Friday, June 26, 2020

From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: Junking the Jews is behind our current Hobbesian nightmare
International pressure on Israel not to extend its sovereignty over parts of the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria is increasing. More than 1,000 European parliamentarians have signed a letter asserting that this proposal, which they term “annexation,” would “encourage other states with territorial claims to disregard basic principles of international law.”

Following the brutal death in police custody of George Floyd, racial anarchy in America is increasing. In Seattle and Washington, D.C., there have been attempts to set up “autonomous zones” that exclude the police. Statues and other artworks that have been targeted for toppling as representing “white privilege” include those of Abraham Lincoln, the 19th-century anti-slavery activist Hans Christian Heg and now even Jesus.

These events are connected. In this period of civilizational turmoil, supposed progressives campaigning against the sovereignty proposal falsely project onto Israel crimes of which not only is it innocent, but of which the progressive class itself is guilty.

Take the claim that Israel’s “annexation” is unlawful. Under international law, annexation has a precise meaning: the forcible incorporation by one state of the territory of another state. This does not apply to the disputed territories, which never belonged in law to any other state.

Israel has the only legally grounded claim to this land, including the never-abrogated duty given to the British in the 1920s to settle the Jews throughout what is now Israel, the disputed territories and the Gaza Strip.

Far from being an illegal annexation, extending Israeli law to these areas actually implements international law after some nine decades during which it was flouted and then ignored by Britain and the world community. It is those who oppose the sovereignty proposal who show contempt for the law.
Unilateral Israeli Action Could Break the Negotiations Deadlock
The Israeli government is considering applying Israeli civil law jurisdiction and administration to parts of the Jordan Valley and/or certain settlement blocs. This possibility was proposed under the U.S. peace plan and agreed in the broad national coalition agreement between most of Israel's political parties.

Israel has pursued a pragmatic approach to the area that was Jordan's "West Bank," one that would ultimately enable Palestinian Arab self-determination over most areas populated by them, while ensuring Israeli security, thus hopefully enabling a sustainable peaceful solution between them.

The Palestinians have rejected repeated Israeli offers since 1967 - for example, in 2000, 2001 and 2008 - of full self-determination in the majority of this land. There is no comparable international legal situation in the world today where a country that acquired territory in self-defense and offered to surrender it in exchange for peace was refused.

The International Law Commission Draft Code of Offences against the Peace and Security of Mankind (1954) has endorsed the legality of acquisition of territory, unless by aggression or in violation of the UN Charter. International practice demonstrates that aggression, such as Jordan's in 1967, consistently leads to forfeiture of territory.

Unilateral Israeli action this year is likely to break the negotiations deadlock, pressuring a Palestinian side that has simply been refusing to negotiate since 2014.
Report: Best Line of Defense: The Case for Israeli Sovereignty in the Jordan Valley
JINSA’s new paper explains how U.S. national security interests would be well served if Israel enshrined its permanent control of the Jordan Valley by acting now to extend its sovereignty there. This will boost the security of Israel, as well as Jordan, two pivotal American allies in the region.

As the United States seeks to reduce its presence in an increasingly chaotic Middle East, Israel has stepped up its efforts to hold back the growing disorder, in the process protecting not just itself but regional partners like Jordan and Gulf Arab states.

To play this role effectively, however, Israel must remain secure. The Jordan Valley serves as a defensive buffer protecting Israel against attacks from the east, including from Iran and its proxies. The Valley also protects the West Bank from terrorist infiltration, and Jordan from potential instability or hostility originating from the West Bank or elsewhere.

Yet, previously Israel has faced pressure to relinquish control over the Jordan Valley. Thus, the Trump Administration’s support for Israeli sovereignty in the Jordan Valley could be a rare chance for Israel to assure its security and that of its tacit Arab allies, too.

There will certainly be costs associated with incorporating the Jordan Valley into Israel proper. But when it comes to the specific issue of the Jordan Valley, we believe that, given the benefits to enshrining permanent Israeli control, these regrettable costs are likely to prove manageable and short-term.

