Thursday, June 25, 2020

From Ian:

Hagee: Gulf states should offer Israel normalized ties
The Gulf states should offer to normalize diplomatic relations with Israel rather than threatening to cut burgeoning ties out of anger over Israeli annexation plans and the US peace initiative, Pastor John Hagee told The Jerusalem Post.

“The Gulf states, who are claiming that Israeli ‘annexation’ would lead to an end to their not-so-secret relations with Israel, ought to put their requests in a positive light,” said Hagee, the founder of Christians United for Israel. “Rather than threaten to walk away, they should publicly and formally offer normalization of ties between the broader Arab world and Israel, if Israel gives the Palestinians a set period of time to return to the negotiating table in good faith.

“But there must be an understanding that if the PA walks away, ‘annexation’ will then have no impact on broader Arab-Israeli ties,” the pastor continued.

Hagee and his 8.5-million-member Christians United for Israel (CUFI) support the Trump peace plan “in its entirety” and would back up Israel if it decides to apply sovereignty to the West Bank and Jordan Valley.

He dismissed threats the United Arab Emirates and Jordan have made in recent weeks about possible damage to their ties with Israel, should annexation proceed.

King Abdullah and Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi have warned that they would review their country’s peace treaty with Israel and might decide to cancel it if Jerusalem annexes the Jordan Valley.

“I had more faith in the treaty before Jordan so easily threatened to cancel it,” Hagee told the Post. “I think this proves that Israel can only rely on herself, and not a piece of paper, to keep her citizens safe. And that means truly defensible borders.

“CUFI stands with the decisions of the democratically elected government of Israel. We don’t weigh in on internal debates, whether they are between average citizens or generals,” Hagee, told the Post ahead of the organization’s annual conference, which will take place June 28-30.
HonestReporting: Did Balfour Declaration Give Jews a License To Steal?
In a commentary published in The Guardian, Avi Shlaim maintains that by recognizing Palestine, Britain can help right the wrongs of 1917’s Balfour Declaration. According to Shlaim, the theft of Palestinian land is a legacy of British colonialism. As such, the UK must do what it can to prevent Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank.

Shlaim’s conclusion is based on a belief that the Balfour Declaration was the original sin in which Israel was conceived. The writer thus implies that this sin has been transmitted by heredity to every Jew who has ever lived in Israel to the present day:

The Balfour Declaration enabled the Zionist movement to embark on the systematic takeover of Palestine, a process the Zionists themselves initially described as settler colonialism, a process which is still continuing.

That’s strong stuff. But not even the intensity of Shlaim’s conviction can overcome some pesky facts about the Balfour Declaration.

Palestine 1917: Not a State in Sight
At the time that Arthur James Balfour issued his famous declaration in support of “a national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine, Shlaim asserts that Jews only comprised 10% of the population. The other 90% were Arabs. How could Britain have recognized the national rights of a tiny minority and denied it to the majority?

Shlaim gets it right. There were 600,000 Arabs and 60,000 Jews living in the region at the time. But what he neglects to mention is that there was no Arab state in the land at the time, nor was there any effort to establish one. In 1917, there was no national Palestinian identity – the non-Jewish residents of the land considered themselves to be part of the wider Arab nation.
State Department accuses Abbas of inconsistency on non-violence pledges
An annual US State Department report on counter-terrorism, published Wednesday, singled out Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as failing to consistently maintain a stance of non-violence.

“President Mahmoud Abbas has stated in the past a commitment to non-violence, a two-state solution and previous PLO commitments, but he has also made inconsistent statements that appear to contradict and undermine his prior commitments,” the report stated.

It quoted one instance in August of last year, in which Abbas said, “So we say to [Israel], ‘Every stone you [used] to build on our land and every house you have built on our land is bound to be destroyed, Allah willing…Jerusalem is ours whether they like it or not… We shall enter Jerusalem — millions of fighters! We shall enter it! All of us, the entire Palestinian people, the entire Arab nation, the Islamic nation, and the Christian nation… They shall all enter Jerusalem…'”

The quote is based on a translation from the Middle East Media Research Institute, a US-based watchdog with strong links to Israel.

