Monday, September 14, 2020

From Ian:

The Cultural Genius of the Abraham Accord
This concept of balance derives from the nomadic “way of the desert,” when it was common for tribes to fight over scarce resources, including water. Tribal raids were common, and reciprocity or proportionality of war did not exist. A weak tribe raided by a stronger one, therefore, would be enslaved, taken over, or obliterated. It was thus advantageous for a tribe to have more people and better weapons, for example, to safeguard its survival. Tribal competition in the Middle East is not simply a thing of the past, however. In today’s popular Arab culture, even television shows, such as soap operas, tell tribal stories. Museums in the Gulf display family trees of their countries’ leaders and powerful tribes.

In the corporate world too, photos of ruling families and tribes line the walls of major companies. In the political arena, key cabinet positions — including those of defense, foreign affairs, and intelligence — are allocated according to tribes, not only giving their representatives a seat at the table, but helping to establish loyalty to the country’s ruler and maintain mu-wazana. Even Jordan’s parliament is dominated by tribal, rather than religious or ideological, parties. One reason for this is that the tribe as a unit supports all legal, financial, and social aspects of the lives of individuals.

This primacy of the collective and “balance” in the Arab world is foreign to Western culture, which emphasizes the rights and freedoms of individuals. Westerners doing business in the Middle East thus frequently encounter difficulty as a result of this difference. Western corporations in Arab countries often make the mistake of allocating benefits to their local employees based on individual merit, for example, rather than recognizing the authority of the tribal leaders to decide on such matters.

This brings us to Iran, which created “imbalance” in the region through expansionism, backed by its military and many proxies, and by spreading fear among the Arab countries. This is why Bahrain — whose population is predominantly Shiite, but whose ruling family is Sunni — has followed the UAE’s lead and made peace with Israel. Even neighboring Saudi Arabia appears interested in making a similar arrangement, as was evident in the permission it gave to an El Al plane to use its airspace at the end of August to transport a delegation of American and Israeli dignitaries to Abu Dhabi for the purpose of ironing out the details of the Abraham Accord.

Herein lies the great success of the peace plan brokered by Trump between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan: It is the fruit of identifying an opportunity of an “imbalance” caused by Iran, and formulating a treaty that fits into the culture of mu-wazana. As such, it is bound to be a precursor to many more such treaties.

David Singer: Trump triumphs as PLO continues to dig its own grave
Trump offered the Palestinian Arabs this lifeline:
“I think the Palestinians are going to end up doing something that’s going to be very smart for them. And all their friends are coming into this, and they want to come into it — they want to come into it very badly.

"And I can see a lot of good things happening with respect to the Palestinians, which would be really wonderful. Whether you are on their side or not on their side, people want to see it all brought to an end, and brought to an end quickly. So that’s going to be very important.”

Erekat’s reply was reprehensible:
“[Erekat] said that this free normalization is bizarre as it comes through Jared Kushner, senior advisor to US President Donald Trump, who is a mixture of ignorance and an extremist Zionist who believes that the historic land of Israel is from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea and that the Arab regimes are bound by a peace treaty even though they are not at war with Israel, rather only the Palestinian people are at war with Israel.”

Erekat, recently appointed to teach diplomacy at Harvard, continued with a vitriolic personal attack on Trump’s son-in-law Kushner, one which has got Jew-hatred written all over it and will backfire badly.

Erekat clarified the PLO was still pushing the outdated 2002 Arab Peace Initiative and rejecting Trump’s 2020 deal of the century:

“[Erekat] stressed that what is required is to drain the occupation quagmire as stipulated in the Arab Peace Initiative. As for normalization before this is done, then it is accepting that Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre remain under Israeli sovereignty, which was what came in the so-called "deal of the century." This is a major treachery.

Regarding what happened in the meeting of Arab foreign ministers held virtually on Wednesday, Erekat said that the Arab League approved all the decisions except the one that condemns those who deviate from the Arab Peace Initiative, which some countries have objected to, and therefore it was dropped by Palestine so that no one will go to Washington to participate in the normalization steps or support them and say they went with an Arab or Palestinian cover.”

Trump is rapidly advancing peace between Arabs and Jews at a pace never before seen in the last 100 years.