In this unique moment, the United States should support Israel’s extension of sovereignty to the Jordan Valley, which Israel must permanently and physically control to defend itself while advancing U.S. security interests.

Click here to read the report. (pdf)

Study Finds Palestinian Textbooks Prepare Students for “Continuous and Long-Range Confrontation” with Israel
Last week The Jerusalem Post reported that a recent study of Palestinian Authority textbooks found that the ones used in Palestinian schools are preparing students “for a continuous and long-range confrontation against the State of Israel in order to achieve the final goal, which is the establishment of the State of Palestine that will stretch on the entire territory of the Land of Israel.”

The study, conducted by Dr. Arnon Gross of the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, who was assisted by David Bedein of the Center for Near East Policy Research, surveyed nearly 400 textbooks that were in use by Palestinian schools between 2013 and 2020, as well as over 100 teacher guides from 2018.

They found three main strands of indoctrination running though the texts: delegitimization of the State of Israel’s existence, including the denial of Jewish holy sites within Israel; demonization of Israel and the Jews, who are regularly referred to as “the Zionist enemy”; and incitement to violent struggle to reclaim the whole of Israel as Palestine, with no education for peace and co-existence.

“Schoolbooks are specifically important in societies in conflict, because they indicate the narrative the leadership and society strive to instill in the minds of the younger generation,” the report notes. “The schoolbooks issued by the Palestinian Authority indicate, then, the essence of the narrative as far as the conflict with Israel is concerned. It is learned from the PA schoolbooks and teachers’ guides that the education of the younger Palestinian generation prepares it consciously for a continuous and long-range confrontation against the State of Israel in order to achieve the final goal, which is the establishment of the State of Palestine that will stretch on the entire territory of the Land of Israel. There is no trace in the schoolbooks of the argumentation disseminated by the Palestinian Authority in the international arena that the Palestinian Authority is committed to “a just peace” based on the two-state solution.”

The full report is here

The schoolbooks vehemently deny the Jewish past of the Land of Israel and call it “legends”. This is a new argument, as the former schoolbooks included pieces that dealt with Jewish history in the Land of Israel in antiquity. The non-recognition of Jerusalem as a holy city to Jews, however, has been there all along.

Aside from the general problems – denial of Israel’s legitimacy, promoting violence – the Palestinian textbooks also glorify terrorists. The Post reported that a fifth-grade history text described the notorious terrorist, Dalal Mughrabi, as a “’female martyr’ who ‘painted with her struggle a picture of challenging and heroism which have made her memory eternal in our hearts and minds.’” Mughrabi was the leader of the terror cell that carried out the 1978 Coastal Road massacre leaving 38 Israelis, among them 13 children, dead.
An open letter to PA President Abbas: Take Trump's deal – opinion
Dear PA President Mahmoud Abbas:

I hope this final appeal will awaken you to the reality you can no longer ignore. Time has just about run out, and your immediate decision to agree or refuse to enter into new peace negotiations with Israel will determine the future of your people for generations to come. They will either live in peace and harmony with Israel, growing and prospering, or remain a shattered nation despairing for a ray of hope that has eluded them for seven decades – with you sealing their fate.

Now that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is poised to annex a significant part of the West Bank, you are faced with a historic juncture: either you wake up to reality and preempt Netanyahu’s plan by calling for new peace negotiations, or squander the last vestiges of a fading opportunity. You must rise to the occasion, as a leader should, and grasp the moment, because you have reached the precipice of no return.

As you look around, please ask yourself the question: have your people come any closer today to realizing their cherished dream of establishing an independent state than 10, 15, or 20 years ago? You know better than anyone else that the answer is categorically no. You have missed many opportunities and failed to realize time was not on your side.

The reasons are all but glaringly clear.
Special Envoy Avi Berkowitz lands in Israel ahead of planned annexation
Special Envoy Avi Berkowitz landed in Israel on Friday ahead of the planned Israeli annexation of 30% of West Bank and the Jordan Valley, which can start as early as July 1.