Last year, the same State Department report noted only that “PA President Mahmoud Abbas maintained a public commitment to non-violence.”

Israel has long argued that the Palestinian Authority, and particularity its financial support for families of terrorists, glorifies and incites violence against Israelis.

According to PA law, Palestinian security prisoners serving time in Israeli jails and families of assailants killed while carrying attacks against Israelis are eligible to receive stipends and other benefits.

The State Department report also said that the PA’s security forces, which recently cut ties with the US and Israel over Jerusalem’s plans to annex West Bank land, cannot manage counter-terror operations on theirs own.

The coordination has been seen as critical in preventing numerous attacks against Israeli targets.

The PA has boycotted the US administration since President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moved the US embassy there in late 2017. Washington has retaliated by halting virtually all aid to the Palestinians.

Israel said to expect ICC ruling on jurisdiction in war crimes probe within days
Israel expects a decision by the International Criminal Court in the next few days on whether it has jurisdiction to launch a war crimes probe against Israel and the Palestinians, an unnamed Israeli diplomatic official told multiple Hebrew-language news outlets Thursday.

The reports said Israel had begun preparing for such an announcement, which could come as early as this weekend. The response was being overseen by a team including officials from the National Security Council, the justice and foreign ministries, and the international department of the IDF military prosecution.

Israel had the option of submitting its position on the matter to the ICC but chose not to, “out of a fundamental view that the court has no authority to carry out the investigation,” the official was quoted as saying.

A pretrial chamber of three judges at the ICC has been considering for several months now whether the court can legally launch a criminal investigation into suspected war crimes committed in the Palestinian territories.

Israel has long argued that the ICC has no jurisdiction over the case, as there is no sovereign Palestinian state that could delegate to the court criminal jurisdiction over its territory and nationals.

The court’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, has said she believed the court does have jurisdiction. Israel and several other states have argued otherwise.
Trump to make big announcement on Middle East peace plan - Conway
US President Donald Trump will make a big announcement on the Middle East based on current talks, Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway told reporters on the White House lawn on Wednesday.

Asked about the possibility of Israel extending its civil law to parts of the West Bank, Conway said: “We are having conversations, there are conversations being had. Obviously, the president will have an announcement. He's talked about this in the past, and I’ll leave it to him to give you a big announcement, and we’re very happy these talks continue.”

Conway, who is not generally involved in foreign policy matters, spoke as US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman was in the US to meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, special adviser to the president Jared Kushner and special representative for international negotiations Avi Berkowitz to discuss what kind of sovereignty moves from Israel the US should support.

They will also discuss whether to give Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a green light to move forward even if Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz does not agree, because the prime minister has enough votes without Gantz, who supports a smaller sovereignty push. Trump is expected to make a decision on the matter.

Conway said she spoke to “someone on the ground in Israel” who said such advanced talks on sovereignty “couldn’t even be had without the last three and a half years of President Donald Trump being the best friend to Israel, to quote Mr. Netanyahu, that Israel's ever had.”
189 House Democrats warn against Netanyahu’s annexation plans
Nearly 200 Democratic House members penned an open letter to the Israeli leadership Thursday, warning against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to start annexing parts of the West Bank with the Trump administration’s backing as early as July 1.

Addressed to Netanyahu, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, the letter implores Jerusalem to halt its plan, saying it would erode the possibility of a two-state solution and damage Israel’s ties with America.

“As committed partners in supporting and protecting the special US-Israel relationship,” the missive said, “we express our deep concern with the stated intention to move ahead with any unilateral annexation of West Bank territory, and we urge your government to reconsider plans to do so.”

The letter was orchestrated by Florida Congressman Ted Deutch and Illinois Congressman Brad Schneider, two of the most staunch pro-Israel members of Congress, who rarely criticize the Jewish state.

It was signed by a number of powerful and prominent House Democrats, including House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler, Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin. Not a single Republican joined them.

The lawmakers said that annexing any part of the West Bank would put to a halt to the progress Israel has made in improving ties with its neighbors, who share a common threat in Iran, and pose a security risk for Israel and Jordan should a violent outbreak erupt in response, as experts have warned.
Joint List MKs to Congress Democrats: Do all you can to stop annexation
All 15 MKs of the Arab Joint List sent a letter to Democratic Party members of the US Congress urging them to take a firm stand against Israel's plans to annex portions of the West Bank.