Whilst Trump triumphs - the recalcitrant and rejectionist PLO continues to dig its own grave.

JPost Editorial: Palestinian rejectionism of the UAE-Bahrain-Israel deal and peace
Abu Toameh notes the response of Mohannad Aklouk, the Palestinian envoy to the Arab League, who wrote on Facebook, “With all pride, Palestine wanted a decision from the Arab foreign ministers that rejects and condemns the Emirati normalization [with Israel], prevents the Arab decline and preserves the legacy of the Arab League. But Palestine was unable to impose that, so the draft resolution collapsed. We have dignity, martyrs, prisoners and refugee camps of glory, and this is enough for us.”

Read that last sentence again. Instead of a move toward peace and ending bloodshed on both sides, Palestinian officials still insist on fostering the cult of martyrdom and the perpetual condition of being considered refugees; encouraging more terrorism and rejecting the chance to begin a process leading to a stable Palestinian state.

Twenty years ago, the Palestinians launched the Second Intifada against Israel. It was a long and bloody campaign of suicide bombings and other atrocities that took the lives of more than 1,000 Israelis. The victims came from across Israeli society, including Jews, Muslims and Christians. They were people who had been riding a bus to school or work; relaxing, or at work; in a restaurant; celebrating a bat mitzvah or another happy family occasion; or gathering for a traditional Seder night meal. Apart from the lives lost, thousands suffered physical injuries and many suffered from no-less debilitating emotional trauma.

Israel did not want the wave of terror and did everything it could to reduce innocent, civilian casualties while taking action to halt those Palestinian terror acts – it was a campaign that targeted civilians.

The new peace deals with the Arab countries also strike a blow against terrorism – be it by Sunni jihadists or Shia Iran and its proxies.

The UAE and Bahrain aren’t only making peace and normalizing ties with Israel; they are showing the Palestinians that war and terrorism are not the way.

As long as the Palestinian leadership rejects peace, the Palestinian people should reject their leadership. Ordinary Palestinians deserve better. They, too, deserve a chance to live in peace. It’s time to build a better future together. The Palestinians need to realize that the paradigm has changed. This is the perfect opportunity for them to reject rejectionism.
Israeli Nobel winner asked to nominate Netanyahu for peace prize
The Young Likud group wrote Israeli Nobel Prize winner Robert Israel Aumann on Monday, asking him to nominate Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize, due to his peace agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

The group wrote Aumann, who won the Nobel for economics in 2005, because previous Nobel winners can nominate candidates for the prize and because he is known for his right-wing political views.

“We in the Young Likud believe it would be fitting for the prime minister to receive the recognition he deserves for working hard to achieve regional peace and create a new Middle East,” Young Likud chairman Moshiko Passal wrote Aumann.

Aumann told The Jerusalem Post he received the letter and considered it “a fine idea.”

“I would be delighted to see Netanyahu receive the prize together with UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, the same way Menachem Begin won the prize together with Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat,” Aumann said.

Man of the Year 5780: Jared Corey Kushner
Every new year (Jewish and the other one), selects a person who stood out over the past year and had a significant impact on Jewish lives. This person may not necessarily be someone we agree with, and their actions may not meet our approval, but our criteria are their impact. This year’s choice came as a surprise to us as much as to anyone else, since the winner was not even in the running until a few short weeks ago – or was he?

Reichal (Rae) Kushner, Jared’s paternal grandmother, with her siblings and her father Nachum, were Holocaust survivors who made it to America in 1949 from Navahrudak, in Belarus. As Andrea Bernstein put it in her portrait of President Trump’s son-in-law (Who Is Jared Kushner?), his family made it “through the destruction of their home and the confiscation of their business; through family separations and multiple mass executions; through starvation, lice, beatings, forced labor, German dogs, and Nazi bullets; through barbed wire and months of hiding in the forest during the Polish winter, a trek across international borders, and years in a displaced-persons camp,” and she summarizes: “The Kushners lost everything.”

