Wednesday, August 26, 2020

From Ian:

Israeli Shai Ohayon stabbed to death by Palestinian in suspected terror attack
A Palestinian man stabbed an Israeli man to death outside the Tel Aviv suburb of Petah Tikva in a suspected terror attack on Wednesday afternoon, police said.

Police said the suspect was arrested near the scene shortly after the attack at the Segula Junction.

“The results of the investigation raise the suspicion of a nationalistic motive,” police said.

The victim, who suffered multiple stab wounds, was identified as Rabbi Shai Ohayon, a father of four and, according to Ultra-Orthodox news outlet, a member of Petah Tikva’s Haredi community, who studied full time at a religious institution known as a kollel in the nearby town of Kfar Saba. Police said he was 39 years old.

The suspect — identified by Israeli authorities as Khalil Abd al-Khaliq Dweikat, 46, from the northern West Bank — was in Israel with a legal work permit, according to the Shin Bet security service.

Dweikat, a father of six from the Nablus area, had no history of terrorist activities, the Shin Bet said.

Upon his arrest, officers searched the suspect and found a blood-stained knife that was apparently used in the attack, police said.

The police handed over Dweikat to the Shin Bet for interrogation. The security service said it was looking into the possibility that he had a history of mental illness, but that it was “too soon to tell” if that could explain the attack.

The victim sustained multiple, fatal stab wounds to his upper body, doctors said.

Netanyahu vows to raze Palestinian suspect’s home after fatal attack
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Wednesday evening to demolish the home of a Palestinian who stabbed an Israeli man to death earlier in the day in an apparent terror attack.

The prime minister also sent condolences to the family of Rabbi Shai Ohayon, who was killed in the stabbing attack in the Tel Aviv suburb of Petah Tikva.

“My wife Sara and I embrace the family, the wife and four children who were left today without a father. We will work to demolish the home of the terrorist and seek the most severe punishment,” Netanyahu tweeted.

Ohayon, according to Ultra-Orthodox news outlets, was a member of Petah Tikva’s Haredi community and studied full time at a religious institution known as a kollel in the nearby town of Kfar Saba. Police said he was 39 years old.

Moments before the attack, Netanyahu had tweeted an article celebrating the first time in 56 years that no Israelis had been killed in a terror attack in over 365 days.

“First and foremost, I’m here to protect your lives. We will continue to bring security and from it also bring peace,” the prime minister, who has regularly pushed to demolish the homes of the perpetrators of terror attacks, wrote in his tweet.
Israeli Man Stabbed to Death by Palestinian in Central Israel




David Singer: Saudi Arabian attempts to derail Trump’s peace plans
Al-Faisal’s comments endorsed those made by Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan a few days earlier when confirming Saudi Arabia remained committed to Abdullah’s 2002 Arab Peace Initiative.

“Saudi Arabia affirms its commitment to peace as a strategic option based on the Arab Peace Initiatives”

The 2002 Arab Peace Initiative is poles apart and irreconcilable with Trump’s 2020 Plan calling for Israeli sovereignty in 30% of Judea and Samaria and a Palestinian State in Gaza and possibly the remaining 70% of Judea and Samaria.

There is no prospect for ending the Arab-Jewish conflict based on the Arab Peace Initiative – as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made very clear.

The 100 years old Jewish-Arab conflict could be possibly ended if the Arab League gets behind Trump’s Plan and the Palestine Liberation Organization announced its readiness to negotiate with Israel on that Plan.

The Arab League however made its position clear in a statement issued by Foreign Ministers of its member states on 1 February 2020 that it:

“rejects the US-Israeli ‘deal of the century’ considering that it does not meet the minimum rights and aspirations of Palestinian people” whilst vowing “not to ... cooperate with the US administration to implement this plan.”

The PLO was equally as adamant as PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas exploded:

"After the nonsense that we heard today, we say a thousand noes to the 'Deal of The Century'"

Trump has seemingly been misled in believing Sudan and Saudi Arabia would quickly replicate the UAE-Israel deal.

Their failure to do so could soon see Trump giving Israel his permission to immediately restore sovereignty in that part of the biblical heartland of the Jewish People detailed in Trump’s plan.

Another opportunity to end the long-running conflict will have gone begging due to Arab intransigence.

