Thursday, September 26, 2019

From Ian:

Reuven Rivlin gives Netanyahu mandate to form government
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been given the chance to form a government for the sixth time on Wednesday, after succeeding in his five terms in office but not having the opportunity to do so following the April election.

President Reuven Rivlin formally gave Netanyahu four weeks to form the government, after a meeting at the President’s Residence with Blue and White leader Benny Gantz failed to bring about a breakthrough. The deadline will be October 24.

“Netanyahu had the best chance to form a government,” Rivlin said in a speech alongside the prime minister.

A Channel 12 poll broadcast Wednesday night found that the public prefers Netanyahu go first in a rotation with Gantz. But to avoid another election, a majority of respondents would like to see Likud replace Netanyahu with another candidate.

The survey of 700 respondents representing a statistical sample of the population was taken by pollster Camil Fuchs. The margin of error was 4%.

Rivlin said he gave the mandate to Netanyahu because he received 55 recommendations from MKs, compared with Gantz’s 54. He called upon parties to stop disqualifying each other and lamented that a unity government was not formed.

staffers share antisemitic content with no consequences, NGO says

UNRWA staff members, including teachers regularly share antisemitic and pro-terrorism content on social media and face no consequences, according to NGO UN Watch.

In a report published on Wednesday, the Geneva-based organization exposed posts from 10 United Nations employees that included praises of terrorism against Israelis, and a picture of Adolf Hitler describing him as a humanitarian.

The latest cases bring the total number of staff members uncovered sharing similar content to 100, according to the report.

“Despite our prior identification of UNRWA teachers who endorse Hitler and call for killing Jews, I am not aware of a single UNRWA teacher who has been fired as a result,” commented director of UN Watch Hillel Neuer. “Why is it that an ostensibly neutral UN agency that claims to teach tolerance continues to employ terrorist-supporting and antisemitic staff?”

UNRWA has often drawn widespread criticism for its soft stance on terrorism, including allowing Hamas to place rockets and weapons in its schools in 2014.

Moreover, the United Nations is currently investigating allegations of ethical misconduct by its senior staff members.

According to a report leaked to the media in July, the officials are accused of engaging in “sexual misconduct, nepotism, retaliation, discrimination and other abuses of authority, for personal gain.”

Following the allegations, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and New Zealand announced that they were temporarily suspending their financial contributions to the agency.

UN Watch collected the material included in the report based on information displayed publicly on Facebook, and by searching for UNRWA-related key words.
PMW: Why is Fatah hiding its Facebook Account?
Yesterday, Palestinian Media Watch reported that Fatah's terror promoting Facebook page had been closed. This came two weeks after PMW released a new report on Fatah's use of Facebook during 2019, documenting its continued terror promotion. This was joined by PMW's public pressure campaign, in cooperation with ACT-IL, in which thousands of people sent complaints to Facebook demanding that Fatah's page be permanently shut down.

Following the closure of the page, Facebook notified the press yesterday that they are still reviewing the complaints against Fatah's Facebook page and had not yet made a final decision and were not the ones who closed the page.

Yesterday evening, the editor of Fatah's Facebook page, Munir Al-Jaghoub, told The Times of Israel that Fatah itself closed the page because of PMW's campaign, apparently to hide it so that people won't be able to make complaints. Al-Jaghoub explained:
"We decided to close it down for a period of time as a precautionary measure. We were worried that Facebook would shut it down permanently because of that Israeli organization's [PMW] campaign and complaints against it." [The Times of Israel, Sept. 25, 2019]

The Times of Israel further reported that "He [Al-Jaghoub] and his [Fatah] staff decided to temporarily deactivate the page after they grew concerned that Facebook would shut it down over mounting complaints against its content... Jaghoub said he and his team intend to reactivate the page in the future, but have not settled on a date yet.

'We will be patient,' he said. 'We can reactivate it at any moment, but we want to make sure we do that after this wave of attacks against the page passes.'"

PMW views Al-Jaghoub's statement as a striking indicator of the terror content of Fatah's Facebook page that Fatah itself decided to close it down and hide it from public scrutiny to prevent their page from being shut down by Facebook.