Rae met Yossel in post-war Hungary and they got married in a synagogue in Budapest, in a ceremony together with twenty other couples. Rae and Yossel then “illegally crossed the Alps and several borders by foot, train and any other available mode of transportation,” and ended up in a displaced-persons camp outside Rome, where they lived for the next four years. Then, the couple lied on their immigration paperwork and Yossel Berkowitz took his wife’s last name, making him Joseph Kushner.
NYTs: Israel Hopes It Is Finally Gaining Acceptance in Its Neighborhood
Since its founding, Israel has seen itself as a tiny nation-state in a hostile desert, surrounded by Arab and Muslim enemies who denounced the Jewish state as an outpost of foreign intruders who were bound to be evicted like all their predecessors back to the Crusaders. But with agreements to normalize ties with the UAE and Bahrain, to be signed at the White House on Tuesday, could Israel at last be gaining acceptance in the region as a legitimate member of the neighborhood?

Israelis who have studied the Arab world, including former intelligence and national-security officials, are deeply cautious about how much this shift has progressed, saying that Israel is far from being able to let its guard down toward its newfound friends.

Former Israeli lawmaker Einat Wilf says, "They're retelling the entire story of the Jews in the region and they're changing the whole narrative: They're not saying, 'We still hate Israel, Jews are bad, we wish they're gone but we need them against Iran.' They're saying the Jews belong here, that we're not foreigners, and that the Palestinians need to accept us."
Israel, UAE agreement will be a peace treaty
Israel and the United Arab Emirates will sign a peace treaty at the White House, a source in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s delegation to Washington said Monday.

It had previously been unclear if the agreement to be signed will be normalization or peace, since Israel and the UAE had not previously been at war.

“The Abraham Accords come in the framework of an American regional strategy,” the source said. “It is historic for two Arab states to be at a signing ceremony with Israel.”

Israel will be signing two separate documents, one, the peace treaty with the UAE, and the other, a declaration of intent to make peace with Bahrain, because there wasn’t enough time to draw up a full agreement since Friday, when ties were announced.

The four sides involved agreed not to make any parts of the agreements public before the signings, but the source said they will discuss cooperation between the countries.

Much of the specific areas of cooperation between Israel and the UAE that Israeli officials discussed with their Emirati counterparts Abu Dhabi, led by National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat two weeks ago, are still under negotiation and will not be in the agreement on Tuesday.
Bahrain won’t have to abolish Israel boycott law — because it did so years ago
Unlike the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain does not have to abolish its law mandating the boycotting of Israel ahead of Tuesday’s historic signing of the so-called Abraham Accord — because it did so years ago.

Still, officials in Manama immediately started working on removing certain rules and regulations that curtain formal interactions with Israel after Friday’s announcement that their country was normalizing relations with the Jewish state, according to diplomatic sources.

On Monday morning, Bahrain’s minister of industry, commerce and tourism, Zayed Bin Rashid Alzayani, spoke with Israeli Minister of Regional Cooperation Ofir Akunis.

“The ministers had a good conversation, congratulated each other on the peace deal being signed tomorrow, and agreed to meet to further cooperation between their ministries,” according to Akunis’s office.

Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani arrived in Washington Monday morning to participate in the signing of the UAE-Israel peace agreement. He and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will also sign a bilateral “Declaration of Peace.”
I’m an Orthodox Jewish Woman Who Worked at the UAE Embassy, and I Know Peace Is Easier Than You Think
Israeli and American officials arrived last week in the United Arab Emirates on the first commercial flight from the Jewish state to the Gulf kingdom. The historic bilateral normalization agreement announced last month surprised many but not me, a young Orthodox Jewish woman the UAE embassy in Washington, DC, hired last year.

As a high school student with a passion for international affairs, I applied and was accepted for an internship at the embassy last summer. Securing the internship was a dream come true. However, a small part of me was nervous. Would I be prejudged by the embassy staff because of my Orthodox Jewish identity? My internship was met with shock and perplexity by many within my community. Indeed, I myself did not know what to expect when walking into the embassy.

Yet within the first hour of my internship, I realized just how misplaced my concerns had been. The individuals I encountered at the embassy, from Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba on down, were not merely neutral toward Israel and Jews, as I had thought, but were all exceedingly hospitable and excited to work with someone who cared so much about their Jewish heritage. Many showed true curiosity in learning more about the Jewish people, to the extent that I even began teaching an Emirati diplomat conversational Hebrew ‐‐ in exchange, of course, for lessons in Arabic!