According to several reports, the US is eager to obtain an agreement between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz on what sort of annexation will eventually take place.

The annexation is meant to be the first step leading to the formation of a Palestinian state.

Berkowitz wrote in his twitter account, in Hebrew, that he is happy to be in Israel and wished his followers Shabbat Shalom.
Report: Israel has told Abbas it will limit annexation to 2-3 settlement blocs
Israel has conveyed a message to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that its annexation plans have been greatly reduced, will no longer apply to the Jordan Valley and will be limited to only two or three settlements blocs, Channel 12 reported Friday, citing a senior official in Ramallah.

The official told the network the message was delivered via Jordan, following Mossad chief Yossi Cohen’s reported meeting on the matter with King Abdullah this week.

The official said no specific details were given on the settlements to be annexed, but said the implication was it would be a small number of blocs. There are three main settlement blocs — Ma’ale Adumim (to the east of Jerusalem), the Etzion Bloc (to the capital’s south) and Ariel (in the heart of the West Bank, southwest of Nablus) — all of which Israel has long indicated it would seek to retain under any negotiated accord with the Palestinians.

The Channel 12 story echoed a radio report earlier this week, according to which Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi has said that Israel is unlikely to annex the Jordan Valley under the Trump administration’s peace plan.

“I assume the annexation will not include the Jordan Valley. Everyone understands this,” Ashkenazi told officials in closed-door talks in recent days, according to the Kan public broadcaster.

It also was in line with comments earlier this month by top Israeli officials to Zman Yisrael, the Hebrew sister site of The Times of Israel, that Israel will at this stage only annex three West Bank blocs, but not the Jordan Valley or other settlement areas.
The EU must recognize Israeli Sovereignty in Judea and Samaria
Ever since 1995, the notoriously corrupt Palestinian Authority has resisted any further agreements as required by the Oslo Accords. So, the partition Rabin and Arafat agreed to in 1995 remains legal and in effect. Condemning this partition as “illegal” while at the same time supporting Palestinian Autonomy as agreed upon in the same treaty is patently absurd.

The Palestinian leadership around the terrorist Mahmoud Abbas, the financier of the Munich Attacks 1972, has no interest in a peaceful solution, which would rob them of their authority and their access to generous international funding courtesy of the European taxpayer, endangering their status, their fancy mansions and their BMW limousines. However, the normal Arab population and working people in Judea and Samaria have recognized that Israel offers them a better life than their corrupt leaders do. Every day, over 600.000 Arabs cross the Green Line to go work in Israel, peacefully voting with their feet, even as Abbas refuses to hold elections since 2009.

Area C remains in a bizarre legal limbo, however, administered by the IDF. Israeli courts bend over backwards to apply Ottoman law dating back to the year 1919. Funded by the EU and European NGOs, the Palestinian Authority uses this Ottoman law to occupy Israeli land and build illegal settlements like Khan al Ahmar – and German Chancellor Angela Merkel threatens to cancel her visit to Israel if Khan al Ahmar is evacuated. An absurd state of affairs.

After 25 years of Palestinian obstruction and refusal to negotiate, the new Israeli coalition has decided to put an end to this bizarre charade and extend civilian authority over large parts of Area C. The Arab inhabitants will receive hotly sought-after Israeli rights, welfare and citizenship, and protection under Israeli law, which has proved very popular among Arabs in East Jerusalem.

The European Union pays €300 Million every year to the Palestinian Authority, which uses this largesse to print school books lionizing terrorists and subsidize the families of terrorists. The EU pays €160 million a year to the corrupt anti-Israel UNRWA, and the German government more than doubled their UNRWA funding 2018 to €173 million.

No one knows exactly how much taxpayer money the German government and EU pay to shady, unaccountable anti-Israel NGOs, which fund the legal defense of murderers, as Im Tirtzu pointed out on the visit of German FM Heiko Maas recently. When my party asked the German government to reveal how much they were paying NGOs active in Israel, we were informed that this information was top secret – information that was so sensitive it outweighed the taxpayers’ right to know what is being done with their money! One can only imagine why.