The Tikvah Podcast: Jared Kushner on His Approach to Middle East Diplomacy
Though substantial progress is rarely made, peace in the Middle East is the holy grail of every American presidential administration and the subject of endless analysis and discussion. The amount of time and effort that government officials, foreign-policy experts, and diplomats have put into solving the conflict between Israel and her Arab neighbors is probably incalculable. But this month, the United States managed to help them achieve a breakthrough, brokering what’s being called the Abraham Accord between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

The path to this accord was not conventional. One of the key administration officials who led this effort, Jared Kushner, drew on his experience in the private sector to reevaluate the interests and alliances of the region. Until five years ago, Kushner had little political experience, but his team achieved something that has confounded peace-process professionals for decades.

In this podcast, Kushner joins Mosaic’s Jonathan Silver for a conversation about how the deal came to be, how he thinks about America’s role in the Middle East, and the administration’s approach to diplomacy in the region. Covering everything from the relationship between the Gulf states and the Jewish state to China’s growing role in the Middle East to the president’s unconventional approach, this conversation offers a rare look behind the scenes of American diplomacy in the Trump era.
UAE-Israel deal exposes true face of Palestinian Authority
The Arab countries in the Persian Gulf have also now seen the true face of the Palestinian Authority. After they invested heavily in the Palestinian cause, they have watched the PA support Iran and Qatar against their strategic interests.

Nevertheless, the leaders of the Arab countries in the Persian Gulf have not betrayed the Palestinian people. On the contrary, the United Arab Emirates secured from Israel the concession of the Jewish state halting the application of Israeli sovereignty over 30% of Judea and Samaria. However, this did not stop the Palestinian Authority from attacking the UAE, even before they had a chance to examine the details of the agreement.

The Palestinian response was reckless and hasty, which greatly damaged how the international community views them. It would have been more prudent for PA President Mahmoud Abbas or one of his ministers to travel to Abu Dhabi in order to clarify matters, before slandering the UAE in front of the entire Arab world and the international community.

Nevertheless, PA policy has always been guided based upon hatred, not based upon logic and reason. For this reason, they opposed the UAE-Israel peace agreement before reading it, just as they opposed the Deal of the Century before Trump even issued it to the public.
‘We are not defeated’: PA leaders say they won’t bend in face of mounting crises
In three decades of failed peace efforts, the Palestinians have never faced a more unsympathetic US administration, a more self-assured Israel or a more ambivalent international community.

But even as their hopes for statehood have never seemed so dim, there’s no indication their aging leadership will change course.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas remains committed to the same strategy he has pursued for decades — seeking international support to pressure Israel to agree to a Palestinian state in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, lands Israel seized from Jordan and Egypt in the 1967 Six Day War.

That quest seems even more quixotic after the United Arab Emirates’ decision to establish diplomatic relations with Israel, which shattered the Arab consensus behind land for peace, a rare source of leverage for the Palestinians. The PA has castigated the deal as “despicable” and as a “betrayal” of their cause by the UAE. For its part, the UAE says it compelled Israel to call off planned partial West Bank annexation plans as part of the normalization deal, and that this gives Israel and the Palestinians a new opportunity to negotiate.

Other Arab nations are expected to follow the Emirates’ lead, lending support to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s contention that Israel can make peace with its Arab neighbors without any concessions to the Palestinians.
Backing Arab Peace Initiative, Bahrain appears to reject US push for Israel ties
Bahrain, in talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, said Wednesday that it was committed to the creation of a Palestinian state, implicitly rejecting his push for Arab countries to swiftly normalize ties with Israel.

Pompeo was in Manama as part of a Middle East trip aimed at building more relationships between the Jewish state and the Arab world following a landmark US-brokered deal with the United Arab Emirates.

Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa said he told Pompeo that his country remains committed to the Arab Peace Initiative, which calls for Israel’s complete withdrawal from the territories captured in 1967 in exchange for peace and the full normalization of relations.

“The king stressed the importance of intensifying efforts to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict according to the two-state solution… to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital,” the official Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported.

The US chief diplomat has said he is hopeful other nations will follow the UAE, which earlier this month became only the third Arab country to agree to normalize relations with the Jewish state.
Jordan, Egypt, Iraq summit stresses coordination, Palestinian issues
Regional coordination and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict were the central topics at a trilateral summit between Jordan, Egypt and Iraq on Tuesday.

Jordan's King Abdullah II, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi "reaffirmed the centrality of the Palestinian cause," at the summit, stressing that the conflict must be resolved according to international law, UN resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative.

