Tuesday, November 26, 2019

From Ian:

PMW: PA closes schools - tells children to participate in Day of Rage
Following US State Secretary Pompeo’s announcement that the US no longer views Israeli settlements in the West Bank as “inconsistent with international law,” Palestinian leaders called on their people to participate in a “Day of Rage” today and to continue Day of Rage activities to protest against the alleged “Zionist-American plots”:
“The [PLO] factions… called on their activists and our people to take part in these [Day of Rage] activities, which will begin during the week in order to express our people’s opposition to all of the Zionist-American plots against the Palestinian cause.” [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Nov. 25, 2019]

Fatah official Jamal Muhaisen announced that the Day of Rage activities are part of “a comprehensive program of struggle,” and promised that it will end in terror – “a comprehensive intifada”:
“Fatah Movement Central Committee member Jamal Muhaisen said that the day of rage is the start of a comprehensive program of struggle to deal with the American-Israeli steps, even to the point of a comprehensive intifada against the occupation’s crimes.”

To enable children to participate in the Day of Rage activities, the PA Ministry of Education closed all its schools for one hour in the middle of the day:
“The [PA] Ministry of Education emphasized… that it is necessary to participate in the activities, and that studies at the schools will be stopped from 11:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. so that there will be active participation in the mass marches and the activities that will be organized against these unfair decisions.” [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Nov. 26, 2019]

Fatah official Muhaisen recently expressed his concurrence that violence and terror are effective Palestinian tools and instructed Palestinians to “benefit from” the previous terror waves, as Palestinian Media Watch reported last week.
The Palestinian 'Day of Rage' in the West Bank
Palestinian rioters hurled rocks at Israeli security forces on Tuesday, in part of the “Day of Rage” protest organized by Fatah party throughout cities in the West Bank, Hebrew-language outlet Walla News reported. Protests are being held in Tulkarem, Ramallah, Hebron and Nablus, among others. No casualties were reported thus far. The protests are aimed against “unjust US resolutions, which have violated international conventions and law. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's remarks on Israeli settlements are contrary to international law,” a Fatah statement read.

No, Israel Does Not Target Palestinian Children
The third way we know that accusing Israel of targeting Palestinian children crosses the line into antisemitism is the way in which, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, it paints Israel as an evil entity that either specifically targets children, or doesn’t care if children get targeted.

Bernie Sanders’ surrogate Linda Sarsour tweeted as much recently when she said Israel has “stripped the Palestinians of their humanity to justify the indiscriminate killings including of children. Half of the population of Gaza ARE CHILDREN.”

In reality, Israel’s military goes to unprecedented levels to reduce casualties. The Israel Defense Forces emphasizes “purity of arms” and consistently works to avoid harm by distributing flyers and sending text messages to Gazans alerting them of impending airstrikes, even using non-explosive “roof-knocking” projectiles to warn residents who may not have vacated the area.

Col. Richard Kemp, national security expert and former commander of the British forces in Afghanistan, has spoken at great length to this very point. So has former U.S. chairman of the joint chiefs of staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, who praised Israel’s measures to reduce civilian casualties. In the latest round of violence, these measures explain why adult males (considered by Israel to be combatants) constituted the vast majority of casualties.

So if accusations made by Patel, McCollum, Tlaib and others are so far from the truth, one has to wonder why they continue pushing this narrative. The simple answer is that such claims are modern incarnations of centuries-old blood libels, antisemitic slander that falsely accused Jews of killing Christian children to use their blood in religious rituals. Circulating throughout Europe during the Middle Ages, this formed the basis for countless anti-Jewish pogroms.

Proportionately critiquing Israel’s military actions in the interest of reducing civilian casualties and the detention of Palestinian children is completely legitimate, if not encouraged.

Israel should — and I expect will — continue to take great measures to minimize collateral damage. However, to suggest that Israel purposefully and maliciously targets innocent children is plainly antisemitic. When espoused by elected officials no less, it impedes any genuine debate about how to reduce child suffering during conflict.

Settlements are legal
The 1949 armistice agreements between Israel and its neighbors after the War of Independence, clearly stipulate that the lines drawn are not borders. Thus, the Green Line is not an international border and cannot be used to determine the fate of Judea and Samaria.