There is no justification for Facebook to permit Fatah to reopen its page. We hope that Facebook will recognize what Fatah itself understands, namely that its Facebook page promotes terror, and keep Fatah's page permanently closed.
PMW: Vile Antisemitism on Fatah's Facebook Page
How Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah sees the Jewish role in the world:
  • "The [Jewish] tribe led the project to enslave humanity"
  • "[The Jews] were hated because of their racism and their filthy behavior"
  • The Jews allied with Nazis to burn Jews "to accumulate wealth"
  • The Jews say: "Only we are people, and all the others are our animals"
  • "Non-Jews... according to their worldview are snakes"
  • The Jews established "ghettos in order to separate from other people out of arrogance and disgust for non-Jews"
  • "Seventy years have passed since the artificial state's [Israel's] establishment... They [the Jews] have not removed from their consciousness the view of the other as inferior and the right to spill the blood of the nations"
Fatah: Jews allied with Nazi Germany to burn Jews for profit

Evelyn Gordon: Israel’s do-over election performed a vital service for democracy
Like many Israelis, I was horrified when April’s election led to another in September; it seemed a colossal waste of time and money. But the do-ever election proved critical to maintaining Israel’s democratic legitimacy among half the public – the half that would otherwise have thought that April’s election was stolen from them.

In April, rightist parties that explicitly promised to support Benjamin Netanyahu for prime minister won 65 of the Knesset’s 120 seats. In other words, a clear majority of voters seemingly cast their ballots for a rightist, Netanyahu-led government. But after the election, Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Lieberman refused to join such a government.

Thus even if an alternative government could have been formed – whether a unity government or one led by Netanyahu’s rival, Benny Gantz – it would have undermined rightists’ faith in the democratic process. Any such government would have looked like a product not of the majority’s will, but of the whims of a single individual who “stole” right-wing votes and gave them to the left.

The do-over election showed this wasn’t the case. Lieberman’s party not only maintained its strength but increased it, thereby proving him right that his voters cared more about curbing ultra-Orthodox power than about keeping Netanyahu in office. Moreover, the pro-Netanyahu bloc shrank even further – from 60 seats (excluding Lieberman) in April to 55 in September – due entirely to Netanyahu’s own appalling behavior in the intervening months, which prompted a nontrivial number of center-right voters to either switch sides or stay home and a massive increase in Arab turnout.

That doesn’t mean Gantz won; the bloc he heads can’t form a government on its own. But neither can Netanyahu’s bloc. Any possible solution – a unity government, a Netanyahu government with leftist partners or a Gantz government with rightist partners – will require a compromise between the blocs. And nobody will be able to claim the election was stolen when that happens.
Caroline Glick: The strategic cost of Israel’s political instability
The Iranian strike on Saudi Arabia’s oil installations is an opportunity to carry out a strategic assault on Iran. Such an assault could target Iran’s nuclear installations, Revolutionary Guards bases and other regime targets. The goal of such a campaign would be to significantly set back Iran’s nuclear weapons program and undermine regime stability.

Today is an opportune moment for Israel to conduct such an attack, in cooperation with Saudi Arabia. U.S. support for a retaliatory strike would increase the probability of success significantly.

Were Israel to conduct such an operation, it would safeguard its regional position and deterrent power for a generation. It would do so at Iran’s expense and so vastly diminish the strategic threats it faces.

On the other hand, if due to its strategic paralysis Israel fails to take advantage of this opportunity, the strategic balance of power in the Middle East will shift in Iran’s favor.

Iran will be empowered by America’s weak response, Saudi fecklessness and Israeli inaction.

Israel’s credibility and position in the region—built through Netanyahu’s effective cooperation with the Americans and the Sunnis—will be destroyed as the Americans and the Sunnis cease viewing Israel as a dependable partner.

Inside the United States, Trump will take a political hit. Following Obama’s pro-Iranian administration, Trump has made restoring the American alliance with Israel and the Sunnis the centerpiece of his Middle East policy. Israeli inaction combined with Saudi incompetence will be used by Trump’s political opponents and the isolationist wing of his support base to condemn his key policy as a failure. Obama’s nuclear deal and his maximum appeasement strategy will get a new lease on life.