The three added that Israel must stop efforts to annex territory and any measures that "undermine prospects to achieve just peace, or seek to alter the historical and legal status quo in Jerusalem and its Islamic and Christian holy sites."

Kadhimi added that Iraq's vision for the Palestinians is based on avoiding conflict and developing joint economic zones with Jordan and Egypt to enhance economic cooperation and integration.

The summit stressed Jordan's "important role" in safeguarding Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, according to Petra news.
Israel's "Settlers" Are Beneficiaries of the Israel-UAE Accord
Fortunately, the settlers are behaving vociferously as if they were the biggest losers: this behavior is exactly what the UAE needs in order to sell the accord with Israel in the Arab world.

Opposition to the settlement project comes down to two alleged reasons: first, that the project was illegal under international law; second, that it is an obstacle to peace. Now note that the agreement between Israel and the UAE has refuted the second reason. Then, finally, ask: Which of the two reasons was more important?

The major persistent objection to the settlements is not niceties of international law but the claim that they are an obstacle to peace. Take that claim away and the settlers can look forward to a prosperous future, albeit without the fulfillment of the wilder dreams of some.
Pompeo dives into GOP confab from Jerusalem, defying precedent and possibly law
Casting aside his own advice to American diplomats and bulldozing a long tradition of secretary of state non-partisanship, Mike Pompeo plunged into the heart of the US 2020 presidential race Tuesday with a speech from Jerusalem supporting Donald Trump’s reelection.

The address was roundly condemned by Democrats and others as an inappropriate breach of decades of diplomatic precedent and a possible violation of federal law prohibiting executive branch employees from overt political activism while on duty. Indeed, Pompeo himself had reminded State Department staffers of those restrictions only last month. Yet he went ahead with the speech, which was recorded in Jerusalem during an official visit to the Middle East, over strident objections, complaints of hypocrisy and the threat of a congressional investigation.

Although the State Department maintained Pompeo was speaking in his personal capacity without any US government support or staffing — therefore, legally — the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee identified him a “secretary of state” in previews of his convention remarks.

But while the venue and audience were extraordinary and perhaps problematic, the content of Pompeo’s roughly four-minute speech would not have been out of place in any number of his previous public appearances either at home or abroad.

Pompeo delivered standard recitations of GOP claims about the successes of Trump’s “America First” foreign policy against Russia, China and Iran. He said they made his family — wife Susan and son Nick — and all Americans safer. He spoke of the defeat of the Islamic State’s physical caliphate, Trump’s pro-Israel agenda and the president’s determined vigilance to guard against the “predatory aggression” of the Chinese Communist Party.




Pompeo travels to UAE in effort to build on peace momentum
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a short visit to the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday as part of a Middle East tour following a US-brokered deal to normalize relations between Israel and the UAE.

Pompeo and UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan spoke about support for "de-escalation and a lasting ceasefire in Libya, Gulf unity and countering Iran's malign influence in the region," the state department said.

"Excited to arrive in the United Arab Emirates and congratulate the Emirati people on the historic Abraham Accords – the most significant step toward peace in the Middle East in over 25 years. Hopeful we will  build on this momentum towards regional peace," Pompeo said on Twitter.

The United States, UAE, and Israel see Iran as the main threat to the Middle East, though the UAE has said forging diplomatic ties with Israel was not directed at Tehran.

The UAE, along with Russia and Egypt, supports the eastern-based Libyan National Army of Khalifa Haftar which is fighting Libya's internationally recognized government for control of the war-torn North African state.

Pompeo visited Jerusalem, Sudan, and Bahrain before traveling to the UAE. He then took off back to Bahrain.




Palestinian doctor among two remanded in Belfast over terror charges
A man accused of directing New IRA activities allegedly held meetings with a Palestinian doctor about developing a relationship with foreign governments "hostile to the UK", a court heard today.

Police claimed David Jordan, 49, had discussions with co-accused Issam Hijjawi Bassalat, 62, in a bid to secure assistance.

Details emerged as the pair were remanded into custody accused of offences linked to a major investigation into the dissident republican organisation.

A total of 10 people have now been charged as part of Operation Arbacia, a surveillance-led offensive targeting the terrorist grouping's activities.

The probe involved bugging two suspected meetings at properties in Co Tyrone earlier this year.