It is time for European Governments to abandon their obstruction and sabotage of a realistic peace, to end their generous and secret support for the Palestinian Authority, UNRWA and anti-Israel NGOs, and to support Israel in its quest for a peaceful future for all. It is time for Germany and the EU to join Arab governments like Egypt, Qatar, the UAE and Saudi Arabia in welcoming the Trump Peace Plan, and to support Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria.

We must recognize the fact that Israel is our friend, and Israel is here to stay.
French official stumped after former US Mideast envoy defends Israel
Former U.S. Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt defended Israel against the Director of the North Africa and Middle East Department of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Christophe Farnaud, during an online discussion this week organized by the European Leadership Network (ELNET) to mark the 100th anniversary of the San Remo Conference, which granted international recognition to future Jewish statehood and Zionism.

Farnaud said that the Israeli move to extend its sovereignty to Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria under the U.S. peace plan was a violation of international law.

Greenblatt responded: "Are you suggesting that the United States Congress in 1995, when it passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act and when President Trump recognized Jerusalem and moved the embassy based on our law from 1995, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when he said that the settlements were not illegal per se, that the U.S. is violating international law? Or do you accept the fact there is a difference of opinion between certain countries around the world, in this case the U.S. and some others."

"If you don't agree that there is a difference of opinion, then you are accusing the U.S. of violating international law, the same way you are accusing Israel of violating international law."
Jordanian MP: If we don't die for Palestine, what is the point of life?
Jordan should "unleash" violent resistance against Israel if the Jewish state moves ahead with plans to annex parts of the West Bank, a Jordanian MP has said during an interview on Jordan's Roya TV.

Every Jordanian citizen would join in, Yahya al-Saud, the Head of the Jordanian Parliament's Palestine Committee opined during the June 16 interview, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute who translated the interview from Arabic to English.

"If it is declared that we are ready to fight this enemy [Israel], I swear that no Jordanian citizen will refrain from joining. I swear by Allah because I see the reactions of the public," al-Saud said.

Jordanian officials have repeatedly warned Israel against unilateral annexation, insisting that peace will only be achieved when the Palestinians are given their own state. In mid-May, Jordan's King Abdullah II told Der Spiegel "If Israel really annexed the West Bank in July, it would lead to a massive conflict with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan."

Foreign minister Ayman Safadi has also warned of conflict between Jordan and Israel if the annexation, slated for July 1 at the earliest, goes ahead. Addressing a June 2 Liaison Committee meeting, he said: “The message should be clear. Annexation will not go unanswered. For if it does, there will only be fiercer conflict. Annexation will make the two-state solution an impossibility."
Belgian parliament calls for sanctions against Israel if annexation goes ahead
The Belgian parliament on Friday morning passed with an overwhelming majority a resolution urging the government to act to prevent Israel from unilaterally annexing parts of the West Bank and to actively advocate for European-wide punitive measures against Jerusalem if it proceeds with its controversial plan.

The Chamber of Representatives in Brussels was originally also scheduled to discuss and vote on a motion calling for the recognition of a Palestinian state, but this was postponed due to last-minutes amendments.

The resolution “concerning Israel’s annexation of occupied territories in Palestine,” proposed by three politicians from the Greens, passed with 101 ‘yes’ votes and 39 abstentions. No one voted against.

The motion urges the government of Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès “to take the initiative with third countries, at European and multilateral levels, to prevent the annexation [by] Israel of the Palestinian territories, or parts of them.”

The resolution further calls on Brussels to play a leading role in formulating a “list of efficient counter-measures geared at responding in a proportional manner to any Israeli annexation of occupied Palestinian territory.”

The European Union and many of its member states vehemently oppose Israel’s declared goal to annex up to 30 percent of the West Bank as early as July 1, but have not yet formulated any punitive measures against Jerusalem if it were to implement its plan. The EU requires consensus among all 27 member states to apply significant sanctions on Israel, but some countries such as Hungary and Austria are widely expected to veto any harsh measures against the Jewish state.