The major failing of the Israeli media and most Israeli politicians is their chronic inability to understand how outsiders in the region and throughout the world perceive Israel. They don’t consider, let along understand, the ramifications of those perceptions on Israel’s national security. Consequently, they don’t understand that Israel’s prolonged political instability imperils our most critical strategic interests and squanders our greatest strategic opportunities.
With or Without Netanyahu, No Two-State Solution Is Coming
Western progressives are no doubt horrified that, on Wednesday, Israeli president Reuven Rivlin tasked current prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu with forming Israel's next government. Netanyahu has until Oct. 24 to form a governing coalition of at least 61 of the 120 members in the Knesset, Israel's parliament. Currently, 55 members of the Knesset have recommended Netanyahu for prime minister, while the premier's rival, Benny Gantz, has secured 54 recommendations. Rivlin, who said Netanyahu has a better chance of obtaining the necessary support, originally offered Gantz and Netanyahu an opportunity to form a unity government, under which the political rivals would rotate as prime minister. Both men refused the offer.

Progressives are horrified because they believe Netanyahu is, along with President Trump, responsible for destroying the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and thus any hope of a two-state solution. Earlier this month, for example, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) described Netanyahu's stated intention to apply Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley—a step that Israel has the legal right to do and that Gantz, too, has said he would take as prime minister—as "the nail in the coffin to a two-state solution or any peace deal." Rep. Ro Khanna (D., Calif.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) similarly said at the time that Netanyahu would "shatter what is left of a two-state solution" and "make a two-state solution nearly impossible."

Never mind that the Palestinians refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state—thus rejecting the foundation of a two-state solution—and that they have repeatedly rejected offers of statehood, including remarkably generous Israeli proposals. Netanyahu is still the problem.
Jonathan Tobin: A nation divided about Netanyahu, not the peace process
Though it all sounds logical, it’s still just as likely that the negotiations will fail. Netanyahu may be cornered, but as long as he maintains his grip on his party, he isn’t going anywhere, and his fate is the only roadblock to unity that cannot be finessed or overcome with political bargains.

Were Israel narrowly divided as it was in 1984 between two great camps that were far more split on ideology, a government of “national paralysis” – as the unity government formed that year was often called – might be viable since the consensus was that the nation was prepared for a virtual truce until one side gained an advantage.

While Lieberman fought the election on the secular-religious divide, the most potent issue hampering Israeli voters in the second round was Netanyahu himself. Even as threats still loom from Hamas to the south, Hezbollah to the north and Iran generally, the results last week can be seen as not a defeat for the prime minister’s ideology, but a blow to the idea that he is the country’s one indispensable man.

Seen from that perspective, a third election seems more an inevitability than a nightmare scenario. That’s especially true since both Netanyahu and Gantz think they will do better next time (though I think the latter has far more reason for his faith in the voters).

That the divisions between Israelis on the one issue that has always counted the most have narrowed so much ought to make national unity an imperative is remarkable.

But as long as the question is not so much how to pursue peace, but whether or not Netanyahu should remain in office, unity may be more a figment of Rivlin’s imagination than a realistic plan.
Isi Leibler: Netanyahu: The End of an Era
Netanyahu has served a record-breaking number of years as prime minister and he will be recorded as probably the most effective of all Israeli leaders. History will extol his handling of security, the economy, alerting the world to the Iranian nuclear threat, and, above all, breaking down barriers and transforming Israel from a pariah status to a country enjoying unprecedented relations with the US, Russia, India, China, Latin America, Africa, Southeast Asia, and now even moderate Sunni Arab states.

But all good things come to an end. For Netanyahu to try to carry on as head of a caretaker government at this juncture could also be disastrous. Unless he has a rabbit to pull out of his hat in a matter of days, he should bow out graciously and, in the national interest, offer his services to his successor.

