Monday, September 07, 2020

09/07 Links Pt1: The end of the Arab-Israeli conflict; Top Dubai police official: Abbas not arbiter of who can have ties with Israel

From Ian:

The end of the Arab-Israeli conflict
The only Arab Islamists presently engaged in the fight against Israel are those that derive patronage from actors outside the Arab world (primarily Iran) and operate in failed-state environments where that patronage can be readily converted into political and economic power. Hamas and Hezbollah are the most notable cases, but even they have carefully modulated their “resistance” to Israel to achieve other goals (e.g., overturning the decades-long political dominance of the Palestine Liberation Organization and controlling the Lebanese government, respectively). Outside of Iran’s patronage networks, even the most radical and violent Arab Islamist groups—notably Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS)—have largely ignored Israel in favor of other fish to fry.

Nevertheless, popular hostility to Israel in the Arab world is still strong enough that, all else being equal, few of its despotic rulers would be inclined to normalize relations with Israel were there not increasingly much to gain. For many Arab states, the strategic benefits of cooperation with Israel have vastly increased amid the rising threats posed by Iran and Turkey and American disengagement from the Middle East. The Obama administration’s accommodation of Iran’s nuclear ambitions and refusal to act forcefully against Iranian aggression in Syria led to widespread recognition that Arab regimes are on their own in confronting Iran’s bid for regional hegemony. For all of the Trump administration’s anti-Iranian bluster, its disengagement from Syria and weak response to Iranian provocations in the Persian Gulf last year left staunchly pro-American Arab governments in the lurch.

Under these circumstances, Israel’s growing military, economic and diplomatic strength, hands-on experience fighting Iranian proxies and zero possibility of disengaging from the region have made it an increasingly indispensable ally in combating Iran’s regional ambitions.

Far-reaching, multifaceted sub-rosa security cooperation between Arab leaders and Israel has been underway for years and was bound to eventually result in diplomatic normalization. As Gwynne Dyer explains, these hitherto furtive alignments with Israel become a “much more convincing deterrent” against Iran if Arab and Israeli leaders are “actually seen together in public occasionally.”

Now that the UAE has broken the Arab taboo against normalization with Israel, other Arab states will be inclined to do so in ways consistent with their interests. Some, like the UAE (which just reinforced its alignment against Turkey by deploying four F-16s to Crete), will become full-bore allies of Israel. A few, like Syria and Houthi-ruled Yemen, will remain openly hostile. Most will run the gamut between these extremes. As the remaining 19 Arab League member states reach various degrees of accommodation with Israel, at least some of world’s 12 non-Arab states that don’t recognize Israel (nine of them majority Muslim) will reassess their boycott of the Jewish state.

How the collapse of Arab solidarity against Israel will affect the pursuit of a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians is hotly debated. Insofar as fear of global isolation has fueled Israel’s willingness to compromise with the Palestinians, it’s not going to sweeten the pot. However, while Michael Oren’s claim that Israel will be more likely to make concessions if it is “secure in its newfound relations with the Arab world” is far-fetched, it’s not inconceivable that Israel’s “newfound” relations will increase the willingness of Palestinian leaders to accept the legitimacy of the Jewish state and drop their demand for the so-called “right of return”—the biggest stumbling block in past negotiations.

The most likely scenario, however, is that Palestinian leaders continue on the rejectionist path with support from the likes of Iran, Turkey and the militantly anti-Zionist global left. Anti-Semitism, Islamic supremacism and authoritarianism will continue to make the world a dangerous place for its lone Jewish state long after the end of the Arab-Israeli conflict ends with a whimper, but the danger will be more manageable.

Bahraini social media activist talks UAE deal, says Jews part of Middle East
Loay Alshareef, a social media activist and linguist from Bahrain, was interviewed by i24NEWS on Sunday, in which he discussed the recent Israel-UAE normalization deal, Israel and the Jewish people's role in the Middle East and the future of Arab-Israel ties.

Beyond praising the recent deal, Alshareef highlighted an important shift in perception among Middle East Arabs, particularly in the Gulf states, regarding perceptions toward Israel specifically and Jews in general. The activist noted that views among the populace of the UAE in regard to the agreement are rooted in stabilizing the Middle East, while adding that "now the awareness is becoming more clear to many people that the Jewish people are not foreign colonialists in the Land of Israel: They are part of this land, and they are part of our region.