At the embassy, there was a profound cultural respect for Israeli and Jewish society. I was constantly approached with questions about Israeli politics and Jewish customs and laws. In my summer at the UAE embassy, I encountered dozens of Emiratis from all sorts of backgrounds, but not a single one had anything negative to say to me about Israel or the Jewish people.
Emiratis are ‘enthusiastic’ about peace with Israel, senior UAE official says
The people of the United Arab Emirates are full of “excitement and joy” about the normalization of ties with Israel, a senior UAE official told The Times of Israel on Sunday, two days before the two countries are set to sign a historic agreement in the White House.

In a far-ranging email interview, Hend Al Otaiba, the director of strategic communications at the Emirati Foreign Ministry, described at some length why her country is “enthusiastic” about the peace treaty with the Jewish state, citing the UAE’s commitment to religious pluralism and regional cooperation against mutual threats.

“The Emirati people feel enthusiastic about the establishment of relations with Israel,” she said.

“Levels of excitement are particularly high among younger generations — this historic move is a reflection of our country’s forward-thinking leadership and future-oriented vision for the region, and it is the youth of this region who will reap the greatest share of the economic, cultural, and scientific rewards that this cooperation will usher in over time.”

At the same time, Abu Dhabi’s abiding commitment to the Palestinian cause “will never diminish,” she stressed. “Our voting record and statements in the UN and in regional forums proves this beyond any doubt, as does our provision of humanitarian and development aid to the Palestinian people and UNRWA,” the United Nations aid organization for Palestinian refugees.

That the so-called Abraham Accord between the UAE and Israel was widely welcomed by the international community shows that the world recognizes “our aim to safeguard the two-state solution and advance regional prosperity,” she added. “It is important the Palestinians share in the benefits of commencing bilateral ties with Israel.”
UAE minister: Historic deal with Israel doesn’t forgo Palestinian cause
The “historic” deal to normalize United Arab Emirates ties with Israel signifies an important change for the Middle East that doesn’t forgo a Palestinian state, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation Reem Al Hashimy told CNN on Monday.

“The fact that the UAE and Israel have decided to normalize ties with one another is a significant step change with what is happening in the Middle East,” Al Hashimy said in advance of Tuesday’s signing ceremony at the White House with the UAE, Israeli and US officials.

The normalization deal “is an indication that we are keen on a new narrative of hope and prosperity where you have dialogue and debate,” Al Hashimy said.

As it moves forward with the deal, the UAE is keeping “the Palestinian cause front and center,” including “their right to statehood and their right to a dignified life,” she said.

Israel’s agreement for “the suspension of annexation is an important component here,” she said.

“We hope that [the Israel-UAE deal] provides an opportunity for greater dialogue and bringing the peace initiative back to the table, in the Arab world and in the Middle East by-in-large,” Al Hashimy said.

1,000 to attend White House peace pact signing; Netanyahu to meet Trump first
As Israelis prepare to enter a three-week lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, some 1,000 people are reportedly set to attend Tuesday’s ceremony at the White House where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain will formally establish diplomatic relations.

Before the ceremony, Netanyahu will meet with at the White House with US President Donald Trump, who brokered the diplomatic breakthrough, an Israeli official said Monday.

The UAE and Bahrain will be represented at the signing ceremony by their foreign ministers, Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, respectively. The Trump administration was also said to be working to get representatives of additional Arab nations to attend the signing ceremony as a sign of tacit support for the growing normalization trend.

Netanyahu — who is Israel’s only government representative at the event, as opposed to UAE and Bahrain, which are each sending up to eight ministers — resumed planning for the upcoming lockdown upon arriving in Washington Tuesday morning, his office said.

“Netanyahu held a conference call consultation on preparations for the lockdown with Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, Deputy Health Minister Yoav Kisch, National Security Council head Meir Ben Shabbat, ‘Magen Yisrael’ director Prof. Ronni Gamzu, Health Ministry Director General Prof. Chezy Levy and other officials,” his office said in a statement including a picture of Netanyahu on the phone at his Blair House lodging.