Likud and Blue and White representatives should agree on the major issues about which they share a consensus and invite those who agree to their terms to join and form as broad a government as possible. This would exclude the anti-Zionist Joint List. However, it should include the haredim on condition that their representatives cannot veto legislation desired by the two leading parties, that military or national service is gradually introduced among their young men, and that secular studies are reintroduced into their schools. The latter in particular would encourage their youngsters to grow into self-sufficient adults rather than subsist on welfare payments. The haredim must be willing to share a government with Lieberman and Lapid and their parties — and conversely, should Lapid or Lieberman refuse to share power with the haredim, they should be directed to the opposition.

The ultimate objective of a broader new government must be to rectify the social problems and tensions that have been created as a result of sectoral pressures. It must seek to unify the nation by breaking down the barriers between the different sectors, including also Arab Israelis who are willing to act as loyal citizens.
Gantz calls on Netanyahu to hold unity talks ‘without spin or blocs’
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz on Thursday called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party to hold negotiations on forming a unity government — a day after the premier was tasked by President Reuven Rivlin with forming a coalition and after efforts to foster talks on a unity partnership broke down.

At a Blue and White faction meeting in Tel Aviv, Gantz said the focus of coalition negotiations should be not on doling out ministerial portfolios but on policy.

“The position is not important. Why is it important who holds what portfolio? This should be talked about only after [matters of] substance,” he said. “I am not looking to be a prime minister for the sake of honor. I asked for the public’s trust for the sake of a mission and not for the sake of power.”

Gantz stressed that Blue and White was not motivated by personal animus toward Netanyahu but rather, in refusing to partner with Likud so long as Netanyahu is the party leader, it opposes him over his pending indictment in a series of graft cases.

“We’re not just ‘Not Bibi.’ We’re not attacking him on a personal level. We’re looking for integrity in public,” Gantz said, using Netanyahu’s nickname. “We’re looking to act against corruption and can’t sit with a prime minister against whom there are active indictments.”
Liberman: Ready to negotiate without preconditions
In a stunning turnaround, Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman said on Thursday morning that he was ready for his Yisrael Beytenu party to negotiate with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud "without preconditions."

Speaking on KAN Radio Reka to Ma'ariv diplomatic correspondent Anna Ravya-Barsky, Liberman said: "There are no preconditions. If the Likud will make an official overture to us, we are prepared to negotiate with them."

Liberman's associates were quick to downplay his statement, noting that in the same interview, he said he would negotiate only with Likud and not the other members of its 55-member right-wing and religious bloc. His spokeswoman said the party's refusal to sit in a coalition with United Torah Judaism, Shas and most of Yamina had not changed.

Yisrael Beytenu MKs added in other radio interviews that a narrow right-wing government was unacceptable and that only a secular coalition of Likud, Blue and White and Yisrael Beytenu would work.

But Liberman's statement still gave hope to Likud officials, who said Yisrael Beyteynu would be formally invited to negotiate soon. They noted that the party's eight MKs along with the right bloc's 55 could form a very stable government.
NGO Monitor: Season 2, Episode 2: Benny Gantz: Prime Minister or War Criminal?
Last week, a civil suit was filed in the Netherlands, accusing Benny Gantz of committing war crimes during the 2014 Gaza war. Will he be tried? How do Israel and European governments address these types of cases?

‘Smokescreening’ — Anti-Israel Sentiment Expressed Through False Friendship
Another major smokescreener toward Israel is Barack Obama. While president of the US, he visited Israel in March 2013. He said at the Jerusalem Convention Center, “I bring with me the support of the American people, and the friendship that binds us together.” He added, “As the president of a country that you can count on as your greatest friend, I am confident that you can help us find the promise in the days that lie ahead.”

In that same Jerusalem speech, Obama openly bent the truth. He said, “But while I know you have had differences with the Palestinian Authority, I believe that you do have a true partner in President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad. Over the last few years, they have built institutions and maintained security on the West Bank in ways that few would have imagined a decade ago. So many Palestinians — including young people — have rejected violence as a means of achieving their aspirations.” A few months later, Abbas would push Fayyad out.

In 2008, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Abbas discussed a peace agreement. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, who was present at the negotiations, told PA TV that Olmert accepted all the PA’s demands. He even offered Abbas a little more than the full area of the West Bank. Erekat said he told Abbas to accept the extremely generous proposal, but Abbas rejected it.