He added that "the Jewish people belong here, they have nowhere else to go... so it's really becoming very obvious that the existence of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel is not only historical, but it's a fact – and we can do many things together for prosperity, security and peace for the region."

When asked about the Bahraini position and the UAE, Alshareef said that the latter has taken a principled position of encouraging a stable Middle East, in addition to noting that those who don't want a stable region are the ones opposed to an Arab-Israeli rapprochement.

In a clear reference to Iran, Alshareef said that "Israel is not a threat to its neighbors, but what is a threat to its neighbor is a country that writes in its constitution to export revolution, to exports its sect and to believe in what they believe in." He also noted that Judaism itself is not a proselytizing religion, something that not so many people know in the Arab world.
Saudi Gazette: Palestinian Politicians Have Sabotaged Negotiations to Keep the Aid Funds Flowing
It is regrettable to see the plight of Palestinian brothers whose politicians have traded their cause for more than 60 years. These politicians saw to that the issue remained alive and did not reach any settlement. They sabotaged negotiations and rejected all peace initiatives, whether those presented by the Israeli side or those by other international parties.

The Palestinian politicians did this at the expense of their cause and their people so as to gain from the situation, which has remained as is till date. The intransigent attitude that they pursued for decades was the only guarantee for their survival with donations pouring in and aid funds boosting their treasuries and accounts in the European banks from all sides, especially from the countries of the Arab and Islamic worlds.

Today, things have changed, and the peoples who used to sympathize with the Palestinian cause are fully aware of this game by people with vested interests. The Palestinian issue means the death of the issue in the minds of millions of people, because it is the inevitable result of six decades of lying, trickery and collection of money in the name of a crisis whose owners do not want it to be resolved.

A few days ago, the courageous Emirati step to normalize relations with Israel came and that delivered an explicit message to the Palestinian political leaders: “The time has come to confront between yourselves and those who are deceived by you... the time for playing and jumping the ropes as well as trafficking with the concerns of the Palestinian people is over.”

As for serving the interest of the Arab people in Gaza and the West Bank, it requires the intervention of rational Arabs to negotiate with the Israeli side and work to establish comprehensive peace in the region away from gangs who eye only political gain.

Israel-UAE normalization dawns new era in Mideast business cooperation
Israel and the United Arab Emirates are normalizing relations, with doors swinging open in ways scarcely imaginable just a few weeks ago. Israeli business will get official stable channels to operate inside the Emirati kingdom, and by extension, in the Gulf states. It’s a known secret there has been covert security cooperation and business channels bridging the countries, but now, these bridges are visible to the world. There has been ample coverage of the burgeoning air travel between the nations. In this particular relationship, however, the sky isn’t the limit – it’s only the beginning.

Private entities are already announcing new collaborations. The business opportunities bring with them tremendous hope, not only for what businesses can achieve, but for a more peaceful and prosperous region. Many of us still remember pictures of celebrations at kibbutzim 100 years ago because they had acquired a new animal breed. The developments now are even more momentous, and here are some significant examples that we ought to celebrate with due fanfare.

PR firms ReBlonde and White Water pave the way
ReBlonde, a leading global tech PR agency based in Israel, has already forged a partnership with the UAE’s White Water PR, opening each company to an entirely new pool of clients in similar fields, ranging from financial technology and blockchain to artificial intelligence and medical technology. In ReBlonde, UAE firms now have a channel through which to position themselves and gain visibility in the Startup Nation, and vice versa with Israeli companies in the UAE through White Water. Established 14 years ago, ReBlonde has worked with prominent tech companies such as Rakuten Viber, Microsoft, Spotify, and MERJ, the official stock exchange of the Republic of Seychelles.

A top PR firm based in Dubai, White Water works to promote similar tech clients globally. As soon Israel and the UAE’s warming relations became public, White Water began searching for an appropriate Israeli partner with the right connections to local and international media for a mutually beneficial relationship.
Israel, UAE eye joint environmental ventures
The peace deal signed in August between Israel and the United Arab Emirates stands to have an impact on more than just the political climate in the region, as Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi are contemplating a series of joint environmental ventures.

Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel revealed last week that Israel and the UAE are looking into joining forces in a variety of issues, such as alternative energy sourcing, protecting maritime life – especially in areas where offshore exploration for natural gas are taking place – protecting desert wildlife, and more.