Three people reported killed in ‘major incident’ in Glasgow
A suspect shot by police during an incident Friday at a Glasgow hotel that appeared to be largely housing asylum-seekers and refugees has died and six other people, including a police officer, were in a hospital being treated for injuries, Scottish police said, with reports that three people were killed.

An officer, who appeared to have been stabbed during the incident at the Park Inn Hotel on West George Street around 1 p.m., was in “a critical but stable condition,” Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Steve Johnson said. He called on people to avoid the area.

Police in Scotland said the stabbings in Glasgow aren’t being treated as terrorism.

Speaking on the BBC, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she spoke with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson who expressed his concern and sympathies.

She said “It’s been a dreadful afternoon for the city of Glasgow.”

“Clearly there is already much speculation around this incident, which remains under investigation.

“I would urge everyone to avoid such speculation, to not share potentially harmful or upsetting material on social media and to follow police advice while investigations are underway,” Sturgeon said.
Ministers discharged from secret IDF unit that operates behind enemy lines
Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel (Derech Eretz) and Culture and Sports Minister Yehiel Tropper (Blue and White) were informed recently that they are prohibited from serving in their reserve unit in the IDF. The highly classified unit, which comprises soldiers from some of the IDF's most elite units, crosses enemy lines, representing too great a risk that an Israeli minister could fall into enemy hands.

Hendel, a lieutenant colonel, commands the unit. He began his army service in the naval commandos, Shayetet 13, and later served in additional security agencies following his military service.

Tropper served as an officer in the counter-terrorist unit Duvdevan.

"Reserve duty is a great privilege," said Hendel. "In my view, it is the essence of being Israeli. In uniform, there's no difference between right and left, religious or secular, rich or poor. I hope my request to continue serving in the reserves will be approved by the IDF."

The IDF Spokesperson's Unit said in a statement: "The head of the IDF Personnel Directorate [Maj. Gen. Moti Almoz] spoke with Minister Yoaz Hendel last week and informed him that … in light of his position as a government minister, he will not be summoned at this time to reserve duty. The minister expressed a desire to continue serving in any format that would allow him to continue to do so – and his request is being examined."

Human Rights Watch Official Pretends Palestinian Attacker is Innocent Victim
Earlier this week, Human Right Watch’s “Israel and Palestine Director,” Omar Shakir, gave his Twitter followers a shocking account of arbitrary and unprovoked Israeli violence. He wrote of Israeli forces having “gunned down” a young Palestinian for no apparent reason, declaring it an “outrage” that could be explained only by international indifference to Israeli “abuses.”

Already before his comments, media reports noted that the incident was alleged to be part of a car-ramming attack by the Palestinian, which injured a female Israeli border guard. Yet Shakir, the Human Rights Watch official responsible for the organization’s accounting of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, chose to leave this information out of his Twitter post.

When an Israeli police official on Twitter again described the incident as an attack, Shakir didn’t backtrack. Instead, having done no research, no fieldwork, no investigation, he endorsed the claim that the Israeli official was a liar, and that the Palestinian man, Ahmed Erakat, was killed while merely “on his way to pick up his sister from the salon for her wedding.”

It wasn’t long after Shakir sent out his inflammatory allegations that video of the incident emerged. It shows the Palestinian attacker maneuvering his car before sharply accelerating and swerving into Israeli troops manning a checkpoint. The female soldier is hurled through the air. The attacker leaps from his car and is immediately shot.
Sky News Headline Skews Facts About Attempted Car Ramming
On Wednesday, a Palestinian Arab driver drove into soldiers at an Israeli checkpoint tower near Jerusalem. In response, Israeli Border Police on the scene opened fire and killed the driver.

Palestinian officials charged Israel with cold-blooded murder. According to them, the suspect, a nephew of senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat, was simply rushing to pick up his sister and mother ahead of a family wedding later Tuesday evening.