In December 2016, in one of his last acts as president, Obama had the US abstain from voting on a major anti-Israel UN Security Council motion. The proposal demanded an immediate halt to all settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Through the abstention, Obama enabled the measure to pass. Donald Trump had already been elected president and would be installed a few weeks later. Trump had made it clear that he opposed the resolution and notified the White House, to no avail.

American law expert Alan Dershowitz said the former president told him he would always protect Israel, yet he believes Obama hurt the Jewish state with the abstention. He said, “President Obama’s decision on the way out to allow the United Nations to condemn Israel for occupying the Western Wall, the holiest place in Judaism, the Jewish Quarter, Hebrew University, the Hadassah Hospital bypass road, was abominable.”
Honest Reporting: Just What Is The Jordan Valley?
Jordan Valley: Strategic Value

Israeli security experts look at the Jordan Valley as providing “strategic depth.” Without the West Bank, Israel at some points is only 15 km (9 miles) wide. Although modern conventional warfare has changed, downplaying the fear of an armored attack from the east, the last two decades has shown a dramatic increase in the strategic threat of short-range rockets particularly from Gaza. The Hamas terrorist organization controls Gaza and does not hide its desire to take over the West Bank, nor its total rejection of the peace process.

Following the 1967 Six Day War, cabinet minister Yigal Allon proposed to annex most of the Jordan Valley as part of a plan to either return the populated part of the West Bank to Jordan or make it autonomous. There have been variations on that plan since, none of which have been taken seriously. In an apparent election ploy before the September 2019 vote, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to annex parts of the valley, but that failed to gain him more public support.
A view overlooking the Jordan Valley as seen from the archaeological site The Star of Jordan, near Beit She’an. Photo courtesy Israel GPO.

An assessment in 2019 by the respected Institute for National Securities Studies at Tel Aviv University noted that “the U.S. administration accepts the core demand of Prime Minister Netanyahu for freedom of action for Israeli security forces in all territory west of the River Jordan … in accordance with Israel’s security needs.”

In the United States, the Congressional Research Service prepares background reports on a regular basis for the Congress, detailing issues affecting Israel and Israel-US relations. One of those reports concluded that for the Jordan Valley “…Israel may not be willing to agree to phase out its presence—largely owing to recent historical instances in which Israeli military withdrawal from southern Lebanon (2000) and the Gaza Strip (2005) led to the entrenchment of adversarial Islamist militants armed with rockets that have hit Israeli population centers and remain capable of doing so.”
Rabin’s hand-drawn map from 1993 peace talks up for auction
A hand-drawn map by former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, sketched in the year the Oslo Accords were signed between Israel and the Palestinians, is up for auction.

The 1993 map, drawn by Rabin on stationery paper from the Sheraton Jerusalem Plaza Hotel, measures 5.5 x 9 inches and is the only known such drawing by the prime minister, Nate D. Sanders Auctions said in a statement Wednesday.

In addition to roughly marking out Israel’s pre-1967 borders, the map includes numbers marked at various locations, but no place names, and Rabin’s signature scrawled in English letters at the bottom. An accompanying piece of paper, “likely in another hand” explains that the numbers are population figures, according to the lot’s description on the auction house website.

On the reverse side of the map page is a first draft of the map, which is scribbled over.

Bidding is to start at $25,000 when the map goes under the hammer on Thursday, the statement said.

“The context for this map is as important as the sketch itself,” auction house owner Sanders said in the statement. “Rabin, [Shimon] Peres and [Yasser] Arafat received the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize, an award that continues to be discussed today. Rabin’s hand-drawn map is of tremendous historical, political and cultural importance.”

Former French president Jacques Chirac dies at 86
Jacques Chirac, a two-term French president who was the first leader to acknowledge France’s role in the Holocaust and defiantly opposed the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, died Thursday at age 86.

His son-in-law Frederic Salat-Baroux told The Associated Press that Chirac died “peacefully, among his loved ones.” He did not give a cause of death, though Chirac had had repeated health problems since leaving office in 2007.