This is not new. Immediately following the Six-Day War, experts on international law agreed that Israel had a more legitimate claim on Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip than its adversaries, including Prof. Stephen M. Schwebel, who later became the president of the International Court of Justice.

But in today’s geopolitical climate, anyone who sides with Israel will be banished from international forums. Thus, political constraints are preventing a real debate.

Judea and Samaria were designated to be part of the Jewish national home as envisioned by the League of Nations when it created the British mandate, confirming the age-old bond of our people to its land.

This has been reaffirmed in the UN Charter. Thus, there is no need for Israel to annex Judea and Samaria if it wants to apply Israeli law there – it already has that right because of the laws dating back to the British era.

Some have claimed that Pompeo’s statement has undermined the chances for peace. Thus, according to that rationale, if you speak the truth on the status of Judea and Samaria, you are precluding the chance for peace. Does peace have to rely on a lie?

We all want real peace, but those who insist on calling Judea and Samaria “occupied territory” are engaged in wishful thinking, hoping this will bring Israel closer to peace.

President Donald Trump, Pompeo, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should be commended for their work toward a real peace that is based on the truth.
Most Israelis Never Thought Settlements Were Illegal
Land-for-peace Israelis thought, and still think, that Israelis should avoid settling in densely Palestinian areas like Nablus or Jenin, but indeed should settle in largely empty areas, like the Jordan Valley, where Labor-led governments indeed planted over the years 28 kibbutzim and moshavim.

It would be silly to expect the “international community” to consider such Israeli sensitivities before setting out to help the Palestinian strategy of equating all things Israeli with illegality. It would not have been silly, however, for the “international community” to consider the practicality of exposing Israel to juridical attack, for two reasons:

First, on the practical plane, Jewish jurists could be counted on to come out of the woodwork and win such a war. Second, on the emotional plain, this attack’s masterminds should have known what kind of thoughts come to most Jews’ minds when other Jews’ legal deeds are decried as “illegal.”

As Middle Israelis see things, the juridical attack on Israel was driven not by concern for the law but by nefariousness and delusion, the delusion that peace can be delivered by harassing Israel; that lawfare can force an Israeli retreat, a forced retreat engineered by Europe, the same Europe that in 1967 stood by when Israel’s enemies broke the laws of international navigation and while at it vowed to erase the Jewish state.

This week the US formally rejected the conventional wisdom that the settlements are illegal. It was a reflection of the practicality for which Americans are famous. Europeans are not practical, preferring to do the right thing after exhausting all other possibilities, to paraphrase Abba Eban.
It took half a century for Washington to change course, but an eye-rolling Europe still clings to its juridical manipulation, ever ready to change the subject rather than change its mind.
BBC’s Jeremy Bowen misrepresents the 4th Geneva Convention
As we see, in both those items Jeremy Bowen claimed that the Geneva Conventions do not permit an occupying power “to move” its own people onto occupied territory. That, however, is not what Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention says.

None of the Israeli civilians living in Judea & Samaria were ‘deported’ or ‘transferred’ there – or for that matter ‘moved’ by the Israeli government.

Bowen’s portrayal of Israel as a “belligerent country” whitewashes the fact that it was Jordan which attacked Israel on June 5th 1967, even after Prime Minister Levi Eshkol had sent a message to King Hussein saying Israel would not attack Jordan unless he initiated hostilities.

Bowen also whitewashed the Jordanian occupation of Judea & Samaria and parts of Jerusalem, referring only to the subsequent ‘annexation’ in 1950 which he described as not being “recognised by that many states” and “not…widely internationally recognised”. That portrayal obviously does not adequately reflect the fact that Jordan’s annexation of Judea & Samaria was recognised only by the United Kingdom, Pakistan and – according to some sources – Iraq. The UK refrained however from recognising Jordan’s annexation of parts of Jerusalem.
Palestinian Refusal to Negotiate Dooms Peace Process
Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the U.S. had revised its policy on the legality of Israeli settlements, saying the decision reflects "the reality on the ground." President Trump previously said that moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem was "nothing more, or less, than a recognition of reality."