However, security footage released by the Border Police, showing the vehicle turning sharply and speeding up abruptly when close to the soldiers, leaves little doubt as to the nature of the incident.

From the headline, you wouldn’t have known that Israeli soldiers were the target of a terrorist attack. Instead, Sky News buries that lead. Readers are told only that the border guards opened fire on and killed a relative of a top PLO official, with no justification mentioned.

In the much less noticeable sub-headline, lip service is paid to the Border Police’s version of events. “Police say” the suspect drove at officers. This is followed up with the family’s take on the events. Presented this way, both versions are equally likely. Also, note that while words like ‘relative’, ‘family’, and ‘accident’ humanize the deceased, words such as ‘car ramming’, ‘attack’, and ‘terrorist’ are nowhere to be seen.

This is much more than a mere matter of semantics. People tend to scan headlines first and only read the articles that catch their eye. But if all that people know about this incident comes from this headline what conclusions will they draw?
Tlaib Retweets Rutgers Prof Alleging Israeli Police Killed Driver in Alleged Palestinian Car-Ramming Attack
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) retweeted a Rutgers University assistant professor who alleged that Israeli Border Police unjustifiably killed a Palestinian driver in what appeared to be a car-ramming attack.

On June 23, a car rammed into a tower at the Abu Dis checkpoint in the West Bank. Israeli soldiers then shot the driver, identified as Ahmad Erekat, 28, after he exited the car. A female Israeli soldier, identified as Shani Orr Hami Kadosh, was injured in the attack, but her injuries weren’t considered serious.

Rutgers University assistant professor Noura Erakat tweeted that Erekat was her younger cousin, and that the driver was simply in a rush to pick up his sister for her wedding later that day. She also alleged that after her cousin was shot, Israeli soldiers let him bleed to death rather than give him medical attention.

Tlaib retweeted the aforementioned tweets from Noura Erakat, as well as a tweet from Jewish Voice for Peace stating, “We send our love to the Erakat family for the tragic murder of their son at the hands of the Israeli police. We hope that justice is served for him and all Palestinians.”

The driver was also a cousin of Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian Liberation Organization executive committee secretary-general. Saeb Erekat told the Israeli Kan public broadcasting station, “My cousin, the nephew of my wife, was executed, murdered in cold blood and [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu bears responsibility.”

The Israeli Border Police disputed the Erekat family’s depiction of the incident.

“[Erekat] waited for a good moment, turned from the middle of the lane to the side to get a better angle to hurt the officer and then accelerated, turning his car 90 degrees, and lunged wildly at the officers,” the police said in a statement.

FDD: Tawhid al Jihad urges militant operations against Israel
Against the backdrop of possible annexation of certain areas of the West Bank and President Trump’s Deal of the Century, Tawhid al Jihad released a publication promoting jihadist operations to prevent the implementation of those plans by Israel and the United States.

The video, titled “Rouse the Believers,” is the first major publication by the jihadist group this year. The group emphasized a conspiracy by “Jews and Christians” against the Palestinian cause.

The publication began by the group denouncing Trump’s Middle East peace plan and the United States’ 2017 decision that recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

“We have all heard the lying and falsehood of the Jews and American usurpers of our lands and our Aqsa by announcing Trump’s peace plan. Their talking is falsehood, and our doing is the truth,” the narrator stated.

Furthermore, behind the imagery of Tawhid al Jihad fighters training at a military camp in Gaza, the narrator urged followers to unite against Jews and Christians for the cause of jihad.

“Our nation! Our youth! Be careful! Obey your Lord! Unite your work! Sincerely intend to obey Allah! Be a strong barrier against aspirations of Jews and Christians and their followers. Be defenders of Islam! The Islamic Jihad is lasting forever in our nation,” the group stated.

Additionally, the group implied it would launch jihadist operations by showing recordings of various terrorist attacks against Israelis throughout the publication.

“May the matter of the Islamic nation rise by raising the matter of its Holy Quran, and by taking Jihad for the sake of Allah as a way to restore its stolen rights, as our predecessors were doing. We hate death, but we are ready to set fires for the sake of Allah,” the narrator stated as video of attacks were played.