MK Aida Touma-Sliman, who initiated the letter, said: "The annexation and the occupation are international issues. The US administration constantly intervenes in the region and gives backing to the oppression of Palestinians. The administration can give the green light or pull the breaks on annexation. Hence, we asked members of the Democratic Party, who might assume power soon, to express their clear objection to the annexation plans, and to clarify that If it will take place, future administrations will not recognize its legitimacy, and will denounce the entire trump plan. Annexation is illegal according to international law and is a crime against the Palestinian people. The entire international community must stand against it."

"We, members of the Joint List, the third most supported Party in recent elections, representing the Palestinian minority in Israel as well as progressive Jews, are writing to share our concerns regarding the impending plans advanced by the Israeli government, and supported by the US administration, to annex parts of the Occupied Palestinian West Bank. According to the agreements within the Israeli governing coalition, acts of annexation could commence in the coming days," the letter read.
'EU policies on Israel influenced by political pressure from radical elements'
"The European Union is discriminating against Israel," a senior Israeli diplomat stated in a position paper presented Thursday to the Mitvim Institute for Regional Foreign Policies.

The former head of the European Division in the Foreign Ministry and Israeli Ambassador to Norway Raphael Schutz wrote that "in other territorial disputes, such as the Spanish Sahara and northern Cyprus, European countries and their envoys to Brussels do not invest the same energy, time, and thought as they do to promoting the boycott of goods produced in Israeli settlements."

The EU, he continued, only recently approved the open sky agreement with Israel, which ostensibly contradicts its principles concerning the Jewish state, and it did so only because the accord is in line with Brussels' current interests.

"The EU is inconsistent. When it is convenient for them, European officials have refrained from taking an ideologically approach to Israel in drafting the open sky agreement, understanding that it has considerable economic benefits for them," Schutz wrote.

The veteran diplomat added that "it is impossible to get a definitive statement from Brussels about Israel's right to exist as the nation-state of the Jewish people, and it has not come out in rejection of the [Palestinian demand for] the 'right of return.'"

This lack of clarity while the EU has fully adopted the Palestinians' positions with respect to the regional conflict, especially in regards to the territorial aspects.
Abbas hints at dissolving PA in response to annexation
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas hinted on Wednesday that the Israeli plan to apply sovereignty to parts of the West Bank would lead to the dismantlement of the PA.

Abbas said that his decision to renounce agreements and understandings with Israel and the US, including security cooperation, does not mean that the Palestinians don’t want peace.

In a speech via video conference before the Arab Parliament, the legislative body of the Arab League, Abbas said that, if implemented, the annexation plan would mean that Israel would have “to assume its responsibilities over the occupied territories in accordance with the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

According to the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons on Time of War, more commonly referred to as the Fourth Geneva Convention, “persons protected by the Convention are those who, at a given moment and in any manner whatsoever, find themselves, in case of a conflict or occupation, in the hands of a Party to the conflict or Occupying Power of which they are not nationals.” It also states that ‘the Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”
UN warns it cannot replace the Palestinian Authority
The United Nations has warned that it does not have the capacity to replace the Palestinian Authority, when it comes to the fulfillment of PA agreements with Israel with regard to humanitarian issues.

“The UN and other international organizations are increasingly being asked to perform coordination responsibilities” previously executed by the Palestinian Authority, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov said on Wednesday.

He spoke about the issue to the UN Security Council explaining that to protest Israeli annexation plans the Palestinian Authority has suspended its agreements with Israel, including those that allowed for humanitarian assistance.

“While we are prepared to provide support on an emergency basis, the UN cannot replace the Palestinian Authority. It is critical that humanitarian and other assistance not be delayed or stopped,” Mladenov said.

He referenced in particularly the permit system that allowed Palestinians in Gaza to leave the Strip, so they could receive emergency medical care in Israel.

“Palestinians in Gaza, who have lived with closures and under the control of Hamas for more than a decade, are particularly vulnerable,” Mladenov said.