"People say, 'You can't do these things,' but the administration is saying, 'What has been done for so long isn't working,'" says James Carafano, director of foreign policy studies at the Heritage Foundation in Washington. "The finding on settlements is consistent with what the Trump administration has done in the past, which is basically telling the Palestinians, 'Don't assume the status quo is going to be there forever that had discouraged you from getting serious on negotiations.' If you don't move the embassy, hold on to this idea that the settlements are illegal, and continue to give [the Palestinians] bucket-loads of money, where is the pressure to deal?"

Responding to claims that the U.S. moves "threaten the peace process," Carafano says the "reality" is that "the peace process was already dead" - doomed by the Palestinians' refusal to sit down at the negotiating table.
A Precipitous American Retreat from the Middle East Will Only Lead to More War
While defenders of a U.S. withdrawal from Syria and Afghanistan claim that doing so is the only alternative to fighting “endless wars,” Paul Wolfowitz argues that retreat is in fact a recipe for the opposite—as evidenced by a recent Defense Department report that Islamic State (IS) is already regrouping in areas of Syria abandoned by American forces. Yet the alternatives need not require large investments of American blood and treasure:

Abandoning allies who have advanced American interests while fighting courageously for their own is not a formula for avoiding another large-scale United States military engagement in the Middle East, but rather for ending up in another one. Next time, however, will be without the local allies we need.

The way to protect our critical interests in the Middle East while minimizing costs and risks for the United States is by supporting people who, while fighting for their own interests, also protect America’s.

The eight blood-soaked years that the Assad regime has remained in power may have cost more than half a million Syrian lives and have created hundreds of thousands of refugees and internally displaced people. That humanitarian disaster also produced the strategic vacuum from which Islamic State emerged in northern Syria to invade and destabilize Iraq, forcing then-President Obama to return the troops he had withdrawn just a few years earlier. Now with President Trump building on that earlier failure, Russia and Iran may gain effective control of Syria.

Donald Trump [now has] an opportunity not to undo his decision—he has unfortunately already created a new and much more complicated situation—but to revise it and continue some support for our Kurdish and Arab allies so that they can achieve a reasonable negotiated settlement. The goal of a revised operation should be made clear: it is not to seize Syria’s oil, as President Trump has suggested, but rather to keep that strategic asset out of the hands of our enemies.
Russia-Israel Relations: Expectations and Reality
Russia has sought to maintain good relations with Israel over the past few years. Particularly with regard to Syria, there is continuous coordination between Israeli and Russian armed forces. From Israel's perspective, the Russian presence in Syria creates an address to which it can turn and an entity with authority that can and will influence any future settlement. Israel's ability to serve as a spoiler for Russia's plans in Syria as a result of Israel's demonstrated willingness to operate against Iranian military entrenchment there has been well noted by the Kremlin.

Israel expects Russia to support its primary goal of distancing Iranian military presence from Syria in general, and the Israeli-Syrian border in particular. Russia expects Israel to "pay" for Moscow's cooperative approach in regard to Israeli airstrikes in Syria. A growing discomfort of Russia's military establishment with Israel is eroding Russia's willingness to tolerate Israeli operations in the region.
Lindsey Graham, Ron Dermer endorse US-Israel defense treaty
Senator Lindsey Graham expressed support on Wednesday for a possible Senate move to ratify a narrow US-Israel mutual defense treaty in 2020.

“I think it will be the biggest advancement in a long time regarding the US-Israel relationship, and I think it will be the biggest deterrent to a big war in a very long time,” Graham said at the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA) gala event in Washington. “My hope is that we can draft a mutual defense agreement that is consistent with Israel’s ability to defend herself, consistent with the United States’ strategic interest – which is to make sure that our No. 1 ally in the region doesn’t go by the wayside.

“If we can pull this off, I think it would be one of the most important things we’ve ever done to solidify this relationship. I think it will have a calming effect on a region that needs some calm.”

Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer said that Israel’s top officials would welcome such a treaty.

“That’s something that I strongly support,” the ambassador said. “It’s something that has the support of Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu, of Israel’s sitting [IDF] Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi [and] of our current national security adviser. And I have spoken to all three of those people directly about it, and they are all positively inclined.