Head of Bedouin Tribes in Iraq and Syria Calls for Strategic Alliance with Israel
A virtual meeting was held this week with Sheikh Ali al-Obeidi, the head of the Bedouin tribes in Iraq and Syria, and the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Al-Obeidi had written to Jerusalem Center President Dore Gold, saying, "We want to join our hands with yours in order to create for our people and upcoming generations a future where we will live in peace and love as allies." He said that he wants to reach a strategic alliance with Israel and hopes to reach a peace agreement between Iraq, Syria, and Israel and establish full political and economic relations.

The sheikh stated that his goal, together with Israel, is to expel Iranians from Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq. He added, "We are ready to go to Jerusalem to visit you and make a new history for the Middle East."

Amb. Gold said this is an important step to another and different dialogue in the Middle East, a dialogue that can bring about a change in the world and Israel, and it is important to foster it. Gold said it was important to note that neither the current debate over Israeli application of sovereignty nor the Palestinian issue arose during the conversation.
Israeli Strikes in Syria Are Message to Assad and Tehran
The Syrian regime and its military know full well who carried out the airstrikes on their territory on Sunday and Tuesday nights. The Syrians say that Israeli planes attacked four different locations, and cellphone footage shows large explosions, typical of a weapons storage facility being hit.

The Iranians are bringing technology for missile development to Syria in order to assemble precision missiles there. Their inventory is scattered across many storage facilities to hide it from Israeli intelligence. These sites were often guarded by Shi'ite soldiers, directed and funded by Iran.

The alleged Israeli attacks this week were also conducted to convey a message to the Syrian regime: As long as you protect the Iranians, you will continue to pay a high price even though Israel has no interest to directly confront the Syrian regime at the moment. Israel's message to the Iranian regime is: We will not allow you to entrench in Syria, you will pay with money and blood, and we will disrupt your precision missile project as much as we can.
Israeli strike in Syria said to hit onion factory used by Iran to store weapons
Airstrikes in Syria Tuesday that were attributed to Israel struck an onion-processing plant and a cattle feed factory converted by Iranian forces into ammunition warehouses, a Syrian watchdog group said Friday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said one strike targeted the onion factory in Salamiyah, near Hama in western Syria.

It said though the plant is operational, part of it had been taken over by Iranian forces and converted into a weapons warehouse. The report further said the strike caused numerous secondary explosions that lasted for several hours, and that fragments from these explosions went on to wound local residents.

The Observatory said a second strike targeted the feed plant in Aqrab, also in the Hama region, which was being used by Iranian forces to conceal weapon storage facilities.

The strikes allegedly carried out by Israel targeted several regions in Syria and killed at least seven people, including two Syrian soldiers and five pro-Iranian militia members, state news agency SANA and the Britain-based Observatory said.
10 killed in strikes by unidentified aircraft in central Syria - report
Just two days after alleged Israeli airstrikes targeted a number of sites around Syria, 10 pro-Iranian militants were killed in airstrikes by unidentified aircraft in central Syria on Thursday night, according to the local Ayn Al-Furat news source.

The airstrikes targeted two sites between Palmyra and As-Sukhna in the Homs Governorate in central Syria. The first site had been used as a fuel station for the Assad regime and is currently used by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). Heavy weaponry and about 40 militants are stationed at the site. The second site is used as an operations room for the IRGC and weapons are stored there as well.

One of those killed in the strikes was an Iraqi leader named Abu Al-Hassan, according to the report. Afghan militants were also among those killed in the strikes.

Also on Thursday night, two members of the Iraqi Hezbollah militia were killed and a number of others were wounded after unidentified aircraft targeted a site belonging to the militia near Sabikhan in the Deir Ezzor region of eastern Syria, according to the Shahed news agency.

