TEDx event earlier this month on Youtube. Both Instagram and Youtube are banned in the Islamic Republic.

In his TED talk at the TEDx event at the Amirkabir University in Tehran, Zarif discussed "four big mistakes we make in our communications, from small day-to-day talks to negotiation on big global issues," according to the description on the Youtube video of the talk.

YouTube is officially banned within Iran and only well connected companies are allowed to benefit from the video streaming service.

In May, Iran announced that the national information network (ININ), a intranet system that the country is working on, was 80% complete, according to Radio Farda.

IRNA, a state news agency, said that the intranet would offer "high quality, high speed" connections at "low costs."

The intranet is intended to promote Islamic content and raise digital awareness among the public, according to the BBC.

Iran already has blocked access to tens of thousands of sites and services including Twitter and Facebook, although many users use virtual private networks (VPNs) and proxy sites to bypass the filter.
In U.S. Standoff With Tehran, ‘the Iranian People Are the Real Losers’
As the United States and Iran continue to trade barbs in a tense international standoff, leading lawmakers are starting to pressure Iranian leaders to consent to new nuclear negotiations that could help ease American sanctions and provide relief for the Iranian people, who have been hardest hit by the international community's economic penalties.

After President Donald Trump extended an olive branch to Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif for talks regarding the country's ongoing work on nuclear weapons and support for regional terrorist organizations, Iranian leaders rejected the offer to hold good faith talks.

Iran's unwillingness to consent to new negotiations is the strongest sign to date that it has no interest in escaping the Trump administration's toughest sanctions, which have isolated the regime, but also have caused economic headache for average Iranian citizens. Trump administration sanctions on Iran have blocked some $10 billion in revenue to Tehran since last November.

Rep. Jim Banks (R., Ind.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, is one of several leading lawmakers who views Tehran as using its own citizens as pawns in an increasingly lethal standoff with the United States and other Western nations.

"The Iranian people are the real losers, as they are being used as pawns by a despotic and corrupt ruling class," Banks told the Washington Free Beacon. "They are frustrated they have no political or social freedoms, and they suffer under systematic government corruption that takes food out of the mouths of its citizens."

MEMRI: Arab-American Researchers: Arab Narratives About Zionism Are False; Israel Is The Most Successful Country In The Middle East; Instead Of Establishing Palestine, Arabs Tried To Erase Israel
Syrian-American human rights activist Ammar Abdulhamid and Egyptian-American researcher Samuel Tadros discussed Zionism and Israel on an August 15, 2019 show on Al-Hurra TV (United States). Ammar Abdulhamid said that there is a colonialist-imperialist streak in all civilizations and this means that the colonialist aspects of Zionism are not unique. He argued that the Arabs have become nihilistic with regard to Israel because they focused on annihilating Israel instead of building a Palestinian state right from the start. He also said that one cannot ignore the role that Arab Jews played in Israel's establishment and the fact that they did so in order to escape persecution by Muslim Arabs. In addition, Abdulhamid pointed out that the West was not always supportive of Israel, despite Arab claims that the West planted Israel as a foreign cancer in the Middle East. He added that Israel is the most successful and most stable country in the Middle East and it would make no sense for Israel to be annihilated while unstable countries like Egypt and Syria survived.

Samuel Tadros said that Israel is the only country to have successfully resurrected a dead language. He said that the Holocaust proved Theodor Herzl's argument that Zionism is the solution to the fact that other nations will never accept the Jews. Tadros added that the idea that Israel is a foreign cancer planted by the West ignores the historical presence of Jews throughout history in Palestine and the Middle East. Tadros also said that the fact that the Jews successfully established the thriving State of Israel, despite coming from different places and speaking different language, should serve as a "very important lesson to anyone trying to establish a state."

"The Colonialist-Imperialist Streak Is Innate In The Genes Of Nations And Countries, So We Cannot Say That [Zionism] Is Exceptional In This Sense"

Ammar Abdulhamid: "Since ancient times, the human order has been that when a certain tribe or people suffered famine, destitution, or any other problem in a certain region, they would move to another area. If they had to, they would raid your people. If they were allowed to settle in the land, then they did so peacefully. These solutions have always existed. The colonialist-imperialist streak is innate in the genes of nations and countries, so we cannot say that [Zionism] is exceptional in this sense. What is special about this movement is that they collectively moved to another area without taking into consideration the rights of the original people on that land. Here we have a problem, and we will discuss it..."

Samuel Tadros: "And others do believe in the rights of the original people? But I do think that there are some unique aspects [about Zionism]. For example, they resurrected a dead language. Nobody else has done this. The Copts dream of restoring the Coptic language, and the Assyrians dream of preserving their language, but the reality is that languages die. Hebrew is the only successful case of a dead language being resurrected. We do have a certain uniqueness in the Jewish story, compared to other examples."
Arab-American Researchers: Arab Narratives on Zionism Are False; Israel Most Successful in the ME

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