“The treaty would do three things. First, it would give powerful expression to the alliance between America and Israel. The second thing it would provide is a layer of deterrence against the most extreme threats that Israel faces, thereby enhancing both security and stability. And third, it would give a platform to upgrade the alliance between our two countries dramatically. I strongly believe that the mutual defense treaty is part of the effort to strengthen the alliance.”
Amb. Ron Dermer at 2019 JINSA Fall National Leadership Conference

70-Year-Old Volunteer at IDF Base Acquitted of Treason by Swiss Court
A Swiss citizen who has been active in volunteering for the Sar-El IDF assistance program, as well as coordinating other volunteers, has been acquitted by a military court in Switzerland after being charged with treason.

Switzerland has mandatory military service for men, while Swiss law prohibits its citizens from serving in foreign armies – and a charge of treason can be leveled at anyone who does so.

Sar-El is a nonprofit organization which runs programs, primarily for non-Israelis, where volunteers provide logistical support on army bases, although volunteers are not drafted into the IDF and are not formal IDF service personnel.

Three years ago, one Sar-El volunteer gave an interview about his service for the IDF to a local Swiss paper, and the article sparked off an incendiary debate on the issue.

Claims were made in Switzerland that, just like European citizens who became fighters for terror groups such as ISIS and al-Qaeda have been prosecuted in Europe, so too should those who serve in the IDF.

Several Swiss citizens who had volunteered for Sar-El were arrested and questioned, including André Mottet, who is not Jewish and has traveled to Israel on three occasions to volunteer with Sar-El.
Mandelbit Says Netanyahu Can Remain Interim Premier While Under Indictment
Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit says that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not need to resign or take a leave of absence as interim prime minister due to the indictments against him.

“There is no practical relevance for a prime minister’s resignation during an interim government,” Mandelblit said in his legal decision about whether or not Netanyahu needed to step down as the head of a caretaker government.

“Therefore, in the current circumstances, the question of a temporary leave of absence should likewise be left in the political-public sphere, and there is no justification at this time for the attorney general to rule that the prime minister is unable to carry out his duties,” the statement said.

The Israeli attorney general did provide a ruling on if Netanyahu could legally form a new government. Israel is currently in an unprecedented 21-day period where any member of the Knesset can garner 61 signatures to form a government. If the 21-day period ends without a new government, the country will be headed to elections in March 2020 for the third time in less than a year.
Palestinians clash with IDF during ‘day of rage’ over US settlement change
Thousands of Palestinians demonstrated across the West Bank on Tuesday to protest the recent US announcement that it no longer believes Israeli settlements in the West Bank violate international law. As the so-called “day of rage” continued, groups of protesters clashed with Israeli security forces in several flashpoints, with 77 reported lightly injured.

Around two thousand people gathered in the West Bank city of Ramallah. They set ablaze posters of US President Donald Trump as well as Israeli and American flags. Schools, universities and government offices were shuttered and rallies were held in city centers around the West Bank.

“The biased American policy toward Israel, and the American support of the Israeli settlements and the Israeli occupation, leaves us with only one option: To go back to resistance,” Mahmoud Aloul, an official with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement, told the crowd in Ramallah.

Demonstrators held signs reading: “Trump to impeachment, [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu to jail, the occupation will go and we will remain on our land.”

At Israeli checkpoints near Ramallah, Bethlehem and Hebron, dozens of protesters threw stones at Israeli forces who responded with tear gas.

Dozens of protesters were lightly hurt, according to Palestinian rescue services.

According to the Ma’an news agency, the Palestinian Red Crescent said it dealt with 77 injuries, which included tear gas inhalation, rubber bullet wounds and burns.
Egyptian tank shell slams into building in southern Israel
A building in the Eshkol region of southern Israel was hit by what appeared to be a tank shell that was apparently fired accidentally into Israel from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on Tuesday, a regional spokesperson said.

There were no injuries reported, but the shell caused significant damage to the building.

The military said it was looking into the matter. A police sapper was called to the scene to remove the munition, which appeared to be a tank shell, Eshkol regional spokesperson said.

“Security forces are at the scene and the event is being investigated,” the spokesperson said.

