Tuesday, December 24, 2019

From Ian:

Caroline B. Glick: A 5-step plan to fight the ICC
Last year, then MK Tzipi Livni convened senior officials from the Justice Ministry and Military Advocate General’s international affairs departments at the Knesset for a conference. The purpose of the conclave was to provide the officials with the opportunity to justify their interference with security decisions that by law are the exclusive purview of the IDF’s field commanders and Israel’s elected leaders.

As is their wont, the officials used the opportunity to proclaim, “the legal system is the IDF's legal Iron Dome against accusations of war crimes in foreign and international forums.”

Following International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s decision over the weekend to prosecute Israel – including its armed forces and elected leaders – on phony war crimes allegations, we see that their conceit was a lie. The idea that Israel’s legal fraternity is Israel’s protection against the likes of Bensouda and the lawfare gang she runs with was first concocted in the 1990s by then Chief Justice Aharon Barak. The purpose of this fantasy was and remains to justify interference by the various components of the legal fraternity – the High Court, the Justice Ministry, the Attorney General and the Military Advocate General and others – in the decisions of IDF commanders and elected officials.

As Prof. Avi Bell of Bar Ilan University Law School explained in Israel Hayom earlier this week, Bensouda’s decision exposed the colossal failure of the legal fraternity’s strategy for protecting the country from the lawfare gang. Bensouda’s decision is a horrible, strategic blow for Israel. It endangers the very lives of IDF soldiers, commanders and elected officials.

Members of the legal fraternity asserted their competence to direct Israel’s responses by presenting the ICC as a legal body. But as the Rome Statute of 1998, which founded the ICC made clear, the institution’s political nature was evident from the outset, as was its inherent hostility to Israel. Now that Bensouda’s biased ruling has exposed this state of affairs, Israel must replace the lawyers’ failed legal strategy with a political one.

Israel intends to fight back against war-crimes probe by International Criminal Court
The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, announced last week that at the request of the Palestinian Authority, she is opening a probe into alleged war crimes committed by Israel in the 2014 Gaza war, as well as crimes in the disputed territories of the West Bank.

Alan Baker, director of the international law program at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, told JNS: "There is no legal basis to such requests since only sovereign states may appeal to the court, and there exists no sovereign Palestinian state with sovereign territory over which the court could extend its jurisdiction. If the court accepts the Palestinian requests and opens a formal investigation, it will damage its own juridical credibility and become politicized like other UN bodies."

Eugene Kontorovich, a professor at the George Mason University Law School, told JNS that the ICC "ignores international law by inventing a Palestinian state that does not exist and creates a crime that no one in international law has ever been charged with before: the crime of people living in places. To say it is a war crime for a Jew to live in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City [of Jerusalem] is absurd. It is quite clear that the crime of people living somewhere is a crime for which one must be Jewish to be eligible."

Kontorovich noted that Bensouda "pretended, in the interest of evenhandedness, to investigate 150,000 Russians being moved into Crimea and concluded without any fanfare that is not a war crime." He noted her refusal to investigate Turkish settlers in Cyprus.
ICC to Probe 'Israeli War Crimes' in West Bank, Gaza
The chief International Criminal Court prosecutor announced Friday a probe into suspected war crimes on Palestinian territories. 'I am satisfied that there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation into the situation in Palestine,' prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said without specifying who was committing the alleged crimes as the Court wrapped up its preliminary assessment of the situation.

A New Lawfare Assault on Israel
The reality, however, is that the existence of the state of Palestine is a highly politicized aspiration. As Hebrew University Professor Yuval Shany, who also serves as Chair of the UN Human Rights Committee, puts it: “Internationally, Palestine acts as if and is accepted as being a nation state for many purposes. This case is taking shape in the gap between political and ‘on the ground’ realities.”

Bensouda, while appearing to defer to the court’s judgment on the jurisdictional issue, makes clear she believes the investigation into Israeli conduct is legally warranted and justified. So why bother with the request for a preliminary ruling?

The cynic would say that she is avoiding responsibility for the very bold step of subjecting Israel to a full-blown war-crimes investigation. A more charitable explanation might be that before embarking on what will be a complex, controversial, lengthy, and very costly investigation, Bensouda wishes to ensure that the outcome will be received by the court as being “legitimate,” and not rejected before trial because of jurisdictional concerns that could have been decided at the outset.

There are media reports of multiple meetings between ICC staff and various Palestinian delegations and supporters but, apparently, a refusal to meet with Israeli officials or non-Israeli supporters of the country’s positions.