Hungary will be only EU state to send minister to Israel-UAE deal signing
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto will be the only EU diplomatic leader to attend the signing ceremony on Tuesday in Washington for the Israel-United Arab Emirates peace deal, his spokesman said on Sunday.

"At the invitation of US President Donald Trump, as the only European Union minister, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto will also attend ... the signing ceremony in the White House on Tuesday," Mate Paczolay told Hungarian news agency MTI.

Under the accord, which Trump helped broker, Israel agreed to suspend its planned annexation of areas of the occupied West Bank. The agreement also firms up opposition to regional power Iran, which the UAE, Israel and the United States view as the main threat in the conflict-riven Middle East.

Trump, who is heading into the homestretch of his presidential re-election campaign, announced the accord last month. On Friday, he said Bahrain would join the agreement.

Major European powers like France and the UK welcomed the Israel-UAE deal, as did the European Union executive, which said it was good for regional stability.

In Face of Israel’s Normalization With Gulf States, Los Angeles Times Stuck on Autopilot
The more Israel and Gulf states advance in the historic process of normalization, the more The Los Angeles Times struggles to shoehorn the expanding ties into the narrow prism of old dogmas about Israeli-Palestinian relations.

The Times’ insistence on treading within the well-worn path of old familiar narratives regardless of the actual circumstances on the ground was comically apparent in last month’s article of the normalization deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. Veteran journalists Nabih Bulos and Tracy Wilkinson wrote in the Aug. 14 print edition: “Direct flights would be established as well as reciprocal embassies – though Emirati delegations would probably go to Tel Aviv and not the holy city of Jerusalem, claimed by both Israel and the Palestinians and controversially recognized as Israeli by Trump, the only world leader to do so” (“Israel suspends annexation in pact with UAE; Agreement to pursue diplomatic ties angers Palestinians aiming for a unified Arab bloc”).

As CAMERA noted at the time, there is no functioning airport in Jerusalem, so discussion about directing flights to Tel Aviv allegedly because of Jerusalem’s disputed status is absurd. The political consideration regarding Jerusalem certainly does come into play regarding the question of the UAE’s future embassy to Israel – but not its flight destination, as the Sept. 2 correction was compelled to acknowledge. Yet the reflexive tendency to cite the disputed Jerusalem mantra took hold even in the case of airports, where it wasn’t relevant.

The Times journalists were apparently functioning on autopilot again early this month in an article which prematurely crowed that President Donald Trump’s normalization efforts were doomed in light of the lack of progress on the Palestinian front. The Times pounded away again and again on the anachronistic theme of the supposed futility of normalization efforts so long as the Palestinian issue wasn’t resolved. The argument appeared in the Sept. 4 headline: “Arab countries balk at recognizing Israel; United Arab Emirates’ deal has not led others to follow suit despite pressure from Trump.”
Guardian corrects erroneous West Bank 'annexation' claim
As we noted in our complaint to editors, Guardian journalists reporting on the proposed annexation have made clear that the abandoned plan would only have involved the application of Israeli law to parts of the West Bank – roughly 30%. The way the sentence reads makes it seem as if all of the West Bank would be ‘annexed’.

We also pointed out that the original AP article deviates in the language used in the Guardian version:
Telephone calls began ringing Sunday between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, marking the first concrete step of a U.S.-brokered diplomatic deal between the nations that required Israel to halt plans to annex land sought by the Palestinians.
Though, likely because of the summer holidays, we weren’t informed via email by editors that they were correcting it (as is normally the case), we recently learned that, on Aug. 19th, the article was indeed amended.

Here’s the revised sentence:
A telephone service between the United Arab Emirates and Israel has begun working as the two countries opened diplomatic ties, part of a deal brokered by the US that required Israel to suspend its contentious plan to annex parts of the West Bank.
Senior Fatah Official: We Agreed with Hamas on Peaceful Resistance That May Escalate into Intifada

Israel to Lock Down Nationwide in Main Holiday Season Amid COVID-19 Surge
Israel will enter a three-week nationwide lockdown starting on Friday to contain the spread of the coronavirus after a second-wave surge of new cases, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday.

During the lockdown, which comes during the Jewish High Holiday season, Israelis will have to stay within 500 metres of their houses, but can travel to workplaces that will be allowed to operate on a limited basis.