A picture of the munition indicated it was unexploded.

The Eshkol region lies along the border with Egypt.

Egypt has battled an insurgency led by an Islamic State affiliate for years in the Sinai Peninsula and in recent days has conducted major operations in the territory.
The death of terrorist Sami Abu Diak
Sami Abu Diak was convicted in 2002 of carrying out a terror attack near Jenin that led to the deaths of three Arabs who had been suspected of collaborating with Israel. Sentenced to 3 consecutive life sentences for voluntary manslaughter and kidnapping he recently succumbed to intestinal cancer. The Palestinians have declared a "Day of Rage" in this memory.

The lies surrounding Abu Diak's life and death are proliferating across social media.

Abu Diak underwent several surgeries at Israeli taxpayer expense (confirmed by the Arab propaganda site Jadaliyya) and had been hospitalized for four years

Abu Diak is currently suffering from advanced stages of bowel cancer, as well as renal and pulmonary failure. In 2015, he was urgently transferred to Israel’s Soroka Medical Center where he suffered poisoning as a result of misdiagnosis and a medical error. This medical negligence led to the removal of 80cm of his intestines and he was consequently diagnosed with kidney and pulmonary failure.

Palestinian agitprop sites are evenly divided as to whether Sami Abu Diak died alone and in prison, or alone while in the hospital. They are in unanimous agreement however, that his death of colorectal cancer was Israel's fault.

Jewish extremist hit with terror charges after years of anti-Arab rhetoric
The leader of a Jewish extremist group was charged with incitement to violence and racism and support for terrorism, the Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.

The charges leveled against Lehava head Bentzi Gopstein relate to numerous inflammatory public statements he made about Arabs between 2012 and 2017.

Gopstein’s far-right group Lehava opposes miscegenation and the assimilation of Jews and tries to stifle any public activity by non-Jews in Israel. Lehava, which some lawmakers have tried to designate a terrorist group, has frequently called for action to be taken against non-Jews in order to “save the daughters of Israel.”

The indictment handed down in the Jerusalem District Court cited a 2012 incident in which Gopstein grabbed a microphone at his daughter’s wedding in the Modiin Illit settlement and began singing a song glorifying Baruch Goldstein, a Jewish terrorist who killed 29 Palestinian worshipers at Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs in 1994.

Also cited by prosecutors was a 2012 TV interview in which Gopstein boasted that he refused to hire or work with Arab employees. When asked what would happen if he had an Arab server at a wedding, Gopstein responded that the caterer would “have to look for the nearest hospital.”

In a separate interview on Channel 2 (now Channel 12), Gopstein asserted that “there’s no shortage of Arabs who deserved to be beaten up,” particularly ones who flirt with Jewish women.
50 Attorneys Call on AG Mandelblit to Prosecute Anarchists Who Harmed IDF Soldiers
Fifty attorneys this week signed a petition calling on Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to reject a request by anarchist activists Kobi Snitz, Ilan Shalif, and Yonatan Pollak to stay the proceedings against them over a complaint filed by Israeli Zionist activist organization Ad Kan. The complaint accuses the anarchists of participating in violent protests where IDF soldiers were harmed.

More than 150 IDF soldiers have been injured over the past few years in riots held on Fridays near the separation wall, a cement barrier that was built during the Second Intifada of 2000, to stop the wave of violence against Israeli civilians inside the 1949 armistice line (a.k.a the green line).

Based on Ad Kan’s findings, the activists in question participated in more than 10 violent riots over the past few months since the complaint had been filed. Both were filmed carrying tires that were then set on fire and rolled by the rioters at IDF soldiers. In one recording, Pollak is seen rolling a large tire. Ad Kan adds that Pollak participated in a riot at a farm in the Jordan Valley only a week ago.

Gilad Ach, Director of Ad Kan, said: “We call for an end to attacks on IDF soldiers and we were shocked at how various legal officials openly supported anarchists who attack IDF soldiers weekly. We call on the AG not to grant the request of the anarchists to stay their proceedings and not to reward individuals who harm IDF soldiers and refuse to recognize Israeli courts.”
Tensions Arise Between Residents of Palestinian Village and Israeli Police
For seven months, the East Jerusalem village of Isawiya has witnessed violent clashes between the Israeli police and local residents. Israeli authorities claim police presence is required in the village following repetitive riots and petrol bombs being thrown from it. Residents say it’s the police presence which is provoking local youth, sparking clashes- and harassing civilians. Our Middle East correspondent Adi Koplewitz has the story .