“The ending of civilian coordination will not allow them to receive life-saving treatment. Already, an eight-month-old infant has lost his life due to this situation. Surely there must be a red line when it comes to the lives of children!,” he said.
Poll: Most Palestinians expect sovereignty to proceed, despite protests
The Palestinian people are mostly indifferent to Ramallah's threats that if Israel pushes ahead with its plan to apply sovereignty to large parts of Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley, the Palestinian Authority will be dissolved, a new survey published on Wednesday has found.

The poll, conducted by Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research Director Dr. Khalil Shikaki in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, concluded that 66% of the Palestinians expect Israel to go ahead with its plans despite any protests on the ground or any sanctions by the Palestinian leadership, Arab leaders, or the EU against Israel.

Some 60% of those polled said they do no believe that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will follow through on his threat to disband the governing body in charge of the West Bank.

The Palestinians' indifference to the statement made by its leaders was also evident in a protest held in Jericho on Monday.

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh, UN envoy to the Middle East Nikolai Mladnov, foreign dignitaries, and a host of other Palestinian officials attended the rally, but despite Ramallah's urging the Palestinians to take to the streets en masse, only a few thousands heeded the call.

The poll further found that 59% of the Palestinians think that the Egyptians-brokered talks between Israel and Hamas, the terrorist group controlling Gaza, are failing, and fresh hostilities between Israel and the terrorist groups in the Strip is only a matter of time.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians: Is It Really about 'Annexation'?
It is dead wrong to assume that if Israel abandons its plan, most Muslims would give up their desire to destroy Israel and replace it with an extremist Iran-style Islamic state.

[Islamic officials] are now calling on Palestinians to launch terror attacks against Israel, not because of the "annexation" plan, but in order to drive the Jews out of the "Palestinian Arab Islamic lands."

Those who are pressuring Israel not to proceed with the "annexation" plan need to hear what Islamic leaders are saying, day and night: that the conflict is not about Jewish settlements or the Jordan Valley, but the "big settlement" called Israel.
Hamas to Israel: 'Annexation is a declaration of war'
Israel’s plan to extend its sovereignty to parts of the West Bank would be considered a “declaration of war” on the Palestinians, and it will regret the move, Izzadin al-Qassam, the so-called “military” wing of Hamas, said Thursday.

The Israeli plan was the “biggest theft of Palestinian land in decades,” Izzadin al-Qassam spokesman Abu Obeida said in a statement.
The “project of the resistance was to remove the occupation from all the lands of historic Palestine,” he said.

Condemning the plan as a “criminal” project, Abu Obeida said: “We won’t talk much, and we won’t make more statements. We say in words that are limited and clear and which the occupation and those who stand behind it need to understand very well: The resistance considers this decision a declaration of war on our Palestinian people. The resistance, in this war, will be the loyal and trustworthy guard in defending our people and their land and holy shrines.”

Abu Obeida said his group would make Israel “regret bitterly” its decision to apply its sovereignty to parts of the West Bank.

His statement was made in commemoration of the day IDF soldier Gilad Schalit was taken prisoner on June 25, 2006. Schalit was captured by Hamas in a cross-border raid via tunnels near the Israeli border.

At UN, Arab League head warns of ‘religious war’ if Israel annexes in West Bank
The United Nations, European Union countries, and the Arab League joined Wednesday in calling for Israel to abandon its plans to annex parts of the West Bank, as the Jewish state’s envoy to the international body insisted the step would not stand in the way of peace with the Palestinians.

The calls were made during a UN Security Council video conference on the issue.

It was the last international meeting before July 1, when Israel may begin moving the plan forward.

“We are at a watershed moment,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. “If implemented, annexation would constitute a most serious violation of international law. I call on the Israeli government to abandon its annexation plans.”

He reiterated the longstanding goal of a two-state solution with an independent, contiguous, sovereign and viable Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states.

Arab League secretary-general Ahmed Aboul Gheit said annexation “will destroy any prospect for peace in the future” and could ignite “a religious war in and beyond our region.”