Chirac was long the standard-bearer of France’s conservative right, and mayor of Paris for nearly two decades. He was nicknamed “Le Bulldozer” early in his career for his determination and ambition. As president from 1995 to 2007 he was a consummate global diplomat but failed to reform the economy or defuse tensions between police and minority youths that exploded into riots across France in 2005.

Yet Chirac showed courage and statesmanship during his presidency.

In what may have been his finest hour, France’s last leader with memories of World War II crushed the myth of his nation’s innocence in the persecution of Jews and their deportation during the Holocaust when he acknowledged France’s part.

“Yes, the criminal folly of the occupiers was seconded by the French, by the French state,” he said on July 16, 1995. “France, the land of the Enlightenment and human rights … delivered those it protects to their executioners.”
Female officer lightly wounded in Jerusalem stabbing
A policewoman was lightly wounded Thursday afternoon in a stabbing attack in Jerusalem’s Old City, police said.

Just before 4 p.m., a Palestinian assailant walked up to a group of officers at the Temple Mount’s Chain Gate, above the Western Wall area, pulled out a knife and attempted to stab the officers.

The cops at the site overpowered the man, and he was taken for questioning.

The man’s identity has not been released, but police characterized the incident as a terror attack.

During the scuffle, the female officer, age 34, was stabbed and lightly wounded in the hand, according to medics at the scene.
Al-Qaeda, ISIS Plan to Attack Jews, Israelis in India
Intelligence agencies have warned about plans of international terror outfits including al-Qaida and cells affiliated to the Islamic States (IS) of attacking Jewish and Israeli communities in India during their holiday season in September and October.
The agencies have alerted the states having a significant Jewish population about the possible attacks.

Three Jewish holidays fall between September and October, starting with Rosh HaShanah (Jewish New Year) which runs through September 29 and October 1, Yom Kippur (the holiest day in Judaism) falls on October 8 and 9 while Sukkot will be celebrated between October 13 and October 22.

According to an official communication accessed by ANI, the agencies have received an intelligence input from the spy agencies of other countries about the terrorist outfits' plans to attack the Israeli embassy in New Delhi. The places frequented by Israelis including schools and hotels are also on the target.

Sources said terror outfits are desperate to carry out attacks on Israelis living in the country after Israel supported India over the abrogation of Article 370 which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Hamas urges Abbas to renounce Oslo Accords at UN speech
Hamas has called on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to renounce the Oslo Accords with Israel during his speech before the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday.

On the eve of Abbas’s speech, Hamas said in a statement that “the time has come for the PA leadership to announce to the world its decision to renounce the disastrous Oslo Accords after 25 years of political illusion that has brought on our people nothing but additional suffering, land theft, and the desecration of holy sites.”

Last July, Abbas announced that the PA leadership has decided to form a committee to study setting up a mechanism for “halting work related to all signed agreements” with Israel. His critics have dismissed the announcement as yet another “empty threat,” pointing out that it remains unclear whether the proposed committee had ever been formed.

PA officials in Ramallah said that Abbas was expected to announce during his speech that the Palestinians will hold a new parliamentary election. Abbas is also expected to repeat his appeal for convening an international conference for peace in the Middle East and again call for providing international protection for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the officials added.

The last Palestinian parliamentary election, held in January 2006, resulted in a Hamas victory. The Hamas-affiliated Change and Reform list won 74 seats of the 132 seats of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction won only 45 seats.

JCPA: Is Egyptian President Sisi’s Regime in Danger?
In spite of the relatively small turnout, the demonstrations in Egypt on Sep. 20 should be a warning sign for President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. While the call to demonstrate came from wealthy Egyptian building contractor Mohamed Ali, in self-imposed exile in Spain, in Egypt many say that the power behind the incitement of the public is the Muslim Brotherhood. There were demonstrations against President Sisi's government in Cairo, Alexandria, and several outlying cities. However, these demonstrations were much smaller than the information about them posted by the Muslim Brotherhood.

President Sisi should be most concerned by the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood has come back to life. This means that Egypt's security apparatus failed to quash the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, though they eliminated the senior and middle ranks of the movement. A new cadre of the Muslim Brotherhood is inciting the public against the regime in coordination with those of its leaders who are currently in Egyptian jails, and Turkey and Qatar. Sources in Egypt claim that opponents of President Sisi within the army are also cooperating with calls to demonstrate.