Both countries are regional leaders with respect to desalination projects, so the two are also likely to hold joint studies on the environmental impact of these facilities. Other studies are likely to include the issue of creating artificial islands and the monitoring of the maritime ecosystem in a region dominated by the desert.

The highlight of these ventures, according to Gamliel, will be the establishment of DeserTech – an international innovation center focused on desert climate change.

The facility is likely to be headquartered in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba, with the aim of promoting Israeli innovation and solutions to the global climate crisis.

The Environmental Protection Ministry is exploring partnering with the UAE in the venture by opening a DeserTech research center there.

This type of venture would require funding from both Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi, as the center would focus largely on combating desertification and drought via technological innovations.
Top Dubai police official: Abbas not arbiter of who can have ties with Israel
A senior Dubai police official on Monday slammed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for “creating problems” and urged Arab nations to ignore Ramallah’s criticism of the United Arab Emirates’ normalization process with Israel.

“Rid yourselves of this notion that you don’t build relations with Israel except at the command of Mahmoud Abbas,” Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, Dubai’s deputy head of police and general security, wrote on Twitter.

“Abbas’s croaking and the Palestinian insistence on creating problems in the region…is the height of naivete. Right here I’m telling him, ‘No one’s going to respond to you,'” he wrote in a second tweet.

Under Abbas’s leadership, the PA has harshly condemned the Emirati-Israeli rapprochement, which is set to culminate in a treaty between the two nations to be signed in Washington in the near future.

Khalfan Tamim, who is known for speaking his mind even on controversial issues, has previously publicly supported his country’s normalization of relations with Israel.
Official UAE delegation planning trip to Israel on September 22 — report
The United Arab Emirates is reportedly planning on sending an official delegation to Israel on September 22, as part of the normalization between the two countries announced last month.

The delegation would be “in reciprocation” for a trip to Abu Dhabi last week by senior Israeli and US officials, a source told the Reuters news agency, which reported the planned visit on Monday.

The report was not immediately confirmed by Israeli authorities.

A source cited by the report said the Israel trip will be confirmed after a date is announced for the signing ceremony in Washington of the Israel-UAE normalization deal, likely in mid-September.

Israel and the UAE announced on August 13 that they were establishing full diplomatic relations. The UAE is just the third Arab country to agree to official relations with Israel, after Egypt and Jordan. Israeli and American officials have expressed hope that other Gulf Arab countries will soon follow suit, with relations based on mutual commercial and security interests, and shared enmity toward Iran.

Oman, Bahrain, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia are among the countries that Israel and the US hope could follow the UAE in forging diplomatic ties with the Jewish state. But Saudi Arabia has said it will not normalize relations until Israel agrees to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, in keeping with the decades-old stance of most Arab nations.

While the deal to normalize diplomatic relations was announced last month, Israel and the UAE have yet to hash out an actual detailed agreement, which is expected to be signed at the White House ceremony.
Kosovo speaker of parliament sends warm message to Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted a video Monday in which Vjosa Osmani, the speaker of the Kosovo parliament, thanked Israel for recognizing the Republic of Kosovo and expressed hope that the new bond between the two nations would be solidified through parliamentary cooperation.

Standing in front of the Jewish community memorial at the Kosovo Parliament, Osmani said, “Todah Rabah to Israel for recognizing the Republic of Kosovo.”

In a reference to the successful Albanian efforts to protect its Jewish community from the Holocaust, and to Albanian assistance to other Jews who fled from Germany and Austria, she continued, “More than seven decades ago, Albanians in Kosovo had opened their hearts and their homes to the Jewish people to save them from extinction.

“Since then the people of Kosovo and the people of Israel had a special bond, which was at last formalized through the establishment of diplomatic relations between Kosovo and Israel this past week,” Osmani said.
David Singer: Saudi Arabia and Bahrain use soft diplomacy to placate Trump
Trump needs the Arab states to continue making more concessions to persuade Israel continuing its major concession: postponing the immediate application of Israeli sovereignty in 30% of Judea and Samaria (West Bank) designated in Trump’s peace plan.

Concessions by Arab States could include:

- Attending the signing of the Israel-UAE Peace Treaty at the White House - which seems certain to occur before the US Presidential election on 3 November.

- Participating in a follow-up Conference similar to the historic one held in the White House on 13 March 2018 - attended by Israel, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and the UAE - that discussed solutions to the worsening humanitarian and economic conditions in Gaza. That Conference became the catalyst leading to the Israel-UAE peace deal and greatly improved political and personal relationships between Jews and Arabs today. Representatives from the United Nations, European Union, Office of the Quartet, Canada, Cyprus, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom also attended the Gaza Conference.