Jordan, of Cappagh Road in Dungannon, is accused of directing terrorism, belonging to a proscribed organisation and two counts of preparatory acts of terrorism.
Fugitive Wanted for Brutal Antisemitic Attack on French Jewish Couple in 2014 Arrested in Algeria
A fugitive who was sentenced to 16 years imprisonment by a French court for his role in a chilling antisemitic attack on a young Jewish couple in Paris in 2014 was arrested in Algeria last month, according to French intelligence sources.

The man — 24-year-old Houssame Hatri, a French-Algerian dual national — was brought into custody by Algerian police in the northwestern city of Maghnia on July 23.

Hatri had escaped from France before his sentence was pronounced in July 2018, following a trial in which the harrowing details of the attack on the home of a Jewish couple in the Crรฉteil district of Paris were laid out before the court.

Hatri’s two cohorts in the attack, Abdou Salam Koita and Ladje Haidara, were sentenced to eight and 13 years in prison respectively.

According to French news agency reports on Wednesday morning, Hatri was tracked down in Algeria in January of this year by agents of the BNRF, the French security agency responsible for hunting fugitives.

The BNRF is understood to have monitored Hatri’s phone calls and online communications with friends and associates in France. The Algerian police were reported to have been tailing Hatri for four months prior to his July arrest.
Israeli aircraft strike Hezbollah posts after shots fired at troops
Israeli aircraft bombed several Hezbollah observation posts along Israel’s northern border early Wednesday after shots were fired from Lebanon toward Israel Defense Force soldiers, the army said.

The bombing appeared to be the first Israeli airstrike on Hezbollah targets inside Lebanon since 2006, amid escalating tensions along the restive frontier.

The announcement from the IDF came several hours after it reported a “security incident” along the Lebanese border on Tuesday night and ordered residents of surrounding area to shelter in their homes.

Residents were told following the reprisal raid Wednesday morning that they could leave their homes and resume routine activities as authorities lifted security restrictions.

“Regarding the security incident that took place last night at 10:40 p.m. in the area of [the Manara community], during operational activity, IDF troops were fired upon from Lebanese territory,” the army said in a statement.
After Lebanon border fire, Israel threatens ‘forceful response’ to any attack
Israeli leaders threatened a forceful retaliation Wednesday to any further attacks along the Lebanese border after the military said the Hezbollah terror group fired shots at Israeli troops operating along the frontier the night before.

No soldiers were injured in the attack. The Israel Defense Forces retaliated with airstrikes on Hezbollah observation posts along the border — the first such bombings since the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

“We will not allow [Hezbollah leader Hassan] Nasrallah to harm our soldiers or our country. We will respond forcefully to any incidents on our border,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz said, speaking to new recruits at the military’s induction center.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu similarly threatened harsh retaliation against further attacks by Hezbollah.

“Israel views the gunfire against our troops by Hezbollah with great severity. We will not tolerate any aggression against our citizens and will respond powerfully to any attack against us,” Netanyahu said.

“I recommend to Hezbollah not to test the strike force of Israel. Hezbollah is again putting Lebanon at risk because of its aggressiveness,” he said.
Netanyahu: Hezbollah shouldn’t test us
Israel will have a powerful response to any attack, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Wednesday, the morning after Hezbollah terrorists shot at Israeli soldiers near the border with Lebanon.

“Israel takes the shooting at our forces by Hezbollah very seriously,” Netanyahu said. “We will not tolerate any aggression against our citizens.”

Netanyahu warned that Hezbollah’s aggression is endangering Lebanon, saying: “I suggest Hezbollah doesn’t test Israel’s crushing force.”
The prime minister met with Defense Minister Benny Gantz, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi and other senior officials overnight.


'Light Blade' laser system intercepts nearly 100% of Hamas balloons in its sector
It took only 10 days for the two members of Israel's Border Police who are the only personnel manning the new "Lahav Or" (Light Blade) laser system deployed on the border of the Gaza Strip to shoot down a record number of explosives-laden balloons released toward Israel by Hamas operatives.

The blades of light have intercepted 150 arson balloons. The system's sensors identity targets, follow their motion, and shoot a focused laser at them until the balloons explode without having reached Israeli airspace.

Israel's only Light Blade system to date covers only a small part of the Gaza Strip, and while it's interception rate stands at close to 100%, Palestinians in other parts of Gaza continue to send balloons carrying explosives, Molotov cocktails, and sometimes grenades over the border fence. The prevailing wind carries them into the western Negev.