Schools and shopping malls will be closed but supermarkets and pharmacies will remain open. The public sector will operate with fewer staff, but non-governmental offices and businesses will not have to close, as long as they do not accept customers.

Indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people and no more than 20 people outdoors.

“I know those measures will exact a heavy price on us all,” Netanyahu said in a televised address. “This is not the kind of holiday we are used to. And we certainly won’t be able to celebrate with our extended families.”

The Finance Ministry said the lockdown will cost the economy, which slipped into a recession in the wake of the virus, an estimated 6.5 billion shekels ($1.88 billion).
Outrage as coronavirus committee debates lockdown: 'Critical hit to public health'
Members of the coronavirus committee expressed outrage on Monday at the decision to implement a three-week lockdown starting Friday, claiming the lockdown would be a “critical hit to public health” and could be avoided by improving the healthcare system.

Knesset Coronavirus Committee Chair MK Yifat Shasha-Biton warned that a national lockdown will be a "critical hit" to public health, adding that medical experts were advising against a lockdown.

"I had many conversations with hospital administrators. Quite a few of them went out to the media in recent days and said unequivocally that they oppose the closure," said Shasha-Biton. "It is true that there are hospitals that have congestion but are not yet in failure."

"I will never argue with any profession in the medical field, but from the data and information that I've gotten from senior doctors and hospital administrators are saying not only to us but outside as well that there cannot be a lockdown," added Shasha-Biton. "A lockdown is a critical hit to public health. There were those who said that no decision or consideration of health was behind the lockdown decision."

The committee chair also expressed concern about the lack of clarity concerning an exit strategy from the lockdown.
High number of coronavirus cases may be due to oversensitive testing
The criteria in Israel for determining by a lab test whether someone has coronavirus is higher than in many other countries, including Germany and the US. As a result, the number of people infected per million residents is very high in comparison.

If new criteria of coronavirus tests are formulated, the number of those defined as infected with the virus will be noticeably lower, senior doctors in Israel believe.

Samples taken from the subjects are transferred to the PCR device in the laboratory to identify the genetic material of the coronavirus. The device tries to detect signs of the virus in a process that is repeated dozens of times.

The Health Ministry has set a quota of 37 rounds. In Germany a quota of 30 rounds was set, and the United States requires 34.
Jewish terrorist gets 3 life terms for killing Palestinian family in 2015 arson
An Israeli man found guilty of carrying out a deadly 2015 firebombing that killed an 18-month-old Palestinian boy and his parents was sentenced on Monday to three life sentences.

Handing down the sentence, the Lod District Court said Amiram Ben Uliel, 26, committed the attack out of “extreme and racist ideology.”

Ben Uliel, along with a teenage accomplice, were convicted previously over the 2015 arson attack in Duma. The attack, one of the most brutal acts of Jewish terror in recent years, claimed the lives of Sa’ad and Riham Dawabsha and their 18-month-old son Ali. Five-year-old Ahmed was the lone survivor of the attack.

The accomplice will be sentenced on Wednesday.

Apart from the life sentences, Ben Uliel also got 20 additional years behind bars for injuring Ahmed and for firebombing a second, empty home. He was ordered to compensate Ahmed Dawabsha and the owner of the second home with NIS 258,000 ($75,000) each.

The judge wrote in the decision that Ben Uliel “has not taken responsibility for his actions.”

Ben Uliel’s attorneys said they will appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.

Ben Uliel confessed to the attack on several occasions during his interrogation by the Shin Bet security agency. Some of those confessions, however, were thrown out by the court in 2018 after judges determined they had been given either during or immediately after he had undergone “enhanced interrogation,” or torture.

Khaled Abu Toameh: How Hamas Plans to Destroy Lebanon
During Haniyeh's tour of Ain al-Hilweh, he said that the Iran-backed Hamas in the Gaza Strip "possesses missiles to strike Tel Aviv and beyond Tel Aviv."