- Following the UAE lead in ending Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel.

Arab States building mutual trust with Israel by incrementally advancing the peace process will keep Trump’s Peace Plan alive whilst placating Trump’s desire to see its implementation concluded.

Saudi King Tells Trump That Kingdom is Eager to Achieve Fair Solution to Palestinian Issue
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman told US President Donald Trump in a phone call on Sunday that the kingdom was eager to achieve a fair and permanent solution to the Palestinian issue, which he said was the main starting point of the kingdom’s proposed Arab Peace Initiative, the state news agency reported.

The leaders spoke by phone following a historic US-brokered accord last month under which the United Arab Emirates agreed to become the third Arab state to normalize ties with Israel after Egypt and Jordan.

King Salman told Trump he appreciated US efforts to support peace and that Saudi Arabia wanted to see a fair and permanent solution to the Palestinian issue based on the Arab Peace Initiative proposed by the kingdom in 2002.

Under the proposal, Arab nations have offered Israel normalized ties in return for a statehood deal with the Palestinians and full Israeli withdrawal from territory captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam and site of its holiest shrines, does not recognize Israel.

However, this month the kingdom said it would allow flights between the UAE and Israel, including by Israeli airliners, to use its airspace.

White House adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner has said he hopes another Arab country normalizes ties within months.

No other Arab state has said so far it is considering following the UAE.
Ashkenazi, Levin ask Croatian FM to move embassy to Jerusalem
Croatia should join its neighbors in the Balkans and move its embassy to Jerusalem, Israeli officials told Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman during his visit to Israel’s capital on Monday.

Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi called Croatia “one of our best friends in Europe” and said “it’s about time for Croatia to join in…and move its embassy to Jerusalem.”

Ashkenazi also called on Zagreb to declare Hezbollah a terrorist group, as Serbia and Kosovo agreed to do.

Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin also called on Croatia to move its embassy to Jerusalem, and to support continued sanctions on Iran.

Radman invited Levin to pay an official visit to Zagreb.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Radman discussed cooperation on security matters, with Gantz calling for “a determined international front…at this time against Iranian aggression.”
EU warns Serbia, Kosovo against opening embassies in Jerusalem
Opening embassies in Jerusalem runs counter to Brussels’ expectations for Kosovo and Serbia, which seek to join the European Union, EU External Affairs Spokesman Peter Stano warned on Monday.

“Any steps that could call into question the EU’s common position on Jerusalem are a matter of serious concern and regret,” Stano said.

The comments come days after Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti signed an economic agreement in the White House. The deal included full normalization of ties between Israel and the Muslim-majority Kosovo, along with both countries opening embassies in Jerusalem.

Stano said that “since Kosovo and Serbia identified EU accession or EU integration as their strategic priority, the EU expects both to act in line with this commitment, so the European perspective is not undermined.”

As a country already in talks to join the EU, Serbia specifically is “expected to align progressively” with EU foreign policy positions, he added.
Reviewing BBC amplification of the notion of ‘betrayed’ Palestinians
As we see, for over two and a half weeks BBC audiences repeatedly heard that the Palestinians had been ‘stabbed in the back’, ‘betrayed’ and ‘sidelined’ by an agreement portrayed as ‘treason’ and described as breaching ‘Arab solidarity’ and ‘promises’ supposedly made in ‘previous peace plans’.

Interestingly, in all that time BBC audiences were not provided with a realistic portrait of the unilateral 2002 Saudi initiative which, as the corporation itself reported at the time, was deemed a ‘non-starter’ by Israel from the outset, not least because its various ‘take it or leave it’ conditions included the ‘return’ of Palestinians to Israel.

Neither did the BBC make any effort to remind its audiences of the opportunities for resolution of the conflict which were serially rejected by the Palestinians over the years, including the Olmert offer and the earlier Clinton proposal.

In the absence of that relevant context, the BBC’s repetitive but unquestioning amplification of Palestinian framing of this story does not contribute to audience understanding of the reasons why – as one leading Israeli analyst put it soon after the agreement was announced – “the Arab world has changed, the Palestinian narrative has not”.