“The possible move by the Israeli government to annex parts of the occupied Palestinian territory would constitute, if implemented, a serious threat to regional stability,” he added.
Mossad head met with Jordan's King Abdullah, discussed annexation - report
Mossad chief Yossi Cohen recently visited Jordan and met with King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein in order to pass a message along from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding the expected annexation of the West Bank and Jordan Valley, Israel's Channel 13 reported, citing a senior Israeli official.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi has also spoken out about the planned annexation, which is intended to span over 30% of Judea and Samaria, during an interview with the Jordanian news show Al-Mamlakah.

Safadi said that Jordan would not accept even a partial annexation, which includes cities such as Maale Adumim, Ariel and Gush Etzion, because it would cut the West Bank in half, effectively preventing the establishment of a Palestinian state in the region.

Cohen reportedly was also recently in contact with the Egyptian Director of the General Intelligence Abbas Kamel about annexation. Kamel reportedly told Cohen that he had not reached an agreement with Hamas regarding its response to the annexation, Channel 13 said.

Numerous Egyptian sources additionally told the pan-Arab media outlet The New Arab that Egypt warned Hamas about Israel and its intentions to annex the West Bank.

CNN’s Fareed Zakaria Declares That Israel Does Not Want Peace
In the teaser at the beginning of his June 21 show “Global Public Square” (GPS), Zakaria drew this unwarranted, likely agenda-driven conclusion:

Israel's Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu said if he was put back in office, he would annex parts of the West Bank. That dramatic act could happen just days from now. I will talk to Netanyahu's predecessor, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who said it is proof that Israel today does not want peace with the Palestinians.

In fact, Olmert’s assertions, as shown by CNN's transcript, fell far short of claiming that “it [annexing parts of the West Bank] is proof that Israel today does not want peace with the Palestinians.”

Zakaria, like his colleagues at CNN, can be depended upon to regularly disparage the Jewish state.
'The terrorists you free today will return to murdering Jews'
Judges, especially military judges, are careful not to criticize the line taken by political leaders and restrict themselves to interpreting the law. But in the case of the terrorist Karim Ratteb Younis Awis, they acted differently. Awis, who had been sentenced to life in prison, was released prior to the Second Intifada as a gesture to the Palestinians. Shortly thereafter, in November 2001, he issued orders to the two terrorists who carried out a shooting attack at the central bus station in Afula that claimed the lives of Michal Mor and Noam Gozovsky, and wounded 84 others.

Awis also handled the two terrorists who murdered Yitzhak Cohen and Gadi and Tzippora Shemesh in an attack on King George St. in Jerusalem in March 2002 – an attack that left another 81 civilians wounded. The judges in his case noted that "After his previous conviction for murder, it was clear how dangerous he was … and that the need to keep him away from human society forever was also obvious. After his release, he proved that the gesture was unwarranted, and many Israeli families paid a heavy price."

Awis was neither the first nor the last terrorist released as a "gesture" to the Palestinians or as part of a deal with terrorist organizations who went back to the ways of terrorism. According to estimates from the defense and security establishment, about half of the some 14,000 terrorists whom Israel has granted early release over the past 35 years resumed their terrorist activity. Many of the 1,027 who were freed in exchange for captive soldier Gilad Schalit also went on to commit more attacks, despite assessments in Israel that they could be prevented from doing so.

Now that Israel is weighing another release of terrorist prisoners in exchange for the bodies of fallen soldiers Lt. Hadar Goldin and Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul, who were killed in Operation Protective Edge in 2014, and Israeli captives Avera Mengistu and Hisham a-Sayed, bereaved families who lost loved ones to freed terrorists are trying to keep it from happening.
Amit Ben Yigal's killer indicted for intentionally causing death
Nizmi Abu Bakar, who is accused of fatally striking Amit Ben Yigal with a large brick last month, was indicted for intentionally causing death by Israel’s Military Court on Thursday.

The indictment is primarily based on the defendant’s confession, while his defense attorneys are claiming that it does not correspond with the defendant’s confession and is thus not valid.