Turkey tests S-400 radar, says it wants more locally-made weapons
Turkey showed that it thinks nothing of US concerns about its acquisition of the S-400 by testing the radar against F-16s on Monday. The US has opposed Turkey’s acquisition of the Russian system since 2017 and Washington has begged Ankara not to activate it, inviting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Washington to offer Turkey incentives and blocking Congressional support for Armenian genocide recognition.

Turkey, knowing that it risks more updates to its F-16s and any F-35 deals that were in the works, nevertheless sought to test the S-400 radar and do it publicly. The idea is to show that Washington has no influence over Ankara, Turkey will do what it wants and Washington will either get on board or accept it. This was Turkey’s model for the invasion of Syria in October, hand the US a fact on the ground through the invasion and then get Washington to come to the table.

Turkey’s leadership under US President Donald Trump is primarily interested in paying lip service to threats but now that Trump is skeptical of his own State Department, security establishment and military and that he is more likely to side with a tough-talking Turkey than State Department “concerns.”

Turkey has so little interest in the apparent crisis and importance of the S-400 it was testing, that the president went to Qatar, a real ally of Turkey, to press Ankara’s influence. Turkey and Qatar have been allies for many years, both supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and both linked to Hamas and other causes such as Libya’s Tripoli government and working with Iran.
Confront Iran's Nuclear Violations
The specific violations of the nuclear deal that Iran has chosen to commit expose dangerous flaws in the JCPOA that were apparent from the start. Iran would not be able to hike up its stockpile of low-enriched uranium (LEU), or enrich to higher levels, if enrichment had not been allowed and even legitimized by the deal.

Moreover, Iran was allowed under the deal to work on research and development on a full range of advanced centrifuges, meaning that a decision to operate them was only a short step away.

The heavily fortified underground enrichment facility at Fordow, now restarting operations, should not have been allowed to remain open. This facility, which was not declared to the IAEA and had been meant to be kept secret, was revealed in 2009 on the basis of intelligence information.

Having been caught red-handed regarding an undeclared facility, demonstrating that Iran was deceiving the IAEA regarding a facility with military applications, it made sense to demand that it be shut down. Not only was Fordow left open, but 1,000 centrifuges were left in the facility.

The latest IAEA report on Iran fails to mention anything about its investigation into the Iran nuclear archives - the original Iranian documents detailing its plans for producing five nuclear bombs that Israel extracted from Tehran in January 2018. These documents - which include information about scientists, facilities, and equipment involved in Iran's military nuclear program that were not known in 2015 - were turned over to the IAEA over a year and a half ago.

It is preferable to confront Iran's violations now, when it is relatively weak, than in 5-10 years when the deal expired and the country could achieve a quick nuclear breakout.
Iran to Have Nuclear Bomb in a Few Months?
The Iranian leaders keep claiming that their nuclear activities are solely for peaceful purposes. This claim is bogus. If the Islamic Republic is advancing its nuclear program for peaceful purposes, why has Tehran repeatedly failed to report its nuclear facilities, including those at Natanz and Arak, to the IAEA?

Also, why does the Iranian government keep refusing to answer the IAEA's questions regarding a secret nuclear facility, reportedly located in the suburbs of Tehran? Two nonpartisan organizations based in Washington -- the Institute for Science and International Security and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies -- last year released a detailed report on Iran's clandestine nuclear activities at this site.

In addition, why did the Iranian government place an S-300 anti-aircraft missile system at the Fordow underground nuclear site after the 2015 nuclear agreement? Finally, why does the Iranian regime never adequately address reports about its efforts to obtain illegal nuclear technology and equipment? Germany's domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, revealed in its annual report for 2016 that the Iranian government had pursued a "clandestine" path to obtain illicit nuclear technology and equipment from German companies "at what is, even by international standards, a quantitatively high level."