“Palestinians lost a great deal last week. They weren’t “betrayed,” as some PA leaders have complained, but simply left behind. They didn’t lose vital allies who cared deeply for their cause, but one-time supporters who still vaguely support them but are tired of the intractability of their cause.”

Unfortunately for BBC audiences, those bringing them Middle East news appear to be quite content to amplify by rote trite PLO talking points rather than providing the “range and depth of analysis and content not widely available from other United Kingdom news providers” that the BBC’s public purposes pledge.
Arab Israeli allegedly recruited by Hamas to carry out major terrorist attack
Cleared for publication: The Shin Bet security agency recently foiled a Hamas plot to bomb a major bus station in central Israel. An Israeli Arab allegedly recruited by the Gaza-based terrorist group was slated to carry out the attack but was arrested before he could put the plan into motion.

According to details made available on Monday the suspect, Mahmoud Mekdad, 30, is an Arab Israeli resident of the Negev Bedouin town of Segev Shalom. He married a Gazan woman and divided his time between Israel and the coastal enclave.

The plot, which included detonating explosives in Bilu junction in central Israel, was foiled due to the joint efforts of the Shin Bet and Israel Police.

The investigation into the plan revealed that Mekdad, who was arrested several weeks ago, had been recruited by Hamas to carry out the attack.

It is believed that Mekdad was recruited by Hamas in late 2019 to gather intelligence on the location of Iron Dome defense systems in southern Israel. He was later trained on how to handle explosives with the aim of having him carry out an attack on an Israeli target.

He has reportedly told investigators that he has been acquiring the necessary components to build a powerful bomb since last crossing back from Gaza into Israel, in June.

After consulting with his Hamas handler, it was decided that Mekdad was to plant a bomb in the central bus station in Bilu junction, near the city of Rehovot, where dozens of bus lines pass daily.

Nine other people were arrested in the case, including Mekdad's brother, Ahmed, 32, who was privy to the plan but did nothing to prevent it, the Shin Bet said.

"This is further evidence of Hamas' efforts to establish terrorist infrastructure in Israel, the security agency said. "Even as efforts to secure a ceasefire continue, Hamas leadership in Gaza continues to pursue a strategy seeking to destabilize the region."
1,019 empty chairs placed in Tel Aviv square to protest coronavirus dead
Over 1,000 empty chairs, each one with a rose on the seat, were placed in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square on Monday morning to protest the government’s coronavirus policies.

Each chair had a sign affixed to it stating: “Here coronavirus casualty number [inserted] from [locality] won’t sit. May their memory be a blessing.”

Organizers of the installation, the Standing Together social justice movement, told the Ynet news site that the chairs were used to highlight the empty places at tables during the upcoming High Holidays, and called for a public inquiry into what it said was the government’s mismanagement of the pandemic.

“The state has no orderly plans to address the issue, and the health of citizens is collapsing. An inquiry committee should be set up immediately to investigate,” said Alon-Lee Green, national director of the organization.

“The empty chairs symbolize the holiday table chairs that will remain empty as a result of the disease and the mismanagement of the health crisis,” he said.

In a statement to Channel 12 news, the organizers said there was “one chair for every person that the government was supposed to look after, but instead abandoned.”
Greece opens to Israeli tourists, lifts restrictions on numbers and destinations
Greece will no longer cap the number of Israeli tourists allowed in the country or limit their movements to a handful of cities, the Foreign Ministry announced on Monday.

Israeli tourists will still require a negative coronavirus test 72 hours before traveling to Greece and will be required to take an additional test upon landing.

The Monday announcement came after a conversation between Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and his Greek counterpart, Nikos Dendias, during which the latter relayed the news regarding Athens’s new travel policy, the Foreign Ministry said.

Ashkenazi said in a statement that the easing of restrictions “is proof of the strong ties” between Greece and Israel.

The Foreign Ministry statement did not specify when the new policies would be put into place in Greece.
Media Blackout: Hamas’ Israeli Hostages
September 7, 2020, marks the sixth anniversary of when Avera Mengistu was taken captive by Hamas. A year later, the Palestinian terror group also took hostage Hisham al-Sayed.

Both Israelis suffer from mental illness and crossed into the Gaza Strip on their own volition.

Since then, neither has had access to medical treatment or been afforded the privileges guaranteed by international law.

Notably, Hamas is also refusing to return to Israel the remains of two IDF soldiers who were killed in Gaza during the 2014 war.