The dead and wounded were transferred back to Iraq and the site was evacuated, according to the report.
Netanyahu: Israel Must Defend Itself Against Iranian Aggression
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the graduates of the Israel Air Force pilots' course on Thursday: "Three main challenges are before us, and we are taking action without respite against them: First, we are taking constant action against the efforts of Iran and its proxies to entrench militarily in Syria. The Iranian military must leave Syria."

"Second, we are taking action against the efforts of our enemies to develop precision missiles in Syria, Lebanon and other areas. Third, and most importantly, we will not allow Iran to attain nuclear weapons. I must tell you that Iran is continuing to lie to the international community in its effort to achieve a bomb."

"We regard with utmost seriousness the threats of destruction against Israel by Iranian and pro-Iranian elements....Our struggle against Iranian aggression in the region is designed - first and foremost - to defend ourselves, to defend the State of Israel. However, this struggle, this effort, serves the interest of stability in the entire region."

"The stronger and more powerful we are, the more we deter our enemies and draw our friends closer. This mission, to translate Israel's strength into deterrence of our enemies and action against them if need be, is - from this moment - placed on your shoulders as well."
Clifford May: Iran's rulers still seek nuclear weapons
President Obama had faith that Iran's rulers, once in receipt of his respect and US taxpayer cash, would decide they'd rather lead a nation than champion a cause (to borrow one of Henry Kissinger's concepts). That would mean they'd focus on alleviating poverty at home, while ending the pursuit of regional hegemony (in the near-term) and "Death to America!" (in the long-term).

Similarly, both Bill Clinton and Donald Trump bet that visions of détente and economic benefits would mellow the dynastic Kim dictatorship in North Korea. In truth, the despots in Pyongyang have always taken whatever goodies were offered, while never contemplating serious concessions in return.

And, of course, for nearly half a century we've labored under the delusion that China's Communist rulers were evolving into responsible stakeholders in the "liberal, rules-based, international order." To that end, we provided them a seat on the UN Security Council, brought them into the World Trade Organization, and elaborately intertwined their economy with ours.

To demonstrate their gratitude, they've been stealing our intellectual property, accelerating military buildups, aggressing against their neighbors, and brutally oppressing their subject peoples – China's ethnic and religious minorities especially.

The hard reality that should now be apparent is that America's adversaries are fanatical ideologues, not material girls (to borrow one of Madonna's concepts).

In an election year, and at a time when Americans are deeply divided on a range of issues, fresh strategic thinking is unlikely to be formulated, much less implemented. The best we can expect – and this will be challenging enough – are policies that limit the resources available to those most hostile to us, frustrate their ambitions, and perhaps persuade them that, should they do us harm, they will pay a steep price.
Iran Explosion in Area With Sensitive Military Site Said to Be Caused by Tank Leak
An explosion at an Iranian gas storage facility close to a sensitive military site near the capital Tehran was caused by a tank leak, a Defense Ministry spokesman told state TV on Friday.

The explosion took place in the “public area” of Parchin, said the spokesman, Davoud Abdi, as opposed to the military site, where Western security services believe Tehran carried out tests relevant to nuclear bomb detonations more than a decade ago.

Abdi said the fire was brought under control and there were no casualties because the incident happened in a hilly non-residential area.

Videos and pictures posted on social media that were picked up by local news outlets showed an explosion with a bright orange flash, followed by a large plume of smoke.

TV Host Hala Samir on Muslim Brotherhood TV: Homosexuals Should Be Killed – Burned Alive
Egyptian TV host Hala Samir said in a June 16, 2020 monologue on her show on Watan TV (Turkey-Based Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood) that the Prophet Muhammad had said that if two men are found carrying out a homosexual act, both the “active” partner and the “passive” partner should be killed. She explained that Muhammad’s companions had disagreed only with regard to the method of killing the homosexuals and she elaborated that some of these methods include burning them alive, throwing them off a high place, and stoning them. In addition, Samir said that lesbianism is also prohibited by Islamic law. She added: “Some of them say: ‘I am not homosexual, I’m gay’ [because] they want it to sound nice. No! You are a homosexual, a sodomite, and a lesbian."

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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 18 years and 38,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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