President Sisi has created a positive relationship with Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, which has benefited the Egyptian economy. He also supports the Palestinian political figure Mohammed Dahlan, who is today an adviser to the ruler of Abu Dhabi. Sisi sees him as the successor to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Dahlan is considered to be a sworn enemy of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Egypt NGOs say up to 1,900 detained after anti-Sissi protests
Egyptian authorities have arrested up to 1,900 people, rights groups said Thursday, broadening a crackdown that has seen prominent critics detained after rare protests calling for the ouster of general-turned-President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

The wave of arrests comes ahead of a “million man march” Friday called for by an exiled businessman whose online videos accusing Sissi and the military of corruption sparked last week’s rallies.

The Egyptian Center for Freedoms and Rights (ECRF) said 1,471 people had been detained since the scattered demonstrations erupted last Friday in Cairo and other cities across the country.

The Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights reported that 1,909 had been arrested during the protests.
UN nuclear watchdog: Iran using advanced centrifuges in new breach of 2015 deal
New breach comes as Washington ups pressure on Tehran, sanctioning Chinese companies importing Iran's oil

Iran has started using advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges in a new breach of the 2015 nuclear accord, a report by the International Atomic Agency (IAEA) revealed on Thursday.

Advanced centrifuges at Iran's Natanz facility "were accumulating, or had been prepared to accumulate, enriched uranium", the IAEA document, seen by AFP, said. According to Reuters, the agency was able to verify this on September 25.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Iran started installing advanced centrifuges in a move that breached the landmark 2015 accord.

In a statement, the IAEA said that on September 7 it had "verified that the following centrifuges were either installed or being installed...: 22 IR-4, one IR-5, 30 IR-6 and three IR-6."

Under the nuclear agreement, Iran is only allowed to use the IR-1 centrifuges.
Ambassador Danny Danon: The UN's Dangerous Refusal to Face Facts on Iran
After an Iranian drone and missile attack devastated Saudi oil facilities, the UN General Assembly gathered to discuss the gravest threats to international peace and security. Through its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and with the use of its national airlines, Iran has spread its tentacles to Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, as well as Gaza, dedicating years and more than $7 billion annually to building this extensive terrorist network.

Due to its narrow borders, Israel lacks the strategic depth necessary for our defense forces to detect and respond to an attack before it threatens population centers. An Iranian military presence near the Golan Heights virtually guarantees that any strike will result in Israeli civilian casualties. Thus, Israel has conducted hundreds of strikes against IRGC and Hizbullah forces in Syria to prevent Iran from gaining a permanent foothold.

All along, the United Nations has remained silent in the face of Iran's growing aggression. For years, Tehran has staged terrorist operations in dozens of countries across six continents. Last year, Israel revealed the existence of a nuclear site Iran constructed in violation of the nuclear agreement. Two weeks ago, we exposed another Iranian nuclear research facility that the regime never disclosed. While Israel continues to sound the alarm about Iran's genocidal ambitions, the regime itself has been steadily building its own case for why it is deserving of international sanction.
Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo: The World Awakens to Iranian Aggression
Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo told the 2019 summit of United Against Nuclear Iran on Wednesday in New York: "Iran is the aggressor and not the aggrieved....From murdering and torturing their own people, to killing Americans from Lebanon to Iraq, to harboring al-Qaeda even today, Iran has rampaged for four decades, and sadly with too few consequences."

"During the nuclear deal negotiations, Iran's malign activity didn't abate one bit....Thanks to Israel, we now know they were also protecting, hiding, and preserving their nuclear knowhow at that very same time. Indeed, after the deal was signed and the pallets of cash were delivered, they continued backing Hizbullah, Hamas, the Houthis, and Shia militias throughout the region. The world too much appeased them, and then underwrote their terrorism."