Kidnapping innocent civilians is an egregious human rights violation. Yet, even with all the recent media coverage about the weeks-long confrontation between the IDF and Hamas, there has been little, if any, attention paid to the captives’ plight.

Artists release song marking 6 years since Averu Mengistu's capture
"What are you going through there at night?" asks a new song by Eden Alene, Israel's representative to Eurovision 2021, together with Shlomi Shabat, marking six years since Avera Mengistu, an Ethiopian-Israel, was taken captive by Hamas after he crossed into the Gaza Strip.

"We hope and pray that he'll return to us because he belongs with us," said Shabat in a clip about the song.

"We are trying to awake something so that this doesn't sit in quiet again," added Alene in the clip.

The background of the music video shows the statement "six years in isolation," using a Hebrew word which also means quarantine.

Video of Mengistu's capture is shown in the video as the words "We're waiting for you: When will you return? Be strong. Take heart. We're with you" are said in Amharic, the language of the Ethiopian community.

The music video ends with an outline of Mengistu's face formed from the words "Avera is still alive."

"If there's something that can penetrate the indifference of people, it's music," said Eleanor Amid, from the "Friends of Avera" group. "We're a diverse group of people who understand that we need to help Avera, to hear his voice. His voice isn't heard."

'Palestine TV' conducts rare interview with Hamas leader
The Palestinian Authority’s official television station, Palestine TV, broadcast an interview on Monday night with Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas political bureau, who is currently visiting Lebanon.

The interview, the first of its kind with a Hamas leader, is seen by Palestinians in the context of PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s ongoing efforts to reach a national-unity agreement that would end the split between the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Hamas and Abbas’s Fatah faction have been engaged in a bitter power struggle since July 2007, when Hamas violently seized control of the Gaza Strip.

It is rare for Palestine TV to broadcast interviews with Hamas officials. Similarly, Hamas-controlled media outlets have regularly boycotted representatives of Fatah and the PA.

The interview with Haniyeh came days after leaders of several Palestinian factions, including Fatah and Hamas, held a meeting via videoconferencing from Ramallah and Beirut to discuss the latest developments surrounding the Palestinian issue in the wake of the Israel-United Arab Emirates deal.

Abbas, who addressed the meeting from his office in Ramallah, called on the Arab countries not to normalize relations with Israel before the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.
PMW: One day of Hamas TV hate and terror messages: Hamas MP: “Death to Israel,” “sons of Zion” and “whoever normalizes with Israel” should burn
After weeks of Hamas launching incendiary devices and rockets into Israel, creating extensive fires in nature reserves and agricultural areas, a cease-fire was reached last week after Qatari Envoy Muhammad Al-Emadi with his 30 million dollar aid promised to continue Qatar’s monthly aid through the end of the year. It would be naïve to think that this cease fire signals a fundamental change in Hamas policy.

Palestinian Media Watch looked into one day of Hamas TV broadcasts on Aug. 23, 2020 - two days before Israel let the Qatari Envoy and his money into the Strip. Hamas’ broadcasts demonstrate the depths of hate Hamas disseminates against Israel and Jews alongside its pro-terror and murder messages.

The following anti-Israel, anti-Jews, and pro-terror messages were all part of Hamas’ broadcasts on that one day:
Hamas MP: “Death to Israel,” “sons of Zion” and “whoever normalizes with Israel” should burn

During a session in the Hamas PA Parliament, MP Ismail Ashqar read a statement calling for “death to Israel.” On the backdrop of the commemoration of the arson at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1969, Ashqar called for “burning” the “sons of Zion” and anyone who “normalizes relations” with Israel in a clear reference to the UAE’s recent peace agreement with Israel. He also criticized the PA for its security coordination with Israel, wishing it would burn too:
Hamas MP: “Death to Israel,” “sons of Zion” and “whoever normalizes with Israel” should burn

Hamas: Only violence and terror – “resistance” - will free Palestinian prisoners

Hamas: Only bullets will free the Palestinian prisoners

Tzvi Kahn on the Heist of Iran's Nuclear Archive
The trove of captured documents from the archive "shows that the nuclear weapons program continued, albeit in a more circumscribed and diffused manner, past 2003" and identifies additional nuclear facilities, equipment, and activities previously unknown to the IAEA. These include

- The existence of a tunnel complex underneath the Parchin military complex, known as the Shahid Boroujerdi project, "likely intended for the fabrication of uranium based nuclear weapon components."
- The fact that Iran conducted more high explosive tests at Parchin than indicated in previous IAEA reports.
- Details about a plan, known as Project Midan, to construct an underground nuclear weapons test site.
- The fact that, as of 2003, Iran had already designed a nuclear weapon and developed plans to produce five warheads.
- Minutes of meetings in which Iranian officials discuss methods of concealing Iran's nuclear activities.
- "Deception folders" detailing Iran's misinformation to the IAEA, "ensuring their uniformity in each meeting with the agency."