The truth is that, from the perspective of the ruling clerics of Iran, obtaining nuclear weapons is a must to help Tehran advance its hegemonic ambitions to dominate the region. Also, by having nuclear weapons, the Iranian government can more powerfully support terror groups and proxies to destabilize the region without being concerned that the West might strike Iranian military targets.

Most of all, in the view of the ruling clerics, having nuclear weapons can ensure the survival of their theocratic, anti-American and anti-Semitic establishment.

That is why, before it is too late, which it is fast becoming, it is incumbent on the US and the international community to take seriously Iran's nuclear advances and urgently address its rush to obtain nuclear weapons.
After Iran quashes riots, top general threatens to destroy Israel and US
The head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Force threatened to destroy Israel, the US and other countries as he addressed a pro-government demonstration denouncing last week’s violent protests over a fuel price hike.

Gen. Hossein Salami, echoing other Iranian officials, accused the US, Britain, Israel and Saudi Arabia of stoking the unrest.

“If you cross our red line, we will destroy you,” he said. “We will not leave any move unanswered.”

“We have shown restraint … we have shown patience towards the hostile moves of America, the Zionist regime (Israel) and Saudi Arabia against the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Salami added, according to Reuters.

He said if Iran decides to respond, “the enemy will not have security anywhere,” adding that “our patience has a limit.”

Iran has accused the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia of engineering large protests sparked by a 200 percent jump in the price of gasoline.

Officials said the demonstrations turned violent because of the intervention of “thugs” backed by royalists and Iran’s arch-enemies.
Seth Frantzman: Human Rights Watch head slammed for tweet on Iran’s attack on Saudi

JCPA: The Unrest in Iran Continues
Despite a series of tough security steps taken by the Iranian regime, including live-fire against protesters and widespread arrests, the protests continue.

Iranian government opponents in exile and some human rights activists estimate that the number of fatalities has crossed the threshold of 300. Radio Farda obtained data on the arrest of at least 4,800 civilians, mostly young people, in 18 provinces.

The resumption of Internet connection is slow after eight days of total blackout; the Internet was only renewed on desktops in public institutions, several universities, and selected homes. With the partial resumption of Internet connection, hundreds of civilians sent clips showing the security forces’ harsh clashes with protesters, in which it appeared that the regime used tanks, snipers, helicopters, and direct live-fire on the protesters.

The hashtag #IranProtests continues to be used by most Iranian media activists in both Persian and English and is a channel for updating videos.

The BBC Persian, which reports extensively from the protests and was accused by the Iranian regime of inciting demonstrators and even supporting them, concluded that the regime’s forces set fire to the many government buildings, banks, and other public places to justify the violence by Iranian security forces.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Iran Says Unarmed Protesters Just Human Shields For Other Unarmed Protesters (satire)
Authorities in the Islamic Republic explained the large number of protester shooting deaths at the hands of police and paramilitary forces over the last week, noting that the apparent victims, though carrying no weapons, functioned as human shields for the troublemakers behind them who also carried no weapons.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Police told reporters that every single gunshot, beating, and instance of official violence against unarmed protesters in the latest country-wide unrest in Iran was justified, since those unarmed protesters qualify as accessories to violence for shielding the protesters behind them from law enforcement measures, protesters who were similarly unarmed.

“Human shields have no immunity,” declared ministry representative Fahzi Ladjik. “In a legal and moral sense the fault for any harm that comes to them lies with the violent elements they are protecting, in this case the same group of demonstrators but farther back in the crowd. We intend to prosecute them for any harm that came to these human shields as a result of the irresponsible, dangerous, criminal, and seditious activities. We will also prosecute any surviving human shields with the same crimes, because we can.”

Protests began a week and a half ago, sparked initially by rising fuel prices but spreading as anger over the country’s economic woes transformed into ongoing dissatisfaction with the religious rule of the Ayatollahs. Police and military enforcers responded with both non-lethal and lethal means. Official Iranian media put the death toll from the protests at more than one hundred, while human rights groups and activists on the ground and in exile estimate a far higher figure. Accurate, reliable information has remained unavailable amid an internet blackout imposed by Tehran.

Jewish Delegation Visits Israel's 1979 Uganda Raid Site

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