IDF soldiers deployed near the border intercept some of the balloons, but most land, causing wildfires – sometimes, several dozen in a single day. The fires have burned tens of thousands of acres of open land, nature reserves, parks, and fields.

The Light Blade system, developed by the Israeli firm OptiDefense, the Israel Police, and the Defense Ministry, was first used this past February and scored dozens of interceptions.

Border Police Sgt. Maj. Meni Shalom, one of the Light Blade operators, said that "every interception is a relief."
IDF Launches Airstrikes on Hamas in Response to Gazan Arson Balloons and Projectiles






JPost Editorial: The time has come for Western allies to stand up to Turkey
Turkey is increasingly becoming a challenge to Israel, according to intelligence assessments. This paints a disturbing picture of a NATO member that is working more closely with enemies of the West while at the same time becoming more aggressive.

Once an Israeli ally, Turkey today is one of the most anti-Israel countries in the Middle East. It gives a red carpet to the highest level Hamas terrorists, hosts Hamas members wanted by the United States, challenges Israeli allies at sea and compares Israel to Nazi Germany, while using state-controlled media to bash the Jewish state at every opportunity.

Turkey led some of the most virulent opposition to the recent Israel-UAE agreement and threatened to recall its ambassador to Abu Dhabi in response.

It is time that Western allies stand up to Turkey. Washington must send a message that hosting wanted Hamas members is not acceptable. Israel should work more closely with France, Greece, Cyprus, Egypt, the UAE and others to condemn Ankara’s increasingly aggressive and erratic behavior.

The current posture of Turkey is entirely tied to the rise of its leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Once seen as receptive to Israeli concerns – even being keen on playing a role in an Israeli-Syria peace process – Turkey under Erdogan has been rapidly transformed into a country that not only hosts extremists but has also worked with Iran and is viscerally hostile to Jerusalem.

Consider, for instance, that Turkey led the charge against the US recognition of Jerusalem and America’s moving of its embassy there. Ankara not only hosted meetings of Islamic countries but also attempts to make Jerusalem an Islamic cause. This is a throwback to the last century’s politics of religion and nationalist extremism merged into one.
Turkey gave Hamas members passports, Israeli official confirms
Turkey has given passports to a dozen Hamas members in Istanbul, a senior Israeli diplomat said on Wednesday, describing the move as "a very unfriendly step" which his government would raise with Turkish officials.

Speaking days after Turkey's president met visiting Hamas leaders, charge d'affaires Roey Gilad said Israel had already told Turkey last year that Hamas was carrying out "terror-related activity" in Istanbul, but Turkey had not taken action.

The two countries have had a bitter falling out in recent years, despite strong commercial ties, expelling ambassadors in 2018. President Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly condemned Israel's West Bank occupation and treatment of Palestinians.

Gilad said Israel had proof that Turkey was providing passports and identity cards to members of Hamas, which runs Gaza and is considered a terrorist organization by the United States, Israel and European Union.

"Some are in the process, some already got (the documents), but we are talking about around a dozen," he said.
Saga of Turkey’s Mediterranean saber-rattling continues
Turkey continues to push a crisis in the Mediterranean a day after the US slammed Turkey for hosting Hamas. Ankara is now making more threatening comments against Greece and has raised eyebrows across Europe and the US as it pushes claims to a sea link between Turkey and Libya that would cut off Greece from Cyrpus and violate a Greek-Egypt deal and also harm an Israel-Greece-Cyprus pipeline deal. A Turkish naval flotilla under the guise of a research mission continues to stoke tensions as the US and French send warships.

It is difficult to keep track of Turkey’s agenda because every day brings new Ankara policies. For instance days ago Turkish media that is pro-government indicated that the Turkish naval flotilla stalking the Mediterranean off Greece would be coming home. Then the UAE sent F-16s to Crete to train with the Greeks and the US slammed Turkey for hosting the Hamas terror group.

Greece launched military exercises with France, Italy and Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean on Wednesday. The French sent Rafale jets and a frigate.

Florence Parly, France’s Defense Minister, said that Paris wants cooperation and does not want the sea becoming an area of instability. “It should not be a playground for the ambitions of some,” she said, in words aimed at Ankara. Al-Ain media in the Gulf is excited that France is joining the drills.