Perhaps Bensouda and her staff feel that, as Israel has not acceded to the Rome Statute, there is no obligation for ICC staff to meet with its officials, representatives, or supporters. If reports of such refusal are true, however, it reinforces Israel’s fundamental reason for not joining the ICC club: that, given the tone of international diplomacy, (particularly the UN) vis a vis Israel, the Jewish state is highly unlikely to be treated fairly in any such process or adjudication.

Bensouda has requested a ruling from the ICC on the preliminary jurisdictional question she posed within 120 days. Should the judges agree with Bensouda, an investigation into alleged Israeli war crimes will be authorized within days of Israeli Independence Day, which falls this coming year on April 29—a disconcerting irony at best.

Jordan Valley annexation said in ‘deep freeze’ due to international court probe
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans to annex the West Bank’s Jordan Valley have reportedly entered a “deep freeze” following the International Criminal Court’s decision to move forward with a potential war crimes.

The Yedioth Ahronoth daily reported Tuesday that a first inter-ministerial meeting to discuss extending Israeli sovereignty over the territory was canceled last week, hours before it was scheduled to start, after it became clear that an ICC announcement of a probe was forthcoming.

The ICC’s top prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, announced on Friday that there was a “basis” for proceeding with an investigation into crimes allegedly committed in the Palestinian territories, including Israel’s settlement policy, the 2014 Gaza war, and the Israeli response to violent protests on the Gaza Strip border.

The ICC also said it would look at the targeting of civilians by Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups.

In her announcement, Bensouda mentioned Netanyahu’s stated plans to annex parts of the West Bank. Tuesday’s report said that government officials fear moving forward with the plans will escalate the confrontation with the ICC.

“Because of the decision of the prosecutor in The Hague, the issue of annexing the Jordan Valley will enter a deep freeze,” an unnamed source told Yedioth.
Fatou Bensouda: From dictator's legal adviser to ICC chief prosecutor
The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Fatou Bensouda announced on Friday she is ready to investigate whether Israel was committing war crimes in the Palestinian Territories.

Although the Gambia native has had a long and distinguished career, many don't know some interesting details about her fruitful past. For instance, she served as a legal adviser for one of the most ruthless dictators in the world.

More importantly, Bensouda was once considered to be a firm ally of the State of Israel. In 2010 she faced immense pressure to investigate Israel following the Gaza flotilla raid that left nine foreign activists killed on one of the ships and 10 IDF soldiers wounded.
She again fought off extreme pressure to investigate Israel back in 2014, following the Gaza war known as Operation Protective Edge.

Fifty-eight-year-old Bensouda was born in the African country of Gambia and in 1987 was appointed as state counsel and deputy director of public prosecutions by former Gambian Prime Minister Dawda Jawara.

In 1994, a military coup drove Jawara into exile and a military junior officer Yayah Jammeh took control of the country. The new leader was living a lavish and decadent lifestyle, crushing opposition, suppressing the country's LGBT community, and effectively eliminating women's rights.

Jammeh, nevertheless, chose Bensouda as his solicitor general and legal adviser in 1994, a position which she held for two years. In August 1998 she became Gambia's justice minister, before being dismissed in March 2000.

Her time under Jammeh's rule has earned Bensouda a fair share of criticism, with many accusing her of turning a blind eye to the atrocities committed by the Gambian dictator.

European governments earmarked funds for anti-Israel lawfare at ICC
Several European governments donated funds to organizations specifically for the purpose of fighting Israel in international legal forums, including the International Criminal Court, which announced last week that it will investigate of alleged war crimes committed by Israel and Palestinians.

Among the governments funding lawfare against Israel via Palestinians and Israeli organizations are Switzerland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, France and the EU, the think tank NGO Monitor found.

The contract between the Swiss government and Al-Dameer Association for Human Rights, based in Gaza, specifies under the category of “lobbying, advocacy and networking” that the NGO plans to “provide and reports to the ICC on human rights violations committed by IOF,” which stands for “Israel Occupation Forces.”

Switzerland’s contract with the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights lists among its planned activities “conducting communications with the office of the General Prosecutor of the ICC and other international litigation mechanisms,” “sending communications to international litigation mechanisms,” with the ICC mentioned specifically,” and “enabling victims and witnesses to appear before int'l litigation mechanisms.”