As the indictment was being read to Bakar, he broke down in tears, shouting towards the judges: “I didn’t kill anyone on purpose. It’s not true, I didn’t do it. Who wrote that? I told Shin Bet [Israel Security Agency] interrogators everything, how could they write such things?”
Palestinian Terrorist Gets Four Life Sentences for Killing Soldiers, Infant
An Israeli military court on Wednesday handed down four life sentences to a Palestinian terrorist convicted on three murder charges for a pair of attacks carried out in December 2018. The court also ordered Barghouti to pay millions of shekels in compensation to the injured and to the families of those killed.

The Ofer Military Court found Asem Barghouti, a resident of the village of Kobar, near Ramallah, guilty of killing two soldiers and an unborn child in drive-by shootings carried out on Dec. 9, 2018, together with his brother near Givat Assaf, where they killed two soldiers, and near the community of Ofra, where they wounded Shira Ish-Ran and her unborn child, according to Israeli media reports.

The child, who was critically wounded, was delivered via emergency C-section but died after several days in intensive care. Ish-Ran sustained serious injuries but later recovered.

Nearly a dozen civilian bystanders were also wounded in the attacks.

The two soldiers killed by Barghouti were 20-year-old Staff Sgt. Yovel Mor Yosef, a resident of the southern Israeli town of Ashkelon, and Sgt. Yosef Cohen, 19, from Beit Shemesh.

Barghouti was arrested in January 2019 after nearly a month-long manhunt, while his brother Salih was killed by Israeli forces after he attempted to evade arrest.
‘He looked me in the eye and turned the wheel,’ says cop hurt in alleged ramming
A Border Police officer on Wednesday described a suspected car-ramming attack that injured her the previous day in the West Bank, stressing that the incident was deliberate after questions were raised about the police response.

Shani Orr Hama Kadosh was lightly injured in the incident at a checkpoint in Abu Dis, near Jerusalem, and the alleged rammer was shot dead.

“I signaled to him to halt, the car started to slow down, and I moved in his direction,” Kadosh told Channel 13 news. “He saw that I took a step, he looked me in the eye, turned the steering wheel and rammed into me, and I flew to the other side” of the median.

“The soldiers understood what happened, heard me yell, turned straight in his direction, saw him getting out in their direction, cocked their weapons, and fired in his direction,” Kadosh said.

“I didn’t understand at first when he looked at me, and only when I went flying, I understood that this was an attack,” she said.

The suspected attacker, Ahmad Moustafa Erekat, 28, was shot dead at the scene.

PMW: “We won’t die alone and we won’t suffer alone,” PA top official threatens Israel
PA senior official Jibril Rajoub:
“If the [Israeli] decision to annex is made – you [Israel] are in a battle with Fatah, the Fatah of Jan. 1, 1965 (i.e., Fatah’s first terror attack against Israel)”
We must turn Israel’s “life into hell”
“There is general Palestinian agreement on popular resistance ‎at this stage, but we are prepared to move to another stage... If there will be an annexation, then we won’t suffer alone and we won’t die alone”
“The time has come to fight this racist and fascist occupation. No one can tell us that [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and his coalition are elected. Hitler and Mussolini were also elected! Go back to history and read it correctly! If [Netanyahu] turns now to annexation, I’m telling you, we will not wave a white flag, we won’t die alone, we won’t suffer alone”
“We don't think that going to bloodshed at this stage [prior to annexation] serves our cause”

PA TV filler warns Israel:
Response to annexation will be “with spirit and blood”

PA warns Israel against annexation: Defense will be “with spirit and blood”
Official PA TV narrator: O occupier, what you have plotted to do [with the Jordan Valley] will backfire on you. There is none among us who will agree to negotiate. Whoever agrees to the Jordan Valley being cut from our state is not one of us. And he will be counted among the deviant traitors. The leader of the path [PA President Abbas] has said “No!”
Caption: “No to the deal of the century”
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas: [Abbas:] “I absolutely will not agree to this solution.”
Narrator: “His voice rose throughout the world. We are loyal to it. We will defend it with spirit and blood. Therefore, [O occupier] – act wisely! Because your steps of annexation and Judaization will not pass.”
The PA began broadcasting this filler in response to Israel's presumed future annexation, i.e., applying Israeli law, to the Jordan Valley and the Jewish cities and towns in the West Bank.