Turkey is riding a wave of extremist nationalism and religious intolerance being pushed by the ruling AK Party. The party recently turned two historic churches into mosques in Istanbul, and has increasingly held rallies by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in which the country threatens to “liberate” Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque from Israel and threatens Greece, the UAE, Egypt and other countries.
MEMRI: Lebanese Figures Demand That Hizbullah Arsenals Across The Country Be Dismantled
Since the blast at the port of Beirut, in which 177 people were killed and over 6,000 were injured, Lebanese figures have been expressing concern that one of Hizbullah's arsenals across the country, some of which are situated in residential neighborhoods, might explode in a similar manner. These figures, including local council members in the Mount Lebanon Governorate, as well as the leader of Lebanon's Christian community, Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi, demand that the state deal with these arsenals or even confiscate them before another disaster occurs.

This report reviews some of these calls.

Local Council Members Resign After Their Demand For Dismantling Hizbullah's Arsenals Is Ignored
On August 19, 2020, 11 of the 15 members of the town council of Ba'abda Al-Louaize, located in the Mount Lebanon Governorate, announced their collective resignation to protest against the disregard of their demand that Hizbullah's arsenals, which they said may be situated near their town, be addressed.

The previous week, on August 13, 2020, the members of the town council of Ba'abda Al-Louaize demanded in a letter to council head Antoine Elias Al-Helou that he appeal to the interior minister and to the military leadership and warn them of the possibility of an explosion in the area because Hizbullah may be storing its weapons and missiles there. The letter stated:

"Distinguished Ba'abda Al-Louaize council head Mr. Antoine Elias Al-Helou: The undersigned members of the council request that you appeal in writing to the minister of the interior and municipalities... and to the military leadership... to express the concerns of the council and of the area's residents in the matter of the likelihood of an explosion in the vicinity of Ba'abda, particularly near Saint Charles Hospital, as was stated two months ago by the prime minister of the Israeli enemy Benjamin Netanyahu at a public press conference."[1]

It added: "A verbal appeal will be ineffective and will have no impact if any explosion does take place, heaven forfend. It is necessary to deliver such a letter [to the minister and the military leadership] in order to absolve the council head and the council members of responsibility [for the explosion], to prevent damage, and to protect [the] lives and property [of the citizens] in the Ba'abda Al-Louaize area."[2]
Lebanon Must End its Poisonous Political Relationship with Hezbollah
Speaking shortly after the verdict was announced, Bahaa Hariri, the eldest son of the murdered prime minister, told me that the conclusion of the trial should result in Hezbollah's complete exclusion from Lebanese politics.

Mr Hariri's campaign for Lebanon to end the interference of Iran and Hezbollah in the country's political system will certainly be helped by the damning material that emerged from the trial about the organisation's links with Syria and Iran.

The man convicted of Mr Hariri's murder, therefore, is no ordinary Hezbollah commander, but someone who operates at the organisation's highest levels, a fact that should help enormously in Lebanon's coming battle to rid itself of the malign influence that Hezbollah and its Iranian paymasters have exercised over the country's fortunes.
UN Security Council rejects US demand to ‘snap back’ Iran sanctions
The president of the UN Security Council on Tuesday rejected the Trump administration’s demand to restore all UN sanctions on Iran, a move that drew an angry rebuke from the US ambassador who accused opponents of supporting “terrorists.”

Indonesia’s ambassador to the UN, Dian Triansyah Djani, whose country currently holds the rotating council presidency, made the announcement in response to requests from Russia and China to disclose the results of his polling of the views of all countries on the 15-member council.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted last Thursday that the United States has the legal right to “snap back” UN sanctions, even though President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers that was endorsed by the UN Security Council.

All the council members, except the Dominican Republic, had informed the council president that the US administration’s action was illegal because Trump withdrew in 2018 from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.

Council president Djani told members at the end of a virtual meeting on the Mideast on Tuesday: “Having contacted the members and received letters from many member countries it is clear to me that there is one member which has a particular position on the issues, while there are significant numbers of members who have contesting views.”
Dr. Michael Oren on Trump's Withdrawal of Iran Nuclear Agreement and the UAE-Israel Accord


UN watchdog: Iran to allow access to 2 suspected nuke sites
Iran has agreed to allow inspectors in to two sites where the country is suspected of having stored or used undeclared nuclear material, the UN atomic watchdog agency said Wednesday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran was “voluntarily providing the IAEA with access to the two locations specified by the IAEA and facilitating the IAEA verification activities to resolve the issues.”