What are the practical ramifications of all this? Tehran's decision to preserve the archive is itself "inconsistent" with its commitment under the 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), to never "seek, develop, or acquire any nuclear weapons," said Kahn. "If Iran no longer seeks nuclear weapons, though, why would it preserve the archive?" Iran's failure to declare the archive itself and the sites and activities detailed in it to the IAEA also "constitutes a violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty," which Iran ratified in 1970, as well as the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and 2003 Additional Protocol Iran signed with the IAEA.

Despite "Iran's violations of NPT, the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement, and the Additional Protocol," the IAEA has hesitated to punish Iran. On June 19, 2020, the IAEA Board of Governors issued a resolution calling on Iran to "fully cooperate" with the agency, including by providing "prompt access" to two covert sites. However, the IAEA "refrained from referring Iran to the UN Security Council," said Kahn, and the language in the resolution was soft, "merely calling on Iran to cooperate with IAEA, not requiring it" and containing "no warning of future punishment." If the IAEA continues its refusal to punish Iran, "why should any other world regime take the IAEA seriously? At stake is nothing less than integrity and credibility of the IAEA."

The UN and EU's Silence on Iran's "Shocking Human Rights Violations"
Last week, the Iranian regime's Supreme Court issued two death sentences to wrestling champion Navid Afkari, along with six-and-a-half years in prison and 74 lashes, according to Persian-language news broadcaster Iran International. His two brothers were also arrested; Vahid Afkari was given a prison sentence of 54 years and 74 lashes, and Habib Afkari received 27 years and 74 lashes.

"For around 50 days I had to endure the most horrendous physical and psychological tortures... They would place a plastic bag on my head and torture me until I suffocated to the very brink of death. They also poured alcohol into my nose." — Navid Afkari, Iranian wrestling champion, in a letter.

You would think that the EU or the UN would at least condemn the ruling mullahs of Iran for this brutality. Instead, they reward the regime. On August 14, the UN Security Council voted to allow the 13-year arms embargo on the Iranian regime to expire in October 2020. The ruling means that the ruling mullahs of Iran will be permitted to buy, sell and export as many conventional weapons they wish.

The ruling mullahs now have enough enriched uranium to refine and build a nuclear bomb if they wish to do so. Approximately 1000 kg of uranium enriched at just 5% can be further refined to create one nuclear bomb.

The UN and the EU need to hold the Iranian leaders accountable, or be discarded for irrelevance, where they appear to belong.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Ayatollahs Object To COVID Killing 20K Iranians; ‘That’s OUR Job’ (satire)
Officials of the Islamic Republic lamented today the ongoing coronavirus crisis in the country that has already claimed more than twenty thousand lives, noting that the indiscriminate slaughter of innocents falls squarely within the regime’s bailiwick, and no pathogen may usurp that mantle.

Spokesmen for Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani appeared at a joint press conference Monday morning to decry the pandemic’s unauthorized killing of so many Iranians in defiance of the legally mandated government monopoly on the meting out of premature death.

“This arrogation of the government’s prerogative to take the lives of Iranians – and whoever else might stand between us and regional hegemony – must not continue,” stated Khamenei spokesman Awad Avflem. “The SARS-CoV-2 virus has committed the egregious offense of claiming for itself the right that only this nation’s wise, fearless leadership possesses: the right to put to death, by whatever means, any persons standing between it and expanding across the land like a plague.”

Presidential spokesman Helava Doushbagh warned against emulation of the virus. “Drastic measures, severe punishments, await anyone who attempts a similar usurpation of government authority,” he asserted. “Taking the law into one’s own hands must not occur; only officially sanctioned agents of the Supreme Leader may implement such measures. Those agents only include all those on the rosters of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps; the various Shiite militias operating throughout Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon; members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas; and surface-to-air- missile battery operators who detect anything vaguely resembling an an aircraft, because it might be an American missile, and to hell with Russian airliners.”

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