Arab political analysts.... also believe that Iran is preparing to use its proxies, Hamas and Hezbollah, to target Arab countries that establish relations with Israel, such as the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

"Who is this Ismail Haniyeh, who comes to Lebanon and flexes his muscles in the [refugee] camps while surrounded by armed men.... No one in our government has asked what is he doing here and who let him into our country." — Rita Mokbel, a Lebanese woman, Twitter, September 7, 2020.

"Lebanon is an independent state and not a theater for Iran and the Palestinians." — Lebanese General Asraf Rifi, Twitter, September 7, 2020.

"Syria paid a heavy price for defending Hamas and the resistance movements, and they returned the favor by plotting against Syria and participating in its destruction. This is what the school of the Muslim Brotherhood and [Turkish President] Erdogan teaches." — Wiam Wahhab, former Lebanese minister of environment, Twitter, September 7, 2020.
Qatar Funds Hizbullah Arsenal through Gold Markets in Uganda
Qatar operated a funding network for arms shipments from Europe to Hizbullah using gold shipments traded through Africa, the Austrian think tank Mena-Watch reported on Tuesday.

High-ranking Qatari officials coordinated the payments and offered protection for Doha-based Hizbullah financiers.

"General Dhalan Al Hamad, a member of the royal family in Qatar, used gold from Uganda to fund this arms trade," the report states.

Weaponry was purchased in Serbia. The arms, labeled as building materials, were moved through North Macedonia to the Greek port of Thessaloniki and on to Beirut.

In addition, "the Qatari charities Sheikh Eid and the Education Foundation passed on $500 million to Hizbullah in 2020 alone."

Lebanese Politician: U.S. Perpetrated Beirut Port Explosion; FBI Joined Investigation to Hide Truth

Report: 10 killed in alleged Israeli airstrikes in Syria
Airstrikes attributed to Israel killed at least 10 in eastern Syria Monday morning, according to a report by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).

The SOHR claimed that at least six powerful explosions were heard Monday outside of the city of Albu Kamal in the Deir Ezzor region of eastern Syria. Ambulances were seen rushing from Albu Kamal to the areas targeted, SOHR reported.

The airstrikes targeted ammunition depots and vehicles used by pro-Iranian militias, the report claimed.

Ten fatalities were reported in the airstrikes, all of them members of pro-Iranian militias. Two of the dead are said to be Syrian nationals, while the remaining eight are Iraqi nationals.

Israel, which has a policy of not commenting on its operations in Syria, has not commented on the report.

This is the third attack attributed to Israel in Syria in the past 11 days.
Jason Greenblatt: Ending the Iranian Occupation
Today, our focus must be on the "Iranian Occupation": what I find to be the best term for Iran's sprawling influence across the region, from its exertion of political influence in Iraq (via ties to Shia political actors and militias that are part of the official state security apparatus) to its support for Hamas in Gaza, to its long-standing backing of the terrorist group Hezbollah, to its involvement in the Syrian war to prop up the dictator Bashar al-Assad via its proxies. Those countries in the region who want to provide lasting safety, security and prosperity to their populations must act to contain the Iranian regime.

In the United States and western Europe, complaints about so-called "occupation" have been misdirected for years against Israel. In reality, Arab populations have now developed a different concern: They recognize the brutal and devastating "Iranian Occupation" in Lebanon, Gaza, Iraq, Yemen and Syria.

The new liberation movements in these Middle Eastern countries and Gaza do not emanate from the Arab left, are not directed against Israel, and are regionwide. American and Western European progressives hold outdated views. They would do well to shred these views and adjust to where the Arab and Iranian people are.

An honest assessment of the approach of the West to the problem of the Palestinians since 1948 is that it has yielded years of empty resolutions at international organizations and conferences, and false, broken promises. It has trapped Palestinians in a time warp -- those who are forced to live for decades in what are called refugee camps but seem in fact to be a permanent arrangement, those stuck and suffering under the brutal Hamas regime in Gaza and even those in the areas under the control of the Palestinian Authority who fare better than other Palestinians, but who are living nowhere near their potential or to a level that they deserve. Indeed, the Palestinians made real progress only when they reached agreements with Israel -- on politics in Oslo in 1993 (though today most view the Oslo Accords as a failure) and on economics in Paris in April 1994.