PCHR’s stated measures of success include the number of meetings it has with the General Prosecutor of the ICC, the amount of communication it has with international litigation mechanisms and the number of witnesses it sends to them.
How B'Tselem is helping the ICC target Israel
The announcement by International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda that she was considering prosecuting IDF officers for war crimes was based on two assumptions: the first, that Israel perpetrates war crimes, and the second, that Israel's legal system cannot be trusted to handle the issue.

Both of these assumptions are the fruit of an international campaign waged by a network of NGOs in Israel (primarily the B'Tselem rights group) and the Palestinian Authority that receive funding from European nations.

For example, the terms of a 250,000 euro ($280,000) grant to B'Tselem from the government of the Netherlands in 2018 include a clause that addresses the "Supreme Court and expulsion of communities," which describes planned activities for the second half of 2018 in which B'Tselem was to "produce a report about the functioning of the Supreme Court on the matter of expulsion of Palestinian communities."

The document states that B'Tselem sees the Supreme Court of Israel as the main mechanism that allows for the "ongoing occupation" and the "violation of human rights" by granting legitimacy to Israeli policy.

UN Panel to Probe Palestinian Claims of Israeli Apartheid in West Bank
A UN panel dedicated to fighting racism has decided to review Palestinian complaints that Israel’s policies in the West Bank amount to apartheid, despite the global body’s legal adviser having previously said it doesn’t have the authority to deal with the matter, Channel 13 news reported Monday.

Senior Foreign Ministry sources told the station that Israel has not yet decided if it will cooperate with an expected summons to a hearing at the Geneva-based United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), or boycott the proceedings.

The report said the CERD decided last week to look into Palestinian claims filed last year. After the complaints were first raised the CERD sought the opinion of the UN’s legal adviser, who ruled it did not have the authority to handle the subject. However, on December 12 the committee decided to accept the Palestinian complaints and probe the issue.

The committee is expected to attempt mediation between Israel and the Palestinians on the claims, the report said. Both sides are likely to be summoned for a hearing, after which the committee will rule on the matter and publish recommendations.

A Foreign Ministry source noted that Israel had fully cooperated with the committee on the question of its authority “but after the committee didn’t accept the opinion of the UN legal adviser, it is not clear if there is any point in cooperating with this process.”

The development came after last Friday International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s announced she may open a probe into alleged Israeli war crimes.
Witnesses to Hamas terror: UN ambassadors visit southern Israel
Led by Israeli ambassador to UN Danny Danon, UN ambassadors from around the world visited on December 2019 in the site of one of Hamas' terror tunnels and then toured an Iron Dome battery in Netivot. The delegation includes ambassadors from Guatemala, Paraguay, Poland, Ethiopia, Romania, Ukraine, Estonia, the Czech Republic and other countries.

Giuliani Catching Flack for Saying He’s More Jewish than George Sor
NBC, like many other major media outlets pointed out that Giuliani claimed he was more of a Jew than “Holocaust survivor George Soros.” This part requires some unpacking: In 1936, Soros’s family changed their name from Schwartz to Soros, and survived the 1944 Nazi invasion of Hungary by purchasing documents showing they were Christians. George Soros himself posed as the Christian godson of an official of the collaborationist Hungarian government’s Ministry of Agriculture, who himself was married to a Jewish wife.

Back in 2015, Soros told NY Magazine: “I don’t deny the Jews to a right to a national existence – but I don’t want anything to do with it.” According to his 2016 hacked emails, Soros’s Open Society Foundation’s objective is “challenging Israel’s racist and anti-democratic policies” in international forums, by questioning Israel’s status as a democracy. His funded NGOs campaign for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.

In 2016, Soros said that the victims of violence and abuse were becoming “perpetrators of violence,” suggesting this is a representation of Israel’s behavior towards the Palestinians. He was booed by his audience, many of whom walked out.
Giuliani will likely survive this one without having to apologize, because in our brave new world of a down-the-middle split between left and right it doesn’t really matter what the actual content of anyone’s offensive statement may be. Statements are either for us or against us, and we are shocked and enraged by statements against us while callously generating the exact replicas at the other side.

Soros is a product of his assimilated background, which he himself described in a 2016 interview as a “Jewish anti-Semitic home.” That by itself does not make him any worse than other assimilated Jews, and his virulent anti-Israel views should be viewed within this context. Many Jews hate Israel – Soros merely has $32 billion to throw at the enemies of the Jewish State.

Rudy is a friend of Israel, having served as the mayor of the largest Jewish city in the world. But we could do without his hoof in mouth disease which isn’t helping Israel, the Jews, and our troubled ally in the White House.
Belgian daily accuses Jewish lawmaker of spying for Israel
The editor in chief of a Belgian daily newspaper accused a Jewish lawmaker of spying for Israel in parliament.

Bart Eeckhout leveled the allegation against Michael Freilich in an op-ed titled “Anti-Semitism” that was published Saturday in the left-leaning De Morgen newspaper.

Eeckhout wrote that De Morgen has learned that Freilich’s parliamentary aide filmed several minutes of an exchange last month between Belgian lawmakers and representatives of pro-Palestinian nongovernmental organizations. Eeckhout claimed the footage was filmed in secret, but Freilich told the local media that the short videos were for sharing on social media.

The De Morgen report on the matter did not say what the videos were used for or intended for.

Freilich, the previous editor in chief of the Joods Actueel Jewish magazine, was elected to parliament earlier this year on the ticket of the center-right N-VA party. He maintains a strong presence on social media, where he shares videos and pictures from various activities.

Freilich is not an Israeli citizen.
Court orders settlers to evacuate Hebron home after purchase invalidated
The Jerusalem District Court ruled on Monday that an Israeli firm did not legally purchase a disputed home in Hebron from its original Palestinian owners and ordered that the settlers living inside since 2005 evacuate within 45 days.

The panel of judges determined that the “Tal Construction and Investment in Karnei Shomron” firm did not prove good faith in its purchase of the home, belonging to the Bakri family in Hebron’s Tel Rumeida neighborhood.

The rejection of an appeal by Tal Construction was the latest ruling in a legal battle that started shortly after the Palestinian family left its home in 2001. It was in the midst of the Second Intifada, when the flashpoint city of Hebron saw daily violence and the family said it planned to return when the situation calmed down.

A 2002 Defense Ministry report documented how “Jews broke into the house, emptied it of its contents and stored everything in one room, destroying the balcony at the entrance to the house, and damaging the windows and doors.”

In 2005, three families moved into the compound, but were ordered by the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court to leave shortly thereafter. However, the state never carried out the evacuation, and Tal Construction notified the court that the families were living in the Bakri house on its behalf after it claimed to have purchased the asset.
A Terror Village next to Jerusalem
Jabel Mukaber, an Arab neighborhood in east Jerusalem, has been home to the largest number of perpetrators of terrorist attacks and attempted terrorist attacks per capita since the Second Intifada, with residents involved in over 200 terrorist attacks, attempted attacks, and thwarted terrorist attacks.

Residents Ahmad Jabis and Basel Abidat, who were arrested last month, planned to carry out terrorist attacks on Israel's Independence Day and kill "as many Jews as possible" at either Sultan's Pool or Safra Square in Jerusalem. The two sought to act in the name of the Islamic State and were in touch with ISIS.

Arik Barbing, who was responsible for Judea and Samaria and the Jerusalem district for the Israel Security Agency, said:

"In Jerusalem, ISIS almost doesn't exist, but the little it does is mostly in Jabel Mukaber. There are individuals there who connect to the idea of a global Islamic caliphate and global jihad, and the belief in the need to change the world and liberate it from the Crusaders and the Jews through extreme acts that feed off religion."
Iran’s Afghan mercenaries threaten Israel: Final target is the Golan
Iranian-recruited Afghans affiliated with the group Liwa Fatemiyoun posted a video on Tuesday showing them near the Golan Heights and claiming that they had come to fight the “Zionists.” The Fatemiyoun are a group of Afghan Shi’ites recruited by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to fight in Syria on the side of the Syrian regime. They have played a key role in some battles near Palmyra and they are now continuing to train and live in Syria.

The video was posted to a Twitter account affiliated with the Fatemiyoun and links to a longer version of a documentary about the role of the Afghans in Syria. It is mostly a propaganda film about how they came to fight ISIS and save Shi’ite sites. The longer online version is not centered on Israel as much as the one minute clip they posted to Twitter. The clip shows them near the Golan Heights and claiming that their final target is Israel.

Joe Truzman, a social media user and security expert, noticed the video and added subtitles to it. He says that it “shows their fighters a short distance away from the Golan Heights.” The fighters say their “final target is that white mountain which is the Golan Heights and is being held by Israel.” The white mountain is the Hermon. It is not clear when the video was shot. There has been some snow on the Hermon this year but it may have been in the spring or years ago.

The unit has operated in Syria for several years, but the claim that they want to target Israel is new and is part of growing Israel-Iran tensions. Syrian regime media outlet SANA accused Israel of airstrikes over Syria on Sunday night.

Other photos posted recently about the Fatemiyoun show them training near Albukamal and include details of protests against their presence in Deir Ezzor. The photos near Albukamal may have been taken at the Imam Ali base that Iran is building in Syria. The base was hit by airstrikes in September, but recent photos show that Iran is building tunnels to hide weapons there. They appear to be setting down roots in Syria.
US Restores Assistance for Palestinian Security Services, Humanitarian and Civilian Purpose
Part of the $1.37 trillion spending bill that US President Donald Trump signed on Friday included $150 million split evenly between assistance for security services, and humanitarian and civilian purposes for the Palestinians.

The legislation included a bipartisan agreement on the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA) that will allow the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to resume its operations in the West Bank and Gaza. USAID ceased projects in those areas earlier this year in accordance with ATCA, which provides protections for American victims of international terrorism.

The United States cut direct funding to the Palestinian Authority in March 2018 under the Taylor Force Act (TFA) for the PA’s ongoing program of rewarding terrorists and their families.

To avoid US assistance falling into that program, both USAID programming and the ATCA fix that will enable funding for Palestinian security services are still subject to existing restrictions, including under the TFA, a congressional source told JNS. Other restrictions include, but aren’t limited to, no funding of salaries of the PA in Gaza and no assistance to the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Israeli NGO to gov’t: Tax Arab Israeli terrorists on pay-for-slay income
An Israeli watchdog is calling on the government to tax the pay-for-slay money received by some Arab citizens of Israel.
Last month, Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit ruled that pay-for-slay payments should be considered “income” according to the Income Tax Law, when he ruled that the National Labor Court should reject a request for state economic support payments by an east Jerusalem family who receives “pay-for-slay” payments from the Palestinian Authority.

The PA pays Arabs living in the territories and Israeli Arabs monthly salaries for murdering Israeli soldiers and civilians. Terrorists who are Israeli citizens or residents of Jerusalem receive a special bonus. These terrorists have never paid income tax on these monthly salaries.

“This opens the way for the Israeli government to collect millions of shekels in taxes that were not paid by the terrorists on their income,” explained Maurice Hirsch, head of legal strategies at Palestinian Media Watch (PMW).

In response to Mandelblit’s decision, the watchdog organization calculated the salaries of eight terrorists who currently receive net monthly salaries of at least NIS 12,500 ($3,577) and another six who receive net monthly salaries of at least NIS 10,500 ($3,004). Collectively, PMW reported, they have received around NIS 20 million from the PA. No taxes have been paid on that money.

Hirsch said that if taxes were collected on just the first eight terrorists’ income, it would “amount to a couple of million of shekels.”
In reality, there are dozens of terrorists who are Israeli citizens and would owe taxes.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians: 'Foreigners' in an Arab Country
Instead of helping the Palestinians who are being arrested and killed and tortured in Iraq, the UN, EU and "pro-Palestinian" groups are busy spouting hate against Israel.

The number of Palestinians in Iraq has dropped from more than 40,000 before 2003 to fewer than 6,000 today. Many Palestinians have been killed, injured and arrested by Iraqi authorities and various militias. Thousands of Palestinians fled to neighboring countries, including Syria and Jordan.

The United Nations, European Union and various human rights organizations pay attention to the Palestinians only when they find a way to hold Israel responsible for their "suffering."

More than 4,000 Palestinians have been killed in Syria since the beginning of the civil war there in 2011. Palestinians in Lebanon are banned from working in about 70 professions, such as medicine, law and engineering, or joining any professional association.... Palestinians are victims not only of their Arab brothers, but also of the double standards of the international community, which continues to be obsessed only with Israel.
'Mastermind' weapons smuggler slams PLO, Fatah for abandoning prisoners
Fuad Shubaki, a senior Palestinian Authority security officer who is serving a 20-year prison sentence in Israeli prison for his role in the 2002 botched attempt to smuggle an illegal weapons shipment to the PA, has accused the PLO and Fatah of ignoring his case and that of all Palestinian prisoners.

The 80-year-old Shubaki, who holds the rank of Major-General, previously served as chief financial advisor to former PA President Yasser Arafat.

On January 3, 2002, Israeli troops seized the Karine A ship in the Red Sea, 500 kilometers from Israel.

The vessel, purchased from Lebanon, was found to be carrying 50 tons of weapons from Iran, including Katyusha rockets, guided anti-tank missiles, mortars, anti-tank mines, machine guns, assault rifles, explosives and ammunition. The weapons were estimated at a value of nearly $15 million.

The Karine A affair triggered a crisis between the Bush administration and Arafat, who denied any Palestinian involvement. Bush was quoted as saying that Arafat had lied to him.
MEMRI: Kuala Lumpur Summit 2019: A Bid By Qatar, Turkey, Malaysia, Iran To Challenge Saudi Arabia's Standing In Muslim World
A recent Islamic summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia has become a source of conflict and tension in the Muslim world. The summit, to which 450 Muslim leaders, thinkers and researchers from across the world were invited, also included a summit meeting between Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Aal Thani, and Iranian President Hassan Rohani. The summit was regarded as a show of power by its main rivals – Turkey, Qatar and Iran, who support the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and terror organizations like Hamas and Hizbullah – and as an attempt to challenge the status in the Muslim world of Saudi Arabia, which had been invited but declined to attend.

The tension surrounding the summit was noticeable even before it began, due to statements by the host, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, regarding its objectives. About a month prior, he had announced that his country would host a "narrow Islamic summit" of only five countries – Malaysia, Qatar, Turkey, Indonesia and Pakistan – which would form the kernel for broader Islamic cooperation on many issues concerning the Muslim world. He added that the summit would discuss a new strategy for dealing with the Muslim world's problems. Earlier, in July 2019, in a joint press conference with Turkish President Erdogan, Mahathir said that cooperation between Malaysia and Turkey, and later also Pakistan, could "revitalize Islamic civilization." [1]

Mahatir's statements were perceived as an attempt to create an alternative to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which Saudi Arabia heads, and therefore provoked the latter's anger. Seeing the Kuala Lumpur summit as a subversive move by its rivals in the Muslim world, it stressed that the OIC was the only appropriate forum for promoting goals related to the resolution of the Muslim world's problems. In the days leading up to the summit, Saudi Arabia therefore acted to thwart it by exerting political and economic pressure on Pakistan and Indonesia, which indeed prompted them to decide not to attend. At the same time, Saudi Arabia also took measures vis-à-vis the Malaysian prime minister in a bid to downplay the importance of the summit as much as possible. Following a phone conversation with Saudi King Salman, Mahathir emphasized that the narrow Islamic summit "was not meant to form a new bloc to supersede the OIC," adding, "we are too small to do such a thing." [2]
1,500 people said killed by Iranian security forces in protests
Some 1,500 people were killed, most of them civilians, during a two-week period of violence last month, when residents of the Islamic Republic protested against the government in one of the largest public demonstrations since the country’s 1979 revolution, the Reuters news service reported Monday.

When the unrest broke out in the middle of last month, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei instructed the country’s security forces to do whatever was necessary to quell the protests, several senior Iranian officials told the outlet, on condition of anonymity.

“The Islamic Republic is in danger. Do whatever it takes to end it. You have my order,” Khamenei told his inner circle, one of the sources said.

The protests began on November 15 following a surprise hike in fuel prices.

Iran has yet to give overall figures for the number of people killed or arrested when security forces moved in to quell the unrest, which saw buildings torched and shops looted.

According to Reuters, approximately 1,500 people were killed, including at least 17 teenagers and some 400 women, in less than two weeks during the unrest. Some members of Iran’s security forces and police were reportedly among the dead.

Day after strike near Damascus, Russian news agency publishes interview with senior adviser Ali Akbar Velayati saying Israeli airstrikes ‘will not pass without a response’
A top Iranian official said that Israel “will regret” its attacks in Syria, which have reportedly targeted Iranian resources and weapons shipments.

The Israeli attacks “will not pass without a response,” Ali Akbar Velayati, a top adviser to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said in an interview with the Russia Today’s Arabic channel that was published Monday.

His remarks came out a day after an airstrike in Syria that Damascus officials blamed on Israel and that reportedly killed three, foreign pro-regime fighters, likely Iranians. It was not clear if Velayati had spoken to the station before or after the Sunday missile attack.

Iran has increasingly been saying it will retaliate to alleged Israeli strikes in Syria.

Channel 12 TV news reported Monday that Israeli officials are concerned Iran may attempt to launch a revenge assault similar to a September 14 cruise missile and drone attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities that knocked out half the kingdom’s oil production. Although Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels claimed responsibility, the US, Britain, France, Germany, and Saudi Arabia have blamed Iran of being behind the attack.

Iran regularly threatens Israel, viewing the country as a powerful enemy allied with the US and Sunni countries in the region against Tehran and its nuclear ambitions.

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