PreOccupiedTerritory: Palestinians Warn Annexation Will Spark Same Constant Attempts To Kill Jews As Always (satire)
Leaders on both sides of the Fatah-Hamas divide in the West Bank and Gaza Strip threatened Israel and the US again today that if the Jewish State follows through on its American-supported intention to apply its sovereignty to areas occupied by Jordan between 1948 and 1967, they will take the extreme measure of perpetrating the same deadly violence against Jews that has characterized their movement for a hundred years already.

Officials in both major factions of the Palestinian national movement – Fatah avowedly “secular,” Hamas Islamist – warned Thursday that annexation of any part of the territory beyond the 1949 armistice line by Israel will spark nothing new, since Palestinian Arabs have been trying to kill as many Jews as possible more or less non-stop since the nineteenth century.

“We must speak of the unavoidable consequences of annexation,” declared Fatah official Saeb Erekat, once the chief negotiator for the Palestine Liberation Organization, when the Fatah leadership still engaged in the pretense of a negotiated resolution to the age-old conflict. “Those consequences will be hard to discern unless we specify them, because they will consist of the same continued attempts to rid the territory between the River and the Sea of Jews, as we and our ancestors have been trying to do since 1948, with occasional strategic pauses.”

Kosovo designates Hezbollah as a terrorist entity
The Republic of Kosovo has officially designated both Hezbollah's military and political wings as a terrorist group, Foreign Affairs and Diaspora Minister Meliza Haradinaj announced on Twitter on Tuesday.

A year ago, Kosovo designated Hezbollah's military wing as a terrorist group, but following a proposal by the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the parliament decided to designate the political wing as a terrorist entity as well.

"After [Foreign Affairs Ministry’s] proposal, #Kosovo Government decided to declare both the political & military wings of #Hezbollah, a terrorist organization in the territory of the Republic of Kosovo," Haradinaj said in her Tuesday tweet. "This decision contributes to protect & advance national, regional & global security interests."

The American Jewish Congress lauded the move.

"Hezbollah’s activities are a direct threat to peace and security, and Kosovo’s decision is an important step in the global fight against terrorism," the AJC said in a statement. "The artificial differentiation between Hezbollah’s political and military wings has created openings for Hezbollah, a proxy of Iran, to continue to engage in its malignant activities in many countries around the world.

"We urge other countries to follow Kosovo’s example in treating the entirety of Hezbollah as a terrorist entity and banning all its
activities," they concluded.
IDF honors troops for successful operation after Iran cyberattack
A month after a cyberattack against Iran’s Shahid Rajee port following an attack against Israel’s water system, troops from the IDF’s elite 8200 Intelligence Unit as well as others were awarded certificates of appreciation by the head of Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Tamir Hayman.

The awards were given to troops in Unit 8200, Military Intelligence’s Research Division and the IDF’s Operations Division, whose work and cooperation “resulted in a unique and impressive operational achievement,” the military said in a statement.

The troops, Hayman said, do not only think outside the box but are “outstanding in their essential need, outstanding in their hunger for success, outstanding in their lack of compromise on the small details.”

The operational activities “demonstrated creativity and a strong desire to succeed. It is impossible to take advantage of the unique capabilities, collaboration and achievements that were reflected in your actions. This mission was a first and significant step on a long path,” he added.
New US State Department Report Highlights Iran’s Terror Footprint, From Gaza to Pakistan
Iran’s terror footprint extended across the Middle East from the Gaza Strip to Pakistan during 2019, the US State Department said on Wednesday, as it published its annual list of country-by-country reports on terrorism.

Examining the twin threats posed by Tehran-backed terrorist groups on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon and its southern border with the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, the report emphasized that Iranian military and logistical support had continued apace.

“Since the end of the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah conflict, Iran has supplied Hezbollah with thousands of rockets, missiles, and small arms in direct violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701,” the report noted in its overview of the continuing threat posed to Israel by the Shi’a terrorist group, which has effectively controlled Lebanon’s government since January. Resolution 1701 demands the disarming and dismantling of paramilitary groups in Lebanon.

The report added that “Israeli security officials and politicians expressed concerns that Iran was supplying Hezbollah with advanced weapons systems and technologies, as well as assisting the group in creating infrastructure that would permit it to indigenously produce rockets and missiles to threaten Israel from Lebanon and Syria.”