Today, because of the bold recommendations of President Donald Trump, the Palestinians have yet another opportunity for peace and a better future -- one that is supported by the Prime Minister of Israel. Much of the West has not encouraged the Palestinian leadership to work with this offer to see where it can lead. In fact, many in the West have chosen to continue to make false promises to the Palestinians that ultimately are likely to be broken, again. These countries will continue to use their taxpayers' hard-earned money simply as a way to keep kicking the can down the road instead of taking a look at hard truths and trying to effectuate real change.

What a missed opportunity.
Iran's Offer of Nuclear Cooperation is a Sham
This effort [lifting the arms embargo on Iran] has prompted Iran to launch a diplomatic offensive to have the arms embargo lifted, a move that would allow Tehran to increase its ability to supply arms to terror groups such as Hizbollah and Hamas, as well as the Houthi rebels in Yemen fighting US-backed coalition forces

"Iran is desperate to get the arms embargo lifted at the UN, and so has decided to cooperate with the IAEA to improve relations with the UN," a senior Western diplomat who is familiar with the negotiations told me. "Tehran believes that if it cooperates with the UN, there is a greater possibility that the arms embargo will not be renewed."

As a senior Gulf official... told me earlier this week, lifting the ban would simply allow Iran to continue arming terror groups in the Middle East. "If the ban is lifted, then we are going to see a lot more bloodshed in the region," the official warned.
Iran said plotting to assassinate US envoy to South Africa to avenge Soleimani
Iran is plotting to assassinate the US ambassador to South Africa as it seeks to further avenge the killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, the Politico news site reported Sunday.

The article, citing US intelligence reports seen by a US government official and another official familiar with the documents, said that Ambassador Lana Marks was likely chosen due to her closeness to US President Donald Trump.

Iran dismissed the allegation.

Iran has already retaliated for Soleimani’s killing in January, firing missiles at a US base in Iraq, to which the US did not respond. However, the killing of a US ambassador would likely push an already tense region to war.

US officials have said that Tehran was likely to seek to further avenge his death.

Marks, 66, a Palm Beach, Florida-based luxury fashion and handbag designer, is a long-time friend of the US president and was a member of Trump’s exclusive Mar-a-Lago club in Florida before she was appointed ambassador in 2018.
UN atomic watchdog: Hopeful of greater trust with Iran
The head of the United Nations’ atomic watchdog agency told board members on Monday he is hopeful Iran’s decision to let inspectors into two disputed sites could lead to a more trusting relationship with Tehran.

Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in late August secured an agreement with Iran to inspect the two sites where the country is suspected of having stored or used undeclared nuclear material, and possibly having conducted nuclear-related activities.

The agreement, which came after Grossi personally visited Tehran to meet with Iranian leaders, ended a months-long impasse over the two locations, thought to be from the early 2000s.

Iran had been permitting IAEA inspectors into current nuclear sites agreed upon in the landmark 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, but had argued the other two sites dated from before the deal so there was no reason to grant access.

The IAEA in March identified the two sites as places where Iran may have stored and/or used undeclared nuclear material or undertaken nuclear-related activities without declaring them to international observers.

German athletes urge sanctions against Iran for execution of wrestler
The German athletic advocacy association Athleten Deutschland on Sunday urged the International Olympic Committee and United World Wrestling to impose sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran for hanging a reportedly innocent champion Greco-Roman wrestler.

“Athleten Deutschland is deeply shocked by the death of Navid Afkari. His execution must not be without consequences. We expect the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and United World Wrestling (UWW) to take a strong stand against human rights violations of athletes and other groups of people who are part of the Olympic movement or are in its sphere of influence,” the organization said, adding “This also includes establishing an appropriate sanction mechanism. It is long overdue that the strongly humanistically shaped Olympic movement commits itself to the protection of human rights.”

Germany’s government funds Athleten Deutschland, yet Chancellor Angela Merkel has remained silent about Afkari’s execution. US President Donald Trump urged Iran’s rulers not to execute the wrestler.

The Iranian authorities hanged Afkari on Saturday for the alleged crime of killing a security guard and protesting against regime corruption during nationwide demonstrations in 2018.

Afkari, who was widely believed to have been brutally tortured to confess to a murder he did not commit, was buried on Sunday in the southern village of Sangar.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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