It said in a joint statement with Iran that the dates for the inspections had been agreed, but did not say when they would take place.

The inspections would resolve a months-long impasse between Iran and the IAEA, and the announcement came as the agency’s Director General Rafael Grossi was on his way home to Vienna after his first visit to Tehran since taking over the post in December.

Iran had been resisting providing access to the sites, which are thought to be from the early 2000s, before it signed the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, maintaining the IAEA had no legal basis to visit them.

The head of Iran’s nuclear agency, Ali Akbar Salehi, confirmed that Iran had agreed to the inspections, saying “this will bring the case to an end.”
Iranian Scholars Demand U.N. Investigate ‘Systemic Racism’ in the U.S.
Iranian state media reported on Tuesday that a “group of Iranian scholars” has written a letter to the United Nations demanding an investigation of “systemic racism” in the United States.

The brutal Iranian regime made an identical effort to take political advantage of the shooting of George Floyd in June.

“The murder and harassment of black Americans is not an exceptional case, rather it stems from a social racist mentality according to which a small group enjoys a very high status, but the rest are not entitled to lowest degree of civil rights,” the new Iranian letter to the United Nations read.

“In the course of the establishment of the new American system, history bears testimony to widespread genocides and deterritorialization as well as systematic social discrimination against the real owner of America. Those who were considered a kind of ‘others or aliens,’ included the native Americans, black Americans, and somehow the entire nonwhite community, who are the referents of the discriminated communities,” the letter said.

“Regretfully, the exceptionalist mentality of a small, but powerful and rich, American group is the source of widespread oppressions, sanctions, and historical falsifications as well as trampling upon human rights and evaluation of human values based on wealth, ethnicity, geographical situation, and religion,” it continued.

The signatories called on U.S. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to create a “Committee for Investigating the Widespread Social Discrimination in the United States” and “insightfully utilize the global capacity to help end social discrimination and basically the racist mentality, particularly discrimination against black Americans.”
Iran’s Coronavirus Death Toll Exceeds 21,000: Health Ministry
Iran’s death toll from the novel coronavirus rose by 119 to 21,020, the Health Ministry’s spokeswoman told state TV on Wednesday, with the total number of identified cases rising to 365,606.

Sima Sadat Lari said that 2,243 new cases were identified in the past 24 hours in Iran, rising from 2,213 a day earlier.

“Unfortunately we have been facing a surge in coronavirus infections in recent weeks. I urge everyone to avoid unnecessary trips,” Lari said.

Iran’s top health officials have appealed to Iranians to avoid traveling during the Shi’ite Muslim religious holiday of Ashura later this week to avoid the risk of a new surge of coronavirus infections.

Ashura is the 10th day of the lunar month of Muharram when, according to Islamic tradition, Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, was killed in battle in 680.
Qatari children taught Protocols of Zion, other antisemitic tropes as fact
Qatar's children are being taught to hate Jews and Israel, to identify with the Palestinian cause and to engage in violent jihad, a new review of the Qatari curriculum has found.

The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) examined 238 textbooks published within the calendar years 2016–20, used to teach grades 1-12, for its interim report: Understanding Qatari Ambition. The report, which found that Qatari education does not meet international standards, unveiled texts teaching children that Jews are evil and immoral, that they have manipulated world events including the First World War to their advantage, and that Zionism aims at achieving Jewish global dominance.

"World War I helped the Zionist movement to enroll all the [warring] parties to its side, and offered promises in return for the support of Jewish Capitalism to this or that party. The movement worked in all directions to achieve its goals, whoever might win the war," the text in a 2017 Grade 12 social studies textbook read.

An 11th grade social studies book from the same year taught: "Britain underwent a financial crisis during World War I, so the Jews exploited the situation, especially since they almost controlled the global economy, and through this they could stir the countries’ policies according to their own interests."

The antisemitism on display draws on a range of influences, from antisemitic tropes found within classical Islam, to modern-era European antisemitism. Thus, a 2017 textbook quoted the Protocols of the Elders of Zion - a long debunked antisemitic conspiracy theory - as fact; the text reads: "It says in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion: We must win the woman, in the day she reaches out to us, and we won the case. Therefore, the Jews succeeded in directing Western public opinion, when they took hold of the [Muslim] women through media and through money."



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Elder of Ziyon - ุญู€ูƒู€ูŠู€ู… ุตู€ู‡ู€ูŠู€ูˆู†



This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 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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