"More and more nations are beginning to stand up to Iran's thuggish behavior, and disengaging economically....Countries are indeed awakening to the truth that the more Iran lashes out, the greater our pressure will and should be....Today we are imposing sanctions on certain Chinese entities for knowingly transporting oil from Iran contrary to United States sanctions....And we're telling China and all nations, know that we will sanction every violation of sanctionable activity."
Iran Could Fire Cruise Missiles at Israel from Iraq
The IDF's intelligence branch thinks that Iran could fire missiles at Israel like the ones it sent flying at a Saudi oil field last week, the head of Military Intelligence's Research Division, Brig. Gen. Dror Shalom, told Israel Hayom in a special Rosh Hashanah interview.

According to Shalom, the military's working assumption is that Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, commander of the elite Quds Force in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, would be the one to oversee a missile attack of that type, which Shalom said could be launched from Iraqi territory.

"In the end, when he [Soleimani] takes a hit to the nose, he wants to hit back, and he has taken some blows recently. So my working assumption is that it's only a matter of time until he tries," Shalom says.

"It could be in the form of a surface-to-surface missile, cruise missiles, or long-range UAVs. He has UAVs that can fly 1,000-1,200 kilometers (600-1200 miles) which he has used in the Persian Gulf," Shalom says.

Shalom expressed major concern about the progress Iran is making with its nuclear program, saying that Military Intelligence might be forced to divert resources to address the issue.

"I'm a lot less easy today. We've gotten into a gray area in which they're moving ahead without, which requires us to be a lot more sensitive. Will we know [about an attack]? The Iranians are a very sophisticated enemy, and it bothers me."
Rouhani accuses US of ‘economic terrorism,’ condemns peace plan
Iran’s president accused the United States of “merciless economic terrorism” on Wednesday, using his UN speech to stress that security in the Persian Gulf can be guaranteed only when his nation’s security is as well — and only with the involvement of Iran’s neighbors.

Hassan Rouhani told the UN General Assembly gathering that Iran would not negotiate on the issue of its nuclear program as long as sanctions remain in place.

“Our response to any negotiation under sanctions is negative,” he said. He said Iran has “resisted the most merciless economic terrorism” from a nation that is engaging in “international piracy.”

Iranian state television broadcast Rouhani’s speech live across the country of 80 million people.

He spoke as his country’s nuclear deal with world powers unravels under pressure from the Trump administration. Iran has turned back to expanding its nuclear enrichment program after US President Donald Trump’s decision last year to pull out of the accord and re-impose sanctions on Tehran, targeting its ability to export oil.
Israel’s U.N. ambassador stages walk-out during Rouhani’s speech
Israel walked out of the United Nations General Assembly plenum to protest Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s speech on Wednesday.

When Rouhani started speaking, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon stood up, adjusted his suit and slowly walked out of the room.

"Israel will not respect the world’s number one exporter of terrorism," Danon said regarding his actions. "Rouhani takes advantage of the UN stage to distract and blind the international community from his regime's aggression. World leaders need to issue a clear ultimatum to Rouhani: dismantle the nuclear program or we will bring more sanctions to bring the collapse of the regime.”

Iran has long called for Israel’s destruction. On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump said that the Iranian leaders' statements “traffic in monstrous antisemitism.”
U.S. to Bar Entry to Senior Iranian Officials
The proclamation repeated U.S. accusations that Iran sponsors terrorism, arbitrarily detains American citizens, threatens its neighbors and carries out cyber attacks.

“Given that this behavior threatens peace and stability in the Middle East and beyond, I have determined that it is in the interest of the United States to take action to restrict and suspend the entry into the United States, as immigrants or non-immigrants, of senior government officials of Iran, and their immediate family members,” Trump said in the proclamation.

The U.S.-Iranian confrontation has ratcheted up since last year, when Trump withdrew from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with major powers and reimposed sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy. Trump wants to go beyond that deal to further curb Iran’s nuclear program, halt its ballistic missile work and end its support for proxy forces in the Middle East.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani earlier said the United States would have to “pay more” if it wanted a wider deal and rejected meeting with the U.S. president for now. Both men were in New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly gathering of world leaders.

Trump has pursued a policy of “maximum pressure” against Iran to try to force Tehran to change its policies, and a senior U.S. official said it would continue to “increase pressure on the Iranian regime... until it abandons its outlaw behavior.”

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