Iran also provided support to Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups, including Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC).

“These Palestinian terrorist groups were behind numerous deadly attacks originating in Gaza and the West Bank, including attacks against Israeli civilians in the Sinai Peninsula,” the State Department report stated.
Special Report: Inside Iran’s Secret Project to Produce Aluminum Powder for Missiles
At the edge of the desert in North Khorasan province in northeast Iran, near the country’s largest deposit of bauxite, sits an aluminum production complex that the government has publicly hailed as a key part of its efforts to boost output of the metal.

But the site near the city of Jajarm is also home to a secret facility set up by Iran’s elite security force, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, that has been producing aluminum powder for use in its missile program, according to a former Iranian government official and documents relating to the facility he shared with Reuters. Aluminum powder, derived from bauxite, is a key ingredient in solid-fuel propellants used to launch missiles.

Iran started producing the powder for military use more than five years ago, according to the former official, who from 2013 until 2018 was head of public relations and also parliamentary affairs envoy in the office of the vice president for executive affairs, which at the time oversaw some economic policies. The ex-official, Amir Moghadam, said he visited the little-known facility twice and that production was continuing when he left Iran in 2018.

Iran’s production of aluminum powder for use in missiles, which hasn’t previously been reported, was developed amid international sanctions designed to block the country’s efforts to acquire advanced weapons technology. The United States and allies view Iran’s missile capabilities as a threat to the region and the world.

Reuters reviewed more than a dozen documents relating to the aluminum powder project and people involved, dating from 2011 to 2018. One is a letter addressed to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei from a Revolutionary Guards commander whose brother has been described by the Iranian state as the father of Iran’s missile program.

In the letter, Mohammad Tehrani Moghadam described the Jajarm facility as a “project to produce missile fuel from metal powder” and said it played a significant role in “improving the country’s self-sufficiency in production of solid fuel for missiles.” The letter is undated but appears to be from 2017, based on references to events.

US Puts Sanctions on 5 Iranian Ship Captains for Bringing Oil to Venezuela
The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on five Iranian ship captains who delivered oil to Venezuela, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reaffirmed Washington’s backing for Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido.

Speaking at a news conference, Pompeo said the ships delivered about 1.5 million barrels of Iranian gasoline and related components, and warned mariners against doing business with the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, whose ouster Washington seeks.

“As a result of today’s sanctions, these captains’ assets will be blocked. Their careers and prospects will suffer from this designation,” Pompeo said in a statement later.

“We will continue to support the National Assembly, interim President Guaido, and the Venezuelan people in their quest to restore democracy,” Pompeo added to reporters.

President Donald Trump’s administration is seeking to block Iran’s energy trade and also bring down Maduro. It has threatened reprisals and warned ports, shipping companies and insurers against assisting the tankers.
Report: Iran TV airs 355 coerced confessions over decade
Iranian state television has broadcast the suspected coerced confessions of at least 355 people over the last decade as a means to both suppress dissent and frighten activists in the Islamic Republic on behalf of security services, according to a report released Thursday.

The study published by Justice for Iran and the International Federation for Human Rights outlined cases of prisoners being coached into reading from white boards, with state television correspondents ordering them to repeat the lines while smiling.

Others recounted being beaten, threatened with sexual violence and having their loved ones used against them to extract false testimonies later aired on news bulletins, magazine-style shows and programs masquerading as documentaries, the report said.

The number of those filmed likely is even higher as some say their coerced confessions have yet to air, while others may not have been immediately accessible to researchers, said Mohammad Nayyeri, co-director of Justice for Iran.

“They always live with that fear of when it’s going to happen,” Nayyeri told The Associated Press. “So that fear itself in those cases is not less than the fear and the anguish and pain of those whose confessions have been broadcast.”

Emails sent to Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, the state television and radio firm, could not be delivered. Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not respond to a request for comment.

Under Iranian law, only the state can own and operate television and radio stations. Satellite dishes, though prevalent across Tehran, remain illegal. YouTube and other Western video streaming services are blocked. That leaves many watching IRIB across its multiple national and